Beer drinkers everywhere seek the warmth of rich, chewy, darker brews as old man winter creeps in. Terms like “wind-chill” dubiously slide their way back into vocabularies. Many reach for a Doppelbock or “Double Bock,” which is a German Lager and a maltier, higher-alcohol version of the Bock. Its history dates back to the 1700’s where it was brewed by Paulaner Monks literally as a “liquid meal.” Done well, these hearty beers certainly hit the spot on a cold night.
Funky Smuttynose Brewing Company out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire brews a Double Bock humorously named “S’muttonator.” It’s part of “The Smuttynose Big Beer Series” and is only released once a year, as are all of the other small-batch beers in the series. S’muttonator was creatively coined by combining Smuttynose, mutton (Bock is German for ram or goat, which are usually located on the beer label too), and Salvator (Savior in Latin, the -ator was used by the Paulaner Monks and is still found at the end of most Doppelbock names to this day).
The S’muttonator comes in at a buzz-inducing 9.6% ABV. A thick but delicate cream-colored head appears as it pours into the pint glass and tiny bubbles emanate towards the top. This beer is colored a very deep, hazy amber — it’s nearly impossible to see through even when held up against the light. The nose is sweet and intricate, aromas of chocolate, date, and plum harmoniously blend together. It’s easy on the eyes and smells fantastic. Decadent, dark-sweet caramel malt, roasted nuts, and toffee are the first noticeable flavors, followed by raisin and burnt caramel. It finishes clean with just a hint of cocoa.
It’s certainly not a beer for everyone but for fans of strong, heavy beers this one is well worth picking up. The flavor is all malt with little hop bitterness, although some faintly lurks in the background. Remarkably balanced yet it’s delightfully complex in color, smell, and flavor. The alcohol can be felt, particularly at the end but this full-bodied brew is surprisingly smooth. It pairs wells with grilled meats and anything sweet — Pecan Pie comes to mind — and also a perfect choice for sipping by the fireplace on a cold winter evening.
Who’ll Like This Beer: Beer geeks who salivate over thick, malt laden beers like Wee Heavys, Barley Wines and Imperial Stouts will want to check out the S’muttonator.
Little Known Fact: It reportedly takes Smuttynose a whopping 30 hours to brew a single batch of this Double Bock
The Verdict: Complex, malty, and fantastic, a great cold weather beer.
Rating: 9.5/10 Mugs