This brown ale pours with a solid inch of foamy head. The smell is malty and the first sip has a hint of hops in the caramel malt and some chalky aftertaste. I'm concerned about the age of this beer since it's a winter ale and a purchased it at the first of Sept. The date on the bottle indicates May, 2012. This must have been produced at the end of the 2011/2012 Winter Ale production run.
Continued consumption leaves all concerns and chalky flavors to be forgotten. Flavors of cola and dried fruit and balancing hops remain consistent to the end of this surprising winter ale. Smuttynose Winter Ale was much lighter than what I expect from the style. It reminds me of a Belgian Brown Ale with dominant fruit flavor. I'm sure glad I picked this one up while traveling, it's not available in East Tn.
A solid 4 out of 5 pints.