Smuttynose Zinneke Belgian Stout

Smuttynose has really been on a run with me. They have had some stumbles, but they are really putting some effort and talent into their beer, and I am looking forward to this one. I really like a good stout, and this one is on the line between a stout and a dark Belgian ale. I want this beer.

The color is very dark black, but there is a tint of red that is visible during the pour and pretty much no other time. The minimal head dissipates very quickly, and there is little to no lacing left on the glass. Instead, there is a simple ring of tiny bubbles sucking to the sides of the glass. To the nose, the beverage is meaty and sweet; there are a lot of nice smells intermingled in there with a smokey, nutty, and a little bit raisin/fig about it. the sweetness reminds me of a milk stout, but this stout has more in common with some of the Belgian Dark Ales that I've had recently.

First sip is properly described as smooth. It is roasted nuts and raisins with sweetness from the malt and it's so much better as a sip than I expected. I also get the feeling that it will actually get better as it warms up a bit, but I'm not going to let it get there before I take my customary big swig.

Tip-in is light carbonation and smokey oats. As the middle moves forward, an oak taste with dark fruits and grass takes hold. The smoke continues to caress the taste buds, but it doesn't overwhelm the other flavors. It's a nice background. As the finish starts up, a wave of bitter coffee and bitter chocolate signal the beginning of the end before a slight hint of sweetness dulls the bitterness and allows the smokey finish to drift away. It's very, very nice.

Bottom Line: It's fantastic. The best Smuttynose beer I've had and possibly the best Belgian beer.

4.75/5

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