Review: Star Island Single, Smuttynose

Star Island Single
Smuttynose Brewing Co. — Portsmouth, NH

  • Style:  Abbey-style Ale
  • Bitterness:  10 IBU
  • ABV:  5.1% ABV
  • Malts:   2-Row, Pale, Acidulated
  • Hops:  Sterling
  • Other Ingredients:  Cane Sugar, Coriander
  • Sampled:  12 oz. bottle  (Full disclosure:  sample provided by brewery).

Description:  "Visitors to Smuttynose Island, peering across the dark waters of Gosport Harbor towards the ragged rocks of neighboring Star Island, are sometimes startled by the fleeting sight of mysterious, alluring creatures swept up from the Atlantic’s cold, inky depths.  Or so they tell us. Our Star Island Single is an eminently sessionable, abbey-style ale offering a beguiling mix of flavor and refreshment. This medium-bodied golden ale features a slight residual sweetness from Honey Malt and hints of citrus and tropical fruits from the unique Belgian yeast it is fermented with, leaving a crisp dry finish. Enjoy it sociably while you savor good times, tall tales, friendly company & life’s unexpected pleasures." — Smuttynose Brewing Co. 

Random thoughts:   Smuttynose beer is not available in Oregon.  I discovered it through my Beyond the Northwest Quest.  It's also part of my series on Belgian-style beers.   

The tasting:  Golden with a white head that dissipated quickly, with lots of effervescence rising up the glass.  Aroma and flavor of bready malt, spicy hops, and grassy hops.  It reminds me very much of a pilsner lager.  I don't detect any of the black pepper, fruit, and spices that I usually taste in Belgian-style beers.  Star Island Single is light to medium bodied, moderately carbonated, and has a crisp mouth feel.  It finished with a touch of malt sweetness and has very little bitterness throughout.

Rating:  3 star.  Good.  I would drink this again if someone gives it to me.   If I hadn't read the description, I would have thought this was a fine pilsner lager—one that I'd rate as 4 stars. However, it's a Belgian-style beer, and I didn't notice the fruity and spicy aromas and flavors that are typical of the style (and mentioned in the description).  If I was expecting Belgian flair, I'd be disappointed.  That said, it's still a good beer.

Have you tried Star Island Single?  Did you notice any of the Belgian characteristics? 

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