Smuttlabs Finkelstein (Smuttynose Brewing Company)

Style: India Pale Lager

6.0% ABV

From: Hampton, NH

Bottled On: 11/11/14

Brewery’s Note: NA

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The beer pours a pale golden color, much like an American Premium Lager… A big, sudsy head of eggshell-white bubbles forms above the glass and then slowly sinks into a half-finger’s width of frothy suds. The beer leaves a lacing of thin, soapy bubbles that quickly slide away when they are splashed against the glass. In body, the beer is properly clear and clean of particles, with only the slightest haze developing. On the nose, the beer smells a little restrained for the style. Candied hops, pine needles, and grapefruit juice wash across the nose in reserved bursts, and there’s also so some nice berry character that sits somewhere between strawberries and watermelon… This suggests a newer American hop varietal. It is a nice hoppy smell, and is full of good hop nuance, but still seems a little reserved from what I’ve grown to expect in the style. On the tongue, the beer tastes sweet and then bitter. It starts with lots of sweet fruit and bread character and then slowly blends in grassy and citric hop bitters. Acidity is very restrained for a hoppy ale, leaving the beer a bit two-dimensional. Some earthiness sits on the backend of the sip, but is not very prevalent. The finish of the beer also falls off very quickly, leaving my palate grasping at flavors it wants to linger. In flavor, the beer tastes of sweet watermelon, light strawberry jam, and generic berries. There is then a building breadiness that slowly is overtaken by pine and citric bitters with a touch of chlorine and plastic. The finish is brief. Far too brief. This beer has no backend. The aftertaste is of clean fruity bitters and grass, but the finish is just entirely lacking. In the mouth, the beer feels crisp and clean, as a lager should, but it also feels a bit watery. The carbonation is middling and gives a nice scrub, but the body just seems to be lacking a little oomf. Perhaps the lack of a finish is what is making my mouth feel this way?  When the beer leaves, the back of the roof of my mouth feels sticky, while the rest of the mouth feels a little astringent, but clean. It’s a very weird feeling for a beer to leave in the mouth, and I am not quite sure how I feel about it. Overall, this beer is a bit of a letdown. Smuttlabs has been killing it with everything (except for Herbaceous, but I will excuse that) but this one just seems a little off. The nose grew on me, but it is way too subtle for what I want in the style, and the lack of a finish is killing me. It is easy to knock back, but it needs more bitter bite, and it needs more of a finish!

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