Smuttlabs Trucco (Smuttynose Brewing Company)

Smuttlabs Trucco (Smuttynose Brewing Company)

Style: Brett-Conditioned American Saison aged in Oak Barrels

10% ABV

From: Portsmouth, NH

Brewery’s Note: “Named after head brewer Charlie Ireland’s loyal pooch, Trucco is the first release in our new Pet Project series. This insanely fruity Belgian-inspired saison has been sitting in oak with Brett for almost a year. It came out at a whopping 10% abv, but drinks like something much smaller. Big tropical fruit notes and that delightful Brett funk come together like no other sour beer we’ve had.”

The beer pours out a golden amber, forming a smaller head of creamy, off-white bubbles that dwindle but leave full sheets of thin, sticky lacing. When you splash Trucco against the sides of the glass it leaves a smattering of shimmery legs while showing off a fuller, hefty body. The beer is gorgeously crystal clear, with the only distortions coming from the beer’s coloring and the fact that the glass is rounded. It looks a lot like a nice amber lager with a small head. On the nose, the beer smells decidedly restrained on the first sniff. Dry cider, a little bit of pool water, something lactic. When I put my nose in it, nice and rounded funk starts to become apparent. The nose is quite understated given the beer’s girth and pedigree, but not unpleasing in the least. When you start to swirl it about, the volatiles release themselves a little more to realize slight booze (perhaps whiskey) layered in sweet funk and reminiscent of Hugs N’Rainbows, if in a more restrained way. Fresh oak, pineapple, and indiscriminate tropical fruit do come out in the nose in nice laps, along with a touch of vanilla and marshmallow, and even some unfermented apple juice. On the tongue, the beer tastes gently acidic in a lactic sense, perhaps eeking faint hints of acetic nature, but blending them lovingly throughout the sip. The acidity blends with a mellow, cider sweetness that soon incorporates pineapple, touches of cherry, and then a lovely splash of breadiness which brings out the earthy oak flavors, a touch of toast, some lovely vanilla, and then a drying tannic wood. This leads to a finish with substantial boozy heat, subtle booze spice, and perhaps a touch of something that used to hop bitters, leaving the mouth dry and woody, but with a lingering sense of tropical fruit. The finish carries a dollop of almost-cloying tropical and banana esters, reminiscent of the ‘classic Smuttynose Farmhouse yeast,’ which I am admittedly not much of a fan of. Fortunately for me, the brett funk is strong and expressive and starts to provide more and more licks of leather, boot polish, a little plastic, and lots of other funky things that shouldn’t be tasty but are, which eases the finish. As I sip more, I start to get an aftertaste of almond skins and vanilla granola, and I get more and more barrel character, which I really like. In the mouth, the beer feels medium bodied, but with an underlying weight to the finish. It’s snappy and almost light and crisp in the front, though mild in carb, but it ends feeling smooth, luxurious, and far fuller. When Trucco hits the throat you suddenly recognize the booze behind this bastard, and you are left with a lovely warming feeling. This is a great ‘winter sour’ to sip while contemplating life. I’m kind of mad I sipped mine in the silly Smuttlabs graduated cylinder, but it looks cool so I’ll let it go… When the beer leaves, the mouth spatters congealing saliva at the gum-line and then onto the tongue, but everything is left a little tingly and fairly arid. The oak structure of the beer comes out more and more as you sip, giving the mouth endless complexity, but also a lovely framework for the booze to slip right on into your gut. This is a sneaky bastard in that it lets you know it has booze, but it still goes down far too easily. Overall, this beer is beautifully expressive of the barrel, and has a nice level of funk. It doesn’t quite compare to Hugs N’Rainbows or Brett & I in my mind, but it is close, and very well may age into that echelon. The touches of more unrefined flavors that I occasionally get from this beer hold it back, but it is still lovely to drink. Put this one in a fine stemware and slowly contemplate life, but also buy a second bottle to see how it ages, this has the booze and body to do some fun things with age. I’m glad to see Smuttlabs finely pull their wild game back to the forefront with this “Pet Project” series. This is what I want from Smuttlabs! Barrel aged wilds and barrel aged heavy beers (and both together!). Your other experiments are fun, but I feel like this is more of what Smuttynose’s experimental arm should be pumping out… Perhaps it is coming soon?

 

 

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