Beerbecue’s first beer review is of Smuttynose Homunculus, from Smuttynose’s Big Beer Series.
Initial Thoughts: I guess the best place to start is the name: Homunculus. If I remember correctly from Latin class, “homunculus” is a derogatory term for a flamboyant, unmarried uncle.* The plural is homunculi. Used in a sentence: Daddy, est Homunculus Stephanus bringingus his amicus Caesar ad dinnerus tonightem?
Actually, come to think of it, I never took Latin. Wikipedia tells me “homunculus” means little human. Fair enough. How about we take a look at the label to see the marketing tie-in.
Holy hell! What fecund, sick brainstorming session conceived this idea? What twisted focus group thought that this idea would bear fruit? Are sperm the next untapped reservoir for marketing imagery? This could stain their brand equity. Someone should be flagellated.
Although, perhaps this has precedent. Sex sells. The Japanese do have bukkake udon. (Youtube link totally safe for work. Mom, don’t google “bukkake” without “udon”.) And maybe the ’96 Atlanta Olympics mascot, Izzy the Whatizit, was just ahead of his time.
Maybe I shouldn’t worry so much about the label. A German friend of mine was visiting DC, and I plied him with American beer after American beer. After complaining the whole day of every beer being too bitter…
…he lamented about a Heavy Seas beer, “Look at zee parrot on zee label! American labels have nothing to do with zee beer!” [accent exaggerated]. This is a rare instance where I hope a German is right. But, judging from German history and the bottle’s claim that the beer is “bottle conditioned”, maybe the Haybag should try it first.
Taste: This is a hoppy, Belgian-style golden ale (according to Smuttynose). It weighs in at 9.9% ABV and 45 IBUs. It is a big, but well-balanced beer. It pours a little more orange than “golden ale” would imply. Sweet, but not sickeningly so. Ripe, floral hop character. There is a slight hint of alcohol in there. And not as much carbonation as one might expect for a Belgian-style.
It seems to me like the bastard love child of a tripel and an IPA, with its yeasty and candy sugar Belgianess coming out more as it warms-up. However, it does not quite measure up to the similarly-styled Stone Cali-Belgique. But, at $6 to $7 for a bomber, I would definitely get one again…despite the label.
Why one may not like it: It is big, hoppy, and Belgiany. If this bothers you, steer clear. Also, if you plan on operating heavy machinery afterwards, 22 oz of this may impair your ability to do so. And if any of these apply to you, Don Corleone says:
Next time: We drink lava.
*There is, of course, nothing wrong with flamboyant, unmarried uncles.