Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) - Smuttynose Brewing Company

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Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series)

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1,140 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,140
Reviews: 682
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.05%
Wants: 118
Gots: 131 | FT: 9
Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 05-05-1998

2007 - 10.0%
2009 - 8.9%
2010 - 9.8%
2014 - 9.4%
2015 - 10.5%
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,140 | Reviews: 682
Reviews by alysmith4:
Photo of alysmith4
3.66/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tried Stone's Russian Stout a day before, and was motivated to give this beer a try. Definitely better than the Stone, but not my favorite flavor at all. Toasted coffee and chocolate, with a cherry and caramel flavor to follow. Worth a try. Low in carbonation.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.29/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a ink black with a thin mocha colored head that vanished pretty quickly,aromas of dark fruit like raisin dipped in rum and dark roast coffee with bittersweet chocolate as well I noticed some leafy hop wich was very nice.Alot of things going on other than the standard impy stout flavors sure the deeply roasted malt and rummy flavors are there but what a nice drier earthy finish with notes of mint,I really like the hop profile to this beer it gives it more noticable flavor and depth.I liked this offering alot I applaud Smuttynose for their use of hops in this impy stout.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Great beer. Really enjoyed a bomber from Star.

A: Black with a brown head. Really dark.

N: Hoppy as hell. Piney and citrussy. Cocoa powder.

T: Loads of bitter, dry, dark cocoa powder. Rich and complicated with loads of fruits from the hops. Perfectly palanced.

Mouthfeel: Lighter then most RISs. Less oily and thick. Really nicely balanced bitterness and fruitiness. Dry.

Drinkability: Superb.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.29/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 1 pint and 6 FL oz bottle. Number one in Smutty's "Big Beer Series." Old nautical map of the Shoal Isles.

Appearance: Pitch black, no light can be seen through this beer. Chocolate shake like head in the beginning, but it dissipated very quickly. No head retention at all.

Smell: Dark malts and smokiness.

Taste: Dark unsweetened chocolate flavour, chewy maltiness and an odd hop flavour (leafy and watery, trying to pull through) that lingers.

Notes: This is too similar to a traditional porter in style and taste. At 7.1% abv, this turns out to be a delicious very strong porter or chocolate stout.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle from the Big Beer series. This is a big beer. A dark, dark black with a small coffee-colored head and some nice lacing. A strong coffee/chocolate odor. An espresso taste with some intense bitterness. As the beer warmed, the bitterness abated, and I could taste some fruit. A nice, robust beer. Cost effective,also. One bottle will do just fine.

Photo of bishopdc0
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottle split with my wife. Hers in a New Belgian mine in an Allagash Tulip.

The beer is a deep black with a huge head. the head is reminiscent of a creamy with the smaller bubbles moving the edge while the bigger bubbles remain in the center. As the beer is drank the head doesn't dissipate.

The aroma is wonderful, full of roasted barley cocoa and coffee are the most evident. The end is a fruity and spicy notes perhaps from the hops very nice.

The taste is wonderful. The taste starts with a roasted creaminess on the mouth. The carbonation builds and dissipates to reveal a dry bitter roasted flavor. this flavor subsides and taste of raisins and a slight spicy hop finish. Nice.

Photo of Doomcifer
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black with a nice caramel colored head which retains greatly. Nice lacing to boot. Good looking, inky, Impy Stout.

Smell is of huge dark sweet malts, roastiness, chocolate, a slight nuttiness.

Taste is huge and complex and for a 10.0% abv, this is incredibly smooth. Huge sweet roasty malts, anisette, bittersweet chocolate, raisins, espresso, cherries, nutty, most of the alcohol sensation is solely in the nice warming effect of the finish. Finishes pretty hoppy as well. Wonderful.

Mouthfeel is full, rich, and robust...very oily, and just the right amount of carbonation.

This is as drinkable as your tolerance allows it to be. I could easily drink a couple bombers but would probably be off my rocker.

Just another fantastic beer from a fantastic brewery.

Photo of Jason
4.29/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber with a "Bottle Conditioned In 2006" freshness date on the label.

A- Light brown lace, opaque black ... yes this is one of those really really dark beers.

S- Coco powder, ripe blackberries, South American medium roasted coffee, faint vanilla and slight charred wood all in the nose.

T&M- More creamy than smooth, lush full body. The undertow from the roasted malts pull the taste buds in a bit, just the perfect amount of charred flavor. Some malt sweetness lays underneath with a balancing hop bitterness. Molasses and dark raw honey come to mind. Warmth from the alcohol comes middle to end with ripe dark berries. Finishes semi-dry with a mild roasted grain character.

D- A sipper for sure, an awesome beer for a cooler fall night ... going to finish this one off with a sweet Dominican cigar.

Photo of merlin48
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big Beer bomber pours an opaque, ebony body with a ferocious, light brown head that quickly turns rocky as it sits atop the inky body. Massive lacing, sheets and patches, adorns the sides of the glass as the contents are slowly drained.

Aroma is incredibly complex. Expected notes of roasted coffee and dark chocolate are complimented by hints of tobacco and leather. Lilac adds a floral hops presence to the impressive bouquet.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, rich and creamy, and coats the palate.

The taste is robust. Dark chocolate, roasted coffee, tobacco, and leather echo the nose, as does a floral hops note that evokes lilacs. Chocolate covered raisins emerge midway through, and a chicory nuttiness and smoked almond round off the finish, and provide a slightly bitter aftertaste. An all around explosion of pleasant tastes from start to finish.

This Smuttynose "Big Beer" is everything that an excellent imperial stout should be. One of the better American examples of the style. Very highly recommended.

Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle, pours black, dark tan head dissolves to a nice tiny bubble film and this one leaves nice lacing. Big and bold Imp stout. Nose of bready yeast and some dark malts. Flavor is burnt malt, black coffee, dark chocolate. dark rum. dry and chalky in the finish, this classy sipper is complex and warming. All stout lovers rejoice- this is a winner. Seek and enjoy.

Photo of warriorsoul
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Liquor World in Porter Square for bringing this one in early...
Almost pitch black in color with some very little light able to pass thru on the edges...less than a finger of tan head with a gentle pour.
Some lacing forms, but quicky recedes back into the snifter.
Vineous at first whiff with a hefty dark chocolate scent and green hops.
The taste is real solid...the dark chocolate is still there and then comes the robust coffee flavor that balances it out. Enough hops to bitter it up just enough and definitely more on the dry side than sweet. Also, a gentle tweek of vanilla bean as it warms.
Alcohol is nicely masked...just that warming effect I expect from my big beers.
Goes down nice...easy to consume one bomber in no time, but no real desire to crack open another...the perfect beer to finish off an evening with. Mouthfeel could be a touch thicker and the carbonation a bit more mellow.
Another solid brew from Smutty's Big Beer Series and I will be sure to pick up many more of this one before it disappears.

Photo of badbeer
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out black, with a tan head, leaving some lacing, but the head remains throughout the glass. Smells is full of piney hops, some maltiness, but hops seem to be at the forefront. Taste had a little bit of a vegetable taste at first, but I'm glad it's short lived. From there, the taste has a nice pineyness to it, and then shifts more towards the roasty and chocolate tastes. Little more than medium bodied, medium carbonation. Pretty good, I don't know that I'd buy this often though. Worthy of a try.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle provided by mar.

2008 vintage. Pours dark brown to black with a beige head. Aroma has quite a bit of alcohol as well as some roasted malt. Flavor is roasted malt with some smoke and a little soy sauce character. Very creamy, medium mouthfeel.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber picked up at Knightly Spirits in Orlando. I needed one last bottle (at a reasonable price) to finish off my purchase, and the employee suggested this one. I didn't hesitate.

Poured into a goblet. Inky black, with only a faint ring of chestnut around the edges. Light mocha head survives as a thin but sturdy cap, sheets and flecks of lacing grace the glass.

Nose is dark chocolate, roasted malt, toasty bread, more chocolate, cream, a bit of grape. Lovely.

This is one tasty stout! Loads of chocolate are in cahoots with nice toasty malt, some grape, smoke and a bit of booze. Finishes dry and roasty. Great stuff.

Silky feel, only a slight booziness on the tongue, medium to low carbonation.

Great brew - very happy with both the Smuttynose "Big Beer" offerings. A well crafted imperial.

Photo of alienlifeforcecube
3.89/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

drank fresh. the hops on it are overwhelming for a stout. it says on the label to drink now for hops and cellar for a refined malty experience. they're not kidding. the hops are big. notes of coffee and chocolate are drowned out by the bitterness. i should buy another one to cellar. will review again if i do.

Photo of amidabha
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a moderate pour into an imperial pint gave little head or lacing to this motor oil colored beer. seems to have just the right amount of darkness to the smell, sweet and bitter at the same time.

this is a bit sweet and could stand to sit in my cellar a year or so which means i'll need to buy some more. the alcohol is just apparent enough for me to drink with caution. there is just enough carbonation to help give the dark malts some extra bite.

i like this one and can't wait to find a specialty stout from their big series in the future.

Photo of jondeelee
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Boast a full and rich nose, redolent with the heady vapors of chocolate malt, black breads, molasses and hops--exactly what should be expected of an Imperial Stout, with perhaps a slightly above-average hop odor.

On the tongue, the brew is thick and dark, and immediately noticeable is the cream-like mouthfeel. In terms of flavors, the beer turns out to be far thicker and darker that would be expected from the nose, the chocolate (and perhaps black) malts rebounding off the soft palate and tongue in a feedback loop of impressive richness that makes even a good Guinness seem comparatively tame. Huge coffee and burnt grain flavors dominate, as well as not-so-subtle hints of tobacco. There is a good amount of sweetness to the beer as well, in the form of dark fruit esters and molasses-like flavors, but these are barely enough to keep up with the more bitter, black malt flavors. And there is a good grapefruity hop kick, though again, against the power of the burnt grain malts, it can be easily lost in the background, and tends to be strongest at the tail end of the aftertaste.

Overall, while I do admire the brashness and flipside-of-subtle burnt malt flavors, it does seem that the beer is slightly unbalanced, and anyone not already familiar with even some of the weaker Imperial Stouts on the market is going to have a tough time with this one. Newcomers should thus try at their own risk, but more experienced connoisseurs will no doubt find much in here to discuss and enjoy.

Photo of MattyG85
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours pitch black with a moderate amount of carbonation. Solid finger of tan head which settles into a thin creamy layer.

Smell: A roasty and rich dark malt forward aroma with big hints of bitter chocolate, coffee, and hops. Dark roasted barley malt with big hints of dark chocolate, coffee, burnt toast, biscuit, caramel, and yeast. Sweet hints of molasses along with some hints of anise. Lots of hop presence for a stout with good earthy and herbal hints. A very solid aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a rich, roasty, and bitter dark malt driven taste with notes of chocolate, coffee, and hops. Dark roasted barley malt with notes of bitter dark chocolate, coffee, toast, caramel, biscuit, smoke, and yeast. Big hop presence as well with earthy and herbal notes of grass. Sweet taste of molasses. Also some black licorice anise notes. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, chewy, and drying on the finish. Some alcohol heat is felt but it’s still smooth.

Overall: A very good take on an Imperial Stout. Huge dark malt flavor with a pretty big hop presence as well.

Photo of ohmybock
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

This brew surprised me a lot. I've now had the 2009 version in the bottle and on tap at least two times each. To be honest, I'm not sure if there's much of a difference as both versions are very good!

This review is of a fresh 2009 bottle. It pours a rich, dark, typical, stout-color with good, long-lasting head. The aroma blows me away with its hops. If I had smelled this with my eyes closed, I would have sworn the delicious, hoppy, citrus/lemon aroma was coming from an IPA or DIPA. I'm really digging it. The taste has just as much of that citrus/lemon character, if not more. However, there's a nice, non-overpowering, chocolaty stout character mixed in with the flavor as well. Even though this is such a dark, rich, brew, it seems to lean more toward a DIPA than an imperial stout. The hops are mostly in the aroma and flavor, but there's a decent bitterness as well. The dark stout characteristics are certainly evident, but they almost take a backseat to the hops. Oddly, the stout qualities seem on the light-side for such a big imperial stout. The mouthfeel is a tad lighter than I would have expected. The combination of dark malts and potent flavor/aroma hops is a very interesting mix. I haven't always liked that pairing in other dark/hoppy brews. I still think a huge hop aroma/flavor works best with some sort of IPA or barleywine, but this Smuttynose brew might prove otherwise. This is certainly NOT your typical imperial stout, but I'm really liking it. I've had some other highly-rated hoppy imperial stouts, brown IPAs, dark IPAs, etc. from across the States, but this is my favorite of the bunch so far. In the end, this one hits me more like some sort of dark-DIPA than an imperial stout. Whatever the case, if you love hops (and even if you're not a big fan of dark beers), you need to try this brew.

PS - Don't age this brew. Drink it fresh to take full advantage of the hops the brewer put into it. An aged version of this brew would surely be less-interesting when compared to how it tastes when it's fresh.

Photo of Mantooth
3.34/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Draft pour @ Duckworths on Park, Charlotte North Cackalacky.

Pours jet black with an ample head, decent nose and underwhelming taste. It looks like I'm harsh in my numerical review - but I'm still giving the beer more than it deserves. Makes me wonder if I the keg was bad, actually. The worst part is how thin the beer is - a big imperial should have some viscosity.

Photo of far333
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep dark brown colored, looks thick and impenetrable, with a frothy lumpy dimpled head of light brown foam.

Aroma of roasated malt, cocoa and caramel, plus floral notes and citrus hops.

Flavor is rich and intense. Roasty malts, burnt espresso and cocoa, with some molasses to round it out. A surprising amount of hop bitterness rides along, with a ripe fruits in the finish. Toffee and cocoa lingers, ABV warms the cheeks and burns the tip of the tongue.

Mouthfeel is thin and a bit watery with low carbonation. Slightly tannic finish.

Very drinkable and tasty beer, but seems off style. Too hoppy, comes off more like a barleywine or strong ale, but I would surely have another.

Photo of yankeeheel
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours the usual pitch black stout color with a small dark tan head. Very visually appealing for this stout fiend.

Smells of chcolate and coffee.

Super flavorful. Nice amount of coffee is the first thing that crosses my palate. The beer then becomes nicely sweet and chocolate. Lots of candy undertones and milky creaminess. Finishes on a bitter crescendo that leaves you wanting more.

Mouthfeel is quite oily and huge. Tastes like a big stout should.

Me want more. This is a good one to seek out if you want fine examples of the Smutty line.

Photo of BadBadger
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Conditioned in 2006

First my thank you to good ole Daggereyes for giving me the heads up on the availability of this fine beverage. It pours very dark out of the bottle, A nice tan foamy head forms. What is that smell? Is this an IPA? Floral aromas impact the olfactory neves. The brain thinks an IPA is coming its way. The first taste almost confirms that suspicion. But wait, the brew is a bit to cool. It is not ready for consumption. It needs to warm up to near room temp. Ah, that is more like it, The malty nature now mingles with the hop features, This ambrosia now smells damn near perfect. The taste has changed: a nice bitter tang and sweet malty careses. This is an outstanding brew. I am going back for more, so I am not going to name the store. If you relish Russian Imperial Stouts, search out and you will enjoy.

Photo of TKEbeerman
3.76/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my pint glass, this stout pours black as night with a nut shell brown, pillow like head, that isn't scared to leave any lace.

S: The aroma is lacking a bit. Roasted malt and molasses are present without any distinct complexity. Hops are heavy, which leaves me with high hopes for this stout.

T: Fresh, the flavor is unbalanced and a little to hoppy. Aged, I guarantee this brew will be good. Flavor is along the lines of an Old Rasputin type of stout. Hopped up with lots of roasted malt and molasses.

MF: mouthfeel is a little rough, but I think will smooth out.

D: Drink is ok, again should improve.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark roasts creat a dark ruby brown easy to call it black with out thinking twice, forms a thin moccha head leaves specks of lacing nice. Aroma: Dark chocolate, with a creamy edge on it big lucious coffee notes great stuff. Complex but at the same time not over the top one Imperial Stout that is very drinkable and stays true to the style. Taste: Full flavored chocolate cream nice touch of hops great brew, flavors blend together so nicely making this one of smoothest Imperial Stouts I have sampled in awhile. Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied brew great even carbonation sticky texture nice brew. Drinkability: Incredible I would buy a case of this to sit on if I had the funds right now good all around stylistically accurate Imperial Stout.

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Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,140 ratings.