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

Not Rated.
Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

694 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 694
Hads: 1,204
Avg: 4.07
pDev: 13.02%
Wants: 118
Gots: 152 | FT: 9
Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States | website

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) Alström Bros
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Reviews: 694 | Hads: 1,204
Photo of keithmurray
4.26/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 2/2014, listed at 9.4%ABV

Appearance - dark brown almost black body with tan head

Smell - molasses, roasted malts, black licorice, marshmallow

Taste - dark chocolate, molasses, roasted malts, black licorice, coffee in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel - full bodied, medium carbonation, roasted feel upfront, flavors coat the tongue and linger a good amount of time, hoppy on the back end

Overall - good RIS here, nice roasted flavors , rich, enjoyable on a chilly night.

Price Point - $ 6.99 / 22 oz bottle

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Photo of TBoneJones
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A hop-forward imperial stout, but it blends well with the dark chocolate/ smoke notes.
Not a fan of hoppy imperial stouts, but this isn't bad, IMO, considering it's very much that.

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Photo of JamesBondGA
4.49/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours dark black with a nice 2 inch caramel head with lacing on glass. Notes of coffee and chocolate on the nose. Taste is pretty much dark chocolate and alcohol (not that there is anything wrong with that). Not the best imperial stout I've had but enjoyable.

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Photo of scotorum
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25


Bottled Feb 2015, aged till now, close to a year.

Poured from the 22 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith English tulip.

a: Opaque black. Two and a half inch tan head receded amazingly quickly to patchy surface foam and spotty lacing.

s: Slight chocolate/coffee

t: Dark mocha coffee and alcohol on a roasty malt base. Some bitterness lingers a bit on the otherwise mixed sweet and bitter finish.

m: Medium, good body, some carbonation tingle.

o: A deceptively drinkable ten percenter, smooth and enjoyable, probably moreso due to the aging.

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Photo of NotAlcoholicJustAHobby
3.59/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled in Feb. 2015.

L-Dark and black with no light transference. Head is minimal and fades to a thin ring.
S-Dark Chocolate with a hint of dark fruit sweetness.
T-Dark chocolate bitterness is the dominant flavor. Pretty one dimensional at this point.
F- Light carbonation with only a medium mouthfeel, too light for a stout.
O- A bit too simple in the flavor profile. In other reviews hops had been noted, but they seem to have faded at this point. I have to admit I'm disappointed. Not Smuttynose's best effort.

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Photo of KGilmour
3.25/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

For a stout, too much focus on hops and alcohol. Not enough complicated flavors at the front to mask that. A little thin. Overall disappointed as this is frequently listed as the best stout from New Hampshire. I've had better from NH. Little to the nose beside the faintest hint of coffee. Virtually no head.

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Photo of NeoClassicist
4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What on earth is this?
Slick mouthfeel, not too oily, but not creamy.
Hops?! In a stout? I taste hops here, without the over crispness of many an ale.
The full bodied-ness of a stout but not the baked character - no cocoa or coffee here. Thick but not heavy.
This is a conundrum.
Light brown head disappeared after pours both rough and soft from the generous sized bottle.
Very little carbonation to speak of.
Smells like a cross between a pale ale and porter.
A standout stout - not typical of the genre, but an interesting choice for a cold fall night.

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Photo of jjboesen
3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This one opens with a heavy froth atop a pitch black body that looks like a glass of coal. Take a whiff: there is a subtle nose of malt and coffee. Take a sip: there is a resinous lather of baking chocolate along with some bitter toastiness, all of which is overwhelmed by a boozy finish.

The body is light, too light for a beer of this style. I would have expected something heavier, more breadier, but this was not to be. Still ... not bad, but not great. (This is no Old Rasputin.) ahowever, it makes for a decent quaff on a cold, rainy night.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a black body with two finger khaki head and small lace patches. Aroma is comprised of mostly roasted and burnt malts along with hints of wood, biscuit and chocolate. Smooth, fuller heavy bodied beer with emphasis on roasted and toasted coffee malts with just touch of sticky sweetness in background and hidden ABV.

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Photo of egrapplesberg
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz (bottle conditioned Feb 2015) while watching the Ohio state vs Virginia tech game ;) pitch black with a one inch tan head that fades quickly. Moderate retention that doesn't dissipate and slowly slides down the glass. Smell is malt and coffee. Taste is an ipa lovers dream if they had to drink a stout. Hoppy/bitter with Coffee and slight chocolate. decent carbonation but still balanced mouthfeel. Overall another great beer from smuttynose! Cheers!

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Photo of ilikebeer03
3.84/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

bottled conditioned feb/2015. opened 8/21/15

A: pours black with a very thin (surprisingly so, especially for an imperial stout), tan head. fades quickly. little retention

S: earthy hops upfront, slight roasted malts. a bit of coffee

T: big earthy hops up front. followed by roasted, maybe even charred malt (likely a high number chocolate malt very present in the grain bill), bitter chocolate. alcohol hidden very well.

M: thick, creamy. wonderful

O: delicious beer. interesting take on the style. very hoppy, especially considering it's 6 months old at the time of drinking. delicious, but i think i might like it more with a litle more age to fade the hops a bit and bring out more malt characteristics.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

look: very dark nearly opaque brown. Pretty full mocha head on the pour that settles to a ring around the rim and a smattering on top.
smell: A bit of charred RIS roastiness, but a healthy dose of hops. Espresso and dark bittersweet chocolate.
taste: Surprisingly mellow espresso milkshake up front with a bitter finish.

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Photo of OrangeMen
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Feb 2015 batch. 10.5%, 6 months age.

Appearance- Pours black in color, opaque, silky smooth. Thin, medium khaki, mocha colored head, fluffy, creamy froth in consistency. Moderate alcohol legs clings to sides of glass.

Aroma- Dark chocolates, fudge, charred malts, intense roast. Touches of creamy sweetness, milk chocolates, caramel, cream. Earthy hops linger on the finish.

Taste- Roasted malt, charred grain, bittersweet chocolates. Rich and roasty coffee, slight creamy sweetness, mocha profile. Bitter herbal and fruity hops on the finish, subtle dark fruits as well.

Feel- Medium mouthfeel, bitter and dry, fairly sticky. Moderate to lower carbonation.

Overall- Wanted to try this fairly fresh to see how it was when the hops are still kicking around. Pretty well balanced at this point, definetly get the hops but they arent over the top where your thinking its a black IPA. That said, super coffee forward, intense roastiness, lots of chocolate. So so good.....soooo good. Will be aging out my other bottle of this vintage with the other vintages i have in the cellar.

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Photo of bgold86
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours nice and dark, has a a thick sort of syrupy feel, not a lot of chocolate or coffee notes one expects from a stout. Kind of overly sweet, but in a good way. Too bad the nose is incredibly light, also what's not expected from a stout of this nature. Finishes like a sweet caramel apple sort of a feel.

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Photo of CNoj012
4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look is pitch black with a full, thick brown head. Smell is chocolate, bitter roasted coffee and slightly earthy. Taste is much the same, very bitter, and some booziness on the back end. This is a full bodied beer that coats the tongue. Overall I really like this stout. My only complaint would be that the hop bitterness stands out a bit too much and overshadows the other flavors.

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Photo of CantankerousCaveBear
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours jet black, like engine oil, as a proper Imperial stout should. Beige/mocha head that dissipates quickly, as expected. The nose smells like baker's chocolate, espresso, cacao nibs, decadent chocolate mousse. I pick up some toffee/treacle notes too. Earthy and herbal hops have a heavy presence, almost a resiny quality reminiscent of a black IPA/ Cascadian dark ale. I get some dark fruit, chiefly figs and prunes. Lots of charred and roast character.

Upon tasting, I get bold coffee and chocolate flavours, full, creamy and rich, true to the RIS style. Some molasses, and burnt sugar coats the palate. Taste is reminiscent of crème brulee, or a thoroughly caramelized butter tart. Robust bitterness and roastiness all around- stemming from the hops, the coffee notes, the dark chocolate notes.. I'm slowly unravelling layers as the stout warms up. Very bold, very complex, right up my alley. Smattering of dark fruits are present, dark cherries, figs, raisins and prunes. There is a distinct earthiness or woodiness/oakiness that I get at the back of the palate. Finish is savoury, again featuring prolonged bitter herbal hops. Throughout the palate there is a residual spiciness which I can't place. I'm not sure if it's licorice, anise or cinnamon.

Beautifully crafted stout. Truly complex, I love the depth the hop profile adds. I really enjoy the heavy roast and coffee taste. Roasty and savoury, brilliant combination. This brew is solid component of Smuttynose's portfolio. Fall seasonal, but something about this beer just suits the brutal northern winters, be it here in Ontario or throughout New England, where it is meticulously brewed.

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Photo of GormBrewhouse
4.94/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

l. Brownish black
s. Excellent with the roast coming trough strong
t. Tremendous mouthfeel and warm notes with every sip
F. Same as above
O. Just a well balanced great imperial

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Photo of MattyG85
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

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Photo of ohiobeer29
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 9.4% abv version drinks great mild alcohol burn lots of chocolate mild coffee flavors blended nicely would definitely drink again it's right up there with the likes of big bad baptist IMO grab a few of these if you find them

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.48/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

650 mL bottle from the LCBO; best before Oct 28 2015, listed at an even 10.0% and served barely chilled.

Pours jet black, generating two fingers of frothy, beige-coloured head - great big bubbles, too; it looks like a slab of sponge toffee is floating on top of my beer. It seeps away slowly but surely over the next five minutes or so, resulting in a bubbly cap and collar taking its place, and depositing a doily pattern of sticky lacing. The aroma is quite rich, offering up sweet notes of treacle and toffee, in addition to a serious slam of roasted malts - lots of baker's chocolate and dark-roasted coffee, with vanilla, some charry, earthy notes, a bit of ethanol and a good whiff of licorice/anise. Dark, fruity notes of raisin and black cherry also begin to open up as the glass warms.

This is an excellent, prototypical strong stout with no major surprises. The flavour profile is decadently rich - heaps of toffee and molasses sweetness, along with big flavours of roasted barley, milk chocolate, cocoa and dark-roasted coffee beans. The hop profile seems quite sturdy, too, with hints of citrus and pine resin surfacing as you near the earthy, bitter finish, which holds plenty of herbal anise/licorice flavour. There's a noticeable dose of boozy sweetness in the aftertaste, as well as a lingering charry astringency. Full-bodied, with an oily, almost viscous feel on the palate - the carbonation levels are minimal, producing a stout of exceptional silky-smoothness. Very satisfying to sip; just a pleasurable beer all-around.

Final Grade: 4.48, an awesome A grade. I've been holding on to this bottle of Smuttynose Imperial Stout for a few months now, and the anticipation I felt toward opening it has now been completely validated. This is a fabulous imperial stout - I can think of no serious criticism to level here, because there just isn't anything of consequence that I can find wrong with it. Beautiful stuff - a must-try, in my opinion, and I'll definitely be trying to procure another bottle or two before the local stock runs dry.

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Photo of superspak
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter; bottled in 2/2015, 10.5%. Pours pitch black color with a 2 finger fairly dense dark brown head with solid retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toast, dark bread, molasses, raisin, cherry, licorice, grapefruit, citrus rind, pine, light smoke/char, and herbal/roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted/bready malt and moderate citrus/piney hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toast, dark bread, molasses, raisin, cherry, licorice, grapefruit, citrus rind, pine, light smoke/char, and herbal/roasted earthiness. Good amount of roast/char and piney bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toast, dark bread, molasses, raisin, cherry, licorice, grapefruit, citrus rind, pine, light smoke/char, and herbal/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity and robustness of big dark/roasted/bready malt and citrus/piney hop flavors; with a good roasted bitterness/sweetness and hop balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and fairly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice fresh Russian imperial stout style. All around great robustness, complexity, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and citrus/piney hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of kevinlater
2.91/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

bomber into snifter. 10.0% abv. the code on the bottle has faded but it looks like "10/28/2015". poured on april 9, 2015

a: pitch black with a fat finger of light brown head

s: rich chocolate and roasted malt dancing on top of a herbal-piney-spicy & somewhat grapefruity hop presence

t: follows the nose. the front-end consists of big rich chocolate, burnt malts, black coffee, and noticeable grapefruit. a really strong herbal hoppy flavour emerges afterward -- too strong. ends with charred wood notes, lingering herbs & grapefruit, and a moderate bitterness. slight alcohol taste. the hops dominate as the beer warms, which i don't like

m: thick & full mouthfeel, mild carbonation

o: i prefer my stouts to be nearly hop-less. should've aged this. i think i'm going to stay away from hoppy stouts and black IPAs now

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Photo of dmgeng
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I haven't been all that impressed by Smuttynose overall but I figured I would give their RIS a shot.

A - Dark brown color that settles to black with a plume of extremely coarse brown head that fades quickly with no lacing.

S - Roasty aroma with chocolate and coffee secondary. There is an herbal hop character that is stronger than many RIS's but seems to slightly detract from the base stout. More of the roasted character than anything else but still enough stout and hops to skew the aroma.

T - Very similar to the smell; has the roastiness from the smell first but closely accompanied by the herbal hops, dark chocolate, raisin, malt, and coffee tones. Not too much of any one flavor and is pretty balanced between bitter and sweet but there is an herbal hops character and alcohol that stays on the back of the palate.

M - Moderate to high mouth-feel. Moderate to low carbonation. With the head coming and going there is still plenty of body and the flavors tend to linger but with the hops, alcohol, and dry roasted character it is trying to be balanced and manageable.

Overall, this is a good imperial stout. This is a RIS on the herbal hoppy side with sweet malt on the front, herbal hops in the middle, and roasted bitterness on the back. I did like it but I would never buy it again just because of the focus on the bitter aspects instead of fostering the sweeter and fuller flavors like chocolate, coffee, and malt. I would recommend it if you are just moving up from Guinness to RIS's because this has the hops and body increase without the overpowering richness that is the Ten Fidy.

Glass- Snifter

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Photo of alienlifeforcecube
3.89/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

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Photo of BeerWatcher
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

An opaque, muddy body is crowned by a beautiful mocha head leaving the mug awash in picturesque lacing. The aromas are of cocoa nibs, dark chocolate, and a definite sting of black coffee. Nice, slightly sticky mouthfeel, with a definite swing towards bitter coffee grounds on the taste, rather than the chocolate of some other stouts I’ve experienced. I give it a slight ding, for a mild, hard to detect metallic finish, but it is there and keeping this one from scoring a 9. Would I drink it again? You know it.

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Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 694 ratings.