Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

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.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

683 Reviews
THE BROS
85
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 683
Hads: 1,165
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.34%
Wants: 119
Gots: 137 | 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: 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
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 683 | Hads: 1,165
Photo of ilikebeer03
3.84/5  rDev -5.4%
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. (712 characters)

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
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. (320 characters)

Photo of OrangeMen
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
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. (1,080 characters)

Photo of bgold86
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
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. (305 characters)

Photo of CNoj012
4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
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. (382 characters)

Photo of CantankerousCaveBear
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
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. (1,659 characters)

Photo of GormBrewhouse
4.94/5  rDev +21.7%
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 (176 characters)

Photo of MattyG85
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
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. (1,182 characters)

Photo of ohiobeer29
4/5  rDev -1.5%
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 (230 characters)

Photo of thehyperduck
4.48/5  rDev +10.3%
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. (2,061 characters)

Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | 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. (1,713 characters)

Photo of kevinlater
2.91/5  rDev -28.3%
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 (828 characters)

Photo of dmgeng
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
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 (1,618 characters)

Photo of alienlifeforcecube
3.89/5  rDev -4.2%
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. (317 characters)

Photo of BeerWatcher
3.96/5  rDev -2.5%
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. (514 characters)

Photo of Mantooth
3.34/5  rDev -17.7%
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. (369 characters)

Photo of fscottkey
3.54/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: [5.00] Looks wonderful in the glass. Perfect stout pour. It has a dark black beer with 2+ fingers of dense khaki colored head. The bubbles are all uniform and have staying power. I think I could set a quarter on top and it would not sink in. The bottle lists the ABV 9.4%) and the born on year (bottle conditioned in 2014).

S: [3.50] The nose is dark fruit and a bourbon scent.

T: [3.50] The taste introduces more pronounced chocolate notes and roasted malts. As it warms I start to get malt sweetness on the finish.

M: [3.25] There is a slight dry feel to the beer that may be due to the higher ABV. This takes away a little from the smooth and creamy feel.

O: [3.50] This is really tasty beer. It looks amazing in the glass. The nose was a bit misleading for me (it had a great scent but it was different than the taste). The taste is roasty malts and chocolate. The alcohol is present and can be tasted - but isn't detracting on the taste. The alcohol gives a bit of a dry finish. Overall this is a good beer. I think I would prefer to go with a Smuttynose Robust porter which has kick butt flavor at a much lower price and ABV. (1,156 characters)

Photo of CHickman
4.16/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled Feb. 2015 with 10.5% ABV listed. Pours pitch black color as expected, with a 1 finger tan/khaki head that faded and left minimal spotty lacing.

Smells very sweet like toffee, caramel, brown sugar, coffee with a lot of half and half in it, roasted grains, charred wood like a campfire, piney hops and some citrus fruit. No sign of the alcohol and the hops tend to sneak through often for some fruity sweetness. The coffee and caramel are most dominant, but the citrus and cocoa add fine aspects to this brew.

Tastes of rich burnt coffee, molasses, toffee, coffee grinds, maple syrup, hot fudge, caramel, burnt wood, smoked grains, cocoa powder, fresh piney hops, mild spices like pepper, burnt brownie crust and a hint of vanilla. The coffee and chocolate are espresso-like and the finish turns more hoppy with some grapefruit and citrus hops that bring on mild bitterness and lemon zest. I wanted to drink this fresh and it's damn tasty, very smooth and hides the ABV completely. Reminds me of Black Bear Stout.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, with a thin feel but yet some texture to it so its not too thin and watery; chewy and medium bodied, the bitterness does not outshine the sweetness which is all malt with really nice combo of coffee, chocolate and roasted malt with just enough citrus and piney hops to balance it out and help it flow down smooth.

I imagine this would get better with age, but the hops were such a great part of the complexity that I'm glad I drank this fresh. Overall a solid beer that I will seek out again. (1,545 characters)

Photo of peensteen
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Jet black with a ring of tan head, substantial lace on the glass. Smell is very hoppy, pine and citrus are front and centre before getting into the roasted malt, lightly burnt and anise notes, bits of chocolate and coffee as well. Taste is also fairly hop forward, good dose of chocolate and smoke, coffee and roast toward the finish, medium bitterness throughout, a fairly seemless mix of hops, roast and chocoaltey/coffee/smokey flavours, little to complain about here. Lightly carbonated, medium full creamy body. Really good stuff here, probably best to drink this fresh to get the most out of the hops in this one, very easy to drink imperial stout. (654 characters)

Photo of Cramshawbar
3/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A robust stout that is worth a try. A bit coffee heavy but some like it that way. I wish I could be one of those people. Those who enjoy this style will like it though! (168 characters)

Photo of DaveBar
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at the LCBO for around $8.00 for a 650ml bottle. Served at 7deg C in a tulip

A- Opens well and pours a miniscule head that is gone in seconds. Very dark almost black appearance

S- Lots of chocolate and coffee. Lots of heat though. Touch metallic.

T- Very rich chocolate overtones. Touch hot.

M- Very creamy and nice and thick.

O- Not a bad one. Have had better and will enjoy the second one I bought some time down the road

Food Pairing

This pretty good little stout went well with..... Grilled cheese sandwich with onion

Enjoy (548 characters)

Photo of DenisKolkin
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

650 ml bomber purchased from LCBO for about $9 CDN. Good to see some more American craft beer up here in Canada. Served cool into a pint glass. Advertised as 10.0% ABV with a best before date of October 28, 2015.

Appearance - Pours dark cola brown from the glass. However, once it accumulates gives the appearance of being black. Nice finger or so of brown head rests on top and isn't going anywhere. Dark and ominous, I like my big stouts this way.

Smell - Surprisingly modest nose, there's some roasted coffee and a nice licorice undertone, but it actually smells a bit boozy and dangerous from the first whiff.

Taste - Starts with coffee and a rush of bitterness with a little more than average hop presence making itself apparent. Boozy, but not too much so then finishes with some licorice before moving to a dry roasty coffee finish.

Mouthfeel -Silky smooth, oily and a bit chewy at the same time. One of the thickest tasting beers I've ever had and exactly what I'm looking for in a big stout. Absolutely great feel.

Overall - The huge warmth in the back of my throat makes this a perfect sipping beer while a snowstorm rages on outside. A well crafted and incredibly smooth and full bodied stout, the aromas and flavors are really anything earth shattering, but executed with precision. Would consider picking up a second bottle of this before it leaves local LCBO's for at least another year. (1,409 characters)

Photo of brewskifan55
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tulip glass. 4 months in the beer closet.

A: Black with a half-finger mocha head that dissipates to foam. Spotty lacing.

S: Chocolate, anise, leather.

T: Chocolate comes on smooth and sweet. Sultry, decadent, robust. A bit of anise and licorice follow. A terrific finish. The 10% slides in with a mellowing haze. Sip and be awed.

M: Medium to heavy with medium to heavy carbonation. Chewy.

O: A bargain at $6.50 a bomber at Hop City, Atlanta. Goes so well with a slice of Hershey chocolate pie with almonds (a taste bud orgasm). (563 characters)

Photo of Immortale25
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Haw River Farmhouse Ales teku glass. Notch on bottle says 2014.

A- Pours a fully opaque black color with a 1/2 inch dark tan head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and some random patterns of wispy surface foam. Resilient, drippy lacing leaves small clots behind.

S- Sweet, very roasty aroma brings notes of molasses, a bit of char and even a hint of oak. There's an even distribution of alcohol, milk chocolate, hops and vanilla.

T- The roast sets in and the attention soon turns to the hops which are quite prevalent and accentuates the overall heavy characteristic of the malt and booze. Still, it's pretty drinkable due to the chocolate, vanilla and char combining to make a multi-dimensional flavor profile. Becomes even more decadent as it warms.

M- Creamy and slick with medium carbonation and a full body.

O- Never knew about this offering from Smuttynose (I'm guessing because it hasn't been made since 2010). So glad I found it. Delish. (1,014 characters)

Photo of barnzy78
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, 2014 release, 9.4%. Nice to see this one come back after a hiatus.
A 4.75 - towering light brown head caps a black colored ale, excellent head retention with thick lacing as it fades
S 3.5 - roasted barley, dark chocolate, fruity esters and booze as it warms, but not too much of a nose
T 4.5 - heavy roasted barley and dark chocolate, dark fruits seep through with the booziness, some burnt caramel and bread crust, piny hops are pungent on the bitter finish
M 4.75 - thick and full bodied, very creamy with hop oils coating the palate
O 4.5 - I love everything this brewery does, and this is no exception - stellar Russian Imperial Stout with a fair price for a bomber. (684 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 683 ratings.