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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)

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

1,024 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,024
Reviews: 662
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.27%
Wants: 121
Gots: 104 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.80% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
2007 - 10.0%
2009 - 8.9%
2010 - 9.8%
2014 - 9.4%

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 05-05-1998)
View: Beers (55) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,024 | Reviews: 662 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An excellent RIS, with a good thickness in mouthfeel, black body and substantial head. Aroma coffee-chocolate, with C-hop. Aged about a year so mellowness therefore the hops make their presence but do not detract from the drinking experience. Nicely malted chocolate, with roast also in the secondary. Maybe not the best RIS ever, but damn good and will have again.

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I would classify this more as a regular stout or maybe a double stout before I would call it a Russian Imperial Stout. It was very dry and roasty and usually the RIS beers have some sweet complexities to them. Anyway,

The beer pours very black with no light shining through. The head is dark brown and lingers for a bit. Moderate lacing.

The aroma is heavy on the roasted flavors and the coffee. Some hop bitterness is noticeable in the nose which I found odd considering the style.

The taste is highly roasted with some coffee. Plenty of hop bitterness, probably 85-90 IBUS. Not much complexity here but a good enjoyable stout regardless. Alcohol is well hidden.

Body is medium/heavy. It may be thinned out a bit by the high ABV.

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to mjtiernan for sending me this one!

2011 vintage.

Pours an opaque black with a 1 inch dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on the top of the beer. A nice latticework of lace forms on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, and citrus zest/herbal hops. I am also getting some cinnamon aromas as the beer warms. Taste is of dark roasted malt, dark cocoa powder, roasted coffee beans, and a citrus zest hop kick on the finish. A mild roast/hop bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good RIS with a nice hop presence that I wasn't expecting.

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of metter98
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a thin tan head that quickly died down, leaving lacing on the surface and a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass. The head never completely faded away.
S: There are moderate aromas of roasted malts in the nose. The smell becomes stronger as the beer warms up.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and has some notes of coffee beans. A mild amount of bitterness is present; this is particularly evident in the finish, which also has some hints of alcohol.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and very dry on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. The dryness is especially strong in the finish, which also has a bit of warming from the alcohol.
O: The alcohol is relatively well masked from the taste, but the strong amount of dryness makes this a beer that needs to be slowly sipped.

Note: 2011 vintage

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of brentk56
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color with a tan head that drops to a ringlet but fails to leave much lace

Smell: Rich dark fruit, bittersweet chocolate and coffee dregs

Taste: Starts with a chocolate blast with a hint of black raspberry that grows increasingly mushroomy by mid-palate; after the swallow, the coffee flavors build and join the mushroom and chocolate flavors into the finish

Mouthfeel: Thick body with modest carbonation

Overall: I have had this a couple of times and find it very difficult to drink; by the end of the bottle, the mushroom flavors just get in the way of the enjoyment of this beer

Photo of BEERchitect
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

With its roasted viscosity, Smuttynose's Big Beer Series introduces an epic stout that harks back to the days of export of this fine elixir from Britain to Russia, except with a few American microbrewery twists.

Its dark austere foreshadows its impact on the palate as the upfront taste is heartily robust but supportively sweet as toffee sweetened espresso lays on the tongue while dark chocolate and burnt citrus fill the nose.

As its taste fattens on the tongue, its weight of molasses is both felt and tasted; dragging with it the strong chocolate-covered espresso bean flavor and with a spicy alcohol tone of brandy, cinnamon, aniseed and citrusy hop bitterness. Its high roast teases the palate with campfire notes and grilled fruits of cherry and berry.

Its long and somber finish is slowly fading as those lush malt flavors and velvety textures prefer to reward the palate deep into the next sip. Its exiting bitterness is partly of hops but partly of coffee, chicory and soil. Spicy with alcohol, its warm and almost-prickling once again harks to brandy.

Its a brilliant balance in a stout that ties together the extreme sensations of alcohol, fruit, spice and sweetness- built upon roasty stilts and relying on its own bigness to make it work. These brewers know how to build a big beer!

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Hogtownharry: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a medium foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of bitter roasted malt with some coffee notes is interesting. Taste is dominated by some roasted malt, which are quite bitter with some dry coffee notes. I thought the taste was a bit too dry generally and some sweetness to balance the dryness would have been good. Body is quite full with some good carbonation and no alcohol was discernable.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Darkest mahogany with meager reddish bronze accents at the edges. The cinnamon colored cap is exceptionally large, thanks to an aggressive pour, and isn't turning into beer all that quickly. I love the color contrast between beer and head. Unfortunately, it doesn't look as if much lace will be laid down... and it isn't.

Although Smuttynose Imperial Stout has a wonderful stout nose, it doesn't strike me as a Russian Imperial. Bittersweet chocolate dominates, with a helping hand from (subtle) fruity hops. It's a simple nose and a good one, but it lacks depth; especially for the style. I don't appreciate much coffee and no molasses or anise.

The beer is much more aggressive on the palate. The flavor profile follows the template laid down by the nose in that it lacks a certain degree of complexity. It's so bold, so flavorful and so delicious, however, that I don't mind a bit. All big beer doesn't need to be as complex as a Swiss watch.

There's a large, although not a massive, roasted maltiness that results in a flood of liquid fudge flowing over my taste buds. Chicory coffee and black licorice have now appeared and citrusy hops play a bigger role as well. The long finish is where the bitter grapefruit pith hoppiness truly shines. Amazing, since this bottle is more than one year old (2004 version).

The brewer's notes on the Smuttynose website doubted whether this beer needed much aging. I take that to mean they thought it wouldn't improve all that much. In any case, the hops are still going strong and the malt-hop balance is just about where I like it right now.

The mouthfeel is exceptional, even if it isn't as big or as viscous as some RISs (but then I've stopped thinking of this beer as a member of that style anyway). It has a wonderfully smooth, lightly chewy feel. I wouldn't change a thing even if given the chance. The ABV of the 2004 version is 8.0%, but I didn't notice the alcohol until it occurred to me to look for it.

Smuttynose Imperial Stout doesn't cleave that closely to the RIS style guidelines, but it is unquestionably excellent beer, style Nazis be damned. If you like your stouts chocolate dominant, citrus hoppy and bursting with flavor, look no further. Make mine a Smutty!

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%

Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much thanks goes out to Bill for sedning me down this one that I had been seeking out forever. Served at cellar temperture and poured into an oversized wine glass. This one was consumed 08/12/2008.

Poured a very nice, and almost complete pitch black. Thick looking with a nice opaque texture. Rich tan colored head of about two fingers in height then rose up and settled quickly, leaving only some token lace and a good bit of a broken crown around the top.

The aroma struck me immediatly as being a bit hot, so I was a bit on alert at this point on. Lots of roasted malts in the the profile, hints of dark bakers chocolate, bitter coffee grinds and a touch of vanilla. Carried over well into the flavor profile, with the dominant dark chocolate theme controlling the profile here. Rich with hints of vinous hops and a touch of coffee. Some light smoked taste in the back end, with a long lasting bitterness and a touch of alcohol in the finish. A little less then a full bodied stout, but with very good carbonation and a nice, well rounded profile. THis was a really sipper though as I took my time and it seemed to get much better as it warmed.

Overall not bad at all, though I have to admit, it needs a bit of time to come to its full protential. Really a bit too young to really appreciate fully. This was still a very solid effort, though not my favorite from them.

Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bomber purchased at Bullock's in Marietta, Georgia. Bottled In: 2009. So fresh!

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a head the color of café au lait.

Smell: Roasty, coffee-toned nose with bittersweet chocolate and particularly fragrant hop scents of bitterish pith and pine.

Taste: Roasty coffee flavor at the beginning with a touch of bittersweet chocolate and a bit of dark caramel. At this stage, the hops are rather assertive and deliver a heavy citrus taste and lesser hints of pine needles. Moderate bitterness. Both the roasty coffee flavor and citrusy pine resin vie for attention, but neither side really wins out. Finishes drying, roasty, and bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Relatively smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Good fresh, though I'd personally prefer to see it with a bit of age on it to temper those biting hops. Paired well with the CD "Some Are Lakes" by Land of Talk.

Photo of oberon
4.3/5  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 largadeer
2.83/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2008 bottle.

Appearance: Pitch black with a thin cap of tan foam and a few wisps of lace. Pretty typical for the style, which isn't a bad thing at all.

Smell: Sweet and roasty, with an emphasis on the sweet. Reminds me of a chocolate milkshake. Lemon-lime hops are present as well with a touch of alcohol, bringing to mind citrus infused vodka. A chocolate milkshake with citrus vodka isn't something I'd normally consider pleasant, but it's tolerable.

Taste: Dark chocolate, lemon marmalade, slightly burnt toast. A citrus hop smack appears in the finish, blending somewhat crudely with the alcohol. The combination of citrus and chocolate really doesn't work here. It's not awful, but it's not great.

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of zeff80
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a thick, jet black color with a small, foamy, light brown head. It left minimal traces of lace.

S - It smelled very sweet with notes of citrus and estery dried fruits. Some subtle floral notes, too.

T - It tasted of sweet roasted barley, caramel and some bitter, sharp grassy hops. It had hints of boozy alcohol flavors, too.

M - It was smooth, soft and a little creamy. A medium to full-bodied stout.

D - This is a great tasting imperial stout. Another outstanding offering from Smutty.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Black body with barely a ruby-mahogany highlight to be found. Tall, creamy, dark tan head. Retention is quite good. Moderate lacing.

Smell: A gust of yeasty fruit and citrusy/piney hops (Centennial?) greets you upfront, followed by some bittersweet chocolate and a very faint whiff of alcohol.

Taste: Although this may not be a complex beer, it IS rich! The citrusy/piney hop presence is there from the start, and then all the way through the very long finish. Alongside it, dark chocolate, caramel, softer cocoa, coffee, and a burnt (almost smoky) edge round it out. Yeasty fruitiness backs it up with a touch of summer berries; and a solid bitterness combines with a bit of dark-malt acidity to balance it remarkably well. It's hops and then dark sweet malt, before a quick teeter leaves it berry-like, citrusy and piney, and decidedly bitter in the woody/piney/earthy finish.

Mouthfeel: As might be expected, it's full bodied with a moderate carbonation that lends a gentle zest to the tongue before fading smoothly away.

Drinkability: Very, very nice! It reminds me of my recent trip to New Hampshire. (Oddly enough, I didn't get to try the beer there). I'd stumble out of the hunting lodge each morning with the scent of the oiled logs and damp pines beside me, and sit beside the remains of the previous night's fire enjoying a piece of burnt toast and a cup of dark coffee. The cool shade of the pine trees, and the dampness of the grass would sooth me, and I'd enjoy my breakfast while listening to the call of the loons on the lake - A bit verbose, but true! It's an excellent American take on an originally British style. Seek this one out! It may just be Smuttynose's best beer to date!

Photo of nickfl
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Big, light brown head of foam two fingers high. The body is opaque black with no light showing through. Good retention and excellent lace.

S - Distinct mix of hops and chocolate upfront. Coffee and caramel in the background with lots of rich toffee.

T - Very strong toffee and coffee up front. Lots of caramel in the middle, rich with a distinct espresso note and some fruity yeast that comes across as currants. The finish is dark with carbonized notes and a strong pine hop flavor, balanced by equal parts malt and hop bitterness.

M - Thick, oily body, medium carbonation, and a balanced finish.

D - Reasonably drinkable for a big stout. The intense hop character is an interesting twist on the style, but the darkness of the malt profile leaves no doubt that it is a stout rather than a barleywine.

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Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,024 ratings.