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

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

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899 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 899
Reviews: 649
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.51%

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)
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Ratings: 899 | Reviews: 649 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2007 02:50:31 | More by Sammy
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2011 04:14:49 | More by UCLABrewN84
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!

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2005 22:26:33 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2008 01:19:26 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

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

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2006 02:53:11 | More by brentk56
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2007 20:12:04 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of metter98

New York

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

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2011 03:13:28 | More by metter98
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2009 05:27:20 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

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.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2006 01:25:02 | More by oberon
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!

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2006 01:14:37 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep dark color, full-on blackness, good, toasty tan froth atop.
Aroma is wickedly twisted, rich and darkly delicious, full of anise, espresso, and more, roasty and redolent with all things dark and deadly.
Taste repeats all these things and more, thick and roasty, huge and at-large in the mouth.
A nearly perfect by-the-numbers Imperial Stout, and the numbers are spot-on, though, make no mistake! Yum, I'm saying, as the booze swills around me..yum, I says, and it's a delightful feeling, indeed. A top-notch example of the IS style...can't see a thing wrong with it. Smuttynose did it right, like they always do!
Fullest body, long, infinitely long finish, in a word, wow, no, actually, "yummy, McYumerSon's" will do quite nicely, don't you think?

Thanks again, to the ªth Bierman for this one!

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2004 09:28:01 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer pours a deep, dark, blackish brown color with a short brown head that fades slowly and leave a little bit of lace on the glass.

S: The smell is robust with chocolate and roasted malt, with a significantly stronger hops presence than other beers that I’ve had in this style. There’s also a hint of berry & raisin in the background.

T: Very strong flavor of dark chocolate dominates the taste and blends very nicely into the hops flavor, while a smokiness remains in the background, then it leaves you with the alcohol warmth.

M: Very smooth, with a crispness that you wouldn’t expect, full-bodied, light carbonation, a little bit of stickiness in the finish.

D: This one is definitely a sipper and not a pounder, but it goes down very easy. I could go with it for a whole night but I would stretch out a bomber or two to last the whole night. This is a very, very good beer. What struck me most about it is that it has more of a hops character than other RIS’s that I’ve had, which was a pleasant surprise.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2006 05:00:34 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of russpowell


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

Got this from either beeronthebrain or unholy2, cheers to both & boo to my cellar organization skills. Review based on notes from the other night

Pours mahogany black with 3+ fingers of brown/mocha head. Very good lacing & average head retention

S: Oaky notes, big boozeyness, vanilla that fades after a while. Dark fruittyness persists throughout

T: Chocolate, vanilla, oaky dryness, & roasty malt up front. Rich chocolate, dark fruit & some licorice as this warms. Finishes dry with chocolate & raisins, almost pulled a 5.0

MF: Oily, medium bodied, a little chalky & low carbonation

Drink great for the ABV & style, but a touch too dry to attempt to session on

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2008 03:40:34 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes

New York

4.55/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a thick frothy brown head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is awesome. It has an intensely bitter black malt and hops scent that is just to die for. It's rich and warm with a nice coffee-like roasted character. The taste is great as well. It has a nice black and crystal malt flavor that is rich up front and warm in the finish. Again, the hop character is tremendous. It cuts through the blackness and really stands out. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. I've been waiting to get my hands on this beer for quite some time. It was definately worth the wait; maybe the best RIS I've ever had.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2008 21:28:22 | More by WesWes
Photo of Mora2000


4/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2010 18:04:39 | More by Mora2000
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2009 15:13:23 | More by zeff80
Photo of jwc215


3.38/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured nearly black with a thin tan head. It left some broken lacing down the side of the glass.

The smell of pine and fruit quickly emerge through the chocolate and slight hints of coffee.

Unlike the smell, thick malty chocolate dominates the flavor. A touch of dark fruits is present. Pine is noticeable, but more in the aftertaste. Alcohol notes emerge with each sip.

It is very sweet, even for the style. With each sip, I almost felt as if I had eaten too much chocolate. Except for the occasional pine/hops, I would have thought it to be a chocolate stout.

Overall, it's not bad but too sticky and sweet, even for the style. It does have a certain smoothness, but average drinkability for the style.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2006 02:09:38 | More by jwc215
Photo of RblWthACoz


4.8/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours pitch black with a lasting dark tan head. Rich malts on the nose. Flavor is extremely robust with heavy malts. Thick coffee grinds there as well. The aftertaste really lasts on this one. Feel is thick on the liquid and good with the carbonation. I seem to recall Kai at the Wine Gallery in Boston telling me I really needed to try this on tap. Well thank you Kai. This beer is tasty!

Serving type: on-tap

12-31-2007 06:19:35 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of WVbeergeek


4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2004 21:38:38 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black in color with a thick 2" tan head. The aroma is of strong chocolate and roasted malts. Very pleasant indeed. The flavor is a nice balance of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and raisin, with a minor tone of licorice and toffee. The alcohol levels were very light and just added the right flavor to the mix.

The mouthfeel was smooth and slightly creamy at the start with a long mildly dry and partially crispy finish, where most of the flavor components rode the tongue for a while. A great brew and easily drinkable with the flavor and toned-back alcohol levels.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2004 19:13:59 | More by Gavage
Photo of smcolw


3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Generous lace after each sip. Tan head that settles a little flat. Near black color where no line shines through.

Chocolate malt aromas with a generous level of hop for the style. Vanilla and cream notes.

Notable high-alcohol feel to this in the initial sip. This is quickly overwhelmed by a bitterness from burnt malt and a strong hop finish. Thin body for the style and the carbonation is slightly high.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2009 00:21:25 | More by smcolw
Photo of barleywinefiend


3.63/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a jet black with good carbonation, thick pour and brown head. Nose is big and roasted with bitter chocolate. Taste has a funky light but noticable sour tinge to it. Dark fruits, bitter chocolate. Mouthfeel is hefty, thick and sordove acidic. Drinkability is above average overall.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2009 00:52:12 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of tempest


4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Heck of a beer. Sure there are better RIS's, but this was damn tasty and only $5 a bomber. Standard RIS appearance, pitch black with a tan head and good enough retention. Smelled of hardcore espresso, tasted of coffee, espresso, some creamy chocolate, with a little fruit and hops in the mix. Pretty drinkable for a thick 10% beer. I'd buy it again.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2006 06:00:35 | More by tempest
Photo of mdfb79

New York

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

From 11/27/10 notes. My brother brought back a growler of this from The Ginger Man in NYC on 11/26/10, poured into a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark black color with one inch of tan head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits, a little alcohol, and smokey, toasted malts.

t - Tastes of bitter chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, dark fruits, and alcohol. Maybe a little smoke as well.

m - Full body and low carbonation. Pretty smooth, a little bit bitter.

d - I thought this was a pretty good RIS. While a little bitter and not my favorite, it is still a very good imperial stout. Lots of nice chocolate and dark fruits in the smell and taste. Would certainly have this one again.

Serving type: growler

11-30-2010 23:32:45 | More by mdfb79
Photo of akorsak


4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a 650 mL bottle of Smuttynose's Imperial Stout served in a Three Philosophers chalice (whose base I chipped this week, dammit). The ale is near room temp as the hotel fridge is not a top-of-the-line model.

Appearance: The ale is a pitch black color with a slightly mocha colored ring of head. The beer does not lace but the attenuation in the glass has created a very nice design on top of the beer.

Smell: The roasted malts shine here. I also find a deep vinous aroma in the beer.

Taste: The beer is big and strong, no doubt about it. The roasted malts are the first thing to grab you, providing a chocolatey sensation. That is followed by alcohol and a hint of hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: The confluence of flavors is nice, although some of the flavors are thinner than others. The hop bitterness is far and away the longest lasting flavor.

Drinkability: The beer is too strong to be a quaffer but the flavors are strong, so give a bomber a chance.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2006 00:30:04 | More by akorsak
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Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 899 ratings.