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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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683 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 683
Hads: 1,166
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.34%
Wants: 119
Gots: 138 | 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
Reviews: 683 | Hads: 1,166
Photo of jaasen64
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Another cellared beer purchased from Nikki's vintage room in Providence. 22oz bottle from 2009 (aged 5 years) poured into Lawson's tulip.

A- Pours an opaque dark black, about a quarter finger of light mocha head that recedes to a thin top leaving light wispy lacing, carbonation seems to be spot on despite the age.

S- Dark fruits, char, roast malts, oxidation that blends, very light dark cherries. Can tell this is picking up a little oxidation but still holding up quite nicely although has transformed from it's original self losing the hops and gaining dark fruit.

T- Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, dark fruits, light cherries, blended oxidation, slightly bitter, finishes very smooth oxidized chocolate. One of the best aged stouts I've had.

M- Nice carbonation, medium bodied, almost no booze, goes down smooth.

O- This is one of the most overlooked stouts out there, in my opinion this easily stands up with the best non-barrel-aged stouts on the market both fresh and aged. With age this has held up surprisingly well still retaining perfect carbonation and plenty of flavor. For picking this up for $8.50 was an absolute steal and I wish I purchased a few more. (1,187 characters)

Photo of Ri0
4.39/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle poured into snifter. Bottled early 2014.

A - Obsidian with a thin 1 finger brown head. Minimal retention and a thin ring clings to the glass. Some fat swaths of lacing.

S - I pick up big roasty malts and dark fruit. Bitter chocolate, caramel, toffee provide a nice sweetness. There are also notes of bitter hops.

T - Wow, the taste is fantastic! Bold bitter chocolate, dark fruit, more bitter coffee and some woodiness. The middle finds the sweetness of caramel and toffee, maybe some semi sweet chocolate. The finish is bold and has some bitterness from the hops.

M - Creamy, rich and smooth with thick body. Carbonation is low but very nice for this style.

O - Great RIS and it reminds me of Yeti, FIS, and TenFidy. Maybe a touch more sweetness compared to those. (784 characters)

Photo of tobelerone
4.06/5  rDev 0%

Lovely bargain bomber. Comes in under seven bucks, packs an appropriately weighty body with moderate carbonation, slight stickiness. Looks the part. Decent aromatics, good flavor, has a medium-high level of roast and piney hops that are countered by medium sweetness, nicely balanced.

This isn't a life changing world beating revelation but it's a sturdy and affordable imperial stout and one of the better offerings by this brewery in my opinion. Particularly enjoyed the full bodied aspect of this beer, something that seems to get lost a lot in this style at lower price points. (582 characters)

Photo of Brutaltruth
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

2011 vintage from bomber bottle. NICE!

One of my favorite imperial stouts. Pours a thick intense black with sold tan head that dies
down to a thin pooling layer of foam and great clinging lacing. Nose of bakers chocolate, DARK
roasted coffee, and booze. Taste is up front chocolate, slicking the way for waves of coffee and
black licorice and a dash of bittering hops for good measures. Most excellent warming on the
aftertaste with a thick coating like quality to the mouthfeel. Light carbonation and great flavor
makes this a stout drinkers go to for rich indulgence. Earthy and meaty it is a meal in a bottle.

CHEERS! (630 characters)

Photo of AgentMunky
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a tulip. Vintage 2014.

A: Black. Light dark head. Good lace.

S: Incredibly rich. Enormous licorice. Little hot for the ABV.

T/M: Remarkably tasty, but more much moderated than the intense nose suggested. More than a hint of carbonation with edges of bitterness before the fruity main body. Aftertaste is light and clean.

O: good, but not exceptional. Drinkable and tasty; would have again. (432 characters)

Photo of Mitchster
3.37/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

2014. 9.4% ABV. Pours out to a clear very dark walnut, almost black, forming a light cocoa powder colored head with good retention and adequate lacing. The nose is of herbal hops, black walnut, soy sauce, distant burnt marshmallow. The mouthfeel is oddly tart with a dense body. The taste is a recap of the aroma. The hops are a little stronger than most imperial stouts, and well, this is a young beer, so that's not coincidental. The taste has a slightly sooty and tarry note to it, which is nice. The hops adds a peculiar tartness and sourness. I sometimes get this sourness wend there is a high percentage of roasted malts. Definitely lots of roasted malt taste, like french press coffee. A touch of molasses towards the finish.

This is a decent RIS, however the sourness, bitterness, green herbal hoppiness just don't sit well. Perhaps with some aging this might mellow out, but I think RIS should be brewed with all these things in mind, in order to be drank now. I'd definitely pass on buying it again. Maybe much better RIS's out there. (1,045 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
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! (1,301 characters)

Photo of dpgoblejr
4.75/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On Tap at the Thirsty Moose Taphouse in Portsmouth NH.

Very dark-brown to mostly black looking stout. Moderate head, decent for a stout, and very slight lacing. Hints of chocolate, smoke, and dark fruits in the aroma. Tastes absolutely amazing with a sort of cherry-chocolate sweetness dominating my taste buds. Smooth, nice bodied beer that is a like a drinkable dessert. Awesome stout and my favorite brew by Smuttynose to date. Highly recommended must try here!

Feb 2015 Update..
220z bomber dated Feb2015 poured into a snifter. Black in color with a oil-slick like viscosity as a small mocha head retreats to a ring around the edge. Lacing is evident as the coffee aroma dominates with each sip. Chocolate, dark fruits, and licorice are there too. Taste is made up of chocolate, licorice, dark fruits, and coffee being the most pronounced. Lighly carbonated, thick and smooth, and extremely drinkable. Earthy hops finish off the palate with a slightly dry bitterness that helps to complete this beauty of an Imperial Stout. The sweetness I remember is not as noticeable to me but there's nothing wrong with that! Love my Smutty! (1,142 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
4.16/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Called an Imperial Stout for a reason this poured with a most regal complexion of thick black darkness. The head was a thick crown of Brown dense foam that was thick enough to support the bottle cap.

The nose is full of cocoa powder, light char, marshmallow sweetness, Graham cracker and chocolate malt.

The flavor holds more chocolatey properties with a powder and milk chocolate taste. Light char or roast mixes with a malty Graham cracker before the marshmallow sweetness finishes.

The feel is thick and full but there is significant warmth and alcohol tang.

This is part of the "Big Beer Series" and this is a Big Beer! (627 characters)

Photo of Treyliff
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage, poured into a snifter

A- pours thick and pitch black with a small and creamy dark tan head, good retention and lacing left behind

S- big roasty malt with some smoky notes, bitter dark chocolate, dark fruit and fig

T- chocolate malt gives flavors of bitter-sweet dark chocolate and fig, smoky campfire and charcoal notes give it a nice roasted flavor, slightly sweet finish with more chocolate and a hint of coffee

M- thick and creamy body with moderate carbonation, smooth and silky mouthfeel with just a bit of warmth on the finish

O- nothing fancy here, just a really good classic Russian Imperial Stout. Definitely worth a try (648 characters)

Photo of facundoCNB
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A thick brown / black pour with 2 fingers of slowly dissipating tan head, nice thick lacing left behind. Smells roasty, sweet milk chocolate, coffee, nutty, a bit of licorice.
The flavor is very roasty, slightly hoppy, dark grain bill, charred oak, black coffee.. Very bitter.
Full body, low carbonation.
An excellent contender with the big boys. For something not barrel aged, it's tastier than dark lord and darkness (though I prefer bitter stouts).. (453 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a snifter, the beer pours an oily, jet black coloring with a thin, low profile, light brown head. Aromas of cocoa nibs, molasses, coffee, roasted notes, wood, and earth. Heavy, but never overpowering, and the nose remains balanced throughout. Flavors are heavily roasted forward, with a blast of bitter, dark roasted coffee, bitter baker's chocolate highlights, and some woody and earthy highlights. Initially robust in mouth, but transitions to a slick, light feel by the end of the palate. Roasted, rich coffee aftertaste, with campfire smoke highlights, and a slick, slightly bitter, lingering finish. Solid, rugged stout. (651 characters)

Photo of barczar
4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque, motor oil black with a creamy, dense chocolate head that lingers.

Cocoa, roast malt, tar, soy, and coffee form the aroma. Slightly sweet notes emerge. Tar really dominates. There's a slight hint of dark fruit.

Flavor is dominated by chocolate, becoming roasty in the finish, and slightly charred. A bit boozy, with muddled dark fruit underlying the roast malt backbone. The dark fruits linger, countering the bitter finish nicely.

Body is somewhat light, with minimal carbonation and noted alcohol warmth.

Would love to revisit this after aging a while. Fairly complex, but the roast dominates now. Those underlying notes may become more pronounced in a few years. (685 characters)

Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2014 bottle opened 03/26/14.

Pours an impenetrable black with a fleeting head of dark brown cream and just a hint of lacing; looks thick. The nose runs deep with warm stout character – rich, bittersweet fudge, mocha, cake batter, and a surprising amount of booze – and the palate follows suit. Tastes like gooey brownie batter laced with notes of crispy pie crust, vanilla, and ashy roasts, with a touch of dark fruit. Very satisfying. In contrast, the carbonation is pretty fizzy, and there’s a dry, flowery hop bitterness that ends up pretty significant as it winds down; in the end, it leaves this more crisp than I expected. Definitely one to seek out. (663 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.24/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a borderline pitch black color. The head is a two finger tan shade with excellent retention. Seriously, I've let it sit for about two minutes and it's only gone down half a finger. It also has a thick texture similar to whipped cream, but also has rather large bubbles as well. Splotchy lacing is left down the glass.

S: True to style, there's a lot going on within the nose. There are distant hints of fudgy chocolate, some floral hops, licorice, roasted malts, aniseed, and alcohol. Maybe it's a bit too boozy for 9.4% - then again, I'm so used to many imperial stouts hiding its alcohol well. Of course, letting it warm up will reduce the boozy bite somewhat. I really enjoy the aroma's complexity regardless.

T: Okay, this has a large amount of licorice to start. The finish is well-attenuated, with tart fruits, roast...and booze. A surprising amount for 9.4%. Some chocolaty hints appear in places. Unfortunately, this isn't my favorite profile for an imperial stout - and even worse, it's too lacking in complexity.

M: I enjoy how creamy and full-bodied this is. Despite all of the alcohol, it loafs around on the palate more than it should. The sharp carbonation and alcohol doesn't dry it out enough.

O: This one is too young. Plain and simple. A couple of years will make it great - I have no doubt of that. But right now, it's too simplistic and too boozy. I'll buy this again, but only to age a bottle for a few years. Since I'm a firm believer that a beer should be ready as soon as its released, this scores average to me. (1,582 characters)

Photo of bnes09
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black and completely opaque. Rich cinnamon colored head retains very well. Patchy, cascading lacing.

Roasted espresso and spicy herbal, earthy aroma.

Burnt toffee, espresso, baking chocolate. Highly roasted overall. Well balanced maple and brown sugar sweetness with hints of black licorice. Aggressive earthy hop yet in good proportion. Dry, satisfying finish.

Full bodied. Dry on the palate. Plenty of malty, grainy texture

Everything an imperial stout should be. Great complexity and balanced with all the flavors you crave. Exceptional! (554 characters)

Photo of CloudStrife
3.96/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2014

A: Pours a very dark brown appearing black in the glass with a large khaki head on top. Nice lacing on the sides of the glass after the head dissipates.

S: Big roasty malts up front let you know this stout is serious. A blend of chocolate and smokiness also come across. Some dark fruits in there too. A bit of alcohol on the backend.

T: As with the aroma a there is a strong roasted malt character right off the bat. A bitter chocolate adds some sweetness. A mix of dark fruit and molasses bring up the rear.

M: Medium to full body with a smooth creamy mouthfeel. Moderate to low carbonation. A tad hot from the alcohol reminding you to sip and enjoy this one.

Overall this beer is very true to the style and a very enjoyable beer to enjoy. Might benefit from some time in a cellar to round out the alcohol bite. (863 characters)

Photo of joeseppy
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours extremely dark brown/black. Generous mocha head with the consistency of shaving cream.

Aroma of brownie batter, vanilla, sweet malt and light roast coffee.

Bakers cocoa bitterness. More sweet malt balance and a light roast coffee. Basically taste follows the nose. Noticeable alcohol and char mix on the back end, nothing obtrusive.

Heavier body, smooth and creamy.

Very nice example of an RIS. Again a fairly priced product that makes this an easy choice among many fine comparisons. Speaking of which, this reminds me of SN's Narwhal-one of my favorites. But today I say-Make mine a Smutty! (608 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of the best non-BA imperial stouts on the market. Purchased from Nathaniel Square Corner store for 6.99, shared with stillmatic2232.

Pours a very dark black into a tulip. Basically opaque. Smells like roast, cocoa, a tiny bit of alcohol, and some piney hops.

Tastes incredible. Intense roastiness mixes with a surprising amount of hoppiness. One of the hoppier RIS's I've had. Hops run along the citrus zest and pine needle bent. Plays off the roastiness very well. Lots of creamy dark chocolate in there too. Bit of coffee bitterness as well.

Incredible, thick mouthfeel. Coats your mouth nicely. Goes down smoothly.

Loved this one. Great price, too. (659 characters)

Photo of morebeergood
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had a 2011 and 2010 vintage last night. Both looked great in the glass. Both smelled fantastic. Mouthfeel was creamy and luscious. The 2010 beat the 2011 in one category - taste. The '11 had a hit of booze still in it, while the '10 was totally smoothed out, and all you could taste was chocolate goodness. Great beer when fresh, but with 3-4 years in the cellar, this Imperial Stout aged quite well. (400 characters)

Photo of Rhf9120
4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this at a tasting last night. I had the privilege of trying both the 2013 vintage and also as a special treat the 2008 vintage. The difference was absolute. The 2013 vintage was good with everything that you would expect from a great imperial stout. The 2008 vintage was just amazing, the aroma and the taste of the beer completely changed. The 2013 vintage has a much more bitter flavor profile and the alcohol was much more present. The 2008 vintage had very little alcohol flavoring so the true flavors of the beer really opened. The roasted malts dark fruits and hints of vanilla were just perfect. Both vintages were great and I would definitely recommend this beer. (677 characters)

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a New Belgium globe.

A: Opal black with a light brown head. Retention is great. Lacing is comprised of tightly concentrated spots.

S: Heavy roast, ash, and some smoke. Charred coffee beans. Earthy and piney hops. Underlying whiffs of vanilla bean and dark fudge sauce, and bitter dark chocolate. Molasses. Fleeting bruised plum and currant esters.

T: Semi sweet dark chocolate turns into bitter dark chocolate. Quick hint of vanilla bean. Roasted barley. Plenty of woody char. Earthy and piney hops wield an aggressive spicy and oily bitterness. Plum and black currant esters roll through. Black cocoa powder. Drying finish of burnt coffee, bitter dark chocolate, and piney hops.

M: Big and thick in body. Full with a slick but firm smoothness that rolls over the tongue. Low carbonation.

O: An edgy beer all around. There's a lot of bitterness going on between the hops and the roasted malts. A good amount of charred flavor too. This will put some hair on your chest. Like Smutty's robust porter, this could be a good pairing with the right cigar. Unfortunately I don't know enough about cigars to offer a suggestion. I only smoke them a few times a year. I would bet that this has some great extended aging potential too. Probably tastes great around that 3-5 year mark, maybe longer. They sell vintage bottles at the brewery if you aren't the patient sort. (1,391 characters)

Photo of BB1313
4.14/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage. 22oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours jet black with a small tan head that doesn't leave much lacing or retention, but nice color. The aromas are full of chocolate malts. There's hints of orange peel along with the slightest amount of citrus. Some cherry aromas in the mix as well. The flavors have a solid hop presence to it. Tons of dark chocolate giving it a subtle bitterness. There's hints of vanilla. Some dark fruits in the mix. Some black pepper, giving it a subtle spiciness. I throw the word "subtle" around alot, but this is an extremely rich and robust stout. There's a subtle warming, but it's clearly not hot or boozy, far from it. Mouthfeel is great. It's full-bodied and silky with moderate carbonation. Very smooth and easy drinking.

I always felt this was a very good example of the style. It's well executed and there's not much to complain about. It's a very good example of what Smuttynose is capable of and it's one of my favorites from the brewery. It's a fun beer. Recommended. (1,017 characters)

Photo of MarvinSnyder
4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed notes from 10/28/13. A pint bottle poured into a snifter glass. 2009 batch.

Appearance: Pours an opaque dark chocolate with a small tan head. Spotty lacing hangs on the glass.

Smell: Alcohol, anise, chocolate, dark fruit, vanilla, and bready malt on the nose. A complex rummy aroma.

Taste: Same as the nose, with rich chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and dark fruit( think cherry) characteristics. Very sweet in the finish. The alcohol is hidden well in the taste.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Very smooth over the palate.

Overall: A satisfyingly indulgent, desert-like beer. It paired nicely with cheese and a venison burger. Maybe just a little too sweet to be overly quaffable. More akin to a port wine. (717 characters)

Photo of jmdrpi
4.34/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

March 2011 bottling, 22 oz bottle

black as ink. thin dark tan head that fades fast. like motor oil. smells of dark char, a hint of smoke, bitter cocoa. similar tastes, very smooth yet complex flavors. dry, slightly bitter and acidic. long finish. slick, thick body, low carbonation.

overall a quality big and bold imperial stout. (332 characters)

Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 683 ratings.