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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)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

903 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 903
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)
View: Beers (51) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) Alström Bros
Ratings: 903 | Reviews: 649 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of sprucetip


3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looks like an RIS, black, thin mocha head, not much retention, no lacing. Nothing sets it apart from the crowd, but looks like it should.

Smells of gentle roast and light boozy esters. For the first 15 minutes or so, it is pretty faint overall. Not really getting much, even with a swirl, and it's not very cold. We'll see if it opens up...okay, it's a little easier to find now, but still not a whole lots going on. Roast, booze, and vaguely of malty sweetness.

Tastes mainly like thick blend of roasted barley and black patent at first. Some malty sweetness creeps in, and the roast is reminiscent of coffee. Hints of molasses add some depth, and there is a fairly strong roasted bitterness increasing out of the middle and into the finish and lingering. This bitterness is a little bit brash and astringent early on, but it mellows later. And the synergy of the whole thing gets smoother and better after time lapses. Still, it is not as deep and complex as many beers of this style.

Adequately carbonated with some alcoholic bite accompanying some sips. It is rich and chewy thick, so of course the body is full. Warming is clearly apparent, and it finishes with a roasty bitterness.

Certainly this a good example of the style. And maybe it is young? But it doesn't strike me as an elite RIS, and it isn't as smooth, balanced and complex as many. If I had scored it inside of the first 30 minutes, though it wasn't opened cold, it would have scored much lower.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2011 03:00:08 | More by sprucetip
Photo of ChadQuest


3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Color is not totally opaque, some light shows through, though leaves a chocolate shake looking cap and lacing too, which always get me.
Aroma is mild suggesting a chocolate malt driven train.
Flavors are that of a chocolate malt driven train. Very very creamy and rich milk chocolate, vanilla, and some heat on the back of the thought. The creaminess of the body is very dense and velvety, awesome.
A stout that is priced great, i will grab more next release.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2011 05:50:26 | More by ChadQuest
Photo of Rhynes2


4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dark black with a thick dark head to go with it. Malt flavor is great with slight hints of dark fruits and caramel. Could use a little more hop bitterness to help balance it out. This would be a great beer to sit back and drink and relax. I'm impressed with this one and I'll be buying it again.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2011 21:59:46 | More by Rhynes2
Photo of Retail1LO


4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Let me start off by saying I cannot believe a bomber of this is only $7. Instantly the best value I can remember in some time. I poured this straight down the center of a pint glass and it generated a well appointed, 2" crown. The head was soooo thick and stiff (ba dum tish). A nice, opaque body with an espresso like foam crown. Simply beautiful. The nose is big on roasted coffee and with a good whiff of booze and a permeation of vanilla. The taste follows the nose well with some added oakiness, chocolate, and a bit of cherry. The mouthfeel's the allstar here. This is what I want from my stouts. I nice, thick, substantial presence on the tongue. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with some more charred wood notes. Overall, this is one of the most drinkable stouts I've ever had. World class.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2011 01:54:16 | More by Retail1LO
Photo of amidabha


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

a moderate pour into an imperial pint gave little head or lacing to this motor oil colored beer. seems to have just the right amount of darkness to the smell, sweet and bitter at the same time.

this is a bit sweet and could stand to sit in my cellar a year or so which means i'll need to buy some more. the alcohol is just apparent enough for me to drink with caution. there is just enough carbonation to help give the dark malts some extra bite.

i like this one and can't wait to find a specialty stout from their big series in the future.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2011 01:16:46 | More by amidabha
Photo of aorloski


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

A: Black as hell, viscous, can't see anything through it, I was amazed at the motor oil that poured out of this thing

S: Dark dark chocolate, roasted malts, a little peat almost, smoky, slight coffee/espresso notes

T: BIG chocolate and roasted malts, a slight vanilla and coffee taste in the back with a slight hop finish. In my opinion very balanced

M: Pretty thick, very chewy, almost coats the mouth entirely

O: A Very good imperial stout true to the style, very quintessential in my book. Good job smutty!

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2011 20:36:11 | More by aorloski
Photo of BeerLover99


3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: crude oil black body, trace khaki head,

S: dark chocolate/cocoa nibs, vanilla, anise, toffee,
mild roasted nuts

T: sweet chocolate, vanilla, roasted malt, big
alcohol/mild bitter finish

M: med body, smooth/chewy mouth

O: Let me start by saying, I really
like Smuttnose and their beers. This
is a good beer, that could be great.


Serving type: bottle

10-09-2011 18:47:45 | More by BeerLover99
Photo of scottfrie


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

22oz bottle into Portsmouth snifter. Received in a trade a long time ago. Bottle date not notched.

A: Pours black with a thick, dense, dark brown head that took its time to fade into a thin film that left a few spots of lacing down the glass.
S: Dominant notes of rich dark malts, dark chocolate, and a bit of roast. I get a few notes of sweet caramel and dark fruits as well and an undercurrent of citrus hops.
T: Very rich and potent flavors of dark chocolate and roasted malt. The finish is full of sweet caramel and there is just a hint of warm booze. I get the suggestion of toasted marshmallows as well. The aftertaste has notes of citrus beneath the rich malt, and a nice rich maltiness linger long after the swallow.
M: Thick bodied with a full mouthfeel that is super soft due to very mild carbonation.
O: A very rich and creamy RIS with a good dose of hops and a nice thick body. Great aftertaste as well.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2011 20:44:45 | More by scottfrie
Photo of agomega


3.35/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2011 bottle served in a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark black with a thick light brown head. Excellent lacing.

Smell: Chocolate, Raisins, Dark Fruit

Taste: Lots of dark fruit flavor with a hint of chocolate. The finish tastes out of balance with the rest of the beer. It is bitter, but in a strangely sour way.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel. The mouthfeel feels slick/slimy rather than rich and sticky.

Overall: This beer is only so-so. The taste and mouthfeel leave a lot to be desired in comparison with the better imperial stouts. Not a beer that I would buy again.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2011 19:56:52 | More by agomega
Photo of Cisco619


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

22oz bottle dated 2011 into Duvel tulip

A: Black. Double Black. Murdered out. No light getting into it, much less through. About 2 fingers of khaki colored head after an aggressive pour.

S: Chocolate, coffee & vanilla. Roasted malts, dark fruit & a nice alcohol sting bring in the back of the impressive nose. This is warm & inviting. I'm already loving this.

T: A nice meld of coffee, chocolate & dark fruits. A bit of lingering vanilla. Alcohol makes itself apparent in the finish. Great combination of flavors.

M: Velvety smooth. Nice & rich without overwhelming. Alcohol warmth finish.

O: Great balance of flavors & feel. Very solid offering. I'm interested to see what some time does to this. Would love to get my hands on some older vintages.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2011 05:41:50 | More by Cisco619
Photo of mdvatab


3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber dated 2011 into snifter.

Aroma: Fruity blueberry, dark chocolate, chocolate milkshake, red grape juice, vanilla, and dark brown sugar.

Appearance: Tan, one-finger head settles to a thin layer of foam. Very minimal lacing. Deep, dark brown body.

Flavor: Dark, smooth chocolate up front. Delicious malty sweetness and fruity esters, a very slight mineral note, and then dark chocolate, bitter tannins appear. Balance is achieved, but then bitterness lingers on its own through a long finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full mouthfeel. Just a tad bit on the thin side for this style. Tannins are a bit drying at the end. Some peppery alcohol also comes through.

Overall: Not bad--especially for the price. Fruity aroma and chocolaty flavor get an A, but the bitter hop notes provide balance, and then some. Still, an enjoyable brew overall!

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2011 01:44:40 | More by mdvatab
Photo of Stinkypuss


3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smuttynose Imperial Stout

Pours a blackish brown, off white head and lace. Aroma of roasted malts, coffee and licorice. In the taste, robust malts, smoke, cocoa, and some coffee presence. Standard imperial stout flavor, deeply roasted malts, more coffee and some alcohol. Mouthfeel is full bodied and smooth. Overall, a tasty Russian Imperial stout, worth revisiting.

Serving type: on-tap

09-19-2011 18:37:06 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of busternuggz


4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a snifter. 2011 vintage.
Opaque black with a light brown, thick, 1/2-1/4" head. Recedes somewhat quickly leaving a persistent ring. Some sparse lacing.
The nose is a bit subtle and masked by alcohol, but I get bitter chocolate, black licorice, molasses, and a bit of dark fruit.
The taste is impressive. Comes on with syrupy dark chocolate with a roasty middle, finishing with some tobacco and dark fruit and a nice chocolatey bitterness. Pleasant, slightly astringent bitterness and tobacco mingle in the long aftertaste. Moderate sweetness from the malt that is well balanced with the bitter and tobacco notes. As it warms some molasses notes come out and the hops mellow.
Has a nice texture, comes on full bodied and soft, moderately viscous, and ends a little drier, lighter bodied, and a little syrupy.
Overall a very tasty, well made, and pretty complex beer, even if the appearance and smell aren't amazing. Well balanced and not overbearing. Stands out from a lot of other imperial stouts to me.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2011 23:04:48 | More by busternuggz
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 papat444

Quebec (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

***2010 Vintage***

Picked this up in the summer of 2010 at Gary's in Portsmouth.

Poured from a bomber and split with my friend Jeremie.

Appearance: Picture perfect. Dark brown head, huge and lasting. Brown-black body. Glass is coated with lacing. It takes its time and it's gorgeous to watch.

Smell: Surprisingly hops of the grapefruit variety, mostly the rinds. Cocoa and coffee are also present.

Taste: Pulpy grapefruit with no bitterness. Chocolate milk also. As it warms, cocoa beans mixed with sweetened coffee.

Mouthfeel: Ultra smooth and creamy body. No heat and just coats the mouth.

Overall: This must have been a hoppy RIS because 1 year later and i still get some grapefruit. Very good. and worth your time.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2011 12:14:24 | More by papat444
Photo of andrewinski1

New Hampshire

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

Poured into a tulip. There is a lasting head of about a half inch on top of a black body.

The aroma is a nice blend of dank hops and some nice bitter coffee and chocolate to go with it.

The taste is bitter sweet chocolate with some vanilla cream followed by a nice dose of musty hops in the finish. A nice hoppy take on the style.

The mouthfeel is medium to heavy with slightly creamy carbonation.

This is tasty. I love Smuttynose.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2011 03:14:08 | More by andrewinski1
Photo of warbird07


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

2010 vintage poured into my New Belgium globe...

Appearence is as grand as any good imperial stout I have had...pretty black..nice mocha colored head..sticks around a bit...lacing is good..a bit of a glass stainer...nice..

Smell is big on malt and chocolate, molassas, a bit of anise..sweet, pleaseant, and smooth..

taste is real nice..lots of chocolate, big malt backbone..it is surprisingly well balanced..nice slightly bitter finish..

mouthfeel is pleasing...good weight, carbonation...supports the beer nicely...

overall one of my favorite go-to inpy stouts..good price, available..I love this beer..

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2011 00:37:05 | More by warbird07
Photo of TheDudeRules


1.65/5  rDev -59.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Black as night pour into my Darkness snifter.

Jet flippin black as I already stated. Half a finger of thin mocha head. It sticks around clinging to my glass. Bakers chocolate, fig, and alcohol. Goodie. Taste up front is roast and char. Heavy roast and char. Plenty of alcohol. A squeak of bakers chocolate. Beer finishes hoppy and very bitter. When I exhale I taste coffee. Well this is awful. Right now I'd say this is a heavy duty. Finishing this glass is not in the cards for me.

Maybe it needs time to settle? Probably. Does that mean it will taste better? Um, most likely not. I did hear some asshats say that this beer is better than Kate. Well.... You are wrong. And saying something like that you should be flogged.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2011 17:43:12 | More by TheDudeRules
Photo of mikereaser


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

2009 bottle

A - pours a pitch black with a half inch of tan foam that quickly faded leaving a bit of lacing
S - roasted malts, i'm picking up alot of vanilla, a light mix of chocolate and coffee
T - wow, flavor is different than expected, big roasted malt flavor up front, then a hit of chocolate and bitter coffee but they blend together to not be so harsh, there seems to be a bit of a dark fruit flavor as well.
M - medium bodied, slightly silky but not overly so, slightly watery.
D - a bit sweet but very enjoyable, a 22 oz. bottle is very easy to drink through.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2011 06:22:41 | More by mikereaser
Photo of Jeffo


2.83/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

In a trade with jojomdma many moons ago. Thanks for stepping up and fixing that little blip that we had.

From a bomber into a snifter.
Vintage: 2009

APPEARANCE: A dark pour, not pitch black per se, yields a one finger, medium looking, tan head with good retention. Head slowly recedes to a thin wisp and ring. Black body with zero carbonation evident. A ring remains until the end but leaves no lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Big nose for sure. Roasted malts, smoky notes, and a strong strain of booze. Light dark chocolate and licorice are in there, but this is just roasted and boozy more than anything. Big nose, but not all that complex and enticing. Lots of booze as opposed to lots of stout.

TASTE: Big flavors as well. Roasted malts, smoky tobacco flavors, with plenty of booze and hop bitterness at the swallow. Big, bold aftertaste is roasted, very boozy, with some decent bitter chocolate, some licorice, and quite a bit of tobacco as well. The booze is still the lead act here, though there is more flavor than the nose had led on. Still too boozy unfortunately, and the tobacco is a little too prominent in the flavor profile.

PALATE: Medium-full body and medium carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth with a touch of well-measured heat at the swallow, and finishes slightly sticky on the palate. A nice full and creamy feel, and becomes even more so as it sits in the glass over time. Very nice here.

OVERALL: This one was certainly a disappointment. Besides the full, creamy palate, which was by far the best quality of the beer, this one is too boozy and tobacco heavy to compete with the top examples in the style. While their Baltic Porter is a fantastic brew that I’d recommend to friends, this is one I’d suggest steering clear of. This vintage at least. Thanks again for the trade jojomdma.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2011 10:41:57 | More by Jeffo
Photo of Duff27


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

A- Pours black with brown highlights. Low head retention. Nice alcohol legs.

S- Chocolate, maple syrup?

T- Chocolately. Nicely balanced between hops and malts. Well hidden booze, relatively speaking.

M- Medium to medium-thin mouthfeel for the style, somewhat syrupy.

D/O- Being as well balanced I enjoyed this. Pretty middle of the road but recommended at the price point. Smuuuutttyyyy!

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2011 01:55:52 | More by Duff27
Photo of gregshead


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

A: Pours a black with half finger of head.

S: Burnt/roasted malts, chocolate and tobacco on the nose

T: Sweet dark chocolate up front with a hoppy/burnt flavor at the end. Burnt/Acidic aftertaste in some sips

M: fairly carbonated feel. Fairly thick mouthfeel. Not took much alcohol bite or burn to it.

O: A really good beer. I'd enjoy it again. Glad to have tried it. Very much a good RIS that isn't too hoppy or too sweet but also hides the alcohol better than most.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2011 05:08:22 | More by gregshead
Photo of chilly460


3.75/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- pours black with a one finger light brown head that dissipates into a ring around the glass.

S- Very nice, plenty of coffee and roasted malts, some dark chocolate. Much like their Baltic Porter, there is a strong dark berry in there as well.

T - Heavy roasted coffee hits hard, too bitter for me. Nice differentiator is the prevalent sweet dark fruit that is expected from the aroma, currants come to mind.

M- Nice and smooth, middle ground for a RIS.

O - A nice drinkable RIS, not a big monster beer, but plenty of complexity. Love the price as well, see it for $5/bomber locally.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2011 16:42:33 | More by chilly460
Photo of angelogarcia3

New York

4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This midnight colored beer is served in a snifter glass at Sapsuckers in Huntington, NY. The dark tan head hints at the slight carbonation this beer has. The nose on this beer hints at the high alcohol content (9.8%) in the beer. The taste is of bittersweet chocolate, thickness like molasses, and nice finish with no bitterness.

Serving type: on-tap

08-09-2011 23:13:02 | More by angelogarcia3
Photo of Digimaika2

Ontario (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours pitch black with a 2-finger dark mocha coloured head which is creamy and comprised of micro-bubbles. Minimal retention in my glass.

S: Plenty of dark chocolate, espresso, sweet caramel, bitter molasses and licorice, and some faint dark fruits (raisins & plums). Picking up an earthy herb quality to this similar to anise. Lots of aromas to take in and all very pleasing.

T: Rich and creamy dark chocolate upfront, with a shot of espresso that follows nicely. Can pick out that bitter molasses quality along with those overly-sweet (not a bad thing at all) dark fruits. Finishes with the anise-like herb quality, but not with an accompanied bitter taste. Overall quite nice.

M: Pleasingly creamy and oily. About average viscosity/thickness for the style with probably a below-average amount of carbonation. Would actually prefer a bit more bubbles to make this feel a little less flat.

D: Overall a good RIS that I would gladly drink again. In my opinion, I would prefer a slightly bit more carbonation to make this less flat, but nonetheless, still a satisfying end product.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2011 03:54:47 | More by Digimaika2
Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 903 ratings.