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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)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

975 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 975
Reviews: 656
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.27%
Wants: 112
Gots: 100 | FT: 7
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) Alström Bros
Ratings: 975 | Reviews: 656 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BZero007
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice black color with a great smell. The head formed with ease and left great lace on the glass. The aroma was good not overly powerfull but refreshing of chocolate and malts. The brew it self tasted of chocolate with roasted malts and coffe. The flavor was not overly powerful but mild and tasty. Carbonation was at a great level for this brew as it brought out the flavors, which with out it I think would kill the beer. The mild flavor and good carbonation makes this beer easy to drink after another. Would recomend to anyone to try.

BZero007, May 12, 2009
Photo of tmoneyba
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared at local BA gathering.

Poured dark brown color with a moderate frothy brown head that mostly lasted with good lacing. Moderate roasted malt, chocolate and small alcohol aroma. Medium to full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. Medium to heavy roasted sweet flavor with a medium to heavy bittersweet finish of moderate to long duration.

Another standout brew.

tmoneyba, May 12, 2009
Photo of ccrida
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber(thx northyorksammy!) poured into my Descutes snifter, Smuttynose's Imperial Stout is an thick blackish brown with a dark tan head that leave scattered, fomay lace.

Smell is strong and malty, lots of crystal, caramel and alcohol, some herbal hops as well.

Taste is big and rich, dark chocolate and leafy hops. I really like the hop flavor, more english style nobles, strong but not overly bitter. There's some iced tea notes from the crystal providing sweetness, but it's really a chocolate bomb, which I like. Still, it's a bit rough around the edges, even at at least 6 months old, it could stand to be more rounded, with the alcohol being overly strong. Good now, but time will serve it well I'm sure.

Mouthfeel is thick but smooth, and good for the style.

Drinkability is pretty good, but it's a little hot now. Loads of potential though, and tasty overall, just not as approachable for amateurs at this point.

ccrida, May 09, 2009
Photo of charlesw
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I just about added this beer thinking that it was some kind of new thing. Only, ha, I was on the Portsmouth page and not the Smuttynose page. Anyway...

Beautiful pour. Really. Amazing. Deeply dark brown - not quite black but quite opaque. Decent-sized head of micro bubbles. Of course they're there forever and a half. And they're a deep chocolate color. Absolutely awesome.

When the head is high it smells like an IPA - lots of fuggly-type hops. Crazy how it smells like an IPA. You wait the 5+ minutes it takes to get the head down and things change. There you get chocolate with hints of espresso. Still some grassy/bitter hops, mind you, just nowhere near how it was when it was all head, eh? Some freshly mown lawn (on a wet day). Maybe a bit more bitter chocolate.

In the mouth it's very quickly chocolate milk then a bit of burned then bitterness then chocolate milk then more bitterness creeps in and lasts around the edges. Let's do that again... OK, the bitterness is kind of burnt. Interesting. Cool. Very nicely balanced for an RIS (so neener).

Nice body. Something tells me that it would be nicer with a touch more sweetness and a maybe a touch more bitter (to balance out the extra sweetness).

As with so many of the big beer series, if this were available like it was when I was 50 miles from the brewery I'd drink a lot more of it!

charlesw, May 09, 2009
Photo of masterhomebrewer
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip.

A: Half-inch light brown, creamy, gorgeous head. Nice lacing that remained through the drink.

S: Grassy, hoppy aroma overwhlems all else. In background is chocolate, coffee, and dark fruits. But the strong (wet?) hop aroma overpowers.

T: The grassy hops also overwhelm the opening flavor, but more traditional RIS flavors -- like roast, rich chocolate and sweet creamy coffee -- come through immediately after, somehow balancing this bad boy into a strangely satisfying experience.

M: Big and chewy, as a RIS ought to be. Full and thick.

D: The surprising balance of the enormous flavors of this beer lends this beer surprising drinkability. I'm going through the bomber more quickly than I imagined, and wishing I had another.

Serving type: bottle

masterhomebrewer, May 07, 2009
Photo of hsway
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into two pint glasses.

A: Opaque, black, with a thin layer of brown head that disappeared quickly. Minimal lacing.

S + T: Chocolate and coffee, with a dark fruit undertone. A bit of hoppiness on the edges - something slightly off about this, but it was still interesting.

M: A little soupy - unsatisfying for this style.

D: A sipper. One's fine for me, thanks.

hsway, May 05, 2009
Photo of avalon07
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a black color and a totally thick texture. There was a creamy, tan-colored, long-lasting head and some good lacing

S: A big malty smell, with traces of chocolate and coffee.

T: Not quite as much coffee as I would've expected in an RIS, but tasty nonetheless. Also tasted of chocolate and a lot of malt.

M: A high level of carbonation with a slightly slick finish. Full-bodied.

D: This is a drinkable beer. Doesn't always fall in line with other RIS, but is still easy to like.

avalon07, May 05, 2009
Photo of Martin2D
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pitch black with a large tan head that retains quite well and laces

S - Hop spicy alcohol, possibly anise, and hints of roastiness

T - That spicy smell translates so well into the taste. So welll balanced and also so roasty and delicious.

M - Medium in carbonation and heavy in body.

D - Amazing beer, great example of the style. Actually, this is the beer which I hold the standard by.

Martin2D, May 05, 2009
Photo of TK5150
4.88/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2009. Have had 5 bottles so far this year.

A- Pours Very dark brown/black with a beige head.

S- Big American citrusy hops give an aroma of tangerines oranges and grapefruit mixed with chocolate and coffee with licorice and alcohol rounding out the nose. Possibly my favorite smelling beer.

T- Taste is pretty much a mirror of the nose.

M- I have to say this year I am perceiving a thinner body.

D- Awesome. I have bought nearly two cases of this stuff so far this year.

I have to say this year is under-performing a bit; the body seems thinner and taste and smell are slightly less hoppy and intense. 2007 and 2008 and were unbelievable. With that said this is still one of my favorite beers. Its a hybrid of an Imperial Stout and a DIPA, my two favorite styles. The best bargain in beer IMO.

TK5150, May 04, 2009
Photo of ohmybock
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

This brew surprised me a lot. I've now had the 2009 version in the bottle and on tap at least two times each. To be honest, I'm not sure if there's much of a difference as both versions are very good!

This review is of a fresh 2009 bottle. It pours a rich, dark, typical, stout-color with good, long-lasting head. The aroma blows me away with its hops. If I had smelled this with my eyes closed, I would have sworn the delicious, hoppy, citrus/lemon aroma was coming from an IPA or DIPA. I'm really digging it. The taste has just as much of that citrus/lemon character, if not more. However, there's a nice, non-overpowering, chocolaty stout character mixed in with the flavor as well. Even though this is such a dark, rich, brew, it seems to lean more toward a DIPA than an imperial stout. The hops are mostly in the aroma and flavor, but there's a decent bitterness as well. The dark stout characteristics are certainly evident, but they almost take a backseat to the hops. Oddly, the stout qualities seem on the light-side for such a big imperial stout. The mouthfeel is a tad lighter than I would have expected. The combination of dark malts and potent flavor/aroma hops is a very interesting mix. I haven't always liked that pairing in other dark/hoppy brews. I still think a huge hop aroma/flavor works best with some sort of IPA or barleywine, but this Smuttynose brew might prove otherwise. This is certainly NOT your typical imperial stout, but I'm really liking it. I've had some other highly-rated hoppy imperial stouts, brown IPAs, dark IPAs, etc. from across the States, but this is my favorite of the bunch so far. In the end, this one hits me more like some sort of dark-DIPA than an imperial stout. Whatever the case, if you love hops (and even if you're not a big fan of dark beers), you need to try this brew.

PS - Don't age this brew. Drink it fresh to take full advantage of the hops the brewer put into it. An aged version of this brew would surely be less-interesting when compared to how it tastes when it's fresh.

ohmybock, May 04, 2009
Photo of jonziefle
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Poured black, with 3 finger dark brown head. Completely opaque. The head has good retention and has a good thick foam. Very nice lacing all the way down.

Smell: Smells like a cross between an IPA and a stout. Dark fruit hops (raisin) hit the nose first, followed my dark roasted malts. Not really much chocolate or coffee fragrances like I'm used to. The alcohol definitely makes itself known, as well.

Taste: Tastes like a boozy DIPA, with a big roasted malt background; not really what I was expecting from a stout. Starts with an alcohol bite, followed by dark fruit flavors. The roasted malts show up in the middle and create a slightly odd blended flavor. The taste lingers slightly, as well as the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a big alcohol bite. Little to no carbonation. Would be smooth, if not for the alcohol at every step. Just a bit thinner than I would like.

Drinkability: An interesting beer from Smuttynose's Big Beer series. Definitely a strong beer, but a bit hoppy for a RIS. Strong alcohol and malts yes, but the overwhelming hops and dark fruit flavors make it seem more like a dark DIPA. One to try if you like those two styles, but I'll probably stick to more traditional stouts.

jonziefle, May 02, 2009
Photo of taylorhamrick
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours out a deep, dark black color, with some dark brown highlights. The head rises up to an enormous size, and can't help but stick around at the current size. The bubbles slowly pop, leaving little bits of lacing before I drink, and the head clings to the sides as I sip from this one. I can tell this will take me long enough to drink for the head to collapse anyway, but there was always a ring of bubbles the whole time. The smell is, well, interesting. This is the most distinctly hoppy RIS I've ever smelled. I don't know if that's bad or good, but its interesting, like I said. There is also this roasted, almost bitter coffee smell, with a hint of chocolate. Really nice indeed, now that I think about it. The taste is good, as far as I can tell, but the hops are a little too intense at this point. Maybe it's intended to taste this incredibly hoppy, which again is an interesting take. The chocolate and roasted barley - coffee taste is very strong. There is even some sweetness, probably a lot, to balance out the hops and bitterness. I'm not sure if I want to start taking points off or adding them from the hops, so I might have to get another one, let it sit for a while, and come back to see what we've got underneath. Then again, this is probably be consumed the way it was intended, and I can say that I'm enjoying it. On with the review: the beer is very, very full. Part of it comes from the hops, but they don't cling with the resins. I can also tell there's quite a bit of body anyway. And for some reason, I can drink this one very quickly. I don't even notice the alcohol, not until it starts to catch me. Worth a try I'd say, just don't expect it to seem common.

taylorhamrick, May 02, 2009
Photo of bjoyce12
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice. Impressive. Excellent Imperial Stout. My first toughts upon tasting this issue from Smuttynose. Recommended by the bartender at Bukowski's in Boston, I was hesitant at first due to the 10% ABV. But NO burn! How Smutty did that is a credit to them. Very smooth for an imperial too. None of that dry rye bread taste. Highly recommend when you're looking for an Imperial.

bjoyce12, May 01, 2009
Photo of everetends
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber I picked up from Green's in Atlanta, GA. Served this baby up in my tulip glass.

A: Pours a pretty dark and inky black. Has that really glossy appearance tat is pretty impressive. Got a good two fingers of head off the pour that holds pretty damned well. Get some nice lace notching the glass all the way down. The body of the brew is not allowing any light whatsoever though. This is what I always want from an Impy stout. A very attractive beer.

S: Aroma is pretty nice. Getting some nice roasted malt that has a really nice touch of smoke and burnt quality. Getting a nice amount of bitter and dark chocolate. Getting a nice and clean hops aroma coming out. Some coffee is coming out as well. Dark fruits are showing some backbone as well.

T: Good, good, good and good. The roasted malt stays smoky and tasty, just nice and rich flavor that blossoms. The chocolate and coffee mixes well here with a nice sweet and slightly bitter compliment. The hops are pretty clean and earthy with a nice amount of presence. Getting some nice cherry, prune and raisin presnce. Slight. Just a touch of booze coming across in the flavor.

M: Full bodied brew but it does have a touch thinness and water to it. The brew coats the mouth still with a nice stickiness. Carbonation is light and just allows this to be a big beer. ABV is present but its not crazy or hot at all. Its just enough to warm up the palate and throat. Aftertaste is nice with some nice hops and smoky malt resonating after the swallow.

D: For a 10% brew, this drinks pretty damned easy. This beer is decently fresh and it is going down with ease. Its not a problem at all. Sits with a bit of heat and a bit of weight, but it doesn't impose on you at all. Everything about this beer is good or better. The flavors are really pleasant. Nothing is too in your face but its complex enough to let you explore and enjoy the brew. Smuttynose is just impressing me more and more as I try their brews and I am oh so glad they are nearby now.

everetends, May 01, 2009
Photo of cjgator3
3.63/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle

A- Bomber poured into a snifter. Pours a dark black color with a light tan head with decent lacing.

S- The first thing that I thought of when I smelled this beer was "Damn, this Russian Imperial Stout sure does have a lot of hops in it!". The aroma is dark and roasty with some booze, but the hops definitely steal the show. It almost smells like a RIS with hop pellets thrown in. A hoppy RIS? Bring it on!

T- The taste starts out nice a roasty with dark malts that finishes with a very nice hop bitterness. Like the aroma, I am impressed by the amount of hops in this one. Very tasty stuff!

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, this is a great RIS that I really enjoyed. Definitely worth a shot for those people who enjoy hoppy Imperial Stouts.

cjgator3, Apr 30, 2009
Photo of goatgoat
2.48/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Thanks UGADawgGuy for the opportunity. Seriously... no matter what I think of the brew, I really appreciate the opportunity to try it.

Cellar temp poured into Chimay goblet. Fresh, bottled in 2009.

Pours a smooth black with no highlights. Almost 2 fingers of creamy tan head falls in the course of several minutes. A few sheets of lace cling to the glass.

The aroma hits me as I pour, boozy chocolate truffles. It only gets boozier with a proper sniff. Spicy with a heavy perfume. Not enjoyable.

Flavor shares the same characteristics, but moderated. A more chocolaty note comes through and the finish is shared between a nice roasted coffee bitterness and that same boozy perfume.

Good creamy body and chewiness. A high degree of alcoholic heat, I feel all 10% of it.

Do you know how hard it is to try and drink a beer without smelling it? I try pretty hard to not drain-pour beers... so far I've only sacrificed one 6-year-old Stone Levitation.. But this brew is skating the edge.

goatgoat, Apr 30, 2009
Photo of ColForbinBC
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a snifter; 2009 Vintage

Pours a deep, dark chestnut brown with a thin, very thin, khaki head that disappeared very quickly and left little to no lacing.

Huh. Huge nose of fresh cut grass and mint. Isn't this a stout? Upon closer examination there are some deep roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate and light coffee aroma lingering low. By far the grassiest aroma I have ever smelled in a beer as well as the hoppiest RIS these nostrils have ever leaned in to.

Taste is more of the same. Huge grassy hops up front with a mellowing bitterness that melds beautifully with the bittersweet chocolate and coffee flavors. The deep roasted flavor lingers long with just a touch of mint from all of the hops. The non-hop flavors start to come through more when as it warms, but they still never have a chance to rise up and shine through the hops.

Syrupy and thick. Full bodied with good carbonation. The roasted malt and bitterness linger for a good while.

The abv is pretty high and it has a very unique flavor profile for a RIS. However, it is very fun to sip this guy and bask in all of the hops.

I found this to be an odd drinking RIS. The grassy/minty hops really dominated and I wasn't ready for them. Because they were so in my face, I had a hard time looking past them and really unraveling this beer. I enjoyed it immensely for just the same reasons.

ColForbinBC, Apr 29, 2009
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.

nickfl, Apr 29, 2009
Photo of thryn
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown to black and viscous, with a surprisingly present tan head, though it fades to a thin film atop the brew. Nice lacing.

Smells strongly of roasted coffee, faintly of chocolate and a bit of toffee. I'm getting some smoke and chicorylike scent as well.

Taste is very smoky and roasty. Oddly sour. Oh damn, I like this one a LOT. A bit of sour currant, toffee chocolate and coffee, nice bitter finish. Alcohol is well masked, though emerges a bit with warmth.

Mouthfeel could be thicker and the carbonation is a little too high. Still, it's nice and slick from the alcohol, but sticks to the palate a bit as well.

Drinkability is good. I love RISes as a rule, and this one is no exception, even if the carbonation could be taken down a notch.

thryn, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of Gosox8787
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Vintage 2009 bomber, just released seasonal beer from the Big Beer Series. This is my first tasting from the Big Beer Series and I'm very excited to sample this. Poured from the bottle into a glass in two parts. Almost no head with little retantion, with a nice brown lacing afterwards. Appearance is dark brown to black and opaque. Aroma hits hard with hops upfront. Roasted malts belnd in nicely to the backdrop. Just from the aroma I can tell this is going to be the hoppiest RIS I have ever had. Should add an interesting element to this. Taste is heavy on the roasted malts. Expresso and chocolate notes dominate upfront. There is also a smoke flavor that is offset by pine and citrus from the hops. This is by far the hoppiest RIS I have ever tasted. The flavor is full and leaves a lingering smoke on the tongue. The mouthfeel is syrupy with a slight tinge of carbonation. Drinkability is not high at all for this beer. The flavor is heavy, the beer is filling, and there is a significant ABV. I cannot imagine anyone having more than one bomber of these in a sitting, no matter how much they like them.

Overall, an interesting interpretation of the Russian Imperial Stout style. The hops offer some nice flavor and counter the RIS style in a distinct way. Not sure if I would go out of my way to try it again, but could be a good beer to try aging.

Gosox8787, Apr 27, 2009
Photo of scottoale
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber of this years release, popped the cap and poured into a Duvel tulip a nearly black ebony-brown with an awesome three plus finger of tawny cocoa head. Great head retention and sheets of clingy sticky lace adorn the glass. Great looking stout.

Fresh raw hops and dark roasty malt greet the nose. This brew smells ultra fresh and has some sharpness to it's aroma. Notes of coffee, chocolate and just a bit of alcohol in the background.

Big dark roasty malt with vine ripe fresh resinous hops attack the palate with bold conviction. Any bit of sweetness gets slapped severely with huge bitterness and spikey herbalness of some serious hops. Although very tasty and a bit raw, I can see this stuff aging beautifully.

Full bodied with some suppleness to it and good carbonation. The alcohol is quite well masked for being 10% ABV. A good drinking big imperial stout that's got a unique taste and the ability to age very well. A big thanks to Josh (mullenite) for making this brew possible, Cheers!

scottoale, Apr 25, 2009
Photo of markskar
3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 Vintage, 22oz bomber.

Pours pitch black, one finger tan head without much retention. Trace lacing, but not much for the style. Smells of roasted chocolate, coffee beans--oh yes, and alcohol. No hiding the booze here.

Low to moderate diacetyl butteriness mixes with an unusually high hop profile and dark roasted malts to create a truly unique flavor for an RIS. I can see why a previous reviewer compared it to licorice, but there is so much more to it than that. Starts with a sweetened coffee-like, flavor, followed by citrusy hops balanced with sweet dark malts. The result seems more to me like dried dark fruits, raspberry-ish.

Very warming (10% abv, mmmm...). Thick, smooth, and chewy. Not too dry and not too sticky. Wonderful mouthfeel, well suited to the style.

Drinkability suffers a little from the high abv (not that I'm complaining--but this is a tough category for a big beer), as well as the sometimes overwhelmingly complex flavors, but is still quite good. Would go well with a fine cut of juicy steak, or with a sweet chocolate desert.

markskar, Apr 25, 2009
Photo of cskollmann
2.73/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance: Poured out of a bomber, this looked very promising. Inky black, not a ton of head in my snifter glass, which reduced to slight lacing. Looks like a great RIS to start.

Smell: Way hoppy for a RIS! Black licorice aroma dominates.

Taste: Really disappointing...no chocolate taste at all--it's pure licorice. If you love black jelly beans this is the beer for you, but if you are looking for chocolate malty goodness look elsewhere. Weyerbacher heresy and Stone RIS are light years ahead of this in my opinion. Maybe it will mellow with age-- definitely lay it down vs drinking now IMO.

Mouthfeel: the alcohol is well integrated, it has a nice velvety texture, if you can get past the overwhelming licorice flavor.

Drinkability: this is just not what I want in a RIS. Not being a black licorice fan this was a pain to finish--especially since I had a Stone RIS waiting in the fridge.

cskollmann, Apr 25, 2009
Photo of KeefD
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a La Fin Du Monde tulip, dark brown, almost black, a HUGE four finger dark tan head sits on top that fell in the slowest manner, excellent retention, foamy, leaving sheets of lacing. Nice roasty aroma, solid herbal hop aroma in the background, earthy, a bit of chocolate, and slightly fumy alcohol. Flavor is a very nice balance between the rich, roasty malts and herbal, oily hops. Nice chocolate flavors mixed with coffee, some of the earthiness that was found in the nose, a bit of licorice, and a hint of alcohol warming on the back end. Nice mouthfeel, not as full and richly textured as many RIS's I've come across, but silky and smooth nonetheless. This is a very good RIS. Not the best I've ever had, but solid, sippable, and worthy of an A. I really need to get a few more bottles of this to age, as this would be a knock after the hops and alcohol mellow a bit and the chocolate malt comes more to the front.

KeefD, Apr 24, 2009
Photo of twelvsies
2.83/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled fresh, just after the '09 release. Essentially black, thin tan head which fades. Very black actually. Surprisingly, the dominant force in the aroma is hops. I love hops, but this is a bit unusual within the style. Not getting much roasty malt but just ripe hops and a bit of hot fumes. I was intrigued at first and was hoping it would work but it all falls apart. It's all bitterness and a little too boozy and not enough malt and roastitude. I'm sure it's there, it's just covered up. Too many things going on here and they don't meld together. Not so smooth. Unfortunate, because I love Smutty and I remember liking this in the past but this year just isn't cutting it. If you have a bottle or two I'd recommend letting it sit a while and hopefully it will mellow out a bit.

twelvsies, Apr 23, 2009
Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 975 ratings.