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

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

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1,022 Ratings
very good

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Ratings: 1,022
Reviews: 662
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.27%
Wants: 121
Gots: 105 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.80% ABV

Availability: Fall

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

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 05-05-1998)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,022 | Reviews: 662 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Casey10
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Have kept this one cellared for about 4 months or so. Have had it before but finally reviewing it now.

A - Pours a pitch black with a thin head that deaply recides.

S - Black licorice, dark chocolate

T - really nice a dark chocolate taste with a small aftertaste that smarts a bit, very nice.

M - warm, wonderful. Smooth, chocolate, frothy.

D - This one has a lot of drinkabilty but the strength of the ABV will slow you down.

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

2009 bomber, poured about 4 months after purchase. According to the Smuttynose website, this year's batch is actually 8.9 percent abv as opposed to the 10 percent written above.

Thick, opaque black. Decent tan head, some lacing. Nose is hot, but a certain acidic coffee tanginess and notes of licorice cut through the mix.

Flavor is a lot of dark fruit, anise, and licorice. This is one boldly flavored stout. Lingering bitter, roasted coffee aftertaste. Not a whole lot of chocolate to me. And how about the hops? Really hoppy stout here. Aggressive and tangy. Lots of black licorice. Alcohol is more apparent than some of the better versions of the style, even at a modest 8.9 percent (for an imperial stout that is). Mouthfeel is resinous, but not as big as most imperial stouts I've had. That said, for all of the flavor this stout packs in, it's totally drinkable.

I sampled this beer several months ago, and it was very, very hoppy and hot. I wasn't really into it to be honest. It has mellowed out over the past few months, and I think its a better beer now, just not amazing. Maybe it will be "outstanding" or "world-class" in 2010.

Photo of br3wmeister
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Nice large brown head, good retention and good lacing. The beer itself is almost black in color.

S- Large earthy peppery aroma, lost of floral hops, dark chocolate, roasted nuts, caramel and some boozy alcohol.

T- Large Bold flavored beer, very hoppy with lots of sweet maltiness to compete. Dark chocolate, earthy spice, oak, roasted nuts, and dark ripe fruit.

M- This is a full bodied beer that sticks to the inside of your mouth, the hoppy bite help to cut through the lingering sweetness.

This is a Very good Imperial stout, I would like to get more of this.

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

A - Pretty darned black. Tan head leaves to ring fast. Not much lace.

S - Astringent, kind of antiseptic with chocolate chip cookies underneath.

T - Home cooking goodness. Earthy feel, baked goods and roasted malt.

M - Good carb and balance, maybe a bit cloying.

D - For the style, very!

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

Bottle conditioned in 2009. Pours opaque pitch black with dense tan head, half inch retained, lacing only lasts for the first few sips. Smell: big roasted component, chocolate raisin, sweet but with a serious floral and citric hop presence, fleeting alcohol. Taste: lots of floral hop and citrus rind, roasted with some burnt character, caramel sweetness, a really nice dark chocolate note. Mouthfeel: a little thinner than it could be plus the serious hop presence makes the delicious malt flavors fleeting. The malt flavors aren't super complex, but are quite tasty. This one has around six months on it but it's still aggressively hoppy and a bit hot, but quite drinkable.

Photo of Reagan1984
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, I really like this right out of the shoot. Love the hop profile. Reminds me of Darkness.. (the hop profile, not the whole beer)

Classic Imp Stout Head that rises from within the beer. Dark brown and creamy. Fades fairly quickly to a cap of foam. Basically black except around the edges where it is deep brown. Lacing clings all over the inside of the glass.

You only need to smell this beer to note the hop level. Citrus and floral aroma. Really nice and a treat for an Imp Stout. A touch roasty, but this really takes a back seat.

Hop nature of the flavor matches the aroma. Deep citrus out of the shoot that gives way to a licorice, black pepper flavor. Really interesting. Some bitter chocolate. A moment of black strap molasses. Then some pine hop tones right at the end that linger.

Body is thick, mouth feel is slightly slick. Carbonation is low and tingly.

I really find this wonderfully drinkable and a treat. Very enjoyable and drinkable.

Photo of tai4ji2x
3.65/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber. bottle notching indicates it was bottle conditioned in 2009. tasted in mid-may 2009. poured into tulip.

opaque black, with red tint ont he edges under the light. 2-finger brown head w red tint, fades to wisps and ring. decent and consistent rings of lace, if a bit thin.

VERY hoppy aroma! whoa! citrusy and piney, resinous and grassy. the imperial stout character peeks in, with molasses, caramel, hint of plum or cherries, faint roasted malt and coffee/cocoa notes. but then back to the hops! yikes! this is more like a black IPA/DIPA!

taste: here come the hops again! i'm burping up pine cones! bold resinous bitterness from the pine and citrus rind character of the hops, blanketed on top of the malty, roasty stout flavors. just a hint of coffee/cocoa. man, is this hoppy! they're almost SWEET with citrusy fruitiness.

medium body, not quite viscous. for an "RIS", this could have been thicker. it does have moments of creaminess though, and the mild to moderate carbonation gives light tingle and helps even things out - slightly. but again, those hop resins and astringency cut in again near the finish.

this really is a cross between a DIPA and RIS. i hear that bear republic's big bear stout might be similar, but anyway this is totally not a true RIS anymore. an intriguing, and arguably even tasty hophead's drink, esp if you go into this thinking "black DIPA". but scoring this as a RIS, it's going to take some hits...

i'm pretty sure previous years never had it like this. i also hear that one reason for the delay in getting this batch released was they were waiting for the hops to mellow out. so much for that idea...

EDIT 8/31/09: i've decided to bump up half points for both aroma and taste, and view this more as an american imperial stout. even then however, this is quite aggressively hopped.

Photo of Patrick999
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours the required inky black into a snifter, espresso crema for a head, easily roused. Actually quite heady for the style, especially with the last pour.

Good aroma - a little alcohol, but a lot of licorice candy. Not black licorice candy, more red licorice candy, oddly enough. Strong carob, vanilla. I like it.

Taste I wouldn't classify as quite as interesting as the aroma. It's your standard array of roastiness, earthy hop, hint of chocolate sweetness. Some licorice candy, this time the black variety...and some plum as well.

Feel-wise, I like the fact that it doesn't bowl me over with stickiness.

It has really warmed me up this summer afternoon, but if you can get past that, it's pretty drinkable for an Impy Stout.

Photo of rye726
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark oilish black, tints of ruby and brown. Thick tan head settles to a thin layer.

Nose has roasty malts, piney hops, bitter chocolate, molasses, coffee and fruity alcohols.

Taste has a big hop presence up front followed by burnt malt, fudge, espresso, ripe pitted fruit and a peppery booze presence.

A bit hot, but medium body is well carbonated. Good stout.

Photo of bobsy
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An extremely dark brown body sits underneath a billowing tan head that laces well. A sweet, dark roasted aroma greets the nose with suggestions of caramel, anise, chocolate and coffee. The flavours are rich, and complex, with treacle, chocolate, coffee and raisin all combining to form a sumptuous thick wall of flavour that stays with you long after the beer is gone. There's just so much going on - vanilla, a touch of wood, even a hint of mushroom (I think as a result of combining floral, woodsy hops with thick molasses flavours). It may not be in the very top tier of imperial stouts, but it certainly makes you take notice. Likewise, the body match the flavours, with a thick, creamy feel and very restrained carbonation. It practically drinks like a dessert.

Thanks to Shawn for sharing this beautiful bomber.

Photo of colts9016
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got this beer from a BIF.

Poured into a pint glass at 51 degrees.

Appearance: A medium tan color head that is three fingers thick and foamy.The color of the beer is jet black, well actually dark brown. There is no clarity in the beer, however you can see garnet highlights on the bottom of the glass. The retention on the beer is medium and the head left lacing on the glass.

Nose: A very nice roasted dark malt. There is a fragrant floral aroma, citrus, burnt character, caramel, molasses, coffee, and bittersweet dark chocolate. The hops in this beer give a nice fragrant fruity on the end.

Taste: A very deep dark roasted malt with a hint of the burnt character. The flavors in this beer is molasses, dark rich coffee, bittersweet chocolate, caramel, and hops. The hops give a nice pungent floral with a very bright fruity citrus.

Overall: The mouth feel of the beer is rich, creamy, astringent, mouth coating, and slightly carbonated. The body of the beer is thick and full. The finish on the beer is full. This beer is a very well rounded and palate pleasing. The different hops in this beer gives the beer a unique flavor. I really like this beer. It is well made and very tasty.

Photo of rpstevens
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into my dogfish head tulip.

The beer pours black with a thin mocha head. The lacing is thick and oily on the sides of the glass.

The smell is roasted malts, coffee and chocolate, but the roasted malt resurfaces and brings with it a pungent hop aroma that is not overpowering, but a welcome addition to the style.

The taste follows the smell almost exactly, traditional RIS flavors of coffee, chocolate and roasted malt are washed off the tongue with a piney hop bitterness that gives a nice drying effect.

The beer is well carbonated, a little more than standard for the style. There is a slight alcohol burn that warms the throat and stomach, but it's not unpleasant. This is not a beer that I would chug and look for another bottle, but definitely drinkable for the style and high abv.

The hoppiness of this beer, although untraditional, is a welcome addition.

Photo of Jmamay22
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sure it's summer, but its cold and rainy so time for a big beer.

This stout pours a deep dark black with a thin mocha head that clings to the walls of my glass. The smell is very hoppy and far from the sweeter russian stouts I've come to love. That said the bouquet is quite enjoyable and features a nice dusting of cocoa.

As in the nose the hops continue to stand out featuring a piney citrus profile I would expect from a wewt coast brewer than Smutty. Again the chocolate plays a secondary role. Not my preferred take on the big stouts, but I can respect the achievement. Mouthfeel is on the heavier side of medium and thickens as the liquid continues to warm. I'd love to try this with a good bit of age to subdue the hops and hopefully develop greater compleity

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.

Photo of cbutova
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep black with a 3 finger tan head that retains well throughout drinking this stout. Leaves good lacing coating the entire glass. Smells mostly of roasted malts/coffee with some pepper hints. Tastes like a typical imperial stout of roasted malts/coffee and some bitterness, maybe a bit of spicy pepper too. Mouthfeel is a bit thin and does not seem to coat like a thicker imperial does. Good solid imperial stout taste with a smaller price tag than most of the other, would drink again. No real noticeable alcohol for being 10%.

Photo of MbpBugeye
2.85/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.
A- Pitch black. A half finger, coffee head made up of large bubbles rises then fades to thin island of film. There is a ring of bubbles around the edge. Some thin lacing sticks.
Some bubbles stick to the side of the glass down inside the body. This looks more carbonated than other RIS's Ive had.

S- Smokey, roasted malts. Very spicy and peppery. To me it smells like a dry rub used in BBQ. The smell is a big surprise to me. Im not getting the normal sent of dark fruits.

T- Some characters from the smell come out to play in the taste as well. Smokey, spicy and peppery. The finish is dry and on the bitter side from the roasted malts, followed by coffee.

M- Dry, medium to full body. Chewy, sticky, low carbonation.

D- This one is really roasty, creating a more bitter take on a RIS. The alcohol is there but not up in your face. Im sure this could make this beer sneak up on you very quickly.

This might be a good cross over into imperial stouts for hop heads.

Photo of deg
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured pitch black into a glass. I held it up to the light and I didn't see any shine through. The beer had a thick head with a light smell of roasted malt. I tasted more roasted malt than anything. I picked up some bitterness. I was surprised at how light the beer felt on my tongue, I expected something with a little more substance. No noticeable alcohol flavor.

Photo of thekevlarkid
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Out of a bomber this beer was a true, opaque black color. The three-finger, wood-brown head was billowing at first. The retention was very good; it soon became a fluffy cap that also left very good, consistent lacing. The aroma was quite spicy, peppery and semi-sweet. I detected notes of wood, hemp-like hops, herbal hops, roasted malt and caramel malt. The flavors started semi-sweet with caramel malt, light chocolate malt before going into lots of spice, white pepper and light coffee. The flavors were so spicy it almost had hints of capsicum in it. The mouthfeel was creamy and a little oily, the body full and the carbonation a touch high which added to the spiciness.

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

Served into Chimay goblet.

A..No real head to speak of, but incredibly dark and toasty looking. Small amount of foam/lace/head was very dark, much like a chocolate liquid. Beautiful appearance.

S..A good imperial stout awaits. An almost smokey scent, but turns into hops quickly. You can nearly smell the 10% abv in this beer.

T..A mild imperial stout in my opinion. Certainly nothing to complain about as it makes the beer easy to drink.

M..The 10% abv is definitely drying. I have not yet finished the bottle and my lips and mouth feel quite dry already. It's a medium to heavy body.

D..Oh, this strong imperial stout is the easiest I've had so far. Yes, it's strong in abv and flavor, but I think I could have 2 or 3 bombers before I was passed out on the floor. Excellent version of a RIS.

Photo of HalfFull
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a large wine glass, Smutty's Imp. pours black with nary a highlight. A half inch of bubbly mocha head sits for a piece then settles to a thin exfoliating cap.

Dark chocolate and semi-burnt malts on the nose, a touch of alcohol. Offers a rich blast of hops when agitated, particularly after some warming. Nice hop malt balance.

Toasted malts seque to the tongue and join the hops as they emerge. Spice and chocolate on the finish. Hoppy and sweet with a full body that lightens a bit as the carbonation diminishes. A bit dry on the finish yet expected given the hop structure. Decent feel and drink, but a bit unilateral in that regard, dry and hoppy, quite robust indeed.

Photo of CHSLBrew
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Enjoyed at my sister's apartment in NYC on the final afternoon of my visit. After a long few days, sharing this bottle with my sister almost put us asleep :D

A-Very black, very opaque, very viscous. This beer is very stout-y. Frothy, thick brown head rises nicely off the pour and faded to sparse bubbles and a thick, dark brown bubble collar.

S-Very fruity, surprisingly bright, along with something oddly herbal. Also a strong hint of roast.

T-Roasty, bitter coffee with interesting touches of fruits. Hop presence seems to push something in that's herbal and earthy. This beer has an interesting flavor. The bottle isn't bad (it's marked as a 2009 bottle), and the beer was certainly delicious, but it had one of the most different stout flavors of all the imperial stouts that I have tasted. That said, different in this case does not mean bad; on the contrary, it's differences is one thing that made it enjoyable for me.

M-Lighter side of quite a full body, while the fruity characters seem to almost lighten the body. Carbonation is low, smooth, creamy.

D-Prety decent. Relatively easy to drink, probably due to some of its lighter-feeling flavors in the profile, while remaining sufficiently complex and heavy to maintain it's RIS designation.

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

A: Black, creamy off white 2 finger head that last the durattion, some lacing remaining when done

S: Will kick your head back! Hops hit me first, lot like a basket of fresh dark and citrus fruit, then aroma turns to dark chocalate, and coffee. Hint of heat also detected

T:Hops and dark fruits strike me, dark malt, coffee, chocalate.

M: very smooth, thick, very pleasant, easy to drink.

D: very high for a 10% offering

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

Thanks to stowehop and adamb84 for this beer in recent trades.

I am looking at my glass from last night of this beast, and am very very impressed with the lacing that remains. It is all down the backside of the glass. This is some of the most impressive stuff ive ever seen. The pour is dark dark brown, with a huge dark mocha head. I poured maybe a bit to vigorously, but the style is notorious for low carb, so go figure. The head has some staying power, and as it slowly recedes, it leaves beautiful lace. Great looking beer.

The nose is of roasted barley, some coffee, and strangely enough, hops. It smells very unique for the style. gonna be interesting

The taste is bitter, and piney. yum, tastes like a blended beer, almost. The hops are present, but the stout takes center stage on this one. some coffee flavors, dark chocolate, roasted barley. Changes as it warms, and more of the choco and coffee flavors come out.

The feel is thick, but not overly so, and not oily at all. great feel.

Due to the 10% nature of this brew, I couldnt (and didnt) drink more than one.

I am excited to see how this cellars, as I have one laying down for the next couple of years.

Photo of Mdog
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black, big brown head.

Smell: Roasted aroma, some chocolate, a little citrus.

Taste: Surprised me in that other than the normal dark chocolate flavor with some sweetness, there was a fair amount of citrus hop flavor in this beer.

Mouthfeel: Not too heavy for a big beer.

Drinkability: The unexpected hoppiness made this one go down quickly.

Picked this up during the last trip to Wisconsin. Pleasantly surprised by the citrus hops in this, it made for a unique tasting stout, almost like a stout-IPA mix.

Photo of bilyboy65
3.6/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hello out there to everyone reading this. This was poured into the recommended pint glass.

A: Well the beer is as black as night, while the head is thick and frothy brown. Not much in terms of lacing and film on the glass, but there is some. Very appetizing to look at.

S: Common stouts with high alcohol. Big coffee and alcohol nose. Some roasted malts in the background.

T: No surprises here. Just as the smell indicates. Bitter coffee and alcohol. However I did just burp and there was a floral hop in that. Seeing how this is my first beer that was an interesting development.

M: Good full body feel with a slight oil trail left behind. You can't see any carbonation because of how black the beer is, but it slightly makes it's presence known here.

D: I think one bottle is enough for one sitting, but I wouldn't be opposed to having it again on a different night. Be a hard press to buy again though.

Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,022 ratings.