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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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1,011 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,011
Reviews: 661
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.27%
Wants: 119
Gots: 104 | 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)
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: 1,011 | Reviews: 661 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

rpstevens, Jul 23, 2009
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

Jmamay22, Jul 22, 2009
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.

smcolw, Jul 19, 2009
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%.

cbutova, Jul 13, 2009
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.

MbpBugeye, Jul 12, 2009
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.

deg, Jul 06, 2009
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.

thekevlarkid, Jul 06, 2009
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.

bbeerman, Jul 04, 2009
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.

HalfFull, Jun 30, 2009
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.

CHSLBrew, Jun 29, 2009
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

bcastine, Jun 28, 2009
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.

mikecharley, Jun 28, 2009
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.

Mdog, Jun 27, 2009
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.

bilyboy65, Jun 25, 2009
Photo of Buebie
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

If I remember correctly, I picked this up from Philbe311 in a trade.
This being a 2009 bottle.

Poured form a bomber into a pub glass. The pour produces a generous 2+'' brown foamy head. Receeding to leave sticky lace drapes around the glass.
The color is black, non-transparent.

Aroma is of pine, malted milk balls, cocoa powder and a nuttyness.

Mouthfeel is thick and oily with carbonation up front, falling back and becomming quite creamy.

Taste is pretty hoppy and probably one of the more hoped up RIS' I've had. Not as hoppy though as Darkness.
There is a bit of toasted oak woodyness in there with a bourban lace.
Coffee, dark roasty malt, cocoa nibs, bitter chocolate, smoked peat, and hops carrying on from aroma ino pine and bittering alongside the robust dark roasty grain flavors.
This is not exactly hot, I'm not sure if this is a bourbon oak type thing, or heat from alcahol. It comes off in flavor though as a bourbon barrel flavor.

Some of the bittering and bourbon alcahol heat cut down on drinkability a bit. Age will definatly not hurt this one. But drinking a frsh bottle has me happy I am able to get hops in aroma and taste.
An interesting take on the style, I'd definatly buy one of these.

Buebie, Jun 24, 2009
Photo of oakbluff
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 vintage bomber. Courtesy of Hogtown Harry (I think?). Anyhoo- time to drink this puppy. Pours ebony black- no sunshine through this one. Minimal beige head, intermittent lacing. Nose- strong anise, some powdered chocolate and dark roast. Taste- hoppier then expected given the age- licorice again, dark chocolate and dark fruits. Oxidation is starting to show, but still a mighty fine beverage. Finish still packs a hop wallop and is very dry. Drinkability is almost too good with some age on it. Nice stuff- would like to try fresh.

oakbluff, Jun 21, 2009
Photo of BarrelO
3.15/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured into a mug. Bottle conditioned in 2009.

A: Nice and black. A vigorous pour creates a sizable head.

S: A ton of citrusy hops. What the hell? This doesn't fit in with the style at all. Chocolate and roasted malts combine with it to create an aroma reminiscent of roasted vegetables.

T: Again, the hops throw everything out of whack. They combine with the malt to create that pesky roasted vegetable flavor. Not at all what I was looking for.

M: It at least feels like a stout. No trace of alcohol.

D: What a bizarre beer. I get the feeling that this would be pretty good after some time in the cellar to allow the hops to die down, but I'm opposed in principle to beers that have to be aged before they're any good. I won't be visiting this again unless someone presents me with a bottle with at least a year or two on it.

BarrelO, Jun 20, 2009
Photo of u2carew
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A) Opaque. Pours with a two finger , creamy brown head. Great lacing.
S) Some floral notes - hops aroma? Rather amazing hop aroma. Very Robust. Chocolate.
T) Alcohol effervensence lightly mixed in with cocoa and mild floral hop bite. Earthy notes.
M) Gritty. Full bodied. Fairly smooth. Some tannin feel.
D) Delicious. Love the combo of hops and stout - not the typical. Pour me another!

u2carew, Jun 15, 2009
Photo of CrellMoset
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle from Hop & Wine in Richmond, VA, poured into a 22 oz. brandy snifter. 2008 vintage.

Appearance: Pours a dark, deep, chocolate brown body, capped by a good one-finger of fizzy cocoa head of average-retention. Though the retention isn't great, the collar is foamy, delicate, and persistent, as is the thin, light dusting of snow atop the surface of the beer. For the so-so head retention, the lacing is actually pretty nice - sticky blobs and

Aroma: Lightly peaty, with slight green, earthy, lightly roasted coffee, a few coffee overtones, but mostly just lightly roasted, earthy toasty notes. Mild but pleasant.

Taste: A really balanced RIS, subtle for the style but very pleasant. A nice smoky undertone to the very toasty malt base provides an interesting element. The coffee and cocoa undertones - typical of your RIS - are about equally prominent but both really not too prominent in this one, though light, springy, green notes are present as well. A slight amount of alcohol heat brings up the rear, though I hear this one needs at least a year to cool off (I'm right at under a year atm) - it's not distracting, but it's definitely present. A few faint fruity notes - perhaps cherries, or maybe peaches - are present as well, along with the faintest hint of nuttiness.

Mouthfeel: What was initially very smooth becomes a little less so as the drink progressed, but all in all this was a largely smooth, thick but not really all too thick, moderately carbonated experience. Very, very nice, and it complimented the flavors well.

Drinkability: A very interesting RIS. A little hot still, even after nearly a year of cellaring (80% of that in the closet, 20% in a 55 degree fridge), which gives it - when combined with the earthy and smoky presences - almost a bourbon-esque feel in places. The lack of coffee and chocolate malts is refreshing (as that seems to be where a lot of RIS producers go these days) and allow a few other interesting fruity, nutty, earthy notes to shine through. If this one were a little less hot, it'd be really something.

CrellMoset, Jun 13, 2009
Photo of mirish72
3.25/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I picked this up and I really wanted to like it, but it just didn't do it for me.

Nice pour, jet black with a nice head, even had a sweet Smutty snifter to put it in. From the first sip, I found it to be big & hoppy, but too sweet for my liking. I like RIS to have a bite, but a dry, crisp bite, not one that got sweeter with every taste.

I have tried a bunch of the Smutty big beers and this one just didn't make the cut, especially compared to some of the other I have sampled.

mirish72, Jun 09, 2009
Photo of alcstradamus
2.63/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

A--Black in color with two full fingers of head in my 25 oz. snifter. Decent lacing left behind

S--Wow, huge hops for an imperial stout. Almost smells like a super malty DIPA with spices. One of the most unique noses I have encountered, although I can't say I like it too much.

T--Very tobacco-like taste....far too much in my opinion. Its like chewing on a sweet cigar. Some vanilla and caramel in the background. I can't say this beer is bad because it isn't, but it sure isn't any better than average.

M--Medium bodied with a bit of creaminess

D--No, this is not drinkable at all really. Far too much tobacco sweetness, it is really off putting.

alcstradamus, Jun 08, 2009
Photo of Overlord
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours black with a big bubbling tan head. Nice viscous appearance, and it's good to see some brewers still carbonate their beers.

Smells like ... bitter pine hops? Whoa. Also some roasted malt and coffee in there, but mostly hops.

It's the hoppiest stout I've ever had. Wow. Bordering on an obliteration of the style. Roasted malt background, some bitter chocolate and bitter coffee ... there isn't much sweetness here, as overriding it all is a big hops presence.

It's actually a little too much, but not a bad beer. Thanks for the trade!

Overlord, Jun 06, 2009
Photo of BirdFlu
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is, by far, the hoppiest stout I've ever come upon.. it smells like hops dipped in chocolate (if there ever was such a thing).. pours super dark with a slight light-tan head.. doesn't look too viscous though, a more fluid pour. Taste is very complex. Very bitter, but its a hoppy bitterness more than a dark chocolate bitterness (which is also present) like most bitter imperial stouts. And its a very floral hop, very tree-like. Its sort of weird tasting, really. Its very layered and sort of strange, but good. Quite viscous mouthfeel with fairly smooth carbonation. Drinkability is questionable.. its definitely interesting and good, but I could see the taste getting overbearing. Its like what you'd get if you made a half & half with an extremely sweet DIPA with a very thick, roasty RIS. Good, but I wouldn't go out of my way to buy it again.

BirdFlu, Jun 06, 2009
Photo of OlieIPA
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another generous offering from the man...the legend...Mauerhan!

A: Poured thick as F$#k! The blackest of black too! The head and lacing properties were above average at best, and overall, an average looking RIS.

S: All can pick up is dark malts and a very subtle fruity profile...nothing else.

T: A nice burnt coffee and chocolate malt flavor with sugary sweet nuances. This sweetness could be some sort of brown sugar mixed in with a dark fruit, but I'm not sure. Victor put it perfectly, "It's wanting to have that dark fruity character, but then backs off". It kind of reminds me of a sweeter version of Ten Fidy, due to the burnt and charcoal quality. Alcohol is nearly invisible.

M: Light on the carbonation side, but just enough to invigorate the all the flavors on the palate.Nothing too special though.

D: I really enjoyed this brew. The flavor profile is extremely well-balanced and smooth, and I can hardly notice the 10% ABV.

Overall: A try it beer. Cheers!

OlieIPA, Jun 03, 2009
Photo of kels
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bomber of this in Blacksburg, VA to share back home where it isn't available. Split with bamadog the other evening.

Appearance: Poured into the tulip a seriously dark brown, more or less black, with a short, tannish, sticky-looking head and lots of lacing. Head doesn't hang around more than a few moments before fading into the completely opaque liquid.

Smell: Surprisingly hoppy aromas (maybe simcoe?), slight coffee and some crunchy, toasty malts come through. Not too big of a nose, but definitely interesting in depth.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Taste is full of bitter, dry-roasted coffee, enormous hop-presence that's got that cat-piss dimension (as awful as it sounds, it really isn't bad), sticky pine and hot alcohol. Feel is very creamy and brightly carbonated all at once.

Drinkability: The alcohol is a little hot and the hops are a little sharp to call this highly drinkable, yet the taste and feel are both very enjoyable. Moderate at best for me.

kels, May 31, 2009
Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,011 ratings.