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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)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

689 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 689
Hads: 1,190
Avg: 4.07
pDev: 9.83%
Wants: 119
Gots: 147 | FT: 9
Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 05-05-1998

2007 - 10.0%
2009 - 8.9%
2010 - 9.8%
2014 - 9.4%
2015 - 10.5%
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) Alström Bros
Reviews: 689 | Hads: 1,190
Photo of nogoodreason
4.7/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Solid Black. Not even the slightest hint of light can penetrate. A big bubbly, rich brown head arises and falls, leaving only thin carbonated residue on along the top.

Chocolate covered coffee beans, tart cherries, some alcohol all riding on a big roasty wave in the nose. A slightly pine sappish hop presence. Smells fantastic and attractive.

Over-roasted coffee, vanilla beans, dark plums and more tart cherry, a dark, but creamy chocolate presence at the center. Slight floral and citric hops notes when it finishes, followed by a lingering roasted, creamy chocolate taste. Huge.

As it warms, the fruity, vinous aspects become more pronounced. Now chocolate and merlot, with starbuck-esque coffee. The roasted bitterness is tamed by an increasingly floral hoppy finish. Digging around, the floral aspects turn to fruit juice. Sunny D???? A quick bite of alcohol that fades back into the floral presence as I swallow.

Smuttynose calls this a part of their BIG BEER series. They weren't joking, it's a gigantic beer, in flavor first and foremost, but there’s definite alcohol presence. Halfway into the bomber, I could feel it working it's magic. By the time I finished, the room I was in was much too warm.

An opalesque behemoth of a beer. Wow.

Whoa this is 7.1% ABV? No way...

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Photo of bultrey
4.37/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is an excellent imperial stout. It is not a particularly unique interpretation of the style, it is just a classic representation of it. The nose contains Tootsie rolls, fudge, and a winey, port-like character. The taste contains much of the same, excpet the chocolate is much more bitter, very much like an 80% cocoa Belgian chocolate bar. There is also a quite-appealing wine-like character, so this comes across as if you were drinking fine tawny port with dark chocolate, except with a nice, creamy, carbonated mouthfeel. I think the alcohol is well-masked, so this makes for a decent session brew for an imperial stout. I don't know why, but I didn't think Smuttynose would excel at this style, but they have. Bravo.

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Photo of BierReise
3.77/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ebony black with an initially thick tan head that dissipates quickly. Aroma of coffee, cocoa, oats and light hops. Body is full and smooth with a low carbonation and a slight syrup feel. Flavor is of cocoa, espresso, bitter chocolate and roasted oats. A bit of a dry finish and not as sweet as some of my favorite Imperial Stouts. Has a lingering bitterness that I could do without. Overall a good brew but I prefer the sweeter higher abv Imperials.

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Photo of aracauna
4.42/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark body with an OK head. The aroma is VERY roasty. The same follows into the flavor with just enough hops to back up the nice roasted malt backbone. This isn’t an exciting Imperial Stout, it’s just a good beer. I could drink this one on a regular basis. A bit of chocolate rounds out the whole deal, but this isn’t really much different than a typical good stout.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Venom for this bottle

Big and dark with that oh so nice tan head. I smelled lots of hoppy goodness lurking inside with that malty undertones. This beer probably would improve with age as the rough edges showed a bit but man the chocolate and tobacco flavours worked their brewing magic to make you slow down and sip slowly to savour the nuances. Very food friendly with big nasty cheeses, this is a well made big beer that can live comfortably in your cellar.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.37/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured black with slight ruby highlights. The head was tan, almost brown, and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was chocolate and coffee with roasted aromas and dark fruit complexity and a slight alcohol note.

The flavor was smooth with chocolate and coffee and well rounded bittering from both grains and hops. A slight grassy hop flavor was present. The flavors mixed and mingled well in a complex concert on the palate.

The finish was dry with chocolate and coffee lasting pleasantly long into the aftertaste. The body was full...every inch of it.

22 ounce bottle. Other than the aroma, the alcohol does not rear it's head.

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Photo of CBFanWish
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black in colour with a thick tan head. Creamy as it comes. Aroma of toffee, chocolate, coffee, and caramel. The taste followed the smell with the toffee, chocolate and coffee but also with a bit of a hoppy bite. The alcohol is noticable, but, man is it good.

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Photo of euskera
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter..

Black as night as it pours into the glass. Nice tan head with plenty of staying power. Typical RIS aroma, bitter chocolate and roaste espresso with nice malt overtones and just a touch of hops. Taste is delicious, all of the elements in the smell with a smokiness that is quite appealing. A dead-on example of the style and something I'd drink on a regular basis without hesitation..

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Photo of mattcrill
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to wyllder for the chance to sample this tasty brew!

Appearance: Pours thick and black as midnight. A nice brown head develops and maintains reasonably well throughout. No light gets through this bad boy. There is definitely an absence of light and color in this glass.

Smell: Hints of chocolate, cocoa, and espresso. A bit of maltiness pulls through but it ain't much.

Taste: coffee-like in acidity (not a bad thing in my opinion), very creamy with a dry, crisp finish. It has characteristics of baker's chocolate and sweet dried fruits that are present but not overpowering. It reminds me of Guiness in the way that it tastes.

Mouthfeel: very slick and creamy. Minimal carbonation and very heavy.

Drinkability: Lost some points here because I can't imagine having more than one of these. It's a beer that drinks like a meal! It's definitely a sipping beer....one to be savored for sure. Overall, a nice example of the style.

Thanks again to wyllder for this one!

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Photo of mschofield
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark black, topped with a one finger dark chocolate-tan head, leaves broken webs of lacing.
Oily, acrid dark malt aroma, woody, chocolate, touch of dark fruit.
Very "dark" taste, raisin, burnt caramel, coffee-like bitterness, dark chocolate and currant. Chocolate aftertaste, warming.
Full bodied with a creamy mouthfeel.

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Photo of wyllder
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, opaque ruby-brown with a small caramel head. Leaves very little lacing as you go.

Nose is chocolate & alcohol along with dark fruit hints.

Front of the palate is mild, with hints of coffee. By the midsip, a mild bitterness introduces itself along with some of those dark fruits from the nose. Aftertaste moves over to a rather pleasant mocha espresso with perhaps a hint too much alcohol.

Mouthfeel is smooth and carbonation is good for a stout. Has a good body and creaminess to it.

Drinkability suffers somewhat from the alcohol coming through just a bit too strongly IMO.

Overall, a solid offering.


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Photo of Gavage
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black in color with a thick 2" tan head. The aroma is of strong chocolate and roasted malts. Very pleasant indeed. The flavor is a nice balance of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and raisin, with a minor tone of licorice and toffee. The alcohol levels were very light and just added the right flavor to the mix.

The mouthfeel was smooth and slightly creamy at the start with a long mildly dry and partially crispy finish, where most of the flavor components rode the tongue for a while. A great brew and easily drinkable with the flavor and toned-back alcohol levels.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep dark color, full-on blackness, good, toasty tan froth atop.
Aroma is wickedly twisted, rich and darkly delicious, full of anise, espresso, and more, roasty and redolent with all things dark and deadly.
Taste repeats all these things and more, thick and roasty, huge and at-large in the mouth.
A nearly perfect by-the-numbers Imperial Stout, and the numbers are spot-on, though, make no mistake! Yum, I'm saying, as the booze swills around me..yum, I says, and it's a delightful feeling, indeed. A top-notch example of the IS style...can't see a thing wrong with it. Smuttynose did it right, like they always do!
Fullest body, long, infinitely long finish, in a word, wow, no, actually, "yummy, McYumerSon's" will do quite nicely, don't you think?

Thanks again, to the ªth Bierman for this one!

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Photo of cbl2
3.82/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Pours very still, just a hare's breath short of pitch black (a wee bit of ruby pokes through when held to the light). A brown bit of bubbly lines the edge of the glass.


Roasted malts give rise to intense chocolate and fresh brewed coffee.


More carbonated in taste than appearance. Once I got over the shock of carbonation, the familiar flavors of coffee and a faint tinge of chocolate work their way in. This is good, but nothing jumps out to make this a great beer.

As some have stated, this winds up being more of a port with its smoked qualities, than it does an Imperial Stout. Again, good and worth looking into, but somewhat off style.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BuckeyeNation for the trade. Pours a deep dark brown (very nearly black) with a thick dark brown head that dissipated slowly. Decent lacing throughout. The aroma raised my eyebrows it was so roasty, with lots of coffee present. Rich-bodied with a strong roasted character, with coffee, hops and a bit of chocolate in the flavor. It could use a little more sweetness for balance though. The finish is lightly bitter and retains the coffee flavor. Overall this is a good Imperial Stout that simply needs a little more depth to be top shelf stuff.

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Photo of bigbeerdrinka
3.81/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark black hue which no light can be seen through. A decent offwhite chocolate looking head appearance about an inch thick. It laces the glass slightly

Smell: Tones of strong malts, chocolate and coffee hits the nose. A very slight hop aroma is noticed as well.

Taste: This beer hits up front with bittersweet chocolate and coffee. The coffee tones dominate the flavor through the middle of the sip. This beer finishes with a slight hop bitterness and alcohol tone.

Mouthfeel: This beer is thick and viscous, well a great body and the carbonation fits well with the brew..

Drinkability: This beer is very drinkable and well balance, but also it doesn't taste that big..

Overall: This is a great beer BUT IMO it isn't big enough to be considered an Imperial Stout.. It tastes super smooth and has great qualities but in a blind taste test I'd think this was a porter or a stout.. With that being said I had to mark the beer down in taste, because it doesn't fit the style, but if it was labeled under a porter or just a regular stout, the taste score would go up by .5 to 1.0 points...


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Photo of yankeeheel
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours the usual pitch black stout color with a small dark tan head. Very visually appealing for this stout fiend.

Smells of chcolate and coffee.

Super flavorful. Nice amount of coffee is the first thing that crosses my palate. The beer then becomes nicely sweet and chocolate. Lots of candy undertones and milky creaminess. Finishes on a bitter crescendo that leaves you wanting more.

Mouthfeel is quite oily and huge. Tastes like a big stout should.

Me want more. This is a good one to seek out if you want fine examples of the Smutty line.

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Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle, pours black, dark tan head dissolves to a nice tiny bubble film and this one leaves nice lacing. Big and bold Imp stout. Nose of bready yeast and some dark malts. Flavor is burnt malt, black coffee, dark chocolate. dark rum. dry and chalky in the finish, this classy sipper is complex and warming. All stout lovers rejoice- this is a winner. Seek and enjoy.

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Photo of beerluvr
4.37/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a grand, thick brown head with good lacing as it fades over very dark ruby-brown liquid. Fruity yeast and deep roasty barley grabs you right away, then fresh coffee notes appear. A rich depth of malt, roasty tones up front, alcohol and fresh piney hoppiness comes in behind. The finish is burnt malt, thick and tasty, fruity and warming. Very well done and highly recommended!

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Photo of AllThingsNinja
3.92/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 Vintage - The Imp. stout poured jet black, and with a large - but vanishing - tan head. The aroma of chocolate, coffee, and alcohol was near perfect. Unfortunately, the flavors were a bit too acrid with the malt roasting taking too strong of a position. The coffee and chocolate notes were nice, but didn't form a complex sonata. All in all, though this was a well bodied and highly drinkable beer.

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Photo of beerinator
4.02/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very thin dark brown head. Beer is almost pitch black. There is very light retention.

Aroma: Candy bar sweetness in the aroma. Chocolate bitterness makes it's presence well known.

Taste: Bitterness is much acentuated by the dark chocolate. The taste is slightly sour, leaving sourness on the tongue in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is great.

Notes: Great beer. The flavors are super. Sourness and bitterness don't overtake the palate.

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Photo of kfoss99
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

One pint six oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint glass.

Appearance – A small caramel colored head atop a pitch-black body. Head disappeared almost as quickly as it arrived, but did leave some lacing.

Smell – Smells like hops and nothing else until it warms, then alcohol can be detected.

Taste – Well-balanced, hops followed by bitter chocolate all appearing in the finish. Not as hoppy as I remember Old Rasputin and not as dessert-like as I remember Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout.

Mouthfeel – A sharp carbonation settles down. It had a chalky finish with the first few sips.

Drinkability – I’m a big fan of porters, this reminded me of a good porter. The bomber is a good size, you can take your time and enjoy it, it’s not an ale that you’d want to chug with your buddies.

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Photo of Foxman
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It pours a sleek, rich ebony, impassable to puny photons. A finger and a half of spongy light brown head creeps up, then settles gradually to a hilly glen of froth. Sheets and flares of lacing hang firmly on the inside of the glass.

The aroma brings an earthen bittersweet bite of deep roasted malt. Cocoa and coffee swirl softly as cherry and leather drift along as well. An understated hoppy bitterness lingers a short while.

Upon sipping, a thick malt sweetness is truncated by roasted/burnt bitterness and black coffee bitterness. A distant hint of chocolate partners with a cherry note that lays a slight tanginess along the sides of the tongue. The fruity sweetness revisits near the end, soon followed by a lingering flat, dry hops bitterness. The flavor is quite good, but the progression is very swift and finishes quickly.

Between medium and thick bodied, the heavy malt presence starts syrupy, but drains away rapidly and plays a role in shortening the presentation.

I really like the full, dark flavor, but I do wish it lasted longer. Fruit and chocolate always pair well, as they do here, just not for very long. And yet, in spite of a rather premature finish, it comes across very well, and there's certainly no issues with finishing this bomber. And sure, it's there and gone, but that just means you take your next sip that much sooner, and there's something to be said for that, isn't there?

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Photo of Bierman9
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2006 (07JUN06). Still oily dark and opaque. Fine, tan, creamy but thin head. Lacing still attractive here. Roasty aroma, with a smidge of dark fruit and espresso; hops lingering in the background. Solid, solid body, and satiny slick over the tongue. Glides easily over the palate. Immense dark-fruit/roasty aspect in the flavor. Jumps right to the fore and in your face! Choco/coffee bitterness is all over, with the figgy/currant-like notes right beside. Big-ass floral hop characteristics appear and adhere to the insides of the mouth. Lupulins linger long and lovingly....
This bier gets better and better each year.... Must set some aside to cellar and sample later....

Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4.4
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5

*** ***

2004 version (03JUN04) - Still jet-black, but with a creamy, rich tan colored head, which leaves nice lacing. Head lasts a bit, leaving a thin, fine layering of bubbles. Nose is more noticeable now, with lots of roastiness, some sweetness, and a hint of dark fruit. Mouthfeel is right there! Medium-plus body, and velvety smooth over the tongue. Big roasty flavors mingle with some light sweetness and raisin/fig notes. Has a nice, floral hop finish, with a slight smidge of astringency. A much better offering than 2 years ago! Go Smutty!! (4.5/4.0/4.0/4.5/4.0 - 4.15)


*** ***

2002 vintage. Jet black appearance, but head is gone in a flash, with no lace. Some sweetness in the nose, with hints of dark fruit. Wish it were stronger, richer. Body is decent, and has nice tongue-smoothness. Has some coffee-ish flavors (a faint hint of that dark fruit) and a little hop-twang at the end. This is a good bier, but I'd still like more richness, sweetness (even alcohol!) to assert itself. (15JUN02 - 3.5/3.5/4.0/4.5/4.0=3.85)


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Photo of xgrigorix
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Twentytwo ounce brown bottle. No dates.

Dense opaque black. Topped by a thick dark tan head. Some spotty lace is left behind.

Intense espresso notes, hints of dark chocolate, along with some dark fruity notes hiding out in the nose.

Bittersweet chocolate, espresso. A touch of orange & pine leads to a dry finish. Chocolate is left to linger as the throat warms slightly. Flavours of plum & raisin open up as it warms a bit. Medium-full bodied. Moderate carbonation when first poured, quickly becomes quite gentle. Another fine creation from Smuttynose.

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Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 689 ratings.