Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) - Smuttynose Brewing Company
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Ratings: 965 | Reviews: 655 | Display Reviews Only:
3.58/5 rDev -12.5%
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.
05-02-2009 03:55:03 | More by jonziefle
4/5 rDev -2.2%
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.
05-01-2009 23:37:56 | More by taylorhamrick
4.4/5 rDev +7.6%
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.
05-01-2009 20:49:20 | More by bjoyce12
4.03/5 rDev -1.5%
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.
05-01-2009 05:00:20 | More by everetends
3.63/5 rDev -11.2%
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.
04-30-2009 03:56:59 | More by cjgator3
2.48/5 rDev -39.4%
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.
04-30-2009 02:48:52 | More by goatgoat
4.25/5 rDev +3.9%
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.
04-29-2009 21:07:19 | More by ColForbinBC
4.13/5 rDev +1%
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.
04-29-2009 06:10:45 | More by nickfl
4.18/5 rDev +2.2%
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.
04-28-2009 07:02:18 | More by thryn
3.98/5 rDev -2.7%
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.
04-27-2009 00:23:34 | More by Gosox8787
4.25/5 rDev +3.9%
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!
04-25-2009 03:46:32 | More by scottoale
3.83/5 rDev -6.4%
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.
04-25-2009 02:46:27 | More by markskar
2.73/5 rDev -33.3%
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.
04-25-2009 01:52:20 | More by cskollmann
4.28/5 rDev +4.6%
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.
04-24-2009 00:33:16 | More by KeefD
2.83/5 rDev -30.8%
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.
04-23-2009 01:46:34 | More by twelvsies
4.03/5 rDev -1.5%
The label reads "Bottle-conditioned in:" with the "2009" is notched below, and a little additional sticker affixed to the label lists the ABV at 8.9%. The 22-ounce bomber bottle pours rich liquid ebony into a small snifter. The matte-black brew is impervious to even direct sunlight, and a creamy khaki crown of foam rests atop, relaxing only to stick filmy sheets of lacing onto the sides of my glass.
The aroma is hefty and dark at its core with quite a bit of fruity contrast. Licorice, toasted nuts, and chocolatey candied citrus peel greet the nose from the cracking of the crown, and rich, succulent notes of dark, creamy, caramel-laced mocha dominate the hefty profile wafting from my glass.
The taste is mild and darkly roasty with a semisweet chocolate backbone, and sugary-sweet, cocoa-dusted toffee lingers in the aftertaste. Licorice-laced alcohol is present and provides a cooling sting upon the palate as it activates the internal warming factor onboard the drinker. Oily roasted nuts, juicy caramel and mild burnt-grain bitterness become more prominent as the encounter continues, but the drink never veers outside of an admirable balance of mild, delicious flavors.
Smuttynose Imperial Stout is fullish in body with a sizzling snap of active carbonation that helps lighten and crispen the inky-black drink. Even at the "reduced" 8.9% ABV, I defy the mightiest of drinkers to pound a few bombers... but as good as this beer is, I might be tempted to try it myself...
04-19-2009 12:39:25 | More by cvstrickland
3.83/5 rDev -6.4%
Pours a dark, dark black, nice tan head, great lacing. Smells of liquorice, coffee, alcohol, dark fruits, come citrusy hops, Tastes of strong anise, chocolate, some coffee, some dark fruits, some citrusy fruits. Nice moderate bitterness, creamy mouthfeel.
Lots going on here, good RIS all in all. The anise character was out of control, not something i like in my stouts. It does diminish as the beer warms. I would love to lay one of these down to age. Not bad for the price.
04-19-2009 01:34:01 | More by bum732
4.47/5 rDev +9.3%
Thanks to Cakanator & MrRetardedMonkey for each sending a bottle of this my way. Love me a good RIS & I've heard & read plenty of the Smuttynose prowess, so I'm hoping for at least a ground-rule double here. And the pitch...
The beer is black. Really, what else would a good Russian look like? Almost no head. Smells great, with scent slung from the bottle like a catapult stone, strong sweetness.
Chocolate comes out in this in the best, most non-offensive way possible (see: the Tootsie Roll that is Rogue Chocolate Stout), that is, playing along with the other ingredients rather than making them whine like civilian pukes. There is a touch of hop here too, rare for me to pull any of that out of an RIS. Otherwise it's plain old good. Heavy & direct without being over filling, thick without cloying. The ABV is deceptive, as seems to be case with any good RIS, I can't even taste it. I could down a few of these, easy.
Excellent. Lives up to its pedigree & has that nice hoppy twist to it that reminds of my first love, Darkness. Glad to have another bottle down below that I'm going to let sit for a spell to see what happens to it.
EDIT: as it warmed, the taste improved even more. Changed taste score upwards & moved from an A- to an A. That's fair. Great, great beer.
04-18-2009 03:50:42 | More by maximum12
4.08/5 rDev -0.2%
Poured from a bottle into a tulip. Consumed at a tasting with a handful of fellow BA's. Review is from tasting notes.
Pours pitch black. Two fingers of creamy chocolate head.
Very hoppy Imperial Stout. The hops definitely outweigh the roasted malts, though it comes pretty close to a nice balance between the two. Pretty interesting combination, as I'm sure many, like myself, expected the balance to swing towards the roast.
Big, sticky, creamy mouthfeel. Very thick. Texture is one of the things I love about Imperial Stouts. This is a pretty interesting beer. It's more hoppy than roasty in a Storm King kind of way for me. Pretty good stuff. Hopefully I'll be able to secure a bottle of my own.
04-17-2009 06:09:41 | More by Gyle41386
4.1/5 rDev +0.2%
" Bottle conditioned in 2008"
A- Pours a thick black with a solid foamy tan head.
S- Sweet and boozy. Plenty of caramel and diacetyl and a hint of sweet chocolate.
T- Sweet dark chocolate maltiness, plenty of alcohol, some burnt coffee. Grassy/piney hops throughout, really gives the brew a nice balance.
M- Smooth and full bodied, carbonation is just right.
D- Excellent! For a 10% ABV Impy stout this brew drinks very easy. Plenty of alcohol but it doesn't burn on the way down. Flavor profile is very well balanced, not too syrupy sweet and not obnoxiously hopped. Another winner from Smutty.
04-10-2009 20:08:22 | More by JayNH
3.53/5 rDev -13.7%
The aroma is special. It's very hoppy (pine) even for an Imperial Stout. Also it is very sweet and toasted. The appearance is nice with a large foamy head and a very dark brown color. The flavor is like the aroma but also astringent. The palate is smooth. Overall a nice experience and one I would drink again.
04-10-2009 05:53:15 | More by nick76
4.5/5 rDev +10%
Draught @ Smuttynose brewery. 2008 vintage, about 4 months old.
Pours thick, viscous opaque black with a creamy, one finger head.
Nose is sweet and roasty, cocoa and a bit of citrus hops flavor poking through. Great nose.
Taste is big, rich cocoa and coffee, a bit sweet and very smooth. Round. Oily hops emerge towards the middle, green, but never dominating - nicely balancing the richness of the cocoa sweetness. Bit of citrus. Finish is lingering, palate-coating, dry.
Body is thick and heavy, smooth but with enough carbonation to keep the palate refreshed. Fanastic beer.
Defied my every expectation. Huge beer, insanely hoppy, and yet I couldn't stop drinking and drinking. Top notch.
04-09-2009 00:00:50 | More by JohnQVegas
3.55/5 rDev -13.2%
Hey, it randomly got cold for a few days. Time for an imperial stout
A - pours beautifully. Black with the maybe the faintest hint of dark brown when held up to light. Lovely tan head and great lacing. Word up
S - I got a huge hit of piny hops on the pour, and even sitting here typing with the beer a foot from my nose I can still smell that. Going in closer reveals some fruity notes and faint hints of roasted malt/coffee/dark chocolate/your favorite stereotypical imperial stout aroma here. Enjoyable, but I love piny hops, so YMMV
T - going in, I'm still massively hit by hops. They're upfront, in the middle, and definitely at the finish. Gets a little grapefruity toward the middle, but the pine definitely sticks around. Again, there are faint hints of the stereotypical imperial stout flavors, but they're barely there for me. Seriously hoppy. Perhaps too hoppy for this style (this coming from a hop lover and a dude who really enjoys Sweetwater Happy Ending), but whatever, it's still good
M - not as heavy as I imagined. Medium bodied with a good bit of carbonation. In addition to the bitter aftertaste, the beer is actually quite dry. Interesting, and not the sort of incredibly silky mouth coating RIS-feel I've gotten used to. Not a bad thing by any means, just different
D - this isn't a bad beer by any means, and I think I'm getting more of the roasty action as it warms up. Still, I think this is the first Smuttynose I haven't been like "FUCK YEAH" with (it only came to GA a couple of months ago). I've had some hoppy RISs, but this thing is intense. As a hop lover that's ok, but I wasn't expecting it with this beer. Same thing with the dryness. Regardless, I shall finish the bomber, but I'm not sure I'd go out of my way to snag this over another Smuttynose. This does nothing to diminish my thoughts of how awesome those dudes are, and I'll probably try the next release and see if anything changes
04-08-2009 02:17:35 | More by ruckzuck
3.98/5 rDev -2.7%
Sampled through limesmut and Good/Bad/Ugly BIF. This is the 2007 vintage.
Black beer with a good sized brown head that falls after a bit.
Smell is sweet with a black currant and chocolate aroma. Black coffee and patent malt. Perceptible ethanol fumes.
The taste of this one starts out sweet and malty with a patent malt aftertaste that starts chocolate and ends bitter. Little bit of black currant in this but really this is a patent malt beer.
Mouthfeel is good.
Pretty easy to drink though not the most flavorful RIS I have had. Needs more complex flavor. Worth trying though.
04-07-2009 04:43:29 | More by Zorro
2.93/5 rDev -28.4%
Pours jet black with a light brown bubbly melted chocolate ice cream like head. Some decent lacing as well.
I could smell the pine cone hops the minute I popped the cap. Wonderful aroma, if that is your thing, really drowns out the other coffee/cocoa elements. Too much.
This one is all about the hops. Huge pine notes here, with everything taking a deep backseat to this. There is deep roasted malt somewhere, some coffee and bitter chocolate, and some light sweetness, as well as a blackstrap molasses twang, but all of that gets hip-checked aside by the hops. Warming alcohol kicks in at the end.
Lighter in body than I expected, but still fairly mouth coating.
This was ultimately a drain pour for me. What a drag. Easily one of the worst RIS' that I've had, and probably one of the worst I've ever had from Smutty -- a shocker. So hop dominant that I had trouble getting to other flavors. Could have easily been an IPA mixed with a cup of expresso (complete with the lemon twist). This is one and done.
04-06-2009 12:28:28 | More by OtherShoe2
Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 965 ratings.