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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)

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965 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 965
Reviews: 655
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.27%
Wants: 110
Gots: 98 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.80% ABV

Availability: Fall

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

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 05-05-1998)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 965 | Reviews: 655 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bruachan

District of Columbia

4.08/5  rDev -0.2%

it's appearance is...well...that of an RIS. the head on top is nice, resiliant

a bit of smoke finds its way from the glass but it is far outshone by sweetness and bitter chocolate. there's a suggestion of oak, but i won't rule out the possibility that i might be imagining that. rich, roasty. some brown sugar, as well. hop aroma is minimal

ooh, that's powerful. bitter, sweet, astringent, bitter, hot (of the warming variety). i definintely get oak here. no coffee or anything along those lines to speak of.

i liked it, but little sets it apart from others. this brings me to a recurring debate, however: is that so bad? it seems a feature unique to the US brewing scene that different is inherently good. over the pond adherence to style is a little more meaningful...

nevertheless, good brew

10-10-2007 02:37:08 | More by bruachan
Photo of Beertron


3.73/5  rDev -8.8%

Alright, time for a big RIS on my first official day of winter. Label tells me that it was bottled (and bottle-conditioned) in 07, as well as showcasing the depths of the channels around Smuttynose Island. Poured from bomber to pint glass...

A - Large, inch-high mocha-colored head with small, tight bubbles which dissipate fairly quickly. This brew is black-brown, being as close to opaque as I've ever seen in a brew. For kicks, I held the glass directly to a light bulb and still couldn't see a damn thing through it. It's dark.

S - Though it shows a lot of the scents one should expect from an Impy -- such as coffee, sorghum and burnt (not caramelized) sugar -- I'm most surprised by the prominent nose of citrus, particularly orange blossoms. It also shows some signs of anise (or, more specifically, black licorice) and some strong whiffs of dark, dark, DARK, chocolate (I'm talkin' 85% or better here). You can also smell the alcohol in a big way.

T - Initially, this beer seems a bit light on flavor for an imperial stout but I'm realizing that this is more due to a lack of sweetness than anything else. It's excessively bitter, very much like that of dark chocolate, but without a serious chocolaty flavor. The bitterness is strong and reminiscent of a dark-roasted coffee...Central American for sure. A burnt sugar flavor ends up prominent in the end, as does that black licorice detected in the nose. This all ends up combining for a flavor not unlike a dark, caramel latte. However, there is barely a detectable level of sweetness involved here. This is about as bitter of a stout as I've ever had. Between that and the heavy prominence of alcohol, this reminds me of scotch more than any beer I've ever had.

M - It actually feels a bit light at the outset but, eventually, a strong bitterness invades and causes saliva output to go into overdrive. Additionally, the alcohol is more-than-perceived here, adding to the overall tongue-assault.

D - A tough category...I mean, how many Imperial Stouts can a person handle in one sitting? The high-alcohol profile and flavor limit this slightly, while the strong, dark bitterness makes it pleasant, food-friendly and slightly heavy, all at the same time. I finished a bomber just fine, but my tongue is screaming for some sweetness.

O - This is a strong, strong beer. I certainly couldn't drink many but this sucker makes for an excellent dessert beer (and probably a dessert in and of itself). The excessive bitterness (non-hop related), along with a high-profile alcohol, make it a unique, albeit tough-to-swallow, brew. It's damn good, just a bit harsh.

F - Ahh, food. This is one of those beers that showcases beer's full range of food pairings. It won't be friendly to much in the food world, but what it does go well with are things that are impossible to pair with any other beverage. Take this alongside any dessert that is heavy with dark chocolate and caramel flavors. It will also complement the darkest fruits you can imagine, such as figs, raisins, and black currants. A long-aged, acidic cheddar will provide a perfect contrast, but it won't marry well with any other cheeses. The few things that this beer would go well with will be near-perfection. Everything else is out the window. However, this would go perfect with a nice cigar after a long dinner.

10-02-2007 05:58:58 | More by Beertron
Photo of horshack7


5/5  rDev +22.2%

Appearance: Poured into a snifter very dark with a dark tan rocky head. Light could not possibly pass through this glass of wonderful darkness.

Aromas: Tremendous malt notes with a burnt hop aroma. Chocolate notes left and right. Nice mild coffee notes. The aromas are actually quite balanced with this style of beer.

Taste: Wow this one packs one incredibly lethal punch thats so great. Burnt hop notes dance around the pallate. It's very robust and sweet yet balanced between the maltiness, coffee notes and hops. The mouthfeel is real smooth and silky very much like melted dark chocolate.

Notes: This one is perfect for any cold winter night and not too shaby for a cool fall night. In fact the colder the night the better it can warm up the coldest of nights. I definately will have a stock of this beauty for the winter. I'm contemplating giving this masterpiece from Smuttynose fives across the board. Should I dare yes I do dare and will. For all those who adore Russian Imperial stouts this is for you Prost.

09-30-2007 01:51:25 | More by horshack7
Photo of objectivemonkey


4.58/5  rDev +12%

Bottled 2006, 22 oz., Big Beer Series, the label a cool navigational chart.

Into a chalice, pours a near perfect black, just slight browning around the edges on top and bottom, an aggressive pour yeilding a slow forming dark tan head that sticks around for a minute, then recedes, leaving just a thin film and spotty lacing.

The aroma and taste are heavy on everything delicious. There is rich chocolate and coffee, licorice, a fantastic citrus hopping with fine piney oils, and dark fruity tones, roasty and toasty. This is one loaded beer, fully of flavor. The mouth is thick, creamy smooth, just enough carbonation with the fantastic bittering, a nice little warming, great mouth to go with a fantastic taste.

Its one of those wonderful things in really big beers where no part goes too big, too over the top, the balance is right, the intensity is right, its really a fantastic experience.

09-13-2007 03:52:10 | More by objectivemonkey
Photo of dogger6253


3.93/5  rDev -3.9%

Pitch black color with a mocha head, really foamy. Lots of lacing left behind, head drops to about 1/4 inch.

Darkest of fruit scents - raisins, plums and grapes. Also smell chocolate, not much depth in the aroma; pleasant, but average.

Strongly bitter taste, like unsweetened chocolate with bits of hops. There are bits of plum and raisin there, but they kind of get buried by the upfront bitterness. A very roasted flavor, really earthy and burnt. Bits of alcohol in the mix.

Heavy bodied, but tasted flat, no carbonation. Heavy alcohol too. I'd say this beer is not good for everybody, but it's great for me.

09-08-2007 15:54:20 | More by dogger6253
Photo of OldTex29


4.45/5  rDev +8.8%

2007 Big Beer series. 22 oz bomber poured into a glass of some sort.

Appearance: Black as Hell. Deep, dark black, with a good amount of light brown lacing.

Smell: My nose isn't the best, but I detect strong fruit-like notes with a not-insignificant roasted-malt smell in the background.

Taste: What a beer. Roasted malts predominate. Some chocolate, coffee, and a good amount of hop bitterness are present as well.

Mouthfeel: Exactly what I'd want in an imperial stout. Thick, but not overly thick, like a beautiful woman with 36 C's and birthing hips who nevertheless doesn't have an ounce of excess fat on her. Very smooth as well.

Drinkability: This is a beer I could drink all winter. Not a beer for fast drinking; rather, this is a beer for savoring. I recommend sipping this beer in front of a roaring fire while the snow piles up outside. Bonus points if you have a golden retriever curled up around your feet while you discuss the finer points of Salterian political theory with a drinking companion.

09-08-2007 01:41:12 | More by OldTex29
Photo of liddytime


4.72/5  rDev +15.4%

Just popped open this 22 0z. bomber picked up about 6 months ago from Gary's in Portsmouth.

A: Jet black, like motor oil!

S: Sweet toffee with a pleasant alcohol smell.

T: Pure, liquid heaven! An explosion of chocolate, vanilla and port flavor! The hops definitely sneak in towards the end, but the bitterness is well balanced.

M: Very smooth and creamy.

D: This is one of my all-time favorite RI Stouts. If you are a fan of the style, you should really seek one of these babies out. I wish they would make this a year-round release. Nice work Smutty!

09-01-2007 00:41:33 | More by liddytime
Photo of Rainintheface


3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

22oz bottle---2007 Bottling. It's 1:00 in the afternoon, maybe a little early for an Imperial Stout. Let's find out.

A: dark black, oil change black with a two finger coffee/mocha head that lingers forhalf the glass

S: chocolate, coffee frappe and roasted malt

T: fresh roasted coffee, chocolates. coffee bitterness near end with mocha aftertaste

M: sticky mouthfeel, full body and creamy. warming alcohol presence

D: a sipper for sure. A decent Imperial Stout.

It's kind of cool for late Aug. A good day for a big beer like this.

08-21-2007 17:35:10 | More by Rainintheface
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev -3.4%

Bottle courtesy of Hogtownharry: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a medium foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of bitter roasted malt with some coffee notes is interesting. Taste is dominated by some roasted malt, which are quite bitter with some dry coffee notes. I thought the taste was a bit too dry generally and some sweetness to balance the dryness would have been good. Body is quite full with some good carbonation and no alcohol was discernable.

08-15-2007 20:12:04 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of mcallister


3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

What I look for in an RIS. Dense still midnight, pitch black. Mocha head is thick and two fingers yet fades quickly into a layer of molten foam and sticky lace.

Nice aromas of cocoa, dark chocolate, mollasses, barley, vanilla yogurt covered raisins, alcohol, black currant, with a slight vegetal aroma.

Hard to give a 3.5 for taste over a 4 but had to be done. A solid RIS mind you. Not as complex and the nose would indicate, still big and very chalky dry. Full of roasted cocoa barley, with black and red currants. Gooey mollasses and other dark fruits. Bone dry, hints of alcohol, with a moderate to slightly high carbonation that hurt mouthfeel some.

08-12-2007 19:03:54 | More by mcallister
Photo of Bierguy5


4.1/5  rDev +0.2%

22 oz. bottle, 2006 edition. Thanks to mcallister for bringing over for one of our bi-weekly (or so) tastings. Pitch black, ebony color. Tan foamy head disappears rather quickly.

Roasty aroma, followed by a ton of cocoa powder. Dark fruit, and chocolate in the nose as well. Very nice smelling beer. Maybe even some dark bread in the background.

Roasty, and a bit of sweetness up front. Lots of dark chocolate and cocoa. More milk chocolate comes out as it warms. Some dark fruits remain.

A bit warming. Not quite as thick and chewy as I like, but I dug the chocolately flavors. Good body and carbontaion. Enjoyable.

08-10-2007 02:51:22 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of DavidSeanNJ

New Jersey

4.47/5  rDev +9.3%

Poured from a bomber into a standard pint glass.

A- Black as midnight- beautiful tan head- carbonation- lacing throughout half of the glass.

S- Roasted coffee beans, creamy dark chocolates, malts, alcohol, hops.

T- Surprised by the mouthful of hops that I got on my first sip- really hit my taste buds hard- mix that in with the chocolate- malts- and huge roasted espresso/cofffee bean taste.

M- Very thick- oily texture. Overwhelming complexity.

D- Surprisingly high for such a big beer. Warning: this one is extremely filling.

I absolutely loved this. I am a hop fanatic, so this RIS had all of the right qualities that I love- Creamy, Choclately, Hoppy- done VERY well.

Smutty has a winner here.

08-05-2007 14:48:58 | More by DavidSeanNJ
Photo of andrewm190

North Carolina

3.65/5  rDev -10.8%

As black as the BeerAdvocate background, it gets no darker, which is the way I like it. However, there is zero head, and the millimeter that was present, quickly vanishes.

Smell is thick with malt and chocolate. even a little coffee, but its faint, and the bottle's label helps point it out.

Extremely thick, another quality I am partial to. Extremely chocolaty, perhaps too much. The malts and everything else is overridden by it.
The more I drink the less enthused, although I started out extremely excited
Its good, but its not great. If you like chocolaty beers, like a Mackeson triple stout, you'll find this enjoyable.

08-01-2007 03:31:28 | More by andrewm190
Photo of TurdFurgison


3.93/5  rDev -3.9%

I had this on tap at the Blind Tiger Ale House in New York City, served in a gobletish glass. The appearance was dark brown black, with chocolate milk colored but thin foam. The aroma was rich with roasted malts and a little bit of chocolate. I guess I'd say the flavor was rich too (it was), roasty and burnt malts, but it was a little more bitter and significantly less sweet than my favorite imperial stouts. Thick enough to coat your tongue with flavor, but the bitterness of the flavor results in a deduction on drinkability from this reviewer.

07-24-2007 03:02:55 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of timtim

District of Columbia

4.1/5  rDev +0.2%

dark - almost black with a dark brown head that shrunk but didn't go right away and left nice lace... nose is of hops, chocolate, coffee, toffee, sugar, and malt... taste smooth and almost the same as nose, but hops weren't prevalent as much... very drinkable... goes down easily... no abv on bottle, but i wonder seeing as this is an imperial stout with minimal boozy kick... i'll have another please!

07-13-2007 01:46:18 | More by timtim
Photo of mountdew1

New Hampshire

3.65/5  rDev -10.8%

Poured into a tulip pint glass. Very nice very dark brown color with a very dark brown head. The head was nice and sticky, clung to the sides of the glass for a while. Aroma started off as sweet like brown sugar with oatmeal cookie scents. Taste was slightly bitter, but also has hints of chocolate and sugar. Nicely balanced. The beer was slightly sticky in the mouth which was nice. The bitterness lingered on the tounge and in the mouth for too long detracting from the overall mouthfeel, but beyond that was a solid stout.

07-10-2007 00:29:19 | More by mountdew1
Photo of EStreet20

New Jersey

4.18/5  rDev +2.2%

2007 version, giving it a go fresh.

22 ounce brown bomber bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Opaque black in color with a two finger tan head. Head bubbles around the edges but stays nicely, floating atop the brew.

S - Smells of some roasty chocolate malts.

T - Taste is very nice. A bit of roasty flavors. Subtle smoke flavors over a nice mix of bitter and sweet flavor of dark chocolate. Good balance with the alcohol fairly hidden in the taste, but providing some warming going down.

M - Good full body in the mouth.

D - Definitely a winner as far as a sipper with some complex flavors. Looking at my review from last year's edition when fresh it looks like that roasty flavor is again providing a nice complement to the dark chocolate-like flavors.

06-25-2007 04:01:13 | More by EStreet20
Photo of BRoss242


4.33/5  rDev +5.9%

22oz. bomber poured into an Imperial pint glass.

A- Pours dark as the night with a thin beige colored head that quickly disappears. Leaves a good layer of lacing in my pint glass.

S- Lot's of roasted malt with a hint of bitter coffee and some chocolate.

T- Again lot's of roasted malt and bitter coffee, with some chocolate,caramel, and some sort of fruitiness that I can describe at the time but it's there.

M- I really enjoy the mixture of bitterness and sweetness in this beer.

D- I think this beer is well balanced and very drinkable. For a 10%beer the alcohol was hidden very well. If I can get my hands on some more of this I would love drinking it again.

06-22-2007 00:54:50 | More by BRoss242
Photo of YankChef


4.22/5  rDev +3.2%

22 oz bomber poured into chalice, no date but it was released in early january.

Appearance: deep dark charcoal like black with a dark cream colored head that is very thin.

Smell: smells of sweet oats and breadiness. Subtle aromas of vanilla and mystery dried fruit.

Taste: ver rich and creamy upfront with a strong roasted malt flavor of oats, maple. Then quickly fades to a strong bitter hop bite, linger flavor of pickled cornichons.

Mouthfeel: Very full-bodied and creamy, a meal in a glass. carbonation is medium, though i would say somewhat high for a RIS

Overall: A very tasty and complex RIS, the head brewer at smuttynose recommends letting this one sit for about 6 months which i did and i would say it could go even longer to let the hop bite mellow out a bit more. Still a very tasty RIS, well done smutty

06-21-2007 03:43:59 | More by YankChef
Photo of umustdrink


4.1/5  rDev +0.2%

22 oz. bottle (2007): ~$5
Bomber → Tulip

A - Deep black color that lets no light through. Poured myself a giant head, rocky with small bubbles and medium brown in color, slowly fades to a thin film with a few thick patches. Lacing occurs in large thin sheets, then small dots as it warms.

S - Dark raisin fruit, very bitter chocolate and a bit of creaminess in the background. Some alcohol is detectable. Smell is very sharp, almost more like a porter.

T - Starts thick and creamy, quickly becomes intensely bitter but only for an instant. Next comes a bitter hoppy bite and some chocolatey coffee flavors with some warm alcohol. Finish is bitter and chocolatey, slightly oily.

M - Medium to thick consistency with minimal carbonation.

D - Overall this is a very good RIS, with a much hoppier taste than most RIS's. This was a very inexpensive bottle, so I'd say its definitely worth picking up if you can.

06-17-2007 23:50:48 | More by umustdrink
Photo of mcarroll10177


3.73/5  rDev -8.8%

A- dark as night with the classic coffee colored head. Tons of lacing on the glass

S- burned malts heavy in the nose follow by alcohol

T- a bit over the top of the roasted/ burned flavors for my liking. I would have like to see a bit more to the taste than that. Not bad

M- thick like a RIS should be

D- a sipper for sure and a beer that I would try again. It loses points with the over the top burned malts however.

06-16-2007 17:16:49 | More by mcarroll10177
Photo of Bighuge


4.6/5  rDev +12.5%

Appearance: Pitch black. Thin but retentive brown head. Lace is moderate in amount and comes in rings.

Aroma: Mocha, java, coffee, chocolate, black licorice, tar oils and tobacco. Great fucking nose.

Taste: Bold flavors. Anise oil and hop oil mingle nicely. Dark, bittersweet chocolate. Roasted, charred and blackened malts. Dark currants. Great bitterness throughout.

Mouthfeel: Medium full body. Silky and smooth. Slight alcohol attributes. Though it flows nicely and easily for a beer of this magnitude.

Drinkability: This is one great Imperial Stout. And what a bargain at 3.99 a bomber. You gotta be kidding me?!?! Bring it on. I'll take advantage of that next time I see and stock my cellar with a few of these bad boys.

06-13-2007 04:14:43 | More by Bighuge
Photo of mshallah

New Hampshire

4.22/5  rDev +3.2%

22oz bomber bottle with a map of the islands off the New Hampshire coast for a label. Jet black and inky. Color sticks to the glass with every swirl. Head of many different sized bubbles calms to a ring of tiny bubbles. Aromas of cocoa, vanilla bean, bourbon and dried dark fruits. Flavors are all robust and in your face. Dark bitter chocolate, vanilla bean, bourbon, licorice, espresso and dried plums. Starts dryish and leads into a very tangy finish that begins a little past mid-point and lingers into a long aftertaste. Wow. Big beers do indeed deserve big bottles. To appreciate all that's going on in this beer, skip the food pairing and just sip, savor and enjoy everything this local beer has to offer.

06-06-2007 04:42:22 | More by mshallah
Photo of Liquids


4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Pours a pitch black bodied beer with a dull but dark colored, thin, one-finger head. Aroma is on par for the style, malty roast up front, the hop intensity is low, and there are definite alcohol aromas. Smells reminiscent of 'gonzo" to me. Taste--this has much of what im looking for per style, it's smooth, floral, intense but not excessively so in a way that would make it any less drinkable. Up front it's luscious roast flavors, sweet, the hops don't kill it, but it fades into a bitter chocolate finish behind the bit of grapefruit-like hops. The flavors are good here, and it's very enjoyable drinking. The mouthfeel is 'wow' thick, and good carbonation for drinking, but too sparkly on the tounge for me. Over all, this is an impressive beery. It's very monochromatic, so to speak...but I dig that. I imagine if I was blindfolded and didn't know this was a smuttynose beer I'd still know that it was smutty.

06-02-2007 12:02:47 | More by Liquids
Photo of cbrakel


4.33/5  rDev +5.9%

This beer was a pleasure from start to finish: pours well, black as death appearance, cocoa brown head, robust but smooth taste (with hints of chocolate and coffee), malty, not too strong (despite 10.00% ABV). A great dessert beer! Will have again!!!

05-28-2007 03:20:43 | More by cbrakel
Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 965 ratings.