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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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975 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 975
Reviews: 656
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.27%
Wants: 112
Gots: 100 | 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
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: 975 | Reviews: 656 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.8/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours pitch black with a lasting dark tan head. Rich malts on the nose. Flavor is extremely robust with heavy malts. Thick coffee grinds there as well. The aftertaste really lasts on this one. Feel is thick on the liquid and good with the carbonation. I seem to recall Kai at the Wine Gallery in Boston telling me I really needed to try this on tap. Well thank you Kai. This beer is tasty!

RblWthACoz, Dec 31, 2007
3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured very strong to get a beautiful 3 firnger rich foamy milk chocolate colored head. Sits atop a pitch black body that lets no light through. Leaves heavy lace. Smokey malt highlights the nose with hints of peperoni, coco, and dill, or maybe green olives. This is a very rich but crisp stout as I take first sip. Bold and zesty mix of woodsy spices and dark bitter coco grace the tongue. A long lasting deep bitter feel compliments the finish and dominates the mouthfeel. Alchol warms belly well. Enjoyable drinking stout, but not one of my favorites within the style.

SPLITGRIN, Dec 28, 2007
Photo of tpd975
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased on my trip to D.C.

A: Pours a nice dark black color with a medium sized bubbly brown head. The head dies down quickly, but some lacing is left behind.

S: Big coffee aromas with hints of dark bakers chocolate. Molasses, anise, and hints of vanilla lay beneath.

T: Nice big bold stout. Tons of coffee and dark chocolate. Black licorice can be noted along with the molassess noted in the nose.

M: Medium bodied, not as thick as some stouts.

D: Pretty easy drinker as stouts come.

Overall: I think it qualifies as big beer worthy of a big beer series. Tons of flavor with nice aromas. I really enjoyed drinking this one. If I had access to it, I would buy several more. Do yourself a favor grab one and try it if you can get it, while your at it grab a bottle or two extra for those unlucky folks like myself who can't.

tpd975, Dec 23, 2007
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured black with a tan head and okay lacing. The smell is a nice balance of heavy citrusy hops, roasted aromas, and big malt aromas of dark fruit, cacao, and coffeee. The taste has a similar profile with the addition of big licorice flavors. Mouthfeel is rich and smooth. This is a big beer with big flavors, but everything is nicely integrated and it is not hot at all. Not my top RIS, but very nice indeed.

Georgiabeer, Dec 21, 2007
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, '07 batch, served in a pint glass.

A - black color with a good sized dark tan head that eventually thinned to a layer, leaving globs of sticky lace.

S - sweet molases, dark roasted coffee and faint chocolate aromas.

T - very good tasting Imperial Stout. Sweet caramel malt upfront, followed by a chocolate/coffee kick, and finishes bitter.

M - full bodied, rich and creamy.

D - drink it slow and enjoy.

JoeyBeerBelly, Dec 14, 2007
Photo of Kadonny
3.63/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 version poured from a bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: A deep dark brown almost black color with a light brown tan head. Not much head or lacing, but still very nice looking.

S: Slight hops up front, then overcome by malt, coffee, burnt or dark chocolate, expresso with some slighty subtle fruit. Not much sweetness at all.

T: Deep flavors of coffee, dark chocolate, malt with some hints of hops. Not much change on the flavor from start to finish and you can taste the alcohol all the way through. There is some hops bitterness but it is overcome by the deep flavors.

M: A pretty heavy mouthfeel with the alcohol.

D: Medium to low. Definately a sipping beer. By the time you are done, you want to drink something else. In other words, enjoy one but don't be too quick to reach for another. Does is that make this beer less enjoyable? No, just take your time drinking it and it will remain enjoyable.

Overall a very good RIS, but not one of my favorites. Not enough hop flavor for me, but hey I'll still drink it and I really enjoyed it. I would love to sit one down for a year and see what happens to the alcohol flavor, my guess is the beer will get better with age. Still, Smuttynose never fails to produce an excellent brew and this RIS follows suit.

Kadonny, Nov 30, 2007
Photo of tayner
3.25/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2007 bottle poured into my anderson valley snifter.

black with a large tan head that stayed forever.

Very boozy smell along with some roasted malt, burnt coffee, and dark fruit smells. there is a piney hop aroma as well.

Tastes just like it smells, with the booze being almost overpowering and it gets in the way of the flavors that lay beneath, which are great if you can get past the boozy flavor.

very creamy yet mouth burns a bit with the alcohol.

I think i will lay the other two bottles of this down until next winter and perhaps the alcohol will mellow and allow the other flavors to shine as i know they could.

tayner, Nov 27, 2007
Photo of Slatetank
4.72/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cellared for approx six months. purchased at Shawan liqours in Md. Decanted cool at approx. 50 degrees from a brown 22oz into a snifter.

A - A creamy smooth mocha hued head w/ a fine, tight bead. The supporting ale is the shade of a baby grand - black and brilliant.

S - Sweet dried fruits w/ roasty pleasant booziness in the aroma and a alluring citrus hop scent. The sweet rich malt has candy in the intense odors. Plum and pine join in the entrancing aroma.

M - Rich, warming, dense, chewy yet sweet w/ a hefty dose of bitter hops in the feel. A pleasant complimentary amount of effervessence adds to the overall luxurious texture.

T - The flavor jumps out w/ a dried fruit taste complete w/ a papaya-like tropical essence tha has a supporting decadent bean essence roastiness. Chocolate and coffee w/ a citrus acidity. Notes of coffee and vanilla becomes more pronounced as it warms. Gentle roasted malt notes w/ toffee like sweetness combine w/ a now mellowed hoppiness. The booze and toasty flavors continue on w/ deep touches of warm full alcoholic malt flavors. Touches of sharp bitterness are noted surrounded by sweet and solid satiny malts in the finish.

D - Rich, robust and everything a RIS should be. Plenty of malt w/ out an overabundance of bitterness, just enough to balance out theis malty behemoth. Very fine, well made, One of the best I have ever had. Complex and flavorful - almost too good to share.

Slatetank, Nov 20, 2007
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was the spring '07 edition in which I cellared for 8 months. Cellard: 3/20/07 consumed on 11/2/07

I clearly remember what this stout was like when it was fresh in March, and I can't express enough the dramatic difference only 8 months has made.There is no light popping through this darkness, a total blackout...I noticed how much thicker it seemed when it poured out. The head is thicker and is retained longer than the fresh bottles I had eight months ago. It's a dark brown color with some orange tint on the very top...the head proves to never go away totally!

The nose, as it was fresh, is very robust and aromatic, but instead of the aggressive herbal hop scent popping out first, it's the big complexity of the malt aroma's that impress. The hops have clearly mellowed so you can enjoy the grainy chocolate malt with peanut butter and vanilla currents and then at the very end the hop aroma seems more earthy and zesty than "green" and veggie. The good 'ol 10.5 % abv adds that nice warming buzz on the nose too.

Upon the very first sip I notice how dramatically well the flavors have matured and mellowed together to make the balance much better than it was eight months before.. The big "green and piney" bitter hop abundance has taken a spot on the bench and has become only an important role-player instead of the Co-captain. But still with one heck of a kick from the hops which is great and makes the balance nearly perfect. The Big-ass Malt flavors are everything you could ask for in an RIS. you've got chocolate covered almonds, vanilla smoothness, peanutbutter headiness and a subtle red-grape fruitiness that just won't let you put the stuff down for long. It ends with a wonderful mellow, belly-warming alcohol buzz and a zesty, more earthy and mellowed hoppiness. Honestly, I'm blown away.

The overall feel of this has also matured to the point of supreme headiness, extremely thick and smooth with a wonderfully creamy-smooth head that sticks around like peanutbutter on the roof of your mouth.

Fantastic experience, and now i must wonder how much better it could possibly be....???

GratefulBeerGuy, Nov 07, 2007
Photo of Dubbercody
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle that's been in my cellar that's been there for almost a year, and wow, tasty, what a difference a year can make. It was great before, but a year of fine handling, yowza.

I'm sitting here, with 40 degree weather outside, savoring a dark, chewy, nice RIS. I'm glad I put two of these away in my cellar, and I'm glad the weather has turned and I can enjoy this style again.

Dubbercody, Nov 04, 2007
Photo of bruachan
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

bruachan, Oct 10, 2007
Photo of Beertron
3.73/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

Beertron, Oct 02, 2007
Photo of horshack7
5/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

horshack7, Sep 30, 2007
Photo of objectivemonkey
4.58/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

objectivemonkey, Sep 13, 2007
Photo of dogger6253
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

dogger6253, Sep 08, 2007
Photo of OldTex29
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

OldTex29, Sep 08, 2007
Photo of liddytime
4.72/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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!

liddytime, Sep 01, 2007
Photo of Rainintheface
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Rainintheface, Aug 21, 2007
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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.

Phyl21ca, Aug 15, 2007
Photo of mcallister
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

mcallister, Aug 12, 2007
Photo of Bierguy5
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Bierguy5, Aug 10, 2007
Photo of DavidSeanNJ
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

DavidSeanNJ, Aug 05, 2007
Photo of andrewm190
3.65/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

andrewm190, Aug 01, 2007
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

TurdFurgison, Jul 24, 2007
Photo of timtim
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!

timtim, Jul 13, 2007
Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 975 ratings.