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Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) - Smuttynose Brewing Company

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Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series)

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1,018 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,018
Reviews: 661
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.27%
Wants: 119
Gots: 105 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.80% ABV

Availability: Fall

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

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 05-05-1998)
View: Beers (54) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,018 | Reviews: 661 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of John_M
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's the other day.

The beer pours a dark black color with very good head retention and lacing. As I pretty much expected, the nose on this beer includes sweet aromas of coffee and chocolate. The beer smells impressive. The flavors generally replicate the nose, except there is some underlying hoppiness which adds structure to the beer. The beer still has a soft plush mouthfeel and the alcohol is fairly well disguised. You can tell it's up there, and I can't say I was surprised to learn it's 10%, but the beer is not heavy or tiring.

A very solid effort from Smuttynose. Given the quality of their beers generally, I can't say I'm surprised. Recommended.

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber from Ron's in Farmington. Pours an opaque dark black body with virtually no head. Citrussy hops are immediately noticeable, with much roastiness, resembling dark chocolate with coffee and molasses notes. A sweet chocolaty roastiness is immediately apparent, with strong berry notes also apparent, and a tinge of alcohol warming on the finish. Hints of grassy and citrussy hops are also present. A slight nuttiness presents itself on the finish. Full-bodied without being viscous, and with light to moderate carbonation, this one definitely is still a sipper for sure. Having said that, it's sweet and complex, and very tasty. Makes a good dessert by itself I'd say. A superb example of the style, and one of this brewery's finest offerings.

Photo of Brad007
4.53/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I first sampled this at the brewery back in late March. This is my review of a bottle I picked up in Mass, which is the 2008 edition.

Color: Pours a pitch black color with a thin brown head.

Aroma: Bold and hoppy upfront, just as I remember. Coffee/chocolate notes aren't too apparent upfront but it does seem that way.

Taste: Very roasty upfront with a lot of hops present. Decent coffee/chocolate flavors show up in the middle. I'm drinking this at room temperature so it seems more mellow that way. Smooth and creamy where it should be.

Mouthfeel: Roasty, creamy and hoppy. That's what comes to mind here. Some coffee bitterness.

Drinkability: A lot more drinkable than I remember. Perhaps it has mellowed with a slight bit of age. I picked up my bottle back in late May. A few more months and this beer would be even better. I'm hoping I can pick up more. Regardless, it's decent for the style but could use some aging.

Photo of erosier
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

L: Pours a deep black color with a tall and thick tan/brown colored head that takes some time to settle. It laces the glass very nicely on the way down as well.
S: The smell is of deep roasted malts followed by hints of chocolate, alcohol, and even a bit of vine fruits.
T: The taste is of really deep roasted malts for a nice bitter base underneath layers of chocolate, some vine fruity flavors, and some alcohol as well.
M: Very heavy smooth and warming. I would drink this more in the winter than the summer, but I saved it for a cold rainy day.
D: Pretty drinkable as I was able to drink the whole bomber without any trouble but it has alot of alcohol that sort of takes away from having more than one of these. But I would definately recommend it to someone.

Photo of tonytuffnuts
3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm so excited with the pour, which yields an opaque ale that's one shade shy of black. Nice, moist, clay colored, 2 finger head washes away into a ring, leaving swirls of yeast as a ceiling and polka-dots of lace on the walls. There's a mess of yeasty patches all over when the glass is gone.

At first, I smell a high quality (two-row?) malt, dark chocolate, and mocha. As it sits, alcohol & grassy hops power through.

The alcohol bites at the back of my mouth like a shot of rum, and it lasts until the next sip. Beneath it there's a dusting of hops and cocoa. The carbonation is hardly noticable on the tip of my tongue.

I love RIS, I always want more. The alcohol-y presence prevents mass consumption of this solid brew: not because it's impairing me, but rather because it's a bit hard to swallow. I would love to see an oak aged release of this guy. It would mellow the alcohol and mesh the hops a little better... mmm.

Photo of Donnie2112
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: rather black in color, chocolate brown head and a nice sticky lace

smell: nice and rummy, definately some chocolate cake action going on there

taste: rummy raisins, vanilla, a bit of chocolate lots of burnt toast like flavor at the end

mouthfeel: full bodied, lightly carbonated, rather creamy

drinkability: Pretty good, I like the only thing I don't like is there is a lot of burnt flavor there.

Photo of halfP1NT
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a solid opaque black; no light comes through whatsoever. The tan head dissipates to a bubbly ring. There is some thin lacing left around the top of the glass.

Smell is sweet, roasted malts, a little bit of rye, some alcohol. There is even a little bit of fruitiness.

Taste is yeasty with dry, roasted malts up front. I also detect some licorice and chocolate. It finishes with a warming alcohol presence and a sweet maltiness that lingers.

Low carbonation and high alcohol presence. This beer is a little syrupy and coats my mouth.

I feel like this beer is different than most RIS's I've had...it has an unusual sweetness, maybe even some fruitiness along with its dry maltiness. Overall a pretty good beer, very sweet and heavy.

Photo of Bowdoinbeerboy
4.55/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Pours with a slight chocolaty head that dissipates quickly leaving a small amount of lacing. The beer itself is entirely black, letting no light through at all.

Smell- Strong smell of fruit preserves, raisons and dates. Slight alcohol notes near the end, just enough hops to give it a little bit of spice.

Taste- Deep dark flavors here, hints of truffle. First hit is of choclate, then continues to mellow out into a beautiful finish of roasted nuts, complex and delicious!

Mouthfeel- Not the chompiest of stouts out there but really fills you mouth and leaves you wanting more!

Drinkability- A great sipper, hefty and not one to gulp but most glorious to savor and enjoy slowly!

Photo of ph2001
3.05/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle in pint glass

there is a slight amount of head. it is black in color. pungent hoppy odor.

there are nice coffee and chocolate flavors but they are being overshadowed by the strong bitterness of it. the same pungent hop odor is in the taste and kills much of the subtleties going on here. the alcohol slightly warms the throat but it is not too much.

Photo of cokes
4.78/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Black, deep and edgeless, topped with a low brown dome. So simple and yet so gorgeous.
Scented of chocolate brownie batter, vanilla pods, dark spiced rum, blackberry brandy, hazelnut, spearmint, espresso, and pipe tobacco.
It enters the mouth as a molten fudge monsoon. Chocolately, chocolatey, chocolatey. Both milky sweet and darkly bitter. Swirled with caramel, vanilla, black cherries, blueberries, and liqueurs (especially Amaretto, Kahlúa, and Crème de Menthe). This is a certifiable truffle. There are traces of mild roast coffee late, but this is really about the chocolate. Hopping adds a congruent sense of cedar, hot cinnamon, and mint, and fair amount of offsetting bitterness without ever really being featured. Alcohol is noted, but essential and thoroughly meshed.
It's big, rotund, and tooth-sticking upon entering the mouth, but it loses a great deal of girth by the time it hits the throat. There's a sleekness here that increases the drinkability way past its 10% ABV. It's easy to be reckless with this, and a hell of a lot of fun.
This is a young Imperial Stout, and it tastes like it. It's a shitload of vibrant, vivid, flailing flavors anchored in chocolate. Even in this sweet wildness, it still congeals and works together.
I'd say that I'll love to see how this ages, but I'm almost certain that it can't get much better.

Photo of sstackho
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle purchased from Bauer Wines in Boston. Pours black with a light brown head. The aroma is unexpected - very hoppy. Oh, now this is nice - if you like the hops. Hop dominated flavour up front, hops linger in the taste and then chocolate notes appear in the aftertaste. Definitely the hoppiest "imperial stout" I've had. More IPA than stout in many ways. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Me likey!

Photo of Derek
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Black with a tan head, not much retention, but a nice leg/lace.

S: Initial hit of floral & piny hops, dark chocolate, dark bread, coffee, molasses and a slight underlying fruitiness.

T: Plenty of piny hops, dark chocolate, dark bread, molasses, roasted nuts, light coffee & hints of fruit; with a bold hop bitterness & warming alcohol.

M: Well-attenuated full body has a silky-smooth creaminess with a dry alcohol finish.

D: A wonderful sipper, but at this strength a bomber might be a little much.

With the bold American hops, it's really more of an American Imperial Stout.

Photo of hopflop
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured from a bomber into pint glass

Pours a nice jet black with a creamy thick tan head that dissipates fast leaves some nice lacing.

smell is citrus hops with some fruit, coffee and alcohol and a touch of chocolate.

mouth full is alright, surprisingly it has a nice hop bitter taste with some coffee and a hint of chocolate with a good bitter finsih.

all in all a nice Imp Stout pretty easy drinking with nice flavor. Would have another.

Photo of coopd3ville
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smuttynose Imperial Stout

Pint Glass

P. Pours jet black with 2 finger of brown head.

S. Heavy roasted aroma of with a coffee undertone, slightly smoky.

T. Dark Chocolate and coffee initially, followed up with a smoky taste. Finishing dry with a bite of hops. T

M. Smooth with a touch of carbonation

D. This is a sipper that gets better as it warms.

Photo of Mazeraski
3.73/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bomber poured into a glass mug.

A - Pours a jet black color, impenetrable to light, with a dark tan half inch thick head. Head dissipates within minutes, but leaves quite a sticky lacing around the glass.

S - Thick roasted, charred malt with a hit of hops on the nose that is a little surprising. Slight undercurrent of vanilla with a hint of coffee.

T - Hitting first is the bite of small bitter hops that stays with you throughout the entire sip mixed with the charred malt along for the ride. A slight coffee flavor and a bit of molasses make an appearance, combined with alcohol that finds its way to your palate nearing the end of the drier finish.

MF - Thicker, full-bodied with a nice hint of carbonation in the background, although the alcohol provides a bit of thinning.

D - Relatively drinkable, but definitely more of a sipping brew.

Notes - The combo of the alcohol presence and the ABV will leave you having this as a treat after a hard autumn-days work.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to 11osixBrew for the trade.

Pours jet black with a decent creamy head and some patchy lacing.

Smell has the usual malt and coffee presence, as well as something I found rather odd for the style, a decent piney hop aroma that lends some bitterness to the nose, out of place but not necessarily bad.

Whoa the taste is boozy, no doubting that this is 10%, strong roasted malt and coffee backbone, very thick in the mouth and fairly creamy, the strength takes it a bit back though as the mouth is warmed up very quickly, lingering bitter aftertaste.

Pretty good for the style, not the best, would have been better if the alcohol was able to be hidden better. I have a feeling this would age rather well and might mellow out.

Photo of ericj551
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smuttynose Imperial Stout pours a beautiful inky black with a thick, creamy brown head. The aroma is fruity and surprisingly hoppy with citrusy and floral hops. The flavor is a sweet caramel roastiness with nice fruity hop flavor mixing in. This is definitely different from most imperial stouts I am used to and I'm surprised at the range of flavors I taste and how well they mix together. Kudo's to Smuttynose for another great beer in the Big Beer Series.

Photo of Douglas14
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with deep mahogany glinting through in the corners. A brown thick head leaves nice lace. The aroma is heavily of and centered around chocolate and malt, with some dark fruits coming through in the end. The taste at the beginning is dominated by very bitter, very dark chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt. As the flavor progresses, it fades into dark and dried fruits and yeast. Some oak, vanilla, and nutty flavors appear throughout as well. This beer is heavy in the mouth and goes down sinfully smooth.

There is an incredible characteristic in this beer that I have not tasted in any other craft. This is my first time to try this beer and I absolutely love it. I think I am very partial to it because it tastes so much like an incredible homebrew...what a great thing.

Photo of russpowell
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this from either beeronthebrain or unholy2, cheers to both & boo to my cellar organization skills. Review based on notes from the other night

Pours mahogany black with 3+ fingers of brown/mocha head. Very good lacing & average head retention

S: Oaky notes, big boozeyness, vanilla that fades after a while. Dark fruittyness persists throughout

T: Chocolate, vanilla, oaky dryness, & roasty malt up front. Rich chocolate, dark fruit & some licorice as this warms. Finishes dry with chocolate & raisins, almost pulled a 5.0

MF: Oily, medium bodied, a little chalky & low carbonation

Drink great for the ABV & style, but a touch too dry to attempt to session on

Photo of Proteus93
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: A great, black (with the little bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass, it looked like a little starry night in the bulbous bottom of this big snifter) colour. Head is nice, tall, and quite sticky, which I like from this style.

S: The chocolate and coffee aromas typical of the style are there, but I find that the citrus hops aroma is almost more powerful, providing quite a little kick - especially while the bubbles are bursting after pour. As it settles down, the deeper scents come out more... cocoa powder, perhaps a note of dark fruits. There's almost a vanilla bean like aroma in there, too, that I haven't really detected in others before.

T: Cocoa again, again with that hoppiness that seems a little unusual. It's nice, almost like orange + dark chocolate. A bit of a molasses touch, and the coffee flavours are a little more modest but noticed on the finish.

M: A nice, thick and creamy body that feels like it's about to leave a slick oiliness in the mouth but then finishes quite dry considering (more of a semi-dry, but still).

D: A nice sipper, and I ended up pairing it with some cocoa roasted almonds (actually, the cocoa powder scent and taste brought that on). They went together reasonably well. Being a little stiff, I'd take it easy on this on, and the hoppiness of it might start to get a little weird after a while.

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I would classify this more as a regular stout or maybe a double stout before I would call it a Russian Imperial Stout. It was very dry and roasty and usually the RIS beers have some sweet complexities to them. Anyway,

The beer pours very black with no light shining through. The head is dark brown and lingers for a bit. Moderate lacing.

The aroma is heavy on the roasted flavors and the coffee. Some hop bitterness is noticeable in the nose which I found odd considering the style.

The taste is highly roasted with some coffee. Plenty of hop bitterness, probably 85-90 IBUS. Not much complexity here but a good enjoyable stout regardless. Alcohol is well hidden.

Body is medium/heavy. It may be thinned out a bit by the high ABV.

Photo of JDV
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a very light bubbly sparse soapy tan head. Nose is definitely hoppy and roasty. Flavors of dark rich malty and dark chocolately bitter brownies and a very lightly bubbly but creamy flavor. Dry and cocoa like presence as well. Pretty highly hopped for an imperial stout, but still maintains the feel of the style from the massive rich dark malty flavors behind it. One of my favorites from a night of many beers.

Photo of BeerSox
4.72/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber into snifter.

Ultra pitch black with a brown one finger head that settles to a thin rim. Stringy lacing on the glass.

Sharp bitter malts dominate, with a bit of sweet chocolate and dried fruit. Some molasses is mixed in there as well. Sharp citrusy hop aromas are in the background.

Robust malts shift from sweet to bitter to sweet, mixing dark malts with a little bit of chocolate and brown sugar. As the beer lingers longer, the flavor shifts to some spicy hops, then to a little bit of dry fruit. The alcohol is well hidden, but comes out a little as the beer warms. Full bodied with average carbonation. The finish is lingering dry malts, with some hop flavor kicking in at the very end.

I'm finally glad to drink an RIS that has some kick to it. It seems like the last 10 I have had were easily drinkable, more like American Double Stouts than anything Imperial. Let me explain, an ADS has high alcohol and malts that take all the flavor. I feel an RIS has a bit more complexity, especially the hops. This one is bitter, but has the sweet notes to back it up, with some hoppiness that's been missing from other stouts like this. Highly recommended.

Photo of Sconnie
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A very nice imperial stout from Smuttynose. Had it on tap at the Brasserie V in Madison.
Poured pitch black with brown head. Smell was sweet with a strong presence of citrus hops, more than I would expect. Strong roasted malt flavor with a nice amount of hop flavor to balance it out, less sweet than some imperial stouts I've had, and a bit more hop flavor than some as well, both good things in this brew.
Overall it's not quite Old Rasputin, but what is? A very nice brew.

Photo of largadeer
2.83/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2008 bottle.

Appearance: Pitch black with a thin cap of tan foam and a few wisps of lace. Pretty typical for the style, which isn't a bad thing at all.

Smell: Sweet and roasty, with an emphasis on the sweet. Reminds me of a chocolate milkshake. Lemon-lime hops are present as well with a touch of alcohol, bringing to mind citrus infused vodka. A chocolate milkshake with citrus vodka isn't something I'd normally consider pleasant, but it's tolerable.

Taste: Dark chocolate, lemon marmalade, slightly burnt toast. A citrus hop smack appears in the finish, blending somewhat crudely with the alcohol. The combination of citrus and chocolate really doesn't work here. It's not awful, but it's not great.

Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,018 ratings.