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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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1,063 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,063
Reviews: 667
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.02%
Wants: 119
Gots: 115 | 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:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 05-05-1998

2007 - 10.0%
2009 - 8.9%
2010 - 9.8%
2014 - 9.4%
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,063 | Reviews: 667 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bung
4.01/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. My bottle said 8.9% abv.
Nice used motor oil colored pour. Good sized dark tan head. Aroma is way dominated by pineyness. Some faint roast tones, coffee, malt, dark chocolate. Flavor does have quite a bit of the hops up front, but does fade. Warming definetely helps this out as well. Roast malt, dark fruits and some chocolate ease on through. Just a little bit hot. Mouthfeel starts a bit prickly, but mellows to near creaminess. The lingering is a mix of coffee and the hops again.

I thought this was very good, if not a bit different. The thing this reminded me the most of was 3F Alpha Klaus.
I think this may age very nicely and mellow the hops out a bit. With the abv just slightly lower than normal, assuming my bottle was correct, this will also have a nice amount of drinkability to it.

Photo of BeerNinja007
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22oz bomber poured into a refrigerated pint glass. Paid $4.99 at Beverage King in West Lebanon, NH.

A: Pitch black brew with a thick, rocky beige head 2 fingers high. Chunks of foam cling to the glass as it slowly settles.

S: Heavy notes of pine and then smoke, also some citrus. The various notes combine to produce an aroma of sage. Not very complex. Chocolate and coffee develop as the beer gains exposure to air.

T: Nothing on the tip of the tongue, entirely dry. Smoke and then pine toward the middle. Grapefruit and ginger in the finish. As with the smell, taste is not very complex, but this series of big bold notes does blend well together. As with the smell, flavors of bitter chocolate and coffee develop later on.

M: Not slick, not too dry, with a good level of carbonation. Moderate and appropriate on all accounts. A little alcohol in the finish, but otherwise undetectable.

D: This is a solid beer, filling. Feeling the alcohol a little bit, but that's to be expected at 10% ABV. Consistent with expectations for this style.

Photo of SFLpunk
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz brown glass pry-top bottle. "Bottle Conditioned in 2009."

Appearance: Totally opaque black with hints of brown around the edges. Thick creamy tan head, 1 inch thick, recedes slowly, leaving lots of wide bands.

Nose: High notes of black coffee, green coffee beans, wet green leaves, demarara sugar, creme brulee.

Palate: Medium-bodied for the style, with a huge amount of bitterness right off the bat. It really tastes like dark roast coffee brewed black, thick and with not enough water. You know the kind: Morning after an all-night barleywine fest, not thinking straight, need coffee, twice as many scoops as usual, half the water, not enough sugar, skip the cream...we have lift off! kind of coffee. Also some bittersweet chocolate notes, cocoa nibs, a little moss-like note, and a long, bitter finish.

Notes: More bitter and a little lighter in body that I remembered this beer being. That being said, I really like it! Some Imperial Stouts can get to be really sweet up front, but this guy, this one here is a stout for the IPA drinker. Hops!

Photo of Yesac
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Solid black.. thin brown head. Decent lacing on the glass

S - Java, hop bitterness

T - Along with taste.. roasted malts/java hints of hops with a nice bitterness and an over all sweetness.

M - Silky smooth. Medium bodied.. slightly sticky on the palate.

D - Very smooth, great mouthfeel and taste. Hard to keep on the coaster.

Photo of biegaman
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage

Tar sand black with crimson wrestling for what little position there is along the lining. The beer is sternly opaque and I'm not surprised that even with a very bright light behind it I am able to note little by ways of highlighting. The second pour would generate a much more full-bodied head although it too would shortly subside to a mere greasy varnish.

Although it's historically unorthodox for the style, some craft brewers are opting to load up their Imperial Stouts with zesty American hops - and I'm starting to love it! 'Oh' and 'wow' would be the first two words to escape my mouth after the first one, or two, or twenty some odd sniffs. It has bittersweet chocolate and zesty hops. I'm anticipating great things...

The hops suggest lighter, citric fruits (grapefruit, orange) and the malts impart dark fruits (black currant, plum). Both of these characteristics pale enormously in contrast to the rich, dark chocolate fudge that dominates the taste. Along with hints of chicory coffee, cinnamon stick, vanilla pods, dark caramel and black licorice, the flavour is everything rich and delicious (and probably fattening) that you could imagine accompanying chocolate.

It's some unlikely balance of fruity hops, sweet malts, bitter flavours and warming alcohol that make this beer disappear faster than a speeding bullet. (Never along the way does it suggest that the 10% alcohol might hit you like a bullet). This has all the right parts in all the right places. There is so much flavour and a mouthfeel that does little to impede it; this resembles a rich crème anglaise served over bittersweet brownies and tiramisu.

A whole bomber of Smuttynose Imperial Stout is just about as indulgent as you can get. From first sniff to last sip this is nothing but decadent. This might be all it takes to convert those guilty cravings for chocolate into a lustful longing for stout. I think very highly of Smuttynose on the whole but this offering in particular is one I stock up on every time I get the chance.

Photo of indiapaleale
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage - 3/18/2009

Yay, its back...

Pours an inky, jet black, pretty viscous going into my snifter glass. It produces a beautiful tan/coffee colored head that is thick and clingy. The smells begin...

Holy mother of hops, this is the hoppiest RIS I've ever smelled. It is an intense blast of citrusy/piney hop freshness. If my eyes were closed I'd say it was a Double IPA. Behind all those hops are faint wisps of licorice, dark dark malt sweetness and a bit of alcohol heat.

Taste is a very complex combination of many things. The hop bitterness is not too intense which makes room for some of the dark fruit, bitter coffee and cocoa and some of the warming alcohol to come out. Delicious and every sip provides something new.

This is an excellent beer, the hop nose is awesome and the taste is deep, dark and mysteriously complex...a match made in beer heaven!

I am putting the other bottle in the cellar for a year to match up with next year's release. In the mean time I'll be drinking more of this while its fresh, hoppy and intense!

Smutty, you never fail me!

Photo of allergictomacros
4.58/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pitch black with a heavy head of brown foam you could walk on. Toasty, burnt sugars in the nose with a substantial dose of piney hops, cocoa, coffee, wine-like fruitiness, herbs and honey. Big, full body. Very chewy and creamy with a bit of an astringent touch. Sweet, sticky sugars balance well dark, coffee malt for a while, but are obliterated by DIPA-like hoppiness.Palate cleans up nicely with a big bitterness. Warming and very satisfying brew and surprisingly easy drinking. Personally, I like this a lot, but it's difficult to categorize. It looks like an imp. stout, feels like an imp. stout, but IMO tastes more like a DIPA. It may not be for everyone but definitely worth a try.

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

Poured from bottle into my Duvel tulip.

One finger coco brown head on aggressive pour that didn't last more than thirty second. Drops to a ring around the glass. Dark opaque body as expected. Coffee, chocolate, roasted malts, barbecue on the nose. Taste is really complex, lots of dark belgian chocolates, alcohol, more bitter than sweet. Not the smoothest RIS I've tried, but no where near the worst. I was hoping for something a bit smoother, this one isn't. Balance could use some work, mouth fill could use some work. Going to let this one sit for a bit..

Okay. in the about 60-65 degree range this is super smooth but with the lingering ethanol flavors. Much preferred at this temp.

Thanks to Jwale73 for this one.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bomber purchased at Bullock's in Marietta, Georgia. Bottled In: 2009. So fresh!

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a head the color of café au lait.

Smell: Roasty, coffee-toned nose with bittersweet chocolate and particularly fragrant hop scents of bitterish pith and pine.

Taste: Roasty coffee flavor at the beginning with a touch of bittersweet chocolate and a bit of dark caramel. At this stage, the hops are rather assertive and deliver a heavy citrus taste and lesser hints of pine needles. Moderate bitterness. Both the roasty coffee flavor and citrusy pine resin vie for attention, but neither side really wins out. Finishes drying, roasty, and bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Relatively smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Good fresh, though I'd personally prefer to see it with a bit of age on it to temper those biting hops. Paired well with the CD "Some Are Lakes" by Land of Talk.

Photo of TMB0424
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2007.

Into a snifter, poured an oily black body with deep brown hues around the edges. A good sized mocha colored head rose and fell pretty quickly. Spotty lacing.

Smell is of dark malts, roasty, mostly molasses. Hints of dark chocolate and a strong, but not overpowering, alcohol presence in the background. Some grain and darker fruits as well.

Taste is of dark chocolate dipped cherries, roasted malts, molasses, dried figs. Some sweet caramel. Very complex. Alcohol is noticeable in the finish. Nice hop backbone emerges as well in the finish - something I didn't really detect in the nose. Nice.

Mouthfeel is super creamy - carbonation is light but spot on. Full bodied. Pretty drinkable despite the ABV. It warms but it's not 'hot' at all. It's definitely a sipper... there are so many characteristics and flavors to just sit and marvel about. Great brew and a must try for RIS lovers.

Photo of gford217
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of a couple of generous BAs poured into a tulip.

Pours a dark, dark chocolate brown with hints of mahogany around the edges when held up to might. The small tan head is creamy and recedes to a ring and a swirl of bubbles on the top.

Huge dark chocolate malts dominate the nose with hints of dark fruit and some citrus hops.

The taste is bittersweet with lots of chocolate and roasted malts but with an interesting bitterness in the finish that's part coffee and part citrus hops.

The mouthfeel is smooth with enough light soft carbonation to make it tickle the palate nicely.

Another great beer in the Smuttynose Big Beer Series. A straight-forward but extremely tasty stout that delivers without being too over the top.

Photo of Absumaster
4.27/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to northyorksammy for this beer.

The beer pours a thick, inky black beer with a thin off-white head.

Smells of dark roast coffee and cacao, dried fruits like figs. Probably some adjunct, it appears like oats, grainy in general.

Taste is quite bitter, but is dominated by coffee, chocolate and cacao tastes. Backed up by the bitterness of course. The alcohol is very present. A warming feeling and a rather sharp alcoholic kick on the tongue. I can't help to notice the strong oats character. The citric hops also add a nice complexity, although they are a bit overruled by the alcohol and roast.

Photo of Oxymoron
4.52/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage. Pours a shinny midnight black color with some minor viscous sticking pouer. A darker brown colored head with good retention and lacing throughout.

The nose is complex with a good mix of malt, esters and light yeasty notes. To start, the malt has a great complexity with a hint of roast and big chocolate notes. More like a dark chocolate, there is a light milky aroma that help enhance this smell. Some nice light esters with darker fruits, figs, plums and some cherries. Some lighter floral notes with a mix of earthy hops notes. Surprised to see it here after so much time. The yeast is very clean. Some minor alcohol aromas but very clean.

The taste is right on par with the nose. Great complexity. The chocolate notes back off a bit compared to the nose but more of an astringent roasty flavor comes out and really balances well. Some minor melanodian/caramel flavor that finishes nicely and gives it a more smooth finish. The milky notes are much lighter and gives more of a Imperial Stout flavor. Great esters, with some raisin and plums but play second to the malt. Same with the yeast. The alcohol is very cloying and is there but light and blends nicely.

The body is big with a great creamy texture. Some astringency up front but hidden in the finish. Carbonation is light but allows the malty body to come out. Overall a great example of a Imperial Stout. I think age has done great things with this.

Photo of beer2day
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aged for a year in the beer fridge.

Pours black with a one-finger head. Nose attracts with chocolate and maybe a slight hint of anise paired with a bit of tart fruitiness. Hit brings a big dose of roasted malt. Finish is very smooth, no doubt from resting for a year. There's a hint of the alcohol in the finish, but it's very subtle.

Lays down very well. But, boy, is it tough to wait.

Photo of zeff80
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a thick, jet black color with a small, foamy, light brown head. It left minimal traces of lace.

S - It smelled very sweet with notes of citrus and estery dried fruits. Some subtle floral notes, too.

T - It tasted of sweet roasted barley, caramel and some bitter, sharp grassy hops. It had hints of boozy alcohol flavors, too.

M - It was smooth, soft and a little creamy. A medium to full-bodied stout.

D - This is a great tasting imperial stout. Another outstanding offering from Smutty.

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

A: Pours a thick, syrupy dark crimson red with a moderatly retaining beige head.

S: Great aroma, pine and grapefruit with some earthy smoked woody tones.

T: Nice chocolate and coffee for flavor. Pine, and strong pungent grapefruit dominates the palate from the start with massive amounts of cascade and centennial hopping. Some fruitiness in the middle that ends with a big dry floral hop bite compliments of Columbus hops (think Anderson valley hop ottin).

M: full bodied, creamy with a hint of carbonation.

D: Very good drinkability, clean flavored, and a great example per style. Every sip is as good as the first and one that is hard to tire of, a bomber might not be enough here.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 7/29/08. Bottle. Pours black with some floaties with a small tan head that dissipates. Aroma of nice roasted coffee, sweet roasted malt, and a little squash. Flavor of roasted malt. Flavors are a bit muddied; I get a lot of general sweetness. Heavy, but drinkable. Doesn't quite compare to the big boys.
7/4/8/4/15 (3.8/5)

Photo of SaucyA
4.52/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2007

A - Sniftered. Pours a dead-of-night black, with a scant brown head. Huge legs, teeny tiny bit of lacing.

S - Wonderful milk chocolate, coupled with booze. Fruity hints in back, no huge coffee note. Basically smells like sweet chocolate with a light alcohol twinge. Awesome, but not all the way there.

T - I'm drinking this rather cold and it's still a flavor-bomb. Massive, MASSIVE dark malts replicate baker's chocolate and coffee. A twang of citrusy hops comes through in the middle, only to be canceled out by more malty sweetness. It finishes up with a rather dry, bitter hop note on the back, that pulls everything together. Big warming goodness in my tummy. This is a top-notch brew, and one to be reckoned with.

M - Perfectly thick with a light, smoothing carbonation.

D - This is great stuff, and one to be savored. That said, I want a lot more to savor.

Notes: This one has been staring me in the face every time I open my fridge for the past 6 months or so, at least. It always seemed to be pushed aside for something I was "more in the mood for". Had I known how good this was, it'd have been consumed ages ago.

I don't know if it's just this batch, this year, this bottle... or what... but 2007 Smuttynose Imperial Stout is world class stuff that holds up to ANY big ass stout.

This is one brewery that has done nothing but impress me.

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

22 oz bottle picked up at Premier Gourmet in Buffalo.

Pours a deep dark opaque black, some red in the edges, very thick brown head forms drops a ton of lace, great retention and settles to a thick ring and layer, certainly looks like a RIS. Smell is awesome, toffee, chocolate, roast, intense pine and floral hoppiness, vanilla, dark fruit, cherries, brown sugar and molasses, figs, quite intense, alcohol comes through a bit but is well hidden, smells great. Taste is great as well, heavy caramel, chocolate and coffee, dark fruit, pine, grapefruit, brown sugar, vanilla, more toffee, light alcohol, solid bitterness. Mouthfeel is full bodied with low to medium carbonation, very smooth. Wow, crazy good impy, no rough edges, insane smooth, neat kind of burnt caramel and vanilla flavour going on. Smuttynose really don't do anything thats not good.

Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2008.

A- Pours dark, almost black, thick with a tan head. The head was hard to achieve, toward the last part of the pour I was rather aggressive, and got what I wanted...head.

S- I'm getting hops in the nose, is this going to be similar to Alpha Klaus? Also in the mix is roasted malts coffee and chocolate, usual factors in a beer of this type. Making its appearance Anise! Yeah, I like to have a little of this in my RIS, its a great flavor player.

T- Wow this is tasty. Hops are there in the beginning, but not too over powering. Then a great oak/woody taste. Followed by roasted/smoked coffee with chocolate. The anise is kinda there in the taste, but gets tuned out by all the other flavors. But now I'm back to hops as it came full circle. I like the hop taste there, but I would have liked a little less of it as a personal preference.

M- Nice Big and Thick, thats just how I like my RIS to be!

D- Definitely, smooth, great flavors, and as an aside note goes well with the cold and snow.

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

2007 vintage.

Pours deep and black with a frothy off white head. Clingy foam and excellent retention.

Lots of carmel malt aroma, along with rich chocolate and lots of English hops.

A slight bit oxidized, which works well with the bold flavors. Lots of bitterness, maybe as much from the roasted barley as from the generous hopping. Loads of highly kilned carmel malt and chocolate malt, and pale malt first runnings. A very bold English rendition with excellent long term cellering potential. Estery with rich dried fruit. Alcohol is noticable but balanced. Some higher alcohols.

Creamy and rich mouthfeel. Hints of cocoa powder. Mellow carbonation.

Once it warms a bit the flavors really melt together. One of the best of its kind. Drinkability is very good; although its rich its also very interesting and not cloying.


Photo of flexabull
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Early 2008 bottle.

Thanks to whoever sent me this one, I honestly can't remember... I'm thinking either joepais or warriorsould? Sorry!

I've been looking to try something really good, I hope this one fits the bill like I think it will.

Pours thick and really black, with a nice tan head that settles down to a thin off white one after some time.

Aromas are of dark burnt sugars, chocolates, dark ripe fruits, and a slight hint of booze. This smells nice.

There is a nice somewhat sweet dark chocolate flavor, with a bit of a burnt sugar taste as well. Taste is creamy, of roasted malts, some coffee, and a touch of bitterness and warmth on the finish.

Mouthfeel is good, a little thinner, but the thinner feel makes it easier to drink.

Drinkability is nice. The "burnt" type of flavor that I am getting throws me off a little, but this is still a very flavorful stout, that doesn't feel overly thick like some others in the style are. Kind of reminds me of an East Coast version of Old Rasputin. I am glad I got to try it, and I'd happily enjoy another.

Photo of wcudwight
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Typical big stout black. Nice 1/4" chocolate colored head. Lace is still stuck to the glass when it is empty.
Smells like my woodstove when I first light it. Also a strange citrus/piney c-hop smell. I hope the hops are in the flavor like the aroma.
Deep roasted flavors. Almost charred tasting in a good way. Coffee and chocolate. Not strong coffee or rich dark chocolate. Just coffee and chocolate. Wonderful fruit flavors. Raisins and a tart fruit. Maybe raspberries. And yes the hoppiness that I hoped for is there. A bit of alcohol warmth in the finish. I love a beer that makes me stop drinking and think what is that I'm tasting. Nice job Smutty!! This is right there with the rare, highly sought after RISs.
The mouthfeel is thinner than some of the top-ranked RISs but I think this is a good thing.
This beer paired with a nice thick slice of Alpine Laced cheese and some Italian Styled Wedding just about made for a perfect night for me. Now if only my kids would go to bed the night would be perfect.
Thanks ahatcher78 for not just a beer, but an experience.

Photo of astrasday
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep black with an off-white head.

Smell is chocolate, raisins and coffee. A nice tinge of alcohol is present as well.

Chocolate is the most present flavor in the taste. Coffee comes in a close second with an almost kind of woody sweetness. Alcohol is overpowering in the finish when it kicks in.

A thick, hearty mouthfeel is a bit tarnished by the alcohol. Made it difficult for me to really savor this beer.

Overall, this beer was good. I sipped it throughout the night and enjoyed it. Definitely worth a try if you're a stout fan.

Photo of gfreed
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice aroma: plenty of cocoa and tobacco, with some fruit and even a bit of burning wood. The alcohol is also quite present in the nose. But the alcohol is *too* present in the taste-- it smothers just about everything else. A bitter sting at the finish. The body is rather thin; given the style I expected a bit more thickness. Lovely color: a dark brown center with purple around the edges. A nice winter drink, but would be nicer if the alcohol made its entrance later.

Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,063 ratings.