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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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1,030 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,030
Reviews: 662
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.02%
Wants: 120
Gots: 109 | 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:
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: 1,030 | Reviews: 662 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hero27
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage
22 oz bottle

Sippin' on this one thanks to IBUnit63..one of many he sent me in a 50-lb box in LNBA BIF..huge thanks again!

Pours very dark with a respectable head of khaki foam.
Aroma of light chocolate, burnt malt, and some dark fruits..
The big malt flavor is not exceptionally complex, but damn is it rich! Like melted dark chocolate... a bit of roasted coffee & a little light smoke flavor as well. Some fruit-tinged bitterness hits the tongue on the back-end..alcohol is noticed but not distracting at all.
Mouthfeel is full (blatantly thick, actually..)..and it's quite creamy.
Drinkability is solid..but the sheer richness of this really lends it well to being more of a dessert stout...and a good one at that.

maybe not an "elite" imperial stout, but certainly one big, bold mother..worth trying for sure.

Photo of treyrab
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received this one in a trade, so a big thanks for that! Split this with a fellow BA and poured into a pint glass...

A: This one is black, as expected. If you use your imagination, you may be able to see a hint of brown around the edges when holding up to a bright light. The head is wonderfully dark brown and just shy of colossal.

S: The smell is incredibly complex. Tons of dark fruits (Raisins, figs, plums, dark grapes), along with a sweet roast and coffee smell.

T: Boom. This is not for the faint of heart. The flavors are not smooth or creamy, but they do kick you around a few times. Incredibly complex and tons of fruit characteristics. The fruit is the main profile, but the roast and coffee are there as well. A nice hop bitterness too.

Overall, I put this in my top 5 Imperial Stouts. It does not disappoint in any way.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'07 22 received in trade about a year ago from BeerBeing.. tonight enjoyed out of my shaped SA glass... thanks Alex.

2 finger mocha head atop a black brew.. the head lasted probably 10 minutes.. nice lacing and cap.

Smell is very smooth and rounded.. bittersweet chocolate with more than enough fruity yeastiness... dark malts with big plum/prune and quite a bit of caramel.. pretty complex.

Flavor is bigger.. cold mocha.. chocolate and coffee.. some dried cherries and burnt malts mid palate.. some citrus hops but they are waaay in the background until the finish... cocoa and caramel come into play as it warms.. but the finish is fairly dry with cocoa and some piney hops.

fairly thick. but not overboard... thank god.. very approachable.. the smutty is better than I remember.. pretty balanced right now.. It will still get better with another year.. but after that... drink right away.


Photo of beavers
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to my buddy Brock (buckobrock) for the surpise bomber on my birthday. This one will have to be abandoned on the impy stout tasting we'll be having soon because I simply cannot wait.

2008 edition.

Pours a vicous jet black with a two finger tan head descends into a nice muddy brown blanket and accumulates on the edges. Not much lacing with this one.

Delicious aroma of molasses, ground coffee, rum soaked dark fruit (cherries) on top of a chocolate malt backbone. A very nice hop profile that I think meshes quite nicely with the style. Its definitely present, but is no where near aggressive and doesn't dominate like I've seen in a few attempts of other interpretations of the style. Taste confirms a lot of the aromas, but I get much more pronounced vanilla and sourdoughiness in the middle followed by a nice charred edging. Some smoke also in the finish

Mouthfeel is wonderful. Its full and developed without being over the top. At 10% (didn't learn until afterwards) I'm amazed at the drinkabilty and recommend this highly to those who dig the RIS.

Photo of number1bum
4.56/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours absolutely pitch black with about one and a half fingers of creamy tan head. Both head and retention are pretty average, as it keeps only a thin lace and leaves just a bit of stick.

First thing I notice with the smell of this one is how hoppy it is - wow, the huge blast of citrus makes me think I'm smelling an IPA or something. There is chocolate malt and some sweet lactose, as well. Awesome.

I had a hell of a hard time trying to find anything I didn't love about this one. It's the hoppiest stout I've ever had but I love it. Citrus hop flavor meshes beautifully with milk chocolate, a bit of roasted and hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is a very creamy full body, but the one thing keeping me from 5's is that it could maybe be just a touch smoother. But that's a total nitpick. I love this.

This was a deliciously surprising stout. Not surprising because I liked it so much - it does have great reviews already, obviously; but because it's so hoppy but so well put together. Great brew.

Photo of thethrone
4.49/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours dark black with foamy rich tan head. Recedes to a thin layer that rests on the top for the remainder of the glass. Spotty lacing runs down the glass.

S - Big dark malty nose, lots of chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit. Terrific aroma.

T - Starts sweet, with the dark malts and sweet chocolate, fruit. A coffee-like bitterness follows in to balance out the flavor. Finishes with a bit of booziness.

M - Full bodied, good carbonation. Coats the mouth nicely as it goes down.

D - No doubt this is a big beer, just as the label implies. But it does down smooth, and I'll be reaching for another in the near future. Highly recommended.

Photo of johnd513
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to stevemcqueenjr for this one!
This beer pours black with a one finger head that quickly disappears and leaves decent lacing on the glass. Huge chocolate, malt and coffee nose. Medium to full mouth body, very smooth. Taste is bitter coffee, some chocolate and the alcohol is a little up front. Drinkability is good and I really enjoyed this bomber. Overall a great RIS!

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

Much thanks goes out to Bill for sedning me down this one that I had been seeking out forever. Served at cellar temperture and poured into an oversized wine glass. This one was consumed 08/12/2008.

Poured a very nice, and almost complete pitch black. Thick looking with a nice opaque texture. Rich tan colored head of about two fingers in height then rose up and settled quickly, leaving only some token lace and a good bit of a broken crown around the top.

The aroma struck me immediatly as being a bit hot, so I was a bit on alert at this point on. Lots of roasted malts in the the profile, hints of dark bakers chocolate, bitter coffee grinds and a touch of vanilla. Carried over well into the flavor profile, with the dominant dark chocolate theme controlling the profile here. Rich with hints of vinous hops and a touch of coffee. Some light smoked taste in the back end, with a long lasting bitterness and a touch of alcohol in the finish. A little less then a full bodied stout, but with very good carbonation and a nice, well rounded profile. THis was a really sipper though as I took my time and it seemed to get much better as it warmed.

Overall not bad at all, though I have to admit, it needs a bit of time to come to its full protential. Really a bit too young to really appreciate fully. This was still a very solid effort, though not my favorite from them.

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

Pours pitch black with a deep tan head. It has a very thick lacing. Smells strongly like caramel and roasted coffee and some fruit notes - almost has the scent of a deep red wine. Tastes good, but certainly bitter with a strong alcohol after-taste (there's no denying that it's 10.0% ABV). Full bodied with average drinkability. I'm a big fan of Smuttynose but don't consider this one of their best showings. It's a good beer and I'd certainly buy it again in a bomber but wouldn't buy a keg. It would be great as a holiday beer.

Photo of MrMonkey
4.49/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a one-finger mocha head that fades slowly to a thin cap and sticky ring. Decent lacing.

Smell is dark red wine fruits, like raspberries and currants, dark roasted coffee, dark chocolate, piny hops, and a hint of booze.

Taste starts with dark dried fruits before some dark chocolate and vanilla. Bitter piny hops lead into some dark roasted coffee and rum-soaked raisins, before a peppery, warming alcohol finish.

Full-bodied, thick and creamy mouthfeel.

Very enjoyable, although the alcohol bite is still a bit hot, which limits its drinkability a bit.

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

OK, this pour has been into one of those bad Marriott water glasses, but it is better than straight from the bottle.

A: If water was dark, this would be it (and I mean that in a good way)
S: I think that the smell is one of the best characteristics of this beer. The hops keeps this floral AND roasty all the way through each 6 ounce glass.
T: Exactly as an imperial stout should be, if everybody put this much thought into the hop profile.
M: I tend to like my stouts with a deeper body (especially a 10% imperial), but being slightly thinner probably adds to the drinkability.
D: At 10%, this is one better enjoyed at home (or in a hotel room), if you are having more than one. I could easily enjoy these once I knew that the car was parked for the day and the lighter body adds to the drinkability.

Label is unusually smooth.

Photo of jojox
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big bottle of the 2008 season.

a - Black. Thin, tan head. Holds on, but carbonation is pretty low.

s - Really hoppy! Lots of floral, chocolate, malt (duh), coffee, almost a menthol feel in the nose.

t - nice RIS flavor, with large hops presence and bitterness. More coffee at is warms. A good amount of minerals (chalk) at the end.

m - Viscous, not too carbonated. Low carbonation, actually.

d - not bad, but after one, I don't feel like another.

I have another bottle and I think I'll wait a year before hitting it again. I would also look to get more of this, it was quite tasty!

Bonus: The label is super easy to remove cleanly for filling with homebrew!

Photo of John_M
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
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
4.57/5  rDev +11.7%
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
3.73/5  rDev -8.8%
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
4.57/5  rDev +11.7%
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
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
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
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
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
4.37/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,030 ratings.