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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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967 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 967
Reviews: 655
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.27%
Wants: 110
Gots: 99 | 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: 967 | Reviews: 655 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Liquids


4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

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

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


4.33/5  rDev +5.9%

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

05-28-2007 03:20:43 | More by cbrakel
Photo of Budlum


4.08/5  rDev -0.2%

This stout pours with a very thick texture that produces one inch of dense, brown head. Head retention is excellent. The body is extremely thick and as black as it could possibly be.

The nose of this beer is a little lighter than I expected. A charcoal and peat aroma blend with rich chocolate and a sweet, milk smell. Strong espresso and mild hops also blend together at the finish. Alcohol and a mild fruit smell appear as the beer warms.

A wave of flavor starts this stout with strong espresso flavors with lingering sea salts. Hop flavors are strong throughout. Dark chocolates and a faint fruitiness add lingering complexity. The hops re-appear for a long finish blending with earthy charcoal flavors and warming alcohol.

The mouthfeel is quite good. Carbonation is naturally lacking but the strong hops make up for that quickly. The texture is on for the style but thinner than I expected.

The drinkability of this stout is excellent. The flavors are great and each sip left my mouth watering for more.

05-25-2007 23:43:39 | More by Budlum
Photo of scarletfire79

New Hampshire

4.83/5  rDev +18.1%

pours black with slight ruby brown hints. nice dark tan head. looks really nice. definitly picking up some citrusy notes, roasted coffee. but definitly an element of sweetness. citrus hop taste, very mellow on the roasted flavor. hints of dark fruit add to the complexity. one of the best imperial stouts i've had, nicely done beer. really well rounded. i think this might be the best smutty so far.

05-24-2007 15:17:06 | More by scarletfire79
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev -0.2%

An excellent RIS, with a good thickness in mouthfeel, black body and substantial head. Aroma coffee-chocolate, with C-hop. Aged about a year so mellowness therefore the hops make their presence but do not detract from the drinking experience. Nicely malted chocolate, with roast also in the secondary. Maybe not the best RIS ever, but damn good and will have again.

05-20-2007 02:50:31 | More by Sammy
Photo of Crosling


4.2/5  rDev +2.7%

22 ounce bomber. High quality, a top notch beer. This is a very nice looking beer. It pours dark brown from the bottle and appears black in the glass. The head is dark, like any good Imperial stout should be. However, any beer that doesn’t pour like pure black oil from the bottle cannot get top marks in the appearence score from me. I want every Imperial Stout to be pitch black, no matter what, sorry. Aroma indicates that this is a fresher bottle, it has some nice malt elements (chocolate, roast), but it is mainly dominated by huge, citrusy hops. Flavor is very expressive and concentrated. It is massively flavorful in both malts and hops. The malt shows hints of chocolate, coffee and roast, while the massive hops add hints of citrus and pine. A very fresh, hoppy Imperial Stout. This is a tasty beer, but not sublime fresh. I could see this aging really well.

05-14-2007 02:46:59 | More by Crosling
Photo of Hautacam


4.43/5  rDev +8.3%

Dense , dark , oily brown...the head is really just a whisp on the surface.
Smells like coffee brewing in a carmel corn factory....a whiff of alcohol and leather.
Taste is huge and very complex. Sweet , heavy toasted malt....espresso with anisette, vanilla, figs , prunes , raisons ....an oily bitter hop and a bit of chalk, along with some warming alcohol. Leaves a really nice bitter and licorice aftertaste.
The body is very heavy....carbonation is pretty light.
Damn this is good !
Dangerously drinkable...Smuttynose Big Beers kick ass once again.

05-08-2007 23:34:33 | More by Hautacam
Photo of Luchman


3.98/5  rDev -2.7%

22oz 2006 vintage bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours out cleanly black with a dark cocoa colored head on top. The head dissipates very quickly just leaving the blackness in the glass. Leaves slight lacing on the sides.

S: Alcohol soaked dark fruits, chocolate and smooth bitter coffee leads the nose. Even some slight hints at molasses. Toffee? Not much hops to speak of, but a tad bit comes up in the nose. I love it.

T: Chocolate leads it here along with the currants and raisins. Bitter, um, very bitter-like coffee comes in. Couple more sips in and I get a nice and sweet, dessert like taste. Brownies...? Only other beer to give me that type of flavor was the famous Dark Lord. Alcohol is definitely present, but nothing too over the top.

While this is all good, this beer has a let down. I picked up on a very harsh taste leaving my tongue in a bitter daze. I'm not too sure from what, but my guess is the coffee taste as I pick up on no hops. Other than that, I feel the beer was quite tasty.

M: Medium body with a medium/ to light carbonation. While not that big of a let down, a bigger body would have definitely done this better.

D: Well.. The beer has many pleasing flavors, but as said before, it had a very "harsh" ending in the taste. While I wouldn't call it a chore to finish the beer, I did not gulp it down either. A sipper for sure.

05-05-2007 23:35:48 | More by Luchman
Photo of IntriqKen


3.9/5  rDev -4.6%

Ahhh...another RIS...how is this one?

Pours deep black with a smallish tan head that disappears to merely a ring very quickly.

Aromas are sweet dark malt and dark fruits with some dark grapes in there but a little weak for the style.

Flavors are lots of dark fruits...raisins, prunes, some grape...then sugar sweetness from the very dark malts..I don't notice any coffee notes, but some dark brownies and cocoa or brownie dough notes. All flavors seem to quickly give way to strong alcohol.

Aftertaste is bitter dark fruit (pleasant) cocoa, and dough flavors with an alcohol warmth.

Definitely a sipper...and definitely not 'another RIS'...this is unique...The Czar would be pleased.

05-05-2007 05:18:16 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of mrasskicktastic

New Jersey

4.28/5  rDev +4.6%

A - Deep brown, basically black ichor with with a large frothy mocha colored head and thick globs of lacing down the side.

S - An appetizing mesh of pine, hay and floral hops. Dark chocolate and coffee malt.

T - A burnt profile with a lot of chocolate upfront and some very mild hops. The aftertaste is mostly a lingering burnt flavor with some very faint pine and grassy bitterness. It you are looking hard, you might find the alcohol.

M - You need to tear this beer out of the glass and chew it before you can swallow. Viscous like cream and mostly smooth with a faint tingle of carbonation. Refreshing. A tad gummy in the mouth.

D - Extremely good. This beer delivers a total package. The abv is very high, but the only place you can detect it is the warming sensation. There is really nothing bad about this beer. I guess I wish it has most chocolately flavors than burnt flavors - but that is preference more than anything. Went well with my dinner or wheat spagetti in a spicy tomato cream sauce and spinach. Definitely worth a try - yet another Smuttynose winner.

05-05-2007 00:59:57 | More by mrasskicktastic
Photo of BlindPig


3.25/5  rDev -20.5%

A- Thin mocha head on a black body.
S- Coffee, roasted, kind of burnt ashes, hints of chocolate, alcohol, and a very weak hint of hops.
T- Follows the aroma. Alcohol really warms the back of throat and it is a HUGE aftertaste of coffee. Can't really taste to many hops at all. Just a huge strong malt beer with a bunch of alcohol. It is really rough and not very rounded at all.
M- Full body with low carbonation.
D- I think this isn't to good at all. It tastes like they just threw a bunch of stuff in and called it good. They need to refine it a lot more IMO.

05-03-2007 02:59:22 | More by BlindPig
Photo of bkett01


4.35/5  rDev +6.4%

Pours a deep dark black with a frothy brown head. Absolutely no light is penetrating this beer and the smells of coffee and chocolate were noticeable from the time it hit my glass. A closer smell reveals heavy chocolate aromas mixing with hints of toffee, coffee, and alcohol.

The taste is rich and smooth with a mild alcohol finish. Very heavy malts in this aptly named "Big Beer" lead to a heavy mouthfeel. This '06 edition has aged for around a year now and certainly seems to have improved with time. This easily ranks as one of my favorite Imperial Stout's, and I plan on stocking up on this year's edition.

Grab a few of these and let them age.... highly recommended.

04-29-2007 23:42:42 | More by bkett01
Photo of Mebuzzard


4.55/5  rDev +11.2%

Pours a deep black, with a chocolate malt-like head. Looks very rich and thick and darn good. Can't wait to taste it...
Smells like dark chocolate, rich and gooey. Hints of coffee and anise slide by, but the chocolate dominates.
Tastes unlike cocao and more like coffee. Quite a nice transition. Dark fruits, baked caramel and anise also come through to give it a good bite, but not overpowering.
Drinks well. 22oz bomber? Gone. Could use a bit more feeling to it, seems a bit thin considering its look and style.

04-27-2007 20:33:15 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of weeare138


4.18/5  rDev +2.2%

This is an '04 bottle that I've been sitting on since buying it at State Line Liquors...
Appears a midnight black with a 2 finger, dark tan, creamy head that fades into a mild cap of foam. Lots of streaky, scattered lacing is left all over.
Smell is of cream & coffee up front with some 63% dark cocoa nibs lacing the second whiff. Vanilla and mild notes of ripe cherimoya make for a very wonderful mix.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with some herbal hoppiness and just a mild touch of roastiness.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, chocolatey, and smooth.

04-24-2007 15:17:53 | More by weeare138
Photo of Kendo

New York

4.38/5  rDev +7.1%

A: Poured into a Sam Smith's nonic. Body appears pure black, with a 1.5 finger fluffy chocolate-colored head that settles fairly quickly but does leave some splotches of foam clinging to the glass on the way down.

S: Dark fruit (cherries and berries) and dried fruit (prunes, figs and raisins). Also molasses and chocolate and some alcohol spice as well. Fairly strong scents, but they're balanced and subtle, so it's not like a smack to the nose. Pleasant all around.

T: Roasted malt and milk chocolate up front, then dark berries in the middle. It finishes with a taste of burnt charcoal, bitter dark chocolate and alcohol. Nice balance -- mainly sweet in the mouth at first but with a good dry bitterness at the finish and then lingering in the aftertaste.

M: Smoothed out very quickly -- not necessarily velvety-type smoothness, but very nice. Pretty close to full-bodied, but not quite. Alcohol warmth was felt on the way down to the belly.

D: Very good for a beer of this strength. I finished the bomber in just over an hour; it wasn't tough to do so at all.

04-12-2007 17:27:49 | More by Kendo
Photo of Kegatron


4.18/5  rDev +2.2%

From an 06 bottle, poured into a snifter.

Pours a nice pitch black with a smallish tan colored head & some minimal lacing. Aroma is of malt & chocolate with just a tinge hops & alcohol.

Taste of sweetness up front. Chocolate, coffee, some dark fruits. The finish is where it's at though. Nice dry hoppiness with a little bit of heat on it. Mouthfull seems a little light but not too bad.

A very good Imperial Stout and another nice big beer offering from Smuttynose.

04-11-2007 23:12:32 | More by Kegatron
Photo of jjayjaye

New York

4.05/5  rDev -1%

Pours an opaque dark brown color with a full finger tan head that fades slowly to surface. A nice amount of lacing observed.

The smell is classic caramel and light roast malt and some coffee and a little alcohol. I liked the initial scent more than the warming aroma.

The mouth feel is hopped up and tangy with a good amount of carbonation. A Heavy weight body with a bite of lingering bitterness at the end. It's scoring points for complexity in my book.

The flavor is first a coffee then roasted malt and chocolate.

The 10.0 ABV is there as a solid warming sensation in the chest on the way down. A good brew for the BarcaLounger.

04-05-2007 22:39:35 | More by jjayjaye
Photo of Wasatch


4.38/5  rDev +7.1%

Thanks goes out to nouseforotacon for this one.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a nice thick black color, tiny fizzy brown head, some sticky lacing afterwards. The nose is very nice of sweet roasted malts, slight hops, and coffee/caramel. The taste is great, lots of roasted malts, big on the coffee/caramel. The mouthfeel is chewy, with a nice dry/slightly bitter finish. Medium body, well rounded brew. Very drinkable, man these few brew's I've had from this brewery are very tasty. This is an exceptional RIS, highly recommended.

03-31-2007 19:14:55 | More by Wasatch
Photo of nickss


4.45/5  rDev +8.8%

Black with a one finger, dirt brown head.. pretty.

The nose contains chocolate, roasted malt, and a subtle hint of caramel.

Huge flavour.... tons of malt, providing a stiff backbone to this brew. Lots of chocolate and coffee... delicious. Some berries also come through as the beer warms.

Nice and thick with perhaps a bit too much carbonation.

Very drinkable for a impy stout.... great brew.

03-31-2007 17:23:07 | More by nickss
Photo of dfried


4.47/5  rDev +9.3%

Thick, inky black liquid, nice and glossy, 2cm coco colored head. The first thing I noticed in the aroma was some perfumy hops that also had some citrus character. Some coco powder showed up shortly there after, and some dark fruits.

The taste had a lot of charred smoky malt, but which faded to quite sweet and chocolaty after a couple of seconds. The malt seemed to be swimming in hops the whole time, oily and resinous, but with a lot of orangish citrus flavor too. Plenty of fruity flavors, plums figs, and raisins, but it got even more tropical as it warmed with pineapples and grapefruits. The mouthfeel was quite sticky and the flavor long lasting. Definitely a sipper, but one that was really hard to put down.

Overall: I love hoppy dark beers, so I loved this one. I was impressed with how fruity and tropical it got as it warmed. There was also a smokiness in the malt that distinguished it from some other RISs I have had. The aftertaste was especially long and drawn out for this beer too, even for a RIS. Phenomenal beer.

03-29-2007 17:56:26 | More by dfried
Photo of Jaynuze

District of Columbia

4.13/5  rDev +1%

Pours out of the bottle pitch black with a nice coffee/toffee colored head ... so far so good. The head and lace don't stick around for too long.

Notes of malt, smoke, coffee, and caramel(?)

It's a bit sweet at first with the high alcohol, but it smoothes itself out after a second sip. Notes of chocolate malt, coffee, caramel, and sugar. The alcohol finish is a bit strong, but I've found most young RIPs to have that type of finish.

The alcohol finish doesn't help with the smoothness at first, but as I mentioned before, after the second or third sip one's palate adjusts. It is quite creamy though.

As many have mentioned, this beer is a "sipper". Best shared with a friend or two so as not to fall off the recliner! A good swing at the style, something I would definitely buy again. Goes well with blue cheese ... esp. the stuff from Trader Joe's soaked in olive oil with pepper corns.

03-29-2007 13:10:25 | More by Jaynuze
Photo of lackenhauser


4.53/5  rDev +10.8%

2007 vintage. Absolutely stunningly black-huge cocoa/tan head on top. Perfect looking beer-RIS or otherwise-looks like a glossy magazine ad sitting here. Chocolate and hoppy aromas dominate. Deep roasted malt flavor with a big dose of hops thrown in. Rich, deep dark chocolate flavor-makes me think I am sucking on bakers chocolate. Smooth and creamy body-well balanced against the bittersweetness in the flavor. Just an incredible beer. Has to be one of the top 3 RIS I have enjoyed. Big in flavor and body-much "bigger" then Brooklyn or Old Rasputin overall. Great stuff.

03-28-2007 23:31:16 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of Estarrio


4.53/5  rDev +10.8%

This year has been especially interesting for the RIS style. With so many wonderful additions to the category it is a dubious task to be able to quantify a true standout among the pack. This is one such standout.

Pours opaque black with an enormous coffee colored head. Thirty minutes later and the head is still going strong with intricate, sticky lacings positioned along the glass walls. As I swirl the glass, the viscosity of this oily liquid can be visually perceived, while the grainy lacings move slowly down the sides of the glass. This is one of the nicest looking imperial stouts that I've ever seen.

Huge, sweet and roasted malt in the nose with an abundance of chocolate, brown sugar, licorice and molasses. There is a subtle alcohol presence with slight hints of esters.

The taste includes sweet, roasted malt with copious amounts of chocolate and coffee. Other flavors include molasses, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, anise, maple, subtle alcohol and a pleasant, bitter finish. This is smooth to be sure but also quite complex as it warms.

Full bodied, creamy and viscous, this is definitely a sipping beer. The subdued alcohol and smooth flavors create a heightened sense of drinkability.

Smuttynose is likely my favorite regional brewery and this may well be the best beer out of their big beer series. This is a must try.

03-27-2007 03:43:58 | More by Estarrio
Photo of DaPeculierDane


4.2/5  rDev +2.7%

Great beer. Really enjoyed a bomber from Star.

A: Black with a brown head. Really dark.

N: Hoppy as hell. Piney and citrussy. Cocoa powder.

T: Loads of bitter, dry, dark cocoa powder. Rich and complicated with loads of fruits from the hops. Perfectly palanced.

Mouthfeel: Lighter then most RISs. Less oily and thick. Really nicely balanced bitterness and fruitiness. Dry.

Drinkability: Superb.

03-26-2007 13:51:34 | More by DaPeculierDane
Photo of meatyard


3.93/5  rDev -3.9%

2007 edition - big mistake to drink so soon
Pours an impenetrable black with a very thick, dark tan head that falls leaving very good lacing.
The smell starts with a bit of alcohol that, sadly, overpowers anything else.
The taste is also started off with alcohol then allows for some coffee & chocolate with a bitterness at the end.
Mouthfeel is thick and creamy, very nice.
It's most likely that this is way too fresh to drink yet. I wish that I had waited 6-8 months to try this. Because of that, I've adjusted my ratings numbers to average out the same as the overall average and will pick up another to hold to for a while and rate it again. I've never noticed such a big diferrence in what I expect a beer will be and what I find due to what is likely just the difference in aging.

03-25-2007 23:56:53 | More by meatyard
Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 967 ratings.