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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 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
3.76/5  rDev -8.1%
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
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
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
4.37/5  rDev +6.8%
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
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
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
4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
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
2.86/5  rDev -30.1%
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.

Photo of irishkyle21
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A gorgeous creamy foam starts this beer of in fine fashion. The glass is marked after every sip. Black in color with some ruby.

The people at Smuttynose sure do know how to make a damn fine brew. This RIS smells of rich chocolaty malts, citric hops, fruits and fresh ground coffee.

Tastes of chocolate, coffee, a big hop bite but it is well matched with malt. This is one of those beers that you just don't want to finish cause you only bought one.

Photo of Pencible
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This poured pitch black with a tiny bit of dark tan head. It smelled strongly of alcohol, along with mocha and some hints of cherry. It tasted like bitter dark chocolate, burnt coffee and leathery malts, and even lemon and pine hops. It was thick with no carbonation, had a bitter aftertaste, and had significant alcohol warming. Overall this was a very powerful beer that was good for sipping, but had a really hard bite. It would be interesting to see if the flavor mellows some with aging, which could make this an exceptional beer.

Photo of callmemickey
3.35/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown/black body... thin tan head..

S: Lots of malts... caramel. coffee. chocolate. and an odd fruity citrus bitterness... pleasant though.

T: Mostly caramel and chocolate in the taste... but the coffee is certainly there... way too hoppy for my liking when paired with those darker flavors... out of balance..

M: Smooth. thick.. slightly off putting bitterness

D: The taste unfortunately holds this one back substantially

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.03/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Completely black and opaque, even held up to direct light. Slight brown head with very little lacing.

Smells of sweet malts, molasses, chocolate.

Lots of malts, as the smell would suggest. Very sweet up front, a little too sweet. Some ripe fruit flavor comes through. Follows with heavy roasted character and hints of chocolate. Roast flavor stays with the palate.

Full boded, good mouthfeel, but far too sweet to be greatly drinkable.

I had high hopes for this beer, and it really is not a bad brew. However, it is just entirely too sweet for me and what I look for in the style.

Photo of Tilley4
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to barleywinebrewer for the chance to give this a shot...

2006 Vintage.

This is, of course, midnight black and has apparently no carbonation left.. Looks like old motor oil..

Aroma of dark sweet fruit, hints of coffee, loads of chocolate and a little bit of hot alcohol on the finish.. As this gets warmer, it just gets better and better... At room temp, this becomes f**king delicious!

Man, I wish I had access to this awesome ass beer. Its super tasty and packs a punch..

Photo of Jwale73
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage served in my DFH snifter. Poured an opaque black. Half-inch tan colored head dissapeared pretty quickly. Only evidence that there was a head was the thin ring of foam and ringlets that adhered to the perimeter of the glass. Thin, spotty lacing during the tasting. Immediate impression in the nose was of a baltic porter I recently tasted. Scents of dark chocolate and malt. Taste consistent with nose, but also detected a hint of dark fruit and some alcohol. Mouthfeel was not as bold as some of the RIS's I've been drinking lately, but not bad. Fairly silky with a touch of carbonation (again, some similarities to a baltic porter). Some astringency and alchol burn in the back of the throat. This is a sipper that mellows a little as it warms. I'd be curious to see if this softens a little with age.

Photo of dsa7783
4.52/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz Smuttynose "Big Beer Bottle Series" copped from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield for $4.99...
Been waiting a long time to sample this one, finally got the opportunity...
Pours a jet-black, ebony hue with a giant-sized foamy and frothy, reddish, tan head that nearly obliterated the serving glass...
Great, rich aroma of cocoa, malts, mocha, and latte with a strong suggestion of burnt coffee...
Taste strongly resembled the aroma, with a powerful essence of rich, deep, dark chocolate, thick mocha, rich, powerful espresso and dark latte... cocoa powder nuances wander throughout... This is truly an exemplary depiction of the style, bursting with great flavor and character both in the nose and mouth...The taste was rich, pure, and thick, with a perfect balance of roasted malts and rich chocolate...
Certainly one of the best beers produced by Smuttynose...
Great thick, creamy, rich mouthfeel and a pretty good level of drinkability despite the hefty 10% ABV...
Good stuff...

Photo of dholway
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I just had a brand new 2008 edition, and everything is colored by the total freshness of the beer. Pitch black stout that reeked of hops and chocolate...yum. The taste was an amalgam of dark chocolate, dark roast espresso, and black licorice...with such an upfront presence of hops that these flavors weren't as pleasurable as they should have been. This beer clearly needs some time to calm down. As it stands, it is still quite good, but by October, it will be much better. By March 2009, it may be spectacular.

Photo of Dansting
4.64/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Poured a blackish-brown color with a medium brown head. Good lacing. Aroma is very pleasant, consisting of vanilla, coffee, and chocolate milk. Mouthfeel is very nice and full. Flavor is very nice, with a strong dark chocolate presence and hints of vanilla, bourbon, and coffee.

Photo of seaoflament
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage.

Pours a dark, heavy roasted coffee bean color with about two inches of tan foam. Good head retention, takes a few moments to settle down but it still keeps a quarter inch layer.

Heavy aromas of chocolate malts and dark fruits. There's quite a mixture of raisins, dates and dried prunes along with the chocolate aromas. Cocoa and hints of vanilla also make themselves present. Alcohol is present but in a fruity cocktail-like way and brings out notes of cherries and grapes.

Lots of roasted malt flavor right away, a few bitter chocolate notes followed by some dark fruits and a bit of alcohol. The bitterness keeps on with the roasted barley and packs some dryness on the palate. Raisins mostly, as well as other dark fruits and cherries dominate the mid palate and finishes with cocoa and bitter-sweet chocolate. A bit of soy sauce in the finish as well. The chocolate becomes more dominant as it warms ups, like a bitter-chocolate milk shake.

Mouth-feel is creamy and a bit chewy, very well done.

It's a big beer that definitely needs to be sipped. I like it but the heavily roasted nature of this beast gets to be a little too much after a while.

Photo of IBUnit63
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2-finger, milk-chocolate, epsresso-style head with moderate lacing. Pours like viscous motor oil, which is what we're shootin' for.

Soapy hops with a little licorice and maybe rosemary (?), lemon-grass and even some Granny Smith apple. In a word: Stewy.

Tight slate taste at first, with ample cinnamon sugar. Alcohol is well-accompanied with sweetness as this warms.

Alcohol and stewed fruit are prominent in mouthfeel with slate, coffee and chicory.

This is a pleasure to sip slowly - more accessible than would be expected from the style. Nice stuff.

Photo of msubulldog25
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured at cellar temperature from a 22 oz. 'BIG BEER Series' bottle, 2006 edition, into the Abita Beer pint glass. Just felt like an RIS to cap the evening...wish I could recall who sent this to give proper thanks...

A: Fizzly tan head, the color of roasted peanuts, lifts to no more than half a finger then settles to a prickly scattering of film and a thin ring. Very, very dark - nearly black - but with a warm reddish glow where light penetrates. Virtually no lace.

S: Syrupy fruit aroma, like dates or rum raisins. Toffee, or is that caramel. A dash of vanilla, something smoky and meaty (teriyaki?).

T: Peat, molasses, raisins, toffee, plenty of dark chocolate. Hop backing of zesty oranges. Just a touch of sourness, more like acrid coffee bean roasting. Overall sense is of mild sweetness, then it builds to a tingly spice, then a bitter coffee and chocolate, before subsiding to subtler fruit, vanilla and traces of leather. All took some digging - none of this really leaped from the glass - but the ruminating search was really wonderful.

M: Smooth, velvety. There's really very little carbonation getting in the way of the rich, roasted flavors here. not the thickest mouthfeel, but certainly one of the longest lingering burnt/bitter follow-throughs. ABV of 10% is pretty well hidden, but a little boozy warmth can be sensed in that lasting finish.

D: I expected that with a bit of age this one would really blow me away; instead it's mellowness, subdued aroma and fairly flat appearance underwhelmed a little. Flavor, though, is subtly brilliant: wide ranging, ever-changing and ultimately very satisfying. I believe I have another of these lurking (forgotten) somewhere; if not I'm hoping to get some more from one of my East Coast buds. Good stuff, worth recommending.

Photo of jpssdp1
3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Beautiful! Dark black beer that pours with a dark coffee color head that is thin and doesn't stick around for long.

Not a very strong smell. I smell licorice, dried fruit, smoke and alcohol.

Delicious! A mix of sweetness and bitter with a smokey taste. Hops first, then it finishes bitter as well. I tasted the chocolate but can really taste the fruit. Alcohol does stand out.

Medium carbonation and smooth mouthfeel.

Obviously not a session beer. I could put down a bomber but overall I couldn't drink too much of this stuff.

All around awesome beer from an awesome brewery. I paired it w/ a bar of dark fair trade chocolate.

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