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

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

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
2007 - 10.0%
2009 - 8.9%
2010 - 9.8%
2014 - 9.4%
2015 - 10.5%

Added by Bierman9 on 05-05-1998

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Reviews: 699 | Ratings: 1,227
Photo of horshack7
5/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Poured into a snifter very dark with a dark tan rocky head. Light could not possibly pass through this glass of wonderful darkness.

Aromas: Tremendous malt notes with a burnt hop aroma. Chocolate notes left and right. Nice mild coffee notes. The aromas are actually quite balanced with this style of beer.

Taste: Wow this one packs one incredibly lethal punch thats so great. Burnt hop notes dance around the pallate. It's very robust and sweet yet balanced between the maltiness, coffee notes and hops. The mouthfeel is real smooth and silky very much like melted dark chocolate.

Notes: This one is perfect for any cold winter night and not too shaby for a cool fall night. In fact the colder the night the better it can warm up the coldest of nights. I definately will have a stock of this beauty for the winter. I'm contemplating giving this masterpiece from Smuttynose fives across the board. Should I dare yes I do dare and will. For all those who adore Russian Imperial stouts this is for you Prost.

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Photo of GormBrewhouse
4.94/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

l. Brownish black
s. Excellent with the roast coming trough strong
t. Tremendous mouthfeel and warm notes with every sip
F. Same as above
O. Just a well balanced great imperial

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Photo of ggilman
4.88/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2005 Imperial Stout - On draft at Smuttfest 2011 in Portland, Maine at Novare Res. A 12 oz. pour looked beautiful in it's Smuttynose Big Beer tulip glass.

Solid midnight black with a three finger dense tan creamy head. The first smell is vanilla and espresso. Much lighter in smell than in taste. Rich vanilla extract with a hit of alcohol, bourbon, ripe fruit, chocolate milk, and dark roasted coffee beans. Deep long lingering flavors. Medium velvety body with a creamy mouthfeel. Medium carbonation, rich and slightly syrupy, but with a dry smokey finish. Buzz words apply. Intense and robust! This might be the best thing I have ever had to drink. Decadent.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.87/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A glass of black ink! Soft supple dark tan foam of a finger high is breathed upon the surface on a creamy north wind. Waves of lacing coat the glass in tiny branched streams.

Aroma is quite dark, spicy, and definately wowful. Thick blackened molasses. Feveredly rich dark malts with a slimming coal-like roast, spritzed with dark orange and soaked in plummy juices. And some very nice spicyness of black licorice and anise that comes across quite peppery. Sappy, full, smoked, piney hops make for more unique bittering tinges and souring additions to the nose at in cinders in its well of smells. A never ending nose of dark, rich spices. Very reminiscent of Expedition, if not a mirror of it.

Intense on the buds! A ride of thick, rich, flavors that doesn't stop; it builds and grows and grows and impresses! Where to start? Complex for sure and much like the nose leads to, this has an immense dark malt profile. Hugely molasses and blackened in a pale, ghostly, charcoal smoke and tang with all sorts of wonderful and sturdy notes of deep pinewood hops, dark orange, plums and prunes, anise, pepper, black licorice, and a bittering, heavy, dark, Turkish espresso chocolate thats drying and lengthy. Wowza! So damn nice...I didn't want it to end, and more or less, it didn't. This stuff has some power and legs to it. You'll taste it until the following day no doubt. This is a great beer! Lengthy chocolate tones surge well into the finish with all sorts of left over spice, smoke, and drying bittered piney orangey-like pithyness. Words here really can't comprehend its complexitiy.

Feel is thick, roasty, full, and drying; drying like forever, well beyond what you think is the finish. Finish? There isn't one. It has an eternity. Holy sh*t, this stuff has some impressively long legs to it. That espresso chocolatey dryness is just that and more. Totally spiced, mega lengthy, and one very nice treat to behold!

I've been a fan of the other Smutty brews I've had. Solid beers for sure. But this has got to be their best beer by far. At least from what I've had to date. Sure, I don't get to have it around all the time like the lucky folks in (insert name of East coast distribution area here), but man, this is one very nice Impy Stout. World class in my book! I will need some more.

Only thing slowing this down as far as draining the glass quicker is that it does have a thicker, super lengthier body and richness in flavor that goes dry and darkly bitter for a time and a half. !0% is no where to be found except in the head a while into it. It'll soak and sooth in with that long finish. Nothing wrong with slowing down and taking this one in. Wonderful Stuff!

Thanks to ghostwalker for the bombers!

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Photo of TK5150
4.87/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2009. Have had 5 bottles so far this year.

A- Pours Very dark brown/black with a beige head.

S- Big American citrusy hops give an aroma of tangerines oranges and grapefruit mixed with chocolate and coffee with licorice and alcohol rounding out the nose. Possibly my favorite smelling beer.

T- Taste is pretty much a mirror of the nose.

M- I have to say this year I am perceiving a thinner body.

D- Awesome. I have bought nearly two cases of this stuff so far this year.

I have to say this year is under-performing a bit; the body seems thinner and taste and smell are slightly less hoppy and intense. 2007 and 2008 and were unbelievable. With that said this is still one of my favorite beers. Its a hybrid of an Imperial Stout and a DIPA, my two favorite styles. The best bargain in beer IMO.

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Photo of RustyDiamond
4.85/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle conditioned in 2007 stamped on label.
3 fingers Snickers nougat colored head. Aroma of cocoa nibs, sweet raisin toast...delightful. Hoppy, roasty chocolate, fumey flavor. Good hop bitterness on the finish. Webbed lacing in the Stone IRS glass. Very smooth, very complex flavor with perfect carbonation. Quite complex on the tongue...chocolate mousse. As good as there is for a RIS.

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Photo of drgonzo3705
4.85/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Nice black with a small tan head. Decent lacing as I swirl it around.

S: I'm surprised by the piney hops but it adds a nice complexity. Very interesting smells going on. I smell a bit of a varnish/shoe polish/molasses/black licorice combo going on. Not as offending as you may think!

T: Chocolate and hops. Great combination of flavors going on. Would love to have quite a few of these to see how it develops.

M: Full bodied and creamy with light carbonation and good hoppiness.

D: Probably one of the finest Stouts I've ever had the pleasure of drinking. Very complex and tons of flavors all begging for attention!

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Photo of dpgoblejr
4.85/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On Tap at the Thirsty Moose Taphouse in Portsmouth NH.

Very dark-brown to mostly black looking stout. Moderate head, decent for a stout, and very slight lacing. Hints of chocolate, smoke, and dark fruits in the aroma. Tastes absolutely amazing with a sort of cherry-chocolate sweetness dominating my taste buds. Smooth, nice bodied beer that is a like a drinkable dessert. Awesome stout and my favorite brew by Smuttynose to date. Highly recommended must try here!

Feb 2015 Update..
220z bomber dated Feb2015 poured into a snifter. Black in color with a oil-slick like viscosity as a small mocha head retreats to a ring around the edge. Lacing is evident as the coffee aroma dominates with each sip. Chocolate, dark fruits, and licorice are there too. Taste is made up of chocolate, licorice, dark fruits, and coffee being the most pronounced. Lighly carbonated, thick and smooth, and extremely drinkable. Earthy hops finish off the palate with a slightly dry bitterness that helps to complete this beauty of an Imperial Stout. The sweetness I remember is not as noticeable to me but there's nothing wrong with that! Love my Smutty!

Jan 2016 Update:
I think I like this almost a year old aged version even better than fresh. The dry bitterness has subsided and the coffee is not as dominate. A more all around complete RIS now.

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Photo of Braudog
4.83/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle: Poured like black gold with a huge cascade of waterfalling bubbles, rising into a 2-inch thick fortress of solid tan foam. The aroma is big and sweet, roasty and even hoppy. The flavor is even more robust and an incredible blend of titilating flavors ... dark, bitter chocolate ... dark cherry ... oak ... whiskey ... and a big hop resiny anchor. This is gut-buster, and I plan to enjoy it for the next hour or so. (#2754, 3/16/2007)

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Photo of scarletfire79
4.8/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

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Photo of carln26
4.79/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really a beautiful beer. This pours an inky black and is topped by a thick, chunky tan colored head. The aroma has tons of chocolate covered cherries, espresso, and a mild mandarin orange hop. Depth of flavor. Very chocolaty, this beer comes across as the beer version of a mocha as the chocolate and coffee combine. The bitterness from the hops is like a lemon or orange twist added to the mocha. As the flavor settles in my mouth it brings out sherry, and cabernet flavors. Very nice. He mouth feel is smooth, thick and rich. No alcohol heat at all. Very drinkable. Maybe the best beer of this series.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.76/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours pitch black with a lasting dark tan head. Rich malts on the nose. Flavor is extremely robust with heavy malts. Thick coffee grinds there as well. The aftertaste really lasts on this one. Feel is thick on the liquid and good with the carbonation. I seem to recall Kai at the Wine Gallery in Boston telling me I really needed to try this on tap. Well thank you Kai. This beer is tasty!

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Photo of cokes
4.75/5  rDev +16.7%
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.

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Photo of irishkyle21
4.75/5  rDev +16.7%
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.

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Photo of Kallessin
4.73/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown, almost black color. Full cocoa colored head that settled very quickly to thin coating. Some held to the sides of the glass.

Very strong bittersweet chocolate aroma with raisins, prunes, molasses and plenty of roasted malt. Has a slight grainy aroma as well with a slight caramel lingering the background. The hops come through a little as well.

Strong roasted malt flavor up front with dark bittersweet chocolate. The dark fruit flavors are mostly in the background with some burnt flavors as well. The alcohol is present only as a warm peppery flavor that accents the other flavors nicely. Only mild bitter hops.

Very full bodied, smooth and creamy. Slight tingly warming sensation.

A big full roasty beer. Very rich and flavorful. The flavors, aroma and mouthfeel work very nice together making a fantastic beer.

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Photo of Martin2D
4.71/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pitch black with a large tan head that retains quite well and laces

S - Hop spicy alcohol, possibly anise, and hints of roastiness

T - That spicy smell translates so well into the taste. So welll balanced and also so roasty and delicious.

M - Medium in carbonation and heavy in body.

D - Amazing beer, great example of the style. Actually, this is the beer which I hold the standard by.

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Photo of BeerSox
4.7/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.7/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cellared for approx six months. purchased at Shawan liqours in Md. Decanted cool at approx. 50 degrees from a brown 22oz into a snifter.

A - A creamy smooth mocha hued head w/ a fine, tight bead. The supporting ale is the shade of a baby grand - black and brilliant.

S - Sweet dried fruits w/ roasty pleasant booziness in the aroma and a alluring citrus hop scent. The sweet rich malt has candy in the intense odors. Plum and pine join in the entrancing aroma.

M - Rich, warming, dense, chewy yet sweet w/ a hefty dose of bitter hops in the feel. A pleasant complimentary amount of effervessence adds to the overall luxurious texture.

T - The flavor jumps out w/ a dried fruit taste complete w/ a papaya-like tropical essence tha has a supporting decadent bean essence roastiness. Chocolate and coffee w/ a citrus acidity. Notes of coffee and vanilla becomes more pronounced as it warms. Gentle roasted malt notes w/ toffee like sweetness combine w/ a now mellowed hoppiness. The booze and toasty flavors continue on w/ deep touches of warm full alcoholic malt flavors. Touches of sharp bitterness are noted surrounded by sweet and solid satiny malts in the finish.

D - Rich, robust and everything a RIS should be. Plenty of malt w/ out an overabundance of bitterness, just enough to balance out theis malty behemoth. Very fine, well made, One of the best I have ever had. Complex and flavorful - almost too good to share.

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Photo of nogoodreason
4.7/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Solid Black. Not even the slightest hint of light can penetrate. A big bubbly, rich brown head arises and falls, leaving only thin carbonated residue on along the top.

Chocolate covered coffee beans, tart cherries, some alcohol all riding on a big roasty wave in the nose. A slightly pine sappish hop presence. Smells fantastic and attractive.

Over-roasted coffee, vanilla beans, dark plums and more tart cherry, a dark, but creamy chocolate presence at the center. Slight floral and citric hops notes when it finishes, followed by a lingering roasted, creamy chocolate taste. Huge.

As it warms, the fruity, vinous aspects become more pronounced. Now chocolate and merlot, with starbuck-esque coffee. The roasted bitterness is tamed by an increasingly floral hoppy finish. Digging around, the floral aspects turn to fruit juice. Sunny D???? A quick bite of alcohol that fades back into the floral presence as I swallow.

Smuttynose calls this a part of their BIG BEER series. They weren't joking, it's a gigantic beer, in flavor first and foremost, but there’s definite alcohol presence. Halfway into the bomber, I could feel it working it's magic. By the time I finished, the room I was in was much too warm.

An opalesque behemoth of a beer. Wow.

Whoa this is 7.1% ABV? No way...

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Photo of liddytime
4.7/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just popped open this 22 0z. bomber picked up about 6 months ago from Gary's in Portsmouth.

A: Jet black, like motor oil!

S: Sweet toffee with a pleasant alcohol smell.

T: Pure, liquid heaven! An explosion of chocolate, vanilla and port flavor! The hops definitely sneak in towards the end, but the bitterness is well balanced.

M: Very smooth and creamy.

D: This is one of my all-time favorite RI Stouts. If you are a fan of the style, you should really seek one of these babies out. I wish they would make this a year-round release. Nice work Smutty!

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Photo of justinp444
4.68/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Feb 2015 bottle date. Poured into a 3oz sample glass it as a black body and a beige quickly dissipating head of quarter inch. Smell of dark chocolate, date, plum, stone fruit, caramel, some floral, slight roasted malt, and a little bit of grape juice. Taste is nice dark chocolate, big dried fruit flavor, caramel, floral, nice bit of roasted malt on the end, and some apple. Mouth feel is full as well as body with a moderate carbonation. A great aged imperial stout, really became complex without any serious off flavors and still maintained it's drinkability.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.67/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

03/17/07- Received in a trade with Jetsbeer.

Presentation- 22oz bottle with a 2006 release date on the label. Poured into my Stone RIS tulip.

Appearance- Pitch black in color. Full one inch head upon pour, which settles to a nice off brown rim. Light patches of lace remain.

Smell- Possibly one of the most scented RIS's I've stumbled upon. The first thing that hits you is a raw and strong pine sap super bitter scent. After you work your way through that the amazing dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans come into play. Lastly finished off by some mild licorice.

Taste- As in the nose, there is a really nice pine hop note in the first sip. Alcohol is noticed a bit as well. Sloshing it around you get a deep dark chocolate flavor as well as some raw coffee beans. The licorice comes in just a tad at the end. Very nice meld of flavors. Nice long lasting aftertaste.

Mouthfeel- Medium to lower carbonation (always nice in a stout). Milky like coating and mildly creamy with a chocolate aftertaste that turns to a nice bitter hit.

Drinkability- Tremendous RIS. Hoping I can get my friend who used to live in NH to pick me up some when she goes home to visit. Top notch and right up there with Stone and Alesmith.

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Photo of Higravity
4.67/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Forget Darklord this is the real deal right here. The large choclate head laces the glass as the perfectly dark rich brown liquid is sipped. The smell is amazing, it is so hoppy so alive with malt that the roastyness is underwhelming. The flavor then shifts gears and delves into a full roasted malt with a raisin bloom and a mellow sweetness that comes up well to the hop resin finish. The long lasting aftertaste is quite pleasent and the thick and smooth mouthfeel allows for prolonged enjoyment. Very drinkable and dangerously enjoyable.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
4.67/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured chilled in tall ale glass; 8 mo-old version

A: solid black; thin head; good carb; great lacing
S: wow--total leather and dark-roasted barley
T: this easily rivals Old Rasputine; the complexity is astounding; much like chewing a leather belt (in a good way); pepper on the finish

This is an amazing porter; my stomach isn't completely happy but my mouth is

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Photo of Dansting
4.64/5  rDev +14%
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.

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Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
4.07 out of 5 based on 1,227 ratings.
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