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

Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series)
1,234 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,234 |  Reviews: 700
Photo of TheDudeRules
1.74/5  rDev -57.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Black as night pour into my Darkness snifter.

Jet flippin black as I already stated. Half a finger of thin mocha head. It sticks around clinging to my glass. Bakers chocolate, fig, and alcohol. Goodie. Taste up front is roast and char. Heavy roast and char. Plenty of alcohol. A squeak of bakers chocolate. Beer finishes hoppy and very bitter. When I exhale I taste coffee. Well this is awful. Right now I'd say this is a heavy duty. Finishing this glass is not in the cards for me.

Maybe it needs time to settle? Probably. Does that mean it will taste better? Um, most likely not. I did hear some asshats say that this beer is better than Kate. Well.... You are wrong. And saying something like that you should be flogged.

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Photo of LarryV
1.82/5  rDev -55.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I've always been a fan of Smuttynose, but this beer ended up being a drain pour for me. The hoppiness is way out of line with the style and doesn't add anything positive imho. There were some subtle toasty notes way in the background, but not enough to provide a balance. Bottom line, I like hoppy beers, but I really hated this beer and wouldn't consider buying it ever again. Horrible example of the style.

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Photo of HogieWan
1.83/5  rDev -55.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

So, Im reading a lot of reviews contrary to what I'm drinking, but I have to post this.

Appearance is great - absolutely opaque black, dense foamy coffee colored head.

Smell - Raid (mountain fresh) roach spray. Yes, that's what I smell. I went the the bottle of raid I have and smelled it - almost exact.

Taste - some nice stoutish flavor, but the insecticide was too much

Mouthfeel was nice for an impy stout but my focus was drown away

overall - somehow I finished this. There was some redeeming qualities surrounding this but I can't say I enjoyed this beer

I see a lot of good reviews. This beer was sent as part of a trade so someone liked this. I realise I may have one bad example of a great beer, but my experience was bad and I need others to be wary of this

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Photo of breyton490
1.9/5  rDev -53.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I am a big fan of Smuttynose, but this beer just missed the mark in all categories. Poured from a 22oz bomber, the color was great, but the aroma was way off, unpleasant and not like what I expected. I am not sure if i got a bad bottle as I really like most every other Smuttynose beer.

My initial taste of the beer was not spectacular either. There were some OK roasty tones, but the nasty aroma and less than average taste made this beer undrinkable for me.

I will give another bottle a try as maybe I just got the rare case of a bad bottle.

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Photo of Lunch
2.07/5  rDev -49.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Served on-tap at Frisco Grille in Columbia, Maryland (10/29/09). Served in a goblet at an appropriate temperature.

Appearance: Pours a standard near black shade of dark brown with just a hint of an espresso brown head that disappears very quickly.

Smell: The nose is completely and utterly dominated by wet tobacco. There is a flutter of roasted malt, bitter chocolate, and a faint citrus hop scent. Not appealing.

Taste: Unfortunately the taste is similar to the smell in that tobacco overwhelms the palate and creates a less than appetizing taste. Again there are hints of roasted malt, bitter chocolate and citrus hops. Not a fan.

Mouthfeel: Seems rather mediocre with decent carbonation, but it is hard to gage as I find the tobacco flavor to be so intense that it is difficult to distinguish any other characteristics.

Drinkabilty: I guess if you are interested or enjoy the taste of wet tobacco than this beer may be for you, but I found it impossible to finish my 10oz. pour.

Overall this is the second time that I have had this beer in the past week (the first being a bomber split between friends)and I assumed that I got a bad bottle. I was excited to have it on-tap, but it turns out that both experiences mirrored each other seamlessly. Being a huge of fan of RISs, and Smuttynose for that matter, I am extremely disappointed by this beer. I will perhaps give it a try in several weeks or perhaps wait until next season, but I would certainly not seek this beer out again. Not recommended.

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Photo of tappangordo
2.28/5  rDev -44.1%

Photo of njmoons
2.43/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This Washington hopped (Cascades or related), RIS didn't cut it for me. Too much aroma and flavoring hops and citrus/soapy finish. Not enough malt and malt sweetness to be an RIS, and keep the beer in balance.

Poured a dark black with almost no head, and the foam that did come up dissipated immediatly.

Aroma was citrus hops. These hops overwhelmed the other aroma's. I could get a little malt, but I had to search for it over the citrus hops.

Taste was thin and hoppy, with very little malt flavor for a RIS. The beer finished with a strong grapefruit/soapy flavor. This RIS is way out of balance for me.

Mouthfeel was too thin for an RIS.

Drinkability was poor with the hops taking over the beer from aroma to finish.

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Photo of goatgoat
2.47/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Thanks UGADawgGuy for the opportunity. Seriously... no matter what I think of the brew, I really appreciate the opportunity to try it.

Cellar temp poured into Chimay goblet. Fresh, bottled in 2009.

Pours a smooth black with no highlights. Almost 2 fingers of creamy tan head falls in the course of several minutes. A few sheets of lace cling to the glass.

The aroma hits me as I pour, boozy chocolate truffles. It only gets boozier with a proper sniff. Spicy with a heavy perfume. Not enjoyable.

Flavor shares the same characteristics, but moderated. A more chocolaty note comes through and the finish is shared between a nice roasted coffee bitterness and that same boozy perfume.

Good creamy body and chewiness. A high degree of alcoholic heat, I feel all 10% of it.

Do you know how hard it is to try and drink a beer without smelling it? I try pretty hard to not drain-pour beers... so far I've only sacrificed one 6-year-old Stone Levitation.. But this brew is skating the edge.

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Photo of alcstradamus
2.66/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

A--Black in color with two full fingers of head in my 25 oz. snifter. Decent lacing left behind

S--Wow, huge hops for an imperial stout. Almost smells like a super malty DIPA with spices. One of the most unique noses I have encountered, although I can't say I like it too much.

T--Very tobacco-like taste....far too much in my opinion. Its like chewing on a sweet cigar. Some vanilla and caramel in the background. I can't say this beer is bad because it isn't, but it sure isn't any better than average.

M--Medium bodied with a bit of creaminess

D--No, this is not drinkable at all really. Far too much tobacco sweetness, it is really off putting.

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Photo of MenardMa
2.75/5  rDev -32.6%

Photo of cskollmann
2.76/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance: Poured out of a bomber, this looked very promising. Inky black, not a ton of head in my snifter glass, which reduced to slight lacing. Looks like a great RIS to start.

Smell: Way hoppy for a RIS! Black licorice aroma dominates.

Taste: Really chocolate taste at all--it's pure licorice. If you love black jelly beans this is the beer for you, but if you are looking for chocolate malty goodness look elsewhere. Weyerbacher heresy and Stone RIS are light years ahead of this in my opinion. Maybe it will mellow with age-- definitely lay it down vs drinking now IMO.

Mouthfeel: the alcohol is well integrated, it has a nice velvety texture, if you can get past the overwhelming licorice flavor.

Drinkability: this is just not what I want in a RIS. Not being a black licorice fan this was a pain to finish--especially since I had a Stone RIS waiting in the fridge.

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Photo of rowingbrewer
2.8/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance- very dark, with a solid 3/4 inches of head
Smell- rich malty almost coffee smell
Taste- to much burnt flavor for my taste, could have toned back on the burnt malts
Mouthfeel- same overall feel as other imperial stouts that i've had like BBC's
Drinkability- can't get over the burnt flavor, so in my opinion this is not a very drinkable beer, took me over half an hour to drink an 8oz serving

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Photo of Jeffo
2.83/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

In a trade with jojomdma many moons ago. Thanks for stepping up and fixing that little blip that we had.

From a bomber into a snifter.
Vintage: 2009

APPEARANCE: A dark pour, not pitch black per se, yields a one finger, medium looking, tan head with good retention. Head slowly recedes to a thin wisp and ring. Black body with zero carbonation evident. A ring remains until the end but leaves no lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Big nose for sure. Roasted malts, smoky notes, and a strong strain of booze. Light dark chocolate and licorice are in there, but this is just roasted and boozy more than anything. Big nose, but not all that complex and enticing. Lots of booze as opposed to lots of stout.

TASTE: Big flavors as well. Roasted malts, smoky tobacco flavors, with plenty of booze and hop bitterness at the swallow. Big, bold aftertaste is roasted, very boozy, with some decent bitter chocolate, some licorice, and quite a bit of tobacco as well. The booze is still the lead act here, though there is more flavor than the nose had led on. Still too boozy unfortunately, and the tobacco is a little too prominent in the flavor profile.

PALATE: Medium-full body and medium carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth with a touch of well-measured heat at the swallow, and finishes slightly sticky on the palate. A nice full and creamy feel, and becomes even more so as it sits in the glass over time. Very nice here.

OVERALL: This one was certainly a disappointment. Besides the full, creamy palate, which was by far the best quality of the beer, this one is too boozy and tobacco heavy to compete with the top examples in the style. While their Baltic Porter is a fantastic brew that I’d recommend to friends, this is one I’d suggest steering clear of. This vintage at least. Thanks again for the trade jojomdma.

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Photo of largadeer
2.86/5  rDev -29.9%
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.

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Photo of twelvsies
2.86/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled fresh, just after the '09 release. Essentially black, thin tan head which fades. Very black actually. Surprisingly, the dominant force in the aroma is hops. I love hops, but this is a bit unusual within the style. Not getting much roasty malt but just ripe hops and a bit of hot fumes. I was intrigued at first and was hoping it would work but it all falls apart. It's all bitterness and a little too boozy and not enough malt and roastitude. I'm sure it's there, it's just covered up. Too many things going on here and they don't meld together. Not so smooth. Unfortunate, because I love Smutty and I remember liking this in the past but this year just isn't cutting it. If you have a bottle or two I'd recommend letting it sit a while and hopefully it will mellow out a bit.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
2.87/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.
A- Pitch black. A half finger, coffee head made up of large bubbles rises then fades to thin island of film. There is a ring of bubbles around the edge. Some thin lacing sticks.
Some bubbles stick to the side of the glass down inside the body. This looks more carbonated than other RIS's Ive had.

S- Smokey, roasted malts. Very spicy and peppery. To me it smells like a dry rub used in BBQ. The smell is a big surprise to me. Im not getting the normal sent of dark fruits.

T- Some characters from the smell come out to play in the taste as well. Smokey, spicy and peppery. The finish is dry and on the bitter side from the roasted malts, followed by coffee.

M- Dry, medium to full body. Chewy, sticky, low carbonation.

D- This one is really roasty, creating a more bitter take on a RIS. The alcohol is there but not up in your face. Im sure this could make this beer sneak up on you very quickly.

This might be a good cross over into imperial stouts for hop heads.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.91/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 1.5

Room-temperature (currently 55 degrees) bottle into a glass. 2008 vintage. I received this in a trade in early 2009, but I'll be damned if I can remember who sent it. Regardless, thank you: I do appreciate having this bottle.

A: Pours a pitch black in the glass, with a finger of light tan colored head. Retention is pretty short, with a v-e-r-y light broken film on top of the brew, accentuated with a medium-thickness collar on the edge. A couple of spots of lacing from the receding head, but nothing thereafter.

S: Wow, this is surprisingly hoppy, even for (about) a year of age. Pine and citrus right up front. There's also chocolate. I can't really pick anything else out.

T: Hoppy up front, again. The first taste is citrus and a general fruit character, which segues into a burst of pine needles. There is some chocolate following after, and a very light roasted (even burnt) presence with a hint of black cherry. I closed my eyes while I was sipping this, and I was genuinely convinced I was drinking a black IPA. This doesn't remind me of an imperial stout; there isn't much coffee, molasses, or any of those ancillary flavors that define some of the big beers in the style. It's interesting in that it sets its own path (even Darkness 09 wasn't that hoppy, despite what people claimed), but it doesn't quite satisfy my palate. Not a huge fan of the citrus + chocolate flavors in tandem. I think it could have been aided with a more rounded malt profile (stronger caramel, even some peated malt) if they were really going to flirt with the black IPA category. The finish is a long-lasting grapefruit bitterness.

M: Medium-bodied; it's kind of prickly, but that actually gives it a pretty interesting liveliness. It's kind of chewy at the same time.

D: Unfortunately, no. This is just one of those cases where a beer is probably well within the broad range of the guidelines, but I'm too limited to appreciate it. I just don't enjoy the beer, and I don't want to have it again.

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Photo of kevinlater
2.91/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

bomber into snifter. 10.0% abv. the code on the bottle has faded but it looks like "10/28/2015". poured on april 9, 2015

a: pitch black with a fat finger of light brown head

s: rich chocolate and roasted malt dancing on top of a herbal-piney-spicy & somewhat grapefruity hop presence

t: follows the nose. the front-end consists of big rich chocolate, burnt malts, black coffee, and noticeable grapefruit. a really strong herbal hoppy flavour emerges afterward -- too strong. ends with charred wood notes, lingering herbs & grapefruit, and a moderate bitterness. slight alcohol taste. the hops dominate as the beer warms, which i don't like

m: thick & full mouthfeel, mild carbonation

o: i prefer my stouts to be nearly hop-less. should've aged this. i think i'm going to stay away from hoppy stouts and black IPAs now

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Photo of purplehops
2.93/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This stout pours an opaque black with a chocolate brown head. The head is very short lived and leaves little to no lace on the glass. The aroma is burnt chocolate and black malt with some notes of coffee. The taste starts with flavors of burnt coffee and grain with a slight sweetness of cocoa. The finish is slightly astringent flavors of roasted grains and coffee. The aftertaste is a mellowing of the burnt flavors with hints of sweet malt and chocolate and a touch of alcohol. The mouthfeel is medium light with some astringent prickliness of the tongue.
Overall an average to substandard Imperial Stout. Not enough malt profile coming through the black malt bitterness. Also no hint of hop bitterness to balance the malt.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
2.96/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours jet black with a light brown bubbly melted chocolate ice cream like head. Some decent lacing as well.

I could smell the pine cone hops the minute I popped the cap. Wonderful aroma, if that is your thing, really drowns out the other coffee/cocoa elements. Too much.

This one is all about the hops. Huge pine notes here, with everything taking a deep backseat to this. There is deep roasted malt somewhere, some coffee and bitter chocolate, and some light sweetness, as well as a blackstrap molasses twang, but all of that gets hip-checked aside by the hops. Warming alcohol kicks in at the end.

Lighter in body than I expected, but still fairly mouth coating.

This was ultimately a drain pour for me. What a drag. Easily one of the worst RIS' that I've had, and probably one of the worst I've ever had from Smutty -- a shocker. So hop dominant that I had trouble getting to other flavors. Could have easily been an IPA mixed with a cup of expresso (complete with the lemon twist). This is one and done.

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Photo of gwguest
3/5  rDev -26.5%

Photo of chrispoint
3/5  rDev -26.5%

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3/5  rDev -26.5%

Photo of Cramshawbar
3/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A robust stout that is worth a try. A bit coffee heavy but some like it that way. I wish I could be one of those people. Those who enjoy this style will like it though!

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.03/5  rDev -25.7%
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.

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Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 1,234 ratings
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