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)
1,235 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: 1,235 |  Reviews: 700
Photo of Sammy
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

 365 characters

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

Photo of jaydoc
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to mjtiernan for sending me this one!

2011 vintage.

Pours an opaque black with a 1 inch dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on the top of the beer. A nice latticework of lace forms on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, and citrus zest/herbal hops. I am also getting some cinnamon aromas as the beer warms. Taste is of dark roasted malt, dark cocoa powder, roasted coffee beans, and a citrus zest hop kick on the finish. A mild roast/hop bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good RIS with a nice hop presence that I wasn't expecting.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -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.

 735 characters

Photo of metter98
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a thin tan head that quickly died down, leaving lacing on the surface and a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass. The head never completely faded away.
S: There are moderate aromas of roasted malts in the nose. The smell becomes stronger as the beer warms up.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and has some notes of coffee beans. A mild amount of bitterness is present; this is particularly evident in the finish, which also has some hints of alcohol.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and very dry on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. The dryness is especially strong in the finish, which also has a bit of warming from the alcohol.
O: The alcohol is relatively well masked from the taste, but the strong amount of dryness makes this a beer that needs to be slowly sipped.

Note: 2011 vintage

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

With its roasted viscosity, Smuttynose's Big Beer Series introduces an epic stout that harks back to the days of export of this fine elixir from Britain to Russia, except with a few American microbrewery twists.

Its dark austere foreshadows its impact on the palate as the upfront taste is heartily robust but supportively sweet as toffee sweetened espresso lays on the tongue while dark chocolate and burnt citrus fill the nose.

As its taste fattens on the tongue, its weight of molasses is both felt and tasted; dragging with it the strong chocolate-covered espresso bean flavor and with a spicy alcohol tone of brandy, cinnamon, aniseed and citrusy hop bitterness. Its high roast teases the palate with campfire notes and grilled fruits of cherry and berry.

Its long and somber finish is slowly fading as those lush malt flavors and velvety textures prefer to reward the palate deep into the next sip. Its exiting bitterness is partly of hops but partly of coffee, chicory and soil. Spicy with alcohol, its warm and almost-prickling once again harks to brandy.

Its a brilliant balance in a stout that ties together the extreme sensations of alcohol, fruit, spice and sweetness- built upon roasty stilts and relying on its own bigness to make it work. These brewers know how to build a big beer!

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Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
3.91/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of oline73
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of brentk56
3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color with a tan head that drops to a ringlet but fails to leave much lace

Smell: Rich dark fruit, bittersweet chocolate and coffee dregs

Taste: Starts with a chocolate blast with a hint of black raspberry that grows increasingly mushroomy by mid-palate; after the swallow, the coffee flavors build and join the mushroom and chocolate flavors into the finish

Mouthfeel: Thick body with modest carbonation

Overall: I have had this a couple of times and find it very difficult to drink; by the end of the bottle, the mushroom flavors just get in the way of the enjoyment of this beer

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Photo of zeff80
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a thick, jet black color with a small, foamy, light brown head. It left minimal traces of lace.

S - It smelled very sweet with notes of citrus and estery dried fruits. Some subtle floral notes, too.

T - It tasted of sweet roasted barley, caramel and some bitter, sharp grassy hops. It had hints of boozy alcohol flavors, too.

M - It was smooth, soft and a little creamy. A medium to full-bodied stout.

D - This is a great tasting imperial stout. Another outstanding offering from Smutty.

 506 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Hogtownharry: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a medium foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of bitter roasted malt with some coffee notes is interesting. Taste is dominated by some roasted malt, which are quite bitter with some dry coffee notes. I thought the taste was a bit too dry generally and some sweetness to balance the dryness would have been good. Body is quite full with some good carbonation and no alcohol was discernable.

 477 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of superspak
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter; bottled in 2/2015, 10.5%. Pours pitch black color with a 2 finger fairly dense dark brown head with solid retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toast, dark bread, molasses, raisin, cherry, licorice, grapefruit, citrus rind, pine, light smoke/char, and herbal/roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted/bready malt and moderate citrus/piney hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toast, dark bread, molasses, raisin, cherry, licorice, grapefruit, citrus rind, pine, light smoke/char, and herbal/roasted earthiness. Good amount of roast/char and piney bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toast, dark bread, molasses, raisin, cherry, licorice, grapefruit, citrus rind, pine, light smoke/char, and herbal/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity and robustness of big dark/roasted/bready malt and citrus/piney hop flavors; with a good roasted bitterness/sweetness and hop balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and fairly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice fresh Russian imperial stout style. All around great robustness, complexity, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and citrus/piney hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,713 characters

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.

 705 characters

Photo of mothman
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Rare Vos glass

Pours a finger of mocha brown head. Color is a deep black. Really nice retention with some good lace.

Aroma: Huge floral hop profile, chocolate, caramel, dark fruits. Pretty good.

Taste: Huge floral hop taste again. I have never tasted more hops in a beer of this style than this one. Chocolate, booze, a little hot, a lot of dark fruits, toffee.

Mouthfeel: bitter, creamy, rich. Full bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Ends with a rich malty aftertaste.

Overall, a pretty good beer. I am glad I a splitting this because it is pretty big. I'd have it again easily.

 606 characters

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Black body with barely a ruby-mahogany highlight to be found. Tall, creamy, dark tan head. Retention is quite good. Moderate lacing.

Smell: A gust of yeasty fruit and citrusy/piney hops (Centennial?) greets you upfront, followed by some bittersweet chocolate and a very faint whiff of alcohol.

Taste: Although this may not be a complex beer, it IS rich! The citrusy/piney hop presence is there from the start, and then all the way through the very long finish. Alongside it, dark chocolate, caramel, softer cocoa, coffee, and a burnt (almost smoky) edge round it out. Yeasty fruitiness backs it up with a touch of summer berries; and a solid bitterness combines with a bit of dark-malt acidity to balance it remarkably well. It's hops and then dark sweet malt, before a quick teeter leaves it berry-like, citrusy and piney, and decidedly bitter in the woody/piney/earthy finish.

Mouthfeel: As might be expected, it's full bodied with a moderate carbonation that lends a gentle zest to the tongue before fading smoothly away.

Drinkability: Very, very nice! It reminds me of my recent trip to New Hampshire. (Oddly enough, I didn't get to try the beer there). I'd stumble out of the hunting lodge each morning with the scent of the oiled logs and damp pines beside me, and sit beside the remains of the previous night's fire enjoying a piece of burnt toast and a cup of dark coffee. The cool shade of the pine trees, and the dampness of the grass would sooth me, and I'd enjoy my breakfast while listening to the call of the loons on the lake - A bit verbose, but true! It's an excellent American take on an originally British style. Seek this one out! It may just be Smuttynose's best beer to date!

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Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 1,235 ratings
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