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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 699 | Ratings: 1,227
Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed this brew this weekend and realized today I have not posted a review before. Time to correct that error.

A - Midnight black, tan frothy head.
S - Roasted malt, coffee caramel. Exactly what I want to smell when I have one of these brews!
T - Rich, thick malty taste. well balanced between the malt and coffee mixture. Can't get enough!
M / D - This is a great imp stout. Goes down nicely. Although a rich beer it does not come accross as oily or chewy. Way to easy to drink these!

I get these whenever I see them and enjoy! My top IS pick in bottles and of the Smutty big bottle series definitely a solid second favorite of my top three from them. Highly recommended.

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Photo of HopHeadKen
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perhaps it was not fair to rate this Imperial Stout right after having a Stone Imperial Stout.

This poured nice, deep dark amber brown, with thin brown head.

Smell was malty and somewhat sweet, but I did not get the same degree of hop aroma that we found in the preceeding Stone Impy Stout.

Taste was roasty, with hints of coffee. I was looking for a caramel / chocolate flavor but did not get this quite as 'big' as other Imperial Stouts we have recently tasted.

Mouthfeel was on the thin side for something the brewery advertizes as a big beer.

This is not easy to find in the midwest; so, drinkability is limited. I would like about 5 more bombers to mix with the other Imperials that I have in the cellar.

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Photo of pjwilson
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Writing this from east. God Smuttynose is a great brewery. Anyways, this possilbly my favorite stout to date. It's sort of between an imperial stout and regular stout. Boy is it good.
A: black of course. the head is black and gone in 5 seconds
smell: mild nothing too strong.. perhaps the weak point of the beer
Taste: nutty. It reminds me a of an english brown in some recepts but much bolder. I like how the roasted malts are there but in the backround...i hate it when they are in the front. It also doesn't have that syrupy taste some irs have. They got the balance right
Drinkalbity: the most drinkable stout i've had. i could see ordering several at a bar...but alas..this will be the last bottle untill i get another trip out east....

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Darkest mahogany with meager reddish bronze accents at the edges. The cinnamon colored cap is exceptionally large, thanks to an aggressive pour, and isn't turning into beer all that quickly. I love the color contrast between beer and head. Unfortunately, it doesn't look as if much lace will be laid down... and it isn't.

Although Smuttynose Imperial Stout has a wonderful stout nose, it doesn't strike me as a Russian Imperial. Bittersweet chocolate dominates, with a helping hand from (subtle) fruity hops. It's a simple nose and a good one, but it lacks depth; especially for the style. I don't appreciate much coffee and no molasses or anise.

The beer is much more aggressive on the palate. The flavor profile follows the template laid down by the nose in that it lacks a certain degree of complexity. It's so bold, so flavorful and so delicious, however, that I don't mind a bit. All big beer doesn't need to be as complex as a Swiss watch.

There's a large, although not a massive, roasted maltiness that results in a flood of liquid fudge flowing over my taste buds. Chicory coffee and black licorice have now appeared and citrusy hops play a bigger role as well. The long finish is where the bitter grapefruit pith hoppiness truly shines. Amazing, since this bottle is more than one year old (2004 version).

The brewer's notes on the Smuttynose website doubted whether this beer needed much aging. I take that to mean they thought it wouldn't improve all that much. In any case, the hops are still going strong and the malt-hop balance is just about where I like it right now.

The mouthfeel is exceptional, even if it isn't as big or as viscous as some RISs (but then I've stopped thinking of this beer as a member of that style anyway). It has a wonderfully smooth, lightly chewy feel. I wouldn't change a thing even if given the chance. The ABV of the 2004 version is 8.0%, but I didn't notice the alcohol until it occurred to me to look for it.

Smuttynose Imperial Stout doesn't cleave that closely to the RIS style guidelines, but it is unquestionably excellent beer, style Nazis be damned. If you like your stouts chocolate dominant, citrus hoppy and bursting with flavor, look no further. Make mine a Smutty!

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Photo of meathookjones
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2004 bottle courtesy of slander. Pours a murky black color with a slow erupting brown foamy head. Cap of fluff coats the inky liquid for a while leaving streaks and rings of lace decorating the glass. Big dark chocolate scents along with a great roastiness come on strong. Lighter dark ripe fruit notes are hiding in the background, very tasty smelling stuff. Taste starts off with a light fruitiness over some dark chocolate. Roasted malts and coffee are also in the mix. Sweet roasty malts linger for a bit. Full bodied and creamy. Ridiculously drinkable, I would have had a second bomber after this if it was available. A year didn’t hurt it I’m sure but I wonder what it would have been like fresh. Hopefully it will be released again soon.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
4.37/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2004 bottle gently aged in my closet. Served slightly chilled in a Maudite snifter.

Appearance: Ebon thick liquid, very viscous. Dark brown head, about 3/4" tall. Subsides to a thick ring of foam with a scant film of bubbles across the rest of the surface of the drink. No lacing or flecking.

Smell: Intense high-quality dark chocolate and coffee. Hints of tart cherries. Minor, but pleasant, notes of soy sauce. Damn.

Taste: Strong bittersweet mocha flavors at first. Rich fruity cherry/prune on finish. Great taste, but not perfect.

Mouthfeel: Thick, chewy, and viscous. Hearty and robust like an IS/DS should be.

Drinkability: Less hoppy and intense than Stone RIS, judging by this aged example. Still, this is exquisitely smooth. When is the next version coming out?

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Photo of Starchild
3.33/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. 2002 version.

Poured this big boy into my Caracole Sniffer created just a little foam that remained on the top. Scents of chocolate and sherry in the nose. The alcohol is well hidden in scent and taste. Burnt malt and bitter chocolate dominate the taste, but spots of milk and java appear esp. in the aftertaste.

Not what I've come to expect from Impy stouts, in overall complexity, mouthfeel, and just an average impy. A big beer that lacks big results.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22ozer bottle from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed an uneven 3/4" dark brown head above the dark brown/black brew. Head is somewhat resilient, but lacing is average to good for the style. Aroma is initially of dark grains, but quickly overtaken by a shot of dark fruits, and a flood of alcohol. Taste is mainly of the dark, sweet grains, with the slightest fruit tinge, and a warming parting blow from the alcohol. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both good. A nice representation of the style. If you see it, you gotta try it.

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Photo of mntlover
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black with a nice fluffy dark tan head leaves spotty lacing. Aroma not up to par for a imperial stout, get light coffee aromas with pine hops and touch of citrus, more hops then roasted malt though. Taste is roasted malt lightly burnt some bitter coffee flavor with grapefruit hop flavor taking over, light chocolate taste pops up in the middle of everything. Overall not as complex as other imperials more hop sided, but not overlly bitter just the right amount of hops. Mouthfeel may be a little weak for a impy stout but not too bad. Drinkability easy to drink, just find myself wanting more in way of taste.

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Photo of rajendra82
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Provided via a trade by BeerAdvocate ppoitras, this big beer series member came in a 22 oz. brown bomber. The beer pored just a shade brown of pitch black with a khaki head. The body was opaque with no highlights at the edges. The aroma was like a fine mocha espresso. The taste was dry and bitter, once again reminding me of a strong dark coffee. Very roasty and burnt with a hint of sourness, this beer was clearly not trying to appeal to those with a sweet tooth. The body was a bit thin for an imperial stout, and the alcohol was not quite up there. A couple of more percent ABV would have made this spectacular.

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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 bultrey
4.37/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is an excellent imperial stout. It is not a particularly unique interpretation of the style, it is just a classic representation of it. The nose contains Tootsie rolls, fudge, and a winey, port-like character. The taste contains much of the same, excpet the chocolate is much more bitter, very much like an 80% cocoa Belgian chocolate bar. There is also a quite-appealing wine-like character, so this comes across as if you were drinking fine tawny port with dark chocolate, except with a nice, creamy, carbonated mouthfeel. I think the alcohol is well-masked, so this makes for a decent session brew for an imperial stout. I don't know why, but I didn't think Smuttynose would excel at this style, but they have. Bravo.

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Photo of BierReise
3.77/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ebony black with an initially thick tan head that dissipates quickly. Aroma of coffee, cocoa, oats and light hops. Body is full and smooth with a low carbonation and a slight syrup feel. Flavor is of cocoa, espresso, bitter chocolate and roasted oats. A bit of a dry finish and not as sweet as some of my favorite Imperial Stouts. Has a lingering bitterness that I could do without. Overall a good brew but I prefer the sweeter higher abv Imperials.

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Photo of aracauna
4.42/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark body with an OK head. The aroma is VERY roasty. The same follows into the flavor with just enough hops to back up the nice roasted malt backbone. This isn’t an exciting Imperial Stout, it’s just a good beer. I could drink this one on a regular basis. A bit of chocolate rounds out the whole deal, but this isn’t really much different than a typical good stout.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Venom for this bottle

Big and dark with that oh so nice tan head. I smelled lots of hoppy goodness lurking inside with that malty undertones. This beer probably would improve with age as the rough edges showed a bit but man the chocolate and tobacco flavours worked their brewing magic to make you slow down and sip slowly to savour the nuances. Very food friendly with big nasty cheeses, this is a well made big beer that can live comfortably in your cellar.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.37/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured black with slight ruby highlights. The head was tan, almost brown, and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was chocolate and coffee with roasted aromas and dark fruit complexity and a slight alcohol note.

The flavor was smooth with chocolate and coffee and well rounded bittering from both grains and hops. A slight grassy hop flavor was present. The flavors mixed and mingled well in a complex concert on the palate.

The finish was dry with chocolate and coffee lasting pleasantly long into the aftertaste. The body was full...every inch of it.

22 ounce bottle. Other than the aroma, the alcohol does not rear it's head.

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Photo of CBFanWish
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black in colour with a thick tan head. Creamy as it comes. Aroma of toffee, chocolate, coffee, and caramel. The taste followed the smell with the toffee, chocolate and coffee but also with a bit of a hoppy bite. The alcohol is noticable, but, man is it good.

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Photo of euskera
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter..

Black as night as it pours into the glass. Nice tan head with plenty of staying power. Typical RIS aroma, bitter chocolate and roaste espresso with nice malt overtones and just a touch of hops. Taste is delicious, all of the elements in the smell with a smokiness that is quite appealing. A dead-on example of the style and something I'd drink on a regular basis without hesitation..

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Photo of mattcrill
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to wyllder for the chance to sample this tasty brew!

Appearance: Pours thick and black as midnight. A nice brown head develops and maintains reasonably well throughout. No light gets through this bad boy. There is definitely an absence of light and color in this glass.

Smell: Hints of chocolate, cocoa, and espresso. A bit of maltiness pulls through but it ain't much.

Taste: coffee-like in acidity (not a bad thing in my opinion), very creamy with a dry, crisp finish. It has characteristics of baker's chocolate and sweet dried fruits that are present but not overpowering. It reminds me of Guiness in the way that it tastes.

Mouthfeel: very slick and creamy. Minimal carbonation and very heavy.

Drinkability: Lost some points here because I can't imagine having more than one of these. It's a beer that drinks like a meal! It's definitely a sipping to be savored for sure. Overall, a nice example of the style.

Thanks again to wyllder for this one!

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Photo of mschofield
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark black, topped with a one finger dark chocolate-tan head, leaves broken webs of lacing.
Oily, acrid dark malt aroma, woody, chocolate, touch of dark fruit.
Very "dark" taste, raisin, burnt caramel, coffee-like bitterness, dark chocolate and currant. Chocolate aftertaste, warming.
Full bodied with a creamy mouthfeel.

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Photo of wyllder
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, opaque ruby-brown with a small caramel head. Leaves very little lacing as you go.

Nose is chocolate & alcohol along with dark fruit hints.

Front of the palate is mild, with hints of coffee. By the midsip, a mild bitterness introduces itself along with some of those dark fruits from the nose. Aftertaste moves over to a rather pleasant mocha espresso with perhaps a hint too much alcohol.

Mouthfeel is smooth and carbonation is good for a stout. Has a good body and creaminess to it.

Drinkability suffers somewhat from the alcohol coming through just a bit too strongly IMO.

Overall, a solid offering.


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Photo of Gavage
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black in color with a thick 2" tan head. The aroma is of strong chocolate and roasted malts. Very pleasant indeed. The flavor is a nice balance of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and raisin, with a minor tone of licorice and toffee. The alcohol levels were very light and just added the right flavor to the mix.

The mouthfeel was smooth and slightly creamy at the start with a long mildly dry and partially crispy finish, where most of the flavor components rode the tongue for a while. A great brew and easily drinkable with the flavor and toned-back alcohol levels.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep dark color, full-on blackness, good, toasty tan froth atop.
Aroma is wickedly twisted, rich and darkly delicious, full of anise, espresso, and more, roasty and redolent with all things dark and deadly.
Taste repeats all these things and more, thick and roasty, huge and at-large in the mouth.
A nearly perfect by-the-numbers Imperial Stout, and the numbers are spot-on, though, make no mistake! Yum, I'm saying, as the booze swills around me..yum, I says, and it's a delightful feeling, indeed. A top-notch example of the IS style...can't see a thing wrong with it. Smuttynose did it right, like they always do!
Fullest body, long, infinitely long finish, in a word, wow, no, actually, "yummy, McYumerSon's" will do quite nicely, don't you think?

Thanks again, to the ªth Bierman for this one!

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Photo of cbl2
3.82/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Pours very still, just a hare's breath short of pitch black (a wee bit of ruby pokes through when held to the light). A brown bit of bubbly lines the edge of the glass.


Roasted malts give rise to intense chocolate and fresh brewed coffee.


More carbonated in taste than appearance. Once I got over the shock of carbonation, the familiar flavors of coffee and a faint tinge of chocolate work their way in. This is good, but nothing jumps out to make this a great beer.

As some have stated, this winds up being more of a port with its smoked qualities, than it does an Imperial Stout. Again, good and worth looking into, but somewhat off style.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BuckeyeNation for the trade. Pours a deep dark brown (very nearly black) with a thick dark brown head that dissipated slowly. Decent lacing throughout. The aroma raised my eyebrows it was so roasty, with lots of coffee present. Rich-bodied with a strong roasted character, with coffee, hops and a bit of chocolate in the flavor. It could use a little more sweetness for balance though. The finish is lightly bitter and retains the coffee flavor. Overall this is a good Imperial Stout that simply needs a little more depth to be top shelf stuff.

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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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