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)
1,236 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: 1,236 |  Reviews: 701
Photo of magine
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel glass.

Pours a near black color brew with a very dark tan near brown head. Head is very thick and chunky. Brew retains a ring of lace as you sip and a nice head throughout. Lace sticks to the glass, very good looking brew.

Brew smells of hops, chocolate nutty malts. Piney, floral and earthy notes. Very good smell.

Brew tastes thinner then expected - but still good mouthfeel. This is a great tasting brew; chocolate, coffee, nutty, hops in there as well. Wow very good tasty stuff. The thinner mouthfeel is nice, as I could session this one all night. Initially has a crisp carbonation to it, but as you drink it warms and gets smoother and creamier. Slightly dry coffee like aftertaste.

This is some damn good stuff, very drinkable, looks great and the alcohol is very well hidden. Drink up.

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Photo of Lazerlobe
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Small pour in to a Duvel tulip. Finger of mocha head with superb lacing.

S: Big hoppy nose, with juniper, cedar and pine notes. Some dark chocolate, hint of booze and cream. As it warms, a more robust chocolate cake element compliments the hops.

T: Hop bitterness leads as it did in the nose, overpowering the malts. The malts, when they assert themselves, bring faded chocolate and some baked cake. Aftertaste is a chocolate liqueur.

M: A little thin but carbonation is A-OK.

D: Interesting, available and a pretty good price point. I'd pick this up again.

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Photo of Ryan011235
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap in a pint glass at Bodega on 7/22/10

Very dark; looks black. No light penetration. One finger tan-brown head drops considerably, but leaves ok lace. Only a ring of retention; somewhat decent lace throughout.

Smells nice & smooth, if a bit subtle (blasted shaker pint). Semi-sweet chocolate & roasted coffee. Molasses & maybe brown sugar. Citric hop overtones - good deal.

On one hand, the taste has a similar smoothness, though rough around the edges. Citrus hoppiness upfront, lingers on the peripheries & on to the finish. Encased within said hoppiness are roasted malt notes, seemingly just shy of burnt. Baker's chocolate & coffee tones. Roasted dark malts add a touch of sweetness. Pretty good bitterness, though.

Full bodied with a good bit of grit; definitely lingers on the tongue. Carbonation is above moderate but not too prickly for the style. Finishes with ample dry, roasted notes; coffee, cocoa & bitterness.

Drinkability is very good. Solid balance between malts & hops in an Imperial Stout. I reckon this one ages quite well.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle, 2010 vintage. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both pretty good. Aroma is roasted malt, coffee, molasses, bittersweet chocolate, and pine hops. The taste is pretty much the same as the aroma, but there's the addition of some vanilla and burnt/charred malt. There's also a nice lingering bitter finish. This bottle is about 6 months old, and I'm surprised that the hops are as noticable as they are in this brew. It's certainly one of the hoppier stouts I've tried, with good balance between the malty and hoppy flavors. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and has moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and easy to drink. I think this is a pretty good overall brew, I'd have no problems buying this again.

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

Poured from a 22 oz bomber marked as bottle conditioned in 2010.

The beer is pitch black with a nice foamy tan head. Impressed with the head and the body from the get-go, even before I taste it. Good retention, as the head settles but does not disappear.

On the nose, this is chocolate malty, sweet with vanilla-caramel notes. Blackstrap molasses comes to mind. This carries through onto the palate where roasted grains and caramel sweetness play off the full texture and alcohol heat to balance out the body nicely.

I find this extremely drinkable, even in the summer if it has a nice chill on it.

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

An extra given to me from Dave, Thanks. I'm not sure what vintage this is but I'm guessing 2009 or 2010 with brown label.

A- Dark brown/black in color with a nice fluffy 2 fingers of brown/tan head that left sticky lacing all over my glass.

S- Wow dark chocolate, coffee beans, and loads of citrusy hops, and a slight licorice scent toward the back. Amazed at the amount of hops in this beer, quite nice and should have aged this beer 1-2 years longer, but I have to make room in the cellar.

T- Again lots of really nice citrusy hops on the front end with loads of coffee beans and dark chocolate, light licorice, and bitter dry almost charred oak finish.

M- Nice heavy body with ample carbonation that pricks the tounge with every sip.

D- Alcohol is well hidden at first but as it warms up it becomes hotter, making this harder to drink but still very good. Worth seeking out and cellaring for 2-3 years and re-reviewing.

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

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a small snifter glass.

A: Color is very dark brown, basically black. Pours with a dark tan, thin head. Leaves decent lacing on the side of the glass as the head resides to a thin ring.

S: Rich chocolate, coffee, some sweet caramel flavors, a bit of licorice, and some earthy hopiness.

T: Taste follows suit, with solid chocolate upfront. A little sweetness and roasted coffee bitterness in mid taste. Some faint earthy hops, licorice, and vanilla. Some definite warmth from the alcohol with some continued bitterness.

M: Mouthfeel is heavy, almost oily with low carbonation.

D: Very smooth and easy to drink, although the heat gradually builds and overwhelms the beers. Decent and enjoyable imperial stout.

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Photo of Daktyls
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark, opaque brown with a 1.5 finger head that's a nice mocha color. Very foamy and takes a while to dissipate, leaving a fine lacing on the side of the glass.

S: Definitely smells sweetly of malts along with chocolate, coffee and what I think might be caramel? Kinda smelled a little hoppy or maybe just the alcohol is seeping through.

T: A very nice creamy milk chocolate taste is present along with a smooth coffee flavor (smooth like a coffee flavored milk). A bit of roasted coffee makes its presence at the finish. Not at all hoppy as the nose would suggest.

M: Creamy creamy goodness. Tingles while sitting on the tongue but feels very nice on the finish. The alcohol is definitely felt on the finish, though not overbearing.

D: Very drinkable, I could drink this all night long. Very enjoyable and I'll definitely be adding this to my "Buy again" list.

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Photo of steve8robin
3.91/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glad to finally try this one. Seen this at the local brew store for a while, but never tried it. 22oz bottle...

A: Super pitch black with no light showing through. Thick 1 inch mocha color head that fades at a decent rate. Very good.

S: Sweet malts blended with some bitter citrus hoppiness upfront. Hints of choocolate in the middle with some cocao on the backend. Some vanilla on the backend. Decent.

T: Citrusy chocolate upfront blended with some sweet chocolate. Boozy mix in the middle with watery vanilla on the backend. Good.

M: Thick medium bodied stout. Good.

D: Goes down good.

All in all, this is a decent stout. Not too much special about it, but it's good. Not worth hunting, but try it if you get the chance.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow I still can't believe I found this world class stout for 5 bucks!

A - Deep Dark liquid with hardly no head must have been around 1/4 inch and head was tan brown

S - Wow I can smell mostly caramel, chocolate, and coffee with a light bitter smell.

T - Well as for an IRS it stands pretty good. Really smooth tasting with chocolate and roast mats hitting the tongue with slight hops. Really enjoyed the smoothness of this.

M - Very medium bodied actually. Can't really tell the abv its really smooth/

D - overall it really is a great IRS and I would enjoy it again since it was great but I will have to try more just to see if I enjoy it.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.86/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown color with a deeply tanned head that sticks and lasts a long time. Great looking head, but the lacing is surprisingly miniscule. Nose is chocolatey, with a little coffee, although not much. Dark fruits also abound. Power is solid, but there's a certain one-dimensionality here.

The flavor also has a strong chocolate component, but the aggressive roasted malt takes the flavor up a notch. The anise I thought I maybe smelled before is now live at five. Somewhat hoppy, with good lingering bitterness. Smooth and easy drinking for this style. Slightly chewy, although a bit too ethereal to really shine. Solid but not outstanding.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.55/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2009 vintage. Pours from the bottle a nice silky, black color, with a big light brown head, that eventually settles into a thin slick upon the surface. Aromas black licorice, dark chocolate, blackberries and port. Smooth and thick, with flavors of roasted malt, earthy hops and bitter coffee. Rich and filling. Good for a glass, but not much more.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.56/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a little bit thin looking. Black with brown on the edges and a light, tan head that left some great lacing. Beatiful lacing and stick throughout the course of the drink. A darker, more fine head would have given this a 5.

S - Lot of chocolate, some roasted malts, seems to be an inordinate amount of alcohol on the nose for something that is less than 10%. Little bit of coffee and toffee.

T - Pretty sweet chocolate up front, that fades to a long lasting bitter and roasted taste. Pretty good, but there is a heck of a lot of alcohol burn on this one. It fades as it warms up, as does the bitterness.

M - A little bit thin and watery for this stle, moderate carbonation.

D - Not as easy as it should be, but not horrible for 10%, does get easier as you go.

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Photo of biglite351
3.16/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - black as a shark eye. Tall dark tan head that falls slow and leaves heavy lacing.

S - strong and deep. Roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, with a peak of bitterness in the mix.

T - the front flavor is unfortunately alcohol heavy. Bitter dark chocolate and acidic coffee. With the alcohol flavor I would have thought that this was bourbon barrel aged. Coffee and roasted malt after taste.

M - light coating. Alcohol like tingle on both sides of the tongue. Lingering alcohol like burn in back of throat.

D - the oddly high alcohol taste and feel put this out of regular drinking fair.

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Photo of FLBeerGuy
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black with a dark tan head.

Nose is bitter chocolate, coffee and some hops.

Taste is bitter chocolate, coffee and some malts with a nice hop bitterness to finish.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with some alcohol warming.

This is a very good RIS, a big beer worth trying.

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Photo of jmalex
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's hot at balls out so of course I'm drinking an imperial stout. So what?

2009 vintage

APPEARANCE: Pours into a Sly Fox willibecker a deep black with a lighter brown head on top. It's tightly bubbled and shrinks to a thin cap of stray bubbles.

SMELL: Heavy on the dark fruits and chocolate with a touch of anise. A bit of a dank hop aroma combines with a slight astringency to set it back a bit.

TASTE: Exceptionally well-rounded with flavors that just keep going. Heavy chocolate and caramel at first, but the fruity flavors aren't far behind. The most exciting this is probably the finish where, after you think it's all over, an intense coffee flavor comes out of nowhere to smack you upside the head. Quite nice.

MOUTHFEEL: It's thinned out a bit after a year but still has a medium-fullness to it. The texture is silky and a lower carbonation serves to help that quite a bit.

DRINKABILITY: The age has been kind to this beer, so the drinkability is really good. 9.8% is dangerous when you can't taste it at all.

9.8% is also dangerous when you haven't eaten all day, but this is definitely a meal in a glass. Worth buying and worth holding on to for a while.

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black, like all of these big RIS's, with decent stained oak colored head that leaves some clumpy lacing. Aroma is distinct from some of the other RIS's I've had, it's got the usual coffee and chocolate to it, but also has some fruity notes--cherries, and some others that I can't put my finger on.

Taste is pretty much what I was expecting for a big RIS-- roasty, a bit smoky, maybe some oakiness in there too. A bit of alcohol, maybe a touch of fruit on the finish, but not as much as I was expecting given the nose. Chocolate and coffee, piney finish.

Very smooth and creamy, not chewy, but definitely fluffy and full. Nice drink, it's robust and delicious. A very good beer for $6 a bomber. Definitely will grab another for the cellar.

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.36/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Strange RIS, far from style with a very resinous, and piney hoppy profile over some roasted notes. The thing is that it works relatively well...

Presentation: 22 oz capped brown bottle. Label with a classic cartographic map showing Smuttynose Island. Side paragraph describes the series, style, main intent, and serving recommendations. Shows bottle conditioning date (2009). Served into a snifter.

A - Black pour with dark brown edges. Nice brown creamy head, fair retention, minimal lacing with some surface memory and a nice ring.

S - Very hoppy nose with resinous pine and the faintest of roasted coffee notes struggling to emerge. Not ugly but very unusual for this kind of brew.

T - The hop profile remains strong but does not dominate so overwhelmingly and under the pine notes there is a good foundation of roasted malts, coffee touches and even a remote hint of chocolate.

M - Medium-full, low carbonation balanced by the uplifting hops, and a smooth finish with a boozy touch.

D - Strange sipper, the experience is not bad, for a drink, not a bomber, but nothing remotely similar to what most will expect out of a RIS.

Notes: This is not a bad brew but is like a dark IPA, hopped stout concoction. Feels like it shares a lot of common ground with say... Lagunitas Imperial Red for instance? but with a gentle touch of roasted notes, and a black appearance under the current of resin and pine. Judging by style this would be quite a failure but if one sets RIS aside it is somewhat interesting. But something is off, if only in the labeling, maybe the recipe too, or maybe it need one or two years of cellaring so that the hops subside in aggressiveness and meld magically to provide something that could be qualified as a RIS.

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

Reviewed from my notes. Served in a tall flute. A few impressions I jotted down while enjoying this beer with a plate of fried calamari at Ebenezer's Pub. It's very dark brown with a tan foam head. Lot's of carbonation clings to the sides of my glass. Aromas of roasted malt and alcohol I can also detect some semi-sweet chocolate. It's complex and impressive. The taste is of sweet chocolate at first. The bitterness builds to a good finish. Right as I swallow there is a bit of alcohol. There is a sharp burn, kind of like a very mild chili beer. I'd like to try this one with some age on it. There is a lot of coating with each sip. It has a heavy body and medium carbonation. There is burning and a tingling sensation with each swallow. I find it to be somewhat drinkable. I wouldn't order more than one (and would want to split a 22oz bottle with someone). The burning would get old quickly. I'm going to drink my glass slowly (and I did, I think I spent an hour with it).

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

A - Pours a very dark brown with a brown head. At first, the head was big and creamy but it dissipated quickly. It left a sticky lacing that lingered.

S - Interesting. Chocolate and the alcohol content are apparent. There is almost a fruity smell to the brew. I am not picking up on a roasted smell which is what I was expecting.

T - The taste was also interesting. The chocolate notes are there. As the beer warmed I noticed the chocolate taste really came alive. Pretty hoppy. The fruit taste was pretty apparent with the first sip. It reminded me somewhat of a Christmas fruit cake. There is a slight roastiness in the aftertaste.

M - The mouthfeel is pretty good. I found the drink to be a little syrupy for some reason. I think it's a little to sweet for my liking. The low carbonation fits it.

D- Definitely a drinkable. I think it could do with a little more aging to take down the alcohol content a little. I had no trouble finishing the bottle. I would recommend letting this sit for awhile before consuming.

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

Another treat from richbrew! Poured from bomber into snifter on 4/1. Black with 2 finger brown head. Roasted malts, chocolate, and light booze in the nose followed by all of the above and coffee notes in the taste. Full bodied and good carbonation for the style. Amazingly drinkable but watch those ABVs add up quick.

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Photo of jpmclaug
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into my Duvel Tulip.

A - Black with a big fluffy tan head, heavy sticky lacing sticks to the glass.

S - Juicy hop smells with a hint of dark malts in the background, smells a little hot

T - Very hoppy for a RIS. Juicy hops with a solid dark malt background. The flavor really blends together well to create an interesting beer. A hint of booziness lies in the background. Some bitter chocolate/coffee flavor at the very end. Kind of reminds me of Sweetwater Happy Ending but not as hoppy. My one complaint is I wish their were more roasted flavors.

M - A little lighter than what I'd say a heavy body is with a good amount of carbonation.

D - While their is a hint of alcohol in this it is blended in real well. This beer is pretty good and I would have it again but I wish their was a little more separation in the flavors. I was looking for a beer that had roasted malts and plenty of hoppiness and this comes close to meeting that expectation. If only it was a little more roasty! Also this is not your typical RIS, there are a lot of hops in this one.

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Photo of Durge
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served cold in a big tumbler at Eli Canon's in Middletown, CT this one shows a deep dark black brown with a decent light chocolate colored cover and very nice lacing. The aroma is an unusually bright juniper hop and deep nutty liqueur. Intrguing. The flavor is a firm pronouncement of what I took from the aroma with a uniquely sharp juniper hop that has some grape-like suggestions and malty-hazelnut blendings that bring a near B&B sensation. It's a bit crisp with lively, fine carbonation but it's on it's way to approaching full bodied status. Drinkability is decent for a brew that features some alcohol. The juniper idea is fairly intense and works well for me. The malt is there for some balance and I suppose you could claim some vague charcoal in the mix but that gets off the real point. This might qualify as a swell holiday brew, served with a sprig of holly. But, regardless, I like it. It's a quality brew that's fairly different with bold flavor for those that can enjoy the theme.

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Photo of cavedave
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a languid, darkest brown, topped by a one finger brownish beige head. Syrupy lacicles line the snifter. Nice.

Nose is a full aroma of dark caramel, burnt toast, roasty coffee and chocolate notes, and some nice citrusy hints of hoppiness behind it all.

Some big stouts taste all right at a cooler temp. Not this one. Way too off balancedly hoppy, and not roasty, nor complex enough. Near room temp is where this one comes alive. Chocolate and coffee in their delciously dark forms cascade through a sip that includes burnt caramel, floral and citrus hop notes, some dark fruitiness, and alcohol spiciness (a key player beginning of sip to long juicy finish). Very well blended for a young impy, seems like a good candidate for the cellar, where the alc. might calm a bit, to produce something special, not just very good.

Mouthfeel is a conundrum, easy sipping, yet rated for style, and against some world class entries, it suffers. Nicely low carb., but could be more viscous. Nice finish, but it could be more dark and lasting. Not overly sweet on the palate, but a bit less sweet in the finish would make it even better.

Drinkability is quite good. No trouble finishing this 22, easy sipping and tasty.

Impression: Can't believe it has taken me so long to taste this NE gem. This will be a cellar dweller for sure.

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Photo of Amalak
3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had at d.b.a. in Brooklyn. It's black, basically completely. It has a tan head and lacing. It has an oakish scent to it.

LIke you'd expect, chocolate malt taste. Bitter. Almost kind of like Cherry coke aftertaste. There are a lot of things going on. Sourness, now. Complex.

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Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 1,236 ratings