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

2009 Limited Edition (stay tuned for 2010 and following!)

A= dark brown near black, not much head when poured carefully but a small tan rim with nice lacing.

S= overwhelming with huge toasted malts, hops, dark chocolate and coffee, amazing. Some liquor scent.

T= robust, dry from both dark chocolate and coffee plus dry toasted malts, balanced bitters, little carbonation (I'd have wished for a touch more), very enjoyable.

M= dark dry chocolate and strong coffee, some bitters, light liquor notes.

D= very drinkable if you're going to have one 22-ounce bottle or you're gorging on some great chocolate dessert. Otherwise I couldn't handle more than one 22oz bottle at a setting but I'd be sure to sit a lot more! A bit dry to be my favorite Imperial Stout for my preferences but definitely one that I would grab as my next choice.

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Photo of nrbw23
4.52/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Pours a black with a nice brown head. Head fades rather on the quick side and not as much lacing going on here too.

S- Floral hops, chocolate, roasted malt, some piney hops, caramel and toffee. Maybe a bit of smoke in there too.

T- Bitter chocolate, floral, piney hops, soy sauce, roasted malts, slightly boozey, caramel and toffee. I really like this one.

M- Thicker side of medium and right on carbonation wise. Just needs to be a tad be thicker.

D- Picked this one up for 6 picks. I think this one is easy to drink and very solid. Right up there in quality and price I like.

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Photo of Deuane
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Deep black/brown with a large dark tan head that reduced to a thin cap and left nice lace.

S-Spicy hop notes up front backed up by a healthy dose of roasted malt, chocolate and a hint of raisin.

T-Roasted malt up front with backing notes of coffee, chocolate and dark fruit. Touch of spicy/earthy hops. Most prevalent in the after taste is the subtle zing of sour cherry. Building dry finish.

M-Medium bodied with good lingering bitterness from the malt and hops. Not as big and robust as some RIS can be but it holds it's own.

D-Plenty of flavour and not too heavy. For a RIS a relatively easy drinker. A 10% session RIS....well...??

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Photo of jampics2
4.37/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle poured into my New Belgium snifter/globe deal-ey. A vigerous pour yields a 1 finger creamy brown head atop a black body. Pitch black. Looks good but nothing extraordinary.

Smell is interesting. When I opened the bomber I thought I caught a wiff of tropical hops. I was astounded that this smelled more like a black IPA - a mix of chocolate roasted malt and some citrus hops. Some molasses and black cherry.

Taste is remarkably deep and well balanced. This has a ton of flavor that meshes together so well. A nice amount of sweet caramelized malt and some black strap molasses starts things off. A touch of cherry and chocolate, then a great roasted aftertaste that continues to persist and develop for a few moments after the beer has already left. I'm impressed with how this is extreme and restrained at the same time, a great amount of flavor.

Mouthfeel is really nice. A perfect amount of carb gives a touch of sparkle at the right point in the flavor progression. Creamy and thick, could be thicker but is really quite close to a perfect RIS m/f.

Drinkability was nice. This is a great beer, not one I'll "stock up" on, but I'll def. enjoy this again in the near future.

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Photo of alkchrios
4.36/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a really comforting brew. Poured into a snifter at about 60 degrees. This beer looks amazing. It pours a stream of jet black giving way to about an inch and a half of a mocha colored head. The head on this stayed with the longevity of the glass. A fair amount of lacing is also present. The taste is not what I expected but in a good way. Ive been really impressed with a lot of what smuttynose brews. It has just been in my experiences a lot of stouts even a lot of the imperials look a lot tougher than they taste and I dont like that. The darker the beer the more roasted malts and nuttyness I want to taste. This beer is just that. The color of the beer matches the taste and I really enjoy that. Tastes of roasted coffee grinds and malty/hop goodness. I also taste a slight earthy/grainy and even a reduced fruity taste towards the end. Finishes slightly mild. You can almost feel the beer make the entire way down to your stomach.. its nice. I absolutely love this beer.

Way to go smutty.


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Photo of AdamGarcia
3.76/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed form notes 3/23

A: Pours black with a surprisingly large mocha head that lasts. Very nice looking beer.

S: Caught me off guard. Lots of piney hops in the nose. Backed up by some raisiny sweetness. Good overall but missing the coffee/chocolate/roastiness present in most imperial stouts.

T: Yep, there's the coffee. Big hop is there initially, but a wave of roastiness quickly washes over the palate. Some dark fruit present as well.

M: Carbonation is ok, but its a little less viscous than I would prefer.

D: Suffers a bit due to the conflicting flavors. Hop & malt aren't really in unison. Feels a little disjointed.

This one definitely improved as it warmed. Enjoyable, but a little scattered. Maybe it is just too young. With some age the flavors in this beer may find a balance. Might pick up another and hide it away for a year and see how it evolves

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Photo of sk8man121
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage 22 oz. bottle poured into a 10 oz. Allagash chalice.

A: Pours a thick, creamy, chocolate-brown which quickly turns black. Settles in with a nice, thick mahogany head that dies down after about 60 seconds. Copper shows through the edges of the glass when held up to the light, but otherwise this has no opacity whatsoever.

S: Smells of smoke, roasted malts and chocolate. Very complex, with even a bit of black cherry coming through on a deep sniff.

T: More of the same, with an inherently campfire-like flavor that carries into the aftertaste. Alcohol is definitely present, but nice and mellow instead of a full-on assault like Brooklyn Black Ops.

M: Mildly carbonated; typical for the style.

D: For a 10% beer, highly drinkable if you enjoy the style. Definitely the biggest of Smutty's 'big beer' series, and probably one of my favorites from them so far.

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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 Kallessin
4.73/5  rDev +15.9%
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 ShadesOfGray
3.54/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Portsmouth tulip glass. Pours a solid black with nice size(2 to 3 fingers) of frothy toffee colored head. Wonderful sticky and frothy lacing.

Aroma is very strong, but not a good smell. Almost smells like a Pine forest. Even though this may be a good smell to some, not in your beer. Not much else is coming to me through this strong woodsy aroma. The more I smell it though, a very slight malty and chocolate aroma is there...just very faint.

Flavor is very decent. Lots of malts and chocolates. Mild bitter and dry aftertaste. Medium body and mouthfeel. Mid to high carbonation for a stout. As this beer warms up, a lot more flavors come to the front. Booze is well hidden from the flavor, but you can feel a little burn on your tongue and lips. Good RIS.

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

2010 bottling

Smuttynose Imperial Stout pours a deep dark opaque brownish black with a truly stupendous creamy brownish tan head leaving thick sheets of lacing as it slowly subsides.

The aroma has a very fresh grassy hop aroma along with roasted malts and chocolate.

The flavor has a big piney, floral and bitter hop character which is equally matched by a huge roasted chocolate malt backbone. Flavors of fudge drizzled with dark chocolate syrup and melted caramels and milk chocolate candy bars. Bitterness is up front and in the middle rather than at the end and alcohol is near invisble felt as a warmth in the finish.

The mouthfeel is thick and chewy, very creamy and full and smooth through the finish.

This is one smooth beer for a fresh bottling of an RIS! Very drinkable and I think I will pick up a bottle to age. Smuttynose has not let me down yet with any of their beers. Recomended!

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Photo of GbVDave
3.81/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a De Glazen Toren tulip. Thanks to Ineedabeerhere for this from a trade from a while ago!

Bottle Conditioned in: 2009

A: Pours a typical Impy Stout pitch black. Capping each pour is a tiny wafer of dark mocha colored head that retains for maybe 20-30 seconds before evaporating completely. No lace was left behind.

S: Excellent aromas of dark fruit, rum soaked raisins, heavily roasted malt, caramel, and boozy fudge.

T: Closely follows the smell with one big exception. The alcohol. Loads of dark fruit, bittersweet chocolate, caramel, roasted malt, and then booze. Copious amounts of hot alcohol. Somehow it works, but just barely.

M: Very roasty and dry. Starts off sticky, sweet, and with a fair amount of roasty/hoppy bitterness. Solvent-like alcohol is quite apparent. Each mouthful stripped my tongue dry.

D: Extremely boozy. I won't lie, this bottle was very hard to get through. Good not awesome.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage courtesy of ShogoKawada (thanks!). Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Impenetrable seal brown (bordering on black) body with an active heft of goldenrod foam which recedes to a smoll solid layer of cream with a centrifugal spatter of slow moving lacing which sticks to the honey-like polish of legs.

Woody aromatics with chicory, bitter chocolate, and a slightly sour floral or herbal element, presumably from hops. Faint rosewater and lightly toasted grain. A rhum agricole is suggested as well from the alcohol. Overall a little strange, though not necessarily in a bad way.

Ganache, molasses, walnuts, and spiced chocolate liqueur on the palate. Oaky hop flavors follow mid-palate from the nose, and coincide with hints of whole wheat grains, coffee, and a big dose of sweet malt. Dried fruit esters come through in the finish suggesting unsulphured apricots cooked down in raw sugar with a dash of mildly toasted cocoa nibs.

Thick oily mouthfeel with fairly low carbonation. Pretty warming - the alcohol is undisguised; however, it integrates well into the flavor profile none the less.

A little sweet and surprisingly hop-forward, this would likely do well with a little more age on it. All in all, the "biggest" of the Big Beer series I've sampled thus far.

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Photo of paco1029384756
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to jlindros.

Pours black with a small creamy tan head.

Scent of chocolate, molasses, dark fruit, sugars, dry, bitter hops, and some caramel. A sweet and robust Imperial Stout with a strong sweetness and a good hop presence.

Taste of roasted malts, chocolate, burnt sugar, caramel, bacon, dark fruit, and a hint of thinning alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slick, oily body.

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Photo of alamode
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 release
22 oz bottle into Duvel tulip

A - brown, almost black with an inch of light brown, tiny-bubbled foam...beautiful lacing...

S - tobacco, a brand-new leather belt & dark chocolate...very nice...

T - milk chocolate, bitter coffee & a hint of alcohol...

M - creamy...

D - drinks great! I would guess the ABV is down this year compared to '08 & '09, booze is very well hidden...silky smooth...it's love yo.

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Photo of mostpoetsdo
4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Beautiful dark brown, practically black with a booming frothy head that sticks around for a good long time, and amazing lacing.

S: Smells like a chocolate malt shake backed up with booze.

T: Just like the nose leads on, incredible roasted malt taste with chocolate, really like a shake. Coffee backing with a tiny hint of dark fruit. Excellent.

M: Frothy, creamy goodness. Not too much carbonation, works great with the style.

D: Excellent, watch out for the ABV though.

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Photo of spwalshesq
4.11/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another well-done beer from Smuttynose! Bought a bomber for $7 from one of my favorite beer stores. Pours thick and black as night. Aroma is of dark chocolate and hints of roasted coffee. Taste is excellent - rich, bitter chocolate, and espresso. There's an interesting slight saltiness at the back sides of the tongue at swallow. Pair it with a smoked gouda. Good stuff!

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Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to psprings for the bottle. Ink black body, mocha head. Aromas include prunes, dark chocolate, and molasses. A wealth of flavor on the palate with chocolate covered figs, brown sugar, molasses, and a bitter finish. Bitter chocolate really sticks on the tongue providing a lasting finish. Full, creamy, velvety finish. Damn good, HUGE stout. Quite rich, split this bottle!

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Photo of zev
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz from 2009. pours very dark with a decent head. HOPPY stout. flowers. creamy and tasty. I think I smell spanish olives now. big flavor in this beer. i believe i could age this for a while more and enjoy some great flavors but there is plenty going on now to satisfy. overall a great combo of hops and malts and florals. the abv isnt listed on the bottle but boy this has got me buzzed. good stuff with some great flavors.

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

A 22 ounce bomber bottle. The label reads "Bottle conditioned in 2006". Uncapped and poured into my Shaker glass. The stout appears an opaque brown color with a good inch of dark tan colored foam. The head settles to a thin layer within a few minutes. Nose and flavors consist of rich deep roasted grains, a barely noticeable wisp of smoke/char, figs, bittersweet chocolate, espresso beans, prunes, raisins, black cherries, caramel, milk chocolate, mocha, vanilla, molasses, a bit of pine and herbal notes. No alcohol heat to speak of at around 4 years in the bottle. The body could be a bit fuller and the carbonation was slightly lacking, but these are minor, minor strikes. The complex flavors more than make up for any shortcomings. This vintage is drinking really nice right now.

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Photo of scootny
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A solid RIS. Nice sticky head with very good lacing as my glass is coated continuously as I drink. Impressive for the style and abv. Smell is quite sweet with yeasty dark fruitiness, caramel, burnt sugar and light alcohol. A bed of roasted malts thicken up and cut the sweetness with a rich graininess nicely. Some smoke as well. Taste is full of roasted grains with a coffee like bitterness that flows into that sweetness deliciously. Molasses. Alcohol is very well integrated and never detracts, rather it enhances the sweetness and the bittering in the finish. Nice trick. Smoke and charcoal support the mild hops. The feel is full and syrupy. Just a little more carbonation and it would really be motivating me. As it is there is just enough to break it up but what is now slick could be silk with a little more effervescence. Still this goes down like cocoa on a cold night as the abv is tucked covertly into what is a fine though not exemplary brew. A nice, easy drinker that is just a touch light in personality.

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Photo of mikey711
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark black with minimal head, no lacing, but some legs.

S: Slightly grainy, molasses, chocolate, roastiness. All the things you look for in a stout but something just seems off

T: Just like it smells, and again something just seems a bit off.

M: Thick and chewy, some booziness and chalkiness and dryness

D: One pint is plenty

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

A-Pours a very dark brown, almost black with a nice 3/4" thick and chunky looking mocha colored head that hangs for a bit and leaves decent lacing.

S-Big nose here with booze up front, roasted malt, molasses, piney hops, dark fruit.

T-Surprisingly sweet, but not overly so. Black licorice, some brown sugar, dark roast coffee and malt, piney hops. A bit different, but good.

M-Full bodied, creamy, chewy with a slick and oily finish. Carb level is a bit high for my liking, but it still has great mouthfeel.

D-For the style, this is a drinkable stout. But as with just about any RIS, one is usually enough.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle provided by mar.

2008 vintage. Pours dark brown to black with a beige head. Aroma has quite a bit of alcohol as well as some roasted malt. Flavor is roasted malt with some smoke and a little soy sauce character. Very creamy, medium mouthfeel.

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 bottle, thanks to thechrislife !

pours dark jet black with tons of head, 2-3 inches, tons of lacing.

light vanilla, sweet roasted malt, light cherry, light molasses, very floral hops and a touch of tangerine.

a slight bourbon feel and a wee bit of heat. light floral hoppy flavors that blend with a slight charcoal and sweet malty flavor. a bit of oak through the finish which is a tad on the dry side.

full, lots of carbonation. a bit chewy.

a very solid stout, the first time i had this i loved it although it was on tap. the hops seem to have calmed down a bit but are still very noticeable. i love hoppy stouts.

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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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