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

1,228 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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,228 |  Reviews: 699
Photo of LarryV
1.82/5  rDev -55.3%
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 +16.2%
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%
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 +1.5%
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 -6.4%
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 -3.4%
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 -6.6%
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 +9.3%
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's love yo.

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Photo of mostpoetsdo
4.55/5  rDev +11.8%
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 +1%
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 +0.7%
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 +2.7%
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 +2%
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 +0.7%
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%
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%
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 -1.7%
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 +0.2%
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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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.48/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Opaque some blacks are blacker than others black with a large, muddy tan head. Shag carpet retention leaves rusty caramel colored lace--like fossilized corral.

Licorice, vanilla, granular brown sugar, dark fruit and sugary roast malt aroma. Tastes like awesome, though may be a bit too sweet for some. Licorice, vanilla, dark fruit with a super smooth, milky roast sugar underneath. Earthen, tobacco hop for balance. Plenty of alcoholic giddiness will punch you like a kitten if you're not careful.

This impy can hang with the best of'em despite being way too easy to obtain and only $7 a 22oz.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: I poured this one into one of my snifters. The pour is somewhat thick and syrupy. The head is slow to develop but then reaches a half finger of creamy light brown head that looks like the top of a big hot steaming mug of hot chocolate. Lacing comes in rings about half the thickness of the head and drip legs down towards the beer that remains in the glass.

S: In an interesting departure from the commonly noted "malt backbone" this beer seems to build around a backbone of piney hops. On that base of piney bitterness, cocoa, coffee, and roasted malt aromas flourish.

T: Resinous piney hops bite the tongue initially. Malts begin to overwhelm the piney goodness as they contribute flavors of caramel and roast barley. Coffee has the final say in teh finish and it continues to step up its game in the aftertaste. The pine of the hops returns as this beer finishes giving the beer a nice balanced flavor profile which finishes with a nice blend of coffee and piney hops.

M/D: Sticky, thick, and full. This finish is very smooth. Once this beer hits temperature around 48 degrees, the carbonation is almost imperceptible. Alcohol character is nowhere to be found. The hop presence from start to finish adds a great amount of balance and depth to this beer.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received in a trade with Portia99- thanks!
Poured into NB globe.

A: pours a thick viscous black, small tan head forms, some lacing

S: the nose has heavy hops, very piny and spicy smelling, there are some sweet malts in there but the hops definitely take the spotlight

T: initial flavor is dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted barley, molasses followed by the piny hop character that was huge on the nose. The hops are pretty big on the mid palate to finish, but seem a little more tame than the aroma suggests. This beer finishes with some heat and leaves a lingering hop flavor in the mouth. Very rich and complex.

MF: thick, creamy, chewy texture, low carbonation

D: the drinkability is pretty good, lots of bold flavors that are balance well and a nicely hidden high abv

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

Bierman9, out of the blue, sent me this, new to me Imperial Stout. Thanks David!

2009 Edition.

It looks pitch black to me as even when I hold my glass up to the light, there's no hint of anything else. A nice close to 2 finger head of tan foam goes along with and there's some good lacing to be had. A great looker.

The smell has a huge bitter chocolate, bitter hop, in your face, aroma. I can smell *some* malt sweetness deep in the backgound that could be caramel or milk chocolate. Anywho, this one is defintely hop forward to my nose, heck I think I'm smelling grapefruit. I can't wait to dive in..

After a few small sips, my tastebuds tell me of this big deal with roasted malts and light milk chocolate, dark chocolate bitterness that's very tasty, fresh ground coffee, a light citrus bitterness as well. There's plenty of bitter and plenty of semi sweetness going on here along with *some* alcohol warming but I'm not complaining about that at all.

On the upper end of medium bodied with the carbonation on the lighter side but well suited for this brew.

Drinkability? For me, very. This always surprises me. An RIS that, obviously and according to style, packs a punch but I *still* find it/them so darn drinkable when they are done right. This one certainly is. Smuttynose is a fine brewer and I salute them for making this tasty concoction, and David for sending this my way.

Btw, I'm enjoying this with a tasty chicken pot pie. I don't know if that is supposed to be a good match or not but it's going well...;^)

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Photo of breyton490
1.9/5  rDev -53.3%
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 brewcrew76
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Solid black with a big 4 finger creamy brown head. Tight bubbles look like cola but stick to the sides instead of fading.

S - Big floral, maybe even spicy, hop aroma. Chocolate, roasted malt, some piney hops, caramel and toffee.

T - Bitter chocolate, floral, piney hops, soy sauce, roasted malts, slightly boozey, caramel and toffee.

M - Thick and creamy, well carbonated but not sticky. Very sweet but quickly dried out by the lingering hop bitterness.

D - I think this one is a year old but you wouldn't notice by the aroma. The taste is a hint stale but the hops works well with the big chocolate stout. Very nice. As it warms it starts to become barleywine like which makes me thick it is old. Damn Discount and your old selection.

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Photo of tburkhart
3.71/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on a cold Ohio night.

Now, let me start this review by stating I've had a number of the big name RIS's (Dark Lord, Stone, Bell's Expedition, Yeti, Blackout, B.O.R.I.S the Crusher, etc.) and I'm not sure if this really belongs. It is completely different then your typical RIS.

A - Pours as black as the cold Ohio night in which it was drank. Vigorous pour results in 3/4" worth of head that settled nicely on top of this brew.

S - Hops?!?! I've never had a RIS that smelled of hops. Aren't RIS's typically malts, malts, and more malts? I'm intrigued for my first sip of this beer. I may have unfairly dropped the smell .5 points, but I can't bring myself to up it, even the style says the hops COULD be aggressive.

T - Hops come through which blows my mind. When I saw this was an RIS, I expected MALT!

M - A bit thin compared to the RIS's I listed above.

D - I'm still confused by the overly hoppiness of this RIS. Totally not what I expected.

I've had a few other beers from Smuttynose that I've enjoyed, so I was looking forward to this one. It is a tasty RIS, but not what I expected. Don't get me wrong, it's a good beer, but as I said in the Taste section of my review I expect malts, malts, and more malts in my RIS. Nice change of pace from typical RIS's, but I'd personally go for a beer listed in my first paragraph.

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Smuttynose Imperial Stout (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
4.07 out of 5 based on 1,228 ratings.
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