Smuttynose Short Batch #8 - Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Imperial Stout | Smuttynose Brewing Company

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Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Imperial Stout aged in a Flag Hill Winery apple brandy barrel.

Added by ToasterChef on 02-19-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 15 | Ratings: 31
Photo of thagr81us
4.77/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Massive thanks to mikesgroove for sharing this one with and richbrew for sending this one down for both of us! Had during Hobo Tasting #5 while sitting inside RJ Rockers! Served from growler into a Stone nonic. Poured pitch black with a minimal brown head. Maintained minimal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, roasted malt, caramel, dark chocolate, vanilla, and alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, toffee, caramel, and alcohol. It had a heavy feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall, WOW, now this is what I think of when I think Russian Imperial Stout! The brandy barrel aspect is definitely present on this one and makes itself known throughout the glass and is really quite enjoyable. You could definitely tell this one was a heavy hitter. I see it is listed as only 10% on here... Before I knew about it I would have guess it was 13-15% without a doubt. Really glad I got a chance to try this one and would love to do so again!

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Photo of Sean9689
4.34/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler, thanks to Alex! Poured into tasting glass.

A - Pours black, no head, lacing or retention. Looks like chocolate syrup in a glass...yummy. Some brown hue along the sides of the glass, thick-looking.

S - Chocolate, oak, apple brandy, caramel. The apple brandy is wonderfully blended in this beer, as it doesn't overpower the stout at all. Rather, it's a great compliment to the beer.

T - As with the nose, the apple brandy works wonderfully in this beer. Sweet chocolate syrup, caramel, not hot at all for 10%...the alcohol is very well hidden. Creamy chocolate finish.

M - Full body, rich and smooth, flat (but still enjoyable).

D - Really enjoyed this one. Could use a touch of carbonation, but hey, it's probably the growler's fault, not the beer. Would def have this again if offered. Recommend!

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Photo of MasterSki
4.34/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

32oz DeCicco's growler courtesy of mikeyv35. Served in a Nolet's taster tulip.

A - Pours with a minimal crust of bubbles that settle to a thin ring, leaving behind tiny spots of lace. The body is an inky pitch black.

S - Smells like apple brandy, barrel, chocolate, vanilla, and caramel malts. Unsurprisingly, none of the hop character from the base beer translated over. Still, 10% ABV is quite well-hidden, with the only booze emerging from the brandy flavor. Negligible roast character here - more like a decadent confection.

T - The taste has a bit more roast character and some espresso-like bitterness to balance caramel apples, oaky vanilla, brandy, and chocolate notes. If you've got a sweet tooth this stuff will go down like mother's milk.

M - Very low carbonation, medium-full body, a mildly tannic finish, and a hint of warming alcohol after 4-6oz. Could use a bit more spritz, but I'm guessing that was due to the age of the growler and shipping, as others seem to note a few more bubbles.

D - Dangerously drinkable. We killed 32oz of this at the West Lakeview tasting without difficulty. It's certainly the best Smuttynose offering I've ever encountered. Might be a bit diabetic for some, but it's right up my alley. I'd like to get another shot at this one, preferably on draft.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.02/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

32oz growler into a Birra del Borgo tulip. Huge thanks to Hopstoopid120 for sharing this rare treat.

A: Licorice-black body with a solid cap of light-brown head. Decent retention, spotty lace. Pretty nice.

S: Whoa - that's huge. Tannic oak + booze are right up front (brandy, yes; apple...maybe?). Light chocolate roastiness, as well as a good dose of vanilla. Excellent.

T: Starts out with vanilla, toffee, and then enormous booze and bitterness. Super bitter finish, with latent hoppiness outweighing the malt by a long shot. There's a great deal of interesting stuff going on, but unfortunately it's just entirely unbalanced.

M: Rich, full, and soft, with tons of velvety carbonation. Perfectly luscious.

O: If there were still a drinkability category, this one would definitely get dinged. The barrel lent more alcohol than complexity, and it seemed more like 12%+ than a mere 10%. That said, the sheer complexity of it was thrilling. I've always found the base RIS from Smuttynose to be a bit overrated (not to mention overly hoppy), and while this one was a lot more fun to drink, I didn't really think that it was a huge success. If you love brandy and bitterness, though, this one's for you.


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Photo of mikesgroove
4.92/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

growler courtesy of rich. cannot thank you enough man. quite simply one of the best beers i think i have ever had. served into a pint glass at hobo tasting five.

pour was thick, inky, black and dark as night. sludge like with no light coming through no matter what angle you looked at. simply a jaw dropping sight and something to be feared.

as you take the first smell it all starts coming into focus. this is an amazing beer. you get smacked with brandy and boozy notes while it warms up but once it starts to breath it was incredible. dark chocolate and coffee with deep roasted malts give way to impeccable blended fruit hints and warm brandy notes that dance around the palate and accent it perfectly. soo smooth on the finish with a touch of barrel and a rich vanilla that stays with you long after you take the sip, it was hard to believe how easy this one was to drink, amazing beer.

overall soo not on anyones radar, but i would take this over almost every hyped beer i have had. this just works on every level possible.

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Photo of Billolick
4.35/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

32 ounce growler filled at DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY.

Pours is black, head is very dark mocha, moderate staying power, thicker film and collar and leaves ample blobs of lacing. Good stuff for a RIS. A gentle swirl reestablishes an about 1/4 inch head.

Nose is chock full of chocolate, some smoky wood, black malts, and yes, light brandy...yum

Full flavor, smooth and delicious stuff. More chocolate, smoke, dark maltyness, black bread, brandy notes present but not dominating. Heavanly RIS. Complex, velvety smooth, quality and intrigue fully in force.

High marks here for mouthfeel as this one is super smooth, carbonation spot on. As it warms, dark chocloate and burnt grains come forward.

A treat for the senses. Go get some...

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Photo of mikeyv35
4.05/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Date: 03/05/2011
Type: Growler from DeCicco's
Glass: Chimay Goblet

This brew poured a midnight black in color w/ a 1/2 finger bubbly brown head that left little to no lacing on the glass. Prototypical look for a good BA IS. Nose was pretty complex being of brandy and dark fruits overtop chocolate, molasses, and hops(pine). Expected this to be very well balanced from the nose and it was. Apple brandy and dark fruits up front, w/ a touch chocolate and molasses in the middle, and a finish of char, light booze, and big hop bite. Medium bodied. I feel like the barrel aging thinned out the base beer a bit. Definately a slow sipper, this is to be shared.

Overall, I really enjoyed this brew. Very nicely done and extremely balanced for a BA beer, as the brandy was present but did not overwhelm. Definately prefer this to the base beer.

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Photo of joepais
4.62/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I headed over to try the last log of this stuff around in Portsmouth. I happened to walk through the door of the bar and bumped into one of the brewers enjoying the last few glasses too.
I received a smutty tulip glass with a good two finger worth of tan head that laced out well and with a swirl of the glass I could bring it back. The body of the brew was a typical stout black with a light ring of amber around the edge of the glass when held to the light.
The aroma was quite different than their regular stout. You get some awesome chocolate sweetness and apple notes every time I brought it to my nose. There is also a nice oak note coming thru as well as some roast.

The flavors are a lot less hoppy than the regular stout the apple brandy sweetness with the oak and a nice dimension to a stout flavor wise the sweetness of the stout and the bitter roast blended perfectly. The mouthfeel was spot on for me thick and sticky. There was a slight alcohol heat. I do think that a little more time might have tamed that down some and made this brew extremely dangerous to drink.

I finished my two glasses I had to work the next day or I would have had more It was a great way to chase off the winter doldrums. I hope they make some more next year

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Photo of Jwale73
4.45/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tulip. Poured one shad shy of black with a dense, half-inch, mocha-colored head. Lots of thick strands of lacing coat the shoulders of the glass during the tasting. Nose is incredible - decadent dark chocolate and a hint of roast. The immense chocolate presence indicated by the nose carries over the flavor profile, as well as some booze. This is the initial impression I get off a pour that was served too cold; however, as the brew begins to warm, a bit of Calvados comes out (guess that's where the apple brandy comes in). Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a lively carbonation - could definitely benefit from a little less effervescence. This beer is awesome. While there is some booziness, it is relatively minor considering the abv. That being said, this is the most memorable RIS I've had in some time and is definitely in my top five for the style.

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Photo of uustal
4.15/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a brown head. Aroma is great. Rich chocolate and of course, apple and brandy. Flavor starts off with rich chocolate malt. Also a bit of coffee in there as well. Dark fruits shine through near the finish. Big apple brandy flavor as the beer warms. Very well done.

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Photo of TK5150
3.88/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

On Draft at Novare Res

A- Black with a brown head that dissipates fairly quickly.

S- Huge alcohol, huge oak, lots of dark fruitiness (smelled very much like port wine to be honest), and some chocolate lingering in the background.

T- Tasted like oak aged port wine, some chocolate, and A LOT of lingering alcohol. Huge beer.

M- Full bodied. Low carbonation.

D- One and done was about right for this beer, especially since there were many other great/rare beers to try on draft that night.

Overall, a nice novelty to try. As one of my favorite beers of all time in its standard version, this one had no resemblance whatsoever to that. It actually reminded me a little bit of Kate the Great with the level of fruitiness, oak and alcohol present. While clearly a barrel aged beer, I would have never guessed it to be in calvados barrels if it wasn't listed on the beer menu. My biggest problem with this beer is how boozy it is..the alcohol is not hidden at all. Regardless, a pretty good, huge beer.

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Photo of WesWes
4.45/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a beautiful black color with a thick frothy brown head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a stiff black malt bitterness with some coffee notes. There is a bit of chocolate malt sweetness to round out the aroma. The oak aroma is pretty damn aggressive. I think it's outstanding. Imperial stouts and oak barrels are made for each other. The calms the alcohol heat which is still noticeable and it melds nicely with the malts. The taste is really good. It has a warm black malt flavor that goes down silky smooth and finishes with a tremendous oaky character. The brandy aspect is not lost. In fact, it adds another layer of complexity which only enhances the overall enjoyment. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good IS. I like the original version, but this rendition is just bananas!

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.59/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Another reason why the Lion's Pride is one of the best places places to enjoy a brew at.

Pours a dark dark brown/black color with a small wispy head, not much in the way of lacing.

The aroma is amazing, is quite similar to the regular Smuttynose Imperial Stout but the apple brandy aging really adds complexity, you can actually distinguish the apple brandy from the deep roasted malt, but it meshes so well that it only enhances the aroma and doesn't take it over.

Taste has rich roasted malt, hints of chocolate and dark fruit, along with the aforementioned apple brandy that makes quite a showing, a thick mouthfeel but not overly viscous, does leave quite a bit of stickiness though, the heat is really evident though, I had no problem enjoying the 10oz pour (and another after that) but the alcohol certainly makes a show, I can having another year of age on it would truly make it divine.

I think I enjoy this just as much, if not more, than their regular Imperial Stout. It's a nice little experimentation, hopefully they make some more of this down the road.

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Photo of Casey10
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was not able to make the event the night before at Lion's Pride like the previous reviewer but was able to make it today while it was still on tap. I already like the regular Imp stout from Smuttynose this version is over the top.

I guess this is also being served tonight at NOTB however instead of a sample was able to have a 10 oz glass !!

A - Dark chocoalte looking wispy head great looking stout.

S - Chocolate, malts, slight hints of burbon and just a wee bit of the apple.

T - Unreal has a distictive brandy taste (not too strong) while still coming through with the fimilar stout taste.

M - Gives a definate burn after drinking and stays with you.

D - This one is a sipper, really liked this and perhaps if Smuttynose decides to realease this in a limited release bottle series type thing I am sure it would be a big hit.

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Photo of ToasterChef
4.4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from my notes. Served in a Smuttynose Big Beer Series balloon glass at the Lion's Pride during an evening devoted to Smuttynose beers. This version of the Smutty Imperial Stout was a one-off batch aged in apple brandy barrels, which is immediately evident as soon as the glass is placed in front of you. It is a dark, dark beer. It has a small tan head that doesn't stick around too long. If you were to move the beer around the glass, you would see how it coats the sides of the glass with a viscous film. It's a very nice look beer. The most obvious aspect of the aroma is the strong brandy scent. It's as though there were apple brandy mixed in; you can tell this was aged in the brandy barrels for a while. There is also a roasted malt aroma, but it isn't nearly as strong. There is some toasted malt flavor as soon as you sip the beer, but it quickly gives way to a bold, brandy flavor. I cannot taste any oak or other woods aspect of the barrel-aging process, but the brandy itself. After you swallow, the alcohol lingers on for a while. The beer sits heavy in my mouth and coats everything. There isn't much in the way of carbonation. The film that coats my mouth after swallowing evaporates with wonderful alcohol vapors. It is much longer lasting than other beers I've hard. I like it a lot. I do find this version of the IMperial Stout to be very drinkable, but it still is a "Big Beer" at heart, and therefore hard to drink quickly or in great quantity. This 10 oz pour will be sufficient for me. If you are a fan of Smuttynose or barrel aged beers, I'd recommend you order a glass if you see it available.

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Smuttynose Short Batch #8 - Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Imperial Stout from Smuttynose Brewing Company
4.4 out of 5 based on 31 ratings.
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