They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Imperial Smuttiness

You may have heard of Smuttynose Brewery, they make some really good quality American beers. You may know them better for beers like Big A IPA, Finestkind IPA and darker ones too like their really tasty Robust Porter. I could hug that seal all day long!

They also do a range of specials, a 'Big Beer Series' according to the bottle. This series includes much sought after beers like their 11% Wheat Wine Ale, Gravitation - a 10% Belgian Quad Style Ale and of course, the Imperial Stout pictured left. Let's not just leave it at those though. I really like the art work for all the Smutty beers, the label for Julio's Ry(e) an Ale is an absolutely fantastic example. I think some of the range has some great names too. Let's face it, who wouldn't want a pint of Smuttynose Smuttonator Doppelbock?!?! Or some Oak-aged Terminator G-Bock and some Homunculus Belgian Ale for that matter!

When I saw this in Borough Market, it was pretty obvious I had to have it, after all these bottles were bottled in 2007 so I reckon they'll be pretty good by now!

After a bit of research on'tinterweb I found this to be a 10.1% Imperial Stout. That's nothing to go by really though, as I think the abv may vary from batch to batch. (I could be wrong) I think with the bottle conditioning of around 4 years though it could have risen a touch anyway. It smells very interesting for an American Imperial Stout. Initially you get some lactic dairy-ness, loads of oats and even a touch of salt. As you get more of an inhale after a bit of a breather you get richer aromas of dark chocolate, burnt toffees, light but dark coffee and some rum soaked raisins.

The initial flavour is initially really intense and kicks you straight in the face. It's really burnt and massively bitter straight up front. I got really big woody hints, like someone had used rum soaked oak to make this beer, it was verging on leaving a slightly tart bitterness with small vanilla hints. Let it warm up a little, and get used to the mouth feel and this becomes a much different beast. It evens out and the smoother richer flavoured elements push forwards. Toasted fruitcake, big chocolate and lots of coffee bitterness now dominate the senses. The finish is dry, long and leaves you wanting. It does enough to make you respect the beer, but it's still very approachable at the same time, a truly spectacular beer if I must say so.

It's rather strange, I've been talking about Imperial Stouts quite a bit more than usual over the past few weeks, and although my tasting notes may sound a little similar on paper, I can assure you that not one I've tried in the past few years has ever tasted the same. I just think it's quite interesting that (to me) the most favourful, and overall, 'king of beers' in one hand is enough to pummel the senses but at the same time, be so diverse in actual flavour from beer to beer. Maybe that's just another one of the reasons why I love it so much...

Back to topic: Smuttynose make some amazingly impressive beers, and all I can recommend to you is that; if you see a Smuttynose beer.... just buy it, you don't need to give it a second thought.


  1. Love the images in this!

    I like the Smuttynose beers I've had too. I've also enjoyed all of the Portsmouth beers I've had, especially a porter and IPA at GBBF last year. It'd be great to drink more of them as well as the Smuttynose. This beer sounds great. I haven't had an imperial stout for ages and now I've got a mad craving!

  2. It really seems it's all I've been drinking recently Mark. You know when it gets to that stage when all you have left in your beer cupboard is dark, strong beers. Not that it's a bad thing mind! ;)

  3. Smuttynose do create some lovely beers, annoyed that I missed this at Borough Market on my last visit..grrr

    I suppose it gives me another excuse to go again :)

    Cheers Phil