Sunday, 28 August 2011
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!
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.