Smuttlabs: The Stallion (Smuttynose Brewing Company)

Style: Imperial Stout

11.0% ABV

Bottled On: 2/3/15

From: Hampton, NH

They don’t leave notes.

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The beer pours like thick, sludgy coffee. Light makes it through the thin stream as it flows into the glass, but it definitely struggles in doing so. The beer sits in the glass as a deep, brooding black, like that heartless stallion that can’t be tamed… The beer forms a fat, mocha head of minute suds that last nicely, leaving behind strands and nodules of fluffy lacing, and when the beer splashes against the sides of the glass, there’s a clear distortion from the alcoholic legs of the beer. On the nose, the Stallion starts as a chocolaty treat, with a healthy twist of earthy coffee and herbal hops. Sweet booze hides behind the rest, adding a structured bite to the nostrils, which is quite inviting. The smell in its entirety comes off as light, chocolate coffee accented by sharp graphite and herbs. There is something reminiscent of their Rye Stout in the scent of the beer, but in an imperial sense… On the tongue, the beer tastes chocolate sweet, which blends in sweet booze with just a touch of dark fruit, and a hint of acidity. This all happens before a nice bitterness blends with the booze and bites the tongue, mostly drying out the sip except for a tingle around the very edges of the tongue. In flavor, this is booze laced coffee with a good dark fruit tingle. I get less of the chocolate in the taste, and the graphite is hidden as it is blended in between the dark fruit and the herbal hop bitters that tug at the sides of the sip. As you sip, the finish develops rich notes of fudge, and a nuttiness that I enjoy, and is not too strong. When the beer leaves, the mouth has a nice roasted malt lingering flavor, with perhaps a whisper of char. In the mouth, the beer feels on the plus side of medium in body with a full and fluffy mouthfeel that boarders on creamy. Carbonation is light and smooth, and when the beer leaves, the mouth is left neutral, save for a boozy astringency on the edges of the tongue and slight saliva forming at its middle. Overall, this is a nice little imperial stout. Smutty has quite a history with imperial stouts (their Big Beer Series, Kate the Great over at Portsmouth Brewery, Zinneke, etc…) and they don’t disappoint here. It’s nothing earth shattering, it’s just a really nice, easy sipping impy that isn’t too sweet, is lighter on the roast and char, and has just a nice accent of dark fruit. It’s nice.

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