Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout - Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

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Samuel Smith's Imperial StoutSamuel Smith's Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

3,268 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,268
Reviews: 1,668
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.51%
Wants: 151
Gots: 247 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Todd on 02-27-2001)
View: Beers (27) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,268 | Reviews: 1,668 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by BrownNut:
Photo of BrownNut
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've always loved Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout and Oatmeal Stout and decided to do a side-by-side taste test. Here it is.

Imperial

A - black, deep ruby next to a lightbulb, thick off-white head, though not as thick or as textured as the Oatmeal Stout.

S - steely caramel, mocha, malt, mild coffee, almost a mulled winey/port note - more pronounced than in the oatmeal stout. Towards the end something plum-like came out, and finally something apple-y.

T - malt, cocoa and dark chocolate, hint of tart

M - smooth but less silky than the oatmeal stout and finishes slightly dry and slightly tart

O - I really like the Oatmeal Stout and this one cranks up the robustness a notch or two in my opinion. It's got a more pronounced flavor.

Oatmeal

A - black, deep ruby next to a lightbulb, the famous Samuel Smith's thick, tan, textured head

S - steely caramel, wet grain, malt, faint mulled winey note

T - mild mocha, brown sugar, hint of a tart-metal-caramel triangle, pastry note

M - silky, ends slightly dry

O - A solid oatmeal stout, very well balanced, delicious and palatable, perfect for drawing newbies into the stout fold. Its American cousins take the ball from there and elevate the robustness and complexity, but this is still a nice one to drink. I'm a little sad that it doesn't deliver as well now that I've expanded my stout palate, but I'll keep my nostalgic soft spot for it.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Immortale25
3.97/5  rDev -4.8%

Poured into a Funky Buddha Brewery snifter. Bottleneck says SE12N1.

A- Pours a 99% opaque black color with an 1/8 inch dark tan head that immediately fades to a paper-thin ring around the edge of the glass and the faintest specs of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves small clots behind.

S- Quite sweet-smelling with notes of dark roast, wood and raisin.

T- The sweetness continues and the raisin notes are even more apparent here. Almost tastes like a barleywine with its dark fruit complexity however it's not very boozy. Biscuity, buttery and, once again, woody.

M- Dry and slightly chalky with medium-low carbonation and a full body.

O- Although I like the Oatmeal Stout better, this one is quite enjoyable as well. A lot different than the American RIS's out there with its high level of sweetness and what is likely English yeast.

Photo of at7000
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Second time I have bought this. English "bomber" sized bottle. Raisin to the extreme, even prune juice. That sounds horrid, but this is indeed a great beer. Definitely works. The Brits know what they are doing I suppose, after all those years. I'm an IPA guy and still like this one. Like a Guinness Stout that has some extreme flavors going on. Intense. Complex. Nuff said.

Photo of doktorhops
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, well, well Mr. Samuel Smith has an Imperial Stout, and judging by their other fine Ales this will no doubt turn out to be a world class example of said style... I’m going to enjoy this more than Fred Quimby’s nephew enjoying a clumsy Clouseau-esque French waiters pronunciation of the word “chowder” (its International Simpsons Reference Day by the way - D’oh!*).

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: A deep foreboding black body greets me with a nice boisterous khaki 1cm head on top. It’s a damn fine looking Imperial Stout, or RIS† for short. 9/10.

S: More on the dark chocolate than coffee side with a large roasted malt body, brown sugar, woody notes, with a hint of earthy hops in the finish. As a traditional British RIS you know that this will be sweeter and less bitter than its American cousins - it’s not always about hops Doc! 8/10.

T: Wow! A tour de force of a classic RIS here! Upfront it is quite sweet (we expected that) with dark cacao, roasted barley, brown sugar and woody notes. It follows through to an earthy/herbal light bitter finish. What amazes with this excellent Stout is how the sugar content hits the goldilocks zone in your tongue, it is indeed “just right”. 9/10.

M: Mouthfeel adds to the rich tapestry of this RIS with a mid to heavy body, some nice and sticky viscosity and a light English pub carbonation. 7/10.

D: I could quite happily finish a night on a few of these bad boys... obviously not a good idea to begin a night out with any RIS - they can generally be anywhere upwards of 7% ABV (this one is 7%), however the ease with which this one goes down does beguile one into thinking that it’s not such heavyweight. Needless to say this one is going on my regular beer shopping list (at least until Plonk gets more FBS back in). 9/10.

Food match: Fits right into that 20th century slot after dessert but before brandy and cigars... I would pair it with a bold English cheese platter, then move on to gout.

*Fool! - there is no International Simpsons Reference Day, ha ha!

†The “R” is short for “Russian” comrade.

Photo of TimZebGir
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%

A: Black, barely perceptible ruby when held up to light, foamy, well-retained head (3/3)
S: Lots of chocolate, alcohol, raisin throughout (10/12)
T: Imperial, lot of sweet maltiness in beginning, roasty, light chocolate undertones, and light metallic/astringent on finish (15/20)
F: Very bubbly and light, pretty dry finish (3/5)
O: The longer it lingered on the palate, the more I got used to it, but the body was surprisingly light in comparison to the flavor, and left it a little hollow therefore. (7/10)
38/50

Photo of oberon
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black with a real nice creamy head,aroma is of dried fruit and some nuttiness.The taste is a little spicey and nutty with some chocolate undertones a real nice warming beer to drink before bed.This and the Taddy are my favorite Samual Smith ales.

Photo of davemarc87
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of RoyalT
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – Absolutely gorgeous! The body is black as night. The volcanic head rises slowly, collapses slowly, and laces extensively.

Smell – Highly refined coffee aroma. There’s a special, highly-prized shaded Columbian bean that a coffee bar by my house serves occasionally, and this has the same scent. There’s also huge toffee (which I love), again, highly refined. We also have hints of chocolate, dark fruit (prunes, I think), sticky molasses, brown sugar, (slightly) burnt malt, and even some hops for balance.

Taste – There’s a lot going on in there. It has a bitter English balance that I can’t quite finger, but basically you’ve got a wonderful mix of fine coffee, select toffee truffles, quality raw, and brown sugar. There’s also a whole array of fruits, mostly dark, let by prunes and maybe dates.

Mouthfeel – Little carbonation in accordance with the style. This one is a bit bigger than medium-bodied and very smooth.

Drinkability – This one is very well done. My preferences tend to be off the balance that they did here, but this is a good RIP nevertheless.

Update – This was one of the first reviews that I did after joining the site in the fall of 2003 but decided to re-rate this with an ’04 vintage after it bombed in a blind RIP tasting that I did with some friends. It stood out as one of the worst examples of the style and most of us actually dumped it in the sink.

This RIP does well as a stand-alone, but other prominent examples were so much bigger and more flavorful that this seemed like a lightweight. Sam Smith’s strong point is its smoothness and creamy mouthfeel, but a lot of the big boys were able to attain the same or even better feel with superior flavors.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I’m really enjoying drinking this beer. There’s no carbonation to speak of and no head either but that’s not getting me down. I’m smelling rich bourbon, which I usually detest in beers, but this scent is laced with blackberries, plums, and vinous currants. I’m loving it. Bitter chocolate then fills out the rich, sweet dark fruits nicely. The mouthfeel is as chewy as the color is opaqued plum. A long lingering oak barrel bitterness rounds out the thick beer nicely along with hits of chocolate and roasted, no burnt currants. Great beer and very complex. I’m going to have to drink a few more bottles to search this one for all of its elements.

Photo of DanGeo
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of tectactoe
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of ExtraStout
4.31/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Black with a light brown, small, creamy, slowly dissipating head. Not that much lacing.

Smell: Sweet, espresso-like, and lightly fruity, like bananas and plums. Roasted malts are pungent and wonderful.

Taste: Roasted malts and coffee, touch of bittersweet chocolate, and hints of toffee, raisin and smoke. The finish is long and Alcohol is present but not too strong, just to A marvelously complex beer!

Mouthfeel: Medium to thick body, creamy texture and almost syrupy with it how it clings to your mouth leaves a sweetness of the lips, but still light enough that it’s not a chore to polish off.

Drinkability: Yes, at 7% ABV, I could drink a bunch of these. I love sitting back and taking my sweet old time milking sipping down a bottle or two of this stuff.

Excellent tasting stout, Imperial though??, ABV should be higher to called Imperial. It's more like an Extra Stout.

Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of jono0101
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of brownbeer
3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A creamy, light brown head forms atop the black, opaque liquid. This is a good looking beer. I want to drink it.

The aroma has "English" written all over it, in permanent marker. Chocolaty with buttery molasses in a forward way. Quality.

Earthy on the palate, with hints of chocolate and bitter roast balanced by sweet maple and molasses flavors. The mouthfeel has a certain minerality to it and it's full in texture.

A well-made beer that's rich enough to challenge you a bit. One to try every once in a while.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pitch black with a thin but tenacious layer of espresso to chocolate milk colored head.

Smell- Dark fruit, dark chocolate, dark rum,hop spice, deep caramel, brown sugar, and a hint of sweet wort. Pretty great smell but I wish it was stronger.

Taste- Starts out with a strong roasted coffee character, then dark chocolate, then spicy/earthy hop bitter clears the way for a finish of burnt coacoa, and roasted grain bitter. The finish is much better than it sounds I promise. Some more of that earthiness in the aftertaste. A nugat tone comes out with warmth. Later I get a bit of black cherry. This isn't super-complex but it is exactly what I expect Imperial Stout to taste like. Rich, but more bitter than sweet, and dark as midnight.

Mouthfeel- Hefty but far from oppressive. Chewy.

Drinkability- Barely a hint of booze anywhere definately helps.

Photo of Spaten454
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Photo of tbryan5
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of Shakerman
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Photo of sgoodship
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is one of my favorite beer labels. It couldn't look more Russian Imperial and combined with the classic and proud looking Sam Smith's bottle, it is just darned handsome.

A: Not hard to get a head on this brew from a 1pt 2.7fl.oz. bottle. Dark brown almost black liquid. Head is nice 2 finger that is coffee stained and fluffy. Little amount of carbonation prickling under the head. A nice small head stays throughout the drink with some large spots sticking to the glass.

S: Simple but classic. A little fruit (maybe prune), coffee and caramel malt - some slight hoppiness.

T: Just as the smell promises. The aftertaste is sometimes a little bready and the hop sourness kicks in quickly and heavily at first but subtler toward the end of the drink.

M: Medium bodied. Round and creamy. Low carbonation.

D: Initially, I felt like the flavor could be have been bolder and hold longer. It felt a little weak at times. I also felt like the aftertaste could be less acidic. Having said that, as the drink progressed, both points were lessened because the beer settled and felt like a good, well balanced brew. It isn't a show-off - it's quite understated, It doesn't blow my mind but I would recommend it.

Photo of SkiBum22
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of blackwingedhorde
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%

Photo of joemetric
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of Dmann
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A classic Imperial Stout if I have ever had one. This one poured a opaque black color with a small brownish head that soon setlled into a fine pillow of a head on top of my beer. The smell was great with a slight plum scent breeaking through the coffee and chocolate layers. The taste was decidedly Sam Smith with its great light mouthfeel and perfect carbonation levels and the flavors of dark chocolate, carmel and coffee were so perfectly combined that this has to be the most balanced and drinkable Imperial Stout that I have had to date! This one especially hit the spot on this unusually rainy and cold San Diego evening. A top shelf brew for sure, highly recommended!

Photo of SuomiHobbit
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,268 ratings.