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

Not Rated.
Samuel Smith's Imperial StoutSamuel Smith's Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

3,378 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,378
Reviews: 1,694
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 188
Gots: 322 | FT: 3
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:
Beer added by: Todd on 02-27-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (29) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,378 | Reviews: 1,694
Reviews by beerman207:
Photo of beerman207
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Needed a beer tonight. Sam Smith was waiting

A: Black as night - nice tan head leaving little lacing on the glass when the head goes away

S: Nice mollases nose with hints of coffee, chocolate, malt, maybe some brewers licorice

T: Brewers licorice, malt, some smoke, dark fruit

M: Little carbonation

D: Good stout. Can't say it's my fav but the drinkability of this one is high based on how much you could do in a session.

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 dacrza1
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

DATE TASTED: April 7, 2015... GLASSWARE: Duvel snifter.. OCCASION: celebrating the O’s opening day win while watching the NCAA finals... APPEARANCE: ominous black body that allows a swiftly simmering brown head to halo at the glass ... AROMA: powerful rum, vinous port, strong Spaltz and chocolate make for an inviting complexity--not to mention the roasted malts that provide a wicked balance... PALATE: smooth, slick, a bit dry, yet full-bodied--a paradox resolved only through a beautifully lingering aftertaste... TASTE: chocolate, roasted cracker, slight alcohol in a whiskey-like allure; the components make for a rich, dark, strong stout that is sweet and rewarding; some nut, raisin and cask wood further the experience...OVERALL: Once more, another brewery that does so little wrong--this beer commands the taste buds with strength and subtlety, rewarding the drinker with a sweet, powerful sip...

Photo of marieli
4.94/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle. This was a great beer. Appearance dark brown. Wish the aroma had a little more oomph. I did not get the fruits many document. Maybe it was just me that day but otherwise this stout packed a lot of well balanced flavor. Coffee rose above chocolate and malts. A great blend. Creamy and delicious. Can't wait to see if the next one lives up to the first!

Photo of thegodfather1076
4.64/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Nice label that has a very classic look and color scheme. Label gives a bit of brewery info, has an awesome eye-catching font, states “Fermented in stone Yorkshire Squares”, “1896 Gold Medal Winner International Brewers Exhibition” and “1930 Silver Medal Winner Brewers and Allied Traders International Exhibition and Market”. Gold foil wrapped neck and cap. Back label gives ABV info, brewery info, web info, and a nice description of the beer. Embossed on the bottle are “Samuel Smith” and “Bottled at Yorkshires oldest brewery est 1758”.

Appearance: An aggressive pour from its 550mL brown home into a 16oz Imperial Pint led to a thick creamy 4 finger cappuccino colored head atop a thick opaque black beer that lets no light through. Head retention was an amazing 6min 19sec before dissipating to a thick ring and 1 finger rocky coating with an amazing amount of lacing.

Smell/Aroma: Smell is of sweet dark fruits such as prunes or plums along with a bit of cooked molasses, slight coffee, and chocolate.

Flavor/Taste: Tastes of dark fruits and cooked down brown sugar and molasses with a bit of milk chocolate on the front end. Mid point becomes very roasty with a deep fresh roast coffee bean flavor along with a roast chocolate malt coming through. Back end again has a deep roast coffee bean flavor that becomes slightly smokey with a sweet milk chocolate taste for a nice balance. Finish and aftertaste is very roasty. Just phenomenal!!

MouthFeel/Drinkability: On the full side of medium bodied with a thick creamy mouthfeel that goes down smooth. Very drinkable brew!!

Overall/Comments: I have to say that this is one of the more impressive beers that I have had. Many RISs try to be so over the top with ABV and flavors that they become a bit overwhelming. Samuel Smiths Imperial Stout combines perfect ABV, flavor, and mouthfeel to make a must try beer! Classified as a Russian Imperial Stout @ 7% ABV. Consumed 1/8/2014.

Photo of doktorhops
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
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 maedhros09
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Dark brown/black with moderate tan head that leaves some lacing
Smell: roasty, dark fruit
Taste: Roasty chocolate/coffee with dark fruit and mild herbal hoppiness. little bitterness
Feel: medium body, smooth

Overall: This stout has the typical hallmarks of imperial stouts - sweet roasty chocolatey maltiness and a dark fruity acidity with a moderate bitterness. What is most different from american imperial stouts I've had is that it's not as thick and sweet. Also, accounting for the lower ABV, it is less boozy. The flavor balance is really remarkable - proof that you don't need a crazy high ABV to achieve an exceptional imperial stout.

Photo of oberon
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
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 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 ExtraStout
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
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 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
4.48/5  rDev +7.4%
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 sgoodship
4.17/5  rDev 0%
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 Dmann
4.85/5  rDev +16.3%
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 BJ1833
4.72/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep black color with brown two-finger head.

Aroma: Mmm... this already smells delicious. Coffee and chocolate aroma hits you first with a fainter smell of toffee as well.

Taste: A strong coffee and roasted malt flavor. Notes of toffee and caramel as well. This is very rich and complex. Alcohol is present but definitely not overpowering.

Mouthfeel: Heavy body that is creamy and silky. Perfection carbonation in this bottle.

Overall: This is the first imperial stout I've tried and I don't see how they could get any better than this! This is easily the best stout (imperial or otherwise) I've ever had. This beer would make a good winter warmer.

Photo of tuckevalastin
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black as night with a decent dark tan head

S: Strong sweet boozy smell

T: A thick toasty flavor. Has a small alcohol bite without much bitterness. Hints of coffee but the slight bitterness takes over that taste. The chocolate tones I've heard of didn't come through for me but some surprising sourness does. An earthy stout where, again, the roasted malt flavor prevails.

M: Relatively smooth while feeling a little thick. There is a very slight looming bitterness.

D: Definetly a sipper. Too strong to be an everyday stout. But flavorful enough to want to drink again.

Overall it's a decent and distinctive stout. Not a bad beer but not a great one for me either, at least not in the Imperial stout style which is full of world class beers.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a deep black with a beautiful 1" tan head that stays its course nicely. I'm not seeing any light penetrating this brew and it looks wonderful in the glass. The smell is of powerful roasted notes, hints of coffee and cocoa as well. There are some burnt grains that enter my nose, overall it smells quite nice.

The first taste is very smooth with a robust roasted / burnt malt flavor...bitter coffee hits the back of my palate on the way down. Chocolate covered raisins fit there way in there somehow too. This is well put together and quite easy to drink.

Mouthfeel is very nice, altough it almost seems a bit lacking in body to me personally. The drinkability factor is very good. This one goes down easily and tastes great. A couple of these and I'd be a happy camper for the night. If you enjoy stouts, and have yet to try this one, get off yer ass and do it already!

Photo of warnerry
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown/black with one finger of brown head. Head is quite persistent and leaves a nice amount of sticky lacing behind.

Smell is primarily earthy malt with some nice roasted notes. Not much else to the smell, but what is there is very good.

Taste is similar to smell, primarily earthy roasted malts, with a small sour/ripe fruit note also present. Finish is nice lingering bitterness. Nice to have an RIS not overrun with sweetness. No apparent alcohol taste.

Moderate mouthfeel with more carbonation than I was expecting. Very nice.

Very drinkable. A very pleasant earthy taste with alcohol well hidden. Just an extremely well crafted beer.

Photo of Todd
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 335 ml custom clear bottle with a gold foil neck and old style label. Statements like, "Contractors to Her Majesty's Forces" and "Awarded 1st prize and silver medal-bottled beer 1930", "1896 awarded gold medal", and such, adorn the label. A very distinguished looking bottle. No freshness date.

Appearance: Opaque black, so don't even bother trying to find a hint of light through the glass. The head is a huge, majestic, light coffee coloured float of creamy foam -- with no intention of dissipation as it ever so slowly clinges on its retreat.

Smell: Sweet nose of fruity (prunes), milk sugars, molasses, brownies, coffee and rum-like alcohol.

Taste: Okay, where do I begin? I feel as if I am in the presence of the beergod itself. This is a rich, full to medium-bodied brew with a smooth, creamy, light mouthfeel. Roasted notes are in the forefront and pair with a lemony/limey-rind-like hop presence that takes the entire taste to a near astrigent level. You can pick up some floral-like flavours from the hops too. Malt flavours of coffee, plump raisins, prune/plum, bitter chocolate and faint smoke beckon to balance a foundation of bitterness, both roasted malt and hops. Nice rounded background sweetness. The finish on this stout contains notes of smoke and a roasted/sweet feel on the palate.

Notes: I've had quite a few Imperial Stouts in my day, each attempting to dethrown the other. In my opinion, Samuel Smith's might not be the most powerful in alcohol, or as assertive as others, but it is the king. All yield and recognize the truth.

Thanks to Merchant Du Vin for the fresh sample.

Photo of grynder33
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark cola like color,a head that looked and smelled like a chocolate soda, aroma seemed soft and disappeared quickly. Initial taste was cocoa and sweet port, with a roasted malt aftertaste. Mouthfeel started off crisp with tingly bubbles, and then melted into a creamy smoothness.A little bitterness showed up at the end. Will try to always keep one in stock.

Photo of EsoxLucius
4.36/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

i've had this beer before but felt obliged to have it on my holidays. truly exceptional and worth trying, just be careful, it's very good and quite potent.

A: very dark and delightful, a wonderful looking stout. very nice creamy light brown head.

S; roasted coffee with a malt smell, pleasing, but not exceptional.

T: very good. not as complex as some other IMPS but still quite nice. smokey dark fruit, mostly prune/raisan comes out with a very pleasant malt flavor. mild bitterness.

M: good, well rounded from start to finish.

D: dangerously. expensive @ 6.50 at the LBS here in canada, but superb.

this beer will not disapoint.

Photo of Doomcifer
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a pitch black, motor oil, with a beautiful frothy, caramel colored head that retained magnificently and left great lacing. Bee-yoo-tiful!

Smells of sweet dark malts, milk chocolate, anisette, coffee and cream, black cherries...smells delicious!

Notes of anisette, bittersweet chocolate malts, espresso, and caramel hit you right off the bat, turning into a robust roastiness and mild hop bitter finish. Toffee notes, cherries, molasses, chocolate pudding, salt water taffy, etc in the taste. Very complex and so damn tasty.

Mouthfeel is a tad thin but with the perfect amount of carbonation.

This imperial stout doesn't rock the abv scales at a mere 7.0% which means more sessionable for me. This is one of the most drinkable Impy Stouts I have ever had the pleasure of savoring.

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,378 ratings.