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

Samuel Smith's Imperial StoutSamuel Smith's Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,843 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2843
Reviews: 1630
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.48%


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)
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Ratings: 2,843 | Reviews: 1,630 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of mntlover
mntlover

Tennessee

4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours black no highlights on this baby just black, with a creamy dark tan head which does not last long and leaves spotty lace.
Roasted malt, dark fruits, coffee and chocolate eminate, smells sweet and creamy. Tastes of roasted malt lightly burnt but smooth creamy chocolate moving to a slightly bitter coffee flavor with molasses covered fruit coming up in the mix enhanced by very light hops. A smooth and very drinkable Imperial Stout. This brew is creamy sweet with just the right amount of roasted flavors to make a perfectly balanced taste, perfection. Mouthfeel couldn't get any better. Drinkability is great. This may not be the strongest Imperial Stout but it is still damn near the best one. I use to have these more in the past but on my quest to try new stuff they have fallen to the way side. I say never again.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2004 04:40:39 | More by mntlover
Photo of lackenhauser
lackenhauser

Maryland

4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Deep black in color. Respectable tan head on top. Huge roasted aroma-a mix of burnt currants and a slight sherry aroma. Very vinuous. You can almost smell the velvety feel it has to it. Great big roasted malt flavor. Wonderful flavors all rolled into one-coffee,anise,dark chocolate. Theres an "ink" flavor that I find in some imperials and just love-this is full of that. Good body-not as full as some of the others but it plays well considering the overall flavor and texture of the beer. A highly drinkable brew-at an easy going 7% this could go on all night. A truely classic example.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2005 02:26:33 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of Opethsprite
Opethsprite

Kentucky

4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

(Review from notes taken at an earlier drinking.)
This beer pours a cola brown color with a thick, tan head. It smells of honey and burnt chocolate with syrup and something that reminds me of...tree bark. All of these smells are revealed in a very complex taste. I also found something spicy in the taste. It fades nicely into a brown sugar taste. This is a VERY good beer. I'd definitely recommend it!

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2005 01:50:58 | More by Opethsprite
Photo of Bonhoeffer
Bonhoeffer

Alabama

4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ahh. Old friend. I bought a couple of these on my first ever out of state beer run. Fell in love back then, and now this is my first sip since. I bought a four pack at Richey's Easy in Pensacola for about $8.40. Excellent price for a most excellent beer. I shall probably hold on to the other three for a while to see where it goes.

I can't say anything that hasn't already been said. You know, jet black. Thick tan creamy head that lingers. Great sort of nutty aroma. Goes down soooo easy. Notes of chocolate, roasted flavors, perhaps a hint of cherry. I don't really notice the hops, but i know they are there to balance everything out.

Kind of entertaining that the label mentions awards given to the beer in 1896 and 1930.

Complex. Rich. A masterpiece.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2005 13:42:38 | More by Bonhoeffer
Photo of nlmartin
nlmartin

Ohio

4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served from a bottle into a twenty ounce wine glass.

Appearance: This one is like a black hole. Straight black coloration not even a hint of light escaping. A very large head with no sign of falling. The lacing clings as the beer is drained from the glass.

Smell: This one smells of raisons and molasses very floral hoppy smell. A nonoffensive alcohol smell is present.

Taste: This is very busy a nice roasted smokey espresso combination with the addition of brownies and some fruity goodness (prunes and raisons) in evidence. Good malty back bone with a nice supporting hop profile.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: Dam! I have drank many stouts over the last several days. This is not the most expensive or the most elusive stout on the market. It is simply the best of the bunch I have had the pleasure of drinking. Very drinkable very smooth.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2005 06:54:23 | More by nlmartin
Photo of assurbanipaul
assurbanipaul

Texas

4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

"Contractors to Her Majesty's Forces"

Pours a nice coffee color with a half-inch brown head with some staying power. Aroma is red wine, sweet syrup, dark black malt. Light lacing as it goes down.

Taste is dark and rich, a mix of malt and sorghum. Shades of black patent and chocolate malt provide a nice blend of coffee, vanilla and roasty stout flavors. A mild and pleasant bitterness persists to the end of the taste, finishing a little winey with a clean coffee-like aftertaste. No alcohol flavors, nothing off about this brew.

Mouthfeel is medium-heavy, extremely well-balanced. Unlike the recent arms race in Imperial stouts where the trend is to bowl over the taste with everything in a bottle and sky-high ABV, this one is reserved, esteemed, confident in its rank among the newcomers.

The IS to which all others should be measured.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2006 04:03:08 | More by assurbanipaul
Photo of klewis
klewis

Ohio

4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

355 ml bottle

A: Pours jet black with a modest tan head. Very little lacing.

S: Aromas of roasted espresso beans and burnt marshmellows from the campfire. Totally unique.

T: Roasted, burnt, earthy kind of flavors with coffee undertones. Totally smooth-as-silk flavor with little, if any, bitterness.

M: Medium bodied for a RIS, but understandably so for the ABV. Soft carbonation and a sticky texture make it a winner.

D: Overall, I don't think that this one is as quite as good as many other big stouts (Stone, Rogue, Victory, etc.), but this one is utterly enjoyable and earns points with me because of its uniqueness. Absolutely a must try.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2006 01:22:49 | More by klewis
Photo of AlexBlueV
AlexBlueV

California

4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Very distinguished looking label. "Vintage", as the kids are saying these days. The only thing off-putting to me is the gold foil on the neck, and covering the cap (which is clamped down so tight that my bottle opener won't fit under it...) I'm dying to taste this beer, and now my floor is covered with little pieces of gold foil. Eh.

Appearance: Wow. I could have sworn I just poured chocolate syrup into my glass. This looks AMAZING. It's black. Light is no match for this. Caramel-colored head, nice and foamy. Good amount of lace sticking to the glass as the head dies down. There is still a thin layer of head, and I don't think it wants to go away.

Smell: So inviting. Chocolaty, toasty and warm. Very earthy. Coffee beans are here as well.

Taste/Feel: Just in case I haven't mentioned chocolate enough...it's definitely present in the taste. Coffee is certainly here as well. The aftertaste seems nutty to me, and I like that quite a bit. Everything seems very balanced about this beer. Having not tried many Imperial Stouts (yet), it's hard for me to judge how heavy this one is in comparison to others, but as an IPA drinker, this seems heavy to me. Not at all heavy in a bad way. It doesn't sting the taste buds, the ride is completely smooth. The alcohol warms the mouth/face quite nicely...and I'm only on sip number 4.

Drinkability: This stuff is so easy to drink... A fabulous beer for me to write my first review on.

What's that you say? There's more in the bottle? Done.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2008 22:35:00 | More by AlexBlueV
Photo of TypeSJess
TypeSJess

California

4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

very dark pour. very clean, thick tan head. aromas of roasted coffee and oats. one of the best tasting stouts I have ever had. very smooth drinking.
to me, Guinness has always had a bit of a lingering bitterness about it. THIS, does not. I would gladly take SSIS over Guinness any day.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2009 01:20:39 | More by TypeSJess
Photo of mattgreger
mattgreger

Pennsylvania

4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The pour on this brew super dark. Not quite a solid black, actually a brownish/black. It had a beautiful mocha colored head. It had some pretty good retention. As the head on this brew faded, it left a nice lace as it falls down the sides of the glass.

This brew has a light chocolate aroma with hints grass, sugars and just a touch of fruit. I am detecting orange more then anything else.

From the first sip this brew is impressive. It a beautifully thick body, especially for the size of the brew., with some great chewy malts. It has dark chocolates and toffee flavors that give this brew some great balance. It feeds into a great taste of some dark fruits, which I am detecting some raisins, plums, and maybe some peaches. The touch of orange is there too, that I detected in the aroma. As the brew warmis, that alcohol is present, not to much, but a great warming feeling none the less.

This is a medium to fulled bodied brew. It doesn't have very much carbonation at all. It does have a nice smooth feel as you drink. As I said above, it has a nice, yet soft warming feel and a great sipping brew.

This brew was wondefully rich. Its a great brew. Something I could never turn down. Its has a great feel, but isn't so strong that you have to worry about the ABV. It has a great drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2011 01:15:56 | More by mattgreger
Photo of HossMcGraw
HossMcGraw

Pennsylvania

4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of the best beers I've had. Pours pitch black and tastes like coffee, dark fruit, chocolate, roasted malt, and about a million other flavors that form a deliciously complex brew that goes down smooth as silk. This beer is soooo good and complex. Right now I'm having a bit of a crisis because I think I might like this better than the SS Oatmeal Stout. This one is definitely more complex, but I'd need an O-Stout here for comparison before I make such a big decision. I wanted to try this so bad that I paid 5 bucks for a single bottle. I know I got totally ripped off, but in Lancaster PA, my only alternative was driving to Philly or Maryland, or spending fifty bucks for a case. Had I known I'd like it this much, I might have gotten a case. Well, at least it was a kick-ass beer. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2002 16:32:00 | More by HossMcGraw
Photo of irishmoss
irishmoss

Ohio

4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow, what a great Imperial Stout. I mean this is what I've always imagined. Amazingly dark body with brown head. Sweet malty base is balanced with chocolate, coffee, and hopped up undertones. This is both sweet and crisp. The lower alcohol percent gives you a chance to drink the entire four-pack without same effects of a 10% Imperial Stout.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2003 11:47:12 | More by irishmoss
Photo of stewart124
stewart124

Ohio

4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a pitch black with a huge tan head. Very fluffy head that leaves a beautiful lace. Aroma is of espresso and roasted malts. Initial tastes of chocolate and coffee with blends of fruits and a nice velvet body that soothes the throat. This is extremely thick and has hints of plums. Outstanding silky feel and an overall great beer. The aftertaste is of an almost wine character. The flavors only become stronger as this brew warms. As the bottle states this is truly a drink for Her Majesty's Forces.

Serving type: bottle

02-29-2004 19:04:08 | More by stewart124
Photo of jkoogler
jkoogler

Texas

4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Deep dark brown almost black appearance with a nice foaming tan head that dissipated to a thin layer of foam with decent lace. I'm not seeing any light penetrate this brew. Aroma is sweet consisting of roasted malt, molasses, chocolate, wine and some floral-like flavors from the hops. Taste is all about the malts and is smooth and creamy with molasses notes up front followed by earthy hop flavors.

What a nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2005 05:20:09 | More by jkoogler
Photo of BeerBeing
BeerBeing

Pennsylvania

4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: bottle, 12 fl.oz, clear, custom, "Samuel Smith" pressed twice around neck, "bottled at yorkshire`s oldest brewery est. 1758" pressed around bottom, gold foiled neck, gold-on-white label, no fresness date.

Appearance: "very" black, no light can get thru, very large head of long lasting brown-colored foam.

Smell: sweet fruitiness, molasses, coffee, hint of bitter chocolate

Taste: rich, full body, medium mouthfeel. Coffee, raisins, light chocolate, black cherry (?)

Notes: Sole US distributor - Merchant du Vin

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2005 04:45:56 | More by BeerBeing
Photo of hyuga
hyuga

North Carolina

4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours jet black under a darkish tan head that's not too dense.

Aroma of dried figs, dates, and sweet molasses. Faint dark cherry-wood in the background. Amazing complexity.

Burnt molasses on the tongue at the front, followed by plum and cherry with a hint of roasted grain. Fig laced with alcoholic sweetness linger through the finish. Very pleasant leafy hop aftertaste. Thick and biting mouthfeel. Leaves the tongue tingling.

This is an amazingly drinkable imperial stout. I haven't had this beer in a very long time and I find it even better than I remember it. All-around goodness. Low alcohol so you can have a few in one sitting, and it's as complex and satisfying as just about any 9%+ imperial stout.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2005 06:18:38 | More by hyuga
Photo of Byeast
Byeast

Florida

4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint , color is opaque black with thick tawny brown head that dissipated to a thin layer in a few minutes. Taken to the nose, complex odors of sweet dark fruit come first( hint of raisin ,plum, prune) ,dark roasted barley , some coffee , also some alcohol spirits. Great smell . Whoa! This is exellent. Taste is a complex blend of dark fruit ,roasty malt flavors of coffee , a little smokey chocolate , and some nice light hoppy notes in the finish. Very , very good! Mouthfeel is light and slick. This Russian Imperial Stout went down so easy , and a little to fast as im wishing i had some more now. It really is a top notch brew.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2006 00:04:56 | More by Byeast
Photo of JasonCoop
JasonCoop

Massachusetts

4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours black like good stouts should. looks like a good stout. huge beige head.

smells chocolatey with hints of very sweet coffee. sweet smelling.

tastes great. robust bitter chocolate taste. very creamy. good hops for a stout, you can actually taste the hops. a great sweet smokey tasting stout. very smooth.

mouthfeel is creamy and drinkabiliy is great. good robust stout.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2006 10:11:58 | More by JasonCoop
Photo of techdiver
techdiver

Pennsylvania

4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 550 ml bottle. Wow, deep brownish black color with a substantial billowing tan head that dissipates slowly leaving loads of lacing behind.

Nose of malt, molasses, and chocolate.

Taste is out of this world good. I've had a lot of RIS and what this lacks in ABV it more than makes up for in taste.

Great mouthfeel, feels so light in comparison to other brews of this style.

Great drinkability, wish I had more right now because it's gonna be gone before my Coronado Double Toro.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2007 03:45:03 | More by techdiver
Photo of mempath
mempath

Pennsylvania

4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

continuing my obsession with Smith offerings since the local Total Wine has such a great selection. and they don't break the bank.

pours not a color, but the total absence of light. black is static. this is shimmering opaqueness that cannot be gotten through by sight. the dark brown head just builds high as the tower of babylon that settles about midway into the 18th century...clings and clings and laces and then settles 10 minutes later into a thick veneer with still massive lacing hanging on. majestic as it's namesake!

yep, sweetness and smoke, dried fruit, mincemeat, rumcake, coffee, sweetened dark chocolate, so rich, double dutch etc. oh and there's the malt. and some raisin bread. give it another whirl and this rich lusciousness comes out. what i imagine the willy wonka factory smells like sitting beside the chocolate river...

this is simply divine stuff. you see the writing on the wall. 1200+ reviews and it's got an overall A-...go figure. all this strength and verve of darkness and chocolate and smoke and toastiness and bravado and still it's smooth as silk. yes, the silk glove/iron fist metaphor means alot here. GREAT cold, but let it warm up a bit and try not to take big gulps every time...it will reveal secrets. best bet, grab the larger pint+ size bottle if you can. usually about $3.79 or so. no catching some slight hop-edged bitterness. nice.

mouthfeel is nearly perfect. carbonation is more in the look of it than in the sip. usually, it carries over to being heavier seeming, but not here. not too thick and certainly not too thin.

it's scary how drinkable this is. i could session this easily. now, i didn't say with ease. i probably wouldn't survive the evening should i attempt it...

so very highly recommended. i recommend just about anything from this brewery. my oh my i am impressed.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2010 23:13:49 | More by mempath
Photo of Neorebel
Neorebel

New Jersey

4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is as dark as night with a thick, fluffy tan head- perfect! the head does not recede for a while... The aroma is fruitier than one might expect - plum and raisin can be detected, and in the background, a touch of coffee and roasted malt. Seems sharp and crisp. After a sip the actual taste is revealed to be just as interesting and complex as the nose. The initial splash of flavor is the fruit/raisin followed by, a roasted, smoked touch and a dry finish. Very crisp on the tongue. As I drink the head sticks tightly to the glass - this is a nice frothy brew. This has a relatively light mouth feel and I can hardly put the glass down even for a second. There's just enough of a warming sensation from the alcohol. A very classy staple in the Imperial Stout world.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2011 04:47:04 | More by Neorebel
Photo of Todd
Todd

Colorado

4.83/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2001 21:51:48 | More by Todd
Photo of canucklehead
canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

4.83/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This sample came from Hawaii as the B.C. liquor stores decided
not to stock this example of Samuel Smith , which is a shame
because this beer ranks among the best of its type.

The colour is black as a moonless night and the nose is treacly
and enticing. What really makes this beer excel is the rush of
coffee flavours entwined with a beautifully balanced malt/hop
combination. I had to sip slowly to appreciate what a complex
and drinkable beer this becomes. This just might be my favourite
stout with Rogue's Shakespeare Stout coming very close.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2003 14:19:54 | More by canucklehead
Photo of Dantes
Dantes

New Jersey

4.83/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Package: Appropriately regal, extra-tall 12oz. foil-topped, crowned, clear bottle. Label notches, but no date key or ABV. Old-fashioned white label with gold and black lettering.

Cost: $6.99 per 4-pack

Presentation: Imperial pint at ~50º

Appearance: Very dark brown with some ruby glow. Generated a moderate 1 to 2 finger head, that quickly resolved to a thick foam collar that gradually receded. Not the darkest stout, but plenty dark enough.

Smell: Very toasty, with some fortified-wine notes, coffee, chocolate, and dark blackberry and currant fruitiness on the nose. A generous, round, full aroma.

Taste: The flavors follow through on what the aroma promised, adding just the right amount of burnt-sugar sweetness, nuttiness, bitterness, and alcohol volatility to keep things from being bland or cloying. An homage to good water, skilled brewing, and the art of toasting malt. Very multi-dimensional, with the finish of Methuselah.

Mouthfeel: Excels. This powerful, flavorful beer defines finesse. Creamy, perfectly carbonated, with a full, rounded body. Coats the tongue, but remains dry enough to remind you you’re drinking beer!

Drinkability: Stouts don’t get more drinkable than this! Rich, satisfying, but not overwhelming. Delivers a surfeit of flavor without being hugely filling and lets one have two or three without repercussions. I should deduct 0.5 because I want a 20oz. serving!

Backwash: I haven’t had this in some time, and more’s the shame! A recent article in the Times led me to buy some and try it again. Boy, was I impressed. Not the darkest, not the hoppiest, not the highest ABV; but still the archetype of Imperial Stout. You can have all the Storm King you want, I’ll be happy with this! They haven’t forgotten that malt is at least as important as hops when it comes to stouts. And, what are you guys who mention the price talking about? It’s beautifully made and shipped over here, for less than what a lot of US microcraft brewers charge for inferior beers, and worth every cent! This beer clearly proves what Mies van de Rohe said, “Less is more.”

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2003 22:42:27 | More by Dantes
Photo of Southernbrew
Southernbrew

Georgia

4.83/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a khaki head that stays around forever.

Aroma full of fruits, coffee, rum, molasses. Awesome, so much to take in.

Medium body, so smooth. Rum flavors mixed with fruit up front move to a coffee flavor with a light alcohol flavor. Molasses show up in the finish and leave a sweet-alcohol aftertaste.

This is my first imperial stout and it is nothing short of awesome. My only concern is this is as good as it gets.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2004 03:32:30 | More by Southernbrew
Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 2,843 ratings.