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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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3,359 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,359
Reviews: 1,687
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 183
Gots: 306 | FT: 2
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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,359 | Reviews: 1,687
Photo of SteveB3014
4.36/5  rDev +4.6%

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

a: This was black and it poured with a huge, uneven, extremely sticky, and very long lasting tan head.

s: Very nice combination of chocolate covered cherry liqueur, cake batter, and molasses.

t: Strong roasty chocolate with fairly potent musty fruit, and darl bread. There is nice char flavor at the finish.

m: Not as big feeling as I've come to expect from the American big for stouts I've tried. But this feels right for 7% abv.

o: This was a really nice change of pace from the over-the-top American stouts I love so much.

Photo of clwaldin
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Opaque and jet-black; not even the track lighting gets through this bad boy. The head manifests as a light brown or dark cream with lively carbonation, yet only lingers momentarily before largely dissipating, leaving only a very thin and mottled head at the top. Impressive, but I honestly expected more head retention and glass-clingage out of this juggernaut.

Smell: There is definitely a substantial aroma of sweet-smelling indistinct dark fruit (figs or dates perhaps?), and this seems to grab the nose at first. To a lesser degree, this brew features notes of tobacco and leather. Do I detect the faintest hint of vanilla? All in all, a highly inviting bouquet.

Taste: A moderate hop bite flashes on the tongue first, and is followed by a smoky malt backbone that almost reminds me of beef jerky, but in a good way (I also get this from Sam's Taddy Porter and especially the Alaskan Smoked Porter). In general, the taste almost precisely mimics what is promised in the nose, except for the smoked properties which really shine in the middle to end of the tasting experience. More sugary dark fruits (a beer colleauge of mine aptly mentioned dark cherry) and hints of vanilla mingle in the background. This beer seems to acheive that which all world-class beers strive for, namely, the ability to appear complex and satisfyingly simple at the same time.

Mouthfeel: Although not as creamy or chewy as Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout, the mouthfeel is still plenty smooth and creamy without feeling too heavy or astringent. An almost tangy carbonation is definitely present and lends the beer a somewhat spritely mouthfeel, and prevents this mighty brew from falling flat (literally).

Drinkability: I wouldn't want more than 2 or 3 in one sitting. However, as far as the formidable Imperial Stout goes, this one is pretty darn drinkable and avoids being too heavy, hoppy, or syrupy (as many Imperials tend to).

Notes: Bow down to the true Czar of Imperial Stouts! Absolutely tops in my book for this style. As usual, it's always refreshing to try Sammy Smith's British spin on great beer styles such as this one. Being a hop lover yet not a full-fledged hophead, I tend to favor this type of take on the Imperial versus the often over-zealously hopped American examples.

Photo of jcubz
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of hoptualBrew
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

550ml bottle poured into big snifter agressively. Pours jet black creamy tan head 1 finger thick. Sexy sexy stout!

Smell is strong with warm effervescent alcohol, roasted nuts, and really sweet dark chocolates. This is one of the stronger smelling imp stouts I have tried. Damn it smells good!

Big malty thick chocolate malts upfront with toasted almost burnt buscuit. The back end rounds out with a nutty hoppy bite. Aftertaste has warmth of alcohol, even though this is only 5% abv. Weird. But, very tasty indeed. Carbonation is good in this moderately thick impy stout, feels good on the palate.

550ml bottle for $3.99. What a steal! This is right next to GDBC Espresso OA Yeti Imp Stout to most bang for your $$$. Will be frequenting this brew many times to come.

Photo of trumick
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep dark brown with very little head and not much lacing.

Scent is of sweet dark malts, dark chocolate, and coffee. The scent is more pronouced as it warms. It has the same scents just more intense.

Taste follows the nose, sweet dark malts, dark bitter chocolate, finishes with slight hops, coffee and a bit sweet. Taste is also more pronounced as it warms and, yes, better.

Mouthfeel, very nice and smooth almost creamy with perfect carbination, meduim to full bodied a bit lighter than I would expect for the style.

Drinkability, danger, this one is very easy to drink. I could put a bunch of these away. This is probably the most drinkable Imp Stout I have ever had. The lower (lower for the style) abv helps.

What a nice beer. The abv is lower and makes this beer that much more apealing. This is one I will definately buy again.

Photo of connecticutpoet
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer was an extremely dark reddish-brown brew with a very small head, but one that persisted and left some good lacing.

Aroma was of strong roasted malt, some bittersweet chocolate notes thrown in underneath. I would love to smell the brewhouse when this is being made.

Flavor was very strong, incredible roasted malt flavor dancing over the tongue. There was a hint of mustiness, which may have been misperception just because of the strength of the flavors. Some bittersweet chocolate came through, and some hop bitterness was also apparent. The flavor of the alcohol came through, and unusually I detected a bit of saltiness that was not at all unpleasant.

Mouthfeel was full and creamy-smooth. Very good body, quite chewy... it supported all that flavor well.

Drinkability was very good... but I think the flavor was so strong it would limit me in how much of this I could consume before being burnt out. One bottle was enough at one sitting, I was ready for lighter fare.

Photo of AmorousAngel
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured opaque and black. Very minimal tan head that did not even cover the entire surface of the liquid.

Roasted malts are very evident, with almost coffee-like undertones. Hints of nut as well.

Explosion of roasted malts, but not sweet like some strong, malty beers.

Very smooth mouthfeel. Almost no carbonation.

Excellent beer to drink one at a sitting, because they are quite filling.

Photo of rand
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

From 500 mL bottle to snifter

A: Typical stout complexion and color - dark brown-to-black, completely opaque, coffee-tan head. Head retention is fairly light as the head dissipates in a few minutes and leaves a couple patches of lacing around the glass. Not the most viscous-looking stout you'll come across.

S: The nose is malt-forward, with distinct notes of ripe fruit - particularly cherries and plums - and anise. Some carob and Swiss chocolate linger, along with a touch of earthy hop astringency.

T: The flavors largely follow with the sweet aspects of the carob and ripe fruit touching the palate first. Chocolate notes become more distinct as the beer warms, along with the alcohol. The flavor-profile is well balanced and smooth, from beginning to end, as none of the various tones take precedence. Finishes relatively long leaning toward the sweet-side of the palate.

M: Creamy and velvety...smooth and more viscous than it appeared. Ample carbonation keeps the rich complexion from sticking to the palate between sips

After drinking a lot of barrel-aged monster-stouts from the West side of the Atlantic, it's interesting coming back to this classic. Nothing tastes like it, and it has a lot of the creamy, chewy qualities that their American brethren only pick up from the aging process. This always hits the spot...it's nice that it's pretty easy to pick up.

Photo of burnerfinger
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from the 12oz bottle into my new belgium goblet:

A pours thick and dark like maple syrup or root beer. tan or darker head settles quick, leaves just a bit of lace. a calm stout

S: sweet/ and a bit of abv to the nose

T nice. this is a deep beer, love the taste. toffee chocolate

M: SMOOTH silky with lots of body less ABV on the palate than on the nose

D this is really great. but not to be guzzled, more like savored VERY rich and creamy.

Photo of dbalsock
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours dark brown, almost black, with a beautiful vanilla colored head, beautiful

Smell: the sweetness (sweet coffee smell) cuts through my nose inticing me to take a first sip, while the floral essence of the hops swirls around keeping me smelling more... this smelled really damn good

Taste: hints of caramel and chocolate sweeten this brew but don't over power the taste. a caramel aftertaste stays strong on my palate and makes me think this beer is best for casual sipping

Mouthfeel: like i said before, it ends with a nice/brilliant caramel aftertaste, the beer is sweet and smooth, well balanced, and overall excellent

Drinkability: i couldn't down very many of these in a day, but for a casual sipping beer, this is the one i would choose. stays enticing and the complexity keeps it from getting boring, this is one of my favorite beers

Photo of mightymoksha
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a squat pint glass

Pours a thick, opaque black with faint coffee hues with good head retention. Head is of a rich toffee color and moderate thickness.

Cacao, dark fruits, dark roasted coffee and roasty aromas are present, along with a rum-like alcohol nose and sweetness. Pussers Rum comes to mind.

Dark chocolate, coffee and roasted malt flavors are immediately prominent, which segue into notes of dark fruits and a pleasant hop bitterness. Finish is a dry, slightly smoky sweetness with a pleasant presence of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and medium in body. Carbonation is perfect.

This is the first imperial stout that I have had the pleasure of drinking in quite some time, and this offering wastes no time in reminding me why the RIS is one of my favorite styles. An absolutely fantastic beer.

Photo of PBRstreetgang
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black, and totally opaque. A light brown one finger head shows some decent retention but the lacing is pretty lame. Burnt chocolate nose, some alcohol vapors present, and background hops. Huge roasted flavor, nicely blended with bakers chocolate, and a mild vinous character. The bitter and sweet flavors are prduced by the malt, and there is some residual sweeteness, but the drying hop aftertaste helps keep the taste somewhat balanced. A thick, chewy body rounds out the mouthfeel, and the full malt profile hides the alcohol while accentuating the flavors making this beer strong, but very drinkable.

Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A very fine stout that would surely satisfy most stout lovers. This is a good looking and smelling beer. The appearance is of deep darkness and a thin beige head. The residual layer gives nice lacing from the thin remainder.

The nose is roasted malt and very nice chocolate notes. The flavor comes on strong with great chocolate flavor, roasted malt goodness, and dark cherry notes. There is also a very subtle, but noticeable woodiness to this great stout. This is a very nicely balanced beer that finishes with very fine dryness.

The feel is very substantive and rich, smooth yet clean, with light carbonation and a clean finish. This is a truly drinkable stout that has limited drinkability only because of its fullness and ABV. Very nise stuff, to be sure.

Photo of brdc
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful dark brew with a thick, foamy, dark tan head.
Complex smell of chocolates, roasted malt, burnt sugar, bread and some alcohol.
Similar taste, with coffee, bittersweet chocolate, sweetish but with a bitter end, alcohol warmth.
Medium to full bodied but still deliciously easy to drink.
Another Samuel Smith treat, will be having more of this.

Photo of Graham5161986
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from it's classically beautiful bottle, this Imperial Stout has an absolutely opaque, jet-black colour with a creamy dark tan head made up of tiny little bubbles that sticks around quite well and leave some very nice thick lacing on my snifter.

The aroma is enchanting with massive notes of vanilla, roasted coffee-like malts and loads of dark fruits like plums and raisins in there (almost the way a fine port smells). I get a bit of Belgian-esque candied sugar in the background as well. Hints of milky, bitter-sweet chocolate round off the nose of this already impressive brew.

The flavour is so rich and creamy with loads of roasted malt and Dark fruit flavours intermingling with strong notes of coffee and touches here and there of creamy chocolate, bread, honey, herbs and spice. The linger features some light fruit and a hoppy bitterness that is matched with coffee and dark chocolate notes that last and last . . . The alcohol makes its presence felt, but is far from overpowering. Instead, it gives a nice warmth to the beer as well. Speaking of warmth, I am starting to get some subtle but really nice orange citrus notes as I go along here that make this brew feel like your eating a "Terry's" chocolate orange.

The mouthfeel of this brew is thick, very creamy and quite chewy with just the right level of carbonation to allow the creaminess of the malts to come through yet giving way to a crisp spiciness on the finish that leaves a surprisingly clean mouhtfeel given the viscosity of this brew.

This is definitely a one-per-evening, sipping type of brew. It's meant to be savoured slowly (preferably fireside with a Housecoat and cigar!) and, thus, can hardly be called sessionable at all. Still, it's such a pleasure to explore this beer with every sip becoming easier and easier. This is the type of beer that could easily creep up on you.

Another classic from the old Tadcaster Brewery.

Photo of birchstick
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours black as night with a small, tan head. Smells of sweet chocolate and a touch of toffee. The taste is very good. Semi-sweet chocolate up front, followed by a burnt toffee taste with coffee tones at the very end. It is very creamy and goes down nicely. This was not as over-the-top and a bit more balanced compared to some other Imperials I have tried.

Photo of EStreet20
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12- ounce glass bottle poured into a nonic pint glass.

A - Awesome looking opaque black with a nice large foam caramel colored head.

S - I'm smelling an extreme amount of chocolate/coffee with some caramel/molasses smell in there. I actually think it smells like one of those caramel frappucinos from Starbucks more than anything else. Amazing.

T - Wow, starts off with a nice roasted coffee taste but then surprisingly a bit of a citrus hint comes through from the slight hop punch. The flavors mix beautifully. Finish tastes smoky. Complex and delicious.

M - Nice and smooth. The smoky taste leaves you wanting a nother sip.

D - Goes down nice and easy. Definitely a sipper, but one I could enjoy a few of after a long day.

Photo of irisier
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 oz brown bottle.

Appearance: Deep but not quite opaque black with a nice tan head.

Smell: Dark bread with some dryed fruit smells (raisins, prunes). Also some definite chocolate/brownie smell. A little milky with maybe some coffee and wood.

Taste: Roasty with some noticeable hops. Some coffee and unsweetened chocolate flavors as well as some bitter dark malts. A little milky sweetness as well. Maybe a bit of faint smoke. A little warming alcohol in the stomach.
Not as many charred flavors as other imperial stouts.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy, fullbodied but not heavy. Low carbonation, which is on par for the style.

Impressions: Lovely and flavorful. Great after-dinner drink.

Photo of ncvbc
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pour is pure blackness, atop it a fluffy tan head that could easily blow away in the wind. Low carbonation creeping up the glass.

Smell is of dark roasted malts. I pick up some dark fruits, possibly cherries and raisins. Hints of coffee, caramel, and chocolate. This is all very soft, it isn't extreme and in your face like many brews. Just subtle and to the point.

Taste is magic. Just like the smell it does a good job of using a great variety of flavor while keeping it all in perspective. Nothing huge going on and things just fall into place. An extremely balanced brew.

Mouthfeel is medium and creamy. Silky smooth. Not quite so thick as many RIS and very nice.

Drinkability scores a 5 in my book. This has about as much going on as its competitors without going overboard, making this very easy to drink. It's lighter than many as well, so it goes right down.

Found this for $2.99, less than the regular products from Smith sitting beside it. Quite a deal, I say!

Photo of Foxtrot
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A - This brew poured a very dark inky black with a big tan 3 finger head. Was also completely opaque with great head retention and lacing.

S - Unfortunately I had a slightly stuffy nose when I tried this, so I will try my best. Able to pick up lots of sweetness, that's for sure, with subtle notes of vanilla, chocolate, caramel and roasted malts.

T - Very malt heavy with flavors of dark fruits throughout with chocolate and toffee and a nice alcohol bit. It wasn't strong, but just enough to make you take another sip.

M - Loved the feel of this. Nice and viscous with a good clean finish.

D - Other than the above average ABV, this would unquestionably be a very good session beer.

This was my first foray into Russian Imperial Stouts, and I enjoyed it immensely.

Photo of Donnie2112
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

dark, had a lot of head to start was able to retain about a quartor inch of head and I couldn't see any carbonation

nice coffee and shiwky smell nothing perceptible as hops over all impression of bananas

banana split with a chocolate topping well concealed alcohol straight up yummy

rather light and easy very smooth with the right amount of carbonation

I am transferring my notes from some time ago so I'm not sure if I remember how drinkable it was but as I recall it was absolutely excellent

Photo of DoctorDog
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 355 ml bottle into a mug.

A- Very dark; essentially black/opaque. Pours with ~1 1/2 fingers of tan head, which fades rapidly. No head remains during consumption, and no lacing.

S- Fantastic! Chocolate, coffee, and a hint of a liquor/molasses. Extremely pleasant aroma.

T- A bit of sweetness to start, then some molasses flavors, followed by cocoa/coffee bitters at the finish. Puts me in the mind of a beverage concoted by blending mocha, black licorice/anise, and shoo-fly pie...all without being too sweet. Absolutely fantastic.

M- Medium/light carbonation. Smooth. Quite excellent.

D- A fantastic desert/late night sipper IMO.

Future outlook: Repeat business imminent. Thankful to have purchased a 4 pack instead of a single.

Photo of SonictheBeerhog
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of THECPJ
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes 1/19/2011

A: coffee and chocolate with hints of malts, and an alcohol presence

Ap: black with a 1 finger tan head, dissipates quickly, minimal lacing

B/T: mild carbonation, smooth, semi-thick

Af: chocolate more dominant than coffee, slight booziness

O: a nice way to end an evening


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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,359 ratings.