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

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

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

1,690 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,690
Hads: 3,444
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.03%
Wants: 203
Gots: 357 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,690 | Hads: 3,444
Photo of samie85
2.73/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A-Pours a pitch black with three fingers of dense, mocha-colored head.

S-Very deep caramel with some sweet roasted smells, like that of coffee.

T-A bit of roasted malts with some caramel and a mild bitterness.

M-Very, very watery... reminds of me of weak, watery coffee. A little bit of carbonation.

D-This beer isn't disgusting by any means, but it's far below my expectation of what an RIS is. The mouthfeel is especially disappointing. (442 characters)

Photo of TheViolator666
2.74/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I just don't understand.
Why does everyone go berserk over this brewery? Over the past two nights I've had 3 beers from "good ol'" Sam Smith that have done nothing but disappoint. This being the second stout I've had (first was the highly revered Oatmeal Stout) has followed in this trend. I went into this really wanting to like it... truly hoping that this brewery would offer something that I would like, but no.

That being said, I would buy a keg of this before I thought about taking another sip of Guinness.

550 ml bottle poured into Great Lakes stout glass.

A: Appearance is average. Dark brown/black with a thin brown cap. No lacing is visible.

S: The smell turned me off immediately. It smells like smoked over-salted beef jerky. Reminded me instantly of Guinness... must be something about the United Kingdom, but I really haven't had a stout from across the Atlantic that I've enjoyed in the slightest.

T: At least the taste is an improvement on the smell (or stench). Pretty bitter, surprisingly. A dash of dark fruit sweetness. The hint of coffee flavor saves this one. Hides the 7.00% ABV well. Gets better as it approaches room temperature, as with any stout.

M/D: Why must the UK make thin/bland beers? Too thin for my taste at least, but I guess that's why it goes down so smooth.

I'm no patriot, but fuck bless the USA for making such awesome Imperial Stouts. (1,385 characters)

Photo of eporter66
2.76/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

550ml Bottle into a pint glass. This is my first time drinking a higher ABV, so maybe this is another thing where taste develops over time. To me this was too boozy

A - Pours a dark black with a brownish tinged foam. 1 1/2 fingered head which dissapates to a covered top and some mild lacing around the glass

S - Wow - I was immediately hit by the alcohol smell. I let the beer warm, and it certainly took on a rich chocolate scent, but the alcohol is right up front.

T - A rich chocolate/cocoa flavor is right upfront and the boozy taste is never too far behind. The roasted malt sits in the back and the alcohol certainly warms the throat and chest as it goes down. Again - the alcohol was too dominant for my taste, but the beer is a higher ABV, so it should be expected

M - Rich medium bodied beer.

D - I honestly cant say I would have more than one, and I would not buy this again. The alcohol flavor was just to upfront, and as strong as the chocolate was, it was not enough. I guess I must like the 5-6 ABV range, this just took something away from the beer for me. I did let it warm for a time before opening. (1,123 characters)

Photo of winomark
2.78/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Jet black with a substantial foamy brown head.

Aroma: Smells like chocolate licorice. Slightly sweet with toasty and yeasty notes.

Taste: Quite bitter and sour up-front, with a medicinal finish. Some chocolate tones.

Mouthfeel: Dry, but coating. Again, bitterness and sourness dominate.

Drinkability: Not a favorite of mine. Don't like the sourness of this stout.

Tasted blind at the Saint Louis BA tasting 12/14/03 (442 characters)

Photo of IntriqKen
2.81/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured deep amber brown with gorgeous cream colored head that stayed with the brew throughout the glass.
Scents of coffee, bitter chocolate, roasted malts.
Taste was slightly disappointing...more aroma than flavor. Lightly toasted malt flavor and rich mouthfeel of coffee/chocolate.
Aftertaste was .... indescribable....not pleasant...slightly kerosene that stayed a long time.
Maybe an older bottle, but I don't think so. I just think I don't care for the aftertaste and prefer a more complex flavor to my stouts. (518 characters)

Photo of warmstorage
2.85/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce clear glass bottle, gold foil topped, states 7.0% ABV.

Pours an opaque black with a small amount of medium brown head which dissipates rapidly, leaving little to no lacing.

Aroma is sweet prunes, plums, and indicates higher alcohol that the bottles indicates.

Taste is some sweet fruit, perhaps prunes, a slight bit of chocolate, some roastiness. Definitely thin for the style. A distinct metallic taste from the medium taste all the way through the finish and aftertaste really detracts from everything else; this is something I've noticed in Samuel Smith's oatmeal stout as well.

Mouth is relatively tingly with carbonation, lingers, light to medium physical body.

As disappointing as all the times I've had this beer before. It's just a weak example of the style, notwithstanding Samuel Smith's historical pedigree. I might give it a try again in a year or two, but certainly won't go out of my way to seek it out. (946 characters)

Photo of RedwoodGeorge
2.85/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

I'm a big Samuel Smith fan so I'm rather surprised at how disappointed I am in this stout...

The pour is promising enough - dark, dark amber with a thin tan head. I wouldn't expect much carbonation with this style and wasn't surprised when the head died down quickly leaving very little lacing along the glass.

The smell is promising enough - plenty of notes of caramel, coffee and a roasted aroma that you'd expect.

The taste was rather one-dimensional. While there were hints of roasted grain in there, this was primarily a treacle and prune drink (which isn't really a good thing) The brew was just shy of being overpoweringly sweet with an overbearing molasses taste accompanied by an equally strong flavor of plums, prunes and raisins. There was very little hops to compliment the thick, sweet flavors leading to a very unbalanced brew.

Mouthfeel was the highlight of the beer - it was almost velvety smooth. Carbonation was low as per the style but if they'd added a few more hops to dry out the palate it would have been near perfect. There was an oily residue left on the tongue but that's to be expected of a heavy stout.

I'm not sure I've rated a beer a 2.0 before but "not impressed" is exactly how I'd describe my experience. I'm a big fan of Samuel Smith's brewery and adore their oatmeal stout so I'm very surprised at how unexciting this brew is. It's heavy bodied and high in alcohol but I was hoping for something more... (1,453 characters)

Photo of cbutova
2.87/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours pitch black with a huge tan three finger head that retains better than almost any beer I have seen, nice and creamy as well. No lacing at all but it might be my glass. Smells of roasted malts and a metallic scent, not liking this metal thing at all. Also some dark sweet fruits in the nose. The taste is out of whack to me. It has nice roasted malts but also has a huge metallic taste, more than any beer I can think of. It kind of throws the balance off and ruins it. After reading other reviews I definitely get soy sauce, yuck. The extremely sweet fruity taste in this beer also does not belong in an imperial stout. Some hops compliment the finish but the sweetness of this beer is way too overwhelming. Also some cocoa behind the metallic sweetness. Mouthfeel is pretty good. Nice and creamy with good carbonation and a coat of that sweetness. No warming really at all. The drinkability here is not good, the sweet/metallic taste is hardly tolerable. The roasted malts save it but I can hardly finish the bottle. The price was very good but I will only try this one again if I really, really don't trust this bottle. The worst part is the appearance was so good I thought I was in for a super cheap Imperial treat. (1,225 characters)

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
2.91/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours black with burgundy highlights with a creamy dark tan head that dissipates quickly.

Smells like sour caramel and smoke.

Tastes like tangy coffee and cough syrup. Finishes with a medicinal sourness. When it warms a bit (as it took so long to stomach it) some hazelnut flavors introduce themselves.

Mouth feel is creamy with small carbonation.

Yuck. I tried drinking this slowly to pick out all of the flavors. I tried gulping it and also I tried letting my mind wander so I could surprise myself with a sip. Either way, this was just not an enjoyable beer. I’ve found a lot of British stouts to be a bit sour, but this is down right un-pleasant. This tastes more like a porter or brown ale, so based off of rating by style, this beer misses the mark. (782 characters)

Photo of GoodKnight1220
2.91/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle to a glass.

Very, very dark in color looks black, little to no head.

Smells of heavy alcohol and dark chocolate, smells much like a wine.

Alcohol taste right up front, ending with a very bitter chocolate.

This has a greasy & syrupy mouthfeel.

I could drink one of these in a sitting, and you need to drink this on a cold day. (356 characters)

Photo of jar2574
2.92/5  rDev -30%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Thought this came in a dark bottle, but after pouring the beer I see that it's clear. That's how dark black this beer is. Very thick caramel colored head. Black beer. No light gets through at all.

Smells of chocolate, licorice, and coffee. Enjoyable.

Unfortunately, the taste reminds me of day-old coffee reheated in the microwave. That said, there is complexity here that others might find intriguing. I just can't stand the taste enough to want to try it again. Tastes like licorice, roasted grain and burnt coffee. Not much hops. Too much roasted flavor and too acidic. A little watery and comes across as a little flat.

As much as I have loved other Samuel Smith beers and want to like this one, I doubt I give it another shot. (740 characters)

Photo of adamette
2.93/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Live review. Poured from the 550 ml dark brown bottle with gold foil over the cap. Poured into my Samuel Smith pint glass. Mark on neck of bottle: SD02H1 but I am not sure what that means.

A 4 inch generous medium brown head over a mostly very dark body that shows a bit of dark mahogany light in front of a light bulb. Classic look. 4.5

S Dark roast malt and an unexpected dark fruit smell of dates or raisins. At first I thought this was a sense of alcohol but repeated smells revealed the dark fruit smell. At a minimum the smell is interesting. 4.0

T Well, the taste is directly related to the smell. Dark roast malt, dark fruits carry right into the taste from the smell but added is the wet texture and a rather unwelcome and badly disguised taste of alcohol. 2.5

M More thin than I would have liked. I am spoiled by so many American Craft RIS's and their big, luxurious mouthfeel. 2.0

D Not that good. I finished one pint and it took me a while to conclude what I would do with the remaining until I finally poured it out. 2.5

Notes: Samuel Smith, brewer of some of the most classic beers (Oatmeal Stout, Nut Brown Ale) disappointed me with this one. As suggested, my palate is spoiled by other, much more engaging American craft RIS's. (1,249 characters)

Photo of 1Adam12
2.96/5  rDev -29%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured this into a beer mug. Very dark with a decent sized carmel colored head on it. Smelled notes of chocolate and maybe just a little bit of coffee. Taste was very light compared to many of the other Imperial Stouts I've tried. Tastes of chocolate and malt, but kind of watery to me, however did have a very nice lingering coffee aftertaste. Ahhhh there's the coffee! At 3.99, this is something I would drink if I wanted an Imperial Stout, but didn't have the money to get anything else (489 characters)

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
2.98/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Relatively clear super dark brown. Almost black. Pours with a higher than expected carbonation. Head is tan, wispy, and bubbly after a few seconds. Drops to a tiny cap with some points of lacing. Looks a but thin overall.

Smell: Sweet, chewy, burnt chocolate, but more sweet than burnt. Loaded with dark fruit. Plums, ripe cherry, even fig. Super fruity. Lingering alcohol on the back. Hints of vanilla and something that reminds me of oak, but it can't be. Mild earthiness buried in the back. Chocolate malts. Loads of roasted barley. Vague sense of minerals from the water. Soy sauce.

Taste: Roasted. Sharp snap of cocoa and burnt malt. Some minor sweetness. Roasted barley. Chocolate edge is so bitter it's almost acrid. Mineral. Rocks and some sense of earthy hops. Some dark fruit (mostly cherry) mixed with soy sauce and some caramelized sugars. Vaguely nutty. Burnt and sweet as it warms. So much barley.

Mouthfeel: Significantly thinner than I would expect. Carbonation is high and contributes to a body that runs on the light side of medium. Lingering dryness.

Overall: Are we sure this is imperial?

Trying not to compare this to the absurd American Imperial Stout/American RIS is hard. This drinks thinner than most standard American stouts and the British water and yeast are distracting. (1,316 characters)

Photo of freditoj
3/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Very dark color, like a 2 inch head.

Smell - Malty.

Taste - Like soy sauce. I don't know if my beer was bad. When it was served the owner of the store told me it was frozen and gave it to me for free. I understand the beer was damaged.

Mouthfeel - The taste is heavy and strong.

Overall - Don't know what all the fuss is about. (347 characters)

Photo of arturorg
3/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served into a Samuel Smith Snifter

I'm almost inclined to not do this review

A: Dark brown with no lace and almost no lace

S: Sweet and roasted coffee, dark chocolate, dark malts. But it wasn't the strongest aroma for a beer, actually it was kind of faint.

T: Almost the same as the smell, it was watery, astringent leaving a dry mouth (but thats very normal in the few imperials stouts that I had) lacks complexity and flavor, again it was kind of faint.

Overall it was an unimpressive beer, kind of a watered down version of a Yeti, de Molen or Hercule. I will try to have it again in order to see if my beer was wrong. (626 characters)

Photo of wheelinshirt
3/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very cool looking 550 mL brown bottle, gold foil neck, purchased from the cooler at Capone's in Norristown for $6. No freshness date.

Pours rich and dark with a very light tan head, good size, creamy, slowly fades to a half-finger of foam and then just a collar by the end of the beer. Some lacing.

Smell is some very restrained alchohol and roasted malt, followed by some dark fruit which seems a bit unusual. I'm not sure what it is from, perhaps the yeast. This is followed and then dominated by a very unpleasant metallic odor that just wouldn't quit.

Taste is right on par with what you would expect from a RIS albeit a bit more subtle than normal. The roasted and burnt malt flavors, the fruity and booziness are all there but in proportion to the 7% ABV. Nice tasting, but not great. It is hard to get over the metallic nose but it doesn't really show up in the taste.

Mouthfeel is creamy, medium-heavy. Definately good for a stout. Not over or under carbonated and definately not too thick.

The drinkability really takes a hit from the metallic smell. It is a good beer, and at 7% would almost be sessionable for the stout lover, but I didn't enjoy the bottle enough to want another. If I see it somewhere and I know it is fresh I will probably give it another try. I may have gotten a bad bottle or just one that was past its time, but without a freshness date it is hard to say. (1,393 characters)

Photo of tweeder263
3.01/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours out a nice dark beer with tan head,very nice.Aroma of licorice slight alcohol smell not bad.Taste up front is nice ,balanced ,but the lingering bitter afterwards sucks. I had high hopes for this beer and other sam smith beers but now im not quite sure.Nice slick mouthfeel though the taste killed the drinkability of this beer. (333 characters)

Photo of Bruiser81
3.01/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a deep brown if not black with a two finger tan head that didn't stick around long. The nose was dominated by fruit, alcohol, and a little maltiness The taste was extremely sweet, almost like a sour sweet. It also had sort of an astringent taste but it wasn't good. The mouthfeel was medium, but I didn't like how it sat on the palate. I'm not sure what the word is maybe tannic? I was disappointed with this brew especially after all the good reviews. Maybe it was skunked. I've never had a skunked beer. (512 characters)

Photo of AdamBear
3.01/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A-black with a thin tan head that thins to almost nothing

S-smells strong. boozey, some scent of mocha. intimidating.

T-comes in with a slightly boozey taste of baking chocolate and very dark malts. there's also a taste of dark fruits such as plums and dates. the after-taste is matching. has a burnt taste to it.

M-low carbonation. slightly watery. watery finish

O-a decent tasting stout that seems to have a lot of loose ends. the tastes are alright, but not very drinkable. the burnt taste seemed to be over dominating. it just isn't something i want a lot of. (568 characters)

Photo of fisherman34
3.02/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Black in colout with a bit of a red tint. Medium carbonation. Aromas of stewed fruits (especially plums), licorice, and a bit of chocolate. More stewed fruit in the mouth, with some caramel and faint roasted notes becoming apparent closer to the finish. A bit of a boozy note at the end as well. Not nearly as roasty (coffee), chocolaty, or hoppy as the other Imperial stouts that I’ve sampled, which is kind of a drag. I guess I prefer the North American interpretation of this style. (486 characters)

Photo of semibaked
3.03/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours super black with about 2 inches of brown head.

S - First thing I smell is red wine (kinda weird) but also has roasty malts and some syrupy sweetness too.

T - Wow a lot acidic and sharper than I thought it would be, really boozy up front, some hops with some malts and raisin sweetness. Really disappointed in the taste I was expecting a traditional Imperial Stout and I didn't get it.

M - Really smooth and creamy, very nice, too bad the beer doesn't taste better.

D - I am pretty bummed by this, I usually really like Samuel Smith's beer but this is bad stuff. Definitely will not be drinking or buying this again. (656 characters)

Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
3.06/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass

A: Pours a translucent black with very little head.

S: There is some coffee in the aroma but not much else. Maybe it was just my bottle, but I was really surprised at the lack of odor. Hell, make the cap out of chocolate or something, I don’t know, just give me more.

T: Fortunately, it tastes good…for a porter. It has a medium amount of carbonation and a smooth body. There are notes of coffee and a nutty finish. As far as beer goes, it’s a solid offering. As far as imperial stouts go, it’s about as bland as it gets.

Don’t expect a true, strong imperial experience with this one, just take it for what it is. And that is a good, smooth beer. With gold foil. Shiny, gold foil. (733 characters)

Photo of beeragent
3.07/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle, into a pint glass. The beer poures a deep brown, forming no head with very little carbonation, leaving a few spots of lace on the glass. The aroma is a mix of roasted malts, and light raisins. The taste is light coffee, a little roasted malt, and a good amount of, what tastes like raisins. Thick mouthfeel, with a smooth finish. Overall, I wasnt really impressed with this stout. I've tried a few other RIS, but this one just didnt measure up. Its not a bad beer, but for the style, It was a let down, but then again, maybe I just got a bad batch. I will have to try it again in the future. (619 characters)

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.08/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Large bottle calls for a large oversized widemouth mug, right?

This beer is black. Very rich 3 finger head lingers on and on and on...not overly viscous though.

Heavy malts, dark raspberries and dark chocolate on the nose.

Hmmm, one of the fruitier RIS I have had...has me wondering if this bottle might be a bit off. Not overly malty like I was expecting. I taste wheat bread, burnt toffee, a bit bitter. Full body and mouthfeel.

This one does not do it for me...I will gladly take a Rasputin or a Storm King over this any day. (532 characters)

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 1,690 ratings.