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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.

2,843 Ratings

(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 bowersdm


3.13/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Normal sized bottle poured into a mug

A - nearly black. 2cm of brown-ish head

S - roasted barley, coffee, chocolate, fruit, hops (kind of citrusy, but there's also a spiciness), alcohol

T - fruit, coffee, chocolate, barley, and hops at the very end. everything is very subdued and subtle.

M - thin and watery. too thin for an RIS

D - this wasn't a bad RIS, but it lacked the beefiness that I'm used to with an RIS.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2009 02:28:44 | More by bowersdm
Photo of Anthony1


3.13/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ruby-black, lots of tan head, only a little retention, but plenty of lace. The perfect stout would have better head retention. Slightly fruity profile from the British yeast, pleasant sweet roastyness. Bittersweet; very well balanced. Dark caramel malt, mocha, raisins, smooth hop/roasted malt bitterness. Slight fruity tang in the aftertaste. Not much alcohol taste, but it does become more warming as it warms up. Very nice flavour, but lacking the depth of some. Moderate to full body, a little chalky. Moderate carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2010 16:39:38 | More by Anthony1
Photo of DrinkThemAll


3.13/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a pint glass...

A-poured black as night with a nice frothy 2 finger caramel head with little lacing...

S-chocolate, English coffee espresso maybe, roasted malts and some dark fruits. smells sweet and nutty...

T-right away you get bitter chocolate and coffee up front, you get like a plum or dark fruitiness as well with a nice sweet malt flavorl, very refreshing and smooth...you also get a dry kind of oaky dryness i would say...its the malts...

M-medium body decent carbonation, bitter cacao and an oaky feel...decent...

O-very refreshing, kind of taste like black olives...weird i know...for its price and availability its just ok...definitely have had better but this is just an average stout in my opinion

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2011 09:19:32 | More by DrinkThemAll
Photo of Tupperwolf


3.15/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a plumlike dark brown, not quite black, into my imperial nonic, capped with a spongy light tan mocha head. It leaves lots of lacing behind; If you find a bright enough light source, you can see some hints of ruby, but it's mostly opaque.

Let this warm up! Seriously, don't drink it out of the fridge. I have mine set on 0.5 and it is still too cold for most beers, this one included. Before it warms all you'll get is astringency. As it warms, gentle coffee aromas begin to come out, building along with a little bit of caramel and some veggielike greenness.

Coffee with cream, some lemony stout zest - slight smoky roastiness.

An enigma of a mouthfeel - thin for an imperial stout, yet damn filling. It's not 'thin' per se, just compared to a lot of other Impies I've had - smooth, imperceptible carbonation, slight alcohol zest.

All of the Imperial Stouts I've had have been American, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that an honest English version isn't as in-your-face.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2006 05:51:18 | More by Tupperwolf
Photo of dojobrewco


3.15/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice dark pour with a roasted aroma. Not as full bodied as I had thought it would be however very drinkable. The bottle I poured had been sitting in my fridge for about a month or so; not sure if this affected the flavor as this is the only one I have ever had.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2008 18:36:09 | More by dojobrewco
Photo of SWMeyer4141


3.15/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into Sam Smith Pint

Appearance-Pretty dark, almost a dark dark red. Head was a tan 2 finger head that had pretty good retention for a RIS, probably cause the ABVs only 7. Lacing was pretty good.

Smell-Roasted Malts, Coffee, Dark fruits, and some booze.

Taste-Follows the smell, alot of flavors going on in a 7% stout. Only problem is it's a little bit sour, not sure whats going on here. I still get some nice Roasty Malts, Coffee, and Plum. Something about this beer is different then I remembered.

Mouthfeel-Light to Medium bodied, I'd say more on the lighter side. Carbonation was pretty low.

Overall-I remember enjoying this beer alot more a while back. Going to have to try another bottle soon. Still a good beer, but an Imperial Stout it's just to thin, I'd consider it more of a Stout.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2011 15:33:17 | More by SWMeyer4141
Photo of dciBA


3.18/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

550ml bottle into an Imperial pint glass. Pours nice a black like an imperial stout should. Finger of brown creamy fades quickly into a thin head that last forever. Smells of chocolate, dried fruit, and a touch alcohol.

Taste is OK at best IMO. Getting some raisin, chocolate and little coffee. The overwhelming flavor though is a green/earthiness, however that is just not pleasant to my tastebuds. As it warms the coffee makes a return but can't battle the green flavor.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are the high lights of this brew. Creamy, but yet still fairly thin. Definitely the thinnest RIS I've had. At only 7.0% this is probably one of the more drinkable imperial stouts out there. Overall, not too impressed with this one, probabaly won't buy it again.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2008 00:13:26 | More by dciBA
Photo of Realale


3.2/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clear black with a significant ruby component. Nice very fine mocha head.

Nose is initially sour cherry with a touch of chocolate. The fruitiness comes more into balance with time and a medicinal aspect appears. Rather distinctive nose.

On the thin side of medium in the mouth. A little light on malt, and comes off a touch sweet. Really could use more bitterness to balance. Average length.

Mouthfeel is fine. Quite drinkable for an Imperial, but not terribly interesting.

Tasted blind at the 12/14/03 St. Louis BA tasting. This was perhaps the most conspicuous victim of the blind tasting format. This bottle certainly did not live up to the lofty reputation of the beer, yet nothing indicated a bad or mistreated bottle to me.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2003 15:52:54 | More by Realale
Photo of plaztikjezuz


3.2/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

puors brillent onyx, slight lacy head.

the aroma was toffey, molasses, smoky.
the flavor was burnt, not to bitter, with a very thick mouth feel.

the aroma toffey, mollasses, less smoke, coffee.
the flavor very rich, alcohol, smoke not as strong, toffey, molasses, coffee.

i was really disapointed in this beer until it was room temp.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2005 07:37:25 | More by plaztikjezuz
Photo of popery


3.2/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A thin, somewhat disappointing Russian Imperial Stout with a flavor profile that is not bad but merely average for the category. I was really expecting more from Samuel Smith with this one. The Taddy Porter knocked my socks off and their other beers are generally, at least, excellent values. This offering is basically RIS light. It lacks the depth and complexity of flavor that is nearly commonplace amongst its competition. The feel is somewhat watery and really fails to bring the required breadth. That said, it's not bad, at all. This beer's rating is very much a product of its place relative to some truly great competition, and with Old Rasputin sharing its shelf space, it's not even a very good value in this neck of the woods (I imagine other areas have better Imp Stouts and RIS's as well). At any rate, the beer pours opaquely black with good lacing from a nice beige-mocha head. There are notes of toasted malt and English, minerally hops. The flavors just aren't big and strong enough. Also, while I usually like a thick, viscous feel on my Imperial Stouts, this one manages it while still being too watery, which turns out to be not altogether pleasant. Not a bad beer but far below the heights of the style.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2008 01:34:02 | More by popery
Photo of donkeyrunner


3.2/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Opaque black with a large mud brown head. Cavernous retnetion and multiple droopy lace rings. Stouts don't look better.

Roast malt, char, and brown sugar. Milk sugars come off smelling like wet paint.

Smooth. Roast and char flavors dominate but is pricked up by dried dark fruit. Has a nutty brown sugar taste in back that makes me think of plaster.

Between the wet paint milk sugars and the plaster brown sugars I though about Home Depot for the entire beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2009 13:50:32 | More by donkeyrunner
Photo of Bfarr


3.2/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Dark bubbly brown and frothy/foamy brown head with good retention. Bright fruity chocolate aroma. Taste follows the aroma with a roasted malt finish. Fairly thick but a sharp bite and a bit foamy.

An interesting flavor but a bit put off by an almost lager feel. Roasted malts start to take over about halfway through. This one's definitely better near room temperature

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2011 01:32:10 | More by Bfarr
Photo of scottmichaelland


3.2/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into over sized wine glass, after about 30 minutes rest out of fridge.

Appearance: Color was extremely dark chocolate with a tint of brandy coloring towards the light. Very dark, no see through. Soda type bubbles on pour, but very minimal visible carbonation after. Had about a half inch of light brown head immediately following pour but it dissipated very quickly. I think this is because the beer was in the fridge for too long. No head retention because of this. Semi cloudy pour, black in glass.

Smell: Black licorice is the most prominent for me. I get a lot of alcohol smell, hint of roast, coffee, and raisins. Possible very small hint of vanilla.

Taste: Roasted malt was the most prominent. I do still get the licorice and bitterness on the back of the tongue. I get a little bit of coffee. This beer has character but I think it could be balanced better.

Mouth feel: Perfect carbonation for an Imperial Stout. Not too much or too little. Medium mouth feel. Could be "stickier" but it's extremely drinkable. Stickiness is subjective anyway.

Giving this beer slightly above average. I was expecting better. I think what brought it down slightly overall for me was the balance, or lack there of. It's still very drinkable and has a lot of flavor, you just have to like what's there.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2012 15:53:29 | More by scottmichaelland
Photo of SometimesIfart


3.21/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Pours pitch black with a thing mocha head. Leaves no lacing.

S - Bitter dark coffee, roasted malt, alcohol.

T - Medium coffee, roasted malt, a bit of lactose.

M - Slick oily body with moderate carbonation.

O - Overall, I'd say this was closer to a regular stout than an RIS. I'm simply not a fan of this brewery. It was pretty average.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2013 21:32:42 | More by SometimesIfart
Photo of jcalabre


3.23/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Originally sampled on 24 June 2002. I am writing this review from my notes. Opaque black w/ a frothy head that settles down quickly, this Imperial Stout has more of the 'coffee' taste than other I.S.'s I've tried. I didn't think that the overall taste was that strong. Also, the alcohol wasn't well hidden. A decent imperial stout, but I prefer others.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2003 21:11:01 | More by jcalabre
Photo of hotstuff


3.23/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer's appearance included a small sized tan head with fine-small bubbles that completely dissipated.The body was uncarbonated and opaque with a black hue.The nose of this beer was that of sweaty feet (oh yum) with a very mild coffee flavor.It had a smooth, watery and thin mouthfeel and it was light bodied.The lacing was very sparse.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2003 18:37:04 | More by hotstuff
Photo of biggmike


3.23/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark, dark brown pour with light brown head that was long-lasting. I was kind of disappointed because I am a big fan of the Oatmeal Stout and Taddy Porter. Alright but to me not great. The taste was just a bit metallic and I just didnt think it was that good. I will try again because I'm a big fan of their other beers.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2007 15:15:19 | More by biggmike
Photo of Boilermaker88


3.25/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Much anticipated as this beer currently sits in the Top 10 of the BA best beers. Was getting even more excited as I watched this beer pour from the clear (uh, oh) bottle. A wonderful obsidian colored beer without any brown or ruby highlights flowed forth into my glass. A two-finger rich, creamy cappuccino colored head formed and grudgingly faded to a thin skim and left bands of lace.
Okay, we had a problem with the smell. I could smell a moderate skunkiness coming off this beer from nearly a foot away. Damn clear bottle! I'm guessing it was light-struck somewhere along the way from the UK to SoCal. I could also detect some espresso coffee notes but the skunk really interfered with picking up anything else.
Taste was better. Still, I wonder what went wrong as it seemed rather one-dimensional. Lots of chocolate malt, a lingering burnt coffee taste and a mildly bitter finish but missing the dark fruit flavors and caramel and toffee sweetness I've noted in other imperial stouts. Alcohol was very well camouflaged; virtually undetectable.
Feel was medium-bodied and dry.
Overall, I'm going to give Samuel Smith's the benefit of the doubt and chock this one up to a storage problem affecting this particular bottle, not a problem with the beer itself. I intend on getting this again (soon), hopefully on tap, and re-reviewing. But for now, I've had better imperial stouts.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2003 17:56:37 | More by Boilermaker88
Photo of Tesno


3.25/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours beautifully into the glass; deep black color with a thick, creamy, tan head that quickly dissipates. Aroma is heavenly, notes of dark chocolate and toasted marshmallow (mmm...s'mores anyone?). Alcoholic/bourbon-like. Slight vanilla and oak.

Flavor is somewhat disappointing. The first few sips there was a slight stale cardboardiness. Rather acidic/metallic when cold but notes of chocolate, fig and anise as it warms. Slightly nutty, hints of almond. Hot/alcoholic. At the beginning I noted that it felt rather coarse. Too bubbly and burnt and a little thin for the style.

Overall, not one of my favorite representations of the style. I realize these guys have been doing this a long time and they obviously know what they're doing but i thought this beer was just average at best. Definitley worth a try but I won't be stockpiling the cellar with it.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2006 01:54:16 | More by Tesno
Photo of seaoflament


3.25/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I've had this one before and wasn't too impressed but I recently saw it at a local Bevmo for about $2.60 and since I have not rated it yet I though "why not?"

Pours like an imperial stout should, dark and with about 2 fingers of foam.

Notes of dark fruits, nuts, spices, toasted malts, and a vinous aroma. Huge aroma of stale bread and raisins. There's also some notes of roasted barley, figs, dried prunes, and maybe some brown sugar. The only thing that bothers me a bit is the slightly vinous aroma, or maybe it's just an intense dark fruit combination with a touch of alcohol.

Tastes mostly of dark fruits and roasted barley. A bit vinous on the taste as well with some plums and raisins soaked in alcohol. Not bad but not really complex or "big."

Mouthfeel is a tad thin and watery on the finish.

Not really my favorite stout or a stout I would buy again. I think I'll stick with their Oatmeal Stout.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2008 04:39:24 | More by seaoflament
Photo of Wetpaperbag


3.25/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Nice dark brown in color, almost black. The tan head is very tightly formed with an assortment of small and large bubbles.

S- Wonderful smells of chocolate, anise, and even bourbon. I'm also getting a cherry taste as well, I would venture a guess as to a cherry cordial smell.

T- The taste is very heavy on the burnt/roasted malts, very bitter. It almost seems like they swirled a stick of charcoal though this before bottling. The chocolate taste isn't quite as there as I was hoping for though the impressions I got from the smell.

M- The mouthfeel is good, not great, I was hoping for something a little thicker, this is a bit on the thin side of an RIS.

D- Easy to drink, not too happy with the overly burnt taste though.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2008 03:05:15 | More by Wetpaperbag
Photo of corby112


3.25/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serving type: bottle.

Pours a dark black color with a thick coffee-colored head. Aroma of malty chocolate, roasted coffee and toast. Flavor is similar to aroma with lots of roasted chocolate maltiness, caramel, coffe, toffe and oatmeal. A bit watered down though with a dry finish.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2008 07:43:57 | More by corby112
Photo of willyumlong


3.25/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

bottle looks great love the gold wrapping
black as tar with good head retention and lacing
not a very potent smell but still good
disappointing probably because i had such high expectations due to the style and price, im glad i didn't see its reviews before drinking or i would have been even more disappointed. don't get me wrong it is good beer but not spectacular to my pallet. in all honesty i would be just as happy with a plain old guiness. sorry.
probably won't be buying any more but was fun to experience.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2009 08:22:37 | More by willyumlong
Photo of earthboundagain


3.25/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From Notes

Unfortunately this beer comes late in my RIS education; I wish I had had it sooner because I think other brews have spoiled me.

The color is dark brown, with a brown head, that leaves a skim of bubbles on the surface.

The smell is muted but I get some dark malt and some coffee.

The taste is of strong coffee and molasses and a bit of fig.

The mouthfeel is watery and thin.

The drinkability is not bad do to the lower abv and not overpowering flavor.

Notes: This would be a session RIS if such a thing existed, while its nice for breaking noobs into big stouts, it is not a monster RIS in anyway.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2010 20:50:53 | More by earthboundagain
Photo of Axic10

New Jersey

3.25/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a deep pitch black with about two and a half fingers of creamy mocha head.

Smell: Heavy roasted malts on the initial smell. Chocolate cake, fudge, dark chocolate and dark fruits.

Taste: Roasted malt, chocolate, dark spoiled fruits.

Mouthfeel: Body feels a little thin on this, almost like a very light porter.

Drinkability: I'm a little underwhelmed by this beer. I really want to like it, but it ultimately falls flat on it's taste and mouthfeel. I prefer the Oatmeal Stout and Taddy Porter to this hands down.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2011 04:25:05 | More by Axic10
Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 2,843 ratings.