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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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3,296 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,296
Reviews: 1,674
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.51%
Wants: 166
Gots: 262 | FT: 0
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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Ratings: 3,296 | Reviews: 1,674 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mrcarterxxl
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

pours a beautiful dark hue with red around the edges
with a 2 1/2 inch tan head with a slight orange hue to it.

the first thought of the smell was fresh bakes devils food cake or brownies/english toffee

tastes of toffee, bitter sweet chocolate, fresh oats, bitter sweet taste.

this stout left lacing well after pour and first few sips

i will have this stout again its a new found favorite!

ABV: 7.0%


Photo of khumbard
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Classic big Sammy bottle into tulip glass. Pours a dark black with a half inch creamy head. This is a good looking beer. Smell of roasted malts, and hints of licorice, chocolate, and coffee. Taste follows suit... well balanced. Roasty, malty backbone with chocolate and coffee hints. Nothing coming through too strong. Finishes pretty dry. A little bit thin on the mouthfeel for a RIS, but very drinkable, and quite tasty. Great beer.

Photo of originalsin
3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Man do I love Sammy Smith. Just finished up a 4pack of the Nut Brown Ale with a friend and now it's on to a new one for me- their Imperial Stout.

She pours an awesome opaque black. I've never had to worry about pouring Sammy Smith brews too vigorously and this brew was no exception. A full on straight down pour yields about 1/2 an inch of rich creamy nutmeg colored head.

Aroma is exceptionally sweet- bitter chocolate dominates the nose.

This is yet another exceptional offering from a brewery that's fast becoming a mainstay in my fridge. It's mildly creamy and beautifully smooth. It tastes of coffee, bitter chocolate, and flaked oats. This is a malty beer with a lot to offer. Though the taste failed to wow me, the nose was great and mouthfeel and drinkability are pretty damn good.

Final word: try me.

Photo of Kinsman
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Opaque black with a thick foamy tan head, fading quickly to a nice tan lace.

S: Sweet malt character, smells like someone's baking desert.

T: A wide variety of sweet malty flavors. Most noticeable would be brownies, followed by coffee/latte flavors. Roasted barley also makes its presence known. Alcohol provides a nice warm kick at the finish.

M: A full bodied brew but not overly chewy with relatively low carbonation.

D: A great dessert drink, but one is enough.

Photo of Keblar
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 550ml bottle into an imperial pint class. Coffee to dark cola color, with a little translucency at the bottom of the glass. Nice thick 1 inch head with a nutty caramel color.

Very malty smell. Sweetish but not as malty as I expected start with a sharp spicy bitter finish.

Thinner than I expected (guess I've been drinking too many nitro stouts) - that may because of the high ABV.

Great beer, but too bitter for more than a couple.

Photo of Docer
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looked good, and never had it.. and I love when a real Imperial is on the shelf, and only about 7% alc... when most normal stouts are 5 or so....

- Solid dark brown molasses.... big quick bubbly mocha head... down to a finer bubbly layer with a ring of lace-maker.

- Wonderful sweet bitter chocolate... roasted and slow-baked malts... I could smell this all day... that IS a stout! Seems England has the stouts and porters covered very well.

- Bitterness on the tongue right off... and light bitterness throughout... light roasted chocolate... like a fine light stout... how in the world is this 7%..? Lightly creamy... but yet smooth and great.... wow.

- Dryness leaves the mouth a tad chalky... dry... but OK.

- Overall this is a fantastic strong stout... but yet tastes like a standard American stout.... but better. Top of its class for sure, and one many need to try... and not so expensive! (Not affecting the judging).

Photo of jminsc76
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Into a tulip, pours a large, thick, and foamy head, cocoa in color, atop a black impenetrable body. The head eventually dies but reemerges nice and thick upon agitation.

Initial aromas of molasses, with more fruity smells of plum, rasberries, and other dark fruits. Also some vanilla in the nose, or custard, or something mildly sweet and pleasant.

Flavors include coffee, hops, lighter fruits such as bananas, and some slight booze-iness. A little toast-iness in there as well. This definitely tastes like an English-style ale, with an almost steel or metallic taste. Not too bad though.

The mouthfeel is almost thin - strange for an RIS of 70% - but this is some easy drinkin. Plenty of carbonation keeps the palate light, with a slight espresso bitterness on the back end.

Overall, I give this an A-. The look and bouquet are both excellent, but regarding the taste my verdict is out. Some of what I am tasting is almost a little stale, so I am not sure how old this version is. However, it's still pleasant, just nowhere near as intense as many American versions.

Photo of BeerSingh
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16 oz bottle poured into a goblet

A: Dark brown that turns reddish when held against light. Nice creamy head with decent retention and lacing throughout

S: Big coffee and chocolate nose

T: Like rum and raisins, bitter chocolate

M: Silky smooth, medium to heavy body and medium carbonation

D: This IS is very drinkable, top of the line

Photo of njmoons
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As with all Samuel Smith beers that I have had. An excellent, spot on to catagory, beer.

Poured dark brown/black. Two Fingers of foam from a vigorous pour, which slowly dissipated.

Smell of malt, heavy fruits (cherries, plum), and a hint of coffee.

Taste was slightly sweeter on the front end and more bitter on the back end than I expected, which is fine for an RIS. But overall the beer was nicely in balance. The malty heavy fruit ale taste is slowly taken over by the bitterness leaving a nice finish for a heavy beer.

The mouth feel is think and heavy as would be expected, with just a note of alcohol burn.

I could drink a few no problem, but would need a ride home

Photo of SamN
3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber purchased from Campus West Liquors and poured in my classic Cutthroat Porter tumbler.

A- Pours nearly total black, but glows red against light. Huge tan head, beautiful foam that flows out and down the glass.

S- Soy sauce, vinegar and bourbon in the nose.

T- Lighter tasting than I remember. Light on malt and heavy grains, floral and lightly hoppy, slight alcohol finish. Nothing very "imperial" about this imperial stout at all. Not bad tasting, just lacks what I love about stouts.

M- Thinner than most, medium body with little carbonation.

D- Very good. Being a lighter-than-most stout lends itself to more drinkability, so higher marks for sippability.

Photo of CLevar
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a Bottle into my Surly pint glass.

I am not gonna lie....this tastes exactly like the barley wine i brewed a while back. Heavy on the crystal malt, and just enough hops to have a little bitterness on the back end of the sip.

Pours a dark brown with a light brown head that dissipates quickly, leaving little to no lacing.

Good flavor, though for the style the mouthfeel was a bit thin...for a RIS, I want it chewy.

Not enough alcohol in this either...7% is a bit low, it doesn't even come through as it warms. Lends to the drinkability though, and with any more alcohol, the mouthfeel would thin out even more.

Overall, I am glad I picked this one up, though it will likely be the last one I do...easier to brew five gallons.


Photo of tronester
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black, with a hint of ruby/brown at the edges. Thin tan head. Smell is of liquorice, and sweet malt. Taste is chocolaty and coffee up front, thick malt middle, and a roasted, earthy bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is super smooth and creamy, nice low carbonation. Drinkability is very good. Much lower alcohol than the average RIS, makes this easy to drink the entire 550ml bottle. An excellent example of a RIS, not as *extreme* as some US varieties, but still very tasty and holds its own.

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

Poured from 550mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: utter impermeable blackness with a thick creamy beige head. Beautiful.

Smell: the first thing that hits me are apples, pears and plums, followed by some other fruity esters. Nice.

Taste: this beer is surprisingly fruity all-round. The flavor profile is very similar to that of the aroma, with the addition of some chocolate and a little alcohol. Quite good.

Mouthfeel: medium-thick with low but well-integrated carbonation. It leaves a nice coating of the mouth for optimum flavor distribution.

Drinkability: this is very drinkable. I will have no problem finishing this bottle, and at only 7%, it's downright sessionable for a Russian imperial stout. Kudos!

Photo of wiseguy142
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

7% for an imperial stout? Ok. Still pretty tasty tho.

Pours black with an icecream like foamy brown head. Rocky, but not as rocky as some west coast style beers. Sort of like an ice cream float.

Aroma is very heavy on the caramel. Vanilla and spices. Reminds me of Halloween candy for some reason.

Taste is heavier on the caramel malt than most imperial stouts. Sweet creamy aftertaste with the roasted malt in the background for the most part. Not sure how this would go if there was more alcohol in it. Definitely a sweet stout that finishes dry with roasted malt, just short of charcoal flavors but not heavy on either chocolate or coffee flavors.

This is a cool beer. Not sure if it's my first choice among the imperial stouts.. more just like a British stout but still very good.

Photo of Vengeance526
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark black color with a 1-finger tan head that slowly dies down to a light ring and leaves a good bit of lacing.

Aroma is very roasty upfront with lots of coffee and caramel evident.

Taste closely reflects the smell with lots of roasted malt upfront and notes of chocolate, coffee, toffee and caramel all around. A slight hint of alcohol can be detected in the finish.

Full bodied, very rich and smooth. Enjoyable RIS overall, great to sip on. I doubt I'd have more than one at a time, but I'm sure I'll try this again in the future.

Photo of Beernoisseur
4.93/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a sublime beer. Near perfect, if not perfect in every category. The bottle is badass looking, like opening it is going to be a historic event in and unto itself. Gold foil, awards won in a different century, things of that nature- they all add to the feeling of ceremony associated with this beer.

Appearance is so dark that it might be sucking the light out of the room like a black hole. The head was smaller than I expected, but the pour was not aggressive.

The first aroma to greet me was the scent of fine bourbon. This quickly gave way to toasty, fruity notes, with maybe a hint of caramel coffee in the background.

The flavor is excellent. Everything is in balance. Toasiness leads the charge, but in there is a citric fruitiness that delights to no end. The hops are muted, but only just. There's almost like a barbeque like flavor in the mix. This beer would be great with a huge cheeseburger grilled right before you put the barbeque away for winter. you know, sometime in late october, early november.

I love stouts, and this is certainly a front runner for my favorite.

Photo of KTCamm
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the classic Sam Smith 550ml bottle into a pint glass.

Pours jet black - is this oil or liquid tar? A total eclipse of light, pouring this makes the room darker. Light brown foam, excellent 1/2 inch retention and very creamy head.

Smell is roasted. Coffee notes.

Taste is stout near-perfection. Smooth, creamy, rich, and chewy. Very dry. Some chocolate. Hop is buried and hidden but reveals in the aftertaste.

Smooth in the mouthfeel. Milky.

A very drinkable stout - could one put two of these down? Perhaps, but better to savor the one you are drinking.

(Given the choice, I'd opt for the Taddy Porter instead)

Photo of stoutfiend27
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

550ml bottle poured into my st. feuillien wide mouth glass

a-dark brown almost black with nice ruby highlights when held up to light almost like i big porter..quick rising head that fell quickly to a thin top on the beer

s-roast,coffee and toffee and slight alcohol which is surprising given the abv

t-lot like the nose, nice roastiness up front followed by subtle coffee and toffee and some alcohol

m-not quite as thick as i remember in past encounters but acceptable...would like a tad bit more viscosity to it for my taste..and a tad bit to prickly...

d-could have a couple in a sitting...

overall a great brew..i remember drinking this when i first got into craft and i seem to have lost it in the shuffle somewhere...glad i sat down and enjoyed this tonight...

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

A - Pours pitch black. i didn't get much head on this fella... looks good. Minute tan head settles to a thin film. look pretty normal for a stout.

S - Smells of roasted barley, chocolate, toffee, and a light alcoholic fruity essence.

T - Big dark chocolate dipped in cherry flavor. A Hint of hoppy bitterness keeps malty sweetness in check. Very balanced.

M - Medium/full mouthfeel. Very smooth and velvety. It drinks like a dessert. You can sip it, as you should, but it's smooth enough to quaff (do it, and die).

D - It took me about 50 min to finish (not that i had to take that long, but i wanted to take that long). It was delectable. I loved every second of my indulgence. It was smooth, well-rounded, and a big task, all at the same time. One of my favorite stouts tasted to date. My first RIS. lovin' the style... i will have many more in the future!

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

12 oz

Pours a dark black with a head that's brown sugar colored. Very dark body that lets no light through.

Smells of rich caramel and molasses.

Very rich malty sweetness like brown sugar and a nice smokey accent.

Thick and full with a light accent of carbonation.

Great! IS is still my favorite style and this fits nicely into the lineup. A little too potent to drink a lot of but not as strong as others in the style.

Photo of ectomorph
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

550ml bottle with the golden wrapped neck, poured in sections into a pint glass.

A - Jet black with a huge mocha head that fades slowly in clumps. Beautiful.

S - Sweet roasted bread with some chocolate and caramel. Roasty goodness.

T - Malty heaven in a glass. Dark chocolate and toffee mixed with a light coffee bitterness. Rich and finishes sweet.

M - Rich and creamy brew. Almost chewy.

D - Moderate to high, even @ 7%.

Photo of mnrider
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

550 ml brown bottle. My first Samuel Smith's

A: Pours a dark brown with two finger brownish tan head which bubbles. Head slowly turns coaster thin.

S: Rich in malt, sweet sugars, and light chocolate.

T/M: Full bodied and rich in flavor. Mocha, roasted malts and sugars. Alcohol is strong but is hidden quit well. Mouthfeel is great with it's smoothness.

D: Exceptional Stout that stands up great to all the things i've heard about it. Can't wait to try other brews from SM's. I will buy again.


Photo of mdwalsh
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a snifter it forms a rather large head, but it's pretty. The beer is black with lots of active carbonation and the head is solid sand tan. Lots of different sized bubbles. The head fades slowly, but not too slowly.

S: Smell is powerful as soon as I pour. I get not much chocolate, but a little alcohol. Sweet, dark, malty fruit smells are what really dominates. I get a little citrus even, but now, now I think I smell a hint of soy sauce. I'm thinking of Orange Chicken with soy sauce.

T: Sweet and bitter. very odd. Very much like an English Porter mixed with a baltic porter in my opinion. It's the water. Has the same unique taste of all Sam Smith Beers. Sort of reminds me of the beach for some reason. A little salty, fishy taste, but not in a bad way. Still, not what I want in my RIS, doesn't taste dark enough.

M: Very light, proper carbonation and all. Leaves the mouth feeling refreshed and satisfied.

D: Meh, I could do it, but I don't think I would want to drink too much of this.

Photo of LestatSabastian
4.7/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance was dark nearly black with a nice tan creamy head.
smell was of chocolate coffee and some nut hint to it
taste was so awesome chocolate coffee dessert anyone hmmm.
mouthfeel rich creamy bold taste leaves you like coffee in the morning.
drinkabilty drink it slow and savor the flavor. would drink this any day of the week. Try this Beer

Photo of dasenebler
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep, dark black. Nice and creamy, light tan head. Aroma is full of roast and a touch of sweetness.

Flavor is big and roasty. This beer emphasizes the unique character of a stout-- the roasted barley-- so much so that the flavor is smoky and peaty. Pretty fantastic if you ask me. Not overly sweet or boozy like so many other imperial stouts. Roastiness begets a dry tanginess. Mouthfeel is not nearly as heavy as some other examples of the style. Could use a little more creaminess. At 7 percent, this imperial is probably the most drinkable I've had. Excellent stout.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,296 ratings.