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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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2,953 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,953
Reviews: 1,633
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.24%
Wants: 117
Gots: 141 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Todd on 02-27-2001)
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Ratings: 2,953 | Reviews: 1,633 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bobzilla

New York

4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Nice smoothness considering the relatively high alcohol content. I like how the taste lingers on the palate for a very long time, but as it does, it seems to shift character. An earthy start slowly shifts to a mild bitterness after a half minute or so. The smell is a bit too caramelly, and reminds me a bit of the over the top smell and taste of the Saranac Caramel Porter, but nowhere near as cloyingly sweet. While I generally am one to not reach for a stout or porter first, I find that this is consistently one I have around the house. (When a store in town actually stocks it or most often when I specifically order it.) This is a beer that makes me want to attempt to brew an Imperial Stout! (Only to be dissapointed when it tastes bad after 6 months of waiting...)

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2008 22:45:07 | More by Bobzilla
Photo of jobyone

North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The beer pours a wonderful black with a thick tan head. Lots of malt sweetness on teh aroma. The tast is sweet with a hint of fruit. The body is medium and there is a hint of bitterness in the aftertaste. This is very drinkable for an imperial stout and is a great introduction to the syle.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2008 21:14:44 | More by jobyone
Photo of pmcadamis


4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love Samuel Smith bottles! The large size and gold foil top let you know that you are in for something special, and the label makes me think of a nineteenth century advertisement in a tattered and yellowed newspaper.

A - A huge four finger chocolate brown head rises over a pitch black tar brew that lets absolutely no light through. The head shows outstanding retention as it eventually falls to a nice finger cap. Thick sheets of foam slide down into the glass after a swirl as they deposit a good amount of creamy chocolate lace on the sides.

S - This smells like a box of assorted chocolates! Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, lots of toffee and a little bit of caramel. I even smell some distinct raspberry jam and some gooey black cherry nougat filling. This is ridiculously complex! Black cherry and raspberry jam spread on black bread with chocolate syrup on top. There are also some nicely toasted cereal grain notes.

T - Again, super complex like the nose. The fruity black cherry nuances aren't there, but all of the chocolate goodness remains. The flavor is much more smoky and woody than the nose, and some burnt rubber flavors are there too. Campfire smoke and dark roasted coffee. Outstanding.

M - Full bodied with an almost nonexistent carbonation and a smoky oily finish. The alcohol is not evident in the flavor, but does warm me up as it slides down my throat and into my gut.

D - On outstanding brew! And at 7% ABV, this stands to be a quite drinkable RIS. It's ridiculously complex and subtle in ways that many American RIS are not. Those heavy hitting American brews may be stunning and flashy, but this has true complexity like an old single malt scotch.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2008 15:27:51 | More by pmcadamis
Photo of clwaldin


4.38/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2008 00:53:09 | More by clwaldin
Photo of crazyreagan


4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pure opaque pour - devours the light. The head rises with ambition; full of creamy coffee highlights. Lacing all the way down.

BIG dark chocolate, roasted malt smell. Dark fruity smell up front, leather and a touch of cinnamon bring up the rear.

More chocolate in the taste, lots of caramel. Pleasantly warm, with just enough carbonation to really open up the flavor in the mouth. Hops bring the right touch of bitterness to round this guy out. kudos ss!

Mouthfeel is ideal for the style; rolls around in the mouth, coats the tongue. This imperial has some staying power!

Would put this at one end of a session. First thing I opened after getting home from work, but would also make the perfect nightcap.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2008 00:48:59 | More by crazyreagan
Photo of Murchmac


4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black with tan head.

Smells of dark chocolate.

Tastes of dark chocolate, roasted malts, some bitterness. Just a great beer all around.

Excellent mouthfeel, leaves you with a dry slightly bitter chocolatey aftertaste.

Everything they do is good.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2008 01:02:58 | More by Murchmac
Photo of dsa7783

New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another terrific brew from Samuel Smith... their Imperial Stout really hits home with flavor, substance, and style... Pours a jet-black color with minimal tan head... smell is dominated by dark chocolate and strong black espresso... taste has a strong black-coffee, mocha, espresso flavor that really pulls through and delivers... very elegant and refined flavor that packs a punch with a 7% ABV... goes down smooth and crisp with minimal bitterness present, more on the sweet-side than anything else... full of character and flavor... good mouthfeel and easy drinkability for a relatively high ABV... don't taste the alcohol, just the sweet, sugarey, malty taste... one of the better stouts I've had... Definitely recommended...

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2008 21:48:51 | More by dsa7783
Photo of meechum


4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a very dark viscous black with a 3 finger dark brown head into my Sam Smith's pint glass. Leaving lacing down the glass as it was consumed

S - Big smell of roasted malts and barley along with a nutty smell and a hint of mild hops in there

T/M - This beer is big in taste and thick like a stout should be...a low level of carbonation but enough to deliver the flavor the back of the palate. The flavor was roasted malts and coffee along with a slight nut flavor and a hint of chocolate in there too..the hops finish the taste out and give a good counter balance to the sweetness of the malts..

D - This is a highly drinkable brew..though with it being an Imperial Stout not one you would drink multiples in a night..the overall taste and flavor made this for a great end of the evening night cap and good for the colder weather..no wonder the Czar Peter loved these things..

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2008 15:46:23 | More by meechum
Photo of avalon07

South Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Before this, the only Samuel Smith's I'd had was the Nut Brown. I was impressed with this one. The appearance was dark - very dark - with a little bit of head on it. It had a nutty smell common with many of Samuel Smith's beers. The taste was excellent, with coffee, barley and a nutty flavor coming through. It does leave a strong aftertaste. There was a nice, subtle carbonation related to the mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very drinkable beer, though it is pretty heavy.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2008 14:42:49 | More by avalon07
Photo of elmore


4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours opaque black color into a snifter with a 2 finger head that receded rapidly with little lacing.

Smells of sweet dark malts, espresso. These characteristics come through in the taste. Some dark unsweetened chocalate. Additionally, there is a great hops bitterness with a nice dry, crisp finish, which I usually don't get from Imperial Stouts.

Moderate body and carbonation for an Imperial Stout, which make it very drinkable.

Very good drinkable Imperial Stout. Not as extreme as most RIS's, but very satisfying. I really like the clean, crisp, hoppy dry after taste. The burnt malts don't linger as much as most RIS's.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2008 04:02:32 | More by elmore
Photo of GbVDave


4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 550ml bottle into a 20oz imperial pint.

A: Pours an angry, dark black color with a creamy, dark-khaki, two-finger head. Some curtains and random spots of lace.

S: Dark fruit, dark chocolate, charcoal, and milk chocolate dominate this one. As it warms, notes of brown sugar, espresso, molassas, spice, and dark chocolate covered tart cherry emerge.

T: Tangy and spicy raisins, plums, and figs followed very closely by dark and milk chocolate, cherry, caramel, toffee, espresso, hops, and roasted malt.

M: Full, sweet and bitter. Very coating. Upon initial pour, I found this to be a little on the thin side, but it thickened considerably as it warmed.

D: Excellent drinkability! This has a lot of the flavors of bigger RIS but without the crushing abv.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2008 01:12:41 | More by GbVDave
Photo of deepsouth


4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

i drank this glass out of a great divide yeti glass.

the beer poured a black color with a large tan head that stuck around a while and left some damn fine lacing.

the smell is of coffee and toffee and the alcohol smell is masked quite well.

this is two different beers. one when it's cold and one when it warms. (i guess this is true of many beers of this style) cold, this beer tastes quite flat with just a hint of coffee, but as it warms it became much more tastey. chocolate, roasted malts, and the alcohol is now detectable.

this beer is creamy, but not chewy. it leaves the mouth very slick. carbonation is present, but not a bunch.

i could drink a couple of these, but probably not more than that.

this is a damn fine beer and on of my favorite from samuel smith's.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2008 19:51:31 | More by deepsouth
Photo of aerozeppl

New York

4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this to cap off the Giant's victory last night.

A: Black with three fingers of tan head. Really good looking beer.

S:Sweet malt. The sweetness dominated everything else.

T: Sweetness dominated this for me. The subtle chocolate and roasted malt is there as well. Also picked up an almost cask like taste. Woody.

M: Silky on the tongue. Cask like carbonation. Subtle.

D: Excellent example of the style. Very drinkable for the style as well.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2008 21:32:00 | More by aerozeppl
Photo of basica


4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought this from Cracked Kettle and man do I love the bottle itself. The bottle itself is a nice slim and tall design with the top nicely wrapped in gold foil and a unique looking label. This beer yields a jet black pour with a nicely creamy looking tan head that moderately settles to a thin layer and finally a nice clingy lacing. On the nose I pick up roasted malts, chocolates, coffee and subtle dashes of dark fruits; some lactic milkiness also peaks out of the creamy head. The smell was not very strong and the various elements in the smell were nicely balanced out. The taste starts off with an immediately suggestion of coffee followed by roasted malts and light notes of chocolates here and there with a nice smooth milky backing. There were also dashes of dark fruits towards the finish and a good amount of roasted malts on the nose. Sweetness was probably very very subtle on this one and a slighty below moderate level of bitterness can be detected towards and during the finish. Taste was fairly rich though not very rich and it was very well balanced; without too much of anything. 7 ABV makes it a really light drink as well and it practically feels below 5. The lingering after taste had coffee, roasted malts and subtle dark fruits and a light bitterness. The mouthfeel is close to full bodied and is smooth and creamy with low carbonation and goes down very smooth. This is my first imperial stout and I feel that it is highly drinkable. I was expecting something pretty heavy. I prefer the Guinness Special Export Stout to this but the strength of this one is a nice, well balanced blend of many different flavours but not overly rich and yet very enjoyable and drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2008 19:40:35 | More by basica
Photo of seanyfo

United Kingdom (Scotland)

4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 edition, stored in a dark storeroom since novemeber 06.

Brought in the new year with this bad boy. Aggressive pour into my chimay chalice.

A- Jet black body with a mocha coffee 2 finger head, creamy with great retention. Im excited!

S- Roated malts, nuts, chocolates, vanilla, raisins

T- Lots of choclately roasted malts, vanilla, coffee, nuttiness in the finish.

M- Low carbonation, creamy

D- Fantastic, couldnt and wouldnt want to drink more than 2,one to savour!

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2008 17:17:49 | More by seanyfo
Photo of peck95


4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

this is a very good beer maybe one of the best I've had in my limited experience.
dark, very dark with a nice dark tan head that starts off very thick and stays there. The smell is not as strong as its perfect appearance. There is a nice aroma of chocolate and a wine like alcohol smell.
The taste is a perfect blend of chocolate, dark fruit alcohol taste, roasted malts
This beer is very smooth for how complex and dark it is, the body is also ideal with a thickness of a flavored mocha.
Did i mention that this beer was smooth and very drinkable, there is no negative aftertaste like bitterness, bad alcohol (although its not that high of abv), or burnt malt sourness.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2008 03:22:18 | More by peck95
Photo of Trueant1


3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Have had this many times before. A classic of all classics! Not my favorite...but well worth drinking at least a few times a year.

Pours black, looks black and thick. Has a huge billiowing tan head.

Smells of black licorice, anice, coffie, chocolate, hops, ect ect....
As an imperial stout should.

Tastes more intence then the smells but with all the smell flavors.

This is an intence brew. It controls you. I can never finish a whole bottle, but then again, I always come back and try!

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2007 05:02:57 | More by Trueant1
Photo of AKBelgianBeast


4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

This beer pours blacker than a witches cat on a moonless night. The head is a strong light tan foam with good lace. The nose is kind of strange. It has typical roasted malt and chocolate/coffee bean hints, yet also has a bit of scotch ale smell (very slight). The taste starts out very malty with the chocolate, burnt coffee bean, and small vanilla taste. Through the middle I realize that what i thought was scotch ale on the nose was actually the sammy smith yeastish malt funk(good funk) that you can find in almost all of their brews. There is slight hop flavor and bite here as well, just before the finish. The finish falls back into the more familiar imperial flavors. The mouthfeel is where this beer struggles. it is very thin for an imperial stout, but goes down smooth. I suspect that this can be closely linked to the brews weak 7% abv. Drinkability is very high. still a good brew overall and a great beginners imperial stout. A good buy, and another great sammy smiths beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2007 08:11:30 | More by AKBelgianBeast
Photo of atrus138


4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this from a clear bottle (though I only found out it was clear AFTER pouring). Opaque black with a two-fingered dark khaki head, which later settled to become a rather thick layer of froth that lay on top. Thick lacing, though it doesn't stick very long. Wonderful smell. Nice and strong. One can detect dark fruits, roasted coffee, caramel, and brown sugar. Very sweet smelling. Taste was a little fainter than the smell indicated, though still complex and still delicious. The darker fruits make themselves a little more known as it warms. Mouthfeel is creamy, though a little on the thin side. This is very drinkable, especially for an imperial stout. Low ABV for the style, though still very warming.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2007 21:10:41 | More by atrus138
Photo of dfillius


4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a pint glass.
A: Pitch black, 1-3 fingers of head subsides quickly but a layer floating on top is retained.
S: Coffee, chocolate and not much else, slight alcohol smell.
T: Semi-sweet chocolate at first then bitter, roasted notes. Later in the pint a slight caramel sweetness was apparent.
M: It coats my tongue with bitterness. Drying.
D: Tasty, I could have another pint.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2007 19:27:35 | More by dfillius
Photo of younger35


4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 355mL bottle of this stuff at my local beer store. I’ve yet to have a Samuel Smith brew that I’ve actually liked but I’m a huge sucker for Imperial Stouts. Drank from my snifter while watching Boise State vs. Eastern Carolina.

Appearance- Pours a super dark brown with a tip of amber on the bottom of the glass where the stem meets the cup. Decent sized sandy tan head forms but quickly dissipates leaving a spotty cap and thin collar. Not a whole lot of lacing is left behind but enough to satisfy me.
Smell- Boldly roasted malts are plentiful as is dark roasted coffee. Cocoa beans and bitter bakers chocolate are offset by gentle whiffs of vanilla bean. A bit of black licorice, caramel and brandy top off the nose nicely. A lot going on in here but nothing that really dominates anything else.
Taste- The first thing that jumps out at me is how much vanilla I get out of this. There is plenty of dark roasted coffee and cream along with nice sweet milk chocolate. Brandy soaked dark cherries and raisins add a bit of sweet bitterness. Touches of caramelized sugars give this a rather nutty finish. Plenty of alcohol here although most of it is covered well.
Mouthfeel- Nice and full bodied with a very slick and oily feel along with a very light carbonation.
Drinkability- This isn’t as explosive as some other Imperial Stouts but it’s really solid and all the flavors meld really well. I love a well balanced brew and this really embodies that. This was a really good beer and I can now say I officially like a Samuel Smith beer. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2007 03:56:16 | More by younger35
Photo of robg2251


4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The appearance of this beer is a good solid black. It pours a dark tan creamy head that has stayed about an eight of an inch solid for a while now.
The smell is a very sweet carmel malt - strong bitter molasses scent.
Coffee nut molasses flavor. A very robust chocolate malt rum taste.
Mouth feel is very creamy and smooth. Carbonation not too big, and the alcohol feel isn't upfront or immediate. Finishes very smooth, no real bite to this beer whatsoever.
Overall, this is a good Imperial Stout. A nice heavy drinkable beer. This beer weighs in at 7% abv, and is a perfect winter warmer for a cold December night.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2007 01:00:11 | More by robg2251
Photo of SargeC


4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deep, dark black, with a frothy tan head.

Smell: Strong malt character with hints of bitter chocolate.

Taste: Begins in a smooth, malty wave followed buy a finish that is high in mineral content. A slight alcohol flavor appears in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: A full bodies brew, but les than I expected.

Drinkability: A very good and classic stout. A nice, complete package.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2007 06:58:59 | More by SargeC
Photo of Caine

New Jersey

4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured in a pint glass. Served just shy of room temp.

Appearance: Dark black in color with a beautiful tan head that struggles to dissipate.

Smell: Heavily malted with a wonderful fruity, coffee scent.

Taste: Roasted malt and coffee, bittersweet chocolate, almost lemon-like hops. Finishes with a nice smokey-pipe flavor, balanced with a sweet overtones.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, smooth and creamy. Carbonation is low.

Drinkability: A great Imperial Stout, although a stronger brew is preferred. Very good over a rich meal and a cold night. Certainly looking forward to the next pint.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2007 03:15:21 | More by Caine
Photo of Risser09


4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a crystal wine glass - No bottle dating system - Served at cellar temperature

Appearance: Pours a dark black color with a dark tan head. the head rises to 2 inches in height. It takes a few minutes to subside. Ample lacing on the sides of the glass. Nice.

Smell: Hop presence but heavily malted. Cocoa is a huge aroma. Caramel, toffee, rum soaked bread. Sugary molasses and port wine, leathery scent.

Taste: Chocolate truffles, dark rum, leather and pipe smoke. Coffee bitterness and roasted malt. Not too sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and low alcohol presence. Coffee flavore dbitterness is nice, as is the overall chocolatey flavor profile. Carbonation is alive but not cloying.

Drinkability: Very nice. A great tasting imperial stout that isn't high in alcohol. Certainly gains drinkability because of that. This is a good beer that I would revisit, but not in the company of other Imperial Stouts. Worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2007 01:25:47 | More by Risser09
Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 2,953 ratings.