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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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,843 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(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 Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chicory roasted and not too coffee was a plus. Creamy and bit chewy-was that supposed to be? Nice carbonation.
Had another bottle 21 months later and now I very much appreciate its smoothness. A bit acidic and oily, a perfect roast and brown colour. Fresh batch.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2004 03:13:49 | More by Sammy
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

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

Pours pitch black with just the slightest tinges of dark brown when held up to the light. Head was 1 inch that fades to a small cap. Lacing is spotty and random on the glass. Smell is of roasted malt, overripe dark fruit, and soy sauce. Taste is of bitter chocolate, burnt coffee, and slight dark fruit essence. There is a lingering roasty taste on the tongue after each sip. Good carbonation and rich mouthfeel. Not too thick or thin. Drinkability is good and the price point on this beer will lend itself to an easy buy again.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2011 03:06:15 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sable with dark bronze highlights at the edges. The beer is topped by a thick, sponge-like head that's medium brown and looks like it'll hang around a while. It falls slowly, eventually to a thick film, and doesn't leave much lace. There's a little above the receding surface of the beer, but that's about it.

The nose has some power behind it... strong, dark coffee with molasses and spicy dark fruit. The flavor reminds me of blackstrap molasses mixed with black licorice; the strong, less-sweet British version of licorice. There are also espresso and bitter black tea notes, but they aren't nearly as strong as the molasses and licorice.

The mouthfeel is full and rich, but doesn't quite match the flavor in terms of seriousness. I'm not sure if a more full body would be good for this beer or not. It might take a bite out of the drinkability, which is quite good as is. The relatively low ABV (for an Imperial stout) helps the quaffability.

This is my first Imperial stout and I'm impressed. The temperature is currently in the single digits and it's overcast and spitting snow. Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout is warming me nicely and I may just have to follow it with another.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2004 21:23:12 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a deep dark brown with a towering pillow like tan head. Cery nice retention, with a nice slow fade leaving just a film of a head on top. No real decent lacing though.

S - Smell was initially strong but mellowed some. Nice roasted malts, nutty smell, with lots of hints of caramel and sugar. A slight hoppy twang was present in the back of the aroma. A nice proper English type of smell if that makes any sense.

M & T - First impression was very smooth. Not overly carbonated, but not a bad thing. Not very thick, just very nice feel. Lots of caramel and roasted coffee flavors were the dominant tones here.

D - Overall this was a very nice, and very sessionable Impy Stout. It was not very robust, and would not stand up against some of the other heavyweights in its style. However, I feel it does have a nice place there as a good sessionable, not so outragously high ABV stout is always a welcome treat.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2007 23:51:42 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

3.28/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The pour is a dark brown color with about a finger's worth of tan colored foam sitting on top.

S: The nose is chocolate and roasted malts for the most part, with some definite dark fruit notes. I pick up a bit of a yeastiness too, that I don't often get in imperial stouts.

T: Flavor starts off with some old chocolate, mild roast character, and a bit of water. There are some muddled, sweet, dark fruit flavors there such as plums and prunes, as well as that same yeastiness the nose had.

M: The body is medium, not all that impressive for an imperial stout with a moderate carbonation.

D: Sort of disappointing since I really like their Oatmeal Stout. I'm fine with not having this one again.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2010 03:37:11 | More by womencantsail
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an obsidian black with a nice mocha head; nice retention and lacing

Smell: Roasted malt, dark fruit (figs and prunes), some bittersweet chocolate and a nice whiff of rum

Taste: Starts out with a combination of roasty malt and dark fruit (raisin, date and prune), with the hops adding a bitter element by mid-palate; after the swallow, the roasty, fruity and chocolate flavors predominate into a complex finish that provides point and counter-point

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation and a hint of warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: I've come around to this one over time and have re-reviewed this while maintaining the original review date; I now appreciate the complexity and restraint in this version compared to the production of some of the American craft brewers

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2005 21:50:55 | More by brentk56
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a opaque black beer with a medium dark brown head with minimal retention. Aroma is quite incredible and consists of pure black chocolate, roasted malt and some coffee. Taste is also quite a treat with the chocolate hitting first (without too much sweetness) and followed by the roasted malt and coffee to finish the whole thing. Very well balance with limited bitterness, which probably makes it one truly good dessert beer. Wow!!!

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2005 18:17:42 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

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

This is the best balanced stout that I have ever had. i used to drink this beer regularly, but then was lured away by many stouts that have bolder flavors. Recently revisiting this brew makes me wonder why I have been away for so long. The stout has a very bold roasted quality with a light bitterness due to the black malts and light hopping. Has a layered cocoa, coffee, and milk flavors for added complexity. The beer, though bold and strong, is never intimidating, domineering, or aggressive. Moderately sweet with a rich and complex robustness. Properly brewed and well aged. Full and rich to the texture with a silky, creamy flow. Finishes extremely clean for such sweetness, texture, and roastedness. A slight hint of lactose sugars and a minty note adds a delicacy to the finish. A beautiful beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2006 18:20:40 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

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

G: Imperial pint glass.

A: Pours a "not very dark for this style" cola color out of the bottle, but appears a bit darker in the glass to the point where it is nearly opaque. My pour might have been a little hard, but I got a good two-and-a-half or three fingers worth of head. The head is also a creamy color; again, reminiscent of the foam associated with colas. The head recedes fairly quickly with the slightest bit of lacing.

S: Slightly sweet on a malt base. Hints of toffee and perhaps a little bit of caramel. Faint smell of dark fruits.

T: Sweet in the mouth. Much more sweet on the palate than I would have expected from the nose. Slightly sour with little heat from the alcohol. Biscuity malt with a little bit of chocolate--another thing I didn't detect with the first whiff. Slight fruity undertones in the background--maybe dark cherries, which could contribute the bit of sourness I've detected.

M: Not overly carbonated, and slightly sweet on the tip of the tongue. As it sits, it becomes more and more creamy. The mouthfeel is somewhere between a typical milk stout and the other RIS's that I have come across.

D: Given the low ABV for the style, this is quite a bit more drinkable than is typical. The is one of the first imperial stouts I've had where I could imagine having a couple throughout an evening.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2009 20:16:49 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger high dense tan head that quickly died down and left lacing on the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of roasted malts in the nose along with some hints of raisins and other dark fruits.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and has flavors of roasted malts and raisins. There are some hints of bittersweet chocolate.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. There are hints of dryness in the finish.
O: For its style, this beer is very easy to drink because it's relatively light bodied and the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2011 01:43:08 | More by metter98
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.55/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

$2.29 12 oz. (355 ml) single at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a decidedly black body with an expansive, light khaki-colored head.

Smell: Lightly chocolaty, roasted malt nose with notes of soy sauce, aged, though basic port wine, apples, and black licorice.

Taste: Roasted barley grains with touches of unsweetened chocolate and caramel with an earthy, soy sauce-esque taste running through the flavor. Hint of licorice and ripe red apples. Bits of sweetness pick up here and there. Splash of spiced prune juice. Very, very distant buttery hint. Small hints of yeast and alcohol. Finishes fruity, with a very slight metallic hint creeping into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Slight, oat-esque creaminess to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Still a fine, decent RIS, even with those dirty nickels. But, if I had my druthers, I'd reach for a Taddy Porter instead.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2008 03:45:32 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

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

Pours a pitch black with a real nice creamy head,aroma is of dried fruit and some nuttiness.The taste is a little spicey and nutty with some chocolate undertones a real nice warming beer to drink before bed.This and the Taddy are my favorite Samual Smith ales.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2003 17:34:05 | More by oberon
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NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An opaque black body is capped by a foamy tan head that holds exceptionally well. It eventually drops, but maintains a creamy collar & thin surface covering throughout the glass. Some very nice Brussel's lace adds to the appearance. The aroma expresses dark fruit (currant, plum), dark chocolate, roastiness, and molasses. The medium/full body combines with a fine and moderate carbonation to give a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. The exceptionally rich, sweet malt expresses chocolate, toffee, roast, and coffee that's backed by a firm hop bitterness. It starts fruity (raisin, prune), developing sweetness and chocolate, but most of the flavors appear after the swallow when the tastebuds are no longer being overwhelmed. Fruit bursts forth followed by chocolate and rich caramel/molasses, then some floral hop flavor, and finally its roastiness appears - coffee-like and still somewhat chocolatey - with a borderline smokiness. The long and complex finish is what makes this beer... it's meant to be savored! It may at first seem more restrained than other examples of the style (and essentially it is), but a closer look reveals an immensely drinkable and exceptionally complex stout. Quite well done and well worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2003 20:57:48 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

550ml bottle, at the Metro Pool Hall, working my way through their commendable fridge(s).

This beer pours a nice inky black, with very slight red edges, and three fingers of puffy, foamy, and extravagantly bubbly chocolate milk brown head, which damned-near coats the glass as it genially recedes.

It smells strongly and evenly of dark chocolate, caramel malt, toffee candy, edgy black fruit, oxidized red wine, a touch of black licorice, and faint earthy, weedy hops. The taste is semi-sweet milk chocolate, gritty caramel/toffee malt, subtle and indistinct sour black fruit, surprisingly prominent cola and anise notes, a wisp of woodsmoke, and mild earthy hops.

The carbonation is generally quite understated, the body a stocky, solid medium weight, and silky smooth, with suggestions of creaminess. It finishes on the sweet side, with more chocolate, roast, and touched fruit.

As it warms, I get a strong semblance of boozy hot chocolate, which would make it, I imagine, a lovely après-whatever sipper, be it with dessert, or more robust cold weather activity. I'm sure the tsarina had experience with both, in spades.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2009 22:47:41 | More by biboergosum
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color is black as black can be, and the head is proud, large and a creamy tan color. Aroma is warm and wonderfully delicious, soft, creamy, notes of chocolate, slightly roasty, and edging into darker flavors, but not quite there. Palate is deliriously sweet and inviting. Mouthfeel: sursprisingly smooth and untroubled, gentle, harmonious, thick with malt, mellow with hops.
Very smooth drinking for an Imperial. I haven't had one of these in a long time, and have spoiled myself with the bolder, brasher, and far more adventurously flavored (roasted, malted, hopped, everywhichway) American versions, the Old Rasputins, Stormkings, Expeditions, Rogues, and Stones...
But, I can't help liking it. Great stout, delicicious,delightful, but a bit weak, at a "mere" 7%, compared to similar brews from "the colonies". Quite tasty, but I'd love it if they'd ever stretch out some.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2003 21:49:14 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep, dark brown-black. The foamy part of the tan head dissipates quickly, but a top-coat remains in place for some time.

S: The aroma is of chocolate, malt, barley and a little bit of hops and alcohol.

T: Creamy chocolate and roasted malt & barley flavor start out and prevail as the more dominant taste, but not overly sweet. A little bit of hops hit next and then a slight alcohol sting, with a slightly sweet after-taste.

M: Incredibly smooth, heavy body, medium carbonation and a clean finish.

D: It’s not filling, very smooth, the alcohol is well-disguised and it goes down VERY easy, all of the characteristics of drinkability.

I enjoyed this beer quite a bit. I now see why this beer, style and company has received so much praise.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2006 04:27:22 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black body, mahogany brown as it's poured. Tan foam that manages to stick around. Minor strands of lacing here and there.

When the stout is first poured, there's a strange yet interesting balsamic vinegar undertone, with black olive. It's also slightly metallic, which lended itself to these aromas. There was also some dark fruit like plum or raisin. No trace of alcohol.

Flavor is plummy, with an earthy roast that creeps out halfway through. Some carob or chocolate syrup, not exactly pure. Low astringency, medium level of carbonation. Not especially sweet or bitter, it's fairly mild feeling. It's easily drinkable and enjoyable, but overall not that remarkable.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2007 00:57:31 | More by emerge077
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Black inky body that allows no light to penetrate. Huge brown/mahagony head that retains a 1/'2" head and lacing all the way down the glass.

Smell: Malt, Coffee, Alcohol, & toasted grains

Taste: Toasted grains, licorice, coffee, bitter choclate, and hops bittereness in the tounge

Mouthfeel: Damn, talk about smooth, great balance and carbonation.

Probably gets less respect these days becuase of much more potent Imperial Stouts & doubles out there, but pretty dang tasty to me.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2005 22:33:12 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

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

The beer pours a dark black color with a thick brown head. The aroma is great. It boasts of crystal, chocolate, and black barley. The taste is good. It is a smooth and rich dark beer with real flavor. There are a lot of chocolate and crystal malts here with some black barley for color and crisp roasted flavor. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a fine drinking stout. It's not much of a sessions ale, but it's one to enjoy. That's for sure.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2004 00:41:10 | More by WesWes
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No date on the bottle, contents poured into a tulip. Beer is black and forms a brown head of medium bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass but the head doesn't have staying power.

Aroma is nice, sweet with a hint of alcohol and some caramel. Smells really good, a subtle roast.

Beer is really smooth and tastes great. Full bodied, carbonation in the mouth is minimal. Leads with a sweetness followed by a slight bitterness of the roast. There is no aftertaste, good palate connectivity. I would recommend this beer and drink it as a repeat.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2010 05:08:50 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

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

Glad to see Samuel Smith switched to brown bottles.

The beer pours a very dark brown to black color with a tan head. The aroma is chocolate with some roasted malt. I also get a little bit of mint in the aroma. The flavor is chocolate and roasted malt with some coffee mixed in. There is also some cream and oat notes in the flavor. Thick mouthfeel and low, soft carbonation. A very nice traditional imperial stout.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2011 02:23:42 | More by Mora2000
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

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

A - Poured out black with a mocha colored, 4-finger head. It left lacing as I drank it.

S - It smelled of malt and coffee.

T - It had a roasted malt and bitter coffee flavor. I also noticed caramel amd toffee flavors.

M - It was soft and creamy. Heavy-bodied.

D - It is a very good Russian Imperial. Fortunately, it isn't as strong as some others in terms of ABV.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2006 04:37:55 | More by zeff80
Photo of jlindros
jlindros

Massachusetts

4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The crazy bottle neck on the bottle's neck forces a huge head on the pour that rises up for 2/3 of the glass. A thick frothy dark colored hear that is. The beer itself is almost pitch black, but not quite.

N: Tons of malts hit first. SOme roasted malts, caramel malts, and a few others. Some caramel aromas and sweetness, a little oatmeal, some dark fruits, and a little bitter English hop aroma tops it off. A little chocolate as well.

T: Very fruity actually. Tons of malt as well, again with lots of dark malts, caramel, a little roast, I think even a nice bit of Marris Otter as base. Creamy milk chocolate, oats, dried fruits, hints of spicy hops. A little bit of juicy hop flavors as well.

M: Creamy and semi thick, with lots of carbonation.

F: Semi bitter with more English hops, and lingering hot roast and dark malts. Some sweetness on the finish as well with more caramel and brown sugar.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2010 03:56:30 | More by jlindros
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Gueuzedude

Arizona

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

Pours a deep black color that is topped by a creamy head. Thick aromas of molasses, coffee, chocolate, and dense dark malts all are found in the nose. Surprisingly any roast malt character is pretty subdued. This beer has a light creamy mouthfeel, with a finish of roast malts. The taste is reminiscent of malt balls, with molasses notes up front. The finish is sweet but it is balanced by a burnt acidity, the combination of the two is quite good. I also get notes of espresso and burnt raisins. This is pretty good, I haven't had one of these in years, and hopefully I will revisit this one sooner rather than later.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2004 16:26:04 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was quite a surprise. I knew the beer would be dark when I bought it but I hadn't noticed that it was in a clear bottle! When I picked it up I thought it was black or brown glass. It wasn't till I starting pour this that I noticed it was a clear bottle. So with that the color of the beer is very dark black. The head is tiny and its a brown color, it fades very fast. The aroma is of burnt sugar and malts, also heavily roasted. The flavor of this beer is reflective of the aromas. There is abig roasted malt kick and settles into a sweeter aftertaste. The mouthfeel was a little light I think, but overall this a pretty good brew.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2011 03:43:02 | More by Knapp85
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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 2,843 ratings.