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

1,734 Reviews
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Samuel Smith's Imperial StoutSamuel Smith's Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
United Kingdom (England) | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 02-27-2001

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Reviews: 1,734 | Ratings: 3,636
Photo of bobstockwell
4.44/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

jet black, tan head, Coffee,toffee, molasses, a delicious malty mouthfeel, I went to get Taddy Porter, but this called to me. I still prefer my founders breakfast stout, and rasputin's evil glare will continue to tempt me, but this is a damn good stout from the first "craft" beer company I remember buying, great balance, little low % for the style, but makes it more sessionable

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Photo of MacMalt
4.31/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into Samuel Smith Pint glass. It pours virtually jet black with a two-finger, foamy khaki-colored head and thick lacing. It smells of roasted malt, cocoa, dark coffee, molasses, and toffee. The taste largely follows the nose with lots of malt, burnt coffee, baker's chocolate, molasses, toffee, raisin, and a hint of hoppy bitterness. The tastes blend together very well and the stout sweetens as it warms in the glass. This stout is rather thin and lightly carbonated. With a manageable ABV of 7%, it is very drinkable for the style. Overall, this legendary Imperial Stout deserves its high rating. It is truly well crafted and enjoyable.

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

550 mL bottle from the LCBO; bottled Sept 2 2015 and served a little cooler than cellar temp. Last sampled in April 2014, though I neglected to write a review at the time.

Pours an opaque black-brown colour, crowned with just over a finger's worth of beige-coloured froth. It dissipates over the next couple of minutes, leaving behind a thin, filmy cap and a modest-sized collar. Minimal lace. Molasses and caramelized sugar are primary fixtures of the aroma, along with accompanying notes of milk chocolate, raisin, anise and cherry-flavoured red licorice candy. No complaints thus far.

And none are forthcoming - this is a very solid strong stout. Sweet flavours of treacle and caramel remain prominent, while roasted malt flavours of milk chocolate and coffee provide some much-needed complexity. Suggestions of prune-y dark fruit mid-sip. Herbal hops, roasted coffee astringency and some char/ash start to shine through on the back end, along with slight hints of alcohol and anise. Lingering roasty aftertaste with a bit of metallicity, and that's the only knock against this one that I can come up with here. Nearing full-bodied, with a silky-smooth, creamy and luxurious mouthfeel that makes this stout incredibly satisfying to sip. Not super-interesting, but the quality of this one's craftsmanship is undeniable.

Final Grade: 4.15, a worthy A-. If the original imperial stouts that were exported from Britain to Russia were anything like Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout... well then it's not hard to see why the Tsars were so keen on the stuff. Beer geeks who have been spoiled by the adjunct-laden "extreme" stouts that can be found across North America may not be overly impressed by this one, but screw them - that leaves more for the rest of us. If you are seeking out a classic-style RIS that focuses purely on the roasted malts, look no further.

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Photo of RacerX5k
4.54/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Great beer. Been a long time (too long) since I've enjoyed this complex, unique and completely delicious treat. Great value too at $4 550 ml (18.7 oz). Could you imagine drinking beer this good at $4 a pint plus any bar?

Well carbonated beer I prefer 1/2 filled in a large snifter, concentrating the look, aroma, bitterness and flavor. Chocolate and cocoa blend with a delightful lemony hop presence, perfectly balanced, silky smooth. As this warms the aroma actually gets deeper, more complex and so very rich.

Bottom line delicious,'complex, rich, bitter, sweet, hoppy malt flavor bomb, along with Anderson Valley's Bourbon Barrel Stout maybe the best 7% ABV beer in the world.

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Photo of sherillc
4.44/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the best stouts I've tasted. Has a lovely burnt chocolate and coffee aroma and flavour, along with plenty of malt and a nice bitterness on the finish. A beautiful stout.

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Photo of gordonthulu
4.86/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Did not pour because I have no fancy glasses, still I like the presentation. The foil was a bit much, it does not come off easily at all. Smells great, almost like raisins with some barley. Mouthfeel was excellent, exactly what I want from a beer with good carbonation. Tasted like dark chocolate married a Guiness and this was their love child. Honestly the best beer I've drank in 2016.

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Photo of Reema
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Serving type: 22 oz bottle poured into a shaker pint

Pours ebony black with mocha colored suds that persist until the end of the beer. Smell is of toasted bread, coffee, small prune-like sweetness, along with a slight charred scent. Taste reflects the smell. Bitter coffee, toasted bread, small prune or plum like flavors, that finishes with a nice smokiness. Feel is perfect, thick with just enough carbonation to not be flat. Overall, this is a pleasant stout with great taste and aromas.

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Photo of stevoj
4.44/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Another beer worthy of its reputation. Velvety smooth, pours black with a thick, creamy beige head. Aroma of roasted grains, black coffee, burnt toast. Taste is initially sharply bitter, mellowing to sweet dark chocolate. Easily drinkable, but also complex. High praise!

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Photo of 911CROFT
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

355ml bottle into a Snifter. Paid £1.99 for a single bottle.

Pours an opaque, pitch-black body that remains unchanged when held to the light. A two-finger in height, bubbly, dark-tan coloured head gradually reduces to a dense cap, leaving behind delicate bands of fine lacing,

The nose leads with a mixture of sweet, dark fruity esters, lightly roasted dark malts and a touch of soy sauce. Impressions of wood, smoke and earth all follow, along with a little rum-like alcohol detectable in the finish. The taste roughly follows suit. Moderately sweet darks fruits and a hint of raw cane sugar lead, before transitioning to lightly roasted dark malts. Mid palate the roast profile slightly intensifies, and is joined by mildly acidic coffee notes and touches of smoke and wood. In the mouth a medium to full body and excellent carbonation give a smooth, slick and slightly chewy feel. Towards the finish, pleasantly light bitter herbal hops combine with lingering roast and coffee profiles to slightly dry the palate and balance a tiny amount of residual sweetness.

Overall this is a very good beer. It’s certainly well crafted, enjoyable to drink and excellent value for money, but compared to others in the style, ultimately, just a little pedestrian.

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown, near full black. Small head with limited lacing. Nose is full of sweet caramel and fudge, as well as roasted notes. Flavor is mild but full of pleasant stouty stuff. Less roasty toasty notes, and more chocolate and dark fruit. Mouthfeel is harsh from rough over carbonation. Overall, a very good beer that was hurt by the rough feel and would have been great with a more creamy feel.

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Photo of kevinlater
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

550ml bottle into snifter. bottled sep 2 2015, consumed dec 23 2015

a: black with a nice dark chestnut hue at the bottom of the glass. light brown head

s: huge fudge, milk chocolate, and caramel with hints of prunes and licorice

t: sweet fudge, prune sweetness, milk chocolate. a bit of woody, roasted coffee flavour. moderate bitterness

m: medium/medium-minus feel, carbonation is a bit prickly. good drying feeling at the end

o: a really delicious ale. far from the roast bomb that most imperial stouts these days are, but still packs a bunch of flavour

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Photo of Ksmoove27
3.96/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look - black oil with a light chocolate head that dissipates quickly...spotty lacing

Smell - Can't really call this one...perhpas my sniffer was broke tonight...perhaps it's a great hodgepodge of the flavors below.

Taste -of course, roast malt...expresso, dark chocolate and perhaps a hint of burnt sugar or smokiness...I couldn't pinpoint the added flavor until I realized there were notes of licorice..perhaps a little raisin....not much sweetness to this beer...some would see this as complex

Feed - Medium to heavy bodied...mild carbonation

Overall - Not my favorite Imperial Stout...perhaps its the licorice notes...onions and black licorice are my kryponite...I'd much prefer Founders, Old Rasputin, Yeti to name a few others

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.96/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

550 ml bottle served at cellar temperature and served into a Sam Smith's pint glass. Purchased for about $5 CDN from the LCBO. Seemed like a good beer for my 800th review.

Appearance - pours and ominous brown and virtually black coloured beer. Big three plus fingers of tan head with impressive retention. Some sticky tan lacing glazes around the sides of the glass.

Smell - chocolate mainly but some light fruity esters and some grainy notes too. Complex with the notes but straightforward in execution if that makes any sense. A little bit too metallic to be honest which doesn't jive with the rest of the beer.

Taste - a little chocolate with some subtle coffee suggestions. Maybe a hint of vanilla too to give it a slight mocha like characteristic. A touch of smoke and ash, with some woodsy tastes too. And initially a tiny metallic twang. Pretty good and balanced flavours leave one sip different from the next.

Mouthfeel - smooth and creamy, full bodied yet dangerously drinkable with just the right amount of carbonation. While many Russian imperial stouts are huge and full bodied and delicious, they aren't exactly the easiest beer to drink all day. However with the lower ABV, this imperial stout certainly is.

Overall - awesome feel, easy to drink, plenty flavourful, what else could you be looking for.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.96/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at the LCBO for $4.95 for a 550ml bottle. Served at 10deg C in a draught glass.

A- Opens well and pours a 2" high brown head that lasts for around 4-5mins before film out. Very dark brown colour

S- Not much here but metallic. Bet you it's mass produced in stainless steel vats.

T- Not bad. Has smokiness and chocolate but very subdued. It's a good blend but not great. Do enjoy malt backbone.

M- Not the best but it does have some creaminess

O- Nice blend. Will buy again which is not typical for me and mass produced beer which I generally call swill. For the price and what you get it's a winner.

Food Pairing

This pretty good brew went rather well with......... Roasted lamb leg. Cinnamon, fennel seed, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, clove, sugar, salt, pepper and thyme. The cinnamon are sticks that you slice and put into the leg. Braze and into the oven 325deg F for 20mins per pound for medium rare.


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Photo of Benish
3.61/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: poured into snifter glass. Jet black with a little translucence. Foamy head formed with light brown in color.

Smell: interesting. Smells almost like a cinnamon roll that came out of the oven. Except its a little moldy. Weird description but thats what comes to mind.

Taste: sweet chocolate and notes of coffee. Its like drinking a sweetened latte. There's a little bit of tartness at the end. No bitterness throughout. What I taste is different from what I smell.

Mouthfeel: light to medium bodied. Nothing significant about this.

Overall: The smell is what makes it different than the other imperial stouts. It's different but it's hard to get past that moldy smell. **Side note: this was purchased at a Utah State liquor store. They don't follow the best practices in storing beer. Considering this is an import, there could have been some unintentional changes in the flavor profile.

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Photo of J30wang
4.69/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Tastes phenomenal. Brings you through a spectrum from smokey to creamy with a nice hint of chocolate in the background. This is a very well developed stout--it doesn't push too hard. Cradles you right into it's comforting arms...no flares, no gimmicks; just down to earth stuff.

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Photo of vandeir_bochi
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Corpo denso! Sabor café mais intenso, chocolate ao fundo! Aroma pouco alcoólico, mas com presença do malt torrado! Pouca presença de lúpulos no aroma, mas amargôr bem intenso, pra uma inglesa!

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Photo of Spiff
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Spiff and friends took a trip to England with this imperial stout. We've learned we are not fans of Russian stouts so hearing that this beer from Tadcaster has taken Russian nobles to great heights has us Concerned. We have let it reach 50 degrees so here goes. Pleasantly Dark. Smell is rich and Carmelized sweet. Taste. Definitely not Russian so for us that's good. But the taste is not as sweet as smell. A dry chocolate. Thin in the mouth with a mid mouth carbonation bite but a smooth finish down the gullet. The taste is simple and not rich. Overall slightly disappointed hoping for more body but nothing to gripe about. Would order in A pub if all they had was Guinness and murphys and enjoy it but not in our top 25.

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Photo of tedvr
4.34/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours very dark with a thin caramel head. Smells are of raisins. chocolate and malt. Tastes are raisins with a nice chocolate finish. Mild carbonation with a great after taste. Nice depth with lots of flavors.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Jeez, these guys brew consistently amazing stuff. Dark brown, near black with quickly disappearing top poured in a snifter. Candy caramel and toffee on the nose. Rich, velvety dark cocoa flavors among some roasted quality of the malt. Remarkably smooth, with slightly sweet lingering taste. Wow.

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Photo of beerboy21
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Black. Dark rum, chocolate, and lactose in the nose. Chocolate (semi-sweet) and lactose in the taste. Hard to believe this is certified as vegan. Really wish they'd put their stuff in brown bottles.

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Photo of ritwingr
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Wonderful Russian Stout. Dark brown almost black, with a dense two inch head that retains nicely....though leaves only spotty lacing

Aroma is overwhelmingly caramel with a faint nits if cherry. Taste is caramel with a pleasant hint of burnt toast on the finish.


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Photo of Glanzman
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black with a 2-3 fingered tan head.

Wonderful aroma of rich chocolate, coffee and caramel malts.

Looked great, smelled great, but the taste killed me. Had a bit of a "medicine" taste to it. Slightly improved as it warmed up to room temp but not too much. The feel... felt a bit thin.

I may purchase another ($3.99 for a 1 pint, 2.7 ounce bottle at local grocery store) and let it age a bit to see if this helps.

Served in a pint glass.

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Photo of FrothFanatic
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Not as good as Samuel Smith's organic Chocolate Stout, but it pours an excellent dark black creamy body with minimal bronze head. The aroma is profound, quite remarkable how strong the chocolate, nutty, coffee notes greet you, when the taste is not as bold. Still a very tasty stout, Samuel Smith is my favorite brewery for stouts and porters. Delicious!

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Photo of TheBeerMaster1
3.65/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A very nice stout. Very chocolatey and had a very smooth, chocolate milk like after taste. Had some caramel and molasses to it as well. I feel like they are a few ingredients away from making it awesome, as I wasn't impressed with its overall depth in flavor, but it is still something I'd consider buying again.

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 1,734 ratings.