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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 BrownAleMale


3.3/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pint bottle poured into a Gulden Draak tulip glass.

Appearance- Pitch black in color with brownish khaki head that sits at about 2 fingers and leaves nice lacing.

Smell- Raisins and piney hops with some chocolate and smoke.

Taste- Coffee and chocolate with a bit of tart hops on the backend. Something is just not working for me. I think some more toastyness would have created a better balance.

Mouthfeel- Nice heavy mouthfeel with proper carbonation. Seems somewhat watery though as far as imperial stouts go.

Overall- Not a bad beer, but for me it's on the lower end against other good imperial shouts that I've had. I was especially disappointed because I consider Sam Smith oatmeal stout to be world class.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2012 18:16:52 | More by BrownAleMale
Photo of Dools9


3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into nonic pint

A: Jet black, very dark. Thick light brown pillowy head retains forever and leaves excellent lacing.

S: Lots of dark fruits, I get something that reminds me of figs and raisins. Theres light hints of chocolate. Decent amout roasted malts, light toffee and light coffee notes come through. Mostly dominated by dark fruit and sweet mollases.

T: Rich roasty malts, sweet mollases, light dark chocolate and hints of smoke. Bitterness is there but not overpowering. Definitely getting alot of dark fruit, plums and raisins mostly. Different but I like it.

M: Lighter bodied for a RIS. Its very smooth and theres no alcohol detected.

O: Very nice, different than previous RIS's that I've had but very easy drinking. Can see why this is so highly rated. Maybe not my favorite imperial stout, but well crafted.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2012 00:46:10 | More by Dools9
Photo of micromaniac129


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

Pours a deep dark auburn ruby brown with a small mocha head. Looks rather ordinary.

Aroma is rich and robust chicory malts with some stewed dark fruits topped with candied sugar.

Taste is rich and robust like the nose, but also tastes thin and watery upfront. The backend is smooth and creamy with a hint of molasses or licorise.Flavorful yes and different then today's standard hop driven imp. stoudts.
Maybe thats what people are thinking about.
Pair it with some Jethro Tull in particular A New Day Yesterday. You'll get the idea son.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2012 16:49:02 | More by micromaniac129
Photo of freditoj


2.9/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Very dark color, like a 2 inch head.

Smell - Malty.

Taste - Like soy sauce. I don't know if my beer was bad. When it was served the owner of the store told me it was frozen and gave it to me for free. I understand the beer was damaged.

Mouthfeel - The taste is heavy and strong.

Overall - Don't know what all the fuss is about.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2012 21:40:26 | More by freditoj
Photo of Zraly


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

Poured into a CCB snifter. Opaque, thick black with a mocha head. Delicious smell of roasted barley and coffee.

Rich roasted malt flavors with a heavy backdrop of chocolate and smoke. Raisin undertones. Very subtle, floral-like notes round out the mouthfeel. Bitter but so smooth and silky. Mouthfeel is bliss -- medium-heavy with a creaminess that dries down nicely.

Much stronger stouts might bring more alcohol or more "edge" (read: coffee, barrel aged), but this is just pure smoothness and quality taste from solid beer-making skills. You can't front on that.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2012 00:55:54 | More by Zraly
Photo of stephenjmoore


4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- Pitch black with thin tan head that leaves good retention.

S- Black licorice is the first thing I notice along with some roasted malt.

T- A little sweeter than I expected, with the roasted malts coming through on the finish. Anise and licorice are noticeable, but not overpowering. I taste more vanilla than chocolate too.

M- Great mouthfeel, smooth, velvety, drinkable.

O- A different flavor than most RIS's, very good.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2012 00:51:55 | More by stephenjmoore
Photo of angrybabboon

Rhode Island

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

Consumed 8/22/12

Appearance: Pours dark brown, a bit light for modern iterations of this style, but whatever - starts with a creamy beige head, fades to a little ring, leaves minimal lacing

Smell: Sweet malts and burnt chocolate - caramel, toffee, dry chocolate malts, burnt notes, some grainy sweetness, and some dark fruits - some dark chocolate, nuts, and some English hops

Taste: A nice balance of sweet and burnt - caramel, toffee, molasses, dark fruits (figs, cherries, raisins), and some sweet chocolate - nuts, soy sauce, and some char - some minerality, something that tastes like oats - complex, but not in a typical, burly RIS way

Mouthfeel: On the heavy side of medium, very smooth and creamy, nicely carbonated

Overall: A unique stout

This is sweet for an RIS, but not in a boozy way. The sweet flavors are interesting, and they work well with the burnt malts. This is definitely not an American-style RIS, but it's great for what it is.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2012 05:54:20 | More by angrybabboon
Photo of DocJitsu


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

Pours a very dark brown translucent, nearly black with a gorgeous, rich, dark taupe colored foamy head. Head retains well, but eventually subsides to a persistent 1/8" cap. The aroma consists of banana, honey, sorghum, chocolate, and roasted malt. The mouthfeel is full, smooth, thick, but not viscous, and compliments the beer very nicely. Flavors of honey and banana up front. Sorghum appears second and never dissipates. Rather, it bitters with the expression of the hop alpha acid. Some sweetness still occurs as the beer cascades down the sides of the tongue. There's just the least little bit of that liquid medicine flavor that keeps this beer from being perfect. It is a great beer though. Very British.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2012 03:03:02 | More by DocJitsu
Photo of ruckus232


4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

18.7 Ounce brown bottle poured into a stein

Appearance: Dark brown, not heavily carbonated but with large amounts of tan head

Smell: Slightly toasted scent with a sweeter fruit smell, maybe raisin

Taste: Starts out sweet malty and fruity and then changes into a slight bitterness but not overwhelming. Finishes off with just a mild mix of both of those flavors.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2012 00:07:49 | More by ruckus232
Photo of williamjbauer

West Virginia

4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottled served in a pint glass

A - Dark brown with a 2 finger fluffy tan head with excellent head retention and good lacing

S - Strong dark chocolate and a touch of roasted coffee

T - A chocolate forward stout, very well done.

M - Full bodied, moderate carbonation.

O - Very good stout, could drink this anytime. Especially nice winter beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2012 14:14:18 | More by williamjbauer
Photo of Greywulfken

New York

4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: motor oil pitch with dark tan head; modest lacing

S: crisp, clean roasted chocolate malt

T: smooth and bittered chocolately malt, not overly sweet - very classy; interesting dryness as it finishes - almost like a wine

M: not too heavy - a relatively thin body (for a RIS) with a real nice milky creaminess; wonderful dark, smooth bitter aftertaste

O: a very refined stout, and much to my personal liking, being a fan of well-balanced RISs - more toward the dry end than the sweet, richly flavored without being too filling or heavy

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2012 03:32:31 | More by Greywulfken
Photo of Hoppsbabo

United Kingdom (England)

5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Black body with a sexy beige head.

S: Has a cointreau-like pungency. Smokey.

T: Absolutely divine. Cointreau-like, but without the oranges, if that works. Smokey with sweet coffee. Getting dried figs as it warms. Lemonade and smokey bitterness in the finish.

M: Drinks like a good barleywine. Very smooth and full bodied.

O: I don't normally get excited about stout but this is one of the best beers I've ever had. It gets better every time I drink it. God I love beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2012 09:21:23 | More by Hoppsbabo
Photo of Kegatron


4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a deep cola brown, with a couple fingers of milk chocolate head. This retains with a nice looking thin creaminess, leaving back a thick cascade of lacing that hangs in sticky rings around the sides of the glass. The aroma smells of coffee, chocolate, toffee, ripe earthy citrus, dark fruit and just a smidge of alcohol. This has a nice smoky twang in the nostrils.

The taste is more of the same, with smoky roasted coffee flavor, dark fruit, chocolate, tangy caramel notes and earthy green citrus. The overall flavor profile here is equal parts ripe stickiness and bitter roast on the palate. This is dry and burnt feeling on the finish. The mouthfeel is fuller to full bodied, with some crispness on the tongue that then gives way to a big chewy thickness that fills the mouth. The alcohol presence is very well hid, with just a touch of spicy dryness that lingers on the tongue a bit after each sip.

This is one of those beers that after you finally have it, you wonder where it’s been the whole time! This was just a really nice take on an English Imperial Stout with a well balanced complexity to it and a solid chewy feel in the mouth that feels bitter than its only 7% ABV. I will be returning to this down the road.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2012 14:27:50 | More by Kegatron
Photo of Reaper16


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

12oz. bottle served into a nonic pint glass

Pours a nice deep dark brown color. It's definitely brown, especially at the edges. Lots of head on this beer (which makes sense, given that this is only a 7% ABV beer), light beige and voluminous. Lovely lacing, too.

This beer has all of the flavor notes that a straight-up Imperial Stout should have, only in more balance and subtlety than in most renditions of the style. You've got roasted coffee aromas, dark chocolate aromas, notes of blackcurrant, and a vanilla bean component.

The taste follows the nose. There's lots of brown malts here, supplemented by roasted notes. More chocolate and vanilla than coffee on the palate. Dark fruits on the back end.

The mouthfeel is quite full and creamy for a 7% ABV beer. There are American IPAs (not even Double IPAs) that have more alcohol than this beer, but aren't as full in the mouth. Overall, this is a lovely beer. A staple of the style.

Pro-tip: drink this beer with creme brulee. It is one of the finest food pairings you will ever have.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2012 03:23:57 | More by Reaper16
Photo of The_1084

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

A - Pours a shade of black with a nice mocha colored head, roughly 1 finger in width.

S - Has the aroma of fruit and wine with hints of dark chocolate and coffee.

T - Starts with a sweet fruity taste, about mid-drink the flavors of dark chocolate present themselves, and finishes with a bitter coffee taste. A very nice balance of flavor.

M - Thick and creamy with a clean finish.

O - This is not only a great stout, but a great beer in general. I plan on drinking more of these in the future and would highly recommend this to all beer enthusiasts.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2012 06:35:09 | More by The_1084
Photo of TheRealBigC


3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I hate to not write a glowing review for this beer, but for me it's just not as rich, full-bodied or aromatic as the best imperial stouts I've had. I mean, it's still a smooth, tasty beer. I like it. It's just that when I compare it to Old Rasputin or Stone, this one just doesn't bring as much to the table. It's all the same basic components, just not as strong and not as full. A fantastic introductory Russian Imperial, and perhaps I'll try it again sometime and realize all I'm missing. But today, it's just a really solid brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2012 04:40:46 | More by TheRealBigC
Photo of rangerred


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

11.2 oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours pitch black with a half finger dark tan head. Head recedes to a ring around the edge of the glass and leaves decent lacing.

Aroma of dark fruit; figs and raisins, coffee, and dark roasted malt. Also a little bit of lighter citrus.

The flavor is an amazing mix of fruit and roasted malt. Plenty of dark fruit along with coffee and dark chocolate. Roasted malt is prominent but not close to being overpowering. Some earthy hops also sneak through which is a little odd for a RIS but works really well here. The finish is clean and crisp, not at all sweet and sticky.

This is one of my all-time favorite beers. While it is on the light side for an Imperial Stout, it packs tons of flavor and is incredibly drinkable. I could really have a couple of these in a sitting without tiring of the flavor. A world-class beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2012 01:37:54 | More by rangerred
Photo of fountainofyouth

District of Columbia

3.5/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16.9 oz bottle into a pint glass. Before I even comment on the categories above, I just want to say the beer SOUNDS good -- like pouring a fresh bottle of wine.

Appearance: HUGE light brown head and deep, impenetrably brown body.

Smell: It kinda smells like wine too, like a chocolate wine. Not totally in a good way -- too much booze. Besides the booze is sweet brown malt and no discernible hops.

Taste: The taste definitely follows the nose, although slightly more pleasantly so. It is a bit "grapey." There's a good mix of dark barley, plenty of sugar, a little booze, and maybe a hint of English hops. Nice, but not mindblowing.

Mouthfeel: It's got a good, full feeling and a good dose of carbonation. The alcohol is warm, but not hot, and kinda trails into the back of the mouth.

Overall: It didn't really have the depth I wanted. It's good, but I feel like it's trying to mimic to the flavor palette of oak-aged stouts too much. It's too sweet, not really balanced out by anything except a touch of alcohol.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2012 00:52:42 | More by fountainofyouth
Photo of greenmonstah

New Hampshire

3.63/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

550 mL bottle into HF tulip glass

A - Black in color with a 1.5 finger light brown head. Great retention, the head lasts a long time.

S - Roasted malts, sweet dark raisin and fig, bit of anise.

T - Lots more of the licorice. Plus fig and dark chocolate and toffee. Not exactly my style.

M - Medium body, kinda chewy. Sticky and a bit dry.

O - Overall an OK imperial stout, but not one I will be looking for in the future. Pretty disappointed by this average beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2012 22:36:49 | More by greenmonstah
Photo of jonb5

United Kingdom (England)

3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

355ml bottle, poured into Leffe chalice, jet black, opaque, no head, tanned lacing around the edges which hung around. Smelled coffee beans and slightly of fruits. Tasted malt, coffee, bourbon, dark chocolate, raisins and cream. Booze well hidden. Long espresso finish. Minimal carbonation, very smooth, medium body. Liked the feel of the beer and the way it hid the booze, but I wasn't blown away. Guinness on steroids.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2012 10:12:35 | More by jonb5
Photo of RTEdmunds

New Hampshire

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

Thick khaki colored head, and nearly opaque/black in color. Head is robust and the lacing looks nice. Very appealing

Smells like dark fruits and roastyness up front, followed by chocolate and coffee. Complex and well balanced.

Rich malty flavors that I did not expect from the nose. Good balance of sweetness versus bitterness. Coffee, chocolate, and plum notes are in the background.

Creamy, but not overly. Alcohol is present as it warms but is not overpowering, and it is full bodied with medium carbonation.

This is a stupendous beer, one of my favorites by Samuel Smith's. Definitely recommend it

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2012 16:24:51 | More by RTEdmunds
Photo of coreyfmcdonald


4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours pitch black with a finger of dense light brown head. Slowly recedes to a film atop the beer.

S: Huge dark fruits in this beer, more than any imperial stout I've ever smelled. It smells more like a quad to me. Underneath that, I get toffee and a bit of roast. I also get some nuttiness from the typical English yeast I'm used to from Samuel Smith's.

T: This is like three different beers up front, in the middle, and in the aftertaste - very complex and interesting. The English yeast is much more apparent here, particularly at the front of the beer. I get quite a bit of nuttiness and a bit of sour up front. This quickly turns to roasted malts, prunes, and dark chocolate. The finish is all smoke and dark chocolate. Very interesting and tasty, but I find myself wanting a bit more flavor, probably from being used to the American versions of this style. No hint of ABV.

M: Medium bodied with fairly creamy carbonation. Above average.

O: This is a very interesting beer. Like I said when explaining the taste, it's almost like three separate beers. I'm generally not a fan of the yeast Samuel Smith's uses (and I'd still like to try this beer with a different yeast), but I like this beer quite a bit. Very complex, very tasty.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2012 01:51:24 | More by coreyfmcdonald
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - pitch black with a huge, cascading brown head that is dense, foamy, and creamy, and it has great retention

S - chocolate, roasted malts, black licorice

T - chocolate, big dark fruit flavors, black licorice, roasted malts

M - smooth, well carbonated, medium to full bodied

This is different from most of the other RIS's I've had. The dark fruit flavors are very forward with an old ale or barleywine characteristic. The usual RIS notes are present but more subdued than I'm used to. It wasn't a bad beer, but there are better RIS's out there.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2012 00:50:25 | More by tdm168
Photo of PorterLambic


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

Pours a luxuriously dark brown with the faintest amount of light penetration. Beautiful hot chocolate foam head. Retention isn't so great but maintains a thickish film.
Smell is AMAZING. Rich with malt, oak, the full fruitcake full of dark fruits, rum & wheat, soy, peat. Hugely complex and fantastic balance.
Taste is smoky, toasted malts, soy, fruitcake, peat and licorice. Again, great balance and complexity.
Full bodied, smooth like silk across the tongue. Light effervescence. This beer is well deserving of its high rating.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2012 02:43:34 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of heygeebee


4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours one finger black body. Coarse tan head dies to film.

Aromas to die for. Complex, contains cream, chocolate, christmas cake, rum/raisins, sherry.

Taste could not live up to smell. Somewhat light in body and taste. Moderate bitterness builds. More chocolate/cream than other aroma elements.

Mouthfeel quite light for style. Medium bdoied. Light carbonation.

Excellent big beer, but doesn't push drinkability boundaries. I suspect would do well with a year in my cellar.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2012 11:18:19 | More by heygeebee
Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 2,843 ratings.