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

Samuel Smith's Imperial StoutSamuel Smith's Imperial Stout

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2,843 Ratings

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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 AudioGilz


4.9/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

It's pitch ass black, defining the word opaque. A large two inch tan head forms and reduces to a thick coating which laces well. It presents itself like a perfect stout, and a perfect stout it is damn close to. The aroma is a strong concoction of roasted malts, vanilla, and chocolate. I get some dark fruits coming through as well, but vanilla stuck out the most. I love it! Super-smooth creaminess is the mouthfeel of this medium to full bodied brew. Strong flavors of burnt coffee and chocolate treat your palate, and then some hops come by for a quick stay in the finish. Warming alcohol is prevalent in the finish, a reminder of the strength of this brew. This is one heluva stout, simply put.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2003 22:40:21 | More by AudioGilz
Photo of dmarch


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

My perspective of Russian imperial stouts must me skewed a little bit since I'm used to drinking Storm King Stout and Old Rasputin, but this was still a wonderful beer. Black in color with a head that is about an eighth of an inch and diminishes to a very thin layer. Aroma of chocolate and coffee and the sweet taste of raisins come through in the taste.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2003 11:46:47 | More by dmarch
Photo of francisweizen


4.78/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is an extremely well-made Imperial Stout. This beer pours a super-dark, black with a nice off-white/tan, frothy head. The aromas are of chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and some hops in the background. The taste is all about the malts, chocolatty, caramelly, coffee-like, lucious! The mouthfeel is very thick, smooth and creamy and the drinkability is near-perfect. One of the greats!>Cheers to DrewS for the samples!,

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2003 07:45:39 | More by francisweizen
Photo of Running4beer


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

Pours out pitch black with a medium dark tan head that stays that way till the last drop. Lots of aromas to this, picked up some coffee, chocolate some raison and a smoke or roasted aroma in there as well. Tastes of some coffee, chocolate, little bit of raison and some malt. Mouthfeel with smooth and creamy with not much bitterness to it. This is a good beer but my favorite Sam Smith is still Oatmeal Stout.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2003 11:52:46 | More by Running4beer
Photo of nomad


4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a black juice with a light tan head that was very thick, wouldn't budge. Had a sweet thin coffee nose and beautiful malt that was roasted just enough - a soft and delicate but still strongly present smell. Beyond this base, it had a clean and clear nose, coming off as very fresh; other scents included a slight dry corn tone, fresh grass, and a tiny bit of fig.

It tasted a little more watery than most Imperial Stouts, but it helped make the beer quite refreshing. Hey, in the American market of ultra-hopped microbrews, a non-overbearing and cloying imperial stout is a nice thing! Sliding thin on the tongue, it had a very fruity bitterness in the front of mouth, but as bitterness rested it showed a little cream tone, too. Real good roasted malt flavor came through. A solid tasting all around.

While many American made Imperial Stouts are made by upping the hops or adding chocolate or doing whatever to make the beer as aggressive as possible, this beer is more straightforward and doesn't try too hard to be extreme or innovative. In other words solid in a good and classical feeling way. Leave it to Sammy Smith to show us how it can be done.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2003 15:30:24 | More by nomad
Photo of nixhecks

Rhode Island

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

I was looking for a special drink with a kick for this wednesday evening and I think I found it. Presented in a 1pt. 2 oz. bottle, clear glass. Poured a jet black with a frothy tan head that stayed and stayed. Aroma was remiscent of dark fruit lik raisons or figs, and also included coffee, smoke, cocoa, and roasted malt. The mouthfeel was extremely smooth, going down just like silk and low in carbonation. It tasted very bittersweet, toffee and roasted malts as well as cocoa and a smokey-charcoal taste. Excellent choice. The overall character is very complex, and this plus the heavy body make this a great beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2003 17:31:15 | More by nixhecks
Photo of Scooter77


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

This was the first Imperial Stout that I’d ever sampled and it’s still my favorite one of the style. Pours a deep, deep black color with a creamy tan head, which seems to stick around for the duration. A thick, sticky beige lace is left on the glass. Nose is full of malt, caramel, chocolate, and alcohol. The taste will give you a swift sucker-punch in the mouth. There are so many flavors, all mixed together. Chocolate, coffee, malt, and malt all seem to blend together perfectly. This is a highly enjoyable imperial stout.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2003 05:04:43 | More by Scooter77
Photo of canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

4.83/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This sample came from Hawaii as the B.C. liquor stores decided
not to stock this example of Samuel Smith , which is a shame
because this beer ranks among the best of its type.

The colour is black as a moonless night and the nose is treacly
and enticing. What really makes this beer excel is the rush of
coffee flavours entwined with a beautifully balanced malt/hop
combination. I had to sip slowly to appreciate what a complex
and drinkable beer this becomes. This just might be my favourite
stout with Rogue's Shakespeare Stout coming very close.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2003 14:19:54 | More by canucklehead
Photo of marburg


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

Ever have a great evening that peaks around midnight? A flurry of activity, a little alcohol, pitch black outside, etc? This beer is that night put neatly inside a bottle for your consumption.

The beer pours uber-black with a fluffy tan head that measures about a 1/4 inch in thickness. I often hold stouts to the light to catch the "real" color as the light shines through (eg, Guinness has that deep ruby red, etc), but this one was midnight, man. Just sheet darkness.

Lively, exciting aromas. Chocolate, prune juice, coffee...more or less a wacky latte. Tastes are comprised of much the same mix of fun, fabulous flavors. Chocolate, malt...leads into a light hop presence that tastes more like a smell -- if that makes any sense -- than a bitterness. A little roasted flavor lingers on the tongue afterwards. Nothing harsh, not too roasted or too strong.

Amazingly drinkable. There are certainly imperials that are higher in abv. But this one HAS to be rated high on its drinkability -- great taste and a slightly low alcohol content means you can drink all the more of it before you have to stop.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2003 06:33:20 | More by marburg
Photo of feloniousmonk


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 jeffboo


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

Twilight zone stout. A pretty shiny black color with a light brown top. Aroma was a subdued roasted malt with a hint of chocolate, much lighter than the Imperials I've been drinking. The flavor leaned toward chocolate and a little acidity,there was also a red wine flavor that seemed out of place (maybe a little oxidized?). It had a nice medium body that made it nice drinking and hid the alcohol well, but the finish was also shorter than others of the same ilk.Not overly impressed with this sample- I may have to revisit it soon.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2003 18:53:14 | More by jeffboo
Photo of Quaffer


3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: The room dimmed noticeably when I poured this light-absorbing beer into my glass. It was jet black. A dark tan head rose up huge thanks to an aggressive pour (Grrrrrr!). I sat back and waited for the head to subside. And waited . . . and waited some more. I went downstairs and refinished my kitchen floor. Came back up to a heady beer. I went outside and gapped the spark plugs in the car. Came back in to a heady beer. This thing just wouldn't go away! Finally, after I had reorganized my bedroom closet by color, the head dwindled into a manageable, dense layer over the top of the beer. At this point, it started to leave a hint of lace on the glass.

Smell: This was definitly a unique smelling brew. It had a semi-sweet smell of raisins, plums, and light smoke.

Mouthfeel: A very smooth, medium- to full-bodied beer. It had an oily, viscous feeling to it.

Taste: The aroma transferred right over into the flavor of this beer. There were hints of raisins and plums combined with fruitcake. There was also a big maltiness, but I felt its chewiness more than I really tasted it. Towards the finish there was a light smokiness and a bitterness that I could only taste way back in my mouth, almost in my throat.

This was my first time with this beer. It was okay and had some very nice qualities, but the flavor just wasn't my thing.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2003 17:55:09 | More by Quaffer
Photo of BeerBuilder


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

Pours completely black with a light brown head with good lacing. The aroma is alcoholic, chocolatey, raisiny, and malty. The flavors are roasty malt and chocolate with hints of coffee. The mouthfeel is amazing on this brew. It is smooth, creamy, and silky, like their Oatmeal Stout. This is an excellent full-bodied brew; a definite favorite.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2003 05:49:55 | More by BeerBuilder
Photo of Bruiser81


2.95/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a deep brown if not black with a two finger tan head that didn't stick around long. The nose was dominated by fruit, alcohol, and a little maltiness The taste was extremely sweet, almost like a sour sweet. It also had sort of an astringent taste but it wasn't good. The mouthfeel was medium, but I didn't like how it sat on the palate. I'm not sure what the word is maybe tannic? I was disappointed with this brew especially after all the good reviews. Maybe it was skunked. I've never had a skunked beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2003 18:11:34 | More by Bruiser81
Photo of NeroFiddled


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 Bierman9

New Hampshire

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

It's been over a year since I've tried one of these....
This stout pours inky-black, with nary a glimmer of light able to penetrate. Head lasts quite well, being a stable 1/4" thick, tan, finely-bubbled layer. Lacing coats the sides of the glass in fine fashion. Nose is an amalgam of malty sweetness, some chocolate, and dark fruit to boot, with probably an emphasis on the latter. It has a smooth, creamy feel on the tongue, yet I find it a bit thin for the style. That was the same fault I found with it in Dec '01, according to some old notes. Dark fruit flavors also meld with a smidge of bitter chocolate to form a rather tasty brew. Sweetness is the order of the day at kick-off, with some bitter character in mid-session, but by the last quarter a slightly fruity, dry character sets in.
Though I don't feel it has the full, rich flavor of some Imperials, it is highly drinkable nonetheless. Cheers!

overall: 4.35
appearance: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4.5


Serving type: bottle

02-06-2003 13:28:30 | More by Bierman9
Photo of Mitchster


4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Oily black brew with just a wisp of brown at the edges...forms a 1/4" dark tan head which thins but always leaves an insulating layer. Carbonation is mild to moderate with small bubbles. Aroma is raisins, prunes, toffee, semisweet chocolate, and dark maple syrup. Despite the clear bottle, there are no noticeable off aromas...smells great. Mouthfeel is slick and chewy. Taste is initially black licorice, dark molasses, prunes, dates and figs, fading into a somewhat unpleasant metallic tinge, followed by wine-ish notes, ending in a long, pleasant caramelized sugar sweetness. Hops are restrained, letting the complexities of the malts shine through. An enjoyable brew...incredibly easy to drink for an imperial stout (easy to put 3-4 of these away in one sitting), and a good source of calories when shoveling the snow out of your driveway on a windy winter night.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2003 14:34:09 | More by Mitchster
Photo of cbl2

New York

4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Perhaps my favorite beer of all time, Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout pours from the bottle almost pitch black with a nice quarter inch head that rapidly settles and laces the side of the glass.

The aromas that emanate from the chalice (I like to drink my stouts in chalices...) are malty and sweet, like molasses (with a little tar tossed in) and chocolate.

The flavors that fill your mouth upon tasting are heavenly: first sweet with the chocolate that was hinted in the aroma followed by coffee flavors, and a slightly bitter finish that lingers (if you don't immediately take another sip that is).

I would drink this everyday if it weren't so expensive. A must have if you've never tried it!!!

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2003 15:49:19 | More by cbl2
Photo of scottum


4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Mmmmmm stout!

Pours out very dark with a nice fluffy brown head. This is a nice beer. Dry and the taste blows one away. Me for one. Goes down smooth with no notable aftertaste. This is my first imperial stout and I am very impressed. This is certainly not the last of these to test my belly. More will follow; the sooner, the better.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2003 15:34:18 | More by scottum
Photo of UncleJimbo


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

This stout is very dark brown (almost black, with there are hints of red if held to the light). It pours to give very little foam head. There is only a trace of an aroma (not unusual for a stout). The taste was full with the flavors of bitter chocolate and coffee coming through the dark malt. Not much hop character. The mouthfeel is sweet and smooth, and the body is medium. The drinkability is good for this strong stout.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2003 21:20:13 | More by UncleJimbo
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh


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

Presentataion: Clear 12 oz bottle with foil-topped cap. Many statements as to the nobility of this beer.

Appearance: Dark...opaque. Like a black hole. No light passes through this beer. "Coffee with cream"-colored head that stubbornly refuses to leave any portion of the glass uncoated.

Aroma: Incredibly deep. Like smelling a chocolate bar and fresh-brewed coffee, this beer tantalizes the nose, revealing a hint of what the taste buds can expect.

Taste: Excellent. How does a beer taste this good? A complex assortment of flavors dance across the taste buds; roasted chocolate predominates. A very well-balanced beer that does its best to hide the alcohol content.

Mouthfeel: It wraps your taste buds in velvet. Creamy-smooth richness covers every square inch of your mouth.

Drinkability: How many can you buy? Not as assertive as the other stout I've tried (Victory Storm King), but I think that is a good thing. I've only recently started to try the stouts and this is a beer I could consume forever.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2003 16:24:28 | More by OldFrothingSlosh
Photo of philipt

North Carolina

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

Good stout turned up a notch versus your typical dry stouts.

Nearly black in color (one can catch a faint reddish tint if the light catches it right) with a a tan, no, light brown head. The head was rather small, but I believe that was due to my overly cautious pouring - used a smaller glass than normal. Roast malt in the nose. Taste was roasted malts, some chocolate, light hop spice. The alcohol is neatly disguised.

This is a solid beer worth every point in my rating.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2003 18:28:31 | More by philipt
Photo of JohnnyDuvel


4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've been able to try several terrific Imperial stouts, and Samuel Smith remains one of my favorites. I believe that it is one of the best balanced beers of the style (that I have tried). Goes down quite easy for a thick-bodied, 7% alcohol beer. Not too hoppy or malty. Pours extremely dark, good- sized head, some remains throughout. Notes of chocolate (but not overly so), and not too dry (as are some of the other highly regarded imperials). Most times I've had this beer, I've enjoyed it completely, however it may be adversely affected by the clear bottle.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2003 21:21:55 | More by JohnnyDuvel
Photo of Gusler


4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In my many beer conversations, many seem to think the quality of this brewery has slipped over the years, and that the clear bottles decreases its flavor. Well, of the hundreds of bottles of Samuel Smith’s Beers I’ve purchased, not one has been off; maybe I’m just lucky.

The jet-black typical stout color is so pleasant a site sitting in its chalice, with the portly head perched atop the black beauty. Creamy in its texture, chocolate brown in color and as it evaporates, leaves a magnificent sheet of lace to smother the glass. The aromas of a truly great Imperial Stout are unmistakable, rich roasted grain, bittersweet chocolate, fresh roasted coffee beans, lightly sweet, and an absolute treat to the senses. Ambrosial malt start, the top thick and creamy rich the finish has a nice crisp acidic bite, hops purposeful in their spiciness. Aftertaste is chocolate malt dry, and quite long lasting, and in my opinion, still one of the best "Stouts" on the "Beer market" today, as it was yesterday and as it will be tomorrow. This is one brewery that still loves its beer and the drinkers who buy their products.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2003 08:16:18 | More by Gusler
Photo of AtrumAnimus


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

Here is one good solid stout. Any stout lover will love this one. The maltiness and hopps are blended to perfection to offer a stout with a crisp clean finish. A little light on the nose but exceptional in quality. This is a highly quaffable stout and can go down so fasts you will be left wanting - more that is. Exceptional if you can find it on tap as well.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2002 08:14:08 | More by AtrumAnimus
Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 2,843 ratings.