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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: 3,635
Photo of PudTinkler
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have yet to have a Samuel Smith beer that wasn't near perfection, regardless of style. This is no exception. This is not the highest-alcohol imperial stout you will find, but it is high quality. One of the smoothest stouts...as dark as one can find..I've often wondered why it would be in a clear bottle. Definitely a sipping beer...worthwhile to seek out, as all of this brewer's treasures are.

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Photo of mschofield
4.77/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pure opaque black, topped with a two finger small bubbled chocolate head, leaves bits of webbed lace.
Chocolate, raisin and alcohol aroma.
Coffee, dark chocolate, raisin and other dark fruits, anise and grape in the taste, roasted malt with burnt edges, toasted biscuit.
A complicated classic beer
Full feel, acrid, with a bit of an alcohol bite, but still smooth.

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Photo of coasterfreak75
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour was pitch black with a good one and one half inch head that slowly dissapated and left a light ring around the edge of the beer. The thick head was a nice beige color. Like my son said the top is brown and the bottom is black.

The smell was very thick and strong. Very strong and acidic. Only as it warmed did the chocolate overtones start to show up.

The taste started with very strong malt sweetness followed by an acidic middle with a finish of alchohol and lingering chocolate and malt.

This would make a great sipping beer to sit around with friends and discuss the merits of life with. I have one extra bottle, I think I'll put it away for about a year and revisit this one.

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Photo of Rastacouere
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown body with a finely laced beige head, short-lasting. Aroma is very malty, full of dark chocolate, very roasty with coffee notes. A good hops mariage complement it all. I don't get much fruitiness in the aroma, but in mouth, there's plenty of them, lots of blackberries and plums. Mouthfeel is full, more carbonation than most. This possesses one of the most balanced roastiness I've met in the dry, almost smokey finish. Alcohol appears more and more as it warms, I'd have thought this is higher than 7%, I guess they sure didn't want to make it weak, it worked. Very full-flavoured and pleasant. Refined and less acid than most american renditions. Cheers to Matta for sending this a few decades ago!

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

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Photo of DPMomutant
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours the standard (but beautiful) stout pitch black. Head is a surprising 2 fingers, kind of creamy but bubbly on the side. Takes a little while to go down, some sticks to the side. A little swirl produces a few more bubbles that come up more light red than anything.

A very pleasing toasty malt and fruit smell comes from this brew. This strives to let you know it's there but is wonderfully subtle, just strong enough to get your nose interested.

The taste is a combination of toasty malt, lightly sweet fruit, and dark cocoa. Stimulating without being dominant.

The mouthfeel, while warming, does a great job of masking the 7% ABV. Not harsh in any way at all.

For a stronger beer, I find this very drinkable. A bunch of these would knock you silly but a few would be very enjoyable. I had planned to only have one tonight but I'm thinking about another.

I haven't had the chance to compare this to any of it's higher ABV rivals but I find this one to be the best of any type of stout I've had and it makes me want to try more.

If you've never had a stout before, have this one.

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Photo of Southernbrew
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a khaki head that stays around forever.

Aroma full of fruits, coffee, rum, molasses. Awesome, so much to take in.

Medium body, so smooth. Rum flavors mixed with fruit up front move to a coffee flavor with a light alcohol flavor. Molasses show up in the finish and leave a sweet-alcohol aftertaste.

This is my first imperial stout and it is nothing short of awesome. My only concern is this is as good as it gets.

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Photo of soper2000
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, I love this beer! This is what made me a Sam Smith fan for life. It pours a gorgeous jet black color with a tan head. Smell is full of dark fruit and roasted malt. There's a lot of taste to this beer. Some raisins, roasted malts, and coffee. It goes down smooth and creamy but i love to take my time with this one making sure it is at room temp before the last drop hits the back of my tongue. This is definately one of my favorite imperial stouts.

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
4.16/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick, heavy, darkest of browns and fills the glass in a general air of excitement. A chocolate brown head floats atop this milky, dark beer.

Smell is mild - malty, buttery with alcohol.

Taste is a dark, bitter chocolate with malts - there is an obvious mocha aftertaste here. The overall texture is milky and heavy/thick.

This is an excellent beer.

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Photo of Suds
4.49/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The pour on this brew presents an essentially black liquid topped with a brownish, frothy head. The aroma is an experience unto itself: Roasted barley, toasted malts, caramel, coffee, chocolate, ethanol, caramelizing sugar, and ripe plums. It’s simply a phenomenal smell!! Taste is solidly roasted barley with a heavy hoppiness and syrupy sweetness. Coffee-like bitterness, considerable heft (and almost chewy-ness), low carbonation contribute to the character of the beer. Bitterness and sweetness are very well balanced. Alcohol is mildly present in the aroma, but not predominant in the taste. This one’s a classic.

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Photo of bewley
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I think this beer goes very well with a spicy beef curry. I think it would also go well with chocolate. This is quite sophisticated, yet smooth. I can see why it gets all the hype and kudos.

I wish I were one of "Her Majesty's Forces" just to drink this for free on a daily basis. In 1896 this was awarded a gold medal (according to the label). Yep, this is good stuff.

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Photo of Trentonator
4.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am not usually a big fan of stouts (they tend to be bitter or heavy), but after trying this for the first time, I have to say wow! This beer is so incredibly smooth and drinkable, and has a wonderfully soft mouthfeel. There are so many complex flavors and yet this brew is velvety smooth going down. The smell is intoxicating even before your mouth touches that chocolatey dark goodness. I will be keeping a few of these around, this is the best Stout I have ever had.

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Photo of Sammy
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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Photo of rkhaze
4.92/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours out black with a little dark mahogany escaping the edges. Small, thick creamy head. Smells of dark roasted malt, sweet chocolate, coffee, some red fruits and a bit of licorice. It had an almost vinuous aroma.
Tastes of sweet roasted malt, espresso, milk chocolate, red fruit, burnt brandy and black licorice. Wonderfully balanced with a pleasant bitterness, a smidge of salt and a lingering wisp of smoke. Just an outstanding melding of great flavors!
Medium bodied but a little light for the style. Lower in alcohol and lacking that viscous mouthfeel I love about Imperials. That being said...what a mouthfeel! One of, if not THE creamiest, velvety smooth beers I've ever had. Perfect amount of carbonation leads to the easiest and best drinking Imperial on the market. IMHO.
An outstanding Imperial worthy of the hype!

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Photo of NJpadreFan
2.6/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Samuel Smith has a few good offerings out there but this is NOT 1 of them.

Sam Smith Imperial Stout poured black with a thick creamy head that would not quit. The smell is of toasty roasted coffee and chocolate. I also detect an alcohol odor present. The taste was BLAHHHH! Sweet and bitter. The bitterness and alcohol taste made this seem like oven cleaner or some other nasty house cleaning item! Ughh... I honestly think someone poisoned me!

Sorry Sam Smith fans ( I honestly like the oatmeal stout, and organic lager) this is one beer "Her Majesty's Forces" can keep!!

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Photo of Ieatlambfries
4.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The appearance of this Imperial was exceptional in my opinion. Not only was it an opaque opal color, but, it also had a nice 2 finger dark tan head that just lingered. It looked so darn good. Even when the head did start to go down it left a curtain of lace that would then form perfect rings around my glass. This was a visual 5, no doubt about it. The smell was excellent as well. A caramel nuttiness, with plenty of roasted malts and coffee notes. To me it's a similar smell to the Taddy Porter. The taste was of burned caramel, roasted espresso beans and roasted sweet malts. It also had the sweetness of burned fruits, raisons, and dates. The mouthfeel, although very good, was a bit thinner than I expected. Again, not bad at all, but from the richness of the rest of the experience I expected a bit more body. Very drinkable, the exceptional taste of this Imperial makes you wish winter would last a bit longer so you could squeeze a few more sessions in around the fire place.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.51/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ok can't believe I havent had this classic before. Comes in the usual clear Sam Smith pint bottle..
This is athe classic looking stout..black for the most part though mahogany accents round the edges appear when its held to the light..lovelly tan head..great looking lace.
The smell is dominated by the roasted, toasty malts, sweet black fruits, slightly milky.
Sweet when it first hits the tongue then a lemon rind bitter zestiness seems to clean that off the palate..then the esspresso coffee bitterness takes over..with creamy undertonesfinishes of with a nice hop kick at the back of the throat..alcohol is barely tastable.
An adventure for the taste buds, excellent on the palate.
ASn exceptionally drinkable Imperial Stout..maybe lower in alcohol than many others nowadays..but its big on taste and character.

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Photo of TinusTime
4.53/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a shade of black as dark as a starless night. Nice 2 fingered tan head that lasts for a good long while and laces well. The aromas are of a bit of bitter chocolate, strong coffee and a bit of brandied dried fruits. Taste is echoed.. Nice espresso roasted coffee notes in the taste with the chocolate and dried fruits adding some depth. This is one tasty treat. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with only a bit of the alcohol showing through. Drinkability is high for a stout of this stature and magnitude. One of the best you can find. One can only imagine the number of foods this beauty could pair with. Have one of these with dessert instead of coffee.

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Photo of stewart124
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a pitch black with a huge tan head. Very fluffy head that leaves a beautiful lace. Aroma is of espresso and roasted malts. Initial tastes of chocolate and coffee with blends of fruits and a nice velvet body that soothes the throat. This is extremely thick and has hints of plums. Outstanding silky feel and an overall great beer. The aftertaste is of an almost wine character. The flavors only become stronger as this brew warms. As the bottle states this is truly a drink for Her Majesty's Forces.

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Photo of SeanChouffe
4.6/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A great stout. Pours a deep black color with a light brown head. Sticky lace ? head diminishes quickly. The aroma is complex: malty, roasted stuff, chocolate, coffee and some fruit. The flavor is sweet and dry with a spicy finish and roasted tastes that hang around for a while. The mouthfeel is full: creamy and smooth with a dry finish.
One of my favorites.

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Photo of CortexBomb
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours perfectly black as expected but the head disappeared rapidly, in any case it lets off a nice aroma of fruit and roast, which invites you to partake.

Taste is rich and varied, just to name off a few of the flavours: roasted barley, raisen/prune, a sweet milk bit, a nice back of the tongue hop bitter for a moment, and an overall coffee/chocolate tinged aspect, really tasty.

Mouthfeel definitely has some body while drinkability on this is about par for the course with imperials, good for people used to drinking them, not at all good for less adventurous taste buds :-)

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Photo of Chsyhkr
3.49/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The grand daddy of Imperial Stouts.

Clear bottle leads to some funny aromas, surprised? Not me.
Why do they do that...Get rid of the clear bottles.

Other than funny the aromas are ripe fruit and roast, very complex.

Leading to the same type of flavors, prunes and complex roasted flavors with plenty of hops in the end.

Not really strong enough for an Imperial Stout, 7.0%. But plenty warming.

Enjoy, just make sure you don't get a skunked one!

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Photo of Zorro
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black brew, this is in fact clear, IF! You have a 500-watt bulb to hold it up too.

Smell is sweet and malty, reminds me of a doppel bock. Solid fruitiness to this beer, and a touch of sourness. Toffee and brown sugar smells are here too. There is a solid chocolate smell to this.

Taste is very rich, to many flavors to catch on the first taste, strong chocolate flavor. Complex toffee, and then smoke and then, milk, and then coffee and then chocolate. Caramel is in here, Vanilla, Nuts, and many more. A VERY big brew.

Mouthfeel is thick like I like it.

Very drinkable to me, but will probably kill a Budweiser fan. A Master brew unlike the "Hop Monsters" that just overplay a single aspect. GREAT brews have 10-20-30+ Different dimensions of excellence, not just one. I like this company’s Oatmeal stout a bit better than this one, but this is a world class brew none the less.

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Photo of WesWes
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle served at cellar-like temperatures in a Trois Pistoles goblet.

Appearance: Jet black topped by a thick dark tan head made of eensy weensy bubbles. Dissipates rather quickly to a scant film and a small ring. Wee bits of lacing were left on the glass.

Smell: Nice delicate balance atwixt coffee and prune aromas. Not as intense or as over-the-top as some (well, most) American versions.

Taste: Heavy roasted malts with prune-like dark fruit flavors. Coffee notes. Hearty with some light hopping on the finish. Sweet malts throughout the entire profile.

Mouthfeel: Oddly lighter in body than most imperial stouts I've had. Still, pretty dang thick.

Drinkability: I'd say that, judging solely by the brewery, that this is a very traditional Imperial Stout. Nice and tasty, but I like more coffee and chocolate flavors.

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