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

Not Rated.
Samuel Smith's Imperial StoutSamuel Smith's Imperial Stout

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2,996 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,996
Reviews: 1,638
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.24%
Wants: 126
Gots: 152 | FT: 0
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: 2,996 | Reviews: 1,638 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dreed3333

New York

4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a large creamy light brown head. The beer is pitch black even on the corners. Smells of carmel mainly with hints of coffee and toffee and somewhat faint. The is much like the smell but much stronger the mouthfeel is like whole milk. Overall this is a top notch stout and o e of my favorites

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2011 15:05:12 | More by dreed3333
Photo of DeltaGolfSierra


3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Color is nearly pitch black, with some dark burgundy around the edges when held to light. Head is a light brown or dark tan color, which initiall leaves some nice lacing but fades quickly. Scents of chocolate, raisin, and alcohol are pleasant if a bit weak. The taste is sweet, but not overly sweet - it is a nice plum or fig sweetness, with a slight floral twinge from the hops. Thin mouthfeel is keeping this good beer from a higher score.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2011 13:26:39 | More by DeltaGolfSierra
Photo of nandemo1


3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep dark brown with a small but long-lasting tan head.

Smell is of coffee and cherries, but taste is of chocolate, and molasses. Not overly sweet or bitter.

Mouthfeel seems a bit thin to me, I would have preferred a bit more body.

The thinness is really my only complaint, it really makes this beer only just above average in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2011 21:54:32 | More by nandemo1
Photo of Mora2000


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 billshmeinke


3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic.

Pours a nearly pitch black color with hints of amber on the edges when held to light. Two fingers of off white head. Head retention is impeccable. Leaves nice lacing behind.

Smells of baker's chocolate, coco powder, and light fruity british ale yeast.

Tastes of dark chocolate, some light caramel notes, roastiness is quite low. Fruity british ale notes that hint of raspberries. Kinda tangy on the finish.

Mouthfeel is big and well carbonated. Not particularly thick or chewy for the style.

Hardly stands up to some of the monsters that this style has produced. However, it is a nice well made stout and definitely worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2011 00:41:03 | More by billshmeinke
Photo of Buggies


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

Aromas of fruit, chocolate, and molasses. It also has a smell of lactose...almost as if it was a milk stout.

Tastes really smooth. Chocolate with slightly fruity notes. The dark roasted grains are also present giving a nice bitter punch.

Really smooth. Nothing too overpowering like you get in many other example of the style. Quite an easy drinker for an imperial.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2011 23:02:53 | More by Buggies
Photo of Samp01

New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours deep mahogany / black with a nice brown lasting head and good lacing. Cacao, espresso and caramel malt fill the nose, with nice distinctive dark fruitiness. Taste is deep roasted caramel malt, chocolate and some roasted espresso. Palate is a nice full body with a rich and creamy mouth feel. Finish is caramel malts, roasted espresso ending with a slight bitterness and lingering chocolate aftertaste. Overall a very nice tasty and enjoyable brew.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2011 00:55:34 | More by Samp01
Photo of DrinkThemAll


3.13/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a pint glass...

A-poured black as night with a nice frothy 2 finger caramel head with little lacing...

S-chocolate, English coffee espresso maybe, roasted malts and some dark fruits. smells sweet and nutty...

T-right away you get bitter chocolate and coffee up front, you get like a plum or dark fruitiness as well with a nice sweet malt flavorl, very refreshing and smooth...you also get a dry kind of oaky dryness i would say...its the malts...

M-medium body decent carbonation, bitter cacao and an oaky feel...decent...

O-very refreshing, kind of taste like black olives...weird i know...for its price and availability its just ok...definitely have had better but this is just an average stout in my opinion

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2011 09:19:32 | More by DrinkThemAll
Photo of kflorence


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

500mL bottle. Pours black with frothy tan head that dissipates rather quickly. Smells predominantly of black licorice and deep fruits (raisins and plums come to mind). Overall, the aroma is a bit on the tart, fruity side... maybe a slight hint of chocolate and roasted malts in there, but predominantly black licorice. The taste is similar to the aroma: starts out with fruit and black licorice, then finishes a little more smokey and chocolatey. Malts and alcohol are also in the mix. A pretty complex beer, let it warm up a bit and the notes are easier to distinguish. Beautiful pour and very thick on the tongue; it’s a pretty heavy brew, but still quite drinkable. Samuel Smiths continues to impress!

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2011 01:29:56 | More by kflorence
Photo of eat

Quebec (Canada)

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

Nice frothy cover of mocha coloured head topping an opaque, black body. Nice lacing.

Smells of minerals, dark roasted malt, light molasses, buttery caramel, dark berries and English hops.

Dark berries really come out in the flavour, along with roast malt, minerals, a little butter, light English hops and lots of coffee and dry cocoa on the finish. The flavour is a little on the thin side for my liking but what's here is great.

Smooth medium body with light carbonation. Normally I would think the feel is too thin for a stout but it works here.

Amazingly drinkable for 7% ABV. As far as I've tried, this is the definitive English imperial stout.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2011 21:33:07 | More by eat
Photo of doughanson78


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

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Fairly thin on the pour. Black in color. No light coming through. Two finger, fluffy tan head, with great retention. Nice lacing.

S: Smelled as soon as I opened the bottle. Smells of alcohol, but good alcohol. Like a good wine or a sweet liqueur. Chocolate, roasted malts, some English Coffee. Toffee and light caramel. Some dark fruits, maybe raisins or cherries.

T: The slightest sting of alcohol for the tiniest moment. Almost don't notice it. Some malt sweetness, along with some dark fruits. Toffee, chocolate, and some faint caramel. A decent roastiness. Some coffee and a little more chocolate. Finishing up with a mild bitterness.

M: A little light for a Russian Imperial Stout. Still has a nice creaminess to it. Enjoyable.

O: A decent RIS. I would probably classify it as an entry level RIS. Not gonna smack you down your first drink. Definitely not what I think of or want in a RIS.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2011 05:26:11 | More by doughanson78
Photo of genitempo


4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Bottled elegantly (I guess you would expect this from the UK) with gold foil surrounding the cap. Label does well presenting an English feel. Beer pours nice, deep dark brown body with little head, mild tan in color. Practically no lace, and what's there diminishes quickly.

S: Since the ABV is not as high as some Impy Stouts, the scent pushes through a little easier, displaying dark fruits, sugar, and a little caramel.

T: Complex, but not overbearing, but not quaint in any form or fashion. Roasted flavors push through but end fairly quickly.

MF: The weakest part of the brew. Not as thick as I like my stouts. I felt like the carbonation bares its face, as well. Which can usually be covered by higher ABV and flavor, which this beer lacks (in a good way, though).

O: I'm not familiar with England brews in any form or fashion. They probably view Sam Smith's as we view our big domestics. But this beer definitely has it's place on the shelf.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2011 02:48:24 | More by genitempo
Photo of leansean88

New York

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

A - Pours as nice as imperial stouts can pour and retains a beautiful creamy head. Nice and dark, the way it should be. More carbonation than I anticipated, but that did not interfere with taste.

S - Thick roast and cream that does not overpower the senses.

T - Not quite what I expected, but by no means bad. Much more creamy than smokey. Goes down smooth, while it may look fizzy.

M - Incredibly good. The creamy feeling soothes the pallet tremendously.

O - I got this beer on a whim. I'm so glad I did now. Excellent quality for the price. One of the better imperial stouts I've had.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2011 19:45:02 | More by leansean88
Photo of rundocrun


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

Poured from a 550 mL bottle into a pint glass.

A - Pours a deep black with 2 fingers of rich, frothy mocha-colored head. Foam fades slowly leaving small amounts of lacing on the glass.

S - Smells of black coffee and cocoa beans. Also a slightly sharp burnt character to the nose. Interestingly, it even has a slightly tangy red wine-like smell to it amid everything else.

T - Hints of caramel and dark fruits (plums, raisins, dates) up front. A dark cocoa bitterness is present toward the middle accompanied by the slightest hint of dry burnt grains that last to the finish. Has an aftertaste of milk chocolate-like acidity, fruity esters, and coffee-bitterness.

M - Medium body with pleasant but not overbearing carbonation. Fairly smooth and drinkable except for the slightly biting character of the roast barley, but that's not necessarily a bad characteristic for a RIS.

Overall, this was quite an enjoyable beer. My first from Samuel Smith's but certainly not my last!

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2011 01:19:56 | More by rundocrun
Photo of magictacosinus


4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tulip glass. No freshness date on the bottle.

Appearance: Completely pitch black as an ideal imperial stout should be. Pours a ridiculously huge head with brown and reddish hues. The head viciously remains even as the beer warms up.

Smell: Immediately resembles the scent of a coffee and cocoa beans, or a mocha. There are some hints of blackberries and even vanilla beans. Although you can tell that there are a lot of hops present as well as alcohol, these flavorful hues, as well as the creaminess of the beer, makes it so that you don't even notice.

Taste: This is a beer that makes every savoring precious and memorable. It is so flavorful that you can feel your throat warm up in every sip. Throughout the course of drinking it, the most present flavors were that of roasted chestnuts, coffee and dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: The "roastiness" of the malts is immediately apparent on the first sip. The aftertaste proves itself to be bitter and warming. It contains a sweetness that is wonderfully resonating on the palate.

Overall: I've had plenty of incredible stouts so far in my life, but this is a perfect stout in all respects. It's not something I could have casually due to its high alcohol content and extreme maltiness, and for that matter should be treated as a special brew to use for celebratory purposes - especially in sitting down, relaxing, and momentarily forgetting about all of the issues of the world. This is a beer that reminds me of that great moment of sitting by a fireside next someone that you love.

As it warms, the alcohol becomes more readily present, yet it become more enjoyable as coffee beans and roasted chocolate flavors (with caramel!) appeared to explode on my palate. For its price, this may be greatest stout on the planet that happens to be pretty accessible. I found it to be more delicious than Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout, and is ultimately a real treat to be appreciated in every sip.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2011 03:34:40 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of woodychandler


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

I am continuing to drink my way through the Samuel Smith's oeuvre, thanks to a recent inspiration in one of the forums. Just in case anyone wondered what I was doing ... Now, THIS is the way to kick off my New Beer Sunday!

From the bottle: "Brewed at Samuel Smith's small, traditional British brewery with well water (the original well sunk in 1758 is still in use), best barley malt, roasted barley, yeast and hops to create a rich flavourful ale; deep chocolate in colour with a roasted barley nose and flavour that is a complexity of malt, hops and yeast. Fermented in 'stone Yorkshire squares'. This distinctive type of ale was originally shipped to Imperial Russia; it was a favourite of Russian nobility."; Captioning a picture: "Having imparted their bitterness & aroma, hops are separated from the wort in the hop backs."

An impressive pour, resulting in two thick fingers of deep-tan head with excellent retention. Color was midnight black with deep-brown highlights at the edges. Nose was rich with coffee, dark chocolate, dried dark fruits, smoke and even some alcohol heat. Whew! Mouthfeel was a little thin for the style, but still bigger and chewier than many other beers. The taste was very bitter, coffee-like, which was perfect since I was having this with and for breakfast. Take that, Catherine the Great! Finish was smoky, bitter, dry, a big Wow!, but without the often overpowering alcohol of its modern American iterations. Nice, plus it is accessible year-'round without having to stand in line to score some.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2011 14:10:33 | More by woodychandler
Photo of tjkinate


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

Very unique compared to many American Stout's

A: Dark as night, completely opaque, thick frothy head.

S: Slightly faint, could detect the malts, but not much more than that.

T: Light toasty malts, hints of coffee with a touch of bitter aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied Stout, that goes down with ease

O: For this price, who could complain!

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2011 23:45:20 | More by tjkinate
Photo of EnJeiBee


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

A - It poured deep black with a persistent tan 1-finger head and great lacing

S - Big malt with sweet chocolate and coffee notes

T - Toasty, malty coffee flavors without a very faint tangy bitter aftertaste

M - Soft on the palate and slightly less than medium bodied

O - It's a nice Imperial Stout, but nothing out of the ordinary. I would say it's spot on and true to style, but that doesn't make it stand out in anyway. After reading other reviews, I think I might purchase another bottle and hold onto it for a few years before trying it again.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2011 23:05:08 | More by EnJeiBee
Photo of Hopfenpeter


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

The beer appears a deep brown, almost black, with red undertones when held into the light. The deep tan creamy head builds about two fingers high, and leaves good lacing.
The smell announces roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, just like expected.
Tasting the beer, I am surprised of the sweetness in the beer for this style. Also the lower ABV goes very well! Up front you have the sweetness of chocolate, changing to coffee notes in the middle and finishing with the bitterness of roasted malts. Very well composed, since no flavor is overpowering.
Very drinkable and greatly crafted, like everything else from this brewery!

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2011 06:05:03 | More by Hopfenpeter
Photo of BeerAmbassador


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

Pours a deep inky black with a one finger tan head.

lots of roasted malt and cocoa on the nose.

flavor follows suit with a bit of sweetness. very full flavored and tastes bigger than only 7%.

very creamy mouthfeel with relatively low carbonation.

This is a really nice, affordable imperial stout that goes down easy and one that I could drink often.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2011 07:38:23 | More by BeerAmbassador
Photo of hoptualBrew


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

550ml bottle poured into big snifter agressively. Pours jet black creamy tan head 1 finger thick. Sexy sexy stout!

Smell is strong with warm effervescent alcohol, roasted nuts, and really sweet dark chocolates. This is one of the stronger smelling imp stouts I have tried. Damn it smells good!

Big malty thick chocolate malts upfront with toasted almost burnt buscuit. The back end rounds out with a nutty hoppy bite. Aftertaste has warmth of alcohol, even though this is only 5% abv. Weird. But, very tasty indeed. Carbonation is good in this moderately thick impy stout, feels good on the palate.

550ml bottle for $3.99. What a steal! This is right next to GDBC Espresso OA Yeti Imp Stout to most bang for your $$$. Will be frequenting this brew many times to come.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2011 02:30:17 | More by hoptualBrew
Photo of MONKandTUCK


4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

"Small" by style standards, but otherwise dead-on for the style. Not overwhelming in any aspect. The lower than Avg ABV even makes this one you want to drink more than one in a sitting.

Appearance: poured freely into a La Trappe chalice and swirled, this beer first appears deep opaque, but towards the bottom black gives way to mahogany and brass tones. The soupy body is capped with high, frothy brown head. It's like a whipped chocolate nought over a chilled chocolates liquor. Very enticing.

Aroma: consummate Sam Smith, I'll chalk that up to their exceptional yeast strain and premium base malt. Roasted notes and port wine accents peak through and then dominate when drinking. More muted than other Stouts, certainly very mild astringency.

Flavor: immense! No, its not the most complex RIS, thank God. It holds itself together quite well.
This beer has clearly matured and I'm glad for it. No doubt, even "green" offerings are worthy of Sammy Smith fame. It's the matured version, though, that really provides what this style is all about.
Yeast comes thru in a big way. Not like a Belgian, but as a sure supporting role.

The roasted profile hasn't really mellowed, it has settled. Dark crystal malts shine through, backed by a hefty alcohol warmth that settles in the belly. Prune, candied cherries, rum-raisin syrup, fine bitter chocolate, spice cake, Port and currant liquor all share in making the pleasure the coats over the mouth on way to the gut.
Roasted qualities never match the level Guinness or your preferred RIS, but provide enough bite to hold this beer together and provide another dimension of flavor.

Hops are mild.... wow! Responsible brewing! It hasn't been lost!

Mouthfeel: I was surprised at the density. At 7% a leaner need might be expected, nut this one was respectable crafted more maturation. That said, it wasn't syrupy... like Dogfish Head beers or certain Winter offerings often are. It was just a beer substantial enough to fit the style, while managing to conclude dry.

One of my all time favorites. Moat will want bigger and wilder and,more eccentric. I prefer this beer for being on Que with style guidelines, but acting in moderation. Make sure your bottle has some age to it, that is the secret ingredient. ;-)

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2011 23:19:46 | More by MONKandTUCK
Photo of Rifugium


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

First had: bottle from Total Wine, Cherry Hill, NJ

Pours a dark cola brown-black with bronzed tints, and a pillowy beige head. Roasty malt aroma, sugary, with coffee notes. More dark roasted malts in the taste, molasses, licorice, coffee bitterness. Not quite full-bodied, but quite rich and tasty, and a very drinkable stout.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2011 21:10:57 | More by Rifugium
Photo of TheBeerAlmanac


3.05/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass

A: Pours a translucent black with very little head.

S: There is some coffee in the aroma but not much else. Maybe it was just my bottle, but I was really surprised at the lack of odor. Hell, make the cap out of chocolate or something, I don’t know, just give me more.

T: Fortunately, it tastes good…for a porter. It has a medium amount of carbonation and a smooth body. There are notes of coffee and a nutty finish. As far as beer goes, it’s a solid offering. As far as imperial stouts go, it’s about as bland as it gets.

Don’t expect a true, strong imperial experience with this one, just take it for what it is. And that is a good, smooth beer. With gold foil. Shiny, gold foil.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2011 02:38:25 | More by TheBeerAlmanac
Photo of woosterbill


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

Bottle from 1988 (yes, you read that right) poured into a Weyerbacher tulip. Thanks to Knifestyles for sharing this bit of vintage excitement.

A: Black body with clear brown highlights underneath and incredibly nice, persistent ring of frothy tan foam. Just lovely considering its age.

S: Oxidized, but not terribly so. Malt, cardboard, chocolate and coffee. Toasty, bready, slightly roasty. Quite nice for what it is.

T: Intensely flavorful, with some meaty saltiness, spicy chocolate, and dark fruit. Only light cardboard. Tastes great for such an ancient bottle.

M: Slick medium body with soft carbonation. Fantastic.

O: What a pleasant surprise. I never expected a 7% beer to hold up whatsoever over the course of 23 years, but I'll be damned if this wasn't a genuinely enjoyable brew. The oxidation was kept acceptably in the background, and the weird mutations of maltiness were allowed freedom to shine with flavor. Very cool.


Serving type: bottle

06-12-2011 13:05:06 | More by woosterbill
Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 2,996 ratings.