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

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Samuel Smith's Imperial StoutSamuel Smith's Imperial Stout

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3,334 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,334
Reviews: 1,681
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 175
Gots: 286 | 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:
Beer added by: Todd on 02-27-2001

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,334 | Reviews: 1,681 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sasky7777
3.83/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of my go to RIS. It is quite drinkable and is beer that emphasizes malt characteristics. It pours a dark brown much like coffee, and has a foamy tan head. Dark fruit flavours are at the for front, with just enough hop bitterness to balance it out. This beer is also excellent to use in cooking desserts like chocolate cake, I tried it also in a pot roast, but found the fruity, molasses, and well "Christmas" flavours did not work as well. A fine example of the style.

Photo of feelmefoam
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sammy's Impy Stout pours a thick, dark black color with a nice finger-point-five of dark tan head that hangs around for a while before leaving. Decent lacing, not the thickest I've seen, but not bad, either. Pretty tasty looking beer.

The aroma, helped by the head, is strong and assertive. Coffee, and sweet, musky dark fruit are prevalent, as well as maybe a bit of brown sugar. Maybe a hint of booziness towards the end? Smells powerful and inviting.

In the mouth this is very similar in character to the nose. Big and bold, with the coffee coming out first, accompanied by some ripe plums and a bit of brown sugar. A nice roastiness comes in afterwards, followed again by a dank, earthy hoppiness. This thing keeps on getting more and more complex as it warms, too. Good beer fa shaw.

The mouthfeel is good, it's a tad above medium with very little carbonation and a nice smoothness that helps the beer go down easily. I have one beef, though: I wish it was just a bit thicker. I like big, thick, syrupy Impy Stouts, and the body on this one falls just a bit short of that. Still, definitely nothing wrong with whats given, and it certainly complements the beer nicely.

Overall, this is a damn good beer that changes in flavor and aroma as it warms, but the complexity remains constant. If you see this around, pick it up, as it's a good example of the style and it's actually pretty drinkable for a RIS at only 7%. Good stuff yet again from Sammy Smith.

Photo of velosuds
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness dating on bottle or label. Single purchased from John's Market for $2.75.

A-Pours a deep, dark brown almost black hue with a two finger, creamy tan head with good retention and ample lacing.

S-Very fruity, with deep, dark chocolate and toasted malts. Rum and raisins are also prominent.

T-Coffee, chocolate malts, and blackstrap molasses are the most prominent flavors I discern. There is also a pleasant toasted bitterness with a slightly sour twang.

M-Very smooth with medium to full body. Nicely carbonated.

D-Good for a RIS, but not great. I like this and always want more when I finish a single 12 oz. bottle, but it doesn't achieve the rich complexity it aspires to. Not quite on par with other offerings from Samuel Smith.

Photo of dubinsky
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured cold into my Brooklyn Brewing snifter and allowed to warm up. Huge foamy, mocha colored head. The beer pours an a complete black with no translucency. Nice lacing left as the head came down. Looks like an RIS to me.

S - Initially it has a very mild aroma of Roasted coffee/espresso. As is sits and warms up it began to warm up and i got vanilla and dark friut. Not a boozy beer, which i love.

T - Great, light malty back bone, with slight hints of coffee. I gave some to my wife to try and she said it tasted like Dr. Pepper, i think she's right. The finish is a bit fruity, i thought i tasted apple, but now that i think of it, it was prunes. Very neutral sweet/bitterness.

M - Moderate to heavy body. Very smooth and creamy.

D - Well balanced flavors, and not too strong. A very drinkable RIS.

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

A: Pitch black body with a nice thick khaki head. Quickly receded but left behind some hearty lacing and a nice skim remained on top.

S: Roasted malts, a bit of coffee, plenty of dark chocolate, and some caramel . Nothing earth shattering, but its a classic, balanced aroma profile.

T: Chocolate and roasted malts take center stage. Caramel is present, but not particularly sweet. Some dark fruits creep in, and there is a pleasant bitterness toward the finish.

M: Smooth, creamy with a moderate weight. The body thins out ever so slightly as the beer finishes.

D: A classic for sure. Balanced flavors and a refined profile makes this a pleasant sipper that doesn't try to punish the palate.

Photo of Yesac
3.72/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours very dark brown color with large lighter brown head.

S- Strong roasted malt nose, port wine, cork, alcohol.

T- Roasted malt, cocoa nibs, slight licorice, metallic finish. The 7% ABV is well hidden.

M- Thin/medium. Medium carbonation.

D- Easy drinking, nothing to complex here taste wise.. but its easy to have a few due to the thin/medium body and smooth flavors.

Photo of arturorg
3/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served into a Samuel Smith Snifter

I'm almost inclined to not do this review

A: Dark brown with no lace and almost no lace

S: Sweet and roasted coffee, dark chocolate, dark malts. But it wasn't the strongest aroma for a beer, actually it was kind of faint.

T: Almost the same as the smell, it was watery, astringent leaving a dry mouth (but thats very normal in the few imperials stouts that I had) lacks complexity and flavor, again it was kind of faint.

Overall it was an unimpressive beer, kind of a watered down version of a Yeti, de Molen or Hercule. I will try to have it again in order to see if my beer was wrong.

Photo of zhanson88
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pitch black with fine khaki colored head. When it reduces down it leaves a nice amount of lacing that clings all around my glass.

Smell: Dark, roasted malts of course that smell slightly sweet. Also, I pick up on molasses, burned toast and burned dark sugars.

Taste: Similar to the taste. Add a bit of coffee.

Mouthfeel: Medium to almost-heavy body, very creamy with nice carbonation.

Drinkability: At 7.0% ABV, much more drinkable than other RIS. Also, the value on this beer is incredible. Very reasonably priced.

Photo of wordemupg
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

550ml bottle poured into pint glass sept5 2010

A pretty close to jet black with a two finger light tan head that slowly falls to a thin film leaving a few patches of lace on the way

S molasses, some bakers chocolate, raisin, and a little booze

T what I smell but with some smoke, a little dark fruit and perhaps some coffee

M thick but not chewy and enough carbonation to give it some life

D no flaws anywhere and very well rounded, I'll be drinking this again so that says something

a solid beer and it worked well with this chilly summer evening, I'll be taking a refresher course in Sam Smith this week

Photo of deadliest
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Looks great. Black with a dense inch thick tan head. Head stubbornly recedes leaving lots of unmoving lacing. Tilting towards the light shows a coca-cola color around the edges.

S/T/M: Smells are chocolate, molasses, faint alcohol and an odd kind of waxy black licorice. Tastes better than it smells, but still the same theme of flavors. Not off-putting but it does seem strange I'm even tasting the 7% abv when many 9+% Imperials manage to hide it so well. Nice feel, smooth, almost slick. Creamy and well carbonated.

D: Highly drinkable. Lower ABV and lighter than the American incarnations of the style I've mostly been trying, but still having enough... ponderability?. Great for when you want an RIS but its 105f in Texas. Will definitely pick up again.

Photo of Spica66
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip.

A: Thick, dark pour. Excellent head formation and retention. Very nice looking beer.

S: Very dark roast smell. Coffee, bitter chocolate, slightly figgy.

T: Excellent. Well balanced between dark roast flavors and the bittering hops.

M: Medium to full-bodied. Carbonation level keeps me from saying creamy, but it is very smooth.

D: Lighter body than a lot of other RIS and lower ABV make this easy to drink.

For the price, I did not expect to get this high of quality. Very happily surprised.

Photo of krazyboi
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a strange(stick) glass..It's very dark and has quite a big head..It smells like dark chocolate with a bit of roastiness..The taste is very balanced, with a dark chocolate being the prominent flavor..It feels very smooth in the mouth and somewhere between light and heavy..I feel like I can drink a couple pints of this and enjoy it the whole time...A very good beer, and one I will go to time and time again..

Photo of eatabagofbooger
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle to a snifter.

A: Pours thick and black with a rich tan head.

S: Espresso and dark fruits. No noticeable hop presence. Hint of soy sauce.

T: Again, espresso, dark fruits, and a hint of soy sauce at the back of the tongue. Floral and grassy hops are present, along with dark chocolate. Light roasty/toasty notes.

M: Full bodied with plentiful, but not excessive carbonation. A tad thinner than most RISs, but with the low abv, this is not a surprise.

D: I love ISs, but hate feeling wasted after half a bomber. I could probably knock back a couple of these in a night and not regret it. Yet another wonderful brew from what may be my favorite brewery.

Photo of SleepyMonk
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chilled bottle poured into a sniffer. This beer has been provided courtesy of Platinum Liquor in Bellevue Hill Sydney.

This is the darkest beer I have ever encountered and as a person who prefers and hunts down dark beers I hope that explains how striking the density of this stout is

Pouring generates a massive titanic dark tan in color creamy texture head of about 3 fingers. It bonds tightly and then dries off with patchy lace on the glass.

Aromatically this is stout is dominated by dark fruits such as prunes with a blend of gummy molasses and rich dark chocolate.

In the mouth and across the tongue this is a dominant offering. Coffee like impact with a sweet dessert like finish. Raw unprocessed natural chocolate mixed with an almost perfect balance of praline. There are elements of roasted nuts, dried cured pork no doubt this is due to a very smoke box type finish that continues to kick well after the taste has been swallowed, interestingly I even get the profile of dried seaweed; once again perhaps this is due to smokey characteristics.

To call this full bodies is almost an understatement. Well balanced level of carbonated is a compliment and signs of a beer that is well crafted.

Thanks again to Platinum Liquor Sydney.

Photo of billab914
3.83/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 550ml bottle into my Stone RIS glass. Poured black in color with a thick and full dark tan head on it. The head settled to a thin layer clinging to the edges of the glass, where it left some great lacing on the sides.

The aroma has a good amount of chocolate to it with a bit of caramel and molassas coming through. It's pretty low on the roasty, coffee and bitter flavors a lot of the American versions are full of. Pretty decent and smooth aroma overall though.

The taste shows a lot of milk chocolate to it at first. I'm also getting a fruity, apple like flavor to it that I don't usually find in an imperial stout. Some roasty and bitter flavors come through towards the finish along with some more chocolate. Pretty flavorful and tasty beer and also different then others of the style to keep things interesting.

The mouthfeel is average thickness for the style but it has a very nice creaminess to it. Drinkability is very good, it's a very well made and classic beer. It had a lot of interesting and different flavors from a lot of the Imperial Stouts that I've had, and thankfully they were also pretty good flavors. Very nice beer to sip on this evening.

Photo of punkrkr27
3.51/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Black pour with a tall, frothy, tan head. The aroma has lots of roasted malt, with light notes of chocolate, coffee and dark fruit. There's a slight off sour note in there too. The flavor has gentle notes of roast and coffee with a little more milk chocolate than in the aroma. Over all the flavor has a bit of metallic dullness though. The body is creamy with soft carbonation but a tad thin for an imperial stout.

Photo of Luk13
4.39/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle via TheJester. Aroma is a mix of dark chocolate and red fruits such as cherries and rasberries. There is also vanilla, blueberry and grapes. Very nice. Flavor is on the sweet side with caramel, toffee and cherries with a nice bittersweet chocolate finish. Very enjoyable light oily palate.

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

Dark, dark (!) black with an airy espresso head, leaves a ring of large bubbles around the rim of the glass.

Chocolate syrup, raspberries in the aroma. It is a nice, strong smell which balances between sweet and roasted malt notes.

Taste is sweet fruit (berries and apples) flavor up front and a roast coffee following. The heat of the alcohol warms throughout. The finishes has a bit of sour apple flavor.

A flavorful, strong stout which would make for a great dessert beer.

Photo of luisfrancisco
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured this into an imperial pint glass.

A = Very dark colour. No light goes through. Pours rather well, a little viscous. Oily appearance. Forms a half inch whitesh/brownish head. Dissipates quickly and only a tiny film of whiter carbonation remains at the top with very decent lacing.

S = Coffee and chocolate, maybe a little molasses in the background, although smell is not as strong as the taste.

T = Superior flavors. Coffee, caramel and molasses. Bitter dry finish. Opens up as it warms.

M = A little viscous, but rather palatable. Somewhat bitter. Very slight carbonation. Not as thick as other Imperial Stouts but very enjoyable. Very silky on the palate and the slight carbonation feels perhaps like a butterfly farted inside the beer (I mean this in a good way).

D = Excellent. This is an extraordinary beer. Maybe not as strong as other examples of the style. Particularly milder than american interpretations, but still a damn good beer. Balance is great and it is one fine sippin' beer. At 7%ABV it is not one of the strongest out there for the style, so very drinkable. I would rather enjoy this one slowly, but if pressed, I'm sure I could down a four pack with ease.

Photo of nickd717
3.59/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

ALL RIGHT, TOP 100 TICK! Well, maybe not for long. This beer doesn't quite belong on that list in my opinion. 500ml bottle from Whole Foods Los Altos.

Pours just about black with a thick foamy tan head that lasts. Excellent lacing.

Aroma is fairly standard for the style. Roast, chocolate, caramel, molasses, and booze (even though it's only 7%) on the aroma. Pretty standard.

Flavor is similar, a little earthy with milk chocolate. Average sweetness. Not great intensity.

Amazing mouthfeel - smooth as silk with medium-full body and seamless carbonation.

Good but not a standout in this style.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.91/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into an ommegang chalice.

Pours a dark black with a small thin brown head. Nose is very tame and toasty.

Taste is like a Guinness on stereoids. It's more toasty and boozy but not too bad. Quite tasty, I'm looking forward to trying more of their beers.

Photo of jrallen34
3.65/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

550 ml bottle poured into my Rochefort glass that probably wouldn't have been drank if not for this new top 100 list...Dark brown with a very light tan head that fades way to fast. Nice lacing though...Light aroma of sweet chocolate, light bread, just a malty one noter...The taste is distinctly English, light in feel and taste. Chocolate on the front light bitter finish, just not a lot going on. Too sweet for a stout for my taste.

Nothing special here.

Photo of MbpBugeye
3.78/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Im a big fan of Sam Smith. I feel like nearly all of their stuff is the benchmark for the style or a very good representation of how many styles were originally. This fits into the latter category.

A- Super frothy sand colored head. It sticks around much longer than in many RIS, but it to, soon fades. A big thick, bubbly collar remains. The beer is obviously quite black and devious looking. Its not as crazy thick and viscous as many of the amped up American versions are.

S- Quite vinous. At first Im getting a lot of grape juice and port like character. Some chocolate, lots of licorice, molasses and grains with a slight roast to them.

T- Lots more vinous red wine and grape juice. Its pretty sweet. Roast is moderate and it helps bring a bitterness that tried to balance out the berry like flavors.

M- Very dry, full bodied but nothing insane. Carbonation is a bit high.

Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 550ML bottle into my Duvel tulip.

a - Pours a dark brown color with one finger of tan head and high carbonation evident.

s - Smells of dark fruits, roasted malts, and chocolate. Hint of toasted malts and grain.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, toasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits, and a hint of alcohol and coffee.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A pretty good imperial stout that is heavy on the dark fruits in both the smell and taste. Would try again.

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

The beer is very dark brown, almost black, the head is small, beige, leaving some lacing and curtains.

The smell is mostly dried fruits, some dark bread and a bit of alcohol.

The taste is raisins in roasted sweet bread finishing of with bitter burned notes.

Medium low carbonation, a nice small dryness.

A good, rather modest but not so sweet, imperial stout. Feels genuine. Sampled at beer tasting at De Klomp, Linköping, Sweden.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,334 ratings.