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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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3,254 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,254
Reviews: 1,663
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.51%
Wants: 153
Gots: 238 | 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: 3,254 | Reviews: 1,663 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of natelocc787
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the great classics and I believe the lowest abv RIS ever to touch these lips. Darkest chocolate body with a dark caramel head. Nice lacing and the head retains well. Powerful notes of roasted barley in the nose. Maybe the most roasted barley I have seen in a beer since the Dogfish head WWS. This is also very fruity for the style. Sweet molasses to back up the barley presence, plum and prunes in the aroma as well. The taste is complex to say the least, molasses, birch syrup, jammy plums and blackberry preserves, nice rich toffee notes, fig, dark sour cherries and a raisin wine richness. Like a complex, fine port wine-a true treat, I'm so happy it can be found regularly in my parts. Mouthfeel is heavy, creamy and silky on the tongue. Moderately chewy and very rich, enjoy with chocolate or vanilla ice cream to bring out the many intricacies.

Photo of czechsaaz
4.53/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Happy new year Great Brittain.

Lots of chocolate malt aroma and some roast and big ripe plum yeast esters.

Deep black but with red highlights when held up to the light. Not quite translucent. Has a big tan foamy head that lasts for the entire glass and leaves lots of lacing.

Nice malt dominant flavor. Some bittering hops but that's it. Gets bittering from the roast malt too. Lots of brown sugar and molassis flavor and a ton of fruity yeast character. Yum.

Full bodied with a creamy carbonation level.

A classic example of the British end of the style. Not aggressively hopped or knockout big like some American classics in the same vein. So it's a lot more drinkable.

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

Might be the greatest imperial stout ever. How it remains imperial at 7% i don't know that intrigues me, usually imperials i see around go around 8 percent and up, molson xxx is 7 percent. but the color is great and black, the smell is nice and malty, chocolaty, and creamy. the taste is the previous description creamy of some sorts, not like stone russian imperial. real smooth, light thickness. what ever brewery that can hide the alcohol levels and not taste it has a good skill level. if i want to taste alcohol to bad i'll drink some vodka or others. ya dig.

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

Wow... A great Imperial Russian Stout.

Appearsnce/Smell - Poures very dark as a stout should with very small smokey in color head. Smell is that of chocolate and very dark molasses with some fruity undertones along with the alcohol to highten the senses.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Defenitely A feel of heavy molasses around my palate with chocolate aftertaste and the alcohol to smooth it out... Very pleasant. Found myself sipping and sipping and did not even notice my snifter glass had gone dry. Very drinkable Imperial Stout.

Photo of snaotheus
3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass

Pours opaque reddish black with a huge light beige head that dropped to less than a finger within a minute or two. Smell is fruity and dark and sweet.

Taste is bitter with a sweet cherry aftertaste. A little chocolate, maybe a little apple in the taste. Not as thick and bitter as I would expect for a RIS.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly thin and light, but fairly smooth. Drinkable, especially for a RIS.

Photo of babaracas
3.68/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with ruby edges, half inch tan head. Considering this one started foaming before the pour, surprised at the staid head. Smell: You can smell this one from a few feet away, but it's not really what I want in an RIS. Buttery, earthy, burnt sugar, sweet. Taste: lightly roasted, hops are mostly earthy and a tad leafy, diacetyl, toffee. A mineral-ly, hard water thing going on, but fairly smooth and active carbonation. There's a chance that this is closer to the original intent of the style than the US craft interpretation, but I prefer the latter by a wide margin. This was pretty disappointing.

Photo of ujsplace
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an over-sized pub glass

A: Huge billowing, long lasting tan head, sticky lace, nearly pitch black in color.

S: Toasted caramel and mild chocolate

T: Dark earthy fruits, dark chocolate, roasted caramel, some sweet maltiness that fades quickly to a nice bitter finish.

M: Thick and lays nicely on the tongue, mild carbonation.

D: A really nice imperial stout, that is very enjoyable. I think this is a very good take on the style and would love to session this...the abv is very well hidden.

Photo of Mayhem976
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Very dark, you can pass light through the glass but not much, has a brown tint to it. Small Head that fades quickly and zero lacing.

S- Lots of grains is the only thing I can smell, sorta reminds me of moist bread, tiny bit of malt as well. Not winning any awards in the aroma department.

T- The smell hardly translates to the flavor (thank the beer Gods). I taste light bodied coffee, malt, and small trace of chocolate. Based off the smell I would have never guessed it could taste so wonderful.

M- Medium body and slightly creamy, not too shabby.

D- Tasty, economical, and a good ABV will keep me coming back for seconds... or 55ths.

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

A: Deepest brown body with huge medium-dark mocha head, which leaves good lacing, and as firm a cap as I've ever seen.

S: Chocolatey, yeasty, with some dark fruit, possibly raisins, and some lighter burnt and caramel notes.

T: A bit of a booziness to the chocolate and dark fruit, but what really stands out is the ridiculously long toasted oatmeal finish.

M: Light carbonation up front, and a wonderful creamy finish.

D: At only 7% ABV, it's the not the heaviest stout out there, but it is excellent. A great balance of flavors and a rich, creamy body make this a wonderful experience.

Photo of homebrew311
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: This beer pours dark brown to black, appears somewhat thin for style, nice foamy two finger head forms on pour, dissipates to a 1 cm head. Leaves lacing

S: caramel, chocolate syrup, hazelnut, toffee, this has a much sweeter smell than other RISs. I'm not getting that deep dark roasted flavor that I am used to, but the nice sweet caramel character smells quite nice

T: the taste pretty much matches the nose directly. The caramel and sweet flavor work nice as there is nothing cloying or overwhelming about them. A bit of a different take on the style compared to what I am used to, but delicious never the less

MF: medium body, medium carbonation

D: This is a very approachable imperial stout. I wish this was one of my introductions to the style as there are no flavors that really overwhelm the palate. This is also a little lower in alcohol for the style, but it allows this beer to be highly drinkable.

Photo of sophisticated
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A) Lovely black, huge tan head with tons of great lacing and retention.

S) Mildly sweet; nuts, chocolate, a little fruit, malts

T)The malts are not overly roasty which I appreciate. The sweetness is also understated, but there definitely is some caramel or chocolate present. Mild coffee, malts, a hint of bitter hops at the end.

MF) Creamy smooth, thick

D) Great! 7% ABV is reasonable for an imperial stout and is really not noticeable. This is a smooth and tasty drink.

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

A - deep brown body, looks to be clear. Brown chocolatey head.

S - like a bigger version of their oatmeal stout minus the fruit and lactose. Mild roasty chocolate, slightly sweet and some dark fruit.

T - nice sharp roast quickly recedes to chocolate malty body. Alcohol not hot at 7%.

M/D - nice body, hard to describe. Not thin, not chewy. Easy to drink, clean and tasty.

Photo of WYVYRN527
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours very dark brown, almost black with a thick creamy head that sticks around. Lacing is excellent as well.

S: Aromas consist of molasses, chocolate, coffee, and fresh baked bread. Hops are minimal in the backround.

T: Chocolate and roasy malt character linger up front, with some fruitiness and coffee notes. The finish is very pleasant, being somewhat dry and floral.

M: For a lower ABV Imperial, this beer has some girth.

D: Smooth and creamy, tasty and easy to drink. This is what I would give to someone who wants to try this style for the first time.

Photo of adamette
2.85/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Live review. Poured from the 550 ml dark brown bottle with gold foil over the cap. Poured into my Samuel Smith pint glass. Mark on neck of bottle: SD02H1 but I am not sure what that means.

A 4 inch generous medium brown head over a mostly very dark body that shows a bit of dark mahogany light in front of a light bulb. Classic look. 4.5

S Dark roast malt and an unexpected dark fruit smell of dates or raisins. At first I thought this was a sense of alcohol but repeated smells revealed the dark fruit smell. At a minimum the smell is interesting. 4.0

T Well, the taste is directly related to the smell. Dark roast malt, dark fruits carry right into the taste from the smell but added is the wet texture and a rather unwelcome and badly disguised taste of alcohol. 2.5

M More thin than I would have liked. I am spoiled by so many American Craft RIS's and their big, luxurious mouthfeel. 2.0

D Not that good. I finished one pint and it took me a while to conclude what I would do with the remaining until I finally poured it out. 2.5

Notes: Samuel Smith, brewer of some of the most classic beers (Oatmeal Stout, Nut Brown Ale) disappointed me with this one. As suggested, my palate is spoiled by other, much more engaging American craft RIS's.

Photo of cbutova
2.85/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours pitch black with a huge tan three finger head that retains better than almost any beer I have seen, nice and creamy as well. No lacing at all but it might be my glass. Smells of roasted malts and a metallic scent, not liking this metal thing at all. Also some dark sweet fruits in the nose. The taste is out of whack to me. It has nice roasted malts but also has a huge metallic taste, more than any beer I can think of. It kind of throws the balance off and ruins it. After reading other reviews I definitely get soy sauce, yuck. The extremely sweet fruity taste in this beer also does not belong in an imperial stout. Some hops compliment the finish but the sweetness of this beer is way too overwhelming. Also some cocoa behind the metallic sweetness. Mouthfeel is pretty good. Nice and creamy with good carbonation and a coat of that sweetness. No warming really at all. The drinkability here is not good, the sweet/metallic taste is hardly tolerable. The roasted malts save it but I can hardly finish the bottle. The price was very good but I will only try this one again if I really, really don't trust this bottle. The worst part is the appearance was so good I thought I was in for a super cheap Imperial treat.

Photo of CHL
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beuatiful beer, opaque black with a tall brown head that tastes like coffee and chocolate. It's so good. Sweet biased, with the pruny imperial stout taste refereed by chocolate, fruit flavors, dark malts, coffee, swirling in a satisfying and thick brew. Certainly warming and alcoholic, but not oppressively.

Only the stomach and this beer's cost impedes its drinkability.

Photo of ChrisCage
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- Well distinguished bottle label...very old school. I poured this and got a several inch thick foamy tan head that has a retention unlike any other beer I've seen, finally settling to a frothy film covering the beer. Color resembles thick black tar, no light is penetrating.

S- There is a whole variety of aromas here. First, the smell is not of astringent burnt malts, but more muted, like molasses, and of dried fruit...dates/prunes/raisins. Once I get by that, there is some muted coffee and cocoa aromas and on the finish is when I can detect the delicate toasty malts, and some alcohol is in there too.

T- The flavor is a rich, flavorful mix. There is a smooth coffee-ish, dark chocolate note right up front, followed by something of a metallic flavor, which I'm thinking is due to the higher alcoholic content. The sweet malts are fruity, mainly of the aforementioned raisins, plums and dates. The finish leaves a roasted character, along with a decent hopped bitterness. I would also agree that this has a smoky note in there as well.

M- This is a full bodied beer. Its' got a deep flavor, and is deliciously smooth, as the carbonation is mellow and the bubbles are fine. This reminds me of drinking a bit of a espresso flavored beer, and overall it is well balanced.

D- This is an excellent representation of a stout, and I believe this is my first imperial version. I very much enjoyed drinking this beer, and I think it would be a very good compliment to an aged cheddar or similar type of cheese. It would be good with a rich beef dinner as well. I don't think I'd have another bottle after the first however, as it's so rich and full that it's almost a meal in itself. Great job overall!

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

A: Pours a deep black, with just a tinge of brown hues around the bottom of the glass. Head is thick, foamy, big bubbles, fairly dark tan. Retains pretty well and leaves great lacing.

S: A kind of muted sweetness, full and complex. Roasted coffee notes blended with dark chocolate tones and molasses.

T: Lots of flavor, full and complex. Similar to the smell but moreso, with rich bitter coffee and dark chocolate notes as well as dried fruit.

M: Medium amount of carbonation, very full bodied, with an aftertaste that lingers for a long time.

D: It's very full bodied and heavy, but, given that, it's also very drinkable.

A great RIS, that shows you can create a hugely flavorful beer without a similarly huge ABV.

Photo of MisterClean
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at total wine.

A - Poured dark brown with 1 finger of capuccino head. Dissipated moderately and left little lacing.

S - Medium roast coffee, dark chocolate, and flowery fragrant hops.

T - Medium coffee, dark chocolate, flowery hops, and light bittering hops.

M - Moderate bodied and well-balanced. Finishes dry and some light feeling of alcohol.

D - Good overall. I am enjoying the beers of Samuel Smith. Great English brewery.

Photo of brewgirl
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: poured black, clear, with a tan head. Head retention was impressive--even after five minutes there was still a good amount.

Aroma: This bottle was two years old and was slightly oxidized. Other than that, there was a strong molasses aroma, dark chocolate, toffee and a lot of dark fruits (raisin, currant).

Flavor: The flavor was complex with the molasses and toffee hitting first, followed by a slight coffee/chocolate and then tons of the dried fruit character (mostly raisin). Unlike a lot of American Imperial Stouts that are very hoppy and roasty, this one was more subtle and the English yeast seemed to contribute to the fruitiness.

Mouthfeel/Finish: Full bodied, a little thinner that I would have expected for the style. Had a lingering sweetness in the finish.

Drinkability: Very easy to drink for the style.

Photo of yuriruley
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - about as dark as it gets, good sized tan head that retains well. Good lacing.

Smell - Very toasted malt smell, it's over the top. Some chocolate/coffee hints in there.

Taste - Good toasted flavor reminiscent of the smell, little sweetness on the tail end. Slight traces of the alcohol and coffee.

Mouthfeel - excellent, good full bodied, and creamy textures.

Drink - Goes down great, could drink a couple of these easily.

Great example of a drinkable stout. Reminds me why I like this company. Sadly I haven't seen it here where I live, but glad I got to try it. Would have to agree with fishbrew decent stout to introduce someone to the style I think.

Photo of fishbrew
4.72/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Black with a fluffy cappuccino colored head. Colorwise there's not a lot to be said, but the head and lacing are beautiful. 4.5

Roasty and inviting, hints of sweet butterscotch. 4.0

Phenomenal. Perfectly balanced blend of roast, sweetness, and bitterness. A great, great beer. 5.0

Viscous and tongue-coating. 4.5

DANGEROUSLY drinkable. This goes down incredibly easy; I think I could sit and drink it all night. 5.0

Overall, a phenomenal RIS, and I imagine a great beer for introducing someone to the style. I could live on this beer.

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

I by no means have as refined a palette as most on here but, all I can say is this is a great beer. I am a fan of stouts/porters and this is without a doubt in the top 10% of all beers I have had. It seems to "smell" a bit stronger than it actually tastes, almost has a butterscotch smell to it. Very complex taste to it (sorry but I cannot pick out the particulars like others on here). Super smooth for a stout.

Will without a doubt be drinking this one again.

Photo of Mistofminn
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Since Imperial Stouts have easily been my favorite styles lately, I figured I had to give this staple of the style a try.

550 ml bottle poured into a tulip. Dark opaque brown, nearly black colored liquid and a creamy lighter than expected tan head. Fizzes out rather quickly, not the greatest sign. Leaves a tiny bit of lacing here and there.

The nose is slightly muted, but I get molasses, lightly toasted malts, very sweet, possibly some coffee and chocolate. Not a whole lot going on, definitely not as much as I would expect from an Imperial Stout. On a good note, there is no alcohol present?

The taste, unfortunately, is even more muted than the nose. It's really sweet, much more than I was expecting. Molasses, toasted malts, dark coffee, chocolate and cream, it's all there, albeit muted.

Mouthfeel is much lighter than I expected also. It's incredibly smooth and creamy though! Very low carbonation only adds to the smooth and creamyness.

Drinkability is pretty good. Since the ABV is so low (compared to others in the style) this could be a pretty good "session" Imperial Stout. It's just not for me. I'm a fan of big, thick and chewy, sticky and slimey stouts. This isn't one of those.

Photo of sweemzander
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. No bottled date.

(A)- Pours pitch black that produced a big 2+finger tan head that dissipated after a few moments, but is staying with a thing layer on the top.

(S)- Rich roasted cocoa and molasses with bits of raisin.

(T)- Rich & decadent cocoa and molasses with a roasted baked bread background. Rather chocolatey.

(M)- Good carbonation level amidst a rich, yet balanced stout that is simple, but simply fantastic in the mouthfeel; goes down easy.

(D)- A great stout that tastes great and is easy on the stomach. Among all of the usually massive abv imp. stout out there, Sam Smith's is a no nonsense, less alcoholic, easily drinkable stout that maintains everything a stout should be like.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,254 ratings.