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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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3,148 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,148
Reviews: 1,652
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.51%
Wants: 144
Gots: 201 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,148 | Reviews: 1,652 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of McStagger
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


A: Poured into an o-fficial Samuel Smith pint glass...Pours black. Well, not quite black. Just a really dark and really opaque brown. Like Diet Coke syrup. Not much light getting through there. Head is nice, about two fingers worth. Retention is medium-high. Nice.

S: Nose has dark chocolate, espresso, evergreen and lemon rind notes all throughout.

T: Dark roasted sugars intermingled with small nuances of citric/hop bitterness invade the palate from the onset. These notes are followed by a very dark fruit in the middle palate. Almost reminds me of extremely old port. This transitions well into the familiar coffee and smoke at the finish. Smoke definitely finishes this one off. The alcohol is nowhere near as noticeable in this as it is in many imperial stouts. Seems to balance it out a bit more.

M: For me, this is where Samuel Smith really shines. I have yet to consume a Sam Smith beer that has either been too heavy or too light for its respective style. This beer is no exception. Silky and smooth without being heavy or ponderous, this beer has an excellent body and structure.

D: This is probably the easiest drinking Imperial Stout I've ever had. While still not a session brew, this beer's comparatively low alcohol makes it a possibility to have more than one or two.

McStagger, Feb 27, 2009
Photo of Gyle41386
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a rich opaque black. Nice big brown head. Lots of bubbles, nice lacing. This is an excellent looking beer. Not much head retention, or this would have been a 5.

Smells of dried dark fruits and chocolate. Not nearly as much coffee and roast in the nose as many imperial stouts, and that's not a bad thing.

Taste follows the nose, except the roast becomes more prominent in the finish. Dark fruits (raisins, plums), chocolate, coffee. Very rich and smooth.

One thing I love about this stout is that the alcohol isn't so assertive. Some Russian Imperial Stouts, Stone's in particular, scared me off by being overly boozy. All in all, this a phenomenal stout.

Gyle41386, Feb 26, 2009
Photo of benclimbs
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours big and black with a nice brown head that leaves some pretty significant lacing in the glass.

Smell is nice, with some overripe fruit and just a little yeast...

Taste is really really interesting and nice - has some real british ale characteristics, though it maintains the sweetness, malts and coffee characteristics of a Russian imperial.

Pretty good beer! I'm impressed.

benclimbs, Feb 25, 2009
Photo of CHSLBrew
3.4/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500mL bottle poured into a snifter.

A-Black beer, opaque. Brown head, large bubbles, big off the pour and sustaining. Continued to linger with an attractive 1cm heady layer.

S-Much of chocolate mixed with some dried fruits (raisins).

T-Chocolate, dark fruits and candy/molasses. Roasted barley character is present but doesn't overwhelm the other flavors. A little bit of alcohol in the tail end. Finishes roasty, bitter, a bit washed out/blah.

M-Medium-low small-bubbled carbonation. Medium to medium-full bodied beer.

D-Fine enough, but not really a great brew. I think the flavor profile was relatively thin, with a body that left me wanting.

CHSLBrew, Feb 25, 2009
Photo of drummerben
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First review from a longtime lurker. Picked up a 12oz single to give it a try. Poured into standard pint.

Appearance: pours black with dark brown highlights. Frothy two-finger head with nice retention and lacing.

Smell: smells of dark fruits, brown sugar sweetness,raisins, toffee, caramel, and rum. Surprisingly little coffee or roastedness.

Taste: strong sweetness and fruit - toffee, plums, and raisins. Much fruitier than i prefer in a RIS. Too much fruit and not enough roast for my palatte. Alcohol well-hidden.

Mouthfeel: excellent. Perfect carbonation, medium/heavy body, and smooth creamy finish.

Drinkability: very smooth going down. This is an easy drinker, especially at 7%.

Overall a slight disappointment, considering I love Sam Smith and Imperial Stouts. I was hoping for a bigger Taddy Porter, but I miss the roasted malts that make it so delicious. Overall good, but not my go-to RIS.

drummerben, Feb 25, 2009
Photo of mapofthedead
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a rich black with a decent tan head.

S: There was some hint of sweetness, sugar and toffee maybe combining with a bitterness of dark chocolate and coffee. Also picked up a slight roasted smell in the background.

T: Again, the sweetness of toffee/sugar was present but nicely offset by the bitterness of chocolate and coffee.

M: Awesome! Full bodied, creamy and smooth.

D: Very drinkable and no hint of the alcohol content!

Notes: 355 ml bottle poured into a Imperial Pint Glass. BBE DEC 09.

mapofthedead, Feb 23, 2009
Photo of bmwats
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint.

A: Very dark brown in color. Low carbonation pours into a 1 finger, foamy, tan head. Settles fairly quickly, but leaves a little security blanket on the surface. Beer ring lacing remains.

S: Dark roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, pecan shells, scotch whiskey.

T: Roasted coffee beans, unsweetened chocolate, a little scotch or bourbon whiskey.

M: Thick and robust. Flavor fills the mouth and coats the palette. Malty start, strong alcohol taste in the finish.

D: Great drinkability. This is best savored though.

Solid appearance, nice complexity in the nose. Flavor is a bit more simple than the nose lets on, but very well balanced and full. Nice, albeit heavy, feel. This is a high quality quaff.

bmwats, Feb 22, 2009
Photo of grub
4.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

500ml bottle. sampled feb 20/09.

pours deep dark brown, not quite black but still pretty much opaque. a very dense brown head forms, dropping very slowly and leaving a ton of lace behind.

aroma is great. rich dark chocolate. dark roast coffee. multi-grain bread. bit of biscuit. light alcohol. rich caramel. a bit of fruity character too that i'm enjoying. there's a bit of a yeast there too, which i also don't mind.

taste is great. solid malty base of mutl-grain bread, biscuit, and oatmeal. rich dark chocolate, caramel, and coffee. medium-low bitterness level. light alcohol. there's that nice fruity and yeasty component adding a nice depth to it.

mouthfeel is great. just under medium carbonation. medium-large body. smooth.

drinkability is great, and to add to that it's a RIS that won't knock you on your ass at 7%. this seems like the "big brother" to their oatmeal stout. a little bigger, a little richer, and a little darker. it's really that beer turned up a notch, and i think it benefits from it - more depth, a little more intensity. just better all around. while i'm just as gaga over the latest big american stout, i'd be very happy to have a steady supply of this excellent english offering. a great stout that i will certainly not be waiting long to pick up more of.

grub, Feb 21, 2009
Photo of RodBurg
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours black with brown highlights. A huge, fluffy brown head forms with excellent retention and lacing.

Smells heavily of sweet molasses, brown sugar, coffee, dark chocolate, raisins, toffee and caramel with a nice hint of roastiness.

Smooth and creamy on the palate, like a thick oatmeal stout. Sweet toffee and brown sugar combine with a delicious roasted malt flavor and the expected chocolate and coffee notes. Raisin and fig notes linger in the background with a slight spiciness. Alcohol is undetectable.

Delicious. Perfect dessert beer.

RodBurg, Feb 17, 2009
Photo of 196osh
4.78/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is my first review on BA. Lets hope all the beers I will review in future will be as nice as this Samuel Smiths RIS.

One of the only Imperial stouts I can find regularly. Pours dark black, not total blackness but close enough. Smells of dark fruits, chocolate and coffee. Execptional flavours which mimic the smell but improve upon it.

Mouthfeel is on the slightly light side for a RIS. But that vastly improves its drinkablity for a RIS.

Brilliant beer.

196osh, Feb 15, 2009
Photo of Stockfan42
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this bottle up at random trying to find any kind of Imperial Stout (after having ktg I want to try other RIS beers). So this beer was around 5 bucks for a pint at kappys and is at 7.0%.

So I popped the cap off which is topped in a foil wrapper. Poured this beer into my Winter Bourbon Cask Ale glass and looked for anykind of tint of color but could only find black. Very black beer with a great mocha coffee colored head.

Taking a wiff of this beer i'm pretty sure its going to be some treat. A malty chocolate aroma with a fruity plum and light hop presense makes a great smelling beer.

This beer has a great offering of flavor. Very malty chocolate tone with hints of coffee. I taste some plums and raisens, maybe a bitter hop added to the mix? None the less this beer is bad ass and wish I had another bottle.

This beer goes down pretty quick (atleast in my case) for an RIS, but isn't to strong and is pretty smooth so its really no wonder why. Grab a few bottles if you see some.

Stockfan42, Feb 14, 2009
Photo of jujubeast6000
3.55/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed 5/8/2007 (550mL bottle):

Pours an inky black color, big foamy tan head. Dry chocolately aroma, some sugars and malty aromas. Not much coffee aroma. Not heavy body, watery almost mouthfeel. Some coffee aftertaste, not much chocolate taste. Almost skunky taste. A good stout.

jujubeast6000, Feb 11, 2009
Photo of brewintheLou
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a tan head that sticks around and leaves lacing down the glass.

Smell is not very strong, but I get some sweet fruitiness.

Taste is very smooth with a little bit of roasted malt. There a hint of the same sweet fruit in the taste. Mouthfeel is very creamy and wonders through the mouth nicely. Highly drinkable beer going down as smooth as it does.

brewintheLou, Feb 11, 2009
Photo of nrpellegrini
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thick black color with a thin tan head that fades. Smells of roasted malts, some chocolate. Tastes decent, a typical stout. Roasted malts with a faint chocolate background. Not the best mouthfeel but nothing to complain about, smooth. Drinkability is ok, as it got warmer it became harder to put down.

nrpellegrini, Feb 07, 2009
Photo of bowersdm
3.13/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Normal sized bottle poured into a mug

A - nearly black. 2cm of brown-ish head

S - roasted barley, coffee, chocolate, fruit, hops (kind of citrusy, but there's also a spiciness), alcohol

T - fruit, coffee, chocolate, barley, and hops at the very end. everything is very subdued and subtle.

M - thin and watery. too thin for an RIS

D - this wasn't a bad RIS, but it lacked the beefiness that I'm used to with an RIS.

bowersdm, Feb 03, 2009
Photo of Bung
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

English take on the RIS. Black pour, nice light brown head. More chocolately than coffee, nice amount of carbonation. Flavor similar, quite sweet with molasses, malt and chocolate. Not as astringent as some imperial stouts. Balanced, full bodied yet very drinkable. An excellent stout that is not too tough to find.

Bung, Feb 02, 2009
Photo of pokesbeerdude
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a couple 550s of this quite a while ago at Northridge in Laramie. About $3.50 each if I remember correctly.

A: Pours a deep brown, edging on the brink of black with a medium tan colored head about an inch and a half thick, quite tight. Huge chunks of lacing all around. Recedes to a film.

S: Some definite chocolate and a very distinguishable Samuel Smith scent, it must be their yeast that produces the same characteristic in almost every beer I've had from their, and the only thing I can liken it to is "pub", somewhat musty, a few earthy English hops are lingering in the back somewhere.

T: Smoky roasted malts, chocolate, the same "pub" taste as from the nose, a bit of chocolate, surprisingly bitter, although its a "dirty" bitter, more so from the burnt malt. A definite coffee presence. Nice citrus there too, but not really a hop citrus. Hop character is piney, and subdued. Blended nicely into the background. Almost a red apple flavor, Belgian dark ale character. And even a few hints of lighter Irish whiskey. A lot going on here, and a good example of the beginnings of the style, but really nothing too fantastic.

M: A little thin, quite highly carbonated, a little warm on the alcohol end as well.

D: If persuaded to, I could drink another pint of this. It isn't bad by any means, but its more of a one and done type of beer. An excellent glimpse into the past of the Imperial Stout. Not a bad beer, and I'd recommend it to anyone that was curious.

pokesbeerdude, Jan 31, 2009
Photo of Jmoore50
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a good drink, but a lot of things are missing. The bar is consistently being raised with Russian Imperial Stouts. There are brewery's that focus a lot of time and energy aging and putting in the finest ingredients. I am starting to think that year around Imperial Stouts should be given a seasonal treatment, because that is the way it is meant to be.

The appearance is really dark, but held up to the light has dark amber edges. The head comes up nice, but leaves just as fast. The thickness or consistency of the brew is like darkened water. I am used to brews that pour like motor oil, not like water out of a faucet.

The taste was good but kind of bland. There are no overwhelming flavors, just subtle little ones. This is the second one that I have had and overall just really okay. The drinkability of it is good, which I can give a high score because more RIS are not drinkable at all. The mouthfeel is okay, but both times I got a small hint of something sour. Overall just another average RIS that will not bring back any fond memories. Doesn't warm me up like Bourbon County, doesn't perplex my taste buds like the Abyss, or even get me buzzed with goodness like Old Rasputin. Overall average.


Jmoore50, Jan 30, 2009
Photo of Rayek
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep garnet color borders on black. Big and foamy tan head has above average retention and leaves spots of lace.

S: Chocolate, espresso and dark fruit aromas are joined by a smattering of charred wood.

T: This is a very complex stout. Bakers chocolate hits first, followed by a bevy of dark fruit flavors from dark cherries and black grapes. Bitterness comes on with a very well balanced earthy flavor. Finishes dry with a slightly acidic coffee bite. There's a touch of warmth as the beer goes down.

M: Medium-heavy body is creamy and thick. Carbonation level could stand to be a touch lower.

D: This is an incredibly refined stout. There are no rough edges on this one, as all of the flavors balance perfectly against one another. Despite the beer's strength, the alcohol is almost completely hidden by the complex flavors. Definitely worth a revisit down the road.

Rayek, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of WakeandBake
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark black color pour with a finger of light tan head that hung around for quite a while.Aroma of chocolate,burnt barly,and some earthy,musty,maybe slightly oxidized but still a good aroma. Flavor of cask wood,charcoal,licorice,tobacco,and a touch of alcohol.Full body,with a somewhat oily texture,and a suprise bitter finish. A pretty darn good stout,fun to try,and quite drinkable.

WakeandBake, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of youngblood
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had this at a tasting at Old Towne Ale House in Fishers.

Poured black as night with small off-white head. The nose smelled of dark burnt chocolate. The mouthfeel was incredible, very chewy and delicious. Lots of coffee/chocolate in the taste. This is the first stout I really like. Excellent.

youngblood, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of twbrewer
3.68/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A-Pours as dark as night.14" off white head that quickly fades to nothing.No lacing present.

S-Smells of roasted malts,licorice and black strap molasses.

T-Has a bittersweet taste upfront with hints of licorice,brown sugar a roasted chocolate malt finish.

M-Medium/light bodied more towards the light side. Very carbonated which hutrs mouthfeel.

D-I am becoming a big fan of this style of beer,and this is the lightest bodied one I have tried so far it is still very tasty and still worth checking out.

twbrewer, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of HappyBivouac
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

550ml bottle into Ommegang Chalice. no indication of date that I can find.

Pours dark woody brown with an almost non-existent head of clouds of light yellowish tan bubbles. looks pretty tasty. Dark fruits, caramel, brown sugar, bourbon, vanilla and quickbread dough in the nose. Smells very sweet and slightly boozy. Taste is fainter than expected. Mostly roasted malts and bread dough. A little bit of brown sugar and vanilla sweetness. Almost barbecue-like wood smoke character comes on strong in the finish. Tastes delicious but like I said a little too faint. Mouthfeel is watery with a few bubbles here and there. Underwhelming.

Well this beer tastes great and doesn't punch overly hard. That said the flavor wasn't quite as big as I'd hoped for. What can I say? I like it a lot. It's very pleasant and doesn't try to bomb you as hard as possible as a lot of impy stouts do. Very enjoyable.

HappyBivouac, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of skrib09
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured imperial stout black. great dark tan head. good lacing.

smells bready. bread dough.

tastes malty, i definetly get the alcohol. malty and smooth. i get some roast in the after taste.

good mouthfeel. the alcohol comes through here.

pretty good drinkability!

skrib09, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of khiasmus
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well done.


khiasmus, Jan 07, 2009
Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,148 ratings.