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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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3,339 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,339
Reviews: 1,682
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 177
Gots: 290 | 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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Ratings: 3,339 | Reviews: 1,682 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerSingh
4.11/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16 oz bottle poured into a goblet

A: Dark brown that turns reddish when held against light. Nice creamy head with decent retention and lacing throughout

S: Big coffee and chocolate nose

T: Like rum and raisins, bitter chocolate

M: Silky smooth, medium to heavy body and medium carbonation

D: This IS is very drinkable, top of the line

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

As with all Samuel Smith beers that I have had. An excellent, spot on to catagory, beer.

Poured dark brown/black. Two Fingers of foam from a vigorous pour, which slowly dissipated.

Smell of malt, heavy fruits (cherries, plum), and a hint of coffee.

Taste was slightly sweeter on the front end and more bitter on the back end than I expected, which is fine for an RIS. But overall the beer was nicely in balance. The malty heavy fruit ale taste is slowly taken over by the bitterness leaving a nice finish for a heavy beer.

The mouth feel is think and heavy as would be expected, with just a note of alcohol burn.

I could drink a few no problem, but would need a ride home

Photo of SamN
3.76/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber purchased from Campus West Liquors and poured in my classic Cutthroat Porter tumbler.

A- Pours nearly total black, but glows red against light. Huge tan head, beautiful foam that flows out and down the glass.

S- Soy sauce, vinegar and bourbon in the nose.

T- Lighter tasting than I remember. Light on malt and heavy grains, floral and lightly hoppy, slight alcohol finish. Nothing very "imperial" about this imperial stout at all. Not bad tasting, just lacks what I love about stouts.

M- Thinner than most, medium body with little carbonation.

D- Very good. Being a lighter-than-most stout lends itself to more drinkability, so higher marks for sippability.

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

Poured out of a Bottle into my Surly pint glass.

I am not gonna lie....this tastes exactly like the barley wine i brewed a while back. Heavy on the crystal malt, and just enough hops to have a little bitterness on the back end of the sip.

Pours a dark brown with a light brown head that dissipates quickly, leaving little to no lacing.

Good flavor, though for the style the mouthfeel was a bit thin...for a RIS, I want it chewy.

Not enough alcohol in this either...7% is a bit low, it doesn't even come through as it warms. Lends to the drinkability though, and with any more alcohol, the mouthfeel would thin out even more.

Overall, I am glad I picked this one up, though it will likely be the last one I do...easier to brew five gallons.


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

Pours a dark black, with a hint of ruby/brown at the edges. Thin tan head. Smell is of liquorice, and sweet malt. Taste is chocolaty and coffee up front, thick malt middle, and a roasted, earthy bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is super smooth and creamy, nice low carbonation. Drinkability is very good. Much lower alcohol than the average RIS, makes this easy to drink the entire 550ml bottle. An excellent example of a RIS, not as *extreme* as some US varieties, but still very tasty and holds its own.

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

Poured from 550mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: utter impermeable blackness with a thick creamy beige head. Beautiful.

Smell: the first thing that hits me are apples, pears and plums, followed by some other fruity esters. Nice.

Taste: this beer is surprisingly fruity all-round. The flavor profile is very similar to that of the aroma, with the addition of some chocolate and a little alcohol. Quite good.

Mouthfeel: medium-thick with low but well-integrated carbonation. It leaves a nice coating of the mouth for optimum flavor distribution.

Drinkability: this is very drinkable. I will have no problem finishing this bottle, and at only 7%, it's downright sessionable for a Russian imperial stout. Kudos!

Photo of wiseguy142
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

7% for an imperial stout? Ok. Still pretty tasty tho.

Pours black with an icecream like foamy brown head. Rocky, but not as rocky as some west coast style beers. Sort of like an ice cream float.

Aroma is very heavy on the caramel. Vanilla and spices. Reminds me of Halloween candy for some reason.

Taste is heavier on the caramel malt than most imperial stouts. Sweet creamy aftertaste with the roasted malt in the background for the most part. Not sure how this would go if there was more alcohol in it. Definitely a sweet stout that finishes dry with roasted malt, just short of charcoal flavors but not heavy on either chocolate or coffee flavors.

This is a cool beer. Not sure if it's my first choice among the imperial stouts.. more just like a British stout but still very good.

Photo of Vengeance526
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark black color with a 1-finger tan head that slowly dies down to a light ring and leaves a good bit of lacing.

Aroma is very roasty upfront with lots of coffee and caramel evident.

Taste closely reflects the smell with lots of roasted malt upfront and notes of chocolate, coffee, toffee and caramel all around. A slight hint of alcohol can be detected in the finish.

Full bodied, very rich and smooth. Enjoyable RIS overall, great to sip on. I doubt I'd have more than one at a time, but I'm sure I'll try this again in the future.

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

This is a sublime beer. Near perfect, if not perfect in every category. The bottle is badass looking, like opening it is going to be a historic event in and unto itself. Gold foil, awards won in a different century, things of that nature- they all add to the feeling of ceremony associated with this beer.

Appearance is so dark that it might be sucking the light out of the room like a black hole. The head was smaller than I expected, but the pour was not aggressive.

The first aroma to greet me was the scent of fine bourbon. This quickly gave way to toasty, fruity notes, with maybe a hint of caramel coffee in the background.

The flavor is excellent. Everything is in balance. Toasiness leads the charge, but in there is a citric fruitiness that delights to no end. The hops are muted, but only just. There's almost like a barbeque like flavor in the mix. This beer would be great with a huge cheeseburger grilled right before you put the barbeque away for winter. you know, sometime in late october, early november.

I love stouts, and this is certainly a front runner for my favorite.

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

Poured from the classic Sam Smith 550ml bottle into a pint glass.

Pours jet black - is this oil or liquid tar? A total eclipse of light, pouring this makes the room darker. Light brown foam, excellent 1/2 inch retention and very creamy head.

Smell is roasted. Coffee notes.

Taste is stout near-perfection. Smooth, creamy, rich, and chewy. Very dry. Some chocolate. Hop is buried and hidden but reveals in the aftertaste.

Smooth in the mouthfeel. Milky.

A very drinkable stout - could one put two of these down? Perhaps, but better to savor the one you are drinking.

(Given the choice, I'd opt for the Taddy Porter instead)

Photo of stoutfiend27
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

550ml bottle poured into my st. feuillien wide mouth glass

a-dark brown almost black with nice ruby highlights when held up to light almost like i big porter..quick rising head that fell quickly to a thin top on the beer

s-roast,coffee and toffee and slight alcohol which is surprising given the abv

t-lot like the nose, nice roastiness up front followed by subtle coffee and toffee and some alcohol

m-not quite as thick as i remember in past encounters but acceptable...would like a tad bit more viscosity to it for my taste..and a tad bit to prickly...

d-could have a couple in a sitting...

overall a great brew..i remember drinking this when i first got into craft and i seem to have lost it in the shuffle somewhere...glad i sat down and enjoyed this tonight...

Photo of PreacherBrewer
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours pitch black. i didn't get much head on this fella... looks good. Minute tan head settles to a thin film. look pretty normal for a stout.

S - Smells of roasted barley, chocolate, toffee, and a light alcoholic fruity essence.

T - Big dark chocolate dipped in cherry flavor. A Hint of hoppy bitterness keeps malty sweetness in check. Very balanced.

M - Medium/full mouthfeel. Very smooth and velvety. It drinks like a dessert. You can sip it, as you should, but it's smooth enough to quaff (do it, and die).

D - It took me about 50 min to finish (not that i had to take that long, but i wanted to take that long). It was delectable. I loved every second of my indulgence. It was smooth, well-rounded, and a big task, all at the same time. One of my favorite stouts tasted to date. My first RIS. lovin' the style... i will have many more in the future!

Photo of Cylinsier
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz

Pours a dark black with a head that's brown sugar colored. Very dark body that lets no light through.

Smells of rich caramel and molasses.

Very rich malty sweetness like brown sugar and a nice smokey accent.

Thick and full with a light accent of carbonation.

Great! IS is still my favorite style and this fits nicely into the lineup. A little too potent to drink a lot of but not as strong as others in the style.

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

550ml bottle with the golden wrapped neck, poured in sections into a pint glass.

A - Jet black with a huge mocha head that fades slowly in clumps. Beautiful.

S - Sweet roasted bread with some chocolate and caramel. Roasty goodness.

T - Malty heaven in a glass. Dark chocolate and toffee mixed with a light coffee bitterness. Rich and finishes sweet.

M - Rich and creamy brew. Almost chewy.

D - Moderate to high, even @ 7%.

Photo of mnrider
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

550 ml brown bottle. My first Samuel Smith's

A: Pours a dark brown with two finger brownish tan head which bubbles. Head slowly turns coaster thin.

S: Rich in malt, sweet sugars, and light chocolate.

T/M: Full bodied and rich in flavor. Mocha, roasted malts and sugars. Alcohol is strong but is hidden quit well. Mouthfeel is great with it's smoothness.

D: Exceptional Stout that stands up great to all the things i've heard about it. Can't wait to try other brews from SM's. I will buy again.


Photo of mdwalsh
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a snifter it forms a rather large head, but it's pretty. The beer is black with lots of active carbonation and the head is solid sand tan. Lots of different sized bubbles. The head fades slowly, but not too slowly.

S: Smell is powerful as soon as I pour. I get not much chocolate, but a little alcohol. Sweet, dark, malty fruit smells are what really dominates. I get a little citrus even, but now, now I think I smell a hint of soy sauce. I'm thinking of Orange Chicken with soy sauce.

T: Sweet and bitter. very odd. Very much like an English Porter mixed with a baltic porter in my opinion. It's the water. Has the same unique taste of all Sam Smith Beers. Sort of reminds me of the beach for some reason. A little salty, fishy taste, but not in a bad way. Still, not what I want in my RIS, doesn't taste dark enough.

M: Very light, proper carbonation and all. Leaves the mouth feeling refreshed and satisfied.

D: Meh, I could do it, but I don't think I would want to drink too much of this.

Photo of LestatSabastian
4.67/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance was dark nearly black with a nice tan creamy head.
smell was of chocolate coffee and some nut hint to it
taste was so awesome chocolate coffee dessert anyone hmmm.
mouthfeel rich creamy bold taste leaves you like coffee in the morning.
drinkabilty drink it slow and savor the flavor. would drink this any day of the week. Try this Beer

Photo of dasenebler
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep, dark black. Nice and creamy, light tan head. Aroma is full of roast and a touch of sweetness.

Flavor is big and roasty. This beer emphasizes the unique character of a stout-- the roasted barley-- so much so that the flavor is smoky and peaty. Pretty fantastic if you ask me. Not overly sweet or boozy like so many other imperial stouts. Roastiness begets a dry tanginess. Mouthfeel is not nearly as heavy as some other examples of the style. Could use a little more creaminess. At 7 percent, this imperial is probably the most drinkable I've had. Excellent stout.

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

Had this beer in my favorite beer pub in Wageningen, de Vlaamse reus. Poured into a sniffer. The beer pours a very deep black color with a fantastic full creamy, brown head that lasted very long.

Smell: fully of flavor, wow. Coffee, roasted malts, dark fruits (plums, figs), sweet caramel, chocolate brownies and a nice warming alcolhol.

Taste: as impressive and full as the smell. Roasted malts, hops, plums, figs, coffee, chocolate and a clear hint of salty liquorish. Aftertaste is a bit smoky with some nice bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Thick, creamy smooth, medium carbonation. This is a feel good beer

Overall: This is surely one of the best imperial stouts out there. If only this one would be a "limited production" or "very rare", it would likely be voted in the top three at BA. This because many people seem to be biased by the hype of limited productions....Hail the czar of Russian imperial stouts! Highly recommendable!!

Photo of STEG
4.41/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured an ominous black color with a foamy 2 finger khaki head. From a 12oz gold foil cap sealed top and one of the the most tastefully perfect labels I've ever laid eyes on.

Smells like bittersweet chocolate and black coffee with a definite earthy almost mushroom like(in a good way)undertone.

Tastes like someone paired unsweetened bakers chocolate with espresso. Really dark and wonderful with some notes of chicory and cedar.

Smooth mouthfeel at the start with a bit of a warming alcohol finish.

I could drink the entire four pack. An extremely enjoyable imperial stout that should be taken seriously.

Photo of PartyBear
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Black body and a tan head, the way a good stout should look.

S - Bold roasted malts strong on the nose. Coffee, and liquorish. Sweet fruit undertones.

T - The first hit is bitter, fresh roasted coffee, with rich smokey malts. The coffee leads to a bitterness in the middle of dark chocolate, with a hint of burnt raisins. The finish is smooth and bitter, with a warming presence of alcohol.

M - Not as thick as some imperial stouts but the flavours are so rich and textured you don't really notice. There is a touch of oiliness, which coats the mouth.

D - I would love to find a better imperial stout than Samuel Smith's but as of yet I have not and to be quite honest I don't know what more I could expect. Samuel Smith beers are know the world over and rightfully so. PLEASE TRY THIS BEER!!!

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

This beer pours a jet black non see thru colour with avid carbonation that leaves a nice frothy two finger cappicino laced head with really vivid lacing all down the sides an absolutely beautiful looking RIS,it has bittersweet aromas of rich roasted sweet chocolate and some strong bitter coffee,it has a full mouthfeel that is perfectly balanced out by the roasted choc malts and stiff strong bittersweet coffeish hop notes,definately an outstanding beer and so far the benchmark of this style for me.

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

550 mL bottle purchased in March 08

Pours a dark, nearly opaque brown with garnet hues around the edges against light. Massive, fluffy deep tan head with a light crimson hue. Aroma is complex balance of dark fruits and toffee/caramel malts. This almost smells like a red wine at first. Full bodied with light carbonation results in a very creamy, soft feel on the tongue. Flavors are similar to the aroma, body is initially fruity sweet, before the malt and chocolate flavors take over with a slight hop bitterness in the finish. Malt and bitter fruitiness lingers long into the finish. I had purchased two bottles of this and drank one fresh. For some reason that night this seemed too overpowering for me, but tonight this tastes well balanced and very drinkable.

Photo of jdklks
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

aggressively poured into an over-sized wine glass, producing a 1 1/2 finger tan-brown head. black with amber edges. smells of english hops and yeast (not surprisingly of course) and roasted coffee malt that provides a welcoming sweetness.

taste is thin and dry, an unbalanced sugary sweetness with little punch. for an imperial stout, not a whole lot of complexity. not much here besides a sugary sweetness accompanied by a barely perceptible hop bite that saves it from being too sweet.

mouthfeel is nice as far as thickness goes, but it is over-carbonated, and the aftertaste is too sweet on the palate.

Photo of y2j2280
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first review - Hopefully makes sense.

A - Dark and muddy - Almost looks like motor oil. Looks thick.
S - There is a overwelming chocolate aroma. Smells sweet and roasty.
T- Taste very good. Exactly what to expect from a Imperial Stout. Strong hints of chocolate. Got some caramel and cocoa also.
M - Mouthfeel was average. It was heavy which I def. expected but felt it was over carbonated for a IS.
D - Is good. Can maybe have one more. Def. not a session beer.

Overall a great IS.Def up there on my list for this style. Would def. buy again.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,339 ratings.