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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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3,298 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,298
Reviews: 1,676
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 168
Gots: 263 | 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: 3,298 | Reviews: 1,676 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of oakbluff
3.08/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle sample- pours jet black with frothy tan head. Nose- dark fruit and chocolate. Taste- very fruity, plums, raisins, chocolate and slight alcohol taste. Medium to low carbonation. Finish is bitter chocolate, maybe a touch of hops, but not much. Mostly a roast free, fruit forward stout. I prefer less fruity notes, so drinkability suffers somewhat. Quite light bodied for style.

Photo of endincolorado
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Dark brown (nearly black) with ruby highlights. Tan head. Low retention. Great lacing.

Smell- Fairly strong, roasty malt, cocoa, and dark fruit.

Taste- Roasted malt, balanced by some hop-bitterness. Cocoa, dark fruits, and a slight alcohol flavor.

Mouthfeel- medium-heavy body. Nicely carbonated. A little light for an imperial stout.

Drinkability- Good for an imperial stout. Alcohol isn't overwhelming.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.04/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Standard bottle poured into an imperial pint.

A - A thick yet loose tan head floats above an almost opaque amber color.

S - Huge raisin, oat and roasted malt on the nose with a slight cinnamon raisin bread hints.

T - Giant roasted malt hits like a ton of bricks and fellows with a raisiny sweetness.

M - Smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

D - I think its creamy smooth mouthfeel compliments the rich, fuller bodied aspect of this beer but after one I think I'd make it switch to something lighter.

Photo of tigg924
3.91/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: huge head, dark brown

Smell:malt, coffee, faint chocolate--not overly strong a smell

Taste: dark coffee, sugar, cream, chocolate

Mouthfeel: smooth, creamy, a sweet start that lasts through the middle part with a bitter dry finish, medium body for a RIS

Drinkability: A very subtle RIS. A very good example of the style, which hides the alcohol well. I would drink several of these if not for the high ABV. I will have this again.

Photo of mwagner1018
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark deep coffee color, nice creamy head.

S- Definite espresso note, roasted malt...light but delightful aroma.

T- Nice balance, bitterness is astounding, and very nice to the pallet, balances well with the strong malt character. Distinct and interesting, a very dry stout.

M- Residual sweetness, and bitterness of hops and alcohol...clean on the tongue, interesting in the mouth, flows nicely, well rounded.

D- Any more than a couple of these might overwhelm my taste, but I could see having a few, very interesting and nice alcohol note, reminds me of the warming character of a nice scotch, deep, toasty, and very good.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Lovely cascade out of the bottle, a very dark black-blood-red hue, just giving a glimmer of ruby when held to light. Head is a creamy crest of beige bubbles. Good lacing. Just delicious looking.

Dark chocolate-sweet notes on the nose. Not huge but tasty and sweet. Hints of something slightly tannic as well, like tea leaves or red wine cork. Nice.

Very solid, roasted and smoky characters on the palate. Dark and bitter - everything implies fire and charcoal, except that it has this wonderful airy sweetness that never drags it right down. Back palate is quite ashy, but in a pleasant drinkable dryness. Mouthfeel is creamy and thick, but with a pleasant levity. Very nice.

Extremely drinkable, despite the darkness. Just creamy, rich, sweet, and slick. A superbly balanced and extremely well made brew. This beer cements Samuel Smith's reputation for me.

Photo of laituegonflable
3.43/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Great head when poured, thin film now. Very, very solid cradle of lacing. Copper-tinged black colour. This is truly, madly, deeply a great-looking beer.

Unusual nose. Pear (Yes, pear) is a big aspect of the smell, with a spiced, cinnamon edge. Nothing really dark or burned here, which deserves kudos. It's an extraordinary smell for a dark beer but that doesn't necessarily equal extraordinarily good. It's good, just not extraordinarily.

Slightly more dark on the flavour with a cocoa kind of undercurrent and a sout, cabernet kind of finish, but not really cabernet-flavoured. A slightly simple drop, with flavours that are nice but subdued. Mouthfeel is excellent. This seems to have a healing power - my mouth is in pain when this beer isn't gushing through it.

Overall this is a nice, drinkable drop, but it doesn't command too much of my respect.

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

poured from 12 oz. bottle at cellar temp into an oversized wine glass. pours opaque black with a nice light mocha colored head. pretty decent retention, head faded to a nice ring and some spotty foam in the middle. some lacing.

some nice roasty notes, a medicine like aroma, cocoa, roasted coffee, prunes, anise, dried fruit, pretty complex.

roasted malts and dried fruits gives way to a nice chocolate semi bitter finish. very nice taste.

the mouthfeel was medium to heavy bodied. medium carbonation. it seems a little light for the style, but it is still full of all the RIS taste. this and the somewhat low ABV makes the drinkability awesome. i definately recommend this to anyone, but definately to someone wanting to get into big stouts without the alcohol.

Photo of Beejay
3.48/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark black body with a nice creamy tan head. Looks good enough to drink.

S: Alcohol, fruits and vinegar.

T: Sharp, distinct. Slightly sour to begin with, then settles in to nice smokey tones, and barley.

M: Slightly thin and watery feeling.

D: Don't think I am going to hop on board with this one. It is good, but not good enough to get a sixer.

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

A- Very dark brown colored opaque body. Nice brown head

S- Molasses and sweet, roasted grains along with some bitterness from hopping

T- Taste is alike the smell. The balance in this beer is great. Nothing is cloying and the sweet and bitter flavors combine well

M&D- Sticky, light and refreshing

Photo of argock
3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date. Single purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $2.75.

A: Black as night with frothy, 2-finger tan head with excellent retention and lacing.

S: Typical dry stout aromas of roasted dark malts, licorice, and cocoa with a touch of leafy hops

T: Good but not even close to the level of the best imperial stouts (see Expedition Stout, Storm King, Old Rasputin, BR Black Bear, Stone RIS amongst others). Solid roasted and slightly burnt dark and black malt, quite dry, with licorice and cocoa flavors. Leafy hops are in the finish. Not particularly rich or deep flavor but enjoyable.

M: Where it falls the shortest with a light-for-style body and overcarbonated.

D: Flavorful but second tier due to the lack of depth of flavor and thinner than expected body and feel.

Photo of 2KHokie
4.6/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle. Pours a dark black with a hint of red. Nice, tall, dark tan head. Big caramel and coffee aromas. Smells sweet. Mild, fine carbonation. Some fig, roasted malt, caramel, a touch of alcohol, and a hint of chocolate on the palate. Nice bitterness and a rich mouthfeel. Finishes very clean. This is a really good stout but not as big as some you might see these days. That being said, I would actually have more than one of these!

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

the appearence is great. It poured with a big, sustained head. The bubbles were very fine and it is an attractive looking beer in my lion chalice. It smells very good too, smells like a ton of sweet, rich flavors. It smells very sweet, like caramel or toffee, or even a sweet chocolate. The taste is very clean and smooth. It tastes like it smells: very sweet. Again, a little bit of chocolate, and some sweet, caramel like malts. Not very dry or hoppy like some of the bigger imperials I have had recently, but more juicy and sweet. Definately a good offering from samuel smiths, which I never try, even though I see it all the time. (I might start after this one.)the mouthfeel and drinkability are both excellent, I'm not used to such a smooth and drinkable imperial stout. I would reccommend this stout to those that have a problem with this type of beer. It is sweet, malty, and very drinkable for a stout, let alone an imperial.

Photo of OtherShoe2
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep brown/black with some ruby highlights when held to the light. Nice brown foamy head that dissipated to an uneven skim as I went through the pint. This skim left no lace, but clung to the sides of the glass. Nice.

Big dark dried fruit and blackstrap molasses aromas upfront, and a tart scent somewhere in the bake.

Nice complex flavors here. Molasses, deep roasted malt, coffee, dark fruit, some dark chocolate (not much, or just my imagination), and a slight tart acidic twang built into this one.

Medium bodied and silky smooth.

A 7% Imperial Stout. Alcohol was so far in the background that I did not even consider it until I got to this point in the review. Nothing hard about drinking this one. It has probably been 15+ years since I've had this, and wow have I been missing out on this year-round treat. Bought the 12 oz and it was just right. If you haven't had this one, and are a stout lover (all types), you need to give this one a try. Great balance, structure, and complexity.

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

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout is a damn good beer.
Beautiful head, 7.0% ABV, a sweet aroma...
light on the tongue, crisp stout flavor like coffee or chicory.
The first time i tasted this beer i immediately transgressed to a state of bliss
If you have not tried this beer You must.


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

I love stouts, and imperial stouts are one of my favorite types of stouts. I've been meaning to pick this beer up for quite some time now and was excited to try it. Poured into a pint glass it pours a black opaque color with a tanish colored head, looks great! The aroma is roasted malts, chocolate, a little bit of coffee? Either way the smell is wonderful, though the taste is quite better. With a somewhat thick and creamy mouthfeel with a taste of coffee and chocolate that is pretty sweet it's a great tasting beer. Easily drinkable. There are some imperial stouts I could only drink a few of in one night but this one I could easily do more of no problem. Not a high alcohol content and a great taste this is one I will be picking up again for sure.

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

A: Two fingers of a firm, whipped head over a pitch black beer with the slightest hint of light brown at the bottom of the glass. A small head sticks around.
S: Sweet roasted aromas, milk chocolate; heavy and sweet "cream"/dairy smell, like smelling the top of a cupcake (for lack of better analogy); dark fruit aromas.
T: Surprisingly fruity character; dark, ripe berries and other fruits and a creamy malty flavor topped with bitter chocolate.
M: Incredibly thick and creamy; smooth, but leaves a good amount of residue on the palate.
D: One of the best stouts I've had. A pretty toned-down version of an RIS, but still an absolutely brilliant take. I can't wait to grab another of these!

Photo of joerodiii
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a nice surprise. In these days of over the top, extreme RIS's, a "sessionable" one is a nice change.

Black, nearly opaque beer with minimal head. Nice, balanced aroma. Chocolate dominates but does not overwhelm. Taste is similar. You can really taste chocolate, but it fits nicely with the rest of the beer. It is not too bitter, not too thick, and the alcohol is subtly in the background. There is a touch of malty sweetness with no over-roasted flavors.

Overall, this might be the most drinkable RIS I've tated.

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

Poured from the classic-decorated bottled, a 550 ml.

Cola-colored ... has a sweet whiskey aroma ... mmm.

The first pour was down the side of the glass to preserve some carbonation.

The taste is a balanced blend of coffee, molasses, and sweet malts. This is a delicious brew.

As compared to others I've tasted, the Smith's Imperial Stout is a lighter body, less bitter beer. For me the taste tended more toward the malts and less toward the bitter coffee flavors.

The mouthfeel with the pour down the side of the glass did retain an effervescence. A later pour down the middle of the goblet produced a thick, tan head which settled back to a creamy, thin froth ... and much less tingly mouthfeel.

Very drinkable, pleasant, tasty experience for sure.

Photo of PintOHops
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance/Smell - Appears a dark oil like black with hardly any transparency, and has a quarter inch frothy brown, bubble like head. Head reduces semi quick and leaves no lacing. Smells of sharp citrus notes coupled with rich chocolaty, almost cake like malts. Very robust! Sweet overall with fruity cherry and raisin notes, although I did detect some minor earthy notes.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Tastes of rich chocolaty flavors and sweet malts, very delicious! Nice citrus and coffee like flavors on the finish, with some coffee like bitterness lingering on the palate just a tad. Hints of earthy notes, pretty hearty with coffee flavors overall, and hints of alcohol as it warms. Mouthfeel is smooth and somewhat creamy, with some evident carbonation on the palate even. I would say lightly carbonated and full bodied.

Drinkability/Final thoughts - I could definitely find myself enjoying more that a few of these. Probably 3-4 even, I love how robust and full flavored this beer is, although I admit that I do enjoy other stouts more. This is a great example of a stout, I think I would have appreciated more of a creamy, thick body. Still very good, I recommend you give this a try. Cheers!

Photo of ccrida
4.74/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

550ml that's pushing 2 years old, maybe more. I've had this 'fresh', but it's been a while. I've heard this cellars poorly, and thought I'd find out for myself.
Poured into my Delirium snifter, Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout is a dark inky syrupy color with a large dark tan head that leaves sheets of foamy lace.

Smell is super rich and sweet, boat loads of caramel, and I don't mean caramel malt, I mean caramel syrup, like you'd put on a sundae! Coupled with some coffee, it smells like the sugary starbucks drinks I'm a bit embarrassed to admit my wife enjoys! I'm not embarrassed to say it's fantastic and pretty much blowing my mind, before I took even I sip I knew this experiment was a raging success!

Taste is also very rich, but with quite a bit more depth and complexity then the nose, and not as sweet - but damn good! Wow, there's still lots of caramel, with coffee and chocolate and pleasant roasty char that I normally don't love, but tempers the sweetness perfectly here. Just phenomenal. Thank god I have another one of these on deck! There's still a bit of sharpness from the esters that isn't my favorite of the English Ales but is uniform to Samuel Smith's, and while it's tempered here more then any other one of their beers, it kept me from giving this a 5.

Mouthfeel is syrupy but not to sticky or thick, with a creeamy carbonation. Really quite smooth and luscious, wow!

Drinkability is ridiculous, I just can't believe how good this beer is right now. This is truly one of the best out there, so much flavor for being only 7%, it's really all you need. I should say I don't like RIS's overly roasty, bitter or hoppy, so if you do, this may not work for you. But if you're a fan of the sweeter strong ales on the other side of the pond, quit tripping over yourselves for the next big thing and go back to the roots, Samuel Smith's knows what it's all about.

Photo of BarrelO
3.61/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Stone IRS goblet. Hey, Sam Smith finally got their act together and started putting their beer in brown bottles. Good for them. The label art is also good. Very League of Extraordinary Gentlemen-esque.

A: Pours black as night. No light penetrates even when held up to a lamp. Rather robust head, albeit one that dissipates fairly quickly. Decent amount of lacing.

S: Redolent of dark malts and black licorice.

T: Wow. Huge sucker punch of roasty bitterness right off the bat. I don't remember it being nearly this bitter. As it warms up, the bitterness recedes in favor of the malt and licorice flavors in the nose. Somewhat sour aftertaste.

M: Appropriately syrupy for the style, but less so than other styles. Not surprising, given this beer's relative weakness compared to other imperial stouts.

D: Sam Smith deserves props for helping to revive the style and providing a template for other brewers to build on. But nowadays, it comes across like a retro video game; it's great nostalgic fun for those who were there at the time, but for younger enthusiasts, it's kind of hard to see what the fuss was all about. It's still worth a try, if only as a historical artifact. But I can't recommend it as an exemplar of the style. Honestly, it's not even the best beer in the Sam Smith portfolio.

Photo of Thorpe429
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

G: Imperial pint glass.

A: Pours a "not very dark for this style" cola color out of the bottle, but appears a bit darker in the glass to the point where it is nearly opaque. My pour might have been a little hard, but I got a good two-and-a-half or three fingers worth of head. The head is also a creamy color; again, reminiscent of the foam associated with colas. The head recedes fairly quickly with the slightest bit of lacing.

S: Slightly sweet on a malt base. Hints of toffee and perhaps a little bit of caramel. Faint smell of dark fruits.

T: Sweet in the mouth. Much more sweet on the palate than I would have expected from the nose. Slightly sour with little heat from the alcohol. Biscuity malt with a little bit of chocolate--another thing I didn't detect with the first whiff. Slight fruity undertones in the background--maybe dark cherries, which could contribute the bit of sourness I've detected.

M: Not overly carbonated, and slightly sweet on the tip of the tongue. As it sits, it becomes more and more creamy. The mouthfeel is somewhere between a typical milk stout and the other RIS's that I have come across.

D: Given the low ABV for the style, this is quite a bit more drinkable than is typical. The is one of the first imperial stouts I've had where I could imagine having a couple throughout an evening.

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

Poured into a pint glass. I hadn't seen this beer on the shelves before, and picked it up to be adventurous; from glancing at the reviews it appears it's a pretty solid RIS.

A: Black as night and completely opaque; with an aggressive pour, a medium sized head resulted and minimal lacing.

S: A minty dark chocolate aroma is strongest in this beer, but an espresso aroma is not to be outdone by much. I can also pick up hints of dark fruits in the smell.

T: The taste no letdown from my original impression. Great mix of chocolate and fruits in this beer with a damped effect from the coffee. The only think missing is shot of hops somewhere to make this beer complete. Still, it's choice.

M: Good carbonation, nice thickness.

D: Very drinkable, it seems to be at a lower ABV than many RIS's that I see. Great beer, and I will purchase again.

Photo of BARFLYB
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

550ml bottle into a Flying Fish pint glass and then some. 1st time having this.

A- A shade darker than their oatmeal stout, this imperial version is black nuff said. It looked a tad brown coming from the bottle though. A nice dark tan head graced the top forever leaving lace patterns.

S- Quite different for an RIS as this is more on the fruity kick. I really can't get any distinct flavors, more like a fruit basket with different ripe varieties. This is backed by some roast plus coffee/chocolate aromas.

T- Dark fruits and chocolate with some coffee as well. The usual blast of roasted malts so common with this style. sweet sugars and some alcohol seeps through. Not getting much hops but they could of faded(not sure the date of this bottle)

M- A nice mouth on this one but a tad lighter than expeced for the style. I would say this is medium bodied. This is lacking a bit of carbonation but oh well. Alcohol comes through just slightly with some dryness.

D- Complex enough for an RIS but the low abv makes it a bit more drinkable than other high abv offerings in the style. Good enough for future visits on cold winter nights as this warms well.

Another winner by sam smith.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,298 ratings.