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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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2,955 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,955
Reviews: 1,634
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.24%
Wants: 117
Gots: 141 | 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: 2,955 | Reviews: 1,634 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Tyrawlings


3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

550 ml. Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Opaque black in color. Huge fluffy tan head pours three fingers thick and stays for the entire serving. Sticky lacing crawls all over the glass.

S: Roasted coffee. Dark chocolate. Dark fruit and the sweetness of sugar.

T: Finely roasted coffee and bitter dark chocolate with ever the slightest hop presence. Sweetness of molasses is followed by a perfectly balanced caramel malt intrusion. Dark fruit and a slight smoked earth finish.

M: Rich and creamy. Silky smooth. Minimal carbonation. Slighly astrigent and drying finish.

D: A tasty treat that has all of the flavor of the bigger Imperial stouts that I have tried but without the huge alcohol presence. A dangerously drinkable stout that can be enjoyed anytime of the year.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2007 01:29:57 | More by Tyrawlings
Photo of andebrice


4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark black, with a tiny amount of ruby when held to the light. Couldn't even tell the bottle was clear until after it was emptied. A nice very light tannish-brown head, hangs around for a bit. Lacing is very minimal. Smells very sweet, apples, figs, raisins and a bit of roasted coffee, overall very sweet smelling. The taste on this stout is excellent. very sweet early and as it moves further back on the tongue the malts really start to show, then it recedes to a sweet finish that leaves a nice bitter coffee aftertaste, that lingers. Has a nice full bodied feel in the mouth, good carbonation. I could definetely get used to drinking this one.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2007 01:02:13 | More by andebrice
Photo of far333


4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter at cellar temperature.

Inky black and opaque, no light gets through at all. A full inch of light brown head rises up thickly, and gradually settles down to a thin cap of bubbles.

Big aroma of dark chocolate, espresso, smoke and subtle hops.

Rich flavors of chocolate and coffee, charred wood, whiskey and raisin. Heavy burnt molasses moves in and out, along with cherry, plum and prunes. A hop bitter accentuates it all.

Mouthfeel is fairly full, with moderate carbonation. A little chalky and tannic, but finishes with a carbonation tingle.

Very drinkable, a nice slow sipper.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2007 03:06:00 | More by far333
Photo of udubdawg


4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle.

Beer pours a lovely nearly black color, with a hefty light brown head with nice retention. Little lacing.

Nose is full of wonderful fruity sweetness. Chocolate and alcohol notes as well. All aspects are increasing as it warms.

Taste is as wonderfully complex as I'd imagine an imperial stout should be. First 3 things that I notice are plums, coffee, and raisins. There's another, more muted fruit taste here that I'm thinking is apple. Pleasantly sweet, with an underlying roasty and almost smoky malt presence. Alcohol is unobtrusive but there - added to the general sweetness and a a touch of bittering hops it makes for a nice finish.

Despite a mouthfeel thinner than many of the style, I had no problem picking out flavors as this beer flowed across my tongue and finished dry. Carbonation is on the light side of medium for the style, but I recall previous samples with a greater, and in my opinion less appropriate, carbonation level. As I near the bottom of the glass I notice the alcohol in the mouth a lot more.

I find I am grateful that this is a 7% ABV beer. It is difficult to sip this great beer - put this taste on one of those 11% ABV monsters and we'd be in trouble!

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2007 02:30:19 | More by udubdawg
Photo of EVLguy

South Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This may be the perfect Imperial Stout.

Appearance: Black with only slight dark brown edges from light penetration. Pours a thick and very creamy tan head of about three fingers which takes a considerable amount of time to dissolve, leaving a fine lace of foam on top.

Smell: Big rich malty dark chocolate, roasted coffee and toffee. Unfortunately there is a small hint of alcohol under these aromas, big not enough to really harm the smell.

Taste: This is why I think this could be the perfect Imperial Stout. The taste is balanced better than any other imperial I've had the pleasure of drinking. The big dark chocolate and coffee flavors came across first, however enough hops are present to give the taste a little zing, keeping this brew from drinking like molasses. This mixed with the heavy malt of the brew gave me a light taste of oats

Mouthfeel: Very thick of course, almost no acidity and surprisingly only a light amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: For a stout this has a smooth finish that is almost unequaled. Add that to the magnetic flavor and in my opinion you have one of the only imperial stouts you could gulp if wanted. Anyway, I find this one hard to get tired of.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2007 21:25:42 | More by EVLguy
Photo of vickersspitfire


4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout is a very darkens seems almost black and only when you hold it up to a bright light can you even see a hint of color, even including its head which is a light cork board color and pretty thick. It has a strong dry chocolate smell that reminds me of those whisky chocolate candies and it has a crisp taste that’s kind of sweet and just a little bit bitter, but when it hits the back of your throat you can really taste the flavor in it.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2007 03:59:54 | More by vickersspitfire
Photo of WAP


3.6/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a nice-looking three-finger head that leaves significant lacing. The smell is sweet and malty with chocolate and coffee undertones. The taste is quite sweet with chocolate and a little dark fruit dominating the palate with a bitter roasted flavor on the back end. Not an unpleasant taste, just not my favorite. Good mouthfeel and drinkability as well. This is a solid brew but not my style.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2007 00:25:02 | More by WAP
Photo of barefootbrewer


4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer poured a thick black color with a nice tan head. The smell was sweet and malty. The taste is sweet and malty. There is a definite coffee taste in this brew. The mouthfeel is thick and chewy. This is a very drinkable beer, but perhaps a bit heavy for several in a row. I would like to say one thing – delicious!

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2007 23:55:17 | More by barefootbrewer
Photo of jmbranum


4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Imagine drinking Guiness Extra Stout while high, and you start to get an inkling of how good this beer is.

Gorgeous amazing black beer with a perfectly colored short tan head.

The aroma hit my nose as soon as I opened the bottle. Lots of toasted maltiness.

The flavor, oh the flavor, frankly it is indescribable. A perfect pairing of glorious bitterness, super dark chocolate with some very slightly fruity notes (along the lines of some 85% cacoa chocolate I had recently that had the same strange fruity notes).

Supposedly this beer is only 7% alcohol but I think there is more warmth than that. Pleasant mouth feel, smoothly carbonated.

A world-class beer. The best stout I've ever had.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2007 06:34:25 | More by jmbranum
Photo of Minkybut


4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from bottle warmed beside a campfire on a 18 degree night camping along the Blackwater River in Southeastern Virginia. Beer smelled toffee coffee like and whe I took the first hit I was glad it was in 550 ml bottle and was wishing it was a 750 ml. Beer was delicious with dark malty roasted toffee taste that when you breathed out your nose you could even tast the goodness. Goodness I will buy again.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2007 22:40:21 | More by Minkybut
Photo of brdc


4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful dark brew with a thick, foamy, dark tan head.
Complex smell of chocolates, roasted malt, burnt sugar, bread and some alcohol.
Similar taste, with coffee, bittersweet chocolate, sweetish but with a bitter end, alcohol warmth.
Medium to full bodied but still deliciously easy to drink.
Another Samuel Smith treat, will be having more of this.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2007 05:36:29 | More by brdc
Photo of GimpyCane


4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single bottle to taste test and my wife ended drinking the whole brew. So, on her behalf I will write her review of this wonderful beer. The appearance was a dark brown hue with a 4 inch frothy mocha head. The head fully lasted and left a great amount of lacing. The scent of roasted malt, caramel and mild coffee added to its complexity. Found it to start moderately sweet with a coffee and chocolate aftertaste that was right on. The medium to full body added a creamy yet slightly syrupy feel on the palate. The soft carbonation and light alcohol feel rounded out the taste and feel just perfectly. Overall, she would drink a six pack easily, although I think they come in a four pack. I do have to admit that I got a few sips in, but that was it. In the end this brew rocks and more will be coming home soon.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2007 04:00:18 | More by GimpyCane
Photo of theopholis


4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Wow. this stuff is as black as John Henry's heart. Just the barest hint of burgandy at the very edges if you hold it up to a 100 watt bulb. Good solid tan head that has a lot of staying power. Not much lacing tho.

Aroma- Lots of malt sweetness, with a stong undertone of mollassas. Some chocolate overtones to if you let it warm a bit.

Taste- Amazing. The 1st thing you taste is the alcohol. Kind of strange for an imperial stout. This isn't an old ale afterall. Nice blend of malt sweetness and bittering hops. Neither are overpowering at all. Some chocolate and roasted grain. You can really taste it at the back of your mouth.

Mouthfeel- Just a tad thin for the style, but very good overall. Very good carbonation level. Just enough to allow it to dance over your toungue, but not so much that it hides the flavors.

Drinkability- More drinkable than most RISs. Certainly not sessionable, but hey...it ain't supposed to be. Why the heck do you think Czarist Russia fell to begin with?

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2007 03:35:13 | More by theopholis
Photo of Gmann

New York

3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours as near black as possible, a nice mocha head that left some lacing as it dissipated. The aroma is of semi-sweet chocolate. The taste is of roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, and prunes. The stout is lightly carbonated, smooth, and creamy. A nice sample of the style, enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2007 06:00:06 | More by Gmann
Photo of warmstorage


2.8/5  rDev -33%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce clear glass bottle, gold foil topped, states 7.0% ABV.

Pours an opaque black with a small amount of medium brown head which dissipates rapidly, leaving little to no lacing.

Aroma is sweet prunes, plums, and indicates higher alcohol that the bottles indicates.

Taste is some sweet fruit, perhaps prunes, a slight bit of chocolate, some roastiness. Definitely thin for the style. A distinct metallic taste from the medium taste all the way through the finish and aftertaste really detracts from everything else; this is something I've noticed in Samuel Smith's oatmeal stout as well.

Mouth is relatively tingly with carbonation, lingers, light to medium physical body.

As disappointing as all the times I've had this beer before. It's just a weak example of the style, notwithstanding Samuel Smith's historical pedigree. I might give it a try again in a year or two, but certainly won't go out of my way to seek it out.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2007 01:31:15 | More by warmstorage
Photo of BlindPig


3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured a little hard and got a big mocha head on a black body. Nice decent size lacing which sticks to sides of glass.
S- Big chocolate malt smell almost dominates the rest of the aroma. Maybe some light grass hops in there also? Also a hint of something like milk more like milk chocolate though.
T- Chocolate taste. Some light flavor hops leaves a nice bitterness on the tongue which linger into the aftertaste. Some roasted malts are also in there too. Also a kind of creamish taste to it too.
M- Medium to full body. Medium carbonation.
D- It is good just not a really big imperial stout. It is a decent brew though.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2007 06:11:07 | More by BlindPig
Photo of peabody


3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out really dark with a nice two fingers of the brown suds.
Very little lacing here.
The aroma is a dark chocolate malt and bitter coffee. Not much else comes to the nose here. No alcohol present either.
Taste is a little watery but the carbonation really dances around the back of the tounge.
As far as imperial stouts go this is not as strong as some others but is a very quaffable brew nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2007 01:29:54 | More by peabody
Photo of WanderingFool


4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer came to me from an unusual route. I showed a friend how to brew on a day I was brewing an Imperial Stouts and offered several for him to sample. He fell in love with the style and paid me back with a few bottles of Sammy Smiths.

The stout pours an ink black into the glass with a small creamy tan head on top. The foam fades slowly to a thick ring around the surface leaving behind quite a bit of lace patterns on the side of the glass. An aroma of roasted malt, smoke, nuts, peat and coffee floats over the beer.

Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer is smooth and silky with a soft carbonated tingle on the tip of the tongue. The flavor is an intense combination of roasted malt, smoke, peat, and coffee. At the end a few fruity notes of plum and raisins poke through. It finishes mildly bitter with just enough hops to balance out the malt.

I thought the mouthfeel was a tad bit thin and aroma a bit weak. However, for a VERY tasty Impy stout you can't go wrong with a Sammy Smiths.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2007 22:30:31 | More by WanderingFool
Photo of nase


3.3/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle

Appearance - 3.5 - Opaque black that turns into more of an opaque brown in light; some head on the pour but not much leaving an incomplete layer of an antique white foam atop the beer

Smell - 3.0 - Malt and...coffee?

Mouthfeel - 3.0 - Seems pretty thin for an imp stout

Taste - 3.5 - Coffee notes on the sip; fairly malty and can taste a decent amount of alcohol and lots of bitterness on the swish; is that molasses on the finish?

Drinkability - 3.5 - I'd have this again but I wouldn't go looking for it..seems like an ordinary stout with a little more alcohol; nothing "imperial" about this

Final - 3.35

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2007 05:25:49 | More by nase
Photo of Drew966


4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout pours an opaque black with a thick tan head from a clear, foiled neck, twelve ounce bottle. The aroma is kind of fruity. The flavor is also kind of fruity, also some chocolate and roasted notes. This is an excellent beer, recommended.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2007 03:47:41 | More by Drew966
Photo of palffyfan


4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a rich golden head, with a completely opaque (black) body. The foam is short lasting, mild carbonation in the body of the beer itself.

Smell - A very faint, burnt aroma is present, with hints of coffee. Not to strong enough to distinguish other features.

Taste - I have to give this beer a high mark; the beer went very well with the hot buffalo strips..Faintly sweet, absolutely no bitterness, beer felt unforced. Lots of roasted coffee and chocolate, but the flavors aren't overwhelming.

Drinkability - The beer is definitely drinkable, but its an expensive brew. I wouldn't get bored of the brew for awhile, but I would take other beers over it if money was not a factor.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2007 22:30:18 | More by palffyfan
Photo of mmcave


4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into nonic, nice almost completely opaque, pitch-black body except for ruby high lights behind a lamp, with tan like off white head that lingers about a centimeter off the surface. Smells of nutty chocolate, slightly buttery, toasted malt, notes of coffee, berries, slight sweet raison, plum mix and a tiny little hint of vanilla buried under every thing else. Flavor is very complex some bitter coffee with a subtle yet enduring sweetness, rich coffee, chocolate finish not cloying, some sherried raisins and fruit. Slightly milky and oily, flavor all around, not too thick tasty stout to be savored. I find that with most RIS they demand attention to their subtlety, in order to be properly enjoyed and this is no exception. Delicious, maybe not my favorite, but absolutely worth enjoying.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2007 03:43:11 | More by mmcave
Photo of mpyle


4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Small tight head, tan in color. Head retention decent. Color very dark (almost opaque) but with red tints. Clarity looks good.

Plum, raisin, and some diacetyl (butterscotch) smells. Complex esters highly appropriate to the style. No hop aroma.

Big hit of dark malt flavor and fruity character (mainly plum) up front. Some alcohol taste evident, but not overpowering. Some sherry-like oxindation notes, which don't harm this style.

Fullish body and smooth despite the subtle warming alcohol presence. No astringency, carbonation subdued. Very nice mouthfeel.

A flavorful big but not overpowering stout. Fruity and complex, but possibly not at its peak of freshness (clear bottle can't help!) Alcohol is well controlled, allowing the malt and yeast by products to shine through. Would be easy to curl up and down a few of these on a cool evening.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2007 02:49:08 | More by mpyle
Photo of msubulldog25


4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this 550ml (clear glass) bottle into a standard pint and shared sips with my wife...

A: Pours dark as a moonless night with only hints of burgundy/cherry tints when held to a strong light. Crowned with a gigantic 4-finger ivory head, frothy and dense. The head fades very slowly, at least 1-finger of cream remains 15 minutes after the pour.

S: Lots of sweet milk chocolate and smoky malt. Other aromas of wood, rum raisins, and berries. A very cherry-like sweet smell rises when agitated after a few minutes of warming.

T: Malty and chocolate-laden, with a husky smokiness and a bit of herbal/bitter hopping in the finish. Tasted something like oatmeal cookies and dried cherries at times. Pretty darn tasty...

M: The only dissapointment I found in this beer was its thinner than expected mouthfeel. Body is about "medium" and mouthfeel seems about the same initially, but both weaken over time. Some mild sour sharpness mingles with the chocolate maltiness lingering in the aftertaste.

D: Overall, a really nice balance, terrific flavors and almost sessionable drinability. Lighter-bodied and quite a bit less heavy than some of my favorite US-made Imperial Stouts; regardless the Sam Smith has its strong points in smell, appearance & flavor - I'd recommend this one and would get this again.

PS: This is the first RIS my wife has tried that she liked as much as I did.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2007 20:44:53 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of Wasatch


3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color, nice carbonation, small creamy tan head, some lacing afterwards. The nose is of sweet malts, slight hops, some chocolate/toffee. The taste is sweet malty, nice chocolate/toffee, slight alcohol. Medium body. Drinkable, a nice stout, but a Imperial, not quite.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2007 04:37:15 | More by Wasatch
Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 2,955 ratings.