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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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3,225 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,225
Reviews: 1,655
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.51%
Wants: 151
Gots: 224 | 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: 3,225 | Reviews: 1,655 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CrellMoset
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Smokerise bottle shop, Lilburn, GA. Poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a surprisingly light brownish-black, with a fast-fading and fizzy and chocolate-colored head. Lacing is non-existent. Not nearly as thick or sticky as I'm used to, but for a 7% RIS, it's probably about what you'd expect. Looking back on it now, it is pretty attractive in its hues, the way the reds dance around the browns which merge with the blacks, even if it's not very "active" looking.

Aroma: Light fruits, some slightly darker fruits, and plenty of milky, creamy maltiness. Sugary coffee, sweet chocolate, raisins ... very nice.

Taste: A very light and fruity RIS. Pears and prunes are initially the prominent note, making you question whether this is really an RIS at all ... but then they slowly fade into stronger and toasty but still well-balanced malts. Baker's chocolate, light, herbal coffee, huge, sweet raisins, and other dark fruits dominate the malt overtones. There're a few grassy, herbal hop notes as well that meld well with the roasty astringencies in the malt profile and a nice dash of smoke in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Light and a bit uneven, but it's getting better as things warm. It's medium-to-full bodied, and of a very nice, medium thickness. Regardless, it's smooth, a little fluffy, and very nicely carbonated - not too flat, and not expressively over the top.

Drinkability: This is not your typical American RIS, nor should it be I suppose. The abv% is wonderfully low for the style, making this one far more drinkable than many of its American cousins, too. Regardless, it's very nice to find a flavorful, drinkable, light, and fruity RIS, and the price was definitely right on this one - 550 mL for $3.99 is one you can't really beat.

CrellMoset, Oct 07, 2008
Photo of GilGarp
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving - 550ml embossed brown bottle with gold foil over the cap. No freshness dating.

Appearance - pours a very dark brown, almost black in color with red highlights around the edges. Lots of fine tan head with good retention.

Aroma - rich and vinous, almost like a red wine with roasted malts. Maybe some chocolate but mostly cherries and other dark fruits.

Flavor - roasty and sweet with an unusual taste of red wine or port, almost like it was aged in a wine barrel. The port-like sweetness is well balanced with some coffee bitterness and dark chocolate on the finish.

Mouthfeel - very smooth almost creamy with soft carbonation. This beer has a nice mouth-coating affect and the body is medium, not too heavy.

Drinkability - yes, but in a nice slow, sit by the fire kind of way. Just as the weather is turning cooler, this beer has a nice warming feel and seems just right.

GilGarp, Oct 07, 2008
Photo of TheTrevor
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a dark almost inky black with a single-finger tan head and a ton of lacing. The scent is fruity with some prunes and maybe raisins with some hints of milk chocolate and coffee. This beer is a goddamn knockout in the taste department. It starts off with some roasted chocolately sweet malts that cut by some slight coffee bitterness that hits at about the same time as some slightly-floral hops. Towards the end there is some prune and almost rum flavor that gives way to some smokiness in the end that almost reminds me of smoking a cigar. A very complex and enjoyable brew. The mouthfeel is pleasantly thick and almost creamy, with enough carbonation to keep it light. This beer is more drinkable than most porters, probably due to keeping the alcohol content down a little bit. A fantastic beer, that is at the top of many people's lists for good reason.

TheTrevor, Oct 06, 2008
Photo of lhaqq
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a bottle of this sitting by a campfire while out camping in Yosemite.
A: Deep brown. Mostly but not entirely opaque.
S: Smells bready and malty. The smell, however, was faint and I had a hard time discerning it after awhile.
T: The taste reminded me of the very initial taste of Rochefort 10 (although after this beginning they are very different). Tastes of dark fruits, maybe figs, and a caramel malt flavor.
M: Silky feel that goes down smooth.
D: Not as strong abv as I'd expect from an imperial stout, but it nevertheless hides it and tastes great. Will definitely have it again and hope to find it on tap somewhere.
Another great beer from one of my favorite breweries.

lhaqq, Oct 04, 2008
Photo of itcomesnpints
4.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep ebony pour, with a spongy head that fades too quickly. No lacing. A lively aroma that jumps right out at you. Rich molasses, dark chocolate, dark fruits, maybe even some licorice. Unbelievably tasty. Chewy roasted malt goodness that encompasses dark fruit, molasses and coffee in its complexity. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied and possibly too thin for this Imperial. But then again, the abv is only 7% so there is really nothing to hide. Overall, very smooth. The taste and the low abv make this the most drinkable RIS I've found yet.

itcomesnpints, Sep 29, 2008
Photo of Jwale73
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in my DFH snifter. Poured just shy of black with zero light penetration. Half inch khaki-colored cap comprised of tight tiny bubbles. Head lost half its volume in under a minute before settling into a thin, soapy skim. No lacing on this one. Nose is molasses, brown sugar and dark fruit. Cocoa character dominates the taste, followed by toffee; however, sweetness revealed in the nose is cut slightly and dark fruit is present closer to the finish. Body does not quite approach medium. Carbonation is minimal and no alcohol heat detected. Balanced flavor and body makes this an easy drinking goto RIS.

Jwale73, Sep 29, 2008
Photo of scottyshades
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another very solid offering from Samuel Smith!
A: Poured about half of the 1 pt. 2.7 fl oz into my Flying Fish pint glass. Pours an opaque deep black color that produces a 3 finger brown head when poured aggressively. The head reatins poorly and leaves minimal lacing along the glass

S: Burnt malts, molasses (quite present), caramel, coffee, toffee, chocolate, and dark fruits comprise the nose. I personally do not notice any hops in this one. Very robust nose though, a good indicator of whats to come.

T: The flavor profile is INCREDIBLE! I have never tasted a RIS similar to this. Although there is no hop character to balance this big guy, the malt character stands alone. Molasses, chocolate, caramel, burnt malts, coffee and dark fruit comprise the flavor profile. Very nice.

D/MF: The body is full, rich, thick, and silky. The aftertaste is one of sweet malts and dark fruit. Leaves the mouth a little sticky, but that can be expected from a beer of this stature.

scottyshades, Sep 29, 2008
Photo of dfitch81
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Entertaining Victorian-style label proclaims Samuel Smith's to be "Contractors to Her Majesty's Forcces" - very appropriate for an IMPERIAL stout! Pours a deep, dark brown - bordering on black - with two fingers of chocolately brown head. Scent of sweet coffee and roasted barley greets the nose as you lift the glass for the first sip. Taste is first of coffee and dark chocolate, with hops in the background. Hop flavor becomes somewhat more pronounced later in the taste before giving over to a finish of sweet cream. Alcohol is rather light for an imperial stout, and flavors are perhaps less pronounced than in other examples of the style. However, the end result is a serious stout with interesting and enjoyable complexities that complement one another instead of battling to dominate your palate. Definitely recommended.

dfitch81, Sep 23, 2008
Photo of barknee
3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a virtually opaque espresso brown with a textbook mocha colored head. Nose of roasted cocoa beans, vanillin, egg yolk, custard and English toffee predominate. Velvety smooth in the mouth, with massive flavors of bittersweet dark chocolate, along with generous hop bittering keep things in check here from the rich malting and generous flavors. Mid-weight in texture, this brew has a wonderful presence in the mouth; is well balanced and highly drinkable. This is a slightly more tame Imperial for the rest of us.

barknee, Sep 21, 2008
Photo of dnichols
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: It poured a shiny bright black body reminiscent of black ink. It had a dark chocolaty head that was robust and long lasing. It had leggy and long lacing.

S: It had the aroma of thick espresso with hints of caramel and dark fruits.

T: It had a decent balance between the dark roasted malts, dark sugars and molasses, and dark fruits. There was a dry bitter bite that complements the sweet flavors.

M: It was medium bodied with modest carbonation. It was smooth and finished dry with a slight bitter aftertaste.

D: It was a nice RIS but a bit flat and dry compared to others. The low ABV and medium body, however, makes this more of a candidate for multiple drinks in a single session then others in this style.

dnichols, Sep 13, 2008
Photo of marcpal
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Was on hiatus from Sam Smith after their Winter Welcome last year, which I found hideous. However, lately, Ive tried some of their others and are quite good.

Foiled bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Jet black with a sandy brown foamy head.

S: Coffee, licorice, and more so fennel spices. The toasted flavors are terrific but I can do with out that spicy twing.

T: Coffee and chocolate predominantly. Some fennel which I would rather not be there but its more through the nose. Could really go with some more chocolate malts and less of the licorice.

M: The thinnest, lightest imperial I can remember, but the intensity doesnt have to be overpowering. Some creaminess when warmed down.

D: High ratings and easy as hell to drink. For the style, one you can have a few of and not feel completely grogged out. Not bad and worth the effot.

marcpal, Sep 13, 2008
Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.25/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Nice dark brown in color, almost black. The tan head is very tightly formed with an assortment of small and large bubbles.

S- Wonderful smells of chocolate, anise, and even bourbon. I'm also getting a cherry taste as well, I would venture a guess as to a cherry cordial smell.

T- The taste is very heavy on the burnt/roasted malts, very bitter. It almost seems like they swirled a stick of charcoal though this before bottling. The chocolate taste isn't quite as there as I was hoping for though the impressions I got from the smell.

M- The mouthfeel is good, not great, I was hoping for something a little thicker, this is a bit on the thin side of an RIS.

D- Easy to drink, not too happy with the overly burnt taste though.

Wetpaperbag, Sep 12, 2008
Photo of AMo
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Samual Smith's Imperial Stout pours a dense opaque black with a short stiff tan head. The smell is good and moderately strong of sweet chocolate and roasted malts. Taste is absolutely fantastic from the get go. It's very robust of chocolate and malt. Mouthfeel is silky smooth with a moderate abount of tightly wound carbonation. This tighness gives the liquid an ultimate dense like feel. Drinkability is great from the start and finishes progressively smoother lightening up a bit from its initial density. Overall a this is a great imperial stout, great buy for the price and taste. A real winner of a brew from Samual Smith's.

AMo, Sep 11, 2008
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.63/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clean, pitch black with giant, brown creamy head.

Smell: Smells very meaty. Also getting whiffs of milk chocolate. Definitely an original smell. Kind of reminds us of Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock. Meaty and sweet, with a spicy kick. Really tough to describe...

Taste: Smokey and meaty (we argued about which of these two flavors is more predominant), milk chocolate, mocha, burnt malts. Dry, mocha-flavored aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Thick body, though not really syrupy. Almost no carbonation and a very dry finish.

Drinkability: Kind of a weird flavor, but not necessarily bad. Not hard to drink at all, but this one had kind of a novelty feel to it. Will probably try again in the future.

ThreeWiseMen, Sep 08, 2008
Photo of glid02
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this from Green's in Atlanta.

Pours a black color that has a dark brown fringe when held up to the light. Head is about one-finger of milk chocolate colored foam. Head recedes slowly until there are patches with different thicknesses. There's a thick ring around the glass throughout. Really good looking beer.

Smells good. Very biscuity with a tiny amount of roasted aroma while it's cold. As it warms there are more and more dark fruit aromas.

Tastes great. A biscuity malt is most prevalent in the beginning, with the dark fruit taste taking over as the beer warms. As the fruit taste becomes more apparent so too does a tinge of sourness. There's a solid bitter finish throughout. Not even the slightest hint of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is good. Thickness is great with a good grainy carbonation. Goes down very smoothly.

Drinkability is up there. This does not taste like 7%. I think it's a bit more drinkable when it's colder, the biscuit flavors are smoother than the dark fruits.

Overall this is a great deal. It's not as robust as other RIS's - it's all about the subtlety, but everything works perfectly together. Definitely worth a try.

glid02, Sep 07, 2008
Photo of Roeters
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark black with a thick tan head.

S: Chocolate, light alcohol, sweet syrupy

T: Starts with a sweet body with a slight soured flavor, Finished with a toasted chocolate finish

M: light carbonation, wish that there was a little more to this

D: Well constructed, I would like to enjoy this brew any time

Roeters, Sep 06, 2008
Photo of jwinship83
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- black body with a moderate sized beige head.

S- toffee, chocolate, roasted malts, and a hint of licorice.

T- very roasty with a strong coffee after taste. lots of licorice as well.

M- creamy and smooth, but too thin and watery.

D- very interesting beer thats easy to drink. other than the thin mouthfeel, this is a great beer. very possible to have a couple of the 550ml bottles in a sitting.

jwinship83, Sep 06, 2008
Photo of prosper
4.6/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

based on the appearance and smell, I was expecting a good, but hardly exceptional stout. Then I drank some. Wow. This beer grabs your attention immediately and holds on!

There's an immediate, sharp carbonation bite on the tongue, accented by fruity late-hops and big almost belgian esters. The next think you notice is the creamy chocolatey-smooth texture and the usual (but subdued) accompaniment of roasted grain flavours, and a nice grainy bitterness without any astringency. You'll notice lots of fruit notes; cherry, apple, etc. It finishes with dark grainy bitterness and hops, with a slight alcohol warmth. This is an absolutely stunning stout. I'll buy more of these.

prosper, Sep 02, 2008
Photo of Goliath
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black, and completely opaque. A half inch light brown head forms on top and lingers with good retention.

The aroma is alright, but nothing too special. Some darker malts, with a bit of fruit, and slightly floral.

Taste is ok. Dark malts give some burnt flavors, burnt coffee being the dominant. A bit of dark sweet fruit follows.

Mouthfeel is kind of thin for a RIS, feels watery. Carbonation is fine.

Drinkability is moderate to high. Flavor is fine, and alcohol is easily manageable. It's a good beer but nothing out of the ordinary.

Goliath, Sep 02, 2008
Photo of Stonebreaker
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Motor oil black with a thick rich head and hoops of lacing.

Smell: Faint chocolate, spice and alcohol.

Taste: Chocolate, faint prune notes, warming alcohol, well balanced. What is that signature taste that lets you know it's a RIS, whatever it is this has got it.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and rich as butter.

Drinkability: A very drinkable brew, but ought to be respected, delicious. A classic.

Stonebreaker, Aug 26, 2008
Photo of kinger
3.4/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

OK, I know in my 2nd and last review of a S.S. brew I formally said goodbye due to overpriced let-downs but.... a) I scored this for $2.69, b) I grabbed it within the first week it hit the shelves, and c) I love stouts. So with that being said this is a solid stout although my rating is likely lower than my overall enjoyment of this beer but I have to put it up against other Imperials. Aroma is enjoyable, very roasty and bitter. Good dark pour with an easily attainable head with little to no lacing. Mouthfeel is somewhat creamy and the finish is smoooth, but it's rather thin for an Impy. Impressive taste, roasted malts-a-plenty, some light coffee and chocolate. Easy to drink for an Impy and the alcohol makes a quick appearance. Overall a solid stout.

kinger, Aug 26, 2008
Photo of changeup45
3.48/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Black color, moderate brown head and some lacing. Alcohol obvious in the aroma with some roasted malt. Sharp, tart, alcoholic mouthfeel with some roasted malt and chocolate flavors. Dark chocolate aftertaste which was pretty nice. The more I drink it the better it gets, but in all honesty that just could be the alcohol doing it's job.

changeup45, Aug 24, 2008
Photo of ryane
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours Black, small tan head, small amount of lacing

S- Smells roasty, chocolatey, and a hint of coffee

T- Chocolatey, with a subtle coffee flavor, smooth, a bit sweet for my liking but good

M- Nice body, reminds me of a bigger version of their oatmeal stout

D- Good beer, but with its similarity to the oatmeal stout, think Id rather drink that and be able to have a few

ryane, Aug 24, 2008
Photo of KodyBrannon
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured this beer into a pint glass. It poured black with a thick tan head. The smell was of alcohol and roasted malts. I also picked up a hint of coffe in the scent. The taste was more coffee, with a hint of roasted malt coming through in the after taste. The mouthfeel is heavy with a touch of carbination. This is a very enjoyable beer, and is widely available. I would recomend this to anyone who is a fan of the RIS style.

KodyBrannon, Aug 23, 2008
Photo of PatronWizard
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From 4 pack to glass...

Looks like dark coke. Not quite black, but very dark brown. Head fell down kinda quick.

Light coffee aroma, not a strong scent.

Good coffee flavor, some sour notes.

Body is a little thin for a stout.

Sorry, don't know what else to say. I bought this because it was on the BA Top 100 and I expected more. It's not bad by any means but I expected KaPow! This is the same week that I had Stone IRS and Speedway Stout for the first time so maybe I have the bar set too high for this little guy. Even as such, this is still a solid brew and Sammy Smith continues to make quality products (only let me down once - India Ale).

PatronWizard, Aug 22, 2008
Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,225 ratings.