1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout - Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

Not Rated.
Samuel Smith's Imperial StoutSamuel Smith's Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

3,099 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,099
Reviews: 1,647
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 138
Gots: 180 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,099 | Reviews: 1,647 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

WAP, Feb 17, 2007
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!

barefootbrewer, Feb 13, 2007
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.

jmbranum, Feb 05, 2007
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.

Minkybut, Jan 31, 2007
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.

brdc, Jan 27, 2007
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.

GimpyCane, Jan 24, 2007
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?

theopholis, Jan 24, 2007
Photo of Gmann
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.

Gmann, Jan 20, 2007
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.

warmstorage, Jan 19, 2007
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.

BlindPig, Jan 18, 2007
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.

peabody, Jan 16, 2007
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.

WanderingFool, Jan 15, 2007
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

nase, Jan 11, 2007
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.

Drew966, Jan 11, 2007
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.

palffyfan, Jan 07, 2007
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.

mmcave, Jan 07, 2007
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.

mpyle, Jan 07, 2007
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.

msubulldog25, Jan 05, 2007
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.

Wasatch, Jan 04, 2007
Photo of
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16oz. bottle

Deep, dark mahogany. Lots of ruby highlights. Clear, as far as I can tell. Tan head, moderate in size. Nice legs on the swirl.

Aromas of dark fruits, cherries and raisins most distinct. Licorice and tar. Phenolic. Leads you to expect a sweetish beer.

Taste is very complex. Smoke & tar. Roasted malt/burnt toast, with a bit of coffee. Alcohol and a hint of chocolate (very dark and bittersweet). More bitter than sweet, but that evolved as the beer warmed. Blackstrap molasses in the middle. Finish seemed to be herbal/grassy.

Heavy and creamy in body. Carbonation was medium. More than a bit drying. Alcohol warming apparent early.

Hell of an RIS, and easy to see why this is viewed as a benchmark for the style.

, Jan 02, 2007
Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

550ml bottle

Pours a rich, coal black with a huge cocoa head that recedes. Nice lacing on the glass.

Slightly sweet roasted malt aroma with layers of chocolate and espresso woven in.

Sweet and roasty upfront, it gives way to mocha espresso flavors and a mild bitterness. Finishes mildly sweet with a lingering roastedness.

Medium body, plenty of carbonation.

A highly drinkable RIS, especially since it clocks in at only 7% ABV which is much less than many in this style. Good stuff.

MaltyGoodness, Dec 30, 2006
Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black with dark brown glimishes. Large nice head, dark brown and creamy.

Sweet malt. Crisp and cool. Light banana esters. Chocolate and roasted.

Substantially watery. Grassy earthy esters. Light chocolate/roasted.

Fairly smooth with minimal carbonation.

Looks great, smells good, and then doesn’t taste like much.

MrHungryMonkey, Dec 26, 2006
Photo of jasonjlewis
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice brew. Strong chocolate malt profile with some decent hop balance. I could drink this beer all night. The alcohol isn't too strong and overbearing. The chocolate malts really come out. A very smooth brew that I suggest. I think that it is a little over rated on this site, but it's good nevertheless.

jasonjlewis, Dec 21, 2006
Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pitch black with a thin but tenacious layer of espresso to chocolate milk colored head.

Smell- Dark fruit, dark chocolate, dark rum,hop spice, deep caramel, brown sugar, and a hint of sweet wort. Pretty great smell but I wish it was stronger.

Taste- Starts out with a strong roasted coffee character, then dark chocolate, then spicy/earthy hop bitter clears the way for a finish of burnt coacoa, and roasted grain bitter. The finish is much better than it sounds I promise. Some more of that earthiness in the aftertaste. A nugat tone comes out with warmth. Later I get a bit of black cherry. This isn't super-complex but it is exactly what I expect Imperial Stout to taste like. Rich, but more bitter than sweet, and dark as midnight.

Mouthfeel- Hefty but far from oppressive. Chewy.

Drinkability- Barely a hint of booze anywhere definately helps.

JudgeRoughneck, Dec 06, 2006
Photo of Tesno
3.25/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours beautifully into the glass; deep black color with a thick, creamy, tan head that quickly dissipates. Aroma is heavenly, notes of dark chocolate and toasted marshmallow (mmm...s'mores anyone?). Alcoholic/bourbon-like. Slight vanilla and oak.

Flavor is somewhat disappointing. The first few sips there was a slight stale cardboardiness. Rather acidic/metallic when cold but notes of chocolate, fig and anise as it warms. Slightly nutty, hints of almond. Hot/alcoholic. At the beginning I noted that it felt rather coarse. Too bubbly and burnt and a little thin for the style.

Overall, not one of my favorite representations of the style. I realize these guys have been doing this a long time and they obviously know what they're doing but i thought this beer was just average at best. Definitley worth a try but I won't be stockpiling the cellar with it.

Tesno, Dec 05, 2006
Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,099 ratings.