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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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3,296 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,296
Reviews: 1,674
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.51%
Wants: 167
Gots: 262 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,296 | Reviews: 1,674 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of chrhowe
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quite impressive from the pour on....pours a very deep dark black with a one finger head. The pleasant, tan head doesn't last very long but has a nice thin layer that lingers on the edge of the glass. I smell dark chocolate, cherries and figs. It's almost port like.
The taste is earthy, chocolaty with some mocha and coffee hints as well. This beer is quite pleasant and very interesting.
Having just finished dessert this is quite the "capper." This RIS has a very smooth, rich and creamy feel to it which makes it all the more enjoyable. One could sip on this all night long, at a slow pace that is. Definitely the top I've had from Sam Smith to date.
Excellent brew!!!!

Photo of brewcrew76
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours solid black with 2 fingers of brown creamy head that slowly disappear to a thin fluffy layer of lacing.

S - Sweet milk chocolate, butter, Sweet cherries, rum soaked raisins, slightly nutty with a hint of coffee.

T - Sweet chocolate and creamy malt, dark fruits, plums, raisins and cherries. A hint of port is present. Complex.

M - Smooth and creamy/milky. A bit of lactic shrpness is present. Medium body, slightly thin for a RIS.

D - A very easy drinking, complex RIS.

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

Very dark black color with little head that was of a brown/tan color.

Nice aromas of dark chocolate, and dark and yeasty fruitiness. Definitely roasted malts in this one.

Flavors follow the aroma with a lot of chocolatey notes, dark fruitiness like a good 80% cocoa chocolate. Roasty, coffee flavors with some malt sweetness and a dry, clean finish. Vanilla flavors also become noticeable as it warms.

Medium-thick body. Good, medium-light amount of carbonation.

Very tasty, and pretty drinkable at only 7% ABV. Not really a beer for having all the time, though.

Photo of Glazed144
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown, light black. Not much head at all. Roasted coffee/chocoalate smell. Smells like roasted malt. Smooth mouthfeel, nice bitter aftertaste, not overwhelming.A very good brew and I highly reccommend it.Samuel Smith truly knows what they are doing.

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

12oz bottle in pint glass

A: Darkest black with a thick creamy tan head. Leaves no lace
S: All roasted malts
T: There is no hint of the alcohol, all you get is roasted malts with a drying feeling on the tongue. There is a slight hint of fruit in the background.
M: Smooth but not creamy. I would like a little more body here because this goes down too easy.
D: This is an excellent stout, very well balanced. The alcohol is well hidden, this could be a 3.5% beer, which seems to be unusual for an imperial stout. So many come across as 'hot'. Again, the only thing missing is a little more texture/body to fill things out. Highly recommended.

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

A- fluffy, three finger tan head sits atop a black brew, great retention, thin filmy lace appears on sides of the glass

S- black licorice, roasted and burnt malts

T- roasted malts and coffee like aftertaste, burnt malts, roasted malts, nice balance, subtle black licorice flavors

M- medium body, smooth w/ a touch of creaminess

D- highly drinkable Imp. stout, tasty and as sessionable as this style can be, mellow, recommended

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

550ml clear bottle - poured into a tumbler

A: Body was black as night, almost 2" light brown head slowly falls to thin layer that stayed throughout

S: Very strong aroma of coffee, roasted malt, licorice, and molasses

T: Sweet roasted malts & molasses. Good, but maybe a little too sweet. Ends with a spicy bittersweet aftertaste that lasts.

M: Light carbonation. Medium bodied. Smooth.

D: I'm sure this will be easier to drink than most Russian Imperials for most people, but for me, I'll take I'll take the others (Storm King, Old Rasputin, Yeti, etc). That said, I really enjoyed it.

Photo of sierra11b
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into Glass

A: Neat looking bottle with a nostalgic label and feel. Pours a nice espresso brown and forms a nice light brown, stiff-peaked head. The head slowly disintegrates into a a thin layer on the surface.

S: Caramelized malt and fruit (tartness).

T: Very similar to what you get from the nose. Wonderful finish of molasses and lingering toasted coffee catch the back of the tongue.

M & D: Nice body, viscosity, and light carbonation to help it go down smooth. Have one with a meal or more than one among friends. Like with their other brews, Samuel Smith is a force to be reckoned with.

Photo of 3Vandoo
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Samuel Smith for many is a classic imperial Stout, for me, it was just a normal usual stout, but a fair good one.

I love the transparent bottle, it is dark, dark like the night darker than night, call her ninja. Forms a nice foamy brown head that just let herself to firm lace of a caramel colors...

Smell is of roasted malt at first, second with black chocolate, liquorice and a strong vanilla and sherry flavours. Chocolate is quite present to the nose with a rich malted presence, sweet and so powerful.

Her taste is so around her smell actually, the sweetness of the beer get present with her rich malt complex flavours followed by a malty chocolate flavours that ends with small bruits berry like flavours. Butterscotch presence is prominent that finishes with a warm alcohol touch.

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

While pouring this Imperial stout, I was very surprised that the bottle was of clear glass! Very black color with reddish-brown shades and quick wanishing beige foam. I'm new of this style, and the smell is another surprise. For sure someting very dense, thick, caramel, molasses, toasted coffee. Low carbonation, the beer warms and the taste comes out. Dry up front, I can imagine of smoke, bitter chocolate, coffe again, all rounding in the end leaving a bitter-sweet end. I repeat, I'm new to Imperials, I'm trying Samuel with bitter and milk chocolate (bitter is better, milk leaves your mouth too mixed up), and walnuts (as suggested on the bottle), but for the next I will stick with stilton and walnuts "gnocchi", ending with a good italian espresso.

Photo of saintwarrick
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Has this brewery ever made a false step? Long answer: Nope. Sam Smith's Nut Brown Ale and Oatmeal Stout are still their top brews, but this is another masterpiece by the boys in Tadcaster.

Pours an ebon black into my snifter (fancy) that settles nicely into a thick malt chocolatey lace around the glass. Smell is pure dark chocolate and Colombian coffee with a little brown sugar, molasses and anything else that tastes sinful. Braised walnut aftertaste with bitter chocolate.

Awesome brew. Feel like I should be in a hunting lodge, sipping this in a snifter with all the other gents and such. Other RIS's will be stronger, but you'll never find a more drinkable one. Cheers.

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

Thick, mahogany, nearly opaque goodness. Ample head, color of espresso crema. Formidable looking brew.

In your face. Basically. Molasses and caramel. Very sweet with hint of alcaholic phenols. They don't hide, but aren't offensive. Licorice and prunes.

Damn. Viscous, thick and smooth. Very creamy, just a touch of bubbly give it a needed zip.

Uber-dark, roasted malts coats the mouth. Thick molasses, caramel and coffee rolls around in there. Alcaholic punch is there and noticeable but doesn't take over. Sweet and dark fruits then becomes a little bitter with baking chocolate and coffee in the end. Prunes (and figs?...) linger on.

A big stout, but not as "Imperial" as most out there. That's fine by me, this is incredibly tasty. Worth savoring. Raw, rich and pretty balls-y. NICE.

Photo of jar2574
2.85/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Thought this came in a dark bottle, but after pouring the beer I see that it's clear. That's how dark black this beer is. Very thick caramel colored head. Black beer. No light gets through at all.

Smells of chocolate, licorice, and coffee. Enjoyable.

Unfortunately, the taste reminds me of day-old coffee reheated in the microwave. That said, there is complexity here that others might find intriguing. I just can't stand the taste enough to want to try it again. Tastes like licorice, roasted grain and burnt coffee. Not much hops. Too much roasted flavor and too acidic. A little watery and comes across as a little flat.

As much as I have loved other Samuel Smith beers and want to like this one, I doubt I give it another shot.

Photo of kellyst
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Black.
S: Burnt grain, sweet molasses.
T: Sweet, molasses, slightly chocolatey.
M: Full, thick.
D: Low. A little too sweet.

Overall a great beer. A little overwhelming on the molasses, and not very complex, the sweetness really stands out. It's the first Imp. stout I've had in awhile, I've been drinking a lot of wine lately, and the sweetness really stands out, making this a little hard to finish off.

Photo of shadow1961
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout pours out a lovely
stiff tan head over a black brew. The nose is amazing-
rum, raisin, and espresso dominate. The flavor is sweet
chocolate and coffee malt up front, with the slightest bitter
touch of unsweetened chocolate and hop in the finish.
The mouthfeel is surprisingly light and clean. The relatively
high alcohol by volume of 7% is well modulated by all that other
flavor action going on. It only makes itself felt in the inevitable
warming action.This is one of the finest stouts I've ever had!
I do like the label- apparently Samuel Smith is a contractor for
Her Majesty's forces, though if I were with Her Majesty's forces
in Iraq I would prefer something a little lighter- like a wit, a lager,
or poison. But on a chilly May night in Minnesota, it does come

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

Wow, this is a truly great beer. Pours a thick dark oil brown with a tan two finger head. A fair amount of lacing on the glass. Smells of chocolate first then coffee and burnt toast later. Taste is very similar with a dark chocolate bitterness to the long finish. Wonderfully oily mouthfeel. Carbonation is perfect. A winner.

Photo of cichief
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep brown, nearly black.

S- Slight coffee, burnt barley scent, a little hops background.

T- Roasted barley, coffee tone, finishes nice and dry though.

M- Smooth, lots of smaller bubbles, medium to thick on the tongue.

D- A good example of the style, a true classic.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown with a half inch tan head which went away very quickly. Lacing is good. It smells like coffee, chocolate, caramel, dark fruit and some alcohol. The beer tastes the same way to me, but with some licorice, wood and acidic twangs to it too. Taste is sweet and bitter at the same time, it's a bit sweeter than I expected. Mouthfeel is medium, it's also creamy, smooth and a bit slick. There's a little too much carbonation for my liking. Drinkability is good, it's not hard to drink at all. I think this is a decent stout. I'd drink it again.

Photo of mwearl
4.65/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black in appearance with no light showing through. Head is minimal as is lacing. Very nice smell suprisingly light and fragrant for an imperial with no alcohol smell. Excellent taste with hops noticeable and a slight coffee, chocolate finish. Not as heavy as one might expect from a Russian Imperial Stout but flavor is exceptional. Mouthfeel was a little acidic on top of the tongue, but not an alcohol bite. Drinkability was the best of all Imperial Stouts for me, as it was the first time I could drink two at a single sitting.

Photo of BrewSomerville
3.48/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This Beer had a very nice aroma, it smelled very chocolaty. The mouthfeel was also very nice, it was silky smooth and almost kinda chewy. The flavour was alright, I tasted some dark cherry/ chocolate in it. It had a malty sweetness to it, however, the alcohol was threatening to overpower that malty sweetness. The alcohol gave a warming feeling to my mouth and throat. It's a nice winter Beer, but I'm not going to give it a rave review because of it's poor head retention. It looked beautiful at first with a lofty beige head, but it disappeared far too soon.

Overall Sam Smith's Imperial Stout is alright, and I would give it another chance sometime.

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

Found this one at a Thai restaurant in Las Vegas.I couldnt believe it either....they only had one in their half empty beer cooler.
Anyway, the beer poured a deep brown, almost black with a wonderfull chocolate frothy head. A sight to behold.
The nose was awesome...chocolate malt, almost a faint licorice tint to it.
The mouthfeel was great, smooth fullness as I poured it on my tongue and the taste was true to style. Chocolate and biscuit notes with a slight coolness form alchohol from the finish

Photo of hckyfn9999
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black color with a nice brown head with good retention, that leaves a bit of lace. Aroma is of dark fruit, chocolate, and roasted malt. Taste is full of roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, dark fruit, a little nutty, a bit of smoke and alcohol, and rounds out with a bit of hops bitterness. Mouthfeel is smooth and full bodied. This is a very easy drinker for the style.

Photo of Cresant
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured this 11.2 oz. clear bottle into a Samuel Smith tulip glass. No date noted. Creamy tan head rose to over three fingers. The body was dark browm with cola colored highlights. Stereotypical RIS.

Smell was of light sweetness. Steely. Apple skins. Later it was dead-on for chocolate aromas.

Taste was faint milk chocolate. Molasses-like sweetness, however, it was not too sweet. Rather refreshing for a RIS.

Mouthfeel was medium to thin in the body, and smooth in the texture.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a deep dark brown with a towering pillow like tan head. Cery nice retention, with a nice slow fade leaving just a film of a head on top. No real decent lacing though.

S - Smell was initially strong but mellowed some. Nice roasted malts, nutty smell, with lots of hints of caramel and sugar. A slight hoppy twang was present in the back of the aroma. A nice proper English type of smell if that makes any sense.

M & T - First impression was very smooth. Not overly carbonated, but not a bad thing. Not very thick, just very nice feel. Lots of caramel and roasted coffee flavors were the dominant tones here.

D - Overall this was a very nice, and very sessionable Impy Stout. It was not very robust, and would not stand up against some of the other heavyweights in its style. However, I feel it does have a nice place there as a good sessionable, not so outragously high ABV stout is always a welcome treat.

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

Bottle into snifter. A: Very dark, nearly black, very thick head. S: Very malty with a lot of dark fruit coming through. Molasses and a hint of pineapple. T: Roasted malts giving way to some citrus, raisins, chocolate. M: Creamy, light. D: Really surprising and enjoyable.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,296 ratings.