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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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3,300 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,300
Reviews: 1,677
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 169
Gots: 267 | 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: 3,300 | Reviews: 1,677 | Display Reviews Only:
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
3.78/5  rDev -9.4%
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
3.88/5  rDev -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.

Photo of montageman
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass. Appears to be pitch black, but when held up to the light it's more of a dark brown. There is a nice tan head that slowly leaves a ton of lacing. Smell is big on roasted coffee and chocolate, but it's a more nuanced smell and is very nice. Taste is sweet and chocolatey up front with a nice bitter/dry coffee finish. This tastes very much like a good chocolate bar. Mouthfeel is rich and creamy - there is slight carbonation, which functions well. This is a very drinkable stout - perfect as a dessert. Highly Recommended.

Photo of taez555
4.54/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a pitch black body with a small white/tan head.

Nose is in your face with that beautiful classic Sammy Smith fruity/metallic smell. Soft milk chocolate, cocoa powder, pure liquid caramel, pears, dark prunes, liquid sugar, sweet (backwoods cigars) type tobacco, mild vanilla and a very faint alcohol nip. For such an in your face nose it has this overwhelming muted note to it like it's been aged for a while and has lost some of it's bite. Still.... a splendid nose that I could smell for hours without taking a sip.

Taste is medium to full bodied. Dark roasted malts dominate with a smooth dark chocolate and fireplace brick mild smoke note. Dark chocolate, brown bread, prunes, plums, dark raisins, old coffee, pear juice with a mild coarseness. There's a subtle minty and citrus peel hop flavor combined with a present but mellow and balanced bitterness. An alcohol warmth picks up as the beer takes hold. It finishes with a lingering bitterness and course chalkiness.

Another fabulous beer from Tadcaster. A little more dense and a bit less drinkable that the Oatmeal or Taddy Porter, but still a top notch beer that ranks as easily one of the best Stouts out there. I don't know why I don't drink Samuel Smith more often.

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The beautiful sable color and moderate head are attractive, and the decidedly stouty aroma with a strong caramel overtone cries "You will drink me, and you will enjoy me!" Flavor is rich and malty, and has caramel hints and a touch of smokiness. It goes down with a smooth, pleasant finish that has only a whisper of bitterness. Very satisfying, this is a must for all porter and stout fans!

Photo of MiScusi
3.55/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a 16.9oz brown bottle. Pours a deep black in the glass, but small amounts of the liquid show it to be a clear reddish brown. The head is a light tan, frothy, thin, and dissipates pretty quickly. The smell and taste are both heavily roasted and I don't get much out of it other than that. A little too one dimensional for me.

Photo of cixelsydima
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A:Dark amber color,pours thinly for a stout,little head fading out to dishwater soap like bubbles.
S:Woody,smoked wood,somewhat earthy,slight hint of alcohol,
dark chocolate with syrupy molasses
T:Licorice,carmalized molasses,slightly bitter finish
M:A pop/soda like carbonation,thin
D:Not a session beer.I could drink 2 or 3 at a time.I will definitely purchase a case to hoard for myself during winter.I will let this warm up a bit prior to consuming the next bottle.The mouth feel is more velvety and smoother as it warms up.My first impression after the 1st taste was pairing this beer with a heavy,slightly sweet hickory pork barbeque.I'd love to find this on tap.This one is a "gooder".

Photo of boelker62
2.49/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

This beer fell short on many counts. Head flew away with no lacing. I imagine this one is artificaially carbonated as well. It was overwhelming. I pulled some perfume and herb scents out of this, and almost didn’t drink it past the first sip. It grew a bit on me. Just a bit, though. medium to full body, and quite velvety for being so, let this beer afect various areas of the palate. Their oatmeal stout is better, and I would prefer it to this anytime.

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

Pours black with a small but attractive head.

Very sweet taste with mild hops. Almost as sweet as a milk stout. I was expecting more hops in an imperial stout. Strong dark stewed fruit flavors. Reminded me of prune juice, which is not bad; I like prune juice.

Slippery mouthfeel. I would prefer more carbonation.

Tasty for sure, but not at the level of Victory Storm King. I found it a bit unbalanced in the malt direction. I think a bit more hop would help.

Highly drinkable, though.

Photo of Bookseeb
4.7/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a rich dark brown that has a creamy brown head that sticks around awhile. A primary smell of chocolate then coffee, dark fruits and sweet roasted malts. Taste is sweet with the same characteristics as the aroma with good hop flavor and carbonation. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy, overall it's a rich, smooth imperial stout that will definately be on my list of brews for the cellar.

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

Picked up a single at Vin Art Wines. Very excited about this one.

Appearance: Pours a jet black with a massive foamy brown cap that stays for eternity, leaving tons of lacing.

Aroma: Nose is dominated by hints of sweetened chocolate and roasted organic coffee beans and fresh baked bread. Also get some floral hops.

Taste: Quite sweet. Very chocolatey, with strong whiff of bitter coffee in the finish. Some caramel and grass. Moderate bitterness, definately a sweeter RIS.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and rich, not it's strongest point, but drinkability is pretty high.

Final Statement: Definately a winner. A good & sweet RIS from a very respectable brewery. This is my favorite of the their brews, and will definately seek out regularly.

Photo of Atlas1
4.14/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Man, this really takes me back. The first time I ever tried Sammy Smiths I was in college over ten years ago. My buddies and I were convinced that there was simply nothing like it on earth. We were right.

Pours a nice deep black color with a dark brown head. Hints of ruby red shine through at the edges when held up to the light. A pretty beer, but nothing spectacular for a stout. Very little head retention or lace. The bouquet here is special, though. Rich aroma of both dark fruits (plum, prune, raisins) and apples and bananas. Makes me think of a few weizenbocks I've had, but it's a sweeter aroma than most stouts out there, imperial or not. The taste is also a bit sweet with the aforementioned fruits. Sweet and tangy up front, with a smooth mellow middle, and a remarkably sweet (tart?) and bitter finish. Presents a smoky aftertaste, which I was not expecting but really like. Very sturdy mouthfeel. Overall, this is an imperial stout done right. But then again, this beer was winning gold medal awards at competitions back in 1896, so it's not like the lads at Sam Smiths are new at this. Keep up the good work, and thanks for this beer.

Photo of schusterbauer
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

of course there's no answer to the "favorite beer" question. forced to make a decision though, this would definitely be in contention.

more burnt brown than black, with highlights of mahogany, and a small staid head. perhaps my perception of its appearance is tainted by my knowledge of what comes next, but if that's the case, then so be it. smell is of barely warm brownies, prune juice, walnuts, liqueur, coffee. taste is a haphazard (in a good way) blend of the same flavors, along with burnt brown sugar, chocolate covered raisins, charcoal, and fig pudding. subtle and refined in the mouth -- not harsh, bruising, or daring like the american interpretations. inviting, and warming. pleasingly inebriating. drink a couple and you'll be singing.

i've drinken this from snifters, pint glasses, and (gasp!) straight from the bottle -- it's always fantastic. an obsession.

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

Appearance: A nice black color with a huge brown head. There is very light retention and almost no lacing.

Smell: Rich dark chocolate, roasted malts, some caramel and sugar, and mild hops.

Taste: Nice rich and full flavors here. Everything explodes on the palate without overpowering any individual flavor. The caramel and fruits are nicely balanced with the hops and everything works very well together.

Mouthfeel: Thick but not cloying. Rich and sweet while still staying dry. Wonderful.

Drinkability: A wonderful stout. I need more.

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

355ml bottle, poured into a t'IJ brewery tulip

Pours with a deep dark rich brown body, black in most lights with some slight ruby highlights throughout. Inch thick tan head with great retention along with lots of bubbly lacing

Smell, smooth rich slightly alcoholic malt, some acetaldehyde character lingering around. Slight burnt sugar character along with some more green apple aromas.

Taste, crisp and rich roasted malt, sweet astringent appley estery malt. Some acidity along with a whack of roasted malt, some slight esters

Been meaning to review this for ages, finally have... brilliant bottled

Photo of beeragent
3.07/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle, into a pint glass. The beer poures a deep brown, forming no head with very little carbonation, leaving a few spots of lace on the glass. The aroma is a mix of roasted malts, and light raisins. The taste is light coffee, a little roasted malt, and a good amount of, what tastes like raisins. Thick mouthfeel, with a smooth finish. Overall, I wasnt really impressed with this stout. I've tried a few other RIS, but this one just didnt measure up. Its not a bad beer, but for the style, It was a let down, but then again, maybe I just got a bad batch. I will have to try it again in the future.

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

Poured into a unibroue snifter with an absolutely monstrous tan head-- creamy, with heavy foam and massive lacing. it's black and totally impermeable to light. this beer is pretty.

The nose is heavy on coffee, with a background of dark malt and maybe a little nonspecific fruit. There's a buttery, kind of funky yeasty note, which I like.

Tastes somewhat sweet and surprisingly dry on the finish. Coffee notes are present, but much lighter than I expected. Subsequent sips reveal a yeasty banana flavor. Heavy carbonation lends a sort of spiciness, and adds a lot of drinkability.

The mouthfeel is heavy and creamy, finishing with substantial carbonation. The low ABV (as compared to American versions of the style) and bubbles make this a very very drinkable imperial stout. There is nothing (other than respect) that would prevent me from pounding these.

RERATE: Went back to this with more imperial stout experience under my belt. The apparearance is still outstanding, especially the head size, retention, and lacing. Smellwise, I'm not sure what the hell I was talking about ("buttery/funky/yeasty note"), I was probably talking about the vanilla character, which is pretty strong. The taste is smokier than most imps I've tasted, but production of this is too high for it to be barrel-aged; it must be the malts. This is really a pretty damned good imperial stout.

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

Pours black with a fairly nice head that settles but sticks around as a thin lid. Lacing is slight. The smell is of chocolate, prunes,cherries, wine, and a slight roastiness.Very pleasant. The flavor is similar, with an overlay of vanilla and sweet cherries that are more predominant as it warms. Very creamy and with nice chocolate notes on the finish. Beautufully creamy body, and not all that heavy. Very drinkable,and nice to have a RIS with some delicious flavors and low abv.

Photo of Tyrawlings
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

Photo of andebrice
4.7/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

Photo of far333
4.32/5  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.

Photo of udubdawg
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
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!

Photo of EVLguy
4.38/5  rDev +5%
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.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,300 ratings.