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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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3,339 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,339
Reviews: 1,682
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 178
Gots: 290 | 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: 3,339 | Reviews: 1,682 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of techdiver
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 550 ml bottle. Wow, deep brownish black color with a substantial billowing tan head that dissipates slowly leaving loads of lacing behind.

Nose of malt, molasses, and chocolate.

Taste is out of this world good. I've had a lot of RIS and what this lacks in ABV it more than makes up for in taste.

Great mouthfeel, feels so light in comparison to other brews of this style.

Great drinkability, wish I had more right now because it's gonna be gone before my Coronado Double Toro.

Photo of Redwood21
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: WOW, one look at this beer and you know you are heading into an experience not just a drink. moderately intimidating as well as inviting all at the same time. almost jet black with a light chocolate head that is puffy and amazing i haven't given a beer a high A rating in a while, but this one is amazing.
S: if there was ever a chocolate flavored oatmeal, this would be the beer going for it. im not sure how to explain it any other way
T: you can def taste the alcohol on this beer, its got a higher presence than you might initially expect there is also some chocolate notes this is one of those beers that as it warms it mellows and enhances its flavors. its a good solid strong flavored beers
M/D: this is a robust beer, relatively strong, compared to an avg days beer, but because of that its more complex, more tasty, more delicious. i wouldn't mind ordering this beer on the menu at any point, its very good and worth any ones try

Photo of bigdeuce
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another nice sample from Samuel Smith's. Has a beautiful pillowy head and lacing down the glass. Nice toffee notes on the nose and very buttery. A classic of the style, to say the least. Some chocolatey notes as well. Some plumbyness as well. A nice offering from a great brewery!

Photo of scott
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Unknown production

Dark, with only the slightest of ruby accents hidden away. Very aromatic with nice notes of sweet soy & roast. Well-carbonated, this will lend itself to easy drinking coupled with a relatively thin body & well concealed alcohol. Nutty, mildly hoppy, and not nearly as dense as I would have hoped for, or expected. Recommended.

Photo of Karyyk
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Until recently, South Carolina didn't allow the sale of beer with an alcohol content of more than 6% ABV. That limit was recently raised to 17.7% ABV, which means a lot of beers are now available here that could not have been sold previously. This would explain why I've never seen Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout before.

The beer pours an extremely dark and opaque black with about an inch of tan head. When held to a light, very little of it is going to get through this beer. What does reveals a slightly reddish hue, but generally speaking, this one is as black as night. The head disappears relatively quickly, and is particularly noticeable if you're used to some of the other Samuel Smith stouts (Taddy Porter & Oatmeal Stout).

I've never had an Imperial Stout before (showing my relative ignorance here), but judging on the score, this is a good one. This was probably one of the more drinkable stouts I've encountered, although the same can be said of all of the Samuel Smith stouts that I've had. The taste and mouthfeel is quite heavy and complex, but that's kind of the idea with a stout. One might even feel compelled to refer to this as a "manly brew," which it most certainly is. The taste is hard to describe in layman's terms, but there are strong malt, licorice and coffee notes (I think a coffee drinker that dabbles into beer would especially like this). There's a good amount of sweetness to it as well, but nothing that overpowers the flavor of the beer. The term "well-balanced" is a good way to describe this one.

Photo of Limberg316
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Excellent Imperial Stout if there ever was one! Smooth pour with an almost red tint through the light. Dark brown head that is tasty but disappeares very quickly. It almost reminds me more of a porter than a stout. Drinks very easily and is very smooth going down. I'm not sure if I would want more than two or three at a time though.

Photo of franksnbeans
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours opaque black with a slight ruby if you try hard enough on a bright light. Soapy 2 finger chocolate milk head that dies and laces. Smells complex. Roasted malt, ground coffee and some plum/jammy smell. Taste is complex as well. Starts a little sweet, coffee grounds, bakers chocolate, fig, then finishes with a raisony wood like smokey finish with some licorice. Longest finish Ive tasted. Interesting to say the least. Medium mouthfeel with ample carbonation. Very drinkable, especially for an RIS. A different but great twist on a timeless style. Definitly worth a try, then another.

Photo of Floydster
3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle bought at Beverage Warehouse

Poured into a pint glass

Almost completely black with a 1/2 inch dark brown head

A little too sweet for me, but I am picky about Imperial Stouts

Best beer offered by Samuel Smith's in my opinion

Good beer for the money

Photo of cswhitehorse
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Imperial pours a dark ebony. Very little carbonation as the foam head take off pretty quickly. The smell is malt roasty and sensations of alcohol up the nose. The taste initially reminds me of drinking a deep dark red wine. I tend to wondering if this brew is oak aged. It is burned maltiness and finishes smooth. The mouthfeel is soft and stays in the upper and lower portion of the back of the mouth. Very good beer probably best enjoyed during the cold winter months in front of the fire.

Photo of Brad007
3.88/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black color with a brown head that is modest. As it warms up, aroma is nice and roasty. There are definitely hints of chocolate and coffee. Smells creamy as well. Taste starts off with a nice roasty blast of malt and coffee up front. Roasted characteristics dance upon my tongue. As corny as this may sound, I'm a sucker for a good imperial stout. However, I will say that it's not the best of the style I've had but still pretty damn good for what it is.

Photo of ncvbc
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pour is pure blackness, atop it a fluffy tan head that could easily blow away in the wind. Low carbonation creeping up the glass.

Smell is of dark roasted malts. I pick up some dark fruits, possibly cherries and raisins. Hints of coffee, caramel, and chocolate. This is all very soft, it isn't extreme and in your face like many brews. Just subtle and to the point.

Taste is magic. Just like the smell it does a good job of using a great variety of flavor while keeping it all in perspective. Nothing huge going on and things just fall into place. An extremely balanced brew.

Mouthfeel is medium and creamy. Silky smooth. Not quite so thick as many RIS and very nice.

Drinkability scores a 5 in my book. This has about as much going on as its competitors without going overboard, making this very easy to drink. It's lighter than many as well, so it goes right down.

Found this for $2.99, less than the regular products from Smith sitting beside it. Quite a deal, I say!

Photo of jdhilt
3.89/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a two-fingered light tan head that goes slowly and leaves traces of lace. Black as the ace spades. Moderate carbonation. Molasses/malty nose. Starts malty with sweet licorice, finishes malty. Sweeter than a Guinness. Medium to heavy bodied, very good imperial stout. $3.89 for a 550ml bottle. $1.50 for a 12oz bottle from Capitol Convenience.

Photo of marksto
3.65/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours jet black with tall, brown slightly rocky head. Aroma has hints of chocolate, alcohol, roasted malt, raisins, and licorice. Flavor is dominated by the licorice, with some roast and a touch of malt sweetness. I do also pick up the metallic hints that some other reviewers have noted. The overall strength seems a bit light, and mouthfeel a bit thin.

Sam Smiths makes some wonderful beers, and this is certainly a respectable RIS, but I think there are a good number of other superior examples of this style out there.

Photo of joekfsu
4.66/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle. Pours a dark tan with 1.5 cm tan head that is mostly diminishing head. Aroma is sweet with caramel dominating. Initial flavor is sweet, almost cola-like and ends with the warmth of alcohol and slightly bitter chocolate finish. Medium body with light carbonation and lasting after taste. Very drinkable, especially since it comes in the four pack.

Photo of bboven
4.16/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This stuff is darker than Charlie Murphy. I saw hints of deep brown under the light, but black in hand. The head just doesn't quit and the brown-eggshell color is very rich.

In the smell I get little hints of roast, sweet, alcohol, but nothing really hit me in the face. But, I've heard that balance is a good thing.

The taste is roasty at first, then sweet malt, but there's a slightly metallic taste at the end that hurts th overall impression just a bit.

The mouth feel is awesome. I let a full gulp roll around from cheek to cheek just to let my tongue play in the surf.

A very smooth and drinkable beer. As I said, very well balanced for lots of flavor but no one taste overpowers the rest.

Photo of biggmike
3.25/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark, dark brown pour with light brown head that was long-lasting. I was kind of disappointed because I am a big fan of the Oatmeal Stout and Taddy Porter. Alright but to me not great. The taste was just a bit metallic and I just didnt think it was that good. I will try again because I'm a big fan of their other beers.

Photo of jwilli7122
3.83/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

grabbed this out of the fridge, and as i have no patience, am probably drinking it too cold.

medium-sized tan head. lacing. dark brown in color. i'm away from the house and am drinking this out of a colored plastic cup. hey, good glass or not, i can still drink good beer right?

smells like sweet malt. little bit of caramel. slightly roasted. tastes about the same. no bold flavors...not much bitterness. slight alchohol flavor, even though this is only 7%. good but not great.

mouthfeel is slightly thick with more carbonation that your average imperial stout but not so much as your average ale.

when i think imperial stout, this isn't what i'm thinking of. to me, this is a stout...but i'm sure this is much older than the ISs i favor, so maybe i'm wrong and sam smith is right.

decent beer, but wouldn't buy it again for $3 a bottle (12 oz).

edit: taste improved once the beer warmed. do not drink it cold.

Photo of soupyman10
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours two inched of tan head that never seem to go away, over a solid dark brown near black with red highlights. Looks great. Nose is high on bananas, chocolate, and roasted malt. Strong and inviting, with a little bitterness too. Taste is very good: roasted malt up front, then spices, dried fruit (prunes) come through subtly. The bananas show up again as in the smell, some chocolate and a fair bit of breadiness. Feel is fairly good, full bodied with solid carbonation. This is a very good beer. It might actually be my least favorite RIS because the banana flavor sits there the whole drink and I wasn't really feeling it that much. However, at the price ($4 for an 18.7 oz) this is an incredible value. While likely be having it again soon.

Photo of chrhowe
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
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
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
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
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
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
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
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
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
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
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,339 ratings.