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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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2,998 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,998
Reviews: 1,638
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.24%
Wants: 126
Gots: 153 | 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)
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Ratings: 2,998 | Reviews: 1,638 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mntlover


4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours black no highlights on this baby just black, with a creamy dark tan head which does not last long and leaves spotty lace.
Roasted malt, dark fruits, coffee and chocolate eminate, smells sweet and creamy. Tastes of roasted malt lightly burnt but smooth creamy chocolate moving to a slightly bitter coffee flavor with molasses covered fruit coming up in the mix enhanced by very light hops. A smooth and very drinkable Imperial Stout. This brew is creamy sweet with just the right amount of roasted flavors to make a perfectly balanced taste, perfection. Mouthfeel couldn't get any better. Drinkability is great. This may not be the strongest Imperial Stout but it is still damn near the best one. I use to have these more in the past but on my quest to try new stuff they have fallen to the way side. I say never again.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2004 04:40:39 | More by mntlover
Photo of kmpitz2


4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer poures a jet black color with a finger of tan head that falls to coat over the beer. The nose is really chocolatey, almost like a candy bar. I like the nose. The flavor is all about the chocolate. Wow. It stays with me a long time as well. The feel is thick and a little creamy. Drinkability is good. I like this beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2004 00:56:02 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of NEhophead


4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 pt 2 fl oz clear bottle.

Creamy brown head that fades to a thin sheet after a few moments. Layered and spotted lacing with above average strength. Opaque black in color.

Dark chocolate and some deep coffee tones. The strongest aroma is a bold oak and slight bourbon note. Great aromatics!

Milk and dark chocolate with coffee tones. Big oak and a bit of bourbone flavors that carry this Imperial. The alcohol presence is noticeable but not over the top. A subdued bitterness due to the oak character that gives way to a semi-sweet caramel aftertaste.

Full bodied; Very smooth and mellow. Coats the palate well: carbonation is subdued nicely, but IMO it could be a bit more syrupy for my tastes.

This is a very strong Imperial in terms of flavor and aromatics, but where the hell is the alcohol? An imperial stout at 7% abv? That's probably my biggest (only?) knock to this beer. A staple for Russian Imperials and something all collectors should possess at least a bottle of.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2004 23:22:06 | More by NEhophead
Photo of dgallina


4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a glossy black with a creamy, rocky tan head which settles to a thin sheen and leaves persistent lacing. Strong roasted coffee and malt aromas, with vinous, nutty, slightly earthy tones. Rich, creamy toasted coffee initial flavor, which develops into a nutty, woodsy middle and finishes with a strong sweetness. Very nicely rounded in the mouth, with a perfect smooth and creamy texture. Easy to drink, though the sweetness can become overbearing by the end of a pint.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2004 23:43:38 | More by dgallina
Photo of Brian700


4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours black. Completely opaque. No light is getting through this one. It has a light brown head. The head is creamy with larger bubbles scattered throughout it. The smell is exceptional. Its chocolatey, malty, and there is a presence of some fruit-like aroma. Maybe plum or cherry aroma. The taste is very good. Chocolatey and malty. Perfect amount of bitter on the back of the palate. Good mouthfeel. the carbonation is right on and the body is full. Coats the mouth nicely. This is a really good Imperial Stout and I would urge anyone who hasn't tried it to definately do so.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2004 00:46:18 | More by Brian700
Photo of hero27


3.43/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Very dark, even for a stout, if you can believe it. Relatively small, tan cap.

Aroma: Smells really good. Nice malty aroma of coffee and a hint of chocolate.

Taste: Not bad, but I expected more flavor from this one. I mean, the dark appearance and sweet aroma would lead me to believe it'd be a little more rich than it was.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and relatively smooth & creamy. The alcohol is very deceptive and well hidden in this beer.

Drinkabilty: A good stout, but the price tag and lack of flavor won't have me running out to buy a 6-pack every weekend, that's for sure. It's hard enough putting down 2-3 of these bottles in succession. It's meant to enjoy slowly after a big dinner, not to drink watching a football game. Personally, I liked the Sam Smith's Nut Brown Ale a little better, as this is one of the weaker Imperial Stouts I've had.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2004 20:10:16 | More by hero27
Photo of Dmann


4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A classic Imperial Stout if I have ever had one. This one poured a opaque black color with a small brownish head that soon setlled into a fine pillow of a head on top of my beer. The smell was great with a slight plum scent breeaking through the coffee and chocolate layers. The taste was decidedly Sam Smith with its great light mouthfeel and perfect carbonation levels and the flavors of dark chocolate, carmel and coffee were so perfectly combined that this has to be the most balanced and drinkable Imperial Stout that I have had to date! This one especially hit the spot on this unusually rainy and cold San Diego evening. A top shelf brew for sure, highly recommended!

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2004 10:40:27 | More by Dmann
Photo of WetCoaster


4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep, deep chocolate brown, verging on black. Almost completely opaque--I could not get a ray of light to penetrate this bad boy. Bubbly, thick deep brown/expresso swirl head with surprisngly good retention. No legs or lacing.

Smell: Not as pronounced as I might have expected for an impy. Vinous, cherry notes up front. Sweet caramel malt with a distinct smokiness.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Very... Samuel Smith. A slightly thin, slightly coating and surprisingly crisp mouthfeel. Starts with a blend of chewy caramel malt, yeast and burnt coffee. Dark fruit/cherry comes midpalette. Finishes dry with a smoky, almost chicory bite and bittering hops. A bit of sugar sourness lingers in the aftertaste.

Drinkablity: Very good for the style; almost a light beer among the "more is more" manifesto of contemporary impy stouts.

To be fair, I'm certain that this is a very "correct," traditional example of this style. But... I'll put it this way: An all-original, "correct" '57 Chevy Bel-Aire is a classic, a great car. But a '57 Bel-Aire with a 502 c.i. crate motor, six-speed, disc brakes and a 1200-watt sound sytem is a HELL of a lot more fun to drive. So while it's good, I'll take Rogue's or Stone's monster stouts any day over this.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2004 05:00:17 | More by WetCoaster
Photo of ChrisBowers


4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The Beer God cometh. Simply a spectacular beer and the kingpin of the style in my opinion. Pours jet black with a nice viscosity. Smell is kinda wine-like with perhaps some blackberrys? Taste is wonderfully complex. Bittersweet chocolate, raisins, espresso, slight port wine perhaps in the finish. Super-drinkable at 7%. Enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2004 01:04:26 | More by ChrisBowers
Photo of RocketWidget


4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Certainly, this is a very good beer, quite worthy of praise. However, I'm not sure it should be as ranked as high as it currently is.

Comes in a custom bottle which I assumed to be brown, but after pouring I discovered it was clear, sigh. Pours a very nice, pure black, with moderate brown head. Smell is quite potent, very malty and quite attractive. Taste is good. Very deep, burnt flavor dominates here, much more so than most American imperial stouts. Almost coffee-like, but with a sharp sweet and sour flavor backing it up, the beer is surprisingly tangy. A good try, and I will certainly buy this again if I am in the mood for it, but I would almost NEED to be in the mood for this to drink it. Unusual to say the least.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2004 02:21:15 | More by RocketWidget
Photo of crookedhalo


4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque deepest mahogany color with a tan head. Charred, roasty malt character with loads of butterscotch/toffee notes. Gripping sweet roasty flavors with ample carbonation to keep each sip lively on the palate, and the bittersweet finish invites another sip. Very nice and drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2004 03:44:18 | More by crookedhalo
Photo of orbitalr0x


4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a deep black with a beautiful 1" tan head that stays its course nicely. I'm not seeing any light penetrating this brew and it looks wonderful in the glass. The smell is of powerful roasted notes, hints of coffee and cocoa as well. There are some burnt grains that enter my nose, overall it smells quite nice.

The first taste is very smooth with a robust roasted / burnt malt flavor...bitter coffee hits the back of my palate on the way down. Chocolate covered raisins fit there way in there somehow too. This is well put together and quite easy to drink.

Mouthfeel is very nice, altough it almost seems a bit lacking in body to me personally. The drinkability factor is very good. This one goes down easily and tastes great. A couple of these and I'd be a happy camper for the night. If you enjoy stouts, and have yet to try this one, get off yer ass and do it already!

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2004 02:40:43 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of trumick


4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep dark brown with very little head and not much lacing.

Scent is of sweet dark malts, dark chocolate, and coffee. The scent is more pronouced as it warms. It has the same scents just more intense.

Taste follows the nose, sweet dark malts, dark bitter chocolate, finishes with slight hops, coffee and a bit sweet. Taste is also more pronounced as it warms and, yes, better.

Mouthfeel, very nice and smooth almost creamy with perfect carbination, meduim to full bodied a bit lighter than I would expect for the style.

Drinkability, danger, this one is very easy to drink. I could put a bunch of these away. This is probably the most drinkable Imp Stout I have ever had. The lower (lower for the style) abv helps.

What a nice beer. The abv is lower and makes this beer that much more apealing. This is one I will definately buy again.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2004 02:48:22 | More by trumick
Photo of odeed


3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

all the samuel smiths have a bit of the same taste.not saying its a bad thing,they all taste great!
the imperial poured out with little head and i could almost make out some light looking through it.as i said,has the sammy smith taste only with a bit of imperial thrown in for good measure.
very good stout overall.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2004 03:12:01 | More by odeed
Photo of BJ1833


4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep black color with brown two-finger head.

Aroma: Mmm... this already smells delicious. Coffee and chocolate aroma hits you first with a fainter smell of toffee as well.

Taste: A strong coffee and roasted malt flavor. Notes of toffee and caramel as well. This is very rich and complex. Alcohol is present but definitely not overpowering.

Mouthfeel: Heavy body that is creamy and silky. Perfection carbonation in this bottle.

Overall: This is the first imperial stout I've tried and I don't see how they could get any better than this! This is easily the best stout (imperial or otherwise) I've ever had. This beer would make a good winter warmer.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2004 23:05:49 | More by BJ1833
Photo of jvajda


3.33/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Black as night and a very dark head that dissapates quickly.
Smell: Strong smell of sweet bananas in the nose.
Taste: Very sweet banana tones and small alcohol taste. Somewhat simple for a stout.
Mouthfeel: Creamy. Leaves the lips sticky.
Drinkability: I don't feel like this beer has much to offer that would bring me back.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2004 01:07:47 | More by jvajda
Photo of 99bottles


4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Into a tulip, this stout poured a very near black color with almost an inch of deep tan head. The retention was lacking, and a thin lace was all that remained after a minute.

Smell: A rich roasted scent from the barely that nearly stings the nostrils, and then wraps them up in soft richness.

Taste: This stout is my Imperial benchmark. It has a very classic taste and flavor; that is of roasted barley, some acidic coffee, very strong notes of dark chocolate, raisins, figs, and alcohol. It has modest bitterness, without too much hop flavor. Very very good.

Mouthfeel: This might be thinner than what most imperial stout drinkers have come to expect. In this case, I think it does well with matching the flavor to the viscosity and thickness of the beer.

Drinkability: A great beer to herald in the change of the seasons. This is a nice beer to sip, and though I think multiple bottles coudl be consumed in one sitting, I'd rather sit and reflect over one.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2004 14:23:33 | More by 99bottles
Photo of sutcliff


4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was the first imperial stout I ever tried years ago and I made it a point to have a pint of it on a regular occassion. An excellent example of the style with a warm, rich taste, and a low amount of hop aroma. The color is a deep black and the head was significant.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2004 22:32:01 | More by sutcliff
Photo of CAMRAhardliner

Ontario (Canada)

4.53/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Victorian style label is very cool.

The beer pours pure black with a big tan head and good lacing. The aroma is of sweet cocoa powder, with the expected coffee and roasted barley notes as well. The taste is incredibly rich and complex. The coffee flavors are so well defined. There is a diversity of chocolatey flavors. The hops very evident. Theres also a smokey faintly acidity (from the roasted barley?). The carbonation is light in this thick brew making for a creamy mouthfeel. This beer is eminently drinkable because it is so well balanced and alcohol flavors are completely concealed behind a wall of richness. An excellent Imperial Stout.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2004 04:22:19 | More by CAMRAhardliner
Photo of meathookjones


3.33/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I haven’t had a bottle of this in years, basically the last time I had it I was still drinking craft brew from the bottle. So seeing how it is right behind on of my favorites in Stone Russian imperial stout I had to pick it up to review it. Pours out used oil black that looked a little thinner than other RIS’ I have had but great nonetheless. A full dark tan head formed atop the oily liquid and left no much in the way of lace as it faded away. There seems to be a strong smell of chocolate liquor coming from this with fruits and a bit of alcohol as well. Sweet chocolate covered fruit came to mind when I first sipped this. Chocolate and a touch of coffee were also present as well as a bittersweet finish. There was an odd sour taste that hit me a few times that was very unpleasant, not sure what this is from. Mouthfeel was good but not as thick as other Imperial Stouts but creamy still. Drinkability was lower than I would have though with that odd taste really putting me off. Not sure if I got a bad bottle or what but I plan on revisiting this in the future and giving it another chance.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2004 16:02:59 | More by meathookjones
Photo of garymuchow


4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I sat on this for a few months after purchase (don't ask me why, 'cuz I don't know), plus how long did it sit in the store? Nonetheless, it didn't seem worse for the wear.
Aroma is heavy sweet malt, like molasses and with a strong fruit quality and bits of roast.
As it pours it looks lighter in color, but once in the glass it's black as night. One inch firm dense head.
Flavor is rich without being excessive. Pushes cloy but never too much. Fruit. Roast. Coffee. Really sweet up front, moderate bitterness in middle that adds nice comlexity.
Smooth as silk. One of the softest smoothest beers I"ve ever head. Appropriately thick.
Everything is perfectly balanced for style. Dessert, slow sipper or multi-purpose beer. Excellent.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2004 14:10:51 | More by garymuchow
Photo of Jacobob10

New Jersey

4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A truly beautiful appearance. Pitch black with the darkest tan head I have ever seen. Awesome! The only reason this didn't get a 5 for appearance is because it left virtually no lacing on the glass. Great aroma as well. Very crisp and fresh for something with such a dark and roasted smell. Full bodied beer that contains flavors of caramel, roasted malts, and coffee, but it has a touch of sweetness to it. Very creamy mouthfeel. The drinkability takes a hit due to the high alcohol content and the thickness of this beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2004 22:05:20 | More by Jacobob10
Photo of SilentSabre

North Dakota

4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured black as tar with about a 15cm thick dirty off-white head. The smell is absolutely fantastic, if you like this style of course. Roasted malt, chocolately, a little fig like, some caramel. The taste, too, is very chocolatey with that burnt malt taste I do love so about this style. Very smooth. Very easy to drink. Quite heavy, however, and three or less in a single sitting would be plenty. Excellent.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2004 04:07:29 | More by SilentSabre
Photo of rajendra82


4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer came in a 550 ml. sturdy looking clear (why?) bottle that released an a dark brown liquid with red highlights. This beer does not have the inky black look of other imperial stouts. The head was coffee-colored and formed at about 1½ inches thick initially, but then quickly dissipated to a thin layer of foam and some decent lace. The aroma was roasted coffer and dark chocolate goodness, with a dollop of dark skinned fruits thrown in the mix. The taste was a delightfully intense balance between the sweet flavors of raisins, figs, toffee, and apples; and bitter notes of old coffee and unsweetened chocolate. The alcohol warmth was pretty tepid for an imperial stout, and is clearly not the draw in this beer. The mouthfeel was also quite a bit lighter that the big boys, but was satisfying nonetheless. An easy drinking stout that is clearly a step above the ordinary, but remains very approachable still. A sessionable imperial stout if you will.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2004 03:39:23 | More by rajendra82
Photo of dmbfrat420beers


4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation - Attractive clear (why do so many British breweries use clear bottles?) bottle with white label declaring Sam Smith's as the "contractors to Her Majesty's foces" haha.

Appearance - Dark with red tint around the edges. Big, tightly packed tan head. Lacing clings nice and thick to the side of the mug - very nice touch.

Aroma - hmm...very different from the other Imperial Stouts I have tried (Stone '04 and Old Rasputin). I would describe it as sort of a musty smell with grassy hop hints and some alcohol. Very strong, especially as you get ready to drink.

Mouthfeel - full bodied, decent carbonation

Taste - Like Sam Smith's India Ale, this beer is a far cry from its American style cousins. Strong grassy hop flavor up front that gives way to an ample roasted malty sweetness. Hints of bitterness left on the lips and in the back of the mouth, but otherwise turns into an almost candy like sweetness on the sides of the cheeks and tounge. Also leaves a nice fruity tartness. Lots of flavors going on here and it changes quite a bit from sip to swallow. Finishes very clean, no alcohol flavor to speak of, except a warm feeling as it goes down. Quite tasty and complex, though I wish there were little more of a bitter kick, but that is just my predilection.

Drinkability - Thought by the size and pungent aroma this beer would not go down easily, but was suprised about how easy it was to drink.

Final Words: Bought a 4-pack of this for $10, can't wait to finish the rest. The best of their beers I have had so far. It is hard to say how this compares to the American Double Stouts, they seem so very much different.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2004 05:36:49 | More by dmbfrat420beers
Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 2,998 ratings.