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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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3,104 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,104
Reviews: 1,649
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 140
Gots: 181 | 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
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Ratings: 3,104 | Reviews: 1,649 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mattviator
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I didn't realize that the bottle was clear until I poured it. Pours straight black with a good tan head that leaves a good lacing. Smell is somewhat sweet with roasted chocolate and coffee. Taste is incredible. Strong roasted creaminess with bittersweet chocolate. Alcohol taste is very well hidden and has a sweetness to it. Slightly woody finish. Creamy and rich feel and I loved drinking it and wanted more. Perhaps this is my favorite stout.

mattviator, Nov 07, 2005
Photo of Matthew
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out of the bottle black as night with a nutty brown head.
This beer's aroma is so incredibley pleasant. Walnutty, sweet, oak type aroma, creamy, aromas i just cant quite put my finger on.
Considering this beer is is an imperial stout its very well balanced and hides its 7 % alcohol content almost too well. Its incredibley smooth, creamy, and has a very rich sweet nutty taste up front. A slight chocolate flavor is also present. The aftertaste is just barely less creamy with a warming character. Mouthfeel is heavy and slightly sticky and fits the rest of its characteristics. Great beer.

Matthew, Nov 05, 2005
Photo of edmundfitzoil
4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought this one up at Capital Market here in Salem, and I poured it into a standard pint glass.

The beer poured a straight black with a thick, 1" of tan colored head. The aroma was of coffee, chocalate and some dark, hinting fruitiness. The flavor began with roasted flavors and finishes with a very nice hop bitterness along with the alcohol bite there as well. Sammy's Imperial Stout is a full bodied brew with a creamy texture, but it's incredibly drinkable with a very nice, complex taste. This is one beer whose reputation has well preceded its drinking. Highly drinkable and a true pleasure.

edmundfitzoil, Nov 05, 2005
Photo of Px2GrafX
3.4/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

presentation: 12oz. thin CLEAR bottle with a white overly decorated label. gold foil on the neck and over the crown. logo at top with ancient gold medals displayed. "contractors to her majesty's forces" below the logo. another diamond logo in the center of the label over "imperial stout" in a diamond cut font. "bottled at yorkshire's oldest brewery est. 1758". 7% abv displayed. no freshness date.

appearance: pours a nice black with no real highlights in a stein mug. head is a nice inch and a half light tan. tight with good retention and lacing down the glass.

smell: vinous and a tad sweet. molasses and dark fruits like prunes.

taste: again vinous with grapes and a roasted malt flavor. chocolate and prunes and raisins. touch of coffee, but the coffee and chocolate aren't nearly as flavorful as in other impy stouts. grapes, prunes and other dark fruits dominate here. finishes a touch sweet and roasty. aftertaste is wine and dark fruit.

mouthfeel: light crisp and clean mouthfeel almost like that of a porter. not as thick as i expect from an impy stout. rolls and swallows smoothly with light carbonation.

drinkability: fairly drinkable with an easy mouthfeel and no hindering alcohol. but the vinous flavors slow me a bit.

overall: i've had this once before and didn't like it very much. at least not nearly as much as others. i've never had it since thinkin' i'd try it again later when my palate's more experienced, and what can i say? i'm still not a fan. i don't like wine very much and the very first flavor i get is wine. it's also a tad thin, even coming from england. a must try as this is a classic, but i'm one of the few who won't be rating this very high.

Px2GrafX, Oct 30, 2005
Photo of budsboy
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours nearly black with only hints of mahogany around the bottom of the glass. Finger-thick rich tan head that shrinks back to a thin coating.

Aroma is a mix of dark fruit and coffee. A musty quality is in there with that dark, roasted malt.

Sweet and fruity balanced with dark malt bitterness. Very much wine-like. Lasting tannin bitterness. Alcohol blends perfectly with the sweeter qualities.

Not as full as you might expect. Very low cabonation. Close to chalky.

Always a good choice. One I have had many times. Worth it, in case you were wondering about the price. It was my introduction to imperial stouts and is a high benchmark. I think of it as a sophisticate in the company of its brash American counterparts (Thirsty Dog, Stone, Bells ... brash is good). Quality, quality, quality. Try some.

budsboy, Oct 30, 2005
Photo of whynot44
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Full bodied, full flavored, dark reddish mahogany brown with a tan head, smells a bit of fruit and chocolate.

Flavor is fruity - apricot, raisin? - with bittersweet chocolate, coffee and maybe some caramel. Behind all of this is a very pleasant hops bite that balances the fruit and sweetness to give a very nice finish and pronounced aftertaste.

The bit of alcohol warmth makes this a great cool weather drink. No wonder the Russians liked this stuff.

whynot44, Oct 29, 2005
Photo of nlmartin
4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served from a bottle into a twenty ounce wine glass.

Appearance: This one is like a black hole. Straight black coloration not even a hint of light escaping. A very large head with no sign of falling. The lacing clings as the beer is drained from the glass.

Smell: This one smells of raisons and molasses very floral hoppy smell. A nonoffensive alcohol smell is present.

Taste: This is very busy a nice roasted smokey espresso combination with the addition of brownies and some fruity goodness (prunes and raisons) in evidence. Good malty back bone with a nice supporting hop profile.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: Dam! I have drank many stouts over the last several days. This is not the most expensive or the most elusive stout on the market. It is simply the best of the bunch I have had the pleasure of drinking. Very drinkable very smooth.

nlmartin, Oct 27, 2005
Photo of grindcore666
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fluffy but thick bran head, trickles down to a messy fingerwidth of foam. A pleasant shade of brown. Super-stubborn black body: no light penetrates this one.

Smells like molasses, oat bran, and brown sugar.

Tastes like strong chewy molasses with alcohol and chocolate raisins. I like this one a lot, it's up there with the Porter but not quite.

grindcore666, Oct 25, 2005
Photo of Luigi
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew is pitch black. The head is a creamy tan color and is very sticky. There is a rich chocolate and coffee aroma. Hints of fruit and alcohol. The flavor is rich and intense. Dark chocolate, coffee, raisins, and leafy hops. Full bodied and a sweet finish with some coffee flavors lingering on the tongue. Hands down one of the best stouts I have ever had. $3.99 a bottle but well worth the price.

Luigi, Oct 17, 2005
Photo of PBRstreetgang
4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black, and totally opaque. A light brown one finger head shows some decent retention but the lacing is pretty lame. Burnt chocolate nose, some alcohol vapors present, and background hops. Huge roasted flavor, nicely blended with bakers chocolate, and a mild vinous character. The bitter and sweet flavors are prduced by the malt, and there is some residual sweeteness, but the drying hop aftertaste helps keep the taste somewhat balanced. A thick, chewy body rounds out the mouthfeel, and the full malt profile hides the alcohol while accentuating the flavors making this beer strong, but very drinkable.

PBRstreetgang, Oct 17, 2005
Photo of radshoesbro
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a - black as midnight. seriously, it's about 10:30 and i'm looking outside and there is more light out there than there is getting into this beer! good head with good lacing.

s - malts malts malts!!

t - chocolate, raisins, dates, prunes, creams, i can go on and on and on!! lots of stuff going on here! quite wonderful.

m - heavy medium bodied brew with an alright finish but not the greatest.

d - not as good as the oatmeal stout. that's probablly the most important thing to note. if you've never had either go with the other one first then try this. it's definately a good winter beer. went great with some chocolate chip cookies!

radshoesbro, Oct 14, 2005
Photo of texashammer
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Opaque black color with huge, fluffy, coffee-colored head, creamy-looking. Smell is lots of coffee, also chocolate, dark fruit, some booze if you get real close, raisins, plum, prunes. Taste is super bitter, with bitter chocolate (roasty!) and earthy hops. Smooth and light on the palate, with a quick dry finish. Bitter, but appetizing. Yum. Good with chocolate.

texashammer, Oct 11, 2005
Photo of frazbri
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout poured deep black with a mocha head. A little chocolate and fruit in the aroma, but a little skunk as well. Chocolate and black treacle flavors were present. Body was full, and carbonation modest.

This a fine stout. A rich and flavorful beer that isn't as brash as it's American counterparts, but doesn't lack complexity. As far as the aroma, I know I sense skunky esters in lower levels than most people do. It did affect my rating, but didn't detract from my enjoyment. (much) This is still a beer worth experiencing.

frazbri, Oct 11, 2005
Photo of fingolfin72
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color- espresso, with a light brown, small, lacy head.

Nose- Port, coffee, sugar, toasty caramel. Some alcohol.

Palate- Rich. Coffee, toffee, smoke, peat, oysters, brandy, caramel. Smooth and beautifully integrated.

Absolutely outstanding.

The finish is long and satisfying, and the unusual and seemingly disparate flavors combine into a lovely package.

fingolfin72, Oct 10, 2005
Photo of Gavage
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear black in color with a thick 2" tan head. Some thick lacing develops thorugh the drink. Nice combination of coffee, chocolate, caramel, and alcohol in the aroma. The flavor follows the nose, as chocolate, coffee, licorice, dark plums, and roasted malts are well balanced. Mild bitterness and light alcohol rounds it out.

Mouthfeel is crisp at the start, and mildly crisp at the finish. Finish is also rather short in the aftertaste, as the flavors disappear from the tongue quickly. Superb drinkability.

Gavage, Oct 09, 2005
Photo of Golden2wenty1
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single at Riley's here in Madison. Let's see how the Limeys can do with a Russian Impy.

Pours midnight black with a creamy caramel head. Nose is strong on the Juan Valdez up front with a backbone of porter grain and blackberry yogurt. Taste stays with the roasted coffee ground, bittersweet Hershey's and dark sour berries. Mouthfeel of carbonated crude oil, thick and syrupy. This is a meal of an RIS. The flavors don't always mesh - the sour fruit gets a little cloying at times - but overall a tasty stout. On the light side as far as abv for the style, but has plenty of flavor to compensate.

Golden2wenty1, Oct 07, 2005
Photo of Citadel82
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout is a brew that had always been the epitome of beers before the craft beer revolution took hold. Cervino's in Ridgewood NJ carried it and it was so pricey that I was at first reluctant to buy it. Today many craft brews are more expensive and some are tastier, but Sam's was always there. The beer is gorgeous midnite black, it is fruity, roasty and has a rich creamy head. Notes of cocoa and cider and coffee. A rich and tasty brew that is perfect to end the day on. Cheers.

Citadel82, Oct 06, 2005
Photo of wedge
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours pitch black with a small, lasting creamy tan head. Smells malty - sweetened roasty grains, with smooth fruits - banana nut bread - bittersweet chocolate, light coffee. Taste is excellent. Rich creamy malt sweetness, roasted coffee, chocolate, some dark fruits, and not a hint of alcohol. So velvety smooth, slick, and rich - perfect. Drinkable too at 7%.

A deep, dark, delicious stout. Damn thats a good beer.

wedge, Oct 03, 2005
Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have been waiting to try this beer for quite awhile and the day has finally arrived.
Served in a clear 550ml bottle. I have never been a fan of the clear bottle in some rare cases, the beer lasts and fights the light.
Poured an opaque black with a nice creamy head resembling chocolate milk. Great lacing as well.
The smell is fantastic. Raisins, mollases, figs and malt. Not an overwhelming hop presence but a great balancing effect.
I was a little dissapointed in the taste. A little too sweet I think for an imperial. Yes, very sweet. A nice hop bitterness is present and some chocolate and fruitiness such as prunes and mollassas are present as well. The sweetness is not to my liking.
Sticky mouthfeel with the bitterness lingering for a while. Not an overwhelming alcohol mouthfeel which is nice because I think more alcohol would make this a completely unbalanced beer.
A nice cool fall night beer.

Overall, I was dissapointed. I had high expectations, maybe too high. A very good beer though.

SaCkErZ9, Sep 30, 2005
Photo of ghostwalker
4.9/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pitch black pour into my Three Philosophers chalice. If there are any color highlights, I can't see them. 1/2" of dark tan/brown head. Absolutely beautiful. Head doesn't stick around long, too bad.

Nose is very malty, nutty and rich.

Extremely rich and flavorful. Dark roasted malt. Smoky, coffee/espresso , dark caramel and molasses, the flavors go on and on. I really could go for a cigar to enjoy with this one.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, but still smooth and tasty. Coats the inside of my mouth with goodness. Wow! It's the beer that eats like a meal.

Outstanding drinkability. The 7% ABV is not evident to me at all. I could have a very nice session with this stuff playing darts or pool in a smoky bar somewhere.

My first experience with this one, it's an instant classic. The only bad thing I can say about this beer is that it appears to be very difficult to find in the big bottles, as well as generally harder to find than the rest of Sam Smith's line. Never fear, I will make the necessary trip to the stores that I know carry it.

ghostwalker, Sep 30, 2005
Photo of sacfly
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark, opaque, black with red highlights. What little head there is, is a brown with very small bubbles. Very sweet, malty nose. Fruity… prunes.

First sip is like no other imperial stout I have had. Beef jerky comes first in my mind. Smoke. Roasted grain, malty sweetness is there, but takes a backseat. I can’t get over the beef jerky (in a good way). Now in place of beef jerky, I’m picking up a bacon flavor. Wow. I can drink bacon. Heavenly. Smooth, creamy mouth feel that is lacking in most imperial stouts. Slightly astringent aftertaste… Aftertaste is dryer than expected from the other characteristics, but welcome and not overbearing.

As a teacher, I would give this an A+.

sacfly, Sep 28, 2005
Photo of tastybeer
4.97/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Black with creamy tan head, not sticking but maybe because I'm drinking it too fast. Really good all around. Smells and tastes full of roasted maltS, coffee, deep dark fruit hops, Smoked fruit malt finish. Balanced perfectly in smell and taste. Velvety chewy full body that goes down extremely smooth.

Give me more.

tastybeer, Sep 27, 2005
Photo of EStreet20
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12- ounce glass bottle poured into a nonic pint glass.

A - Awesome looking opaque black with a nice large foam caramel colored head.

S - I'm smelling an extreme amount of chocolate/coffee with some caramel/molasses smell in there. I actually think it smells like one of those caramel frappucinos from Starbucks more than anything else. Amazing.

T - Wow, starts off with a nice roasted coffee taste but then surprisingly a bit of a citrus hint comes through from the slight hop punch. The flavors mix beautifully. Finish tastes smoky. Complex and delicious.

M - Nice and smooth. The smoky taste leaves you wanting a nother sip.

D - Goes down nice and easy. Definitely a sipper, but one I could enjoy a few of after a long day.

EStreet20, Sep 23, 2005
Photo of Roderick
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a very good beer!
The brew poured a dark almost black with a small tan head.
Smell is of caramel, chocolate & malt...YUM
The taste was great with the just mentioned chocolate caramel taste with fruit and cream (more flavors than I could absorb)
This was just a joy to drink & the Samuel Smith name is something I will be holding in high esteem.

$2.99 for a 550ml bottle

Roderick, Sep 22, 2005
Photo of RedHaze
3.33/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured an almost jet black, with a thick two finger head that slowly faded to a thin layer that lasted the whole time I sipped this beer. Had tons of lacing.

Smells were roasted malt, chocolate, a little coffee and nutty. But there's also a bit of a cardboard aroma going on as well.

Taste is malts at first, followed by chocolate and coffee, and finishes just a little bit bitter. Mouthfeel was kind of oily, which seemed to throw of the flavor some. Not sure if it was just this bottle, but it was still good enough that I'll give it another try sometime.

RedHaze, Sep 22, 2005
Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,104 ratings.