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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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3,298 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,298
Reviews: 1,676
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 168
Gots: 263 | 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: 3,298 | Reviews: 1,676 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ellisdee97
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Motor oil black with a dark coffee colored one finger thick head which quickly dissipates leaving a nice ring and some decent lacing.

S: Dark chocolate and nice deep alcohol with a sharp hop note. Toffee and caramel, with toasted malt and vanilla. Hidden within is a nice nutty hint.

T: Warming alcohol up front with some chocolate. Again toffee and nice deep coffee then bitter hops. Some toasted and slightly smokey flavors in the malt.

M: Nice carbonation. Smooth with a dry, smokey finish.

D: Excellent drinking stout, the alcohol is covered nicely. Wonderful combonation of sweet, smokey and bitter.

Photo of EPseja
2.71/5  rDev -35%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served from a 12oz (clear!) bottle in a Samuel Smith imperial pint glass at just below cellar temperature.

A - Pours a medium chestnut brown color with raspberry highlights that disappear once the brew hits the glass. The head is creamy and big, with a medium bodied cocoa color and excellent staying power. Lacing is decent, with spotty hanging crags, but doesn't hang around long.

S - Dry chocolatey winelike notes. Tasted vanilla. Unscented candle wax. Light molasses and soy sauce.

T - Almost burnt maltiness and a sweet molasses and coffee start. The middle brings about a touch of fragrant hoppiness and a nasty flick of shopping bag plastic. The end is drying and nicely bittered, but the plastic notes really disappoint.

M - A bit watery and bright for the style, although it does round out after some frothing in the mouth. Swallow is average.

D - As I near the 1/3 point of this beer, I can't seem to get away from the plastic and soy qualities. It's not that they're monstrous, it's just that they distract from all the good points about the beer. If not for this point, the drinkability would be much greater, especially in light of the easy-to-handle 7% ABV. I've had many simply amazing Russian Imperial Stouts, and this isn't one of them.

Photo of veech
3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was an enjoyable imperial stout that was strong enough without being overpowering as I find some IS's to be. The appearance was a nice viscous dark ebony with a frothy brown head. A strong earthy herbal quality to nose complimented the carbonation levels. The taste contained aspects of herbal cough drop flavors, mildly sweet with malts and licorice dominating the coffee undertones. A distinct alcohol kick at the end rounded out the flavors rather than trumping them. An enjoyable IS for sure, as I continue to introduce my palate to the style.

Photo of ewurm
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

As I poured this stout, I noticed the uniform color with a quality head. I enjoyed the robust flavor. I tasted coffee, licorice, ginger, and a hint of chocolate. I tried this on the recommendation of a friend and was not disappointed. The finish was fairly clean. I would not recommend more than one at a sitting, as I found it filling. A quality brew from a quality brewery.

Photo of tcfishler
3.41/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Darkest mahogany, almost black, with a thick light tan head.

Aromatic nose of quite sweet and just slightly roasted malt with a noticeable licorice character also.

Rich on the palate, with chocolatey-sweet flavors, with a pruny sort of fruitiness. Tiny amounts of astringency and bitterness keep it from being sickly sweet. Alcohol barely registers. Slightly sticky on the finish, which lingers and surprises with its intensity after such a smooth mouthful.

A sweet, rich, meal-in-itself (or more appropriately, dessert-in-itself) stout. Not as roasted and coffee-dominated as some others. Definitely a once-in-a-while, after-dinner sort of thing for me. Utlimately just a little cloying for my tastes.

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

Poured beer out of bottle into a pint glass, beer is very dark with a faint ruby tint, an excellent three finger head and good lacing. The smell is complex; of chocolate, rasins, and only very slightly of alcohol. The taste is equally complex, starting with a malty chocolate start that finishes hoppy and leaves a slight taste of alcohol on the palate. The mouthfeel is exceptional, a full bodied beer that is creamy with carbonation. Overall, I would have to say despite the somewhat high alcohol content this is a very drinkable beer. A must try!

Photo of jdoolin
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: An awesome looking 335mL bottle, poured into an imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Dead black with a thick, frothy, cappucino like head that never gave hints of disippating.

Aroma: coffee, chocolate and roasted malt, with a subtle ale fruitiness.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Very smooth and creamy mouthfeel. The roastiness and chocolate/coffee come through first and never really go away. The ale dark fruitiness comes in along with a very subdued hop presence. Just enough to make things interesting. Nice sweetness, as the roasted flavors carry on through the delicious finish.

Notes: This is a fine imperial stout, definitely one of the best. I could drink this just about every day, I think. Top notch.

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

Dark, dark, opaque black-brown. Very full-bodied feel and taste. Very nice sweet roasted flavors, and very slightly sweet/tart aftertaste. I'm loving this. Expensive, but I'll probably buy it again. I really wish I had another to follow this one with.

Photo of dblinkhorn
3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 550ml bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - Pours with a two-finger dark tan head that is creamy and has decent retention. It eventually evaporates to a thin film of patchy head with a ring of thin head around the glass edge. Good lacing is left as you drink. It is opaque black in color.

Smell - Caramel, coffee, milk chocolate, burnt sugars and molasses up front. Some slightly bitter hops behind this with a very, very rich roasted malt aroma. Some mild earthiness way in the back with slight grain and/or oat smells as well. Very little alcohol is detectable on the nose.

Taste - Coffee and chocolate up front. Some burnt sugar, molasses, and caramel take a further seat back than in the aroma. Oily and rich hops with slight bitterness just behind these flavors. Rich bready and roasted malts and grain form the foundation of the flavors, with a warming alcohol throughout. You can detect the alcohol much more in the taste than in the smell. The aftertaste has a lot of earthy notes and some slightly sour hop notes.

Mouthfeel - A bit too lively carbonation for the style, in my opinion. I prefer my stouts (or any full-bodied beers) to be minimally carbonated. However it has a very smooth mouthfeel overall.

Drinkabilty - Pretty strong flavors, although a bit less than most of the Russian Imperial stouts I've had lately. A few pints of this stuff would be no problem, and it would actually make a decent sessioning stout.

A good stout. I think it lacked some richness of flavor in the middle or the taste, but it is still quite good. It has a pleasant warming alcohol character that is perfect on those chilly evenings. Recommended.

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

I tried this a year ago while on vacation in Seaside, Oregon; curled up next to the fire with my Edgar Allen Poe and my Sam Smith's Imperial Stout. It lived up to it's billing and I made me myself a mental note to review it. Well, here I am now, reviewing this beer. Yep, here I am...one year later...in anticipation...on to the review!

Pours black ebony, two fingers of viscous espresso head that holds up well producing clinging lacing of substantial millage (Lastings Milledge?).

Smells like roasted grains, apples, brown sugar, chocolate, prunes and black tar, dried fruit.

Tastes of apples, chocolate, prunes and black tar; molasses, sugar, alcohol, dried fruit - dates; fruitcake. The apple lingers with some pleasant bitterness.

Slick mouthfeel with smooth tingling of carbonation. Clingy and chewy.

Drinkability? I don't know...yes???

I'm no expert, but I love this beer. It's like a national treasure that you know will always be there - like the tomb of Lord Nelson (he is buried in a tomb, isn't he?). I think anyone who loves a good stout or IPA can be considered a true beer lover, even if they can't articulate why in a precise or artistic fashion. Does one have to be an art major to appreciate great scuplture or brushstrokes? Trust your senses. Sorry, this is not an ad for BA...

Photo of mnesporov
4.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 12oz clear bottle. Who would have known this was a clear bottle. No freshness date to be found.

Appearance: A deep amber brown/black with hints of chocolate hues. It allows minimal light to penetrate its body. The head was a thick mocha brown with incredible retention and the Lacing lasted throughout.

Smell: A very roasted dark smell to it. I hinted bits of chocolate, roasted hazel, deep flavorful prunes and even hints of malaises and milk.

Taste: Where to begin there is a whole lot going on here. A very roasted taste with a combination of lemony and hop like flavor begin on the palate. With soundly tastes like prunes, dark chocolates, coffee, raisins, and even a hint of sweetness.

Mouth-Feel: A very rich, bodied brew with a smooth to creamy mouth-feel

Drink-Ability: This is by far a Beer God of stouts. It is well worth the money for this amazing beer. If you haven’t had one yet stop what you are doing right now and go bye this beer.

Notes: What the hell are you still doing reading this go bye the damn beer!!!

Photo of vhiggins
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

550ml bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Deep dark brown 100% opaque from top to bottom. Head is a dark beige with a slight red hue here and there. Poured a very nice head that webbed down the side for the entire pint.

S: Smell is very sweet. Reminds me of dried cherries or cranberries with a hint of maple syrup

T: an excellent tasting beer. Creamy and Full flavored. At first u taste some alcohol then a little spice as it balances out to finish as subtle tasting beer.
You can taste a few things. chocolate, caramel but mostly the fruits

M: Creamy and rich!

D: I could probably drink this morning, noon and night but I am afraid that it would loose it's luster if I had more than 2 in a row. It might be to sweet and rich for me to drink..and drink..and drink...and drink..repeat.

Photo of fank2788
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a clear 355ml bottle, served warm
A - Opaque black with a thick dark khaki head that will last

S - chocolate, sweet almost fruity, caramel, coffee this has it all

T - much like the smell perfectly blended flavors with no unwanted aftertaste. The alcohol is almost impossible to notice and the slightly sweet taste really balances this beer.

M - perfect, great level of carbonation, this beer is really warm, smooth and full tasting in the mouth

D - what can I say when every sip makes you want to take another it makes it hard drink only one. This is a real treat.

Photo of JoeyHotrod
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Excellent Stout from one of my favorite breweries.

This isn't as intense and in your face as The American Imperial Stouts tend to be, but that's not always a bad thing.

The color is black as night and the head is full and fluffy. Lace sticks throughout the entire glass.

The aroma is all over the place. Chocolate, dark fruits, roasted coffee and malty and that's only the start. Very enticing indeed.

The taste is wonderful! Creamy and malty, with a nice spicy hoppiness to help balance things out just enough. Nice warming alcohol to it as well.

This is classic and a true legend among beers. I would suggest this to anyone. Great stuff!

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

Poured a pitch black, motor oil, with a beautiful frothy, caramel colored head that retained magnificently and left great lacing. Bee-yoo-tiful!

Smells of sweet dark malts, milk chocolate, anisette, coffee and cream, black cherries...smells delicious!

Notes of anisette, bittersweet chocolate malts, espresso, and caramel hit you right off the bat, turning into a robust roastiness and mild hop bitter finish. Toffee notes, cherries, molasses, chocolate pudding, salt water taffy, etc in the taste. Very complex and so damn tasty.

Mouthfeel is a tad thin but with the perfect amount of carbonation.

This imperial stout doesn't rock the abv scales at a mere 7.0% which means more sessionable for me. This is one of the most drinkable Impy Stouts I have ever had the pleasure of savoring.

Photo of mjc410
4.46/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The pour into my snifter raises a half-finger head (spread over a very wide surface, mind you) that quickly dissipates to a lot of light tan surface bubbles and a thin glass ring. The lacing manages to be pretty thick and entrenched. The body is truly opaque. I'd allow less head retention, if the ABV were comparable to most impys. The aroma is filled with an intense burnt caramel and molasses scent, accompanied by a blast of sweetness. The fruity vinousness is reminiscent slightly of shiraz, but also of the flavors found in chocolate over 70 percent. The taste, which I didn't get to until the glass spent some time warming, is vinous, molasses-filled, very roasted, and excellent. Sweet in the start, but leaves a coffee aftertaste, very dry. The mouth is quite thick, and the carbonation is low, but still noticeable. An easy drinking and rich impy.

Photo of kirok1999
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not quite opaque black, astounding dark head and persistent lacing.
Smells of bitter dark chocolate, dried dark fruits, and slight citrus hops.
Tastes smooth and bitter/sour chocolate. Quite different from the American micro stouts. Not as sweet and creamy, more bitter and carbonated. Mouthfeel isn't quite as thick either.
Very drinkable but not my favorite taste. I prefer the sweeter Americans. Very well done and quite complex.

Photo of weeare138
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a deep, rich black with caramelized, dark brown edges when held to the light. A fluffy, 2 finger, creamy tan head slowly fades out in a minutes time. Scattered spots of lacing are left all around the glass.
Smell is of plums, raisins, molasses, roasty malts, cream, baker's chocolate, English toffee, slight butterscotch, anise, and mild coffee with dusty notes of wood.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas highlighted by a fruity, prune and raisin flavor that mixes creamed coffee and roasted oats with a touch of caramelized sugar that borderlines the path of cloying but remains along the spectrum of balance.
Mouthfeel is rich, medium-full bodied, slight thinness like the OG started off very high but was watered down to make the volume greater. The brew starts off sweet at first with roasted malt sticking in the middle of the tongue.before fading to a gently hopped, semi-dry roastiness.
All in all, this is a British classic that shouldn't be missed. There are other styles emulated by the Americans that I feel have gone a step above this pioneer of Imperial Stouts but consider this the "Old Guard" of the style that should be revisited every now and again out of respect, if not for the delicious aromas and flavors.

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

Poured into a stein it's easily as black as Victory's Storm King. Even held to the light it's impenetrable, like bottled tar. The nose is somewhat deceptive, as it's just fairly mild roasted malt. The palate, however, is much bolder than the nose. It's not a complex beer, with predominantly heavily roasted malt and a touch of bitter coffee shining through. The very definition of an Imperial Stout. The mouthfeel is suitably thick to match it's opaque appearance. No beer this black could be as thin as a lager. Thankfully, all the best parts of the flavor stick around as a result. It's quite an exceptional stout. Flavorful, yet no one aspect overpowers the brew. If only it weren't so filling, it would easily be a session beer based on the merits of it's flavor. Highly recommended.

Photo of joe1510
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

550ml. Bottle

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout poured black. If you look really hard when held to the light you can see some very dark mahogany highlights around the sides. 1+ finger brown creamy head that sticks around.

Smells of roasted and burnt malts. A slight sourness in there as well along with a bittersweet chocolate to finish. As this beer warms it seems like I can almost pick up green apple. Smells better the warmer it gets.

I pick up a lot of flavors and none of them are subtle. They all stand out. There's coffee, burnt malts, roasted malts and a dry slightly bitter finish. As it warms there's a slight alcohol warming in my nose and throat.

Mouthfeel is more on the heavy side. Somewhat coarse going down. Heavily coats my mouth when I drink. Feels pretty dense.

Drinkability takes a hit because of the big heavy flavores. I could only see myself drinking one of these over a long period of time.

Sam Smith's Imperial Stout is a very good beer. Well made and enjoyable. What I think of when I think of a stout.


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

A: Just about as black as you could hope for a stout to be. Poured with a light tan head that was surprisingly resilient.

S: The strongest scents coming out were coffee, chocolate and molasses. Sweet malt smell, and just the slightest hints of alcohol.

T: The taste is as consistent as could be with the nose. Coffee, chocolate and slight alcohol flavors. Sweet malts at the tip and a bitter finish.

M: Thick and creamy, this beer sticks around on the tounge for a while. Even so, goes down smoothly.

D: Great for the style. Tasty and filling, just like a good stout should be.

Photo of gonzo138
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a deep, black, with a rich brown head that reduces fairly quickly, but laces very well

S-a deep rich malted sweet aroma, very chocolatey smell, with a little bit of coffee aroma too it as well

T- complements smell, incredibly sweet and rich, chocolate/coffee taste still present, as well as a hint of raisin flavor in the finish

M- very thick, coats mouth so flavor lingers in mouth for a while, a little more carbonated than other RIS's i've tried, which I find very nice

D- something to savor and enjoy, very rich, excellent beer

Photo of veggiemafia
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle into a snifter.

Wow. This pours really pretty. Black with a nice head that fades fairly to lace and islands.

Smell is great, big on the chocolate, raisins and dark fruits, alcohol back in there and a slight alcoholic bite.

Taste is more of the same, not much of a hop thing to speak of, but good roasted malt, baker's chocolate, dark candied fruits, and some alcohol that's actually appreciated here, balances things out nice.

Mouthfeel is pretty creamy and smooth and nice.

Very drinkable, although the alcohol gets to be a little much or something. All around great beer, will buy this again throughout the winter.

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

This beer pours a nice dark color with a creamy head.
The smell is a nice roasted coffee like aroma that I could not get enough of.
Smooth and well balanced drink with a coffee and burnt hops flavor.
The mouthful is also thick and creamy.
Overall, a very good beer. If you are a stout fan then this is one of the best.

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

Poured from a 550ml bottle into an imperial pint glass, which it neatly fills.

A very dark, but still slightly translucent brew, with an interesting and barely perceptible deep mahogany tinge, topped by a half-finger of tan head, which lingers for a short while.

The nose is all coffee up front, with some sweet malts.

The taste is excellent: coffee, roasted malts, some chocolate. An excellent stout flavor which is not dominated by any one characteristic, but rather balances them all well.

The mouthfeel is a very creamy, not too heavy, but full. This is, so far as strong imperial stouts go, a very drinkable beer.

Another excellent showing from Samuel Smiths -- I think this is even better than their oatmeal stout.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,298 ratings.