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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,151 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,151
Reviews: 1,652
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.51%
Wants: 147
Gots: 202 | 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: 3,151 | Reviews: 1,652 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of abcsofbeer
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the traditional clear bottle from SS. The color is a darkest brown with no transparency. The head is bubbly and light brown in color; about a 1/2 inch high. The head dissipates to a thin crown and leaves no lace.

The aroma is very special with this beer, and, it hits you as soon as you pop the top. The smell is medium to full bodied malt with sweet caramel aroma too. There are some strong hints of alcohol in the aroma too. The taste is full bodied burnt malts and bitter chocolate. At the top of the glass, the alcohol is strong. There are small hints of nuts and very slight hoppiness that brings the bitterness together.

The alcohol seems to die down a bit as the beer warms. Overall, this is a superior stout.

abcsofbeer, Dec 31, 2005
Photo of thetachibro
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured a dark black with some brown highlights and a 1in tan head that hangs around and leaves nice lacing all the way down the glass. Roasted malts in the nose with some mild chocolate. The taste is somewhat sweet..cofee...slight bitterness. A very nice full bodied mouthfeel. For a Imperial Stout this has a high drinkablility for me the alcohol isn't overpowering at all

thetachibro, Dec 30, 2005
Photo of tempest
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark ruby, but not quite opaque like a good impy. Nice looking tan head, unfortunately it disappears pretty fast. No lacing, not a bit.

Smells like dark, fruity alcohol and lacks any roasty notes. Tastes is smooth with dark ester qualities. No roasty or smokiness, fairly simple profile and subtle, but still good.

Easy drinking for an impy stout and feels nice. Its a good RIS, but I find this, like I've found some of the other Sam Smith beers, to be overrated. A good beer, but one of the last RIS's I'd choose if I had a good number of choices. There is better, bolder stuff to be found at America's own craft breweries.

tempest, Dec 29, 2005
Photo of joecast
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours with a huge brown foamy head. letting it sit to warm and settle was the only option. a shade or two darker than the oatmeal.

marvelous aroma. full of honey, figs, and a touch of alcohol. plent more over-ripe stewed dark fruits. juicy.

more dark fruits in the taste. charred malts. now i've never done it, but this is what i imagine an ash tray would taste like. not in a bad way either. and i dont smoke.
this really smooths out as it warms. not a lot of bitterness, but the alcohol keeps the sweetness in check.

my only gripe is the mouthfeel is a bit light. well, quite a bit light, like bordering on watery. otherwise, very happy with it.

joecast, Dec 29, 2005
Photo of doppelmeup
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! What a beer!

Poured a deep black with some garnet hints into a pint glass.

Not a strong aroma, a bit sweet, a bit molassesy (is that a word?)

Tasted some chocolate, some molasses, and some butterscotch? Sweet without being overpowering.

After the great flavor, the there was enough hoppiness to cleanse the palate and leave you wanting more.

An excellent beer. Sweeter than Old Rasputin with a nice, clean finish. A nice balance of hops and malts.

doppelmeup, Dec 29, 2005
Photo of daliandragon
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a classic looking stout with a color as dark as night and a thin cap of creamy tan head. The nose is laced with coffee and toasted malt and has a sweet tone as well. I chose this as the final of my Christmas beers and I'm pretty excited about it.
This beer is heavy and thick to the taste with coffee and roasted nut flavors and a smooth, full finish. This is almost as much a meal as a beer, and crazy filling. I can't get over the creamy, silky texture and finish. For a stout,this is extremely quaffable stuff, I find myself craving more already.
Wow, I can see why this beer is so highly rated:complex, delicious, and easy drinking.

daliandragon, Dec 27, 2005
Photo of riversider76
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black with a tan head,that did not disappear. Smell is of roasted malt with a hint of coffee and chocolate. Mouthfeel is fairly thick. Taste is malt and chocolate.Very smooth. Finish is rich with flavor,with just a hint of the alchol. This is a well balanced beer! Excellent!

riversider76, Dec 27, 2005
Photo of indy169
3.48/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A nice looking heady black beer. The smell is rich and heavy as to be expected.
Mouthfeel is a little squirrely for my tastes but in line with other imperial stouts I've tried. Not my favorite variety. I find it strong, thick and unrefined. Flavors of dark chocolate, nutmeg, and coffee dominate.
Don't get me wrong, I love strong beer however this one does not entice me.
One is plenty for a sitting.

indy169, Dec 26, 2005
Photo of SteveO1231
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aw man This is an awesome beer!

Pours a jet black with an awesome thick foam of tan head on top. Low carbonation.

Huge roasted malt aroma with some delicious smells of dark chocolate, butterscotch, and caramel. Makes my mouth water.

Rich creamy texture, delicious roasted chocolate taste, so damn good! Followed my a dry bitterness of black coffee, burnt caramel/toffee. Nice little kick of alcohol esters in the finish, not too much, but just right.

Most perfect Imperial stout I have ever tasted, so balanced and drinkable. Why did I wait so long to drink you? I enjoyed this beer with some X-mas chocolates, Awesome!


SteveO1231, Dec 26, 2005
Photo of bennetj17
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a very thick pouring stout, very black, with not much head that dissipates into a caramel colored ring around the glass. The smell is rich and malty, though not overpowering. It starts out with a divine sweetness yielding to a nice bitter finish. It feels very thick but has a rich smoothness and just the right amount of carbonation for a stout. Overall a good balance here. This one is a slow drinker though, very filling. Probably best with dessert.

bennetj17, Dec 21, 2005
Photo of ypsifly
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear, undated 550ml poured into an imperial pint glass.

None more black with a thick tan head that bubbles up and holds its ground. Thick webbed lace effect.

The nose is roasty with dark chocolate, slight metal, and bitter hops.

The taste delivers all that the nose promises with some vinous flavors, dark ripe fruits, and a slight citric tang. The finish carries a lot of the choco/roasted malt flavors.

Full creamy mouth that retains a little oil and is very pleasant. One of the most drinkable impy stouts available in these parts. I highly recommend this one.

ypsifly, Dec 20, 2005
Photo of Backer2004
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great for a beer, good for the style. I picked this one up at a nice local beer pub in Belmont, NC post-Pop the Cap. The alcohol was not noticeable and the appearnce was very typical -- very dark, creamy with no head or carbonation. The Stone one I had of this style just seemed to be a above and beyond this one. Not overpowering and a nice one for those new to the style. A biton the pricey side ($5.25 a bottle).

Backer2004, Dec 19, 2005
Photo of funkengruven
4.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite a nice stout. Pours to a deep black with a tan puffy head. Smell has hints of essence of wine, fading to hints of caramel and smoke. Taste is excellent, the roasted malts make their presence known in this fine creation with strong caramel presence. This is slightly bitter, but not so bitter that it makes it difficult to drink, in fact it's quite smooth. Very drinkable. I hope there are more of these at the local liquor store next time I visit.

funkengruven, Dec 18, 2005
Photo of troutmask96
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow - what a great Imperial Stout this is. Pours a black-as-night body with a tan, foamy head that's as thick as shaving cream. Smell is of raisins, currants, and a slight note of alcohol, which is actually well-hidden. Taste is deep and sweet but not overpoweringly so. Finishes sourly, which is standard with Imperial Stouts. With a low ABV of 7.0 and the fantastic smoothness, this is more than your typical "one-and-done" Imperial Stouts...

troutmask96, Dec 18, 2005
Photo of falloutsnow
3.6/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

2012-04-15 Review

Bottle from Whole Foods
No bottled on date
Poured into a tulip glass

I was more impressed with Samuel Smith several years ago, when I first started drinking beer. Sampling a bottle of their imperial stout for the first time in a few years makes me think of three possibilities: my palate cannot detect the goodness that I once thought was evident in this beer after comparing it to fresher domestic varieties, that my inexperienced palate was finding flavors and aromas that didn't exist, or that I've just purchased an old bottle. Since I have no way of knowing about the last item, I have to rely on my senses and claim that I no longer find this beer as enjoyable due to palate development and comparison. While S. Smith's Imperial Stout is still a decent version, in this case I have to say that I enjoy the United States' assertive varieties more.

Pours a 2cm head of dark tan to light brown bubbles, small in size, forming a smooth and cloud-like appearance. Head descends somewhat quickly to a nice-looking cap atop the beer, leaving small spots of lacing in its wake. Body is dark brown to black in color with dark amber brown highlights. Carbonation is barely visible along sides of glass.

Aroma is a bit light, and I have to do some heavy digging to get anything distinct, but mostly of roasted malt, molasses, dried plums, and a bit of chocolate.

Taste opens with some roasted malt sweetness and mild bitterness. The sweetness could be described a bit as dried plums or currants, but I find it has more in common with roastd malt. Mild black licorice and molasses flavors emerge a bit further back, giving way to a bit more roasted malt sweetness, bitterness, and very faint coffee around mid-palate. Fades out with a rush of sweetness, licorice, and slight chocolate. Pleasant aftertaste of roasted malt and a bit of dark chocolate. In general, good tasting, but a bit one-dimensional with heavy emphasis on roasted malt and sweetness, and not particularly "strong" tasting, either.

Mouthfeel is essentially perfect for the style: gently carbonated, creating a smooth foam on the palate that moves across easily and is highly enjoyable. Finish is dry

2005-12-18 Review

A: Thick, dense, two-finger head that is light brown in color. The beer is completely black and impenetrable to light; one knows nothing of what is transpiring within the liquid as all carbonation and sediment would be completely enveloped by this darkness. Spotty streaks of lacing are left on the sides of the glass as the head deflates.

S: Traces of chocolate, prunes, molasses and roasted cereals.

T: Slightly burnt, but dense malt sweetness with hints of raisins and plums. Transitions to the deep flavor found in dark dessert wines and port. Some smokiness and sweetness in the aftertaste, but no noticeable hop presence. Alcohol taste becomes more present as the beer warms.

M: Medium-heavy body, very light carbonation, evincing a rich and smooth beer with a dry finish.

D: Highly flavorful and complex with deep, dark secrets. A beer that I'd only venture once a night, but that is worthy of drinking during many winter nights.

falloutsnow, Dec 18, 2005
Photo of MurphyMacManus
4.53/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. clear bottle into snifter.

Appearance: Opaque black with coffee-colored head that seems to be physically attracted to the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Dark chocolate, raisins, faint alcohol, and maybe coffee and more dark fruit.

Taste: Dark chocolate, raisins, coffee, mild alcohol. Very complex and sweet without being cloying, like a fine port.

Mouthfeel: Beer shake; deliciously thick and creamy.

Drinkability: After one of these I'm done for the night--too full for more.

MurphyMacManus, Dec 14, 2005
Photo of Gagnonsux
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance of this imperial stout is one of the best I've seen. The color is pitch black. Head is large, creamy, and dark tan. Retention is great. The aroma has an inviting mixture of toffee, chocolate, and dark fruit smells. I just wish the aroma was a bit stronger. The taste starts with a strong chocolate flavor with edges of toffee. Dark fruit flavors mix in nicely along with a bit of alcohol flavor. A slight butteriness is noted, especially near the finish. The sweet finish is especially long-lasting. Without a doubt this beer has a excellent mix of flavors that are layered nicely, but when compared to the bigger American imperial stouts, this falls a little short of exceptional. Still, this is highly recommended.

Gagnonsux, Dec 10, 2005
Photo of sinistrsam
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured very dark, almost black and somewhat watery. It had a very small head which went away almost immediately. The aroma was unmistakably stout-sih; very roasted hints of malt and coffee, possibly chocolate, dark fruits. It immediately hit me with bitterness in the taste, with plenty of maltiness and caramel flavor. It had a lasting chocolate/coffee bean aftertaste which was pleasant, but left something ot be desired. It had a bitter and watery mouthfeel. I'm going to go against the grain on this one and disagree with the monumental praise this had gotten. A good beer, but not outstanding.

sinistrsam, Dec 10, 2005
Photo of Phatz
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer pours black with dark ruby highlights. It has a nice brown head that is thick and foamy. Substantial lacing.

Smell: It is definitely a black licorice aroma. That is what hit me right up front; then there were hints if red, like cherry or birch. Very enticing!

Taste: Chocolaty; with a hint of this mixture: Birch-beer and Cherry-cola mixed with dark cola (Coke), in other words it is a thin syrupy characteristic in the taste, with those flavors. I got a slight bit of dark tobacco and vanilla in the aftertaste. I tried some dark chocolate next to this beer and it was a beautiful match.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel was surprisingly thinner than I expected from a Russian Imperial Stout. Still it was pleasant and very creamy.

Drinkability: The drinkability of this beer was actually, surprisingly, exceptional. This is a R I S with a relatively low ABV and it does not sit heavy in your stomach. As a huge fan of Imperial Stouts, I must say that their one drawback is that they were you out quickly. This beer is an exception. It has most all the positive attributes of RIS and avoids the one drawback. That sounds like a darn fine beer to me. I highly recommend.

Hope this is helpful.

Phatz, Dec 10, 2005
Photo of allergictomacros
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

550ml clear bottle

Dark. Real dark. So dark I didn't realize it was a clear bottle until I started pouring it. Big, thick, spongy head looks very substantial.

Strong smell of caramel. Rich, roasty aromas.

Lots of roasted flavours. Coffee, molasses. Noticeable bitterness, especially in the aftertaste. A little peppery.

A bit of punchy carbonation. Not as creamy as I expected, but still a fullish feeling.

Well... the bottle didn't last me very long. Goes down a little too easy maybe... :P

allergictomacros, Dec 10, 2005
Photo of orfeu
4.78/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

550 mL clear bottle. Black with faint chocolate highlights. Creamy, finely attenuated tan head that soon becomes a mere cap. Aromas of chocolate, fruity cough syrup, smoky raisins and toffee. Taste is of hops, at first, then smooth chocolate and coffee bliss. Surprising bit of boozines for only 7%. Cherry cordials. Slightly buttery but mostly spicy bitter finish. Mineral aftertaste. Not bad at all. As it warms, the flavors balance out more. Definitely a standard-bearer of taste, but not quite the heaven in a bottle I was expecting. Incredible mouthfeel, however: tingly, slick and oily and an eminently downable medium-to-thin body. Low ABV (for the style) + totally mesmerizing sipping = super high drinkability. Absolute pioneer for the style and deserves much credit for that alone.

orfeu, Dec 09, 2005
Photo of Dicahomebrewing
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured very black. Leaving a small head, with bubbles still coming up for air.

A very roasted taste, with chocolate, with a tiggle in the back of the tongue.

Low alc. percentage for a RIS, but well done.

There is somthing that I smell but i can't explane it.

Overall its a good brew, not great for a RIS, but very drinkable.

Dicahomebrewing, Dec 08, 2005
Photo of Bitterbill
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle(room temp) a beautiful pitch black with a huge brown head.

The smell is of sweet malt and chocolate and is very nice albeit fairly faint.

The taste is a wonderful blend of sweet roasted malt and chocolate with a nice bite from the hops and just a touch of the licorice note that is found in most of the Samuel Smith products I've tried.
This is a superb Imperial Stout and at just 7% abv, you can actually kick back more than one and not have your butt kicked. ;^)

I thoroughly recommend this beer!

Bitterbill, Dec 08, 2005
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(Served in an imperial pint glass)

A-This beer has a nice deep dark midnight brown body with no visible sings of carbonation it is so opaque. The head is a boiling mat of light brown that settles to a nice even layer.

S- The deep dark aroma has notes of graham cracker and nuts with some caramel notes and a dark roasted malt and barley with some faint slightly bittersweet chocolate in the finish. As it warms I start to get a hint of banana milkshake in the finish.

T- The taste of dark malt has a slightly sour earthy quality. The finish is dry with some slight hints of honey oddly enough. The taste of bittersweet chocolate comes through with more fruity flavors of raisins as it warms. The notes of fresh bread and alcohol hints come through in the finish also.

M- This beer has a full body with some velvety texture to it. The alcohol warmth is very soft and helps finish the taste of the beer.

D- This beer has nice big dark flavors but the secondary flavors were a bit strange with banana and bread seemed to take over. I would have liked some more malt complexity and maybe a bit more alcohol or hops to balance out this big beer.

rhoadsrage, Dec 07, 2005
Photo of Derek
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A: Ruby-black, lots of tan head, only a little retention, but plenty of lace. The perfect stout would have better head retention.

S: Slightly fruity profile from the British yeast, pleasant sweet roastyness.

T: Bittersweet; very well balanced. Dark caramel malt, mocha, raisins, smooth hop/roasted malt bitterness. Slight fruity tang in the aftertaste. Not much alcohol taste, but it does become more warming as it warms up. Very nice flavour, but lacking the depth of some.

M: Moderate to full body, a little chalky. Moderate carbonation.

D: In terms of a Russian Imperial Stout, this is where it's at.

Derek, Dec 06, 2005
Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,151 ratings.