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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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3,041 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,041
Reviews: 1,639
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 135
Gots: 169 | 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: 3,041 | Reviews: 1,639 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BDTyre

British Columbia (Canada)

4.4/5  rDev +5.3%

Imperial stouts/baltic porters are probably one of my favourite styles, but they are very hard for me to get.

Pitch black appearance, thin deep khaki head with that typical winey-malt smell. Not as sour in the nose as Sinebrychoff or North Coast Brewing.

Taste is a deep malt flavour with that hint of wine that I've come to expect from Imperial stouts. Again, not quite as sour as some of the others I've had, but this in no way detracts from it. A bit weaker in flavour than some others, but very very tasty and rich. Easily a dessert in itself.

Quite drinkable, despite the 7% abv. I could have two or three of these as a dessert if I could get them easily.

03-24-2005 06:24:58 | More by BDTyre
Photo of droomyster


4.4/5  rDev +5.3%

**Updating my review from almost 4 years ago**

Pours a clear brown that is so dark that is nearly black, with mahogany tinges at its edges. Two finger tall brown head that smells of pure milk chocolate, some black licorice. Sharp taste is more of bitter dark chocolate, roasted nuts and dark fruits. Full bodied, finishes dry, with lingering flavor of bitter roasted coffee and alcohol. Light carbonation lends a certain smoothness and elegance its heavy weight. A nearly perfect classic that I hope they never alter.

03-22-2005 06:16:12 | More by droomyster
Photo of HogHill


3.83/5  rDev -8.4%

I poured this single into a Stone Imperial Stout snifter. The dark dark brown mass of liquid supported a one inch tan colored head. It smelled sweet and dark malts, dark chocolate and a bit of ground coffee, but overall the aroma wasn't on par with some of the other double/imperial stouts I've tried. Tasted malty, again on the sweet side. Chocolate and coffee flavors are present backed by some hop bitterness, and it all concludes with a warm finish (the 7% right there). It is medium bodied and on the lower than average on the carbonation scale. Overall a very nice beer that stout lovers will go back to time and time again.

03-20-2005 22:59:01 | More by HogHill
Photo of jkoogler


4.85/5  rDev +16%

Deep dark brown almost black appearance with a nice foaming tan head that dissipated to a thin layer of foam with decent lace. I'm not seeing any light penetrate this brew. Aroma is sweet consisting of roasted malt, molasses, chocolate, wine and some floral-like flavors from the hops. Taste is all about the malts and is smooth and creamy with molasses notes up front followed by earthy hop flavors.

What a nice beer.

03-15-2005 05:20:09 | More by jkoogler
Photo of karst


4.65/5  rDev +11.2%

The first of a 5 beer tasting (its rum-like 7% abv, strong coffee, and roasted malt were sure to walk on the next few samples)
pours black as deep space topped with nearly eternal and heavenly head of brown. Alcoholic aroma of rum rules over lesser aromas of prunes, malts, molasses, brownies and coffee. Similar tastes are smooth, creamy and provide a full mouthfeel. Finishes with bitter chocolate and smoke.

The complexity and fun of drinking this pulled my mind from taking notes. I must revisit this Imperial greatness.

03-12-2005 23:39:56 | More by karst
Photo of santoslhalper


3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Appearence: Pours a thick black with a thin, even collar of a head.

Smell: The smell is incredibly strong. The roasted and chocolate notes are *almost* overbearing, but still well balanced.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The taste is an incredibly slick chocolate taste, with GIANT roasted nut and coffee notes peeking through everywhere. The balance achieved is pretty impressive indeed. The mouthfeel is incredibly oily and slick.

Drinkability and Overall: While this is a wonderful tasting beer, 1 or 2 and you're done. The flavor is too strong and too potent to make it a very drinkable beer. This is a solid, fun to drink stout, but I'd recommend Bell's Expidition Stout over this one.

03-07-2005 18:26:50 | More by santoslhalper
Photo of Vancer


4.4/5  rDev +5.3%

550ml bottle – just the right amount for a light evening. Very impressive, indeed. From the initial dark brown / black pour with a foamy brown head, to the last drop. Nice lacing all the way down the pint glass. Aroma and tastes of chocolate malt, little bit of coffee. Smooth thin to medium mouthfeel, tangy throughout. Odd finish was heavy on black licorice!!

Tried it again, and yeah, now I understand the Impys. Great brew that would go well on a cool evening, while watching football.

03-04-2005 14:49:20 | More by Vancer
Photo of ski271


4.65/5  rDev +11.2%

Appearance: Black with a light brown, small, creamy, slowly dissipating head. Not that much lacing.

Smell: Sweet, espresso-like, and lightly fruity, like bananas and plums. Roasted malts are pungent and wonderful.

Taste: Roasted malts and coffee, touch of bittersweet chocolate, and hints of toffee, raison and smoke. The finish is long and Alcohol is present but not too strong, just to A marvelously complex beer!

Mouthfeel: Medium to thick body, creamy texture and almost syrupy with it how it clings to your mouth leaves a sweetness of the lips, but still light enough that it’s not a chore to polish off.

Drinkability: No, I wouldn’t want to drink a bunch of these. But that’s the style for you. I love sitting back and taking my sweet old time milking sipping down a bottle or two of this stuff.

Excellent imperial stout, one of the best I’ve ever had.

02-28-2005 13:02:24 | More by ski271
Photo of goodbyeohio


1.5/5  rDev -64.1%

wow, this beer looks friggin great. dark as night, huge tan head. looks like a two-layer cake. head is going nowhere, had a bit of the guinness waterfall effect upon pour.

aroma is somewhat gross, like old leather and mold. someone said 'beef jerky,' and i can see a note of meatiness. interesting, but odd.

wow this tastes foul. it tastes like a suitcase that was left in the basement for years. then the basement was flooded, and the leather buckled and grew mildew in the cracks. i hate to say it, but this is going right down ye olde tadcaster draine.

02-24-2005 15:00:14 | More by goodbyeohio
Photo of beveragecaptain

New Jersey

4.45/5  rDev +6.5%

355 ml bottle. This beer pours out an impenetrable black color with a dark brown head. The aroma in incredibly complex: toffee, molasses, grapes, chocolate, plums, and more. Bitter chocolate flavor. Slightly tangy raison flavor. Noticable alcohol. This beer has a great, complex flavor. Be sure to let it warm up some if you're drinking this refrigerated, because some of the flavors really start coming out as it warms. Highly recommended

02-24-2005 00:38:00 | More by beveragecaptain
Photo of sinistermadman


4.78/5  rDev +14.4%

This stout pours a deep dark brown. Light transmittance is next to nothing...Emanates a pancake looking burly head which sticks around with a vengeance. This is a good looking stout.

Smell consists of burnt toffee, roasted barley, coffee, some residual sweetness in what I describe as a subtle raisin aroma. Smell is very crisp and sweet, very earthy.

Taste is damn good. This stout has a medium body which is delightfully smooth. Righteous roasted barley at the forefront which tapers into a slightly astringent sensation on the palate. I get a sense of toffee, some caramel flavors; alcohol sugars are a perfect finish to this very well crafted stout.

Mouthfeel is lighter than a lot of stouts, but the flavor is not subdued in the least. Very tasty. Drinkability is a 5 in my book. This would go great with an espresso or a nice cigar.

All in all a delicious stout that is worth the price of admission. Cheers.

02-19-2005 01:59:59 | More by sinistermadman
Photo of RedBaron


4.45/5  rDev +6.5%

The big gun from S. Smith's.

Appearance: Jet black, with nice mocha head which sustained well. Just what you'd want to see in a classic imperial stout.
Smell: Rock-ish, mixed with a toffee, burnt toast aroma. Inviting.
Taste: Mix of nice roasted and chocolate malts, plus the unmistakeable mineral component of Yorkshire slate up front and in the middle. Finished with an alcoholic warmth -- subtle, campfire like.
Mouthfeel: Balanced pretty-well, through and through. Must be a fairly well-attenuated brew.
Drinkability: Great, uniquely made imperial stout. Well crafted.

02-18-2005 03:42:14 | More by RedBaron
Photo of BurghBrewPSU


3.63/5  rDev -13.2%

Pours a nice black. Rather clear, not too thick. Smells of chocolate and coffee. Tastes sweet, not too sweet, but just right. Chocolate, coffee, molasses, and some hints of fig make for a delightful beer. Overall this is a tasty brew. I have had some imperial stouts where I couldnt finish the last couple sips. I enjoyed this beer to the last sip.

02-13-2005 08:07:06 | More by BurghBrewPSU
Photo of Shultzerdugen


4.83/5  rDev +15.6%

I had this in the midst of a super session, and although it wasn't the first time I've had SS's Imperial, it was like the virgin experience.

Next to Belgian triples and doubles,Samichlaus, barley wines, etc., it not only held it's own, it gave the aforementioned beers a kung fu kick in the balls.

Opaque obsidian, no seeing through this sucker. Great head with strong staying power.

So many smells. Prunes, black pepper, licorice, sweet booze. I was salivating like one of Pavlov's dogs after a dinner bell.
This Imperial is the A-1 ass kickin' bow down and be thankful for tastebuds thrilla. Great hop balance for such a huge beer. Dark chocolate, coffee, sugary malts. Long finish where the hops return for an encore.
Real thick and chewy, smooth and delicious.
Sure, I want to drink it again and again.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout is a benchmark beer for me, the one I compare all other I S's to. Say thankya!

02-06-2005 15:41:25 | More by Shultzerdugen
Photo of neonbrown82


3.8/5  rDev -9.1%

This beer was highly recommended by one of the cashiers at my local (and highly knowlegable) beer store. I must agree that it was quite tasty, but it wasn't one of my favorite examples of an Imperial Stout. It tasted like beef jerky almost... more specifically like Liquid Smoke. I usually can't tolerate much more than a little bit of a smokey taste in my beer, but this one might be able to pave the way for me.

It poured to a completely opaque black color with a tan head, as one would expect from any Imperial Stout. The liquid wasn't quite as thick as others I've had, though, but I won't hold that against it, nor in its favor. The mouthfeel seemed to suit this particular iteration of Imperial Stout just fine.

The smell was kind of malty and sweet, but mostly dominated by caramel combined with other roasty coffee aromas. The smell was hypnotizing to say the least.

I enjoyed this Imperial Stout, but I don't think I will revisit as long as I have access to the Rogue Imperial Stout, which IMO is no contest with this. I've heard this is more subdued than its American counterparts, but on behalf of the smoked flavor, I would beg to differ that the Stone RIS or Rogue Imperial Stout are a little less complex in flavor though richer in character and body. Definitely worth a try though.

02-05-2005 04:33:52 | More by neonbrown82
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Bottle: Poured a opaque black beer with a medium dark brown head with minimal retention. Aroma is quite incredible and consists of pure black chocolate, roasted malt and some coffee. Taste is also quite a treat with the chocolate hitting first (without too much sweetness) and followed by the roasted malt and coffee to finish the whole thing. Very well balance with limited bitterness, which probably makes it one truly good dessert beer. Wow!!!

02-04-2005 18:17:42 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of plaztikjezuz


3.2/5  rDev -23.4%

puors brillent onyx, slight lacy head.

the aroma was toffey, molasses, smoky.
the flavor was burnt, not to bitter, with a very thick mouth feel.

the aroma toffey, mollasses, less smoke, coffee.
the flavor very rich, alcohol, smoke not as strong, toffey, molasses, coffee.

i was really disapointed in this beer until it was room temp.

01-31-2005 07:37:25 | More by plaztikjezuz
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Appearance: Pours an obsidian black with a nice mocha head; nice retention and lacing

Smell: Roasted malt, dark fruit (figs and prunes), some bittersweet chocolate and a nice whiff of rum

Taste: Starts out with a combination of roasty malt and dark fruit (raisin, date and prune), with the hops adding a bitter element by mid-palate; after the swallow, the roasty, fruity and chocolate flavors predominate into a complex finish that provides point and counter-point

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation and a hint of warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: I've come around to this one over time and have re-reviewed this while maintaining the original review date; I now appreciate the complexity and restraint in this version compared to the production of some of the American craft brewers

01-30-2005 21:50:55 | More by brentk56
Photo of chunkylover53

Ontario (Canada)

4.43/5  rDev +6%

Dark, darker, darkest.

This beer is as black as the blackest recesses of my teenage goth poetry writing heart. Even the head is dark.

I can smell banana... and... well.. everything else. This is a very complex brew. And the taste is about the same. I can detect a little bit of everything in there, but noting overpowers anything else or, indeed, the drinker.

This is one fine, fine, brew.

01-30-2005 16:07:43 | More by chunkylover53
Photo of lackenhauser


4.88/5  rDev +16.7%

Deep black in color. Respectable tan head on top. Huge roasted aroma-a mix of burnt currants and a slight sherry aroma. Very vinuous. You can almost smell the velvety feel it has to it. Great big roasted malt flavor. Wonderful flavors all rolled into one-coffee,anise,dark chocolate. Theres an "ink" flavor that I find in some imperials and just love-this is full of that. Good body-not as full as some of the others but it plays well considering the overall flavor and texture of the beer. A highly drinkable brew-at an easy going 7% this could go on all night. A truely classic example.

01-29-2005 02:26:33 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of bearrunner44


4.18/5  rDev 0%

Pours pitch black, with a dark tan head. Beautiful to look at. The head is thick and sticks around for awhile, and there's some good lacing. The taste is pretty complex. Essentially, it's a mix of roasted malts and alcohol with a slight fruitiness in the finish. It's gloriously smooth, despite the higher alcohol content. The beer burns very slightly in the finish, but the alcohol is far from overpowering. Personally, I prefer a more straight-forward stout. I have to admire the intricate design of this beer, though.

Note: This beer tastes much better as it warms. The flavors become more balanced at higher temperatures.

01-23-2005 04:18:36 | More by bearrunner44
Photo of allengarvin


4.35/5  rDev +4.1%

Appearance: Deep, dark, & mysterious. Very black, only a hint of ruby around the edges. A tan, almost brown head, and excellent lacing.

Aroma: Huge malt aroma, roasted caramel, with fruity, almost winey, port-like fragrance.

Flavor: Incredible malt complexity: dark chocolate, roasted grains (an almost burnt subcurrent), sweetly coffee-ish. A dried plum or raisin fruitiness lingers underneath. An earthy hop flavor and pleasant bitterness rein in the malt and keep it from cloying. Finish is long, with the taste of highly roasted grains sticking around for a long time.

Body: Lots of body, though carbonation is on the low side. Very nice, quite astringent mouthfeel.

I'm not a big stout drinker, but I have to admire the artistry that went into this superb beer. Beautiful and incredibly toothsome.

01-19-2005 03:50:27 | More by allengarvin
Photo of waughbrew


4.28/5  rDev +2.4%

Black black black is the color of this truly lovely beer. Small creamy light brown cap with great retention and lacing. Aroma is of tar, oats, raspberries, sourness, and acidity. The flavors are all subtle and blend wonderfully: Seems like a cross between a milk, an oatmeal, and an export stout. Smooth tobacco finishes with chocolate, dark fruit and a bit of acidic sting. I do find that overall there is a surprising lack of coffee, chocolate, and alcohol aromas and flavors. Compared to modern expectation of an Imperial stout, this is very mild, but complex nonetheless. Velvety texture. Quaffable.

Sam Smith products tend not to impress me much, but this beer is very good. However, I get a sense of polish on this brew that somehow comes across as being "over-produced" like a pop album. Perhaps it is because no flavors stick out much - there are no rough edges. When I want an imperial stout, I want the beer to take chances and be a little bolder. This is a nice, smooth brew that I will remember as a stronger sweet stout with very blended, subtle flavors.

01-17-2005 15:58:35 | More by waughbrew
Photo of bloberglawp

Quebec (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

550 ml served in pint glass @ 14 celcius.

Medium, white/brown head. Little carbonisation, pitch black as it should be. Smell of burn caramel and a little medicinal around the edges. Tastes terrific! I really enjoyed this brew. From begining to end sipping this gem is a real treat for the palate.

I had this stout with porc ribs + "see dick burn" hot sauce. (hotsaucezone.com) Good match but a little harsh on the heartburn front.

01-08-2005 00:54:24 | More by bloberglawp
Photo of tweeder263


2.95/5  rDev -29.4%

Pours out a nice dark beer with tan head,very nice.Aroma of licorice slight alcohol smell not bad.Taste up front is nice ,balanced ,but the lingering bitter afterwards sucks. I had high hopes for this beer and other sam smith beers but now im not quite sure.Nice slick mouthfeel though the taste killed the drinkability of this beer.

12-25-2004 00:33:23 | More by tweeder263
Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,041 ratings.