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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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3,357 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,357
Reviews: 1,685
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 182
Gots: 305 | FT: 2
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.
View: Beers (28) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,357 | Reviews: 1,685
Photo of msubulldog25
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this 550ml (clear glass) bottle into a standard pint and shared sips with my wife...

A: Pours dark as a moonless night with only hints of burgundy/cherry tints when held to a strong light. Crowned with a gigantic 4-finger ivory head, frothy and dense. The head fades very slowly, at least 1-finger of cream remains 15 minutes after the pour.

S: Lots of sweet milk chocolate and smoky malt. Other aromas of wood, rum raisins, and berries. A very cherry-like sweet smell rises when agitated after a few minutes of warming.

T: Malty and chocolate-laden, with a husky smokiness and a bit of herbal/bitter hopping in the finish. Tasted something like oatmeal cookies and dried cherries at times. Pretty darn tasty...

M: The only dissapointment I found in this beer was its thinner than expected mouthfeel. Body is about "medium" and mouthfeel seems about the same initially, but both weaken over time. Some mild sour sharpness mingles with the chocolate maltiness lingering in the aftertaste.

D: Overall, a really nice balance, terrific flavors and almost sessionable drinability. Lighter-bodied and quite a bit less heavy than some of my favorite US-made Imperial Stouts; regardless the Sam Smith has its strong points in smell, appearance & flavor - I'd recommend this one and would get this again.

PS: This is the first RIS my wife has tried that she liked as much as I did.

Photo of Wasatch
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color, nice carbonation, small creamy tan head, some lacing afterwards. The nose is of sweet malts, slight hops, some chocolate/toffee. The taste is sweet malty, nice chocolate/toffee, slight alcohol. Medium body. Drinkable, a nice stout, but a Imperial, not quite.

Photo of
3.96/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16oz. bottle

Deep, dark mahogany. Lots of ruby highlights. Clear, as far as I can tell. Tan head, moderate in size. Nice legs on the swirl.

Aromas of dark fruits, cherries and raisins most distinct. Licorice and tar. Phenolic. Leads you to expect a sweetish beer.

Taste is very complex. Smoke & tar. Roasted malt/burnt toast, with a bit of coffee. Alcohol and a hint of chocolate (very dark and bittersweet). More bitter than sweet, but that evolved as the beer warmed. Blackstrap molasses in the middle. Finish seemed to be herbal/grassy.

Heavy and creamy in body. Carbonation was medium. More than a bit drying. Alcohol warming apparent early.

Hell of an RIS, and easy to see why this is viewed as a benchmark for the style.

Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

550ml bottle

Pours a rich, coal black with a huge cocoa head that recedes. Nice lacing on the glass.

Slightly sweet roasted malt aroma with layers of chocolate and espresso woven in.

Sweet and roasty upfront, it gives way to mocha espresso flavors and a mild bitterness. Finishes mildly sweet with a lingering roastedness.

Medium body, plenty of carbonation.

A highly drinkable RIS, especially since it clocks in at only 7% ABV which is much less than many in this style. Good stuff.

Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black with dark brown glimishes. Large nice head, dark brown and creamy.

Sweet malt. Crisp and cool. Light banana esters. Chocolate and roasted.

Substantially watery. Grassy earthy esters. Light chocolate/roasted.

Fairly smooth with minimal carbonation.

Looks great, smells good, and then doesn’t taste like much.

Photo of jasonjlewis
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice brew. Strong chocolate malt profile with some decent hop balance. I could drink this beer all night. The alcohol isn't too strong and overbearing. The chocolate malts really come out. A very smooth brew that I suggest. I think that it is a little over rated on this site, but it's good nevertheless.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pitch black with a thin but tenacious layer of espresso to chocolate milk colored head.

Smell- Dark fruit, dark chocolate, dark rum,hop spice, deep caramel, brown sugar, and a hint of sweet wort. Pretty great smell but I wish it was stronger.

Taste- Starts out with a strong roasted coffee character, then dark chocolate, then spicy/earthy hop bitter clears the way for a finish of burnt coacoa, and roasted grain bitter. The finish is much better than it sounds I promise. Some more of that earthiness in the aftertaste. A nugat tone comes out with warmth. Later I get a bit of black cherry. This isn't super-complex but it is exactly what I expect Imperial Stout to taste like. Rich, but more bitter than sweet, and dark as midnight.

Mouthfeel- Hefty but far from oppressive. Chewy.

Drinkability- Barely a hint of booze anywhere definately helps.

Photo of Tesno
3.32/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours beautifully into the glass; deep black color with a thick, creamy, tan head that quickly dissipates. Aroma is heavenly, notes of dark chocolate and toasted marshmallow (mmm...s'mores anyone?). Alcoholic/bourbon-like. Slight vanilla and oak.

Flavor is somewhat disappointing. The first few sips there was a slight stale cardboardiness. Rather acidic/metallic when cold but notes of chocolate, fig and anise as it warms. Slightly nutty, hints of almond. Hot/alcoholic. At the beginning I noted that it felt rather coarse. Too bubbly and burnt and a little thin for the style.

Overall, not one of my favorite representations of the style. I realize these guys have been doing this a long time and they obviously know what they're doing but i thought this beer was just average at best. Definitley worth a try but I won't be stockpiling the cellar with it.

Photo of tjthresh
2.6/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Completly opaque, dark chocolatey black. Light brown whipped looking had. Pours with a lot of fizz. Aromas of charred wood, dark roasted coffee, alcohol, and some oxidation. The flavor is chocolatey and roasty and really pretty bitter. The oxidation is all threw this beer though. Really thin and watery. Compared to the its American counterpart, lifeless.

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.

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,357 ratings.