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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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3,360 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,360
Reviews: 1,687
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 183
Gots: 307 | 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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,360 | Reviews: 1,687
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.

Photo of CharlieMopps
4.67/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

550 ml

A: Extremely dark brown body, if not completely black. Half-inch head w/ decent retention, tawny/dark khaki foam. Nice and frothy.

S: Coffee-like aroma with a nice toasty malt & slightly fruity scent due to the hops' contrast. Pleasing to the olfactory senses.

T & M: Amazing. Very excellently balanced taste, especially the 7.0% ABV not overpowering the variety of flavor. Smooth introduction, almost sharp and citrusy middle, followed by a refreshing finish that washed away leaving the best chocolatey toasted malt sensations on the palate, that does not become bland or dull at all.

D: The ABV may make it a bit tough to drink round after round in immediate succession, but given a proper sessioning, a few of these could last all night if apportioned properly.

Already being a fan of Sam Smith products, I may be a bit biased. But this is my first encounter with the Imperial Stout and I'm greatly delighted by the discovery. I can't say enough good things about this beer. With a bit of intriguing complexity in regards to the hops, it doesn't stray too far in balancing the taste with a deep toasted malt side and this makes for an awesome combination, without sitting too heavily on the stomach. Great beer. Period.

Photo of Rudgers73
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from the bottle at a bar in Pittsburg.

A- I didn't know the bottle was clear until I drank some of it down. This stuff is deep dark brown, almost black. A little bit of head consisting of big bubbles that are thick and stay put around the edges.

S- Deep dark malty and burnt. Sweet notes that give a toffee feel to it. Very bold.

T- Nice and smooth. Well balanced toffee, charcoal and burnt hops. Well done.

M- Thick and chewy, not much bubble-action. Nice to sip on, not to pound.

D- Good beer to just hang out with. 2-3 would be a nice dessert for me, not any more though, too thick.

I walked into this bar and asked for a victory storm king stout and they didnt have it (amongst their collection of over 200 beers) so I asked for their dirtiest stout and they handed me this.

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

Pours black with a nice thick head which leaves a little lace. Smell is sweet, dark roasted malts, perhaps a bit of chocolate as well. Taste is heavy roasted sweetness, coffee note, plenty of english hops. Very nice and balanced with big flavor. Simultaneously leaves a nice lingering sweetness and bitterness. Pretty thick in the mouth, creamy. A very solid stout.

Photo of Beerzebub
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black except for dark reddish brown edges. Big foamy tan head, goes down to a quarter inch that remains indefinitely. Some lace.

Smells of chocolate, coffee, molasses, banana, apple, fig jam, prunes, raisins, roasted nuts, milk.Very rich and slightly sweet smell - complex, and very pleasant.

Full flavored and very enjoyable. Sweetness and roastiness are very well balanced. Coffee and banana most of all, with cocoa, dark fruits, lactic sourness. Very roasty without quite tasting burnt. Finishes pretty dry and sour, with some dark rum alcohol and roasty bitterness.

Smooth, creamy mouthfeel

This is aggressive, yet balanced and very enjoyable (unless you're a lactic acid hater). Good beer.

Photo of akahn
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nearly black brown color, red-tinged, with a surprisingly fluffy, full, lasting head, along with some beading. 5

Subtle but fantastic aroma. Very creamy, milk chocolatey, and a hint of soy sauce, but that we can blame on the Indian grocery where I bought this. After it sits, I pick up a hint of vanilla extract, very unusual and very nice. Reminiscent of their Oatmeal Stout.

Flavor is sublime. Tastes super authentically English, and actually a less subtle version of their Oatmeal Stout. Still, this is a very subtle beer, much subtler than any I've had from this style. Very smooth in texture, yet with a surprising degree of carbonation. Round, slightly sweet malt, along with chocolate flavors. This fades to a slightly bitter burnt flavor, a bit of mineral flavor and it ends fairly dry. Impeccable. I wasn't expecting this beer to live up to its hype but it really did.

Photo of BeerSox
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep opaque black iwth a dark tan head. Sticky lacing. The color of the head almost matches gold foil on the neck of the bottle.

Deep molasses scents swirl with roasted notes. Warm alcohol is also present. The sweet smells almost coat the nose. Scents gradually become smoother and sweeter as the beer warms. Very faint fruity aromas start to emerge.

Stars off with flavors similar to black roasted coffee then slowly shofts to hop bitterness. Warm alcohol can be toasted throughout. Hoppiness tends to stick to the back of the mouth well after your sip.

Full bodied with medium carbonation. Very complex flavors and end with a dry finish.

A very enjoyable beer, especially for the winter. I like to treat this style like a brandy, tasting it in a snifter and letting it warm and swirl in my hand, which enhances the volatiles. Very well rounded and complex. Recommended.

Photo of nortmand
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tawny black pour, with a brown, fluffy head.

Ripe plums and dark roasts dominate the smell. A hint of citronella? in there as well.

Slight astringency up front, smooth, creamy roasts and dark chocolate flavors meld in a symphony of fabulousness.

Huge body, very smooth and definitely drinkable. Wow.

Photo of tfp4268
4.95/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is truly an amazing brew!

Pours opaque brown with a creamy light tan head that never goes away. Gorgeous!!

Smells awesome! Pure dark malts and milk chocolate. The smell really makes you anticipate the taste.

Taste doesn't dissapoint-Starts out sweet and choclatey, with a little raisin, then finishes up with a very pleasant hops and alcohol nip in the end.

Mouthfeel is smooth, but not really thick...nice tho.

Drinkability is crazy...You'd never know you were drinking a 7% brew untill you feel it. It's amazingly smooth. Yeah, I belive I'll have another!

Photo of Erdinger2003
2.2/5  rDev -47.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The head is light brown and the beer is dark black (ironic). The smell is metallic like all the other beers from this place. The first one of these I had the smell was wonderful with roasted and chocolate malts making it unbelievably good. Taste is metallic. Sadly metallic. I am sad to give this beer such a bad review.

Photo of haz77
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours black with no light coming through. A thick dark tan head drops to a creamy fingers worth.

S - Dark fruit (predominantly prune), molasses, coffee, slight chocolate. Very nice indeed.

T - Initially the dark fruit is at the front, with coffee/caramel appearing in the middle. Bitterness begins to come through with some floral flavours at the end. Has vanilla running through most of the drink, but it really comes out in the aftertaste.

M - Medium-full becoming full through the drink. Very smooth and creamy.

D - Surprisingly drinkable for the type of beer it is. Superb brew in every way.

Photo of xav33
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout
12 oz bottle
Recent bottling, savoured 08/06
Medium pour in a pint glass

Poured black with a dark brown outer ring, with a mostly diminishing 1 inch frothy mocha head with no lacing.

Smelt of burnt molasses and some fruit.

Taste was sweet molasses upfront followed by fruity esters, bitter roast and lingering vanilla sweetness, with the finish mostly bitter and a hint of mushroom. Mouthfeel was light, oily and lively carbonation.

Overall, a great complex English version of an Imperial Stout that is only somewhat disappointing in its mouhfeel

Photo of RedChrome
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour produced an absolutly black colored beer. A nice fluffy two inch head was a light brown color which stayed a decent period of time. No carbonation can be seen through the color of the beer. Lacing down the entire glass.

A fantastic aroma of roasted chocolate malt. Subtle notes of roasted peanuts. A second whiff also brought out a slight scent of coffee grounds. A slight hint of alcohol causes a bit of a burn in the nose.

The first sip was a nice chocolate taste. A second blend of coffee flavor reminds me of drinking a cappuccino with a shot of chocolate sryup. A nice roasted malt aftertaste brings a bite of alcohol which balances out the sweetness of the chocolate and malt.

A very thick body helps the flavors hang on all surfaces of the mouth. A minor amount of carbonation provides just enough of a feel in the mouth to be enjoyable without being overbearing.

A top notch beer. A fantastic blend of sweet and bitter flavors with just the right amount of balancing alcohol taste. A perfect dessert beer. Enjoy it with a nice chocolate or berry dessert, or as a stand alone beer after a nice meal.

Photo of Westsidethreat
4.59/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours thin for an imperial stout, but I don't think this is presented as a "big beer". Large dark roasted marshmallow colored bubbles begin very pronounced but die quickly, leavy only a slick across the top. The body is extremely dark, letting no light get thru.

S: What a glorius smelling beer. Has a sour twang but not in that infectious way...sort of in the Guiness way. Assloads of molasses, some licorice, extra bitter chocolate and iced coffee. Glad I put this beer in the snifter.

T: Begins very rich and malty. Mocha, surprisingly smokey and rummy. Hints of caramel, marshmallow, vanilla bean and raisins. Underlying roasted grains and bitter hops start showing themselves after the beer sits on the palate for a while. Aftertaste has lots of vanilla and raisins. Pretty darn good.

M: Full bodied and oily. Great

D: Undisputed best English beer? Can you end a sentence with "undisputed" in it with a question mark?


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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,360 ratings.