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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3,267 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,267
Reviews: 1,667
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.51%
Wants: 152
Gots: 246 | 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)
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Ratings: 3,267 | Reviews: 1,667 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gmcfarre
4.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 550mL bottle into Samuel Smith pint glass. What a pairing!

A- Dark, dark black color with a thick tan head. Head rose to almost 2 inches with fairly aggressive pour. Leaves a good lookin' spotty wall of lacing.

S- Intense dark malt, chocolate and a helping of java beans.

T- About as good as a Russian Imperial gets! Delicious warming effect envelopes you from the instant it touches your lips. Dark malt and chocolate predominate, but hops make a nice cameo for a change. Finish has a roasted, smoky feel.

M- Just the right amount of carbonation to add to the warming effect. as it conquers the mouth, a creamy, oilcan smoothness wins out. Leaves you with a nip of dryness.

D- So delicious you can down it like a champ, but why would you want to? One to savor and sip for a while. Alcohol does make its presence known well into the drink.

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

Poured from a 550ml bottle into a pint glass.
No freshness date.

Super dark black in color, with a huge three finger creamy tan head. The head lasts forever, leaving tons of clingy lacing. Awesome looking!!!! Smells of dark fruits, mostly prunes, roasted malts, and some rum like alcohol aroma. Complex taste of both roasted malt and hops, dark fruits, molasses. A slight smokey background, with some faint chocolate flavors. A full bodied brew, that is creamy smooth. This stout has a kinda chalky feel to it. A great example of an Imperial stout that is not overly alcoholic, and a pleasure to drink. A must try!!!

Photo of asabreed
4.95/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

550 ml. bottle into my Delirium Tremens glass.

Appearance: This definitely looks hot in the glass. Black as black can be of course. Mocha head that's not huge but stays at about 1/2", and I didn't give it the most vigorous pour. Nice sticky lacing hangs out on the glass too. A good looking brew.

Smell: Damn. Some coffee, chocolate, oatmeal I think, a bit of sourness, some chalkiness, and a touch of burnt and toasted malts. Also some slight bitterness from hops in there. Balanced, complex, and though it doesn't have the insane amount of alcohol (though many have indiscernible levels) as many RIS, this is singular and wonderful.

Taste: Initial sourness, followed my a bit of hops, maybe some oatmeal, then some chocolate, chalkiness, burnt malt, some more sourness, and then finishes with all of it together. Long finish with a weird combination of hops present also. This is singular beyond belief, and also awesome in every way.

Mouthfeel: Wow, how do they do this? For the style I'm so surpised how velvety this is, how much carbonation there is, and how it maintains its creaminess through the entire process. Looks much thicker than it feels.

Drinkability: I wasn't sure about this being too overhyped, but no, it's not. Awesome drinkability, price, balance, flavor, complexity. If you like the style and haven't had this yet (and I consider myself in this camp also), then you should consider yourself silly and go get a bottle. Can't wait to stock up on this.

Photo of JasonCoop
4.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours black like good stouts should. looks like a good stout. huge beige head.

smells chocolatey with hints of very sweet coffee. sweet smelling.

tastes great. robust bitter chocolate taste. very creamy. good hops for a stout, you can actually taste the hops. a great sweet smokey tasting stout. very smooth.

mouthfeel is creamy and drinkabiliy is great. good robust stout.

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

A - Good but not great. I've come to expect motor oil from my Imperials and this one doesn't quite cut it. Decent head, nice retention and decent lacing, just not quite dark enough....

S - Suprisingly sweet. Some raisin and molasses comes through initially followed by what seems to be some spiciness....

T - Sharper than expected, at times almost tangy. Some smoke and a bit of dryness at the midpoint. Never really all that alcoholic, but somewhat acidic. The fruit in the nose is much more hidden in the palate. Some maltiness, but definitely on the burnt malt/coffee end of the spectrum.

M/D - Lighter than desired of this style. Not really as chewy as it could be. The dryness and almost souring finish tend to pull this one down a bit.

Photo of seebus
4.53/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was very dark with an almost reddish head. Really, I couldn't imagine a darker liquid. You can smell dark chocolate and a hint of vanilla coffee. It had a smokey bitter taste, and the dark chocolate comes back in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel was great, with a nice even body; a happy mouthfeel to the end. Good drinkability too. Great stout.

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

A very good Imperial Stout.

Appearance is dark brown, almost opaque with slight ruby red highlights. Medium brown head. Nice lacing.

Aroma is of coffee, toffee, caramel, licorice.

Taste of coffee and licorice. Slight balancing bitterness.

Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and full bodied.

Quite drinkable.

Photo of Optimat0r
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance - very dark but not especially thick...almost opaque to light, almost, a slight red tint is present. i like it.moderate foaming

taste - great. the same coffee taste of fullers' LP but with more well rounded, balanced other flavors. hint of chocolate and a tiny hint of bitterness on the end but no real noticeable hoppiness. similar to shakespeare stout but less bitterness, this one is better. moderate complexity

drinkability - very good. stays amazingly consistant throughout. starts solid and remains solid over time and temperature changes. in fact it become richer as you go along. abv is a perfect %, enough to feel a hint of warming but not enough to get you sloshed. almost a 5 for sure.

Photo of mcarroll10177
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served from a bottle into an American Pint glass.

A- Perfect, as black as a moonless night with a huge tan head. The head was so large it spilled over a bit.

S- Malt with some coffee overtones.

T- very interesting slight licorise, then black coffee. Very surprising finish, it was very very smooth. This is one of these rare offerings in which the taste gets increasingly better as you drink. It was not my favorite taste at first, but as I got into it, the stout got better and better.

M- exactly what I was hoping for some thickness, but not mud either. This stout gets it right.

D- very good but not for everyone, this fine achivement should be enjoyed all by itself or perhaps with some semi- sweet chocolate for dessert.

This stout is well worth the hype and with 7% ABV you wont have to spend the night in after enjoying one.

Photo of jrb1001
4.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A: Very dark, My roomate at school thought that the bottle was a brown

S: Very hoppy and smells like a coffee, its smells like a darker beer.

T: Very smooth and easy to drink

M: Has a coffee taste to it but, but smooth

D: I drank it will dinner and I would definately drink another soon in the future.

Note: The Samuel Smith collection of Beers is really good, but this beer has to be the best.

Photo of tattooedtolley
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. A very cool looking bottle I might add, nice label.

Appearance: Very dark black with tan foamy head that leaves some nice lacing.

Smell: Lots of malty caramel coffee aromas.

Taste: Roasted malts up front with some caramel and coffee to go with it. Some fruity hoppy tastes follow and bring some balance to the sweetness of this beer.

Mouthfeel: Good body to it, not super thick but creamy.

Drinkability: While I wanted another one of these after my first one I decided to grab something lighter.

I liked this beer. It was a good stout, seemed a bit too sweet towards the end but this would go good after a meal, like a dessert. While certainly not my favorite stout I would not hesitate to buy this again for a change.

Photo of dreadnatty08
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fairly aggresive pour into my chalice produced a half inch dirty brown head that recedes to a bubbly thin covering. Minimal tracing. Oak, dried fruits, and a bit of chocolate at the end in the aroma. Flavors of bitter coffee, baker's chocolate, and raisin. Pretty bitter for a stout, sweetness isn't present at all. Bitterness gives a little tinge on the tongue at the end. The roasted maltiness dominates with little hops detected. A beautiful beer for a cold winter night, and fulfills my stout craving most definitely.

Photo of Bierguy5
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown to black color. Thick beige head, with good retention. Some patchwork lace clings to the sides of the glass. Dark chocolate and coffee aroma, also suggestions of dark fruit and a hint of alcohol. Dark roasty flavor, and vinous. Fruityness is balanced by just enough hop bitterness. Alcohol is somewhat noticable. Medium to full body, with low carbonation. This beer is very well balanced and probably the best example of the style. Top notch!

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

Purchased from Frugal MacDougal, Nashville, TN.

Pours dark black color with only slight brown undertones as the beer is held up to the light. Very thick, foamy, tan head appears as if by magic on this wonderful-to-look-at beer. Really fantastic presentation. Leaves heavy lacing on the glass.

Thick, malty, almost diesel aroma. Hints of coffee and chocolate. Almost has a nitro-smell like a widget bottle, but I'm guessing that's just slight astringency due to the alcohol.

Very similar flavor as aroma, but with the astringency kicked up a notch or two, and the "nitro-ness" a bit higher than expected. Slightly sweet at times, almost a dose of dark chocolate-covered cherries. Hops minimal -- I could handle a bit more biting here.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin for an Imperial Stout, although it is quite smooth and overall very good.

This is a very drinkable beer, smooth and delicious -- the 7% ABV can catch up to you very quickly. The sweetness isn't cloying, and the bitterness and overall texture make this a pleasure to drink. Very good beer.

Photo of Domingo
4.78/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

All I can say is "WOW."
One of the best Imperial Stouts in the world for sure. Samuel Smith has won me over with an offering that's milder, yet somehow more bold than most others.
While not as alcoholic as some others, the flavors in this brew stand out as bold and unmatched. It's like taking the signature malty flavors from their Oatmeal Stout, but supercharging them. Very chocolaty and nutty.
It's only major flaw is that it doesn't carry a strong smell, but beyond that it's nearly perfect.

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

This is the best balanced stout that I have ever had. i used to drink this beer regularly, but then was lured away by many stouts that have bolder flavors. Recently revisiting this brew makes me wonder why I have been away for so long. The stout has a very bold roasted quality with a light bitterness due to the black malts and light hopping. Has a layered cocoa, coffee, and milk flavors for added complexity. The beer, though bold and strong, is never intimidating, domineering, or aggressive. Moderately sweet with a rich and complex robustness. Properly brewed and well aged. Full and rich to the texture with a silky, creamy flow. Finishes extremely clean for such sweetness, texture, and roastedness. A slight hint of lactose sugars and a minty note adds a delicacy to the finish. A beautiful beer.

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

This brew poured a jet black color with a small 1/4 inch head that lingered throughout. The aroma was of roasted malts and coffee. Taste was delicious with notes of espresso, currants, cocoa, port and Madeira. This beer is quite rich and complex for only 7% abv and it exhibits many of the qualities of much stronger Imperial Stouts. I believe this was the first RIS to be imported to the U.S. and it has always been one of my favorites. The character of this brew is still the same as when I first tried it back in the early 90's. The only criticism I've got is those damn clear bottles that Sam Smith uses. If you're going to cellar this beer, make sure you keep it away from any light source.

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

I’m really enjoying drinking this beer. There’s no carbonation to speak of and no head either but that’s not getting me down. I’m smelling rich bourbon, which I usually detest in beers, but this scent is laced with blackberries, plums, and vinous currants. I’m loving it. Bitter chocolate then fills out the rich, sweet dark fruits nicely. The mouthfeel is as chewy as the color is opaqued plum. A long lingering oak barrel bitterness rounds out the thick beer nicely along with hits of chocolate and roasted, no burnt currants. Great beer and very complex. I’m going to have to drink a few more bottles to search this one for all of its elements.

Photo of KyleVick4
1.93/5  rDev -53.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

From a big bottle
Its pitch black with white/tan head that has good lace and very small fine bubbles. Looks all around like a good beer.
It has the distinct caramelly sam smith smell to it with mild hints of alcohol and coffee. Not a bad smell, just peculiar.
Not impressed at all. Tastes like the traditional Sam Smith ale (which I am not a fan of) not like the Imperial Stout beers that I love. I taste mostly caramel and maybe hints of licorice or chocolate? Way too sweet for this type of beer. Either way I was very unimpressed with the taste.
Light and not very carbonated. I dont like a very carbonated Imperial Stout, but I also like a thick IS. Either way this beer is light and medium mouthfeel that should be much heavier in my opinion for a IS.
I had trouble finishing the one glass of the beer I poured. It left a bad taste in my mouth and I was reluctant to finish it...
Overall I would not recommend this beer. If you are looking for a good Imperial Stout, try the North Coast Brewing Co. Old Rasputin (one of my favorite all time beers) or Terrapin Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout.

Photo of artusory
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a big creamy tan head, mostly lasting. Aroma is chocolate and hops, some alcohol as well. Flavor is sweet and mostly chocolate, kind of a robust version of young’s double chocolate stout. Low amount a bittering makes this pretty unbalanced. Body is a little light for the style. More of a sweet stout than an imperial stout.

Photo of Byeast
4.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint , color is opaque black with thick tawny brown head that dissipated to a thin layer in a few minutes. Taken to the nose, complex odors of sweet dark fruit come first( hint of raisin ,plum, prune) ,dark roasted barley , some coffee , also some alcohol spirits. Great smell . Whoa! This is exellent. Taste is a complex blend of dark fruit ,roasty malt flavors of coffee , a little smokey chocolate , and some nice light hoppy notes in the finish. Very , very good! Mouthfeel is light and slick. This Russian Imperial Stout went down so easy , and a little to fast as im wishing i had some more now. It really is a top notch brew.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Cellared this for a few years, thinking I had tried it once, but actually have not (confused it with Oatmeal Stout). At 7%, it runs the edge of 'cellarable' but as an impy I think it would do fine. One way to know for sure though...

Appearance - black pour,, a darkish mocha head of maybe a finger but recedes quickly to a partial covering. Around the bottom of the glass I see some reddish brown hues along the edge. 3.5

Aroma - smelled rich and intense coming out of the bottle, like alocohol, smoky espresso. As it settled that went away and introduced a grainy, metallic odor. A minute more and it appears to have resolved with some smoky chocolate, figgy aromas. The chocolate is starting to dominate now. 4.0

Taste - sweet and heavily roasted malts, almost to the point of tasting smoked. A mixture of coffee and chocolate follow, enhanced by the alcohol. Very roasty and sweet, slightly warm with a moderately long finish. 4.5

Mouthfeel - outstanding. Smooth as can be, evenly if not a bit under-carbonated.

Drinkability - easy, very easy to drink. A most sessionable impy by my standards.

Photo of rustymoore
3.55/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This stout pours a dark black with a light tan head...not as frothy as most stouts I have had. Has slight lacing as you drink it down. The smells are definitely different as aside from the coffee and chocolate one can sense a bit of vanilla and banana. The taste wasn't what I expecting as the hop bitterness seems to overpower the taste. Also not as creamy as I would like my stout to be. Overall decent but for the money one can do better.

Photo of Enola
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a very good beer. It has a nice creamy head on it. It is deep black. The smell is a sweet amell. The taste is kindly bitter. It also has some smokey notes to it. The moutheel is high for the style. This is the most drinkable Imperial that I have had. I really like how the alcohol is concealed. Not as up front as some other offerings of the style. Next time I want an Imperial Stout, I will reach for the Samuel Smiths.

Photo of ColForbin
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout pours a nearly opaque black with a dark brown head. Aroma is an awesome blend of coffee and dark chocolate, after a couple swirls of the glass to remove a slight skunkiness (damn clear bottles). Taste is dark roast coffee, with some very dark chocolate and some sour fruit as well. Just a great blending of flavors. Off-dry finish with hoppy bitterness evident, but nowhere near the hop level of some new-school versions. Mouthfeel is heavy and slick but carbonation is still evident. Very drinkable, and the fact that this beer is only 7% makes it reasonable to have a couple. Just a great, classic beer.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,267 ratings.