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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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3,340 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,340
Reviews: 1,682
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 178
Gots: 290 | 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:
Beer added by: Todd on 02-27-2001

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 3,340 | Reviews: 1,682 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jasonguit
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

What can I say? This stuff is wonderful.

Poured a deep, deep brown with a quickly dissipating dark brown head.

It had a rich, earthy smell. I'm still new to stouts, so I don't know how to describe it exactly. It was easy to tell this was going to be quite different from Guinness.

The taste is excellent. Very deep and rich. Wonderful malt taste with a good bit of hop bite. If good coffee and ale had a love child, this would be it.

Drinkability - Ha! Well, while writing this review and not paying attention to my sips, I have drank the better part of a 335 ml. It is so drinkable you have to make sure you don't suck it all down in one gulp!

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

"Imperial Stout" was the kind of beer which was shipped to the russian nobility some 100+ years ago ... it seems that russian taste tends to go for strong bodied drinks with a certain sweetness .... most "imperial stouts" I know tend to accentuate the sweetness, sometimes with a "sticky tendency" ... compared to those this brew is "ultra brut" and with a medium to "slim" body ... but it's lack in corpulence is more than compensated with it's elegant smoothness ... to give you an image: this is like spotting a mysterious dark-haired beauty disguised in a porcelaine mask on the Carnival of Venice ... to die for

Photo of nriech
4.53/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured very dark with almost half the pint glass appearing to be head at first. This has a bit of the rolling head that disappates like Guinness. But what was to come was completely different.

Aromas were hoppy and malty at the same time. The initial taste was similar to any other stout but then the hops came through and made this something different. Not like some of the other recent imperial stouts that blow your tounge off with hops, this was a good balance.

I still had my thick stout but there was extra flavor with the hops that gave me the blend of a fruity chocolate. This is a very well balanced imperial stout that I highly reccomend for any stout lover.

Photo of nickg902
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is one of the most interesting imperial stouts I have had. The pour is dark brown, to black with a little mocha head. Aroma is of coffee and burnt chocolate, perhaps some roasted amalt and a hint of fruitiness. The taste is sweet, hints of coffee and caramel come thorugh. Little bitter aftertaste is perfectly balanced in this brew. First impression I got when tasting this beer is that it resembled the taste of wine, with the fruity taste that is present in this beer. Quite complex. Mouthfeel is extremely smooth. I would definitely recommend anyone to try this.

Photo of vtfan77
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark, dark brown, almost black, but there is a little light getting through. About an inch of tan head and a bit of lacing round it out.

S- Mostly coffee and burnt malt aromas. Some sour fruits, maybe plums and raspberries thrown in there.

T- More coffee and burnt flavors. A touch of bitterness at the end but not too much. Very pleasant, not at all overwhelming.

M- Smooth, silky, creamy. Very nice, a joy to swallow.

D- Very good considering the style. Goes down like velvet and the abv is not too bad at 7%. I could definitely drink another.

Overall, this was a very nice Imperial Stout. I'm not even a fan of stouts but I could definitely drink more of these. Recommended.

Photo of neenerzig
4.36/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of the best Imperial Stouts I have ever had. perhaps second only to Stone's. This pours a very dark brown color with a nice tan head but with little lacing. Roasted smells of chocolate or coffee filled my nostrils. Not an overly strong smell though. Very nicely balanced tastes of malt mixed with some chocolate, a bit of alcohol and maybe just a very slight touch of hops. All these balance each other very nicely. This A nice clean, smooth, and a bit of a creamy mouthfeel. Mild to moderate carbonation. Out of all the stouts I have had this is the most well balanced. Not as bitter as a lot of other stouts I have drank and certainly the most drinkable stout I have ever had. A definite winner that all Stout lovers must try. I will have to have this one again for sure.


Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks good going into the glass! A thick dark brown color, 2" thick brownish/mocha tinted head, minimal lacing.

Smells are: Deep roasted nut, deep malts and some caramel sweetness.

Taste...Roasted>smokey>Rich hops>SweetCaramel>coffee like after taste.

MF: Heady and thick, yet remarkably easy to drink thanks to the array of tastes.

Mmmm Mmmm Good. (hope that's not copyrighted!!)


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

Absolutely one of the best Imperial Stouts brewed. Mellow tasting, without that bitter feel on the palate.

When poured, it was a very dark brown, on the verge of black, with a nice firm tan foam and very little lace. The smell of roasted malts and chocolate filled the nose on first sniff. Then when tasted, the roasted malts really came to life along with a hint of bitter chocolate. A well balance stout, not over powering on the bitterness or tartness or sweetness. Just one of the best well balanced stouts on the market!

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

I have developed a fear of Samuel Smith's beers, especially the Oatmeal Stout, due to the fact that I've had some really rancid samplings of it. It's been suggested that this is because of the clear glass bottle and the lack of light filtering, which makes sense to me. However, I do know that Sam Smith is capable of good things when their sensitive beers survive the rough journey from their brewery to my stomach.

I pulled this one from the fridge and let it breathe for about 10-15 minutes before pouring it. I'm hard-pressed to give a beer a 5 on anything, but this beer just looked awesome as it made its way into my pint glass: a dark brown, almost black, absolutely refusing to let any light through, and with a nice thick brown foam head made up of thousands of perfectly spaced little bubbles that started out filling up more than half the glass and then settled down to about 3/4" and stopped there, taunting me.

I have trouble describing this kind of smell, but to me, it's a mix of cocoa, coffee, and red wine. I love it, but it's a bit intimidating.

...And that's pretty much how it tastes. I taste the red first, then a bit of cocoa, and then it settles into the pleasingly bitter aftertaste of black coffee. I love the balance on this - the flavor changes from one moment to the next, but no one flavor overpowers the others. I guess that means this one survived the journey.

My idea of good mouthfeel is something that isn't too flat or too carbonated and in which I can taste the alcohol but not so much that it burns my palate. The other main factor I consider is whether it leaves any funky residue behind, like the skunky hops left on my tongue by some IPA's. This one accomplished what I wanted as far as mellow carabonation and only the slightest burn. My only criticism is that it did leave a hint of sourness/tartness on the roof of my mouth, somewhat like what I experience from certain very dry red wines...is that tannins? Nothing major, though.

I was tempted to start chugging, but I made a Herculean effort to take my time and see how the beer changed as it warmed. More intense, easier to taste the alcohol, still good but not really improved. This one is strong but surprisingly easy to drink.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout exceeded my expectations significantly. It tasted fresh, the flavors transition made my taste buds happy, and it was surprisingly easy to drink for the style. I still have about half of it left am I'm already starting to buzz a bit, but not wanting to get too faded is the only thing stopping me from gulping the rest down in the next 2 minutes.

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

Samuel Smith Imperial Stout

A = Poured dark black with a thin foam head that quickly dissapates to nothing.

S = Smells of sweet maple syrup with hints of coffee and dark chocolate. Very inviting.

T = Very port like. Smooth coffee taste with a fine dark chocolate notes. There is slightly sour finish with a small hint of alcohol. But still very very smooth.

M = Medium bodied with low cabonation so you can really taste the flavours in the stout.

D = Very drinkable.

Photo of Freshie
4.73/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Classic large bottle. Old style label, with "Contrated to her Majesty's Forces", which I am not sure entirely what that means, but it sounds like it's good enough for QE2, so I guess it's good enough for me.

Dark as hell with tan creamy head. Just emaculate.

Smelled of fruit, hops, and coffee.

Tasted much like it smelled. Very smooth coffee flavour balances with floral hops bittierness. Went down well with the cheeseburger that I had for my dinner. Hints of chocolate and citrus.

Unlike other Russian Imperials I have had, this stuck to it's genre, but it does it o so well. Not bland in the least bit, but also, doesn't over extend itself in flavour.



Photo of klewis
4.86/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

355 ml bottle

A: Pours jet black with a modest tan head. Very little lacing.

S: Aromas of roasted espresso beans and burnt marshmellows from the campfire. Totally unique.

T: Roasted, burnt, earthy kind of flavors with coffee undertones. Totally smooth-as-silk flavor with little, if any, bitterness.

M: Medium bodied for a RIS, but understandably so for the ABV. Soft carbonation and a sticky texture make it a winner.

D: Overall, I don't think that this one is as quite as good as many other big stouts (Stone, Rogue, Victory, etc.), but this one is utterly enjoyable and earns points with me because of its uniqueness. Absolutely a must try.

Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle to a SS tulip glass. Very impressive three finger head of mocha. Nice retention fading to a fine lace.

The Smell is of alcohal and deep dark roasted malt with licorice and a faint note of dark roast espresso.

The taste follows the smell with the alcohol taste not living up to the billing of the smell (thats good). Espresso taste is much stronger helping to cover any offensiveness by the alcohol. Semi sweet, not very bitter, coffee seems to also cover other tastes. Some notes of dark chocolate & licorice. Big plus- No funny stale alcohol after taste like a lot of this beers peers.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly medium, kind of watery while drinking for this thick rich style, however it does coat nicely also low carbonation.

Drinkabitity is surprisingly high as this beer does not offend.

Drink up Johny! MK

Photo of aforbes10
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My first RIS from the U.K., which is noteworthy since i'm from the U.K. originally and RIS is my favorite type of beer. I approach this one with some trepedation however because everything i've tried from Sammy Smith's has been not exactly too my taste...they all have kind of an earthy, sour taste that's slightly off-putting and makes my stomach hurt a bit. Anyway...

pours fine. looks dark and not all that thick, but then its not all that heavy as RIS's go so i wasn't expecting a sludgy pour. nice solid head. Odor is quite fruity with plums and not-well-hidden alcohol. not a fantastic nose. Taste is fairly complex. Fruity up front with that pluminess, then it becomes more of a sweet, slightly roasted chocolate taste, followed by ... uh oh .... that peaty sourness that i dont like and i alwasys get from S.Smith. This kind of gets lost late as the drinking progresses, but its hard to ignore at first. Mouthfeel is a little thin for this type of beer i thought too. I'm a bit dissapointed overall considering the high BA rating, but oh well. maybe i just don't like the original brit version of the Russian Imperial Stout.

Photo of fisherman34
3.02/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Black in colout with a bit of a red tint. Medium carbonation. Aromas of stewed fruits (especially plums), licorice, and a bit of chocolate. More stewed fruit in the mouth, with some caramel and faint roasted notes becoming apparent closer to the finish. A bit of a boozy note at the end as well. Not nearly as roasty (coffee), chocolaty, or hoppy as the other Imperial stouts that I’ve sampled, which is kind of a drag. I guess I prefer the North American interpretation of this style.

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.6/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Sam Smith pint glass.
Big black color topped with a thick burnt sienna head. I let it sit for a bit to let the head even out. It stayed quite well, laced all the way through the tasting.
Chocolate, coffee, and pepper in the nose, perhaps some plum and dark fruit.
Taste was chocolat and coffee mostly. I tasted some currant and anise, I think. Bittersweet. Bitter than sweet, sweet then bitter. Good balance.
Smooth easy drinking. Very rich

Photo of jwc215
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured BLACK with fairly thick, tan head that became a well-retained lace.
It had aromas of sweet chocolate, coffee, and anise. Robust smell.
The taste was extraordinary. Very complex and robust. Chocolate, anise, coffee tastes were well-balanced. Just the right balance between sweet and bitter. Very invigorating.
Left a nice bitter-sweet mouthfeel.
This beer is exceptionally drinkable. It's silky smooth with a slight alcohol finish. It's characteristics are god-like. Well worth the price for this one!

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

The roast tones are prominent and show thru the rich, essentially opaque color. Heads up quickly but settles just as fast (checked at about 57 degrees) Drink this at a distance from meals - each will significantly alter the taste the other. On a clean palate, the flavor is consistent and richly aromatic; the coffee hits you almost immediately, although it bitters up a bit too much for my fancy. Interestingly, I would take their oatmeal stout over this one (again, I'm a sugar hound) but the difference between the two is admittedly meager. I'd love to try it on tap!

Photo of edskirk3
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A big 550mL clear glass bottle with a cool old-timey label.

Really dark stuff, I'm surprised light can escape from it. Pours with a great-looking mocha-tan head which is thick and creamy.

It smells sweet. Prunes (?), chocolate, rum, and some smoke.

Palate is excellent. There's raisins and prunes, bitter chocolate, a slight tang of hop bitterness, and a not of smoke at the end. The whole thing is absolutely delicious.

Imperial Stout is viscous, sticky, and ever more oily as the bottle is imbibed, as is expected. More of a cigar by the fireplace beer instead of a summer ballgame beer, obviously. Maybe you could get away with that in October, though. One bottle should suffice as a nightcap, Christmas Eve beverage, or a reward to yourself after shoveling the driveway.

Yes, I love this stuff.

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

Highs: Flavor, drinkability
Lows: None

Pours mahogany brown under a huge fluffy light brown head that fades slowly leaving behind copious lacing. Nose of coffee, sweet sorghum, and malt. Taste coffee, chocolate, malt, sorghum, a bit of iron, then strong coffee finish with a nice fade to a clean lightly bitter finish. Overall a pretty mellow stout, not in-your-face with either malt or sweetness. Well-balanced. Mouth is watery but substantial. Drinkability is great; this is a great tasting and balanced stout. The 7% ABV is completely unnoticed.

Overall: A great stout, heartily recommended.

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

12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass

a - deep black color, no light coming through this one; very small head that left a nice lace

s - somewhat nutty, coffee-like smell

t - complex tasting, similar to the smell, hints of coffee and slight nut flavor

m - coats nicely

d - very drinkable, almost dangerously so at this abv

Never again will I go for the Guinness if this Imperial Stout is available. Very enjoyable all around, especially for a relatively low price.

Photo of quasimoto
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - It is a deep black color with no light shining through. The head is big tan frothy one and has laced nicley.

S - It is kind of cold when i first started but as it warms up it smell like a nice blend of chocolate, roasted coffee, and some crisp hops. A very even blend and certainly very enjoyable.

T - Once again an even blend of coffee and roasted chocolate, but there is a slight cardboardish flavor. There is a slight red wine vinous flavor and some plum. Slightly skunkish. Probably a factor of it being in a clear bottle and getting light struck.

M - Very viscous and has a slight old beer sharpness to it. The bitterness is in the end but there is something else there that makes it feel old.

D - Im sure if this is fresh it is probably unbelieveable, but maybe this bottle is old.

Photo of shererjt
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured an opaque black with just a bit of ruby redness peeking in. Very well carbonated with a thick, long-lasting brown head. Nose was molasses, brown sugar, and fruit with an underlying roastiness. Had a bit of alcohol as well. Full body; rich and syrupy. Molasses and roasted malts up front with a very firm bitterness below. Whiff of vanilla as well. Really, really flavorful but not for the weak-hearted! Mouthfeel was quite pleasant and all an imperial stout should be. Drinkability as well; not something that you'd drink a gallon of, but one of the tastier beers you'll find anywhere.

Photo of gatorsuf1
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a nice tan head. The lacing is incredible. Smells like dark cocoa and roasted espresso. This tastes amazing. So rich and sweet. Definitely a lactose type taste is coming through, like a milk stout. Still has the coffee and chocolate flavors, and there is also a hint of soy sauce. Carbonation is on the low side. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy, yet so smooth. This would be the perfect Imperial Stout if the ABV was a little higher. Another great beer from Sam Smith!

Photo of warriorsoul
3.92/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Solid black color with less than a half a finger of tan head...most disappears within minutes and leaves very little lacing.
Very nice scents of sweet, dark chocolate, port and rum soaked raisins.
Taste is well balanced...a roasted malt sweetness lingers on the pallet with much delight. Nice chocolate profile in the flavor with espresso beans too. At just 7%, the alcohol is well hidden.
Mouthfeel is above average but the carbonation could be a bit less for me.
Very easy drinking here...honestly, the first time I have had this one...will pickup more in the near future.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,340 ratings.