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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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3,300 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,300
Reviews: 1,677
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 169
Gots: 265 | 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: 3,300 | Reviews: 1,677 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of yelterdow
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle, served at cellar temperature in the brewery's nonic.

Appearance- Pours a glorious ruby-tinged black into my glass, showcasing a 3½ finger light tan head that crackles serenely into itself. Beautifully unassuming, yes, that is the way I will describe the appearance. Lacing is reserved to several small patches.

Smell- An English display of molasses, chocolate, and muted alcohol... a pleasure indeed. Full and heavy, yet clean and brisk... almost a paradox. A sweetness, most likely from the malts, hovers and carries the aroma's body. Very nice.

Taste- Uniquely its own... there really is no mistaking Sam Smith's for any other Imperial Stout. First, the water used here is obviously a contributing factor in the clean, cutting character of the initial taste. The malts, combined with the chocolate and molasses notes are light on the tongue, but pack in a pleasing flavor and balance. The lingering finish, both malt-driven and mildly hopped, is tasty and lasting.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Light, prickly, and active enough to tantalize the palate for the next go-around. It works extraordinarily well with the character of the beer, and I love the fact that it's only a 7% ABV... a relatively mild RIS. Drinkability soars because of this, and points shall be awarded. Clear bottle my ass, this is great.

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

Dark black. Completely opaque. Large dark tan head. Slow to dissipate and lots of clingy lacing.

Dark coffee, milky cream, and the scents of a freshly plowed field.

Roasted malt and coffee flavors. A hint of alcohol when swallowing but nothing unpleasant. Sweet chocolately flavor flashes in the end before being drowned out by the familiar toasted malt/impy stout character.

This beer is worth all of the hype. Pick this one up if you get the chance.

Photo of IntriqKen
2.81/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured deep amber brown with gorgeous cream colored head that stayed with the brew throughout the glass.
Scents of coffee, bitter chocolate, roasted malts.
Taste was slightly disappointing...more aroma than flavor. Lightly toasted malt flavor and rich mouthfeel of coffee/chocolate.
Aftertaste was .... indescribable....not pleasant...slightly kerosene that stayed a long time.
Maybe an older bottle, but I don't think so. I just think I don't care for the aftertaste and prefer a more complex flavor to my stouts.

Photo of scruffwhor
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle.

Appearance- Pours a beige head with good retention, but eventually recedes to a ring of foam around the edges and then nothing. The color is a squid ink black, always apealing to me.

Smell- A appealing mix of sweet white bread, mocha, and heavy cream.

Taste- Starts out with a good balance of creamy roasted malts and very subdued English malts. The finish is more vanillin zucker than anthying. Sweet but very subdued in both its malt and hop flavors.

Mouthfeel- Liquid beer oil. But very smooth, just like the real thing. Although the carbonation can't be seen in this black hole of beer, you can definetly feel it on the back and sides of your tongue.

Photo of goochpunch
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured jet black with a creamy, mocha head. Smells of raisins, chocolate, and slightly of coffee. Alcohol makes itself more present in the nose as it warms. Flavors of dark chocolate and coffee upfront, followed by undertones of kalamata olive. Shortly after, there come strong flavors of Spanish moss and moist, perique tobacco, followed by warming alcohol. Lingering bittering hops in the absolute finish. I am quite taken aback by the complexities here. Mouthfeel is not too heavy, but slick and carbonated enough to pair with the flavors. Coats the tongue nicely.

A very nice imperial stout. Small in alcoholic strength, but has an unmatched flavor profile. Perfect for nights where you don't want to have to commit to a 22 oz. of 10%+ ABV. Samuel Smith wins again.

Photo of Tupperwolf
3.16/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a plumlike dark brown, not quite black, into my imperial nonic, capped with a spongy light tan mocha head. It leaves lots of lacing behind; If you find a bright enough light source, you can see some hints of ruby, but it's mostly opaque.

Let this warm up! Seriously, don't drink it out of the fridge. I have mine set on 0.5 and it is still too cold for most beers, this one included. Before it warms all you'll get is astringency. As it warms, gentle coffee aromas begin to come out, building along with a little bit of caramel and some veggielike greenness.

Coffee with cream, some lemony stout zest - slight smoky roastiness.

An enigma of a mouthfeel - thin for an imperial stout, yet damn filling. It's not 'thin' per se, just compared to a lot of other Impies I've had - smooth, imperceptible carbonation, slight alcohol zest.

All of the Imperial Stouts I've had have been American, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that an honest English version isn't as in-your-face.

Photo of Frozensoul327
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Good Stuff. Pours out to a black as night color with a strong head of about 1/4 inch. Lots of lace inside the glass, and a medium low level of carbonation. Aromas of licorice, full roasted malts, dry grains, some sweet molasses. Taste; full and robust. Flavors of cold coffee, burned malt, some hop notes are present, but pushed to the back of the flavor palate, as more malt and maple elements take control. Wow. Good mouthfeel, very rich and creamy. Like having a sweetened beer brick in your mouth. Very heavy. Pretty darn good drinkability. I'm gonna be back soon. Highly Recommended. My favorite Russian Imperial Stout.

Photo of kgotcher
4.36/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

550 ML bottle, Contractors to her majesty's forces. MUST be good.

Pours incredibly dark, even when held to the light, just a hint of amber will peek through. Amazing. Super thick and creamy (mocha like) head with a brown color. Takes a good 5 minutes to subside and still has a good 1/2 finger left.

Aroma is vanilla, toffee, dark toasted grain, coffee, alchohol (reminds me a bit of an alchoholic coffee drink) very potent overall and a bit sweet. Very full mouthfeel, creamy and dense with a salty finish. Taste is vanilla, burnt malt and coffee, there seem to be many other flavors as well, may need to try this one a few times to get accustomed to the depth of flavor.

Well for my limited experience in Imp Stouts, I would still have to say this is very drinkable. Lots of flavor and a beautiful looking beer.

Photo of gmcfarre
4.63/5  rDev +11%
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
4.94/5  rDev +18.5%
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
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
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
3.77/5  rDev -9.6%
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
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
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
4.04/5  rDev -3.1%
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
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
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 bottle...lol

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
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
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
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
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
4.11/5  rDev -1.4%
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
4.73/5  rDev +13.4%
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
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,300 ratings.