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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout - Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

Not Rated.
Samuel Smith's Imperial StoutSamuel Smith's Imperial Stout

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2,980 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,980
Reviews: 1,637
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.24%
Wants: 123
Gots: 147 | 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: 2,980 | Reviews: 1,637 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Darkale


4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Before I get into the bits and pieces, let me just say, Wow.


Black-brown body, thick tan head that is slow to fade. Aroma is sweet, sort of like deep cocoa from a distance.

Mouthfeel is wonderful, fabulous, and noteworthy. Creamy! Foamy!

The taste starts off like chocolate and ends with hops, with a sour and sweet mix lingering in the aftertaste.

I had been told that this was the grandfather of all imperial stouts, and I concur. A must-try.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2003 17:59:57 | More by Darkale
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black with a real nice creamy head,aroma is of dried fruit and some nuttiness.The taste is a little spicey and nutty with some chocolate undertones a real nice warming beer to drink before bed.This and the Taddy are my favorite Samual Smith ales.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2003 17:34:05 | More by oberon
Photo of beernuts4u


4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Every sip I take makes me like this beer more and more. I had 4.0's across the board until I began to realize how good this beer really is. The nose on this beer has a rare and enticing blend of smoky caramel and robust alcohol, it makes me want to dive right in. The expected taste, however, does not fully portray it's smell. It is a surprisingly easy beer to drink, with complexities of mild yet rich maltiness with a perfect mix of subtle carbonation. The mouthfeel is like silk on the tongue, and it lingers there for a great duration before exiting with a desirable sweetness. It is simply outstanding. I have to sample other quality Imperial's before I move this one into the 5.0 range, but right now, I am feeling a bit guilty that I haven't already done so.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2003 16:07:25 | More by beernuts4u
Photo of kevinl6

South Carolina

4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Whoa!...This is one delicious brew. The bottle had the typical gold wrapping around the top like the other Sam Smith's I've had, and a hypnotizing white label. Poured nice and smooth and appeared jet black in the glass like most good imperials. Very little head on this one. Smelled of coffee and perhaps a hint of chocolate, though neither was overwhelming. Perfect milky smooth mouthfeel, I wanted to 'swish' it around in my mouth before drinking! A lot of flavor and very, very smooth. That Samuel Smith smoothness that I love only complimented the imperial style 'bite' that comes with some of the stronger imperials. I had to go with a 5 on the drinkability on this one, and I rarely give 5s. I did not want to put this one down. Did I mention that it was smooth??!! Alcohol not noticeable until the finish when an ever so slight alcohol warmth caps off a fine, no, very fine brew from Samuel Smith.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2003 00:54:29 | More by kevinl6
Photo of Ellbert


3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer looked amazing. It was pitch black. I poured it into a tall pilsener glass, which was good because it had a huge head that took forever to discipate before I could take a sip. The head simmered down but stayed with a nice layer over the top of the beer.

It had a very roasty sweet smell to it. It was quite pleasant.

The taste was very unique, very roasty and coffy like.It had a sweet taste too. The alcohol was perfect, it was not overwhelming but you could tell it is there.

The mouthfeel was excellent, a nice thick and smooth beer.

This was a very good beer however the ability to have more than one in a sitting would almost be impossible. I guess that is the only problem with Imperial Stouts.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2003 21:06:28 | More by Ellbert
Photo of avylover


4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, dark mahogany red, almost black with a nice tan head. This is one good looking brew. Smell is of a strong english bitter, with tons of british style hopping, and coffee, chocolate smell that is more in the background. taset is good & delicate, with a very buttery mild coffee taste. Creamy butter dominates this brew. It's got a fairly light mouthfeel for a stout that lets the taste linger forever, and believe me this is a good thing. Very drinkable, I could quaff this all night.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2003 01:49:25 | More by avylover
Photo of Rifrafboy


3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours black with little head, but good lacing. Smells wonderful. Taste is of strong roasted malt, with chocolate and coffee present. This is very full bodied, a good "sipping beer". Distinct in the aftertaste is alcohol mixed with sweet burnt coffee. This is an excellent stout, although not in my price range. One word sums it up; WOW.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2003 23:09:11 | More by Rifrafboy
Photo of granger10


4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This has a good overall taste to it and many flavors. But it doesn't knock my socks off like some other imperial's have. Lots of very sweet flavors. Chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, plums and a little bit of malt bitterness (but not enough). Great array of flavors that mix well. Finishes dry and roasted. The body is too thin for this to be an imperial. Don't get me wrong this is a great tasting beer, but it just seems a little weak to be an imperial stout.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2003 07:58:05 | More by granger10
Photo of daledeee


4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I admit I was skeptical. A clear bottle is usually trouble. But this time-no skunk. I trusted everybody else's ratings. This is one fine stout.

I did not chill this much. Probably 55F. Pours absolutely dark with a nice thin head. Pretty tan head about a quarter of an inch thick. More carbonated bite than I expected. Not very dry. Very intense roasted malt flavor. Chocolate and coffee also. Some hops make it through all that in the finish. Believe me there is a lot to taste here, but smooth is the word. Don't pass this up

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2003 15:17:34 | More by daledeee
Photo of jcalabre


3.23/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Originally sampled on 24 June 2002. I am writing this review from my notes. Opaque black w/ a frothy head that settles down quickly, this Imperial Stout has more of the 'coffee' taste than other I.S.'s I've tried. I didn't think that the overall taste was that strong. Also, the alcohol wasn't well hidden. A decent imperial stout, but I prefer others.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2003 21:11:01 | More by jcalabre
Photo of SheepNutz


4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. clear (blah) bottle poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a jet black color with 1 thick finger of light tan foam. There is a slight bit of lacing. The smell is sweet and nutty, full of burnt malt too. The taste is heavy roasted malt with coffee and caramel lingering in the background. There is just a little bit of hops on the back of the tongue for balance. The mouthfeel is thick and very smooth. The drinkability is pretty nice for 7%. The benchmark for all imperials!

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2003 18:05:09 | More by SheepNutz
Photo of euskera

North Carolina

4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

To my thinking, this is the standard against which other Imperial Stouts should be rated. Nice sustained head with a lovely chocolate-brown color. Smell is of malt and chocolate, with a little coffee overtone. Taste is velvety smooth, starts with malt at the front, then the waves of chocolate, molasses, and roasted espresso kick in. Just superb!!

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2003 07:24:04 | More by euskera
Photo of GreatPondBrewer


4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I now know why this is the quintessence of Imperial Stouts. It is finely balanced, sweet and bitter all at the same time. A real treat to drink.It poured jet black except the very bottem where there was a thin sliver of scarlet light. There was a thin, tan, rocky head pearched on top and the lace clung to the sides. Upon smelling my nose immediatly picked up huge, roasty malts and extreme smoked bitterness. The Imperial Stout slunk down my throat coating it with an abundance of flavors. The tip of my tongue was tickled by hop bitterness, which rolled into a heavy dose of sweet chocolate malts balanced with caramel. The taste was rounded out at the end with a chalky, dry aftertaste and a warming alcohol feeling in the back of my throat. The mouthfeel was not extremely heavy as I would have expected and had a tiny bubble carbonation, which delighted my tongue. One question though, why the clear bottle?

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2003 20:00:28 | More by GreatPondBrewer
Photo of longpondbeerman


4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Magnificent! This imperial stout is luscious and smooth and complex. It pours an unfathomable deep brown, but it is neither oily nor viscous. The dark tan head lofts it way upwards tantalizingly and then recedes deliberately into a fine buckskin blanket over the insides of the entire glass. The smell is slightly sweet, molasses and dark cherry balancing the mossy darkness of the stout. But the mouthfeel--it's like a down comforter on a cold, crisp night. And a taste to match--smoked toffee from start to finish with the subtle sweetness emerging from time to time as I savour every sip.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2003 14:36:35 | More by longpondbeerman
Photo of quidquam


4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured slightly chilled and perhaps a bit shaken after being in the back of the car on the drive back from Whole Foods, where the grocer mentioned he had heard this was a great Imperial Stout.

It pours out pitch dark, and has a very nice (and potent) taste. The smell didn't rouse me much, but the beer has a perfect mouthfeel.I was also impressed by the smooth aftertaste. It's much more drinkable than most other bears with this strong of a smokey flavor. I'm not a big fan of this type of beers, but won't hesitate to have another.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2003 14:31:48 | More by quidquam
Photo of DESTRO


4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black with a nice sized tan head. Nice coffee/roasted malt smell. The taste is the shit. Light coffee flavours with a little chocolate, roasted malt, toffee and alcohol added in the mix. Also a bit metallic. Rich medium texture, not too heavy, creamy and just right. the drinkability is awesome since it isn't too strong to put you off flavour wise, and that it has a nice balance of alcohol, enough to warm you up but not so much you have troube finishing your 4 pack. delicious.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2003 11:50:47 | More by DESTRO
Photo of kbub6f

New York

4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bought locally (Grapevine refrigerated shelves), a couple of weeks in my fridge, reviewed 45F-70F.

A medium-small, noisy tan head dies fast giving up thin, uneven lacing. Dark ruby highlights show up on the edges of a black, black beer.

Sweet toffee and molasses dominate the bready, Brit-malt nose. Some grapes show up in the slightly sweet front. The middle is thick, thick, buttery and thick. Toffee sticks around throughout. The finish dries, but it's a little cloying and a little astringent. This is a very good, unique beer that's really a lot better at room temp, where it evens out and becomes the delicious treat it's meant to be.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2003 17:41:18 | More by kbub6f
Photo of BierReise


4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this before several years ago and haven't tried it again until now. Very impressive stout and a sweet surprise. Poured very dark almost black with short but tight tan head. Smell of roasted malt and usual english hop nose. Feels like velvet on my tongue and one of the smoothest stouts in recent memory. Taste is malty and rich with chocolate and roasted malt prevailing. Great to the finish.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2003 15:04:22 | More by BierReise
Photo of irishmoss


4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow, what a great Imperial Stout. I mean this is what I've always imagined. Amazingly dark body with brown head. Sweet malty base is balanced with chocolate, coffee, and hopped up undertones. This is both sweet and crisp. The lower alcohol percent gives you a chance to drink the entire four-pack without same effects of a 10% Imperial Stout.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2003 11:47:12 | More by irishmoss
Photo of clvand0


2.73/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a very dark color with a dark medium head. The aroma is full of scents of alcohol as well as some chocolaty malts. The taste is of burned malts and licorice and the alcohol is not extremely well masked as well as very dry tasting. The dry and burned malt stick around in the aftertaste. This beer is fairly easy to drink for an imperial stout, but not being a fan of imperial stouts, I would not have more than one.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2003 20:29:21 | More by clvand0
Photo of Loki

North Carolina

4.53/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This wonderful brew pours a deep, dark brown. So dark it is nearly black. The deep brown color is wonderfully complemented with a thick, fluffy, creamy, biege head that tasted nearly the entire beer. Aromas of malt, chocolate, and coffee waft from the nose. The nose leads the blessed drinker to tastes of coffee, chocolate, malt, and hints of caramel. There are also delicate hops to even out the flavor and leave a slight bitterness like that of a mild coffee.

My only two wishes with this beer were that my palatte and nose were more developed to detect more delights hinden inside this brown treasure chest and that I didn't have to drvie two hours each way to get this wonderful beer.

I have a new favorite brew and Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout be thy name!

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2003 06:04:48 | More by Loki
Photo of Tballz420


4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Re-review on the basis that my original analysis was horseshit.

This brew is completely black with some slight brown hues coming through when held to the light. Large, creamy brown head maintains its shape for quite some time. Thick sheets of lace line the glass. Roasted and sweet chocolate malt nose. Sweet chocolate malts dominate, some roasted characteristics, alcohol well hidden, virtually unnoticeable. Chewy soft mouth. Excellent stout.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2003 11:52:40 | More by Tballz420
Photo of 86MonteSS


4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I'm not exactly sure who Samuel Smith was, but if he didn't achieve sainthood, I'm perplexed. This brewery can't go wrong, and Imperial Stout is certainly its flagship. This is everything imperial stouts aspire to be, and it's why I put all my faith in the English when it comes to beer.

This was the one that slapped me in the face and opened my eyes to all the others.

Bold yet balanced taste with a perfect lace, this is the quintessential stout. A bitter coffee taste lays the foundation while a gentle sweetness oversees.

While there are "better crafted" beers out there, nothing is better-rounded than Sam Smith's Imperial Stout.

Realizing the bottle was clear after perceiving it as amber ranks way up there in terms of the coolest moments of my life.

If I was an old man, I'd want Samuel Smith to marry my daughter.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2003 00:04:40 | More by 86MonteSS
Photo of ecoboy

Rhode Island

4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So many subtleties. So little time.

Dark, almost oily pour gives a suprisingly long-lasting tiny-bubble head. Rich roasty aroma that belies the alcohol content. Surprising as well, the mouthfeel is not American "big" but refined. The tiny bubble quality does not overpower the mouth, but allows for sipping reminiscent of a sherry. Lingering prune aftertaste makes me stop questioning the Raison D'Etre that Dogfish brewed.

Does not in any way need food to complete the experience, but my initials: Would unquestionably dance a tango with sharp cheese or brie. Must be that oily sensation. I don't eat chocolate, but I can assume that German chocolate cake with dark cherries would also run with this.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2003 20:11:40 | More by ecoboy
Photo of BeerResearcher


4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the beer that got me writing beer notes about 8 years ago. This excellent Imperial Stout is ebony in color with a thick, foamy tan head that leaves behind a shroud of lace. The complex aroma gives pleasing smells of coffee, chocolate, hops and alcohol. The heavy and rich malt provides a luscious, velvety texture. Abundantly hopped with citrus, metallic and tea-like bitterness. Coffee and chocolate press forward as does some molasses sweetness. Noticeable alcohol, but not overdone. Wow!

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2003 07:45:29 | More by BeerResearcher
Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 2,980 ratings.