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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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3,225 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,225
Reviews: 1,655
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.51%
Wants: 151
Gots: 224 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,225 | Reviews: 1,655 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Franchise
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours pitch black, and leaves a thick tan head that stick to the sides of the glass. The smell is chocolate, toffee, alcohal but not overpowering, and a very faint plum essence. The taste is very smooth....it has a great hoppy finish and starts with a bittersweet chocolate vinos taste on the palate. This beer is very good one that I will frequent for many times to come.

Franchise, Dec 04, 2005
Photo of wingnutter
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick, tasty brew. Pours jet black with a tight, thick head.

Smell reveals alcohol, coffee, caramel/toffee, chocolate....Let this badboy warm up a bit to get the full release of flavors. This was my 1st imperial stout and one I revisit every so often.

Smooth, easy to drink, and hearty. Anyone who likes Imperial Stouts must try this one. Recommended.

wingnutter, Dec 02, 2005
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fantastic. My mantra of buying local, drinking local sometimes prohibits me from experiencing one of the true originals. IMO, there is something about an "original" that is hard to beat.

Dark body, wispy white head that upon dissipation flawlessly navigated to the rim of the glass.

From a good foot away I was catching wafts of roasted cherries, toffee and a mixture of walnuts and almonds. Its taste did not differentiate very much, unbelievably roasty, toasty and full of goodness.

A fantastic offering from the brewers across the pond. A nice sipper on a late fall New England evening.

FLAbeergutinMASS, Nov 30, 2005
Photo of masikon
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Being a lover of all stouts I was excited to try this offering, considered one of the best. Upon pouring I wasn't dissapointed... a deep brown bordering on black with a thick healthy looking head which I had to take action on before it overflowed. Head stuck around nicely, very thick and heavy head with a chewy texture. Smell was delightful with all the traditional coffee and chocolate notes one could ask for. smooth mouthfeel with flavors that change every second on your toungue, transitioning from chocolate milk to mocha to coffee and leaving your mouth with a great nutty aftertaste which invites you to drink more. The only real detractor for me was the mouthfeel which struck me as a little watery with a bit too much carbonation than I would like in my perfect stout, nonetheless one of my favorites.

masikon, Nov 28, 2005
Photo of palma
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I thought this beer was supposed to be best in its class. Not so IMO.
Right off the bat, this beer is a little thin, and over carbonated.
The flavor is strong dark malts and roasted coffee. Nice, but just too tangy of a finish. A good bitterness yes, but the tangyness and the let-down mouthfeel just does not make this a great beer.
A decent imp stout, and that's about it.

palma, Nov 28, 2005
Photo of Blakaeris
3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep black with a large frothy tan head that leaves thick lacing.

Aroma is of hearty dark malts, coffee, and some slight astringent alcohol.

Taste is similar to the smell, dark malts and coffee. Additionally there is some hints of earthy flavors and a very nice dry bitterness to the finish.

Mouthfeel is thick and full as a stout should be.

I feel this a classic example of a no frills double stout. There aren't any additional flavors to distract from the experience. I will definitely drink more of this brew.

Blakaeris, Nov 28, 2005
Photo of russpowell
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Black inky body that allows no light to penetrate. Huge brown/mahagony head that retains a 1/'2" head and lacing all the way down the glass.

Smell: Malt, Coffee, Alcohol, & toasted grains

Taste: Toasted grains, licorice, coffee, bitter choclate, and hops bittereness in the tounge

Mouthfeel: Damn, talk about smooth, great balance and carbonation.

Probably gets less respect these days becuase of much more potent Imperial Stouts & doubles out there, but pretty dang tasty to me.

russpowell, Nov 27, 2005
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
2.88/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours black with burgundy highlights with a creamy dark tan head that dissipates quickly.

Smells like sour caramel and smoke.

Tastes like tangy coffee and cough syrup. Finishes with a medicinal sourness. When it warms a bit (as it took so long to stomach it) some hazelnut flavors introduce themselves.

Mouth feel is creamy with small carbonation.

Yuck. I tried drinking this slowly to pick out all of the flavors. I tried gulping it and also I tried letting my mind wander so I could surprise myself with a sip. Either way, this was just not an enjoyable beer. I’ve found a lot of British stouts to be a bit sour, but this is down right un-pleasant. This tastes more like a porter or brown ale, so based off of rating by style, this beer misses the mark.

DarkerTheBetter, Nov 26, 2005
Photo of Koolbreeze2
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance-Nice dark creamy stout. Nice head with great color.

Smell-Rich smell with a hint of alcohol. Made my nose feel good. No thin odor.

Taste-Great taste. A true stout. Molasses? Sweet and bitter. Had this after Thanksgiving dinner and loved it.

Mouthfeel-Excellent.Thick and creamy. Made me want to have another.

Drinkability-Very drinkable. I am asking for this for Christmas.

I love Stouts and this is exceptional. A few of these could sneak up on you. Proceed with caution and thirst. Better than Guinnes but I rate Guinnes higher due to bloodlines and possible visit from dead Grandmother.

Koolbreeze2, Nov 25, 2005
Photo of DrZarkov
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Very dark and rich looking. The head in particular was exceptional looking with a dark carmel appearence.

Smell: Smells very good sort of earthy.

Taste: Toasted grain taste without tasting burnt. Also a bit of carmel and coffee.

Mouthfeel: Superior. One of the smoothest and richest feeling beers I have ever tried. Creamy and thick.

Drinkability: Definitely one of the top 10 beers I have ever had. Going to have to take some of these home to the family to try for the holidays.

I actually tried this beer only because it had a high rating on Beer Advocate. Massive props to BA for steering me towards this amazing brew!

DrZarkov, Nov 20, 2005
Photo of KarlHungus
4.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This brew pours a magnificent black color. The two finger head is creamy and light tan in color. The lacing is thorough. The aroma screams of chocolate and cream. The taste is light for a imperial stout, but still great. Chocolate, cream, and more chocolate. The mouthfeel is slighly lighter than full bodied, and the carbonation is ample. Overall, this is a great brew.

KarlHungus, Nov 16, 2005
Photo of Absumaster
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pitchblack, like treacle, small foam layer with mocca color
Smell: coffee, burned, nice complex smell
Taste: maltbitter, caramel, complex, dry, mild, bitter, coffee somewhere in the back
Aftertaste: dry, mildly burned, maltbitter
This one was a very good beer, but I prefer it too be a little more sweet and more burned.

Absumaster, Nov 15, 2005
Photo of Melchizedek
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Yum, yum, yum... pours black with the barest hint of light coming through at the very edges of the glass, with a light brown head that settles to an eternal cap.

Powerful aroma up front of alcohol and dark fruit, toffee and honey; in the mouth, this is complemented by a velvety, rich mouthfeel. There are more bitter and mineral notes in the flavor, and the roasted grains show themselves as well; in the background are some lingering dark chocolate, vanilla and spice.

This is just outstanding. Wonderful special occasion beer, I'd say. Don't pass it up.

Melchizedek, Nov 14, 2005
Photo of loving44
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I have been waiting a long time to try this beer and I was not disappointed when I finally did!

The beer poured dark black and heavy with a tall 2-3 inch creamy off-white mocha head.

The first thing that hit my nose with I smelled this beer was alcohol; almost like a wine. This then gave way to rich roasted notes.

The taste of this stout was incredible. Very complex with a robust roasted chocolate and prune start and a light, fruity, tangy finish. It makes you want more!!

The mouth feel blew me away... think and chewy, it really coats your mouth and was very, very nice.

I could drink quite a few of these at once, this beer is so delicious and not over-powering. This is one of the best Imperial Stouts I have ever had.

loving44, Nov 14, 2005
Photo of ccm414
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured beautifully with a 3 finger head that left an awesome lace across the top of the beer. it is darker than dark with no light coming through. it smells of chocolate and a bit of plum aromas. the taste is lightly sweet and almost some qualities of a good red wine with notions of an earthy taste that also leaves a nice feeling on the pallet. i thoroughly enjoyed this beer. i would recommend to everyone. A+

ccm414, Nov 14, 2005
Photo of zjungleist
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is more or less totally black, with rather dark head like coffee with just a little cream. Initially I got a lot of chocolate out of the nose, but it expanded into dark fruits and slight alcohol scents. The taste definitely has some fruit in it, with raisins mostly, and also complex and bitter roasted malts. It has a rich and velvety feel, with just enough carbonation to keep it from being oily. This has a high drinkablity, with only 7%, but is certainly flavorful enough to be satisfying.

zjungleist, Nov 13, 2005
Photo of sevineyes
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a clear bottle with a white label displaying a few awards.

A: Black. Light barely gets through anywhere. Poured with a thick, toast-colored head. Nice lacing.

S: Malty aroma with complex chocolate and roastiness. A frutiness comes through like ripe plum skins or dates.

T: What a nice complexity. Big roasted malt for a great, deep sweetness well balanced by touches of coffee and chocolate bitterness. A lot more fruit presence than coffee or chocolate though. Prune, rasin and a hint of alcohol give way to a closing dryness and great lingering roasty bitterness. Really well balanced and smooth.

M: Full, thick and creamy.

D: Very drinkable considering the complexity, but easy to get lost in the flavor kick this has. Could easily drink too many before realizing it.

Overall: What a great beer. Definitely falls into the "great" category for me. Every aspect of this stout is so smooth and well crafted and rich in flavor it's easy to get lost in. From opening the bottle to finishing the pint flavors and aromas change some as well making the experience even better.

sevineyes, Nov 12, 2005
Photo of atigerlife
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance is black. Small brown head.
The smell for me was the most unusual. A strong dark soy sauce smell kept coming through. Also some malt and molasses. Dark chocolate.
The taste was of dark chocolate with some roasted malts. Some hints of coffee. A mild bitterness adds to a very rich character.
A decent mouthfeel. Somewhat creamy. Rather light with moderate carbonation cleansing.
Overall, an interesting beer I will certainly try again. Rather complex. I drank the first half by itself and it was fine. I then ate some chocolate and this is when the beer really showed its true potential. Much better when eating chocolate. Perfect match.

I've updated this review as I have had more of this wonderful beer: rather strange that I now don't think it goes well with chocolate [like most stouts]. When I had it last night I was yearning for a really good hamburger. Strange.

atigerlife, Nov 11, 2005
Photo of nickss
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Certainly not the first time I've had this brew... but I figured it was time I got around to reviewing it.

Pours an obsidion black with a monstrous chuny beige head. Tremendous chunks of lace cling to the sides.... in one word... gorgeous.

Smells strongly of alcohol, with a certain level of dank mustiness (not in a bad way). Smells of graininess, a bit of oat in the nose, along with a bit of a sweet smell, like that of dark fruit. Nice, and definitely unique.. you only get this scent from Sammy Smith brews.

When it first hits the tongue, there is a certain amount of bitter copperiness. Ive been told that this is due to the water that the beer is brewed, obviously unique to that certain geographical area. That being said, very bready and oat-y tasting. I'm having a hard time nailing down the flavors I am experiencing due to the overwhelming complexity of this brew. Definitely some sharp mocha notes in the aftertaste. Additionally, some berry in the flavour as well. Very nice, better than I remember.

The mouthfeel is tight and sharp at first, but quickly switches to a thick, mouth-filling libation. A little bit thicker, and it would be perfect.

Very drinkable for an impy stout... only 7% and you can certainly enjoy a few of these before you start embarrassing yourself.

nickss, Nov 10, 2005
Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours black as night with a half inch of tan foam on top. The head stuck around for a minute or so. A small ring around the top of the beer remained after a few minutes, and stuck around for a while.

Aroma: Really nutty with a good bit of chocolate and roast. It is really has a silky smooth malty quality to the aroma that you don’t get with many beers. A bit of floral hops is noticeable as the beer warms a bit.

Taste: Sweet and nutty malt is the first thing to greet you. There are lots of other flavors in here, and to be honest, I am having a hard time identifying all of them. I think that it is a characteristic of the hops and the yeast the Sam Smiths uses because it is in their other beers also. The beer stays balanced firmly toward the sweet the entire time, and finishes with a slightly metallic and slightly bitter finish which I believe is more from the roast malts than the hops. As the beer warms a bit, it is gaining a black cherry note to the flavor, and you can notice the hops a lot more.

Opinion: Now this is different among Imperial Stouts…especially coming in at a “paltry” 7% ABV. You can’t put this beer beside Great Divide’s Yeti, or Stone’s Russian Imperial, and expect the same beer, even though all three are on the top 100 at this time. This one depends almost entirely on it’s depth of malt to give it flavor, while the American varieties have a lot of hops to obscure the actual effect of the roast malts. This is a fabulous beer, but is a little different than its American cousins.

SkeeterHawk, Nov 10, 2005
Photo of connecticutpoet
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer was an extremely dark reddish-brown brew with a very small head, but one that persisted and left some good lacing.

Aroma was of strong roasted malt, some bittersweet chocolate notes thrown in underneath. I would love to smell the brewhouse when this is being made.

Flavor was very strong, incredible roasted malt flavor dancing over the tongue. There was a hint of mustiness, which may have been misperception just because of the strength of the flavors. Some bittersweet chocolate came through, and some hop bitterness was also apparent. The flavor of the alcohol came through, and unusually I detected a bit of saltiness that was not at all unpleasant.

Mouthfeel was full and creamy-smooth. Very good body, quite chewy... it supported all that flavor well.

Drinkability was very good... but I think the flavor was so strong it would limit me in how much of this I could consume before being burnt out. One bottle was enough at one sitting, I was ready for lighter fare.

connecticutpoet, Nov 07, 2005
Photo of mattviator
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I didn't realize that the bottle was clear until I poured it. Pours straight black with a good tan head that leaves a good lacing. Smell is somewhat sweet with roasted chocolate and coffee. Taste is incredible. Strong roasted creaminess with bittersweet chocolate. Alcohol taste is very well hidden and has a sweetness to it. Slightly woody finish. Creamy and rich feel and I loved drinking it and wanted more. Perhaps this is my favorite stout.

mattviator, Nov 07, 2005
Photo of Matthew
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out of the bottle black as night with a nutty brown head.
This beer's aroma is so incredibley pleasant. Walnutty, sweet, oak type aroma, creamy, aromas i just cant quite put my finger on.
Considering this beer is is an imperial stout its very well balanced and hides its 7 % alcohol content almost too well. Its incredibley smooth, creamy, and has a very rich sweet nutty taste up front. A slight chocolate flavor is also present. The aftertaste is just barely less creamy with a warming character. Mouthfeel is heavy and slightly sticky and fits the rest of its characteristics. Great beer.

Matthew, Nov 05, 2005
Photo of edmundfitzoil
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought this one up at Capital Market here in Salem, and I poured it into a standard pint glass.

The beer poured a straight black with a thick, 1" of tan colored head. The aroma was of coffee, chocalate and some dark, hinting fruitiness. The flavor began with roasted flavors and finishes with a very nice hop bitterness along with the alcohol bite there as well. Sammy's Imperial Stout is a full bodied brew with a creamy texture, but it's incredibly drinkable with a very nice, complex taste. This is one beer whose reputation has well preceded its drinking. Highly drinkable and a true pleasure.

edmundfitzoil, Nov 05, 2005
Photo of Px2GrafX
3.4/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

presentation: 12oz. thin CLEAR bottle with a white overly decorated label. gold foil on the neck and over the crown. logo at top with ancient gold medals displayed. "contractors to her majesty's forces" below the logo. another diamond logo in the center of the label over "imperial stout" in a diamond cut font. "bottled at yorkshire's oldest brewery est. 1758". 7% abv displayed. no freshness date.

appearance: pours a nice black with no real highlights in a stein mug. head is a nice inch and a half light tan. tight with good retention and lacing down the glass.

smell: vinous and a tad sweet. molasses and dark fruits like prunes.

taste: again vinous with grapes and a roasted malt flavor. chocolate and prunes and raisins. touch of coffee, but the coffee and chocolate aren't nearly as flavorful as in other impy stouts. grapes, prunes and other dark fruits dominate here. finishes a touch sweet and roasty. aftertaste is wine and dark fruit.

mouthfeel: light crisp and clean mouthfeel almost like that of a porter. not as thick as i expect from an impy stout. rolls and swallows smoothly with light carbonation.

drinkability: fairly drinkable with an easy mouthfeel and no hindering alcohol. but the vinous flavors slow me a bit.

overall: i've had this once before and didn't like it very much. at least not nearly as much as others. i've never had it since thinkin' i'd try it again later when my palate's more experienced, and what can i say? i'm still not a fan. i don't like wine very much and the very first flavor i get is wine. it's also a tad thin, even coming from england. a must try as this is a classic, but i'm one of the few who won't be rating this very high.

Px2GrafX, Oct 30, 2005
Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,225 ratings.