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 Pegasus
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Utterly black in color with a large, dense, and persistent tan head, and thick, patchy lacing, quite magnificent in appearance.

Aroma: Dark fruits dominate the aroma, with lesser notes of spiced rum, molasses, earth, and vanilla.

Taste: Opens with toasted malt, and a strong earthy note. Coffee and bitter chocolate soon follow, with a pronounced alcohol note. The finish is dominated by earth and toasted malt, as well as a slight and lingering herbal bitterness.

Mouth feel: Rich, smooth, soft, and very full.

Drinkability/notes: A truly spectacular beer, more than worthwhile for anyone who appreciates fine beer.

Presentation: Packaged in a custom twelve ounce clear glass bottle with a pop-off crown, served in a standard pint tap glass.

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

"Contractors to Her Majesty's Forces"

Pours a nice coffee color with a half-inch brown head with some staying power. Aroma is red wine, sweet syrup, dark black malt. Light lacing as it goes down.

Taste is dark and rich, a mix of malt and sorghum. Shades of black patent and chocolate malt provide a nice blend of coffee, vanilla and roasty stout flavors. A mild and pleasant bitterness persists to the end of the taste, finishing a little winey with a clean coffee-like aftertaste. No alcohol flavors, nothing off about this brew.

Mouthfeel is medium-heavy, extremely well-balanced. Unlike the recent arms race in Imperial stouts where the trend is to bowl over the taste with everything in a bottle and sky-high ABV, this one is reserved, esteemed, confident in its rank among the newcomers.

The IS to which all others should be measured.

Photo of jmz62565
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This pours a jet black with a large foamy tan head. The smell is very fruity,prunes or raisins? The fruit smell is so strong you can miss the other more subtle aromas,coffee,vanilla,and some chocolate.The taste is a rich creamy.fruity beer.The taste of coffee or chocolate is less in this compared to other Imperials. The m/f is heavy and well balanced with a nice alcohol warmth finish. This is one of the best beers you can find,if you see it,buy it.

Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.88/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - This beer is black. I am sure it is actually dark, dark brown, but I can't see through it anywhere, even next to a bright light. Edit: Very bottom of the glass comfirmed the dark, dark brown hypothesis. Has a nice two finger creamy head that never completely dissappears and leaves attractive thick rings of lacing all over the glass.

S - Molasses, cherries, coffee, a bit of chocolate and elderberries, a slight soy sauce aroma appears, but it isn't potent enough to be repulsive in the least.

T - Faint flavors of cherries, dates, dark chocolate and coffee. A slightly bitter finish that amplifies with time. A tiny bit of alcohol is evident at higher temps. The flavor is shallow compared to the aroma.

M - Thin, smooth and refreshing, but only superficially. Seconds after drinking I became very thirsty again. (Remedy? Don't stop drinking!)

D - Well, it was not difficult to finish the entire 18.7 oz. But this beer is too strong to session and it isn't refreshing enough to complement a meal properly. So it is not that drinkable in practical terms. However, it is tasty! So it is drinkable, because I want another.

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

Sam Smith's Imperial Stout is a slightly more rich and luxuriant brew than its famed Oatmeal Stout, but what it gains over the Oatmeal Stout in flavors it loses in drinkability.

Pours a deep, dark, nearly black color with a nice tan head that lasts a good while but eventually will fizzle out without agitation. This beer is not all that fragrant. It has some fruit notes in the nose, banana and a bit of cherry. The flavor is extradordinarily rich, with a seductive malt base, peppery alcohol, and those light hints of cherry esters. The mouthfeel is slightly watery, at least compared to the Oatmeal Stout (I imagine this is due to the higher alcohol content). This fact, and the high alcohol content, reduce this beer's drinkability for me, but it remains a "treat" type of beer.

I really suggest trying this and the S.S. Oatmeal Stout side by side. They're both excellent beers, for some slightly different reasons, but with enough of the same charms (those exquisite malts) to complement one another.

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

Appearance: Velvety smooth and blacker than black coffee; very thick and opaque. Light brown sugar head with a texture like merengue. Gives the impression of a double chocolate cake.

Smell: Rich, dark chocolate and deep licorice undertones. Some coffee, a bit of caramel, and a mild black cherry aroma. Alcohol is also present. Not the most complex imperial stout, but one of the most alluring I've smelled.

Taste: Heavy licorice taste, a touch of cola. Very flavorful but also quite smooth and subtle; not overwhelmingly or aggressively bitter like some imperial stouts. Excellent chocolate finish, a great brew to serve with dessert.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy and exceptionally smooth. Could be a bit more chewy, but overall, outstandingly pleasant on the palate.

Drinkability: Perhaps the most drinkable imperial stout I've had, well balanced and with an alcohol content of only 7%. Superb.

Photo of musingmonkey
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an oversized wine glass. My excitement to drink this stout proved a little detrimental to the initial experience, as I drank it a little colder than I should have. This affected the head too, I think, or perhaps it requires a more vigorous attempt than I provided, as it was around 1 finger high, and faded quite quickly. The lacing left was thick and sticky. Reminded me of an off-colour, not quite symmetrical spider web.

Smell was of slightly burnt espresso, dark malt, and definite medicinal qualities. The same medicinal taste was present, although greatly subdued. Early on in the drink I decided to try and warm the glass with my hands, and this paid dividends after a few minutes. Sweet, dark toffee/caramel flavours delightfully played off the malt. Quite a complex stout.

A smooth drink, with a substantial but not over the top body, I was more inclined to sip than gulp. I would have to say that this is now my favourite stout.

Photo of Nesued
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: I thought the bottle was actually brown when I received this beer as a gift! From the bottle, the color was of a dark, chocolate color. From the pour, the color was similar with a deep color. Since the bottle of 550ml in size, I poured it into a taller than normal glass that would hold the entire amount. Was stored and poured cold, with the single pour providing a head about two fingers in depth.

Smell: Similar in aroma to most stouts, would not have been able to pick it out from a crowd.

Taste: A very typical stout flavor with rich mocha and chocolate tones.

Mouthfeel: Little carbonation which helps maintain the smooth presentation. A bit of a bite once you begin to work it around your mouth.

Drinkability: A very well-balanced stout that has a defined presence that would make me choose this beer over other stouts if given a choice. Larger (550ml) serving size makes for an excellent "sipping" beer. I poured this beer cold from storage, however allowed it to warm to almost room temp. before sampling. In my opinion, this allowed for a more realistic environment for drinking.

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

Appearance: pours dark brown, almost black, with a beautiful vanilla colored head, beautiful

Smell: the sweetness (sweet coffee smell) cuts through my nose inticing me to take a first sip, while the floral essence of the hops swirls around keeping me smelling more... this smelled really damn good

Taste: hints of caramel and chocolate sweeten this brew but don't over power the taste. a caramel aftertaste stays strong on my palate and makes me think this beer is best for casual sipping

Mouthfeel: like i said before, it ends with a nice/brilliant caramel aftertaste, the beer is sweet and smooth, well balanced, and overall excellent

Drinkability: i couldn't down very many of these in a day, but for a casual sipping beer, this is the one i would choose. stays enticing and the complexity keeps it from getting boring, this is one of my favorite beers

Photo of lpayette
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours basically black. Nice and creamy medium-sized light brown head. Smells of baker's chocolate and freshly roasted malts. Mouthfeel is smooth with the perfect amount of carbonation. Tastes of roasted malts, baker's chocolate, and some coffee notes.

Photo of skillerified
4.7/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Glass turns jet black once the stout finds it's way in. Head is about a finger and a half, tan and creamy looking, and fades to a small cap after a few minutes. Pretty nice lacing on the glass here. Lookin' pretty good.

Wow, what a scent that is. Black licorice, dark berries, medicinal qualities, red licorice, caramel, a touch of alcohol, spices (nutmeg, among others), some earthy tones, a hint of banana even. Where does it end?

Taste starts with a dark roasted malty character, but it's far less then some stouts I've had (pleasantly less, I'd say). Dark berries follow with hints of spice, chocolate, non-citrus fruit (can't quite place what fruit though), gingerbread, and some of the licorice is present too. Pretty tasty overall, but I think I expected a little more based on the aromatic character of this brew.

Nice and creamy with mildly aggressive carbonation. Medium to full bodied. Definitely dry in character. Some sourness in the middle fades to a light, but pleasant bitterness by the finish. Finish is long and strong.

Easily the most drinkable stout I've ever had. Lower alcohol (for the style) actually adds to the drinkability, I think. More alcohol could overpower some of the flavor and throw off the balance. As it is now, this is an exceptionally well-balanced beer.

Photo of jtell
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours a dark blackish color with a one finger tan head. Smells are roasted malt and sweet. Not overly sweet though. Hint of coffee on the back. Taste is very similar to smell. Alcohol is present but not overpowering like some other imperial stouts. Really a good beer. Mouthfeel is a little thinner than I thought it would have been. Drinkability is excellent. Could definitely drink a bunch of these which is surprising for an imperial stout. Really enjoyed this beer and will definitely have it again before the winter is over. Now I will go enjoy the USC - Texas football game and drink a Harpoon IPA.

Photo of MSchae1017
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was tasted from a 550mL bottle in an imperial pint glass.

The beer pours jet opaque black with hints of auburn. It has a foamy head that holds well and laces well. There is a subtle roasted malt smell with hints of hop bitterness. The taste is good with roasted malts balanced nicely with hops. There is excellent thickness with an even carbonation. This is overall a fantastic beer.

Photo of whartontallboy
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out jet black with a medium-sized tan head that held on pretty well. Minimal lacing in the glass.

Big aroma of roasted, almost burnt, malt, espresso, cherries, and a bit of alcohol. European grassy hops bitter the scent as well.

Like the oatmeal stout, the flavor has some wine-like qualities on top of the big roasted flavor and some first-class chocolate and coffee bitterness. The hops really assert themselves nicely without being too dominant. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy.

Overall: Another winner from Sam Smith. Yummy.

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

The definitive Russian Imperial Stout, it all really begins and ends here. Ina market saturated with the 'more - more - more' mentality this brew quietly maintains itselfs steadfastly as the measuring stick by which lesser versions are tried, judged and found to be wanting.

Pours a not quite opaque black in color with just a little bit of color sneaking in around the corners with a airy tan head with good retention. Nose is very nice, incredibly well balanced between a certain dark fruit character with a dry cocoa undercurrent. Taste is impeccable, so well balanced and smooth, many layers going on here. So well crafted that it's easily drinkable and approachable, but still so big and robust without going over the top. Mouthfeel is medium as the style goes, but so well evened out that it's hardly a problem. So very drinkable.


Photo of DaveFL1976
3.78/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a jet black colour with only the faintest amount of light visible at the bottom edges of the glass. The frothy, tan head takes forever to settle down. When it finally dies down,it leaves a sticky lacing and your nose is greeted with a warm combination of caramel, roasty chocolate and alcohol. Upon forst tasting I'm noticing the silky smoothyet slightly creamy mouthfeel.
Malty, malty. Chocolate, caramel and an obvious alcohol taste meets your tongue. The aftertaste is dry and chocolaty. The bottle is dated June 2004, and I picked it up in West Australia, so who knows what sort of conditions it endured during the past year and a half. Having said that, the alcohol is not hidden well at all. At "only" 7-percentalcohol, it tastes awfully harsh. I can think of a few 7+ percent stouts that hide the alcohol much better. It's a good beer, but not as good as I'd hoped. I'm a huge fan of Sam Smith's Oatmeal Stout and hoped to be equally impressed.

Photo of abcsofbeer
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the traditional clear bottle from SS. The color is a darkest brown with no transparency. The head is bubbly and light brown in color; about a 1/2 inch high. The head dissipates to a thin crown and leaves no lace.

The aroma is very special with this beer, and, it hits you as soon as you pop the top. The smell is medium to full bodied malt with sweet caramel aroma too. There are some strong hints of alcohol in the aroma too. The taste is full bodied burnt malts and bitter chocolate. At the top of the glass, the alcohol is strong. There are small hints of nuts and very slight hoppiness that brings the bitterness together.

The alcohol seems to die down a bit as the beer warms. Overall, this is a superior stout.

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

poured a dark black with some brown highlights and a 1in tan head that hangs around and leaves nice lacing all the way down the glass. Roasted malts in the nose with some mild chocolate. The taste is somewhat sweet..cofee...slight bitterness. A very nice full bodied mouthfeel. For a Imperial Stout this has a high drinkablility for me the alcohol isn't overpowering at all

Photo of tempest
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark ruby, but not quite opaque like a good impy. Nice looking tan head, unfortunately it disappears pretty fast. No lacing, not a bit.

Smells like dark, fruity alcohol and lacks any roasty notes. Tastes is smooth with dark ester qualities. No roasty or smokiness, fairly simple profile and subtle, but still good.

Easy drinking for an impy stout and feels nice. Its a good RIS, but I find this, like I've found some of the other Sam Smith beers, to be overrated. A good beer, but one of the last RIS's I'd choose if I had a good number of choices. There is better, bolder stuff to be found at America's own craft breweries.

Photo of joecast
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours with a huge brown foamy head. letting it sit to warm and settle was the only option. a shade or two darker than the oatmeal.

marvelous aroma. full of honey, figs, and a touch of alcohol. plent more over-ripe stewed dark fruits. juicy.

more dark fruits in the taste. charred malts. now i've never done it, but this is what i imagine an ash tray would taste like. not in a bad way either. and i dont smoke.
this really smooths out as it warms. not a lot of bitterness, but the alcohol keeps the sweetness in check.

my only gripe is the mouthfeel is a bit light. well, quite a bit light, like bordering on watery. otherwise, very happy with it.

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

Wow! What a beer!

Poured a deep black with some garnet hints into a pint glass.

Not a strong aroma, a bit sweet, a bit molassesy (is that a word?)

Tasted some chocolate, some molasses, and some butterscotch? Sweet without being overpowering.

After the great flavor, the there was enough hoppiness to cleanse the palate and leave you wanting more.

An excellent beer. Sweeter than Old Rasputin with a nice, clean finish. A nice balance of hops and malts.

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

This is a classic looking stout with a color as dark as night and a thin cap of creamy tan head. The nose is laced with coffee and toasted malt and has a sweet tone as well. I chose this as the final of my Christmas beers and I'm pretty excited about it.
This beer is heavy and thick to the taste with coffee and roasted nut flavors and a smooth, full finish. This is almost as much a meal as a beer, and crazy filling. I can't get over the creamy, silky texture and finish. For a stout,this is extremely quaffable stuff, I find myself craving more already.
Wow, I can see why this beer is so highly rated:complex, delicious, and easy drinking.

Photo of riversider76
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black with a tan head,that did not disappear. Smell is of roasted malt with a hint of coffee and chocolate. Mouthfeel is fairly thick. Taste is malt and chocolate.Very smooth. Finish is rich with flavor,with just a hint of the alchol. This is a well balanced beer! Excellent!

Photo of indy169
3.48/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A nice looking heady black beer. The smell is rich and heavy as to be expected.
Mouthfeel is a little squirrely for my tastes but in line with other imperial stouts I've tried. Not my favorite variety. I find it strong, thick and unrefined. Flavors of dark chocolate, nutmeg, and coffee dominate.
Don't get me wrong, I love strong beer however this one does not entice me.
One is plenty for a sitting.

Photo of SteveO1231
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aw man This is an awesome beer!

Pours a jet black with an awesome thick foam of tan head on top. Low carbonation.

Huge roasted malt aroma with some delicious smells of dark chocolate, butterscotch, and caramel. Makes my mouth water.

Rich creamy texture, delicious roasted chocolate taste, so damn good! Followed my a dry bitterness of black coffee, burnt caramel/toffee. Nice little kick of alcohol esters in the finish, not too much, but just right.

Most perfect Imperial stout I have ever tasted, so balanced and drinkable. Why did I wait so long to drink you? I enjoyed this beer with some X-mas chocolates, Awesome!


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