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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3,269 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,269
Reviews: 1,668
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.51%
Wants: 151
Gots: 251 | 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: 3,269 | Reviews: 1,668 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bonhoeffer
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ahh. Old friend. I bought a couple of these on my first ever out of state beer run. Fell in love back then, and now this is my first sip since. I bought a four pack at Richey's Easy in Pensacola for about $8.40. Excellent price for a most excellent beer. I shall probably hold on to the other three for a while to see where it goes.

I can't say anything that hasn't already been said. You know, jet black. Thick tan creamy head that lingers. Great sort of nutty aroma. Goes down soooo easy. Notes of chocolate, roasted flavors, perhaps a hint of cherry. I don't really notice the hops, but i know they are there to balance everything out.

Kind of entertaining that the label mentions awards given to the beer in 1896 and 1930.

Complex. Rich. A masterpiece.

Photo of hyuga
4.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours jet black under a darkish tan head that's not too dense.

Aroma of dried figs, dates, and sweet molasses. Faint dark cherry-wood in the background. Amazing complexity.

Burnt molasses on the tongue at the front, followed by plum and cherry with a hint of roasted grain. Fig laced with alcoholic sweetness linger through the finish. Very pleasant leafy hop aftertaste. Thick and biting mouthfeel. Leaves the tongue tingling.

This is an amazingly drinkable imperial stout. I haven't had this beer in a very long time and I find it even better than I remember it. All-around goodness. Low alcohol so you can have a few in one sitting, and it's as complex and satisfying as just about any 9%+ imperial stout.

Photo of dirtylou
3.63/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

this single bottle was purchased on the first day of legal high grav beer sales in North Carolina from Brawley's in Charlotte. I had seen this thing around in the midwest but I am guilty of not buying it because of its rather low abv.

appearance: very dark as expected, foamy light brown head, not incredible lacing. as it poured i noted it looked a little thin for the style

smell: roasty, light caramel, slight earthiness. nothing too special in the nose, just standard imperial

taste: reminded me of their oatmeal a little bit, Samuel Smith beers have this common "trait" that I cant really put my finger on. slight dark coffee, mild cocoa, pretty sweet, raisin, plum. Not terribly exciting in general

mouthfeel: rich and smooth, too thin for my taste though

drinkability: goes down easy

Photo of BeerBeing
4.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: bottle, 12 fl.oz, clear, custom, "Samuel Smith" pressed twice around neck, "bottled at yorkshire`s oldest brewery est. 1758" pressed around bottom, gold foiled neck, gold-on-white label, no fresness date.

Appearance: "very" black, no light can get thru, very large head of long lasting brown-colored foam.

Smell: sweet fruitiness, molasses, coffee, hint of bitter chocolate

Taste: rich, full body, medium mouthfeel. Coffee, raisins, light chocolate, black cherry (?)

Notes: Sole US distributor - Merchant du Vin

Photo of andjusticeforale
4.65/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours out of the bottle into big and dark with a gray tan two finger head that settles to 1cm after 2-3minutes.

There is not much to speak of in the way of aroma, perhaps some malty mocha-chocolate with a bit of smokiness. More comes out after the tasting.

Upon first sip I don’t think I was ready for this black and ominous liquid to be so smooth. There are obvious coffee notes upfront; some cocoa, and through the middle is a subtle astringent bitterness that is really quite fascinating. There is a pervasive coffee taste, but there is a sweetness behind this flavor that almost hints of smoky flavorful wood. And a bitterness.

The finish is dry. The mouthfeel is huge, and there is an uncanny perfect amount of carbonation here. It holds the stout “together” and provides vast drinkability. Any less carbonation would change the whole texture, any more would contradict the style. As for this huge beer, there is still supreme drinkability, and even if Imperial Stouts are not on your menu- this is a must try. I wouldn’t pair this with any weak foods, no mild cheese and crackers or fish and chips. This one deserves a porterhouse, or rather, a steak and kidney pie?

Photo of mentor
4.9/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle obtained from Superior Liquor (Colorado) and consumed about a week later (July 2005). Pours a one-finger almond brown head over a pitch black liquid. A little bit of dark rbuy red edging when held to light. Smells cherry sour, roast, and underlying caramel. Tastes delicious...oh my! Chocolate, roast, sour, caramel, currant, raisin, blueberry, prune. Imagine a dense chocolate raisin rum cake, the weight of which has a buttery brown sugar syrup almost tearing out the sides, but nothing quite collects on the plate. Some beers flash a certain flavor before it bows and leaves the stage for some other flavor to shine in the spotlight. Not this beer...this beer holds each flavor throughout the taste. Each rising and mixing with other flavors and never quite going away before merging with some other flavor. A delight to pull each draw and ponder each aftertaste. No gulp is a repeat of a previous..there's alot going on and I seem to focus on different wonderful qualities during each taste. Plus, a wonderfully thick smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Carbonation is mild and tinkers the thick hanging on my tongue. I think this helps some flavors remain fruity and pleasant so that the beer isn't overly heavy. Lacing on the inside of the glass defines the level the liquid sat after each gulp. There is still a thinlayer of head on top of the beer. What an amazing selection.

Photo of Dukeofearl
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

roma is a nice creamy chocolate, with just a faint hint of roasted bitterness

Flavor is quite nice- more bitterness than the aroma, definite chocolate, some espresso beans, and a definite alcohol/op bite at the end. A little off at the end. But overall very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is decent, but actually a slight bit on the thin side.

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

500 mL bottle with no freshness date - served slightly chilled in a goblet. Pours an inky black with slight red tinges when held to the light and it's topped with a 1/4" brown head that is fizzy and leaves little lacing but never completely goes away. The aroma consists of green apples that are sour/tart, chocolate, coffee, anise, some dark fruits and a bit of alcohol. The taste is identical but with some green hops and a nice bitterness from the hops and roasted malts. The body is medium to full with a medium carbonation and the drinkability is high for an imperial stout. Delicious. Paired well with chocolate cream oreos.

Photo of palliko
4.78/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is absolute black, with a massive head of coffee colored foam that clings to the glass forever. Aroma has a smorgasbord of fruits, lactose, molasses, chocolate, black coffee and ethanol. Initial taste is incredibly complex! There is so much going on! It tastes like the best Starbucks macchiato with caramel; plus citrus/floral hops, smoke, chocolate, dried fruit, and Lord knows what else! I think I will just savor the experience.

Photo of ommegangpbr
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It's about time I tried this sucker.
It's rich and delicious.
This is probably the easiest to find for me of the world class stouts out there and I am glad for it.
The "lower" alcohol content and smooth flavors make this stout outrageously drinkable.
Lots of deep, smooth coffee and chocolate gluttony to be found. The hops are used just enough so that the sweet flavors do not become cloying.
Others have gone into great detail as to all that can be found in this bubbly black nectar so I'll just chime in with- if you are jonesing for a stout this will set you at ease and leave you with a smile on your face.

Photo of RedwoodGeorge
2.8/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

I'm a big Samuel Smith fan so I'm rather surprised at how disappointed I am in this stout...

The pour is promising enough - dark, dark amber with a thin tan head. I wouldn't expect much carbonation with this style and wasn't surprised when the head died down quickly leaving very little lacing along the glass.

The smell is promising enough - plenty of notes of caramel, coffee and a roasted aroma that you'd expect.

The taste was rather one-dimensional. While there were hints of roasted grain in there, this was primarily a treacle and prune drink (which isn't really a good thing) The brew was just shy of being overpoweringly sweet with an overbearing molasses taste accompanied by an equally strong flavor of plums, prunes and raisins. There was very little hops to compliment the thick, sweet flavors leading to a very unbalanced brew.

Mouthfeel was the highlight of the beer - it was almost velvety smooth. Carbonation was low as per the style but if they'd added a few more hops to dry out the palate it would have been near perfect. There was an oily residue left on the tongue but that's to be expected of a heavy stout.

I'm not sure I've rated a beer a 2.0 before but "not impressed" is exactly how I'd describe my experience. I'm a big fan of Samuel Smith's brewery and adore their oatmeal stout so I'm very surprised at how unexciting this brew is. It's heavy bodied and high in alcohol but I was hoping for something more...

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.68/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass black with an amber highlight. The head was tan and frothy, but fell like a rock. The head did lace the glass.

The aroma was chocolate and coffee and molasses melded with caramel. The chocolate and coffee were slightly vinous and coupled with dark fruits, mainly plums and prunes with raisins.

The flavor was much less exciting than the aroma. The flavor was chocolate, but mainly coffee and more precisely black patent malt flavoring leading to a slight burnt and dark caramel flavor. The fruit complexity of the aroma was missing in the flavor, however raisins and slight plums were still slightly present.

The finish was dry with lasting black patent, chocolate and coffee flavors that lasted almost too long into the aftertaste. The body was medium to almost medium full. Dunno why this one doesn't take the cake, but it doesn't. A good brew, but not world class for me.

12 ounce bottle. I purchased this one at George & Sid's in Bristol, VA.

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

330ml bottle bought from the Vineyard Belfast

Pours a very dark brown / black colour. Head is full and pours with a light, slightly dirty, brown colour – doesn’t last very long…

Aroma – sweet, slight smokiness, roasted malt, slight hint of liquorice, some chocolate also..

Taste – sweet, strong dark coffee, slightly bitter, some vanilla…

Mouthfeel – quite rich but not too heavy.. very smooth.. extremely drinkable..

Overall – Another excellent brew from Samuel Smith… a fine imperial stout..

3.88/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance of this Imperial Stout was black with a little dark brown around the edges at top. The head was very small and beige in color and disappeared altogether quickly. There was no lacing left.
The smell was sweet and full of roasted malt goodness. A slight fruity aroma was apparent in the background.
The taste was also sweet and a little nutty. A nice roasted flavor with a hint of vanilla. Just the slightest bit of hop bitterness. After the beer warmed a little I tasted some chocolate notes in the mix
Sam Smith's I.S. is smooth and creamy with a nice mellow, long, sweet aftertaste. A fine English Imperial Stout.

Photo of Billolick
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce clear bottle, Pours deepest of mahogony, ruby highlights at the edges. Active expresso froth colored head, showing good retentive powers. This one leaves blotchy thick and sticky lacing. Nose is coffee, dark chocolate, alcohol and dark malts. Heady, strong, flavorful Impy stout. Notes of more chocolate, lots of burnt coffee, vanilla, burnt fruits and grains, smoke. Bold flavors, but still somewhat subdued and subtle, basically this is still British style and its not over the top. World class sipper. A must for stout lovers

Photo of bashiba
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a jet black with dark brown highlights and a 1/2 inch of dark brown head.

Smell is dominated by Dark Bitter Chocolate flavors, heavy molasses, and a touch of anise.

Taste is great, heavy coffee and bitter chocolate flavors dominate with the anise flavor peaking through as well in the finish.

Mouthfeel is heavy and creamy just like you would expect, the decent abv gives it a nice warming on the way down. Very pleasant.

Drinkability is very good on one of the truly great stouts out there.

Photo of cracgor
4.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours completely black. I see no color around the edges. At the end of the glass when little is left, it appears a dark brown. The head is tan and rocky with plenty of tiny bubbles and carbonation. The head collapses to a sort of blanket of bubbles which remains constant and sticks to the glass.

Smell: Chocolate is the dominant smell. There is a further hint of nut or a creamy/buttery apple type smell to cut the roasted malts.

Taste: A bitter chocolate taste with a little toffee and caramel flavors complimenting it. This really reminds me of a candy bar with all the sugar taken out. The initial impression of the beer in my mouth is sweet followed by the chocolate and caramel flavors. Also, the tastes remind me faintly of toast or charred apples.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Carbonation from the head sticks to my lips.

Drinkability: A very good stout. Probably the best offering from Samuel Smith and one of the best Imperial Stouts available. I look forward to this beer in all types of weather summer or winter.

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

A purposeful pour resulted in almost two fingers of some of the creamiest, maltiest, rocky tan foam that one could imagine. As it sits, slowly collapsing into itself revealing old linen lace, the darkness of the body begins to become evident. Black as night, with the exception of the stem area of the glass, she shows a little leg and it is mahogany.

The nose is really big, with a sharpness of roasted malt as steely as a knife. Deep roasted malts are joined by earth fresh fruit and hops.

Entry is quiet, with barely perceptable carbonation and an instantanious roasted malt chewiness. Midtaste drops an earthy malt bomb on the back of the tongue along with plenty of carmalized sugar. The finish begins at the peak of malt flavor and is escorted by some bery nice hops. Roasted malts play tag with the yeast during the fade, which is long and slow.

Photo of NiceGuyMike
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very dark as it should be. Nice, but limited, amber froth. There is something appealing to me about a dark beer with an amber head. That sounds like an odd thing to write.

Smells of malts and light alcohol and something else I can not put my finger one.

Tastes of dry bitter chocolates and slight coffee flavor. Maltiness kicks in to tie things together nicely. This is a complex one, not to be taken lightly.

This is a heavy brew. Not something I want to sip or drink all night. But an enjoyable sample. I have to admit I like a lighter stout.

Photo of Opethsprite
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

(Review from notes taken at an earlier drinking.)
This beer pours a cola brown color with a thick, tan head. It smells of honey and burnt chocolate with syrup and something that reminds me of...tree bark. All of these smells are revealed in a very complex taste. I also found something spicy in the taste. It fades nicely into a brown sugar taste. This is a VERY good beer. I'd definitely recommend it!

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

Thanks for sharing Gabe, I haven't had this in a few years. It's a treat that takes me back to my earliest good beer memories of sneaking a bottle past my Father and drinking it in the woods behind our house...good stuff.

The color is inky black and capped by a thick and luxuriously dense brown head of tiny bubbles. Lacing is adequate as the beer settles, a veil will remain on the top until the end. It just looks delicious sitting there in my Delirium tulip.

Aromas are dominated by creamy chocolatey malts in all their glory. There are hints of anise, black cherry, plum, raisins, cocoa, and molasses with a delicate floral hop note trailing behind. The very essense of an Olde School RIS is embodied by this aroma.

Everything in the nose translates to the taste. There's creamy chocolate and bittersweet coffee, molasses, dark and jammy fruits, licorice, and a delicate hop finish providing perfect balance. It's every bit as good as it ever was!

The body is wonderfully rich and chewy, with a dense, creamy mouthfeel and very lite carbonation making it even silkier on your tongue. It's texture and mouthfeel are what make this beer a winner!
A pleasure to drink and a great and classic example of the style.

Photo of rousee
4.7/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I think I am in love with the imperial stout style. As I become more and more of a beergeek, this is the one style that taste-wise that does the most for me. This past weekend, I had an Oatmeal stout from Heartland in NYC (it had won a few medals) and it tasted like a baltic porter or an impy stout. This one reminds me of theirs. Very nice indeed.

It pours beautifully--its smooth brown but no head-no lace. Doesn't seem to matter though as the nose is almost perfect for the style. Burnt almond and nice tree bark (burch or cedar-maple oak-mix)is what I get.

Tastewise-there is also some slightly vinous dark cherry/plum and a little chocolate and coffee.
The MF is MF'en kick--ass.

What do I got to do to inspire all my fellow BAs to try this fabulous beer ?? Please ??

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

I have a stigma against Sammy Smiths because all of their bottles are clear. I will concede they are a classic producer, but I hold it against them that they violate a simple rule of brewing technique in favor of marketing.

That being said, their Imperial Stout is my favorite offering of theirs. It's roasted, it's bitter, and it's tasty. It pours with a nice head and has a terrific aroma of esters.

I hope I can find this beer on tap someday.

Photo of brewQ
3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The square shouldered clear bottle holds an opaque oil colored elixir that looks medicinal. It pours out black with a rocky bown sugar to toffee head that holds up well on streams of fine carbonation.

A whiff of caramel accompanied by earthy notes welcome me to the complexity of this fine ale. The sweet yet balanced body holds dark fruity flavors and hops only in supporting roles.

This is more enjoyable for me than some of the more monotonous stouts and porters out there.

Quite drinkable, yet a special occasion beer in my book.
Thank you Merchant du Vin.

Photo of twelvsies
4.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Man, this company makes some great brews. Seems as though I discover a brewery and then have to try each of their beers. Sammy Smith has been that brewery recently, along with Fantome. Both great in different ways. This is one of the beers (among several) in their lineup that will now be a permanent part of my "beer rotation." Appears a staunch black color, letting in no light. Smells and tastes are super complex. Lots of different angles coming at me here. First there's a dark fruity component, dried cherries and currants. There's also a nice roasted malt in there and actually a bit of spicy hops that I can definately taste. More odd stuff: milky tones, dust, and a leathery character, like sticking your face in a baseball glove that's been sitting in the sun all day. This beer is almost "funky" in the way that a farmhouse ale might be described, though with out the sour. Really amazing tastes here, very complex once again. Slick warm mouthfeel and the surprises behind every sip make this one a real pleasure to drink. Cheers to Sammy, whoever he may be.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,269 ratings.