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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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3,299 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,299
Reviews: 1,677
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 168
Gots: 263 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,299 | Reviews: 1,677 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of whynot44
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Full bodied, full flavored, dark reddish mahogany brown with a tan head, smells a bit of fruit and chocolate.

Flavor is fruity - apricot, raisin? - with bittersweet chocolate, coffee and maybe some caramel. Behind all of this is a very pleasant hops bite that balances the fruit and sweetness to give a very nice finish and pronounced aftertaste.

The bit of alcohol warmth makes this a great cool weather drink. No wonder the Russians liked this stuff.

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

Served from a bottle into a twenty ounce wine glass.

Appearance: This one is like a black hole. Straight black coloration not even a hint of light escaping. A very large head with no sign of falling. The lacing clings as the beer is drained from the glass.

Smell: This one smells of raisons and molasses very floral hoppy smell. A nonoffensive alcohol smell is present.

Taste: This is very busy a nice roasted smokey espresso combination with the addition of brownies and some fruity goodness (prunes and raisons) in evidence. Good malty back bone with a nice supporting hop profile.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: Dam! I have drank many stouts over the last several days. This is not the most expensive or the most elusive stout on the market. It is simply the best of the bunch I have had the pleasure of drinking. Very drinkable very smooth.

Photo of grindcore666
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fluffy but thick bran head, trickles down to a messy fingerwidth of foam. A pleasant shade of brown. Super-stubborn black body: no light penetrates this one.

Smells like molasses, oat bran, and brown sugar.

Tastes like strong chewy molasses with alcohol and chocolate raisins. I like this one a lot, it's up there with the Porter but not quite.

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

This brew is pitch black. The head is a creamy tan color and is very sticky. There is a rich chocolate and coffee aroma. Hints of fruit and alcohol. The flavor is rich and intense. Dark chocolate, coffee, raisins, and leafy hops. Full bodied and a sweet finish with some coffee flavors lingering on the tongue. Hands down one of the best stouts I have ever had. $3.99 a bottle but well worth the price.

Photo of PBRstreetgang
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black, and totally opaque. A light brown one finger head shows some decent retention but the lacing is pretty lame. Burnt chocolate nose, some alcohol vapors present, and background hops. Huge roasted flavor, nicely blended with bakers chocolate, and a mild vinous character. The bitter and sweet flavors are prduced by the malt, and there is some residual sweeteness, but the drying hop aftertaste helps keep the taste somewhat balanced. A thick, chewy body rounds out the mouthfeel, and the full malt profile hides the alcohol while accentuating the flavors making this beer strong, but very drinkable.

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

a - black as midnight. seriously, it's about 10:30 and i'm looking outside and there is more light out there than there is getting into this beer! good head with good lacing.

s - malts malts malts!!

t - chocolate, raisins, dates, prunes, creams, i can go on and on and on!! lots of stuff going on here! quite wonderful.

m - heavy medium bodied brew with an alright finish but not the greatest.

d - not as good as the oatmeal stout. that's probablly the most important thing to note. if you've never had either go with the other one first then try this. it's definately a good winter beer. went great with some chocolate chip cookies!

Photo of texashammer
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Opaque black color with huge, fluffy, coffee-colored head, creamy-looking. Smell is lots of coffee, also chocolate, dark fruit, some booze if you get real close, raisins, plum, prunes. Taste is super bitter, with bitter chocolate (roasty!) and earthy hops. Smooth and light on the palate, with a quick dry finish. Bitter, but appetizing. Yum. Good with chocolate.

Photo of frazbri
4.29/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout poured deep black with a mocha head. A little chocolate and fruit in the aroma, but a little skunk as well. Chocolate and black treacle flavors were present. Body was full, and carbonation modest.

This a fine stout. A rich and flavorful beer that isn't as brash as it's American counterparts, but doesn't lack complexity. As far as the aroma, I know I sense skunky esters in lower levels than most people do. It did affect my rating, but didn't detract from my enjoyment. (much) This is still a beer worth experiencing.

Photo of fingolfin72
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color- espresso, with a light brown, small, lacy head.

Nose- Port, coffee, sugar, toasty caramel. Some alcohol.

Palate- Rich. Coffee, toffee, smoke, peat, oysters, brandy, caramel. Smooth and beautifully integrated.

Absolutely outstanding.

The finish is long and satisfying, and the unusual and seemingly disparate flavors combine into a lovely package.

Photo of Gavage
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear black in color with a thick 2" tan head. Some thick lacing develops thorugh the drink. Nice combination of coffee, chocolate, caramel, and alcohol in the aroma. The flavor follows the nose, as chocolate, coffee, licorice, dark plums, and roasted malts are well balanced. Mild bitterness and light alcohol rounds it out.

Mouthfeel is crisp at the start, and mildly crisp at the finish. Finish is also rather short in the aftertaste, as the flavors disappear from the tongue quickly. Superb drinkability.

Photo of Golden2wenty1
3.96/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single at Riley's here in Madison. Let's see how the Limeys can do with a Russian Impy.

Pours midnight black with a creamy caramel head. Nose is strong on the Juan Valdez up front with a backbone of porter grain and blackberry yogurt. Taste stays with the roasted coffee ground, bittersweet Hershey's and dark sour berries. Mouthfeel of carbonated crude oil, thick and syrupy. This is a meal of an RIS. The flavors don't always mesh - the sour fruit gets a little cloying at times - but overall a tasty stout. On the light side as far as abv for the style, but has plenty of flavor to compensate.

Photo of Citadel82
4.6/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout is a brew that had always been the epitome of beers before the craft beer revolution took hold. Cervino's in Ridgewood NJ carried it and it was so pricey that I was at first reluctant to buy it. Today many craft brews are more expensive and some are tastier, but Sam's was always there. The beer is gorgeous midnite black, it is fruity, roasty and has a rich creamy head. Notes of cocoa and cider and coffee. A rich and tasty brew that is perfect to end the day on. Cheers.

Photo of wedge
4.65/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours pitch black with a small, lasting creamy tan head. Smells malty - sweetened roasty grains, with smooth fruits - banana nut bread - bittersweet chocolate, light coffee. Taste is excellent. Rich creamy malt sweetness, roasted coffee, chocolate, some dark fruits, and not a hint of alcohol. So velvety smooth, slick, and rich - perfect. Drinkable too at 7%.

A deep, dark, delicious stout. Damn thats a good beer.

Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have been waiting to try this beer for quite awhile and the day has finally arrived.
Served in a clear 550ml bottle. I have never been a fan of the clear bottle in some rare cases, the beer lasts and fights the light.
Poured an opaque black with a nice creamy head resembling chocolate milk. Great lacing as well.
The smell is fantastic. Raisins, mollases, figs and malt. Not an overwhelming hop presence but a great balancing effect.
I was a little dissapointed in the taste. A little too sweet I think for an imperial. Yes, very sweet. A nice hop bitterness is present and some chocolate and fruitiness such as prunes and mollassas are present as well. The sweetness is not to my liking.
Sticky mouthfeel with the bitterness lingering for a while. Not an overwhelming alcohol mouthfeel which is nice because I think more alcohol would make this a completely unbalanced beer.
A nice cool fall night beer.

Overall, I was dissapointed. I had high expectations, maybe too high. A very good beer though.

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

Pitch black pour into my Three Philosophers chalice. If there are any color highlights, I can't see them. 1/2" of dark tan/brown head. Absolutely beautiful. Head doesn't stick around long, too bad.

Nose is very malty, nutty and rich.

Extremely rich and flavorful. Dark roasted malt. Smoky, coffee/espresso , dark caramel and molasses, the flavors go on and on. I really could go for a cigar to enjoy with this one.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, but still smooth and tasty. Coats the inside of my mouth with goodness. Wow! It's the beer that eats like a meal.

Outstanding drinkability. The 7% ABV is not evident to me at all. I could have a very nice session with this stuff playing darts or pool in a smoky bar somewhere.

My first experience with this one, it's an instant classic. The only bad thing I can say about this beer is that it appears to be very difficult to find in the big bottles, as well as generally harder to find than the rest of Sam Smith's line. Never fear, I will make the necessary trip to the stores that I know carry it.

Photo of sacfly
4.65/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark, opaque, black with red highlights. What little head there is, is a brown with very small bubbles. Very sweet, malty nose. Fruity… prunes.

First sip is like no other imperial stout I have had. Beef jerky comes first in my mind. Smoke. Roasted grain, malty sweetness is there, but takes a backseat. I can’t get over the beef jerky (in a good way). Now in place of beef jerky, I’m picking up a bacon flavor. Wow. I can drink bacon. Heavenly. Smooth, creamy mouth feel that is lacking in most imperial stouts. Slightly astringent aftertaste… Aftertaste is dryer than expected from the other characteristics, but welcome and not overbearing.

As a teacher, I would give this an A+.

Photo of tastybeer
4.97/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Black with creamy tan head, not sticking but maybe because I'm drinking it too fast. Really good all around. Smells and tastes full of roasted maltS, coffee, deep dark fruit hops, Smoked fruit malt finish. Balanced perfectly in smell and taste. Velvety chewy full body that goes down extremely smooth.

Give me more.

Photo of EStreet20
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12- ounce glass bottle poured into a nonic pint glass.

A - Awesome looking opaque black with a nice large foam caramel colored head.

S - I'm smelling an extreme amount of chocolate/coffee with some caramel/molasses smell in there. I actually think it smells like one of those caramel frappucinos from Starbucks more than anything else. Amazing.

T - Wow, starts off with a nice roasted coffee taste but then surprisingly a bit of a citrus hint comes through from the slight hop punch. The flavors mix beautifully. Finish tastes smoky. Complex and delicious.

M - Nice and smooth. The smoky taste leaves you wanting a nother sip.

D - Goes down nice and easy. Definitely a sipper, but one I could enjoy a few of after a long day.

Photo of Roderick
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a very good beer!
The brew poured a dark almost black with a small tan head.
Smell is of caramel, chocolate & malt...YUM
The taste was great with the just mentioned chocolate caramel taste with fruit and cream (more flavors than I could absorb)
This was just a joy to drink & the Samuel Smith name is something I will be holding in high esteem.

$2.99 for a 550ml bottle

Photo of RedHaze
3.36/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured an almost jet black, with a thick two finger head that slowly faded to a thin layer that lasted the whole time I sipped this beer. Had tons of lacing.

Smells were roasted malt, chocolate, a little coffee and nutty. But there's also a bit of a cardboard aroma going on as well.

Taste is malts at first, followed by chocolate and coffee, and finishes just a little bit bitter. Mouthfeel was kind of oily, which seemed to throw of the flavor some. Not sure if it was just this bottle, but it was still good enough that I'll give it another try sometime.

Photo of ChrisA
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My neighbor brought some over earlier in the summer for a party and we did not get around to opening them. I kept wanting to try it, but it just didn't seem right to drink an Imperial Stout in the middle of summer. I was also a bit scared that my taste buds would not be ready for it.

Was I ever wrong!!! This is an amazing beer. No wonder the top ratings it has received. It reminded me how much I missed drinking stouts and this was far and away the best stout I have ever had. Excellent flavor. Easy to to drink and I nice level of alcohol. I am not surprise it did not spoil in my fridge. I'll be stocking up on more for the winter.

Photo of tgbljb
4.14/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured a very deep copper-brown, almost black color with an attractive tannish head that fell to a beautiful tan collar around the top of the beer. Smell is magnificiently complex with a mixture of coffee, dark fruits (prunes, plums, raisins, figs), molasses, maple syrup, and toasted malts noted. First taste is a bit overpowering, with strong notes of alcohol present. Subsequent sips bring forth strong chocolate notes mixed with a nice bitterness.The aroma a each sip is truly fantastic. Finished nice and creamy with a strong bitter note present. I enjoyed the beer, but to me it is something to try on special occasions. The strong aroma and taste can begin to get a bit overpowering.

Photo of silver0rlead
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black that is only slightly transluscent, with a thick tan head that retains very well, imposing looking stout. Aroma is dominated by sweet and roasty scents; chocolate, coffee, vanilla, heavy cream, and some roasted scents. Taste has big chocolate and roasted flavors, with some coffee, cream, plum, floral hops, blackstrap molasses and some alcohol notes. The hops really help to balance out the sweetness and help make this stout very drinkable. Mouthfeel is smooth with a medium body and a lightly bitter, astringent finish. Drinkability is very good and the alcohol is only slightly noticeable. Enjoyable imperial stout that you could actually drink more than one of and not be falling out of your chair.

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

[This is my 100th review, a slight milestone in my BA life, so I had to go with my favorite style, and I'm very glad I did]

Poured from the clear 550ml bottle into a snifter the beer was a very dark black that let no light thru. It was topped by a little more than one finger of frothy dark tan head. Big rings of lace clung to the glass throughout the sample.

The smell was dark and roasted. Malt upfront but very well accented with chocolate, black coffee, and cocoa. A slight "bitterness" to the smell, a bit like black liquorice.

The innitial taste was a heavy roasted (almost burnt) maltiness. This gave way to a flurry of black cofee and dark chocolate flavors. Only a slightly bitter kick to the end similair to chicory. Some strong coffee flavors and a slight warming to each sip. Little alcohol in the taste, but the slight alcoholic warming associated with Imperial Stouts. A robust and full flavor that has some hints of darker fruit as well.

Medium to slightly heavy on the palate with a robust body that is sturdy yet maintains a creamy consistancy on the palate. Only slight carbonation.

As far as Imperial Stouts go, this has got to be one of the most drinkable. Every aroma is matched in taste and everything is so well balanced so as to accent everything else. The moderate alcohol content makes it easy to finish and despite its body, still very easy to drink. The perfect end to any meal, and one I will not keep my fridge without.

Photo of DogFood11
4.7/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow this brew is awesome.... I neglected english brews for years because of one bad experience and it was a huge mistake. pours a beautiful alley night black. charcoal head that retains and fades to a half finger chunk. syrupy mouthfeel with just a touch of zing that balances it out and leaves the mouth perfect for another drink (to me this is rare in a big imperial). yeasty chocolate/caramel/ doubled up....I love this beer.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,299 ratings.