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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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3,341 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,341
Reviews: 1,682
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 178
Gots: 290 | 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: 3,341 | Reviews: 1,682 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ypsifly
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear, undated 550ml poured into an imperial pint glass.

None more black with a thick tan head that bubbles up and holds its ground. Thick webbed lace effect.

The nose is roasty with dark chocolate, slight metal, and bitter hops.

The taste delivers all that the nose promises with some vinous flavors, dark ripe fruits, and a slight citric tang. The finish carries a lot of the choco/roasted malt flavors.

Full creamy mouth that retains a little oil and is very pleasant. One of the most drinkable impy stouts available in these parts. I highly recommend this one.

Photo of Backer2004
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great for a beer, good for the style. I picked this one up at a nice local beer pub in Belmont, NC post-Pop the Cap. The alcohol was not noticeable and the appearnce was very typical -- very dark, creamy with no head or carbonation. The Stone one I had of this style just seemed to be a above and beyond this one. Not overpowering and a nice one for those new to the style. A biton the pricey side ($5.25 a bottle).

Photo of funkengruven
4.65/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite a nice stout. Pours to a deep black with a tan puffy head. Smell has hints of essence of wine, fading to hints of caramel and smoke. Taste is excellent, the roasted malts make their presence known in this fine creation with strong caramel presence. This is slightly bitter, but not so bitter that it makes it difficult to drink, in fact it's quite smooth. Very drinkable. I hope there are more of these at the local liquor store next time I visit.

Photo of troutmask96
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow - what a great Imperial Stout this is. Pours a black-as-night body with a tan, foamy head that's as thick as shaving cream. Smell is of raisins, currants, and a slight note of alcohol, which is actually well-hidden. Taste is deep and sweet but not overpoweringly so. Finishes sourly, which is standard with Imperial Stouts. With a low ABV of 7.0 and the fantastic smoothness, this is more than your typical "one-and-done" Imperial Stouts...

Photo of falloutsnow
3.59/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

2012-04-15 Review

Bottle from Whole Foods
No bottled on date
Poured into a tulip glass

I was more impressed with Samuel Smith several years ago, when I first started drinking beer. Sampling a bottle of their imperial stout for the first time in a few years makes me think of three possibilities: my palate cannot detect the goodness that I once thought was evident in this beer after comparing it to fresher domestic varieties, that my inexperienced palate was finding flavors and aromas that didn't exist, or that I've just purchased an old bottle. Since I have no way of knowing about the last item, I have to rely on my senses and claim that I no longer find this beer as enjoyable due to palate development and comparison. While S. Smith's Imperial Stout is still a decent version, in this case I have to say that I enjoy the United States' assertive varieties more.

Pours a 2cm head of dark tan to light brown bubbles, small in size, forming a smooth and cloud-like appearance. Head descends somewhat quickly to a nice-looking cap atop the beer, leaving small spots of lacing in its wake. Body is dark brown to black in color with dark amber brown highlights. Carbonation is barely visible along sides of glass.

Aroma is a bit light, and I have to do some heavy digging to get anything distinct, but mostly of roasted malt, molasses, dried plums, and a bit of chocolate.

Taste opens with some roasted malt sweetness and mild bitterness. The sweetness could be described a bit as dried plums or currants, but I find it has more in common with roastd malt. Mild black licorice and molasses flavors emerge a bit further back, giving way to a bit more roasted malt sweetness, bitterness, and very faint coffee around mid-palate. Fades out with a rush of sweetness, licorice, and slight chocolate. Pleasant aftertaste of roasted malt and a bit of dark chocolate. In general, good tasting, but a bit one-dimensional with heavy emphasis on roasted malt and sweetness, and not particularly "strong" tasting, either.

Mouthfeel is essentially perfect for the style: gently carbonated, creating a smooth foam on the palate that moves across easily and is highly enjoyable. Finish is dry

2005-12-18 Review

A: Thick, dense, two-finger head that is light brown in color. The beer is completely black and impenetrable to light; one knows nothing of what is transpiring within the liquid as all carbonation and sediment would be completely enveloped by this darkness. Spotty streaks of lacing are left on the sides of the glass as the head deflates.

S: Traces of chocolate, prunes, molasses and roasted cereals.

T: Slightly burnt, but dense malt sweetness with hints of raisins and plums. Transitions to the deep flavor found in dark dessert wines and port. Some smokiness and sweetness in the aftertaste, but no noticeable hop presence. Alcohol taste becomes more present as the beer warms.

M: Medium-heavy body, very light carbonation, evincing a rich and smooth beer with a dry finish.

D: Highly flavorful and complex with deep, dark secrets. A beer that I'd only venture once a night, but that is worthy of drinking during many winter nights.

Photo of MurphyMacManus
4.52/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. clear bottle into snifter.

Appearance: Opaque black with coffee-colored head that seems to be physically attracted to the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Dark chocolate, raisins, faint alcohol, and maybe coffee and more dark fruit.

Taste: Dark chocolate, raisins, coffee, mild alcohol. Very complex and sweet without being cloying, like a fine port.

Mouthfeel: Beer shake; deliciously thick and creamy.

Drinkability: After one of these I'm done for the night--too full for more.

Photo of Gagnonsux
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance of this imperial stout is one of the best I've seen. The color is pitch black. Head is large, creamy, and dark tan. Retention is great. The aroma has an inviting mixture of toffee, chocolate, and dark fruit smells. I just wish the aroma was a bit stronger. The taste starts with a strong chocolate flavor with edges of toffee. Dark fruit flavors mix in nicely along with a bit of alcohol flavor. A slight butteriness is noted, especially near the finish. The sweet finish is especially long-lasting. Without a doubt this beer has a excellent mix of flavors that are layered nicely, but when compared to the bigger American imperial stouts, this falls a little short of exceptional. Still, this is highly recommended.

Photo of sinistrsam
3.77/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured very dark, almost black and somewhat watery. It had a very small head which went away almost immediately. The aroma was unmistakably stout-sih; very roasted hints of malt and coffee, possibly chocolate, dark fruits. It immediately hit me with bitterness in the taste, with plenty of maltiness and caramel flavor. It had a lasting chocolate/coffee bean aftertaste which was pleasant, but left something ot be desired. It had a bitter and watery mouthfeel. I'm going to go against the grain on this one and disagree with the monumental praise this had gotten. A good beer, but not outstanding.

Photo of Phatz
4.78/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer pours black with dark ruby highlights. It has a nice brown head that is thick and foamy. Substantial lacing.

Smell: It is definitely a black licorice aroma. That is what hit me right up front; then there were hints if red, like cherry or birch. Very enticing!

Taste: Chocolaty; with a hint of this mixture: Birch-beer and Cherry-cola mixed with dark cola (Coke), in other words it is a thin syrupy characteristic in the taste, with those flavors. I got a slight bit of dark tobacco and vanilla in the aftertaste. I tried some dark chocolate next to this beer and it was a beautiful match.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel was surprisingly thinner than I expected from a Russian Imperial Stout. Still it was pleasant and very creamy.

Drinkability: The drinkability of this beer was actually, surprisingly, exceptional. This is a R I S with a relatively low ABV and it does not sit heavy in your stomach. As a huge fan of Imperial Stouts, I must say that their one drawback is that they were you out quickly. This beer is an exception. It has most all the positive attributes of RIS and avoids the one drawback. That sounds like a darn fine beer to me. I highly recommend.

Hope this is helpful.

Photo of allergictomacros
4.11/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

550ml clear bottle

Dark. Real dark. So dark I didn't realize it was a clear bottle until I started pouring it. Big, thick, spongy head looks very substantial.

Strong smell of caramel. Rich, roasty aromas.

Lots of roasted flavours. Coffee, molasses. Noticeable bitterness, especially in the aftertaste. A little peppery.

A bit of punchy carbonation. Not as creamy as I expected, but still a fullish feeling.

Well... the bottle didn't last me very long. Goes down a little too easy maybe... :P

Photo of orfeu
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

550 mL clear bottle. Black with faint chocolate highlights. Creamy, finely attenuated tan head that soon becomes a mere cap. Aromas of chocolate, fruity cough syrup, smoky raisins and toffee. Taste is of hops, at first, then smooth chocolate and coffee bliss. Surprising bit of boozines for only 7%. Cherry cordials. Slightly buttery but mostly spicy bitter finish. Mineral aftertaste. Not bad at all. As it warms, the flavors balance out more. Definitely a standard-bearer of taste, but not quite the heaven in a bottle I was expecting. Incredible mouthfeel, however: tingly, slick and oily and an eminently downable medium-to-thin body. Low ABV (for the style) + totally mesmerizing sipping = super high drinkability. Absolute pioneer for the style and deserves much credit for that alone.

Photo of Dicahomebrewing
3.55/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured very black. Leaving a small head, with bubbles still coming up for air.

A very roasted taste, with chocolate, with a tiggle in the back of the tongue.

Low alc. percentage for a RIS, but well done.

There is somthing that I smell but i can't explane it.

Overall its a good brew, not great for a RIS, but very drinkable.

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

Poured from bottle(room temp) a beautiful pitch black with a huge brown head.

The smell is of sweet malt and chocolate and is very nice albeit fairly faint.

The taste is a wonderful blend of sweet roasted malt and chocolate with a nice bite from the hops and just a touch of the licorice note that is found in most of the Samuel Smith products I've tried.
This is a superb Imperial Stout and at just 7% abv, you can actually kick back more than one and not have your butt kicked. ;^)

I thoroughly recommend this beer!

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(Served in an imperial pint glass)

A-This beer has a nice deep dark midnight brown body with no visible sings of carbonation it is so opaque. The head is a boiling mat of light brown that settles to a nice even layer.

S- The deep dark aroma has notes of graham cracker and nuts with some caramel notes and a dark roasted malt and barley with some faint slightly bittersweet chocolate in the finish. As it warms I start to get a hint of banana milkshake in the finish.

T- The taste of dark malt has a slightly sour earthy quality. The finish is dry with some slight hints of honey oddly enough. The taste of bittersweet chocolate comes through with more fruity flavors of raisins as it warms. The notes of fresh bread and alcohol hints come through in the finish also.

M- This beer has a full body with some velvety texture to it. The alcohol warmth is very soft and helps finish the taste of the beer.

D- This beer has nice big dark flavors but the secondary flavors were a bit strange with banana and bread seemed to take over. I would have liked some more malt complexity and maybe a bit more alcohol or hops to balance out this big beer.

Photo of Derek
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A: Ruby-black, lots of tan head, only a little retention, but plenty of lace. The perfect stout would have better head retention.

S: Slightly fruity profile from the British yeast, pleasant sweet roastyness.

T: Bittersweet; very well balanced. Dark caramel malt, mocha, raisins, smooth hop/roasted malt bitterness. Slight fruity tang in the aftertaste. Not much alcohol taste, but it does become more warming as it warms up. Very nice flavour, but lacking the depth of some.

M: Moderate to full body, a little chalky. Moderate carbonation.

D: In terms of a Russian Imperial Stout, this is where it's at.

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

This is the smoothest Russian Imperial stout I've ever tasted. I won't compare this directly to another but this is more drinkable than any other that I've encountered so far. It's medium bodied for a RIS and and so easy to drink. I won't even review it except to suggest you set a special evening aside for one or two of these and enjoy. Building a fire optional. Tastiness, not.

Go. Now..and enjoi

Photo of Franchise
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

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.

Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

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.

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.

Photo of Blakaeris
3.91/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

Photo of russpowell
4.16/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
2.91/5  rDev -30.2%
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.

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.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,341 ratings.