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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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3,360 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,360
Reviews: 1,687
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 185
Gots: 310 | FT: 2
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: 3,360 | Reviews: 1,687
Photo of Nesued
3.86/5  rDev -7.4%
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
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
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
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
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
4.72/5  rDev +13.2%
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
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
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
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
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
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
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
3.76/5  rDev -9.8%
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
4.44/5  rDev +6.5%
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
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
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
3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
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
4.42/5  rDev +6%
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
4.38/5  rDev +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
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
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!


Photo of bennetj17
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a very thick pouring stout, very black, with not much head that dissipates into a caramel colored ring around the glass. The smell is rich and malty, though not overpowering. It starts out with a divine sweetness yielding to a nice bitter finish. It feels very thick but has a rich smoothness and just the right amount of carbonation for a stout. Overall a good balance here. This one is a slow drinker though, very filling. Probably best with dessert.

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.

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,360 ratings.