1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout - Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

Not Rated.
Samuel Smith's Imperial StoutSamuel Smith's Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,225 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,225
Reviews: 1,655
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.51%
Wants: 151
Gots: 224 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,225 | Reviews: 1,655 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rajendra82
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer came in a 550 ml. sturdy looking clear (why?) bottle that released an a dark brown liquid with red highlights. This beer does not have the inky black look of other imperial stouts. The head was coffee-colored and formed at about 1½ inches thick initially, but then quickly dissipated to a thin layer of foam and some decent lace. The aroma was roasted coffer and dark chocolate goodness, with a dollop of dark skinned fruits thrown in the mix. The taste was a delightfully intense balance between the sweet flavors of raisins, figs, toffee, and apples; and bitter notes of old coffee and unsweetened chocolate. The alcohol warmth was pretty tepid for an imperial stout, and is clearly not the draw in this beer. The mouthfeel was also quite a bit lighter that the big boys, but was satisfying nonetheless. An easy drinking stout that is clearly a step above the ordinary, but remains very approachable still. A sessionable imperial stout if you will.

rajendra82, Aug 04, 2004
Photo of dmbfrat420beers
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation - Attractive clear (why do so many British breweries use clear bottles?) bottle with white label declaring Sam Smith's as the "contractors to Her Majesty's foces" haha.

Appearance - Dark with red tint around the edges. Big, tightly packed tan head. Lacing clings nice and thick to the side of the mug - very nice touch.

Aroma - hmm...very different from the other Imperial Stouts I have tried (Stone '04 and Old Rasputin). I would describe it as sort of a musty smell with grassy hop hints and some alcohol. Very strong, especially as you get ready to drink.

Mouthfeel - full bodied, decent carbonation

Taste - Like Sam Smith's India Ale, this beer is a far cry from its American style cousins. Strong grassy hop flavor up front that gives way to an ample roasted malty sweetness. Hints of bitterness left on the lips and in the back of the mouth, but otherwise turns into an almost candy like sweetness on the sides of the cheeks and tounge. Also leaves a nice fruity tartness. Lots of flavors going on here and it changes quite a bit from sip to swallow. Finishes very clean, no alcohol flavor to speak of, except a warm feeling as it goes down. Quite tasty and complex, though I wish there were little more of a bitter kick, but that is just my predilection.

Drinkability - Thought by the size and pungent aroma this beer would not go down easily, but was suprised about how easy it was to drink.

Final Words: Bought a 4-pack of this for $10, can't wait to finish the rest. The best of their beers I have had so far. It is hard to say how this compares to the American Double Stouts, they seem so very much different.

dmbfrat420beers, Aug 03, 2004
Photo of beertaster13
4.9/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have found the stout to end all stouts. Pours a deathly crude oil black with streaks of ruby, the mocha/tan head is wickedly awesome and the lacing will leave gobs on the glass. The smell is of espresso and mocha chocolate raisins. A slight nut smell as well, alcohol is detectable. The taste is pure glory, the sweetness of the roasted chocolate invites you for more, a graham cracker marshmellow sweetness is icing on the cake. Hints of fruit, dried raisins detected. Alcohol is detected as well. Medium bodied for a stout, not to thick but perfect to invite more and more, a very drinkable stout and will become the staple for me. Awesome.

beertaster13, Jul 30, 2004
Photo of mattcrill
3.55/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I guess I'm going to be the one to go against trend here but I can't help how I feel about this beer. So here it goes....

Appearance: Great appearance. Pours black as black can be. Lovely dark brown head that forms but after one sip, it's gone. Still, it leaves nice lacings around the glass.

Smell: Very complex. I definitely smell dried fruits (raisins or prunes) with some malty undertones. I don't pick up much other than the sweetness.

Taste: This is where I was let down. I really enjoyed the taste however, I just thought it was a very one-dimensional brew. I picked up the taste of licorice, raisins, and a slightly dry and mild alcohol finish. It just didn't taste as big or as complex as I had hoped.

Mouthfeel: Very full and chunky but not very balance. Virtually no carbonation which made this beer feel very heavy.

Drinkability: I can't imagine having more than one of these at a time. Leaves you feeling very full.

Overall: I'd definitely recommend trying it once. Maybe this is closer to the true style of an RIS and maybe the only ones I've tried have deviated from this standard. So maybe I'm the one that's screwed up. Also, with all the review I read, expectations were pretty high. Who knows...

mattcrill, Jul 18, 2004
Photo of tjd25
4.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very silky thick and foamy head. I had the impression that it disappeared quicker than some for some other samuel smith brews. The body is of an intense black color, totally opaque.

The smell shows an emphasis on a roasted coffee aspect with fruity notes of chestnut. Earthy and bread-like cereal character, with hints of bacon bites. The fruity character is quite developed.

The taste shows a strong coffee aspect, combined with a dark chocolate bitterness and a sweet fruitiness, almost slightly citric. Almost burnt grain, and maybe a very light hint of liquorice. Alcohol gets noticeable in the finish, quite warming and not overwhelming. Just enjoyable.

The mouthfeel is incredibly round, very smooth, but not really creamy, with a thick dark chocolate grassy bitterness. The alcohol progressively warms the throat, but this brew is still almost as drinkable as water. Very nice.

tjd25, Jul 11, 2004
Photo of mobyfann
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Paid $2.49 for a 12 oz. bottle...

The appearance on this one was quite nice for a stout, typical black-brown base with the chocolatey colored small-to-mid sized low carb head and a great lacing effect on the glass. The aroma is pleasent, a nice mocha smell to it, with a few hints of some fruits.

The taste is great, a simple but productive stout with all hints of the aroma plus some caramel and roasted goodness, absolutely splendid. The mouthfeel is great, smooth as a 7% stout could get, feels less heavy than some porters that I've sampled as well. The drinkability is high as this stout went down fast and smoothly.

Final Thought: Another winner from Sam Smith's collection, this is the way a stout should be, ideally.

mobyfann, Jul 10, 2004
Photo of JISurfer
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow! This had a nice deep, rich, chocolate/dark fruit taste to it. Was very thick and chewy, just like I like 'em. The head was super thick and pillowy in the beginning, but then died out to a laceing. I would reccommend this brew to anyone who hasn't had it yet. I thought it was a little better when it was colder, but that's just me. All in all a great imperial and a top notch example of the style.

JISurfer, Jul 10, 2004
Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pitch black with thick beige head that decided to stick around for the entire time. Sweet matly, nutty and mollasses aroma off the head. The alcohol produces a sweet and warming taste in the mouth. Very thick lacing as the glass got emptier. Finish is very bold and not for the beginning stout drinker, but damn, does it taste good. Thumbs up!

ALESwhatCURESya, Jul 01, 2004
Photo of bigone4
4.7/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great stout straight from England. Great color and aroma. Smooth stout I really enjoy drinking this beer a little below room temp. The flavors come out and are remarkable on my tounge. Hint of coffee and a nice after taste. Samuel Smith deffinately gets a great vote of approval from me.

bigone4, Jun 28, 2004
Photo of kegerator
4.95/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I enjoyed this beer quite a bit.
Poured out black as night with a nice brown head, appearance was right on for this style.
the best way i can describe the aroma is oily chocolate with some hints of coffee and port. I was excited by this.
taste was just about the same as the aromas, but I wasn't getting the oily part in the taste. very smooth.
I will buy this one again for sure. It would have gotten all 5's and probably deserves it but in comparison this one just didn't quite have the heartiness of storm king almost too smooth. get it and taste it. you won't be disappointed

kegerator, Jun 23, 2004
Photo of SBPCGuru
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

When this baby was poured out of her clear glass dwelling, it was of a deep dark blackish-brown color with a thick inch or so of head. You stick your nose into this beer before that first tasting, and it revs up your senses for a malted wonderland. The taste going down is nicely complimented by its buttered rye bread aftertaste. Each sip brings the aroma of nutty malted goodness before this masterpiece rolls over your palette. The head follows the beer down the side of the glass until the last sip. This is stout worthy of more tastings in the future.

SBPCGuru, Jun 21, 2004
Photo of smcolw
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not even opaque, this is a dark, dark mahogany brew. This features a truly awesome head for a bottle. Deep tan in color, the head leaves an impressive sticky lace throughout the tasting.

Strong oily alcohol fullness in the aroma. Powerful dark malt richness--chocolate, black patent malts.

Rich and oily, this is a beer to be consumed slowly. Strong chicory coffee flavors. Unlike pale ales, the hop is used strictly as a spice. The aftertaste is long lasting and bitter in an espresso way (the hop is quietly present as a touch of counterbalance) . This is a big beer in every way.

smcolw, Jun 19, 2004
Photo of egajdzis
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown, not opaque color with a large tan. It left some lacing on the glass. Had an aroma of chocolate malt, and fruits, most notably raisins. Taste of coffee, chocolate malt and some hops as well. It finished with a quick oily taste. The best session Imperial Stout I had tonight, if there ever was one.

egajdzis, Jun 15, 2004
Photo of TastyTaste
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bought a 4 pack for my girlfriend for our anniversary (that's true romance). Poured from a 12 oz. clear glass bottle into a Samuel Smith Tulip. Black, opaque beer, appears almost as soy sauce. Smell was rich in coffee, bill gates-rich, even. The bitter aroms coreesponded with the bitter flavors, the flavor was off the charts. Not a session brew, that's for sure. It makes you pause after every sip and try to recover, almost as the challenge of drinking hot sauce. A good, huge beer. May or may not get it again. I almost prefer a smoother sipping stout.

TastyTaste, Jun 07, 2004
Photo of Hagbard
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black as night. So dark, it makes it impossible to tell whether the bottle is, in fact, clear or not until you pour (it is). A nice thick, creamy, dark tan head forms, making for an impressive looking beer sitting in my goblet. A beautiful sweet dark malt aroma tantalizes your nose, waiting for the promise of the taste. There is definitely some dark chocolate in the background of the aroma. The taste is simply wonderful! The smoothest imperial stout I've ever had the privilege to drink. Dark chocolate, plums, and even a nutty presence all make themselve known. All riding a great malt background. Truly a great tasting stout! I get none of the typical off flavors common to stouts. The mouthfeel is thick and full, as an imperial stout should be. It is dangerously drinkable due to the smoothness. The 7% ABV is hidden. It goes down very easily! I love this beer and wish it could be had more readily to me. Another great stout from Samuel Smith.

Hagbard, Jun 07, 2004
Photo of aaronbeach69
4.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

WOW! this is my favorite stout to date, granted I can still count the number of different stouts I have had on two hands... well, maybe a few toes too. But, this one was amazing, very drinkable yet very real, very hoppy, very thick = very happy.

In particular the beauty of this beer (and one of the greatest things about all imperial stouts) is the great mouthfeel. As this thick syrup slides down my throat and sticks to the sides of my mouth I can hardly believe that this substance can even be called by the same name as what most people gulp down by the can all over this country, I really feel the calling to spread the word to the ends of the earth that a veil has been drawn over the eyes of the public and this dark slosh is just the substance to wash away ignorance and replace it with a knowledge of thick, full, roasted goodness!!!

aaronbeach69, Jun 07, 2004
Photo of PudTinkler
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have yet to have a Samuel Smith beer that wasn't near perfection, regardless of style. This is no exception. This is not the highest-alcohol imperial stout you will find, but it is high quality. One of the smoothest stouts...as dark as one can find..I've often wondered why it would be in a clear bottle. Definitely a sipping beer...worthwhile to seek out, as all of this brewer's treasures are.

PudTinkler, May 19, 2004
Photo of mschofield
4.78/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pure opaque black, topped with a two finger small bubbled chocolate head, leaves bits of webbed lace.
Chocolate, raisin and alcohol aroma.
Coffee, dark chocolate, raisin and other dark fruits, anise and grape in the taste, roasted malt with burnt edges, toasted biscuit.
A complicated classic beer
Full feel, acrid, with a bit of an alcohol bite, but still smooth.

mschofield, May 18, 2004
Photo of coasterfreak75
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour was pitch black with a good one and one half inch head that slowly dissapated and left a light ring around the edge of the beer. The thick head was a nice beige color. Like my son said the top is brown and the bottom is black.

The smell was very thick and strong. Very strong and acidic. Only as it warmed did the chocolate overtones start to show up.

The taste started with very strong malt sweetness followed by an acidic middle with a finish of alchohol and lingering chocolate and malt.

This would make a great sipping beer to sit around with friends and discuss the merits of life with. I have one extra bottle, I think I'll put it away for about a year and revisit this one.

coasterfreak75, Apr 28, 2004
Photo of Rastacouere
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown body with a finely laced beige head, short-lasting. Aroma is very malty, full of dark chocolate, very roasty with coffee notes. A good hops mariage complement it all. I don't get much fruitiness in the aroma, but in mouth, there's plenty of them, lots of blackberries and plums. Mouthfeel is full, more carbonation than most. This possesses one of the most balanced roastiness I've met in the dry, almost smokey finish. Alcohol appears more and more as it warms, I'd have thought this is higher than 7%, I guess they sure didn't want to make it weak, it worked. Very full-flavoured and pleasant. Refined and less acid than most american renditions. Cheers to Matta for sending this a few decades ago!

Rastacouere, Apr 24, 2004
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep black color that is topped by a creamy head. Thick aromas of molasses, coffee, chocolate, and dense dark malts all are found in the nose. Surprisingly any roast malt character is pretty subdued. This beer has a light creamy mouthfeel, with a finish of roast malts. The taste is reminiscent of malt balls, with molasses notes up front. The finish is sweet but it is balanced by a burnt acidity, the combination of the two is quite good. I also get notes of espresso and burnt raisins. This is pretty good, I haven't had one of these in years, and hopefully I will revisit this one sooner rather than later.

Gueuzedude, Apr 20, 2004
Photo of DPMomutant
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours the standard (but beautiful) stout pitch black. Head is a surprising 2 fingers, kind of creamy but bubbly on the side. Takes a little while to go down, some sticks to the side. A little swirl produces a few more bubbles that come up more light red than anything.

A very pleasing toasty malt and fruit smell comes from this brew. This strives to let you know it's there but is wonderfully subtle, just strong enough to get your nose interested.

The taste is a combination of toasty malt, lightly sweet fruit, and dark cocoa. Stimulating without being dominant.

The mouthfeel, while warming, does a great job of masking the 7% ABV. Not harsh in any way at all.

For a stronger beer, I find this very drinkable. A bunch of these would knock you silly but a few would be very enjoyable. I had planned to only have one tonight but I'm thinking about another.

I haven't had the chance to compare this to any of it's higher ABV rivals but I find this one to be the best of any type of stout I've had and it makes me want to try more.

If you've never had a stout before, have this one.

DPMomutant, Apr 19, 2004
Photo of Southernbrew
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a khaki head that stays around forever.

Aroma full of fruits, coffee, rum, molasses. Awesome, so much to take in.

Medium body, so smooth. Rum flavors mixed with fruit up front move to a coffee flavor with a light alcohol flavor. Molasses show up in the finish and leave a sweet-alcohol aftertaste.

This is my first imperial stout and it is nothing short of awesome. My only concern is this is as good as it gets.

Southernbrew, Apr 13, 2004
Photo of soper2000
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, I love this beer! This is what made me a Sam Smith fan for life. It pours a gorgeous jet black color with a tan head. Smell is full of dark fruit and roasted malt. There's a lot of taste to this beer. Some raisins, roasted malts, and coffee. It goes down smooth and creamy but i love to take my time with this one making sure it is at room temp before the last drop hits the back of my tongue. This is definately one of my favorite imperial stouts.

soper2000, Apr 12, 2004
Photo of GuinnessSmurf
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick, heavy, darkest of browns and fills the glass in a general air of excitement. A chocolate brown head floats atop this milky, dark beer.

Smell is mild - malty, buttery with alcohol.

Taste is a dark, bitter chocolate with malts - there is an obvious mocha aftertaste here. The overall texture is milky and heavy/thick.

This is an excellent beer.

GuinnessSmurf, Apr 06, 2004
Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,225 ratings.