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

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

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3,254 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,254
Reviews: 1,663
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.51%
Wants: 153
Gots: 236 | 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: 3,254 | Reviews: 1,663 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of pootz
4.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1/2 liter clear bottle: poured in beautiful black color with garnet hues when held to a light...marvelous 2 finger mocha frothy meringue head. aromas of coffee-cocoa-dates-sweet anise...the anticipation is running wild at this point. Taste...where to start?...very complex start without a sharp edge ...near complex layered stout perfection...molassass-licorice-espresso-cocoa-burnt treacle all these flavors in a milk body that slowly give way to a slight hop drying in the long finish. One of the best Imp-stouts I’ve tasted ...needs little finishing in a cellar. it’s very mellow and complex and flavourful when fresh. Highly recommended....I will be cellaring a case this winter for sure.

Photo of DrJay
4.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Almost completely opaque black colour with just a hint of ruby highlights (and those only appear with very strong backlighting). This is topped by a moderately long-lasting, dense brown head that coats the sides of the glass with each sip.

Smell: Dark roasted grain and fruitiness combine to give this beer a complex, malty aroma. Grains contribute mostly chocolate and roasted notes, without being burnt. Rich maltiness is present, and combines with light alcohol notes to give it a vinous character. Fruitiness is reminiscent of dark or dried fruits.

Taste: Dried fruit is strong at the start, along with a sweet maltiness. Roasted grains contribute some character to the middle and provide some balanced dryness to the otherwise sweet finish. Bitterness becomes more evident towards the finish and provides a nice balance by the end. Slight alcohol flavour is evident in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with a velvety texture. Light carbonation adds some texture as well. Alcohol warmth is present, but not strong.

Drinkability: Overall, quite good for the style. Although it's certainly not a session beer, the balance is quite good and would definitely allow for a second to be quaffed in a sitting.

Clear 550 mL bottle with best before date stamped on the foil on the bottle neck.

Photo of travolta
3.83/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Apperance: This Imperial Stout had normal head retention. The lacing I will discuss after I have finished the glass. The color is totally dark brown, to simplify would be to say that it is black. I am not even going to hold it to the light because with a beer this dark, it does not matter. The lacing is not something of note. It exists, but barely

Nose: A start of carmel, and coffee. Quite a bit of coffee. That is about it. maybe some dry fig.

Taste: Although there is not very much in the smell department, it makes up for this in the taste. Right away i get fig, carmel, coffee, roasted wheat. It is a bit bitter in the end and it is the bitterness which sticks with you unti your next sip. It does not have a heavy mouthfeel which lends to more distinct characteristics.

Notes: Not heavy in alcohol content or body which makes it an easy stout to drink.

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

The beer pours a rich extremely dark brown that gives off hints of ruby, it developed a fine camel head. The aroma was a tantilizing mix of tanin, malt, and yeast. There were two main tastes up front was a tart malt then it develops to a toasted malt finish. All with an undercurrent of black cherry. The feel was medium and creamy. This stout was a pleasure to drink. The taste built throughout the pint. Another great beer from Samuel Smith.

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

Head retention to the fullest! For an imperial stout that is. High above the rim of my glass. Smell is huge, lots of cherries and stuff. Taste runs deep into my soul. Dates, currants and all that jazz. What ever the heck's going on its bad ass. Like a mouth full of tar. Thanks to the low, for an imperial stout, ABV this can be drunk in excess.

Photo of Hibernator
4.72/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this out of a 12 oz clear bottle and served in a British imperial pint glass. Classic Samuel Smith's gold foil decorates the top the of the bottle.

Appearance is a jet dark black with a brown head on top. The head stays fluffy and composed. Awesome sticky lacings.

Aroma of sweet milk, molasses, licorice and roasted grains.

Sweet and creamy mouthful. A taste that highlights a taste dark and roasted malts. Espresso sharp bitterness. Flavors of licorice, coffee, and chocolate. Fairly dry finish.

A personal favorite beer and one of the best Imperial stouts out there. Recommended.

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

Pours black no highlights on this baby just black, with a creamy dark tan head which does not last long and leaves spotty lace.
Roasted malt, dark fruits, coffee and chocolate eminate, smells sweet and creamy. Tastes of roasted malt lightly burnt but smooth creamy chocolate moving to a slightly bitter coffee flavor with molasses covered fruit coming up in the mix enhanced by very light hops. A smooth and very drinkable Imperial Stout. This brew is creamy sweet with just the right amount of roasted flavors to make a perfectly balanced taste, perfection. Mouthfeel couldn't get any better. Drinkability is great. This may not be the strongest Imperial Stout but it is still damn near the best one. I use to have these more in the past but on my quest to try new stuff they have fallen to the way side. I say never again.

Photo of kmpitz2
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer poures a jet black color with a finger of tan head that falls to coat over the beer. The nose is really chocolatey, almost like a candy bar. I like the nose. The flavor is all about the chocolate. Wow. It stays with me a long time as well. The feel is thick and a little creamy. Drinkability is good. I like this beer.

Photo of NEhophead
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 pt 2 fl oz clear bottle.

Creamy brown head that fades to a thin sheet after a few moments. Layered and spotted lacing with above average strength. Opaque black in color.

Dark chocolate and some deep coffee tones. The strongest aroma is a bold oak and slight bourbon note. Great aromatics!

Milk and dark chocolate with coffee tones. Big oak and a bit of bourbone flavors that carry this Imperial. The alcohol presence is noticeable but not over the top. A subdued bitterness due to the oak character that gives way to a semi-sweet caramel aftertaste.

Full bodied; Very smooth and mellow. Coats the palate well: carbonation is subdued nicely, but IMO it could be a bit more syrupy for my tastes.

This is a very strong Imperial in terms of flavor and aromatics, but where the hell is the alcohol? An imperial stout at 7% abv? That's probably my biggest (only?) knock to this beer. A staple for Russian Imperials and something all collectors should possess at least a bottle of.

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

Pours a glossy black with a creamy, rocky tan head which settles to a thin sheen and leaves persistent lacing. Strong roasted coffee and malt aromas, with vinous, nutty, slightly earthy tones. Rich, creamy toasted coffee initial flavor, which develops into a nutty, woodsy middle and finishes with a strong sweetness. Very nicely rounded in the mouth, with a perfect smooth and creamy texture. Easy to drink, though the sweetness can become overbearing by the end of a pint.

Photo of Brian700
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours black. Completely opaque. No light is getting through this one. It has a light brown head. The head is creamy with larger bubbles scattered throughout it. The smell is exceptional. Its chocolatey, malty, and there is a presence of some fruit-like aroma. Maybe plum or cherry aroma. The taste is very good. Chocolatey and malty. Perfect amount of bitter on the back of the palate. Good mouthfeel. the carbonation is right on and the body is full. Coats the mouth nicely. This is a really good Imperial Stout and I would urge anyone who hasn't tried it to definately do so.

Photo of hero27
3.43/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Very dark, even for a stout, if you can believe it. Relatively small, tan cap.

Aroma: Smells really good. Nice malty aroma of coffee and a hint of chocolate.

Taste: Not bad, but I expected more flavor from this one. I mean, the dark appearance and sweet aroma would lead me to believe it'd be a little more rich than it was.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and relatively smooth & creamy. The alcohol is very deceptive and well hidden in this beer.

Drinkabilty: A good stout, but the price tag and lack of flavor won't have me running out to buy a 6-pack every weekend, that's for sure. It's hard enough putting down 2-3 of these bottles in succession. It's meant to enjoy slowly after a big dinner, not to drink watching a football game. Personally, I liked the Sam Smith's Nut Brown Ale a little better, as this is one of the weaker Imperial Stouts I've had.

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

A classic Imperial Stout if I have ever had one. This one poured a opaque black color with a small brownish head that soon setlled into a fine pillow of a head on top of my beer. The smell was great with a slight plum scent breeaking through the coffee and chocolate layers. The taste was decidedly Sam Smith with its great light mouthfeel and perfect carbonation levels and the flavors of dark chocolate, carmel and coffee were so perfectly combined that this has to be the most balanced and drinkable Imperial Stout that I have had to date! This one especially hit the spot on this unusually rainy and cold San Diego evening. A top shelf brew for sure, highly recommended!

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

Appearance: Deep, deep chocolate brown, verging on black. Almost completely opaque--I could not get a ray of light to penetrate this bad boy. Bubbly, thick deep brown/expresso swirl head with surprisngly good retention. No legs or lacing.

Smell: Not as pronounced as I might have expected for an impy. Vinous, cherry notes up front. Sweet caramel malt with a distinct smokiness.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Very... Samuel Smith. A slightly thin, slightly coating and surprisingly crisp mouthfeel. Starts with a blend of chewy caramel malt, yeast and burnt coffee. Dark fruit/cherry comes midpalette. Finishes dry with a smoky, almost chicory bite and bittering hops. A bit of sugar sourness lingers in the aftertaste.

Drinkablity: Very good for the style; almost a light beer among the "more is more" manifesto of contemporary impy stouts.

To be fair, I'm certain that this is a very "correct," traditional example of this style. But... I'll put it this way: An all-original, "correct" '57 Chevy Bel-Aire is a classic, a great car. But a '57 Bel-Aire with a 502 c.i. crate motor, six-speed, disc brakes and a 1200-watt sound sytem is a HELL of a lot more fun to drive. So while it's good, I'll take Rogue's or Stone's monster stouts any day over this.

Photo of ChrisBowers
4.72/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The Beer God cometh. Simply a spectacular beer and the kingpin of the style in my opinion. Pours jet black with a nice viscosity. Smell is kinda wine-like with perhaps some blackberrys? Taste is wonderfully complex. Bittersweet chocolate, raisins, espresso, slight port wine perhaps in the finish. Super-drinkable at 7%. Enjoy.

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

Certainly, this is a very good beer, quite worthy of praise. However, I'm not sure it should be as ranked as high as it currently is.

Comes in a custom bottle which I assumed to be brown, but after pouring I discovered it was clear, sigh. Pours a very nice, pure black, with moderate brown head. Smell is quite potent, very malty and quite attractive. Taste is good. Very deep, burnt flavor dominates here, much more so than most American imperial stouts. Almost coffee-like, but with a sharp sweet and sour flavor backing it up, the beer is surprisingly tangy. A good try, and I will certainly buy this again if I am in the mood for it, but I would almost NEED to be in the mood for this to drink it. Unusual to say the least.

Photo of crookedhalo
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque deepest mahogany color with a tan head. Charred, roasty malt character with loads of butterscotch/toffee notes. Gripping sweet roasty flavors with ample carbonation to keep each sip lively on the palate, and the bittersweet finish invites another sip. Very nice and drinkable.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a deep black with a beautiful 1" tan head that stays its course nicely. I'm not seeing any light penetrating this brew and it looks wonderful in the glass. The smell is of powerful roasted notes, hints of coffee and cocoa as well. There are some burnt grains that enter my nose, overall it smells quite nice.

The first taste is very smooth with a robust roasted / burnt malt flavor...bitter coffee hits the back of my palate on the way down. Chocolate covered raisins fit there way in there somehow too. This is well put together and quite easy to drink.

Mouthfeel is very nice, altough it almost seems a bit lacking in body to me personally. The drinkability factor is very good. This one goes down easily and tastes great. A couple of these and I'd be a happy camper for the night. If you enjoy stouts, and have yet to try this one, get off yer ass and do it already!

Photo of trumick
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep dark brown with very little head and not much lacing.

Scent is of sweet dark malts, dark chocolate, and coffee. The scent is more pronouced as it warms. It has the same scents just more intense.

Taste follows the nose, sweet dark malts, dark bitter chocolate, finishes with slight hops, coffee and a bit sweet. Taste is also more pronounced as it warms and, yes, better.

Mouthfeel, very nice and smooth almost creamy with perfect carbination, meduim to full bodied a bit lighter than I would expect for the style.

Drinkability, danger, this one is very easy to drink. I could put a bunch of these away. This is probably the most drinkable Imp Stout I have ever had. The lower (lower for the style) abv helps.

What a nice beer. The abv is lower and makes this beer that much more apealing. This is one I will definately buy again.

Photo of odeed
3.68/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

all the samuel smiths have a bit of the same taste.not saying its a bad thing,they all taste great!
the imperial poured out with little head and i could almost make out some light looking through it.as i said,has the sammy smith taste only with a bit of imperial thrown in for good measure.
very good stout overall.

Photo of BJ1833
4.72/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep black color with brown two-finger head.

Aroma: Mmm... this already smells delicious. Coffee and chocolate aroma hits you first with a fainter smell of toffee as well.

Taste: A strong coffee and roasted malt flavor. Notes of toffee and caramel as well. This is very rich and complex. Alcohol is present but definitely not overpowering.

Mouthfeel: Heavy body that is creamy and silky. Perfection carbonation in this bottle.

Overall: This is the first imperial stout I've tried and I don't see how they could get any better than this! This is easily the best stout (imperial or otherwise) I've ever had. This beer would make a good winter warmer.

Photo of jvajda
3.33/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Black as night and a very dark head that dissapates quickly.
Smell: Strong smell of sweet bananas in the nose.
Taste: Very sweet banana tones and small alcohol taste. Somewhat simple for a stout.
Mouthfeel: Creamy. Leaves the lips sticky.
Drinkability: I don't feel like this beer has much to offer that would bring me back.

Photo of 99bottles
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Into a tulip, this stout poured a very near black color with almost an inch of deep tan head. The retention was lacking, and a thin lace was all that remained after a minute.

Smell: A rich roasted scent from the barely that nearly stings the nostrils, and then wraps them up in soft richness.

Taste: This stout is my Imperial benchmark. It has a very classic taste and flavor; that is of roasted barley, some acidic coffee, very strong notes of dark chocolate, raisins, figs, and alcohol. It has modest bitterness, without too much hop flavor. Very very good.

Mouthfeel: This might be thinner than what most imperial stout drinkers have come to expect. In this case, I think it does well with matching the flavor to the viscosity and thickness of the beer.

Drinkability: A great beer to herald in the change of the seasons. This is a nice beer to sip, and though I think multiple bottles coudl be consumed in one sitting, I'd rather sit and reflect over one.

Photo of sutcliff
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was the first imperial stout I ever tried years ago and I made it a point to have a pint of it on a regular occassion. An excellent example of the style with a warm, rich taste, and a low amount of hop aroma. The color is a deep black and the head was significant.

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.53/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Victorian style label is very cool.

The beer pours pure black with a big tan head and good lacing. The aroma is of sweet cocoa powder, with the expected coffee and roasted barley notes as well. The taste is incredibly rich and complex. The coffee flavors are so well defined. There is a diversity of chocolatey flavors. The hops very evident. Theres also a smokey faintly acidity (from the roasted barley?). The carbonation is light in this thick brew making for a creamy mouthfeel. This beer is eminently drinkable because it is so well balanced and alcohol flavors are completely concealed behind a wall of richness. An excellent Imperial Stout.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,254 ratings.