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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,710 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,710
Hads: 3,506
Avg: 4.17
pDev: 16.31%
Wants: 220
Gots: 399 | 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.
View: Beers (31) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,710 | Hads: 3,506
Photo of DanielMB
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was not a typical imperial stout. It has a good look, but the smell and taste is overwhelmingly choclately, with little of the hoppy roastiness that typical RIS boasts. Some of this may be the result of the unusually low ABV of 7%. It is still a very good beer, but anyone looking to buy this would be well-advised to purchase a single first if he can. I bought an entire 4-pack for $10 at Total Wine, and it just hasn't really panned out for me.

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Photo of janubio
4.65/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

335 ml. bottle. Pours an opaque black clour, with a tan head that lasts forever and leaves a ring all around the glass. Smell is impressive: chocolate is predominant, but there's caramel, dark fruits, port wine, vanilla, liquorice, and ome coffee. Taste is more or less the same, chocolate everywhere, with coffeemore noticeable than in the nose, caramel, dark fruits and vanilla. The only that doesn´t do it justice, IMO is the medium body and thin palate. Anyway, a great beer.

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Photo of Bizz88
3.81/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out into a standard pint glass, non-cloudy, deep, dark, almost black mahogany. 1 + inch foamy caramel head. Burnt malts with dark chocolate undertones with a slight alcohol esters permeated on the nose, as did the palate with this medium heavy on the tongue Imperial Stout. The 7 % ABVs served well for my perchance for high octane brews. Thought not over the top in that category. A foam lace of the entire glass of this consumption. As expected, a quality

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Photo of chogm54
3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

355mL bottle purchased from a local imported beer store. Annoyingly noticed when I got home that the best before date was June 2013. Luckily the store had been storing the beer in almost cellar like conditions (cool, dark), so i decided to give it a go.

A - black, so black that its almost opaque. Pours a thin, brown head.

S - Whoomph! like christmas pudding - dark fruits and a strong port, mixed with liqourice. A bit overwhelming and hard to get away from.

T - sweet coffee with strong roasted malts coming in halfway. Earthy yeasts in the background. Slightly acidic aftertaste - Kind of like flat cola.

M - full and creamy body, low carbonination, feels rich and hearty.

O - very good, the coffee and roasted malts are very warming, and the mouthfeel is perfect for a stout. The smell put me off, as I am not an aniseed fan. Stay clear if its hot summer months, this is the winter warmer!

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Photo of hoegaardenhero
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

550ml bottle poured into snifter

a: deep black body that is completely solid with a tan/brown head that fades to eventually leave a centimeter of tan head that stays the duration

s: what hits my nose first is a sweet spicy coffee fragrance; hints of alcohol; some dark chocolate and darker fruits

t: strongest is the roast coffee malts; a hint of yeasty bitterness as well; floral hops; prunes and apples; strong sweet chocolate at finish; seriously complex flavor

m: thick w/ light carb; could maybe be just a teeny bit creamier

d: this is a great beer but it is not to be taken lightly; it is like a full meal both in terms of how much it fills you up and the complexity and strength of flavor; i have had this beer on numerous occasions and have never been able to finish the 550ml because i feel so stuffed after about 400ml
it is hard to believe it, but it has been approximately 6 years since I reviewed this beer and it has been aging in my cellar. Time for a review of Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout after 6 years:

a: the beer still pours a thick opaque black although it has some sort of burgundy highlights near the bottom of the glass that I don't remember from before. Same beautiful tan head that fades leaving a thin coating on the top of the glass that lasts for the whole experience. very light carbonation is visible in the black depths.

s: really fragrant; port and alcohol are the predominant aromas; dark prunes and raisins are present as well; chocolate;

t: chocolate and raisins are the predominant tastes; the raisiny sweetness lingers while some more roasted/burnt flavors come into the sip; overall, very sweet and smooth with a good blend; a lot sweeter than i remember, but very, very well balanced

m: incredibly smooth with very, very mild carbonation; creamy and silky; this may be the area that has improved the most.

d: in my opinion, this beer has improved and mellowed with age and as it last lost some of those burnt notes, it has gained some great fruity notes and really found a warm spicy balance.

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Photo of Bone53
3.74/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a snifter at around 55°F

Appearance: Dark pour with a thin tan head. Black as can be with no light coming through.

Smell: Dark fruit, light roasted malt, classic SS yeast character

Taste: Nice balance of lightly roasted and subtle sweet malts, yeast, and bittering hops

Mouthfeel: light medium body, and watery for an imperial stout; Moderately bitter finish

Overall: I could see this being mind blowing before the existence of American craft beer, but now it seems weak in aroma, taste, mouthfeel, and abv for an imperial stout. I respect their tradition, but in this day and age they need to reclassify this as a regular stout and brew a real imperial. I dont even think this is a good value anymore at $5 for a 18.7 oz bottle. You're much better off grabbing a four pack of Old Rasputin or the like

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Photo of archyquaffer
4.6/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I love the label on this beer- ornate, black and white, pictures of all their medals of yore, and includes a variation on the Yorkshire rose symbol. It looks like something straight out of the 19th century.

Poured from a 18.7 ounce narrow necked bottle into a shaker pint. A moderate pour produces about 2 inches of frothy, billowing sticky and semi-stiff head. The beer is very dark brown, bordering on black. When I drink a little down and fill it up again, the last ounce or two causes the head to billow up again.

I get a lovely sweet mineral and malt aroma right off the bat- best beer aroma ever. Tons of complexity are evident in the flavor-aromas, including distinct dark cherry, chocolate, plum, coffee, nut, chocolate, and a slight leafy note reminiscent of celery. A fruity, spicy tang is quite apparent, particularly when you draw the foam off the top. This lightly sweet tang lingers into the aftertaste to balance some bitterness. Bitterness is relatively low in comparison to a stout brewed in the U.S., but it is subtle, and complements and even draws forth the malt flavors rather than hiding or overwhelming them. Not as chewy as many stouts are, and completely lacking in the over-the-top hop or extremely bitter, stale, burnt coffee flavors found in some American stouts.

I think yeast and mineral water are doing some unique things here. I wonder what chorus of little, beneficial bugs inhabit those Yorkshire squares? It's interesting to note, as I found out with a little online searching, that the Yorkshire Square process developed from early 18th century research on the absorption of gases into liquids. These squares are made of slate, which is known for its thermal stability and chemical inertness.

This is a classic and very accessible beer, and perhaps the best beer available in my area (and actually kinda cheap!). It is very unique and complex, and should be savored. I gotta remember to load up on this at Christmastime. Cheerio!

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Photo of dank203
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

very nice beer, can taste cherry malt, hints of light and dark chocolate. really creamy feel, aroma is sweet subtle chocolate, very nice to smell and taste simultaneously. medium bodied so not a huge viscous stout. reminds me more of an "export stout" like Guinness export

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Photo of Ohiolager
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Samuel smith's imperial stout 550 ML brown bottle $3.49(OH)

no freshness date. i looked over and over again. just some codes on the neck (SH27M1) fresh beer only revealed it was bottled on 8-27-2013. and stouts have great shelf lives. should be good until 8-27-2014.

poured into a pint glass. pours jet black, almost zero light comes through. leaves a three finger super thick head, that stays around for ages. nice silky bubbles are pressed up against the glass by the thick tan head.lots of clingy spider web lacing leaves a desirable look.

it smells rather strong for 7% ABV, i smell strong malts followed by coffee, caramels and chocolates. the aroma is very roasted/toasted and inviting.

the taste is rather mellow, heavy roasted malts followed by a coffee blast with a touch of warmth. a slight taste of chocolate and caramels. the end taste is of that of cocoa and naturally is a tad bitter.

the mouth feel is medium bodied and feels creamy with only a hint of carbonation. has that strong stout feel and aftertaste.

overall this is an excellent stout. i have no real complaints, however decoding that date in the store could be a problem. and if it was old i would take it back, being an inconvenience. a great imperial stout being more towards the light side, ABV wise.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.09/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed out of a 16.9 oz bottle with gold foil concealing the neck and cap and no bottling date that I can discern. Poured into a 50 cL glass stein with a textured exterior. A listed ABV of 7% reveals in interesting juxtaposition between this beer's name and the ever-increasing use of "Imperial" in modern parlance to mean above 7.5% alcohol. I've had this many times in the past, but decided to finally record my enjoyment for posterity (or something).

Appearance - A moderately aggressive pour yields a two-finger head the color of mocha tan, dense and creamy looking, with lots of microbubbles and a meringue-like surface until some pocking starts to show. Beneath the pie topping head sits a body of jet black, hinting at shades of dark taupe when held immediately in front of the light. Head retains for a bit before slinking down and settling as a thick film across the surface, leaving silky, but short-lived sheets of lace that fade away completely after awhile.

Smell - A rich blend of roasted malt and bittersweet chocolate notes along with dark, dried fruit and licorice. To me, the most dominant elements are the roasted component and licorice--the other aromas are mere complementary players. Dark fruit comprised of dates, prunes, but fleeting and mostly overpowered by the strong roasted notes, bordering on char.

Taste - Pleasantly bitter baker's chocolate and more roasted malt, like burnt toast are the standard-bearers for the flavor. There is a slight malty sweetness at first with each sip, but it quickly makes way for a more lingering espresso-like bitterness. Not much--if any--in the way of hop characteristics, which is just fine by me. To my palate, a generous presence of hops can confuse the flavor for this style.

Mouthfeel - Chewy and luscious medium-to-heavy body with moderate, creamy carbonation and a slightly viscous mouthfeel. Lingering bitterness in the aftertaste.

Overall, a fantastic beer from an English brewery that I just love. Proof positive that a Russian Imperial Stout doesn't need loads of alcohol content to have tons of flavor and interest-generating potential. And this one is great in that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. It's a wonderful thing that you can just go to most respectable beer stores and grab this one off the shelf. In fact, you should do it if you haven't.

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Photo of beholder_pl
4.56/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: pitch black with thick tan head that drops slowly and marks the glass nicely.

Aroma: mostly dark chocolate and coffee, a bit roasty and malty. Some fruity sweetness in the back. Aroma is not very intense, but not weak as well. This is a classic imperial stout, so there's nothing wrong.

Taste: first comes dark chocolate, than coffee, which is a bit acidic, than average roastiness. Malty, rather sweet and averagely bitter.

Mouthfeel: full bodied, oily, very soft carbonation, almost flat.

Overall: Highly recommended to every stout and imperial stout lover out there. Classic, great beer.

Enjoyed from a snifter glass.

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Photo of chinchill
4.34/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

550 ml bottle served in a goblet.
Pours dark chocolate in color, nearly black in the glass, with a decent, semi-durable tan head.

Aroma: complex; rich; appealing; balanced.

Has a rich, malty flavor with just the right amounts of sweetness, bitterness and 'coffee'. Great balance and blend of flavors. Lasting aftertaste of coffee and dark roasted grains.

Feel: full, creamy smooth body with perfect carbonation.

O: not innovative but world class nonetheless!

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Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: poured from a 550 ml bottle into a pint glass, dark brown with a large dark tan head that lingers leaving good lacing, clear

S: brown sugar, caramel, slight bourbon, vanilla, very sweet

T: very nice flavor, not as sweet as the nose, coffee, chocolate, brown sugar, toasted malt, finish bitters with British hop flavor noticeable

M: thinner and less oily than expected alcohol well hidden, slightly higher carbonation

O: an old brew that is still very good, it isn't the aggressive American version of the style, flavors are more subtle and controlled

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Photo of Nostrajonus
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Black pour with a two finger creamy tan head that is amazing.

S-Roasted barley and with hints of dark chocolate and hops.

T- Rich malts and dark chocolate. The hops are there too, but in the background. Complex and well put together.

M- Creamy smoothness. This drinks really well.

O- Had this before, and will have it again. Drinks very well, full bodied flavor, reasonably priced.

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Photo of MartzMimic
4.29/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a creamy brown head. It dissipates fairly quickly leaving a bit of lacing. Smells of chocolate, dark fruits and bit of coffee. Those same things follow to taste with some alcohol. A touch of bitterness that increases a bit as it warms. Nice oily mouth. This has everything you want in a stout.

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Photo of Flounder57
4.04/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle was poured into a large snifter.

Appearance: This beer poured a crazy two finger mocha head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a pitch black color with no clarity or vision of bubbles coming up through the glass. Super awesome lacing down the glass.

Smell: Roastiness, chocolate, smoke, bready malts, caramel, toffee, and old Sammy smith ale aroma,

Taste: Toffee, caramel, chocolate, roasted coffee, mild tingly bitterness, typical old ale Sammy flavor.

Mouthfeel: Silky creamy smooth, medium to full bodied, low to medium carbonation, a little chewy, and delicious.


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Photo of n2185
3.57/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours black with two fingers of tan head that fades into a thin cap with solid lacing.

S: Roasted malts with sweet cocoa, molasses, and some dark fruits like prunes and raisins dominate. There are also some faint licorice and bubblegum notes underneath.

T: Roasted malts here as well with semi-sweet chocolate, a bit of molasses, and some licorice flavors. The finish is slightly bitter and charred.

M: Medium-thick body with medium carbonation, this beer is pretty drinkable for a stout while avoiding being too watery or sticky.

O: A solid beer, overall, and definitely a unique take on the style.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Black with a mocha head.

S: Dark roast coffee, dark chocolate, dark fruit, and some roasty and nutty malts in the nose.

T: Taste is more dark chocolate than coffee, still some dark fruit, and some malty nuttiness.

M: Full bodied and smoothish.

O: This was one of my first imperial stouts and it really drew me to the style as well as the brewery. They make some of best English beers I've ever had.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.46/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours pitch black in the body with a creamy, tan head. Super dense, frothy head forms and retains very, very well. Lacing is also very good.

S- Dark malts dominate the smell of this beer. Hints of dark fruit and a slight metallic flavor mix in under the toasty malts. Dark fruits turn gradually toward a very bready scent, which is the lingering scent.

T- Dark, roasty, and slightly bready, this beer is fairly simple, yet delicious. This beer starts with some toasted dark malts, then moves toward a hint of dark fruits. Biscuit and bread notes come after the touch of dark fruits before the roasted malts return to end the drink.

M- Very smooth, medium levels of carbonation, and fairly thick. Drinks very easy for an imperial, but is still thick and smooth.

Overall, this is an exceptional, affordable, delicious imperial stout. Doesn't kill you with too many heavy flavors or too much booze. This is a great beer.

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Photo of angusdegraosta
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown to black, opaque. When you pour it, the carbonation cascades. Head is ample. Smells like fermented raisins and fruit - magnificent. The taste comes out best at warmer temperatures: the full roasted flavor can overpower the palate if swilled. When sipped and tasted first from the tip of the tongue, you get the full effect. The hops balance the roasted fruit flavor. Very pleasant feel. The drinking experience matches the beer's reputation as a classic - love it.

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Photo of mpedara429
4.44/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown and almost black in color. Three fingers of khaki colored head and some nice drapery left as lacing.

S: Roasted malt, chocolate, and a hint of vanilla.

T: Very smoky at the start and then takes on the character of the nose

M: Medium-heavy body that is chewy with medium carbonation.

O: Awesome, awesome, awesome. Nice complexity and balance. The smokiness and vanilla make this different. Also, more affordable than some of the other imperial stouts.

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Photo of dcmchew
4.74/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Almost pitch black, long lasting one finger beige head, extremely sticky.
Rich smell of roasted malts, caramel, coffee, dark fruit (plus faint red wine), really good.
Initial taste is of rich dark chocolate, caramel, rich roasted malts. Big espresso notes, with lots of cocoa powder. Big hints of vanilla and licorice. Mild dark fruit (obvious raisin, fig, plum), with berries, cherries and dark grapes (bringing a mustiness). Low citrus also, with a nice crispness adding freshness to the heavy roast. Nice woody notes, with a low smokiness and light burnt wood/charcoal. Mild hoppy presence.
Creamy, with a warm booze that gives the beer almost a cognac feel.
A beautiful complex imperial stout, really good.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a classic Samuel Smith's bottle into a goblet. I am a major advocate of this brewery, appreciating the unique yeast and diacetyl character of their brews as well as the malt complexity. This is probably one of the top Russian imperial stouts in the world, providing a supreme balance of deep, rich malt flavors, sweetness, and perhaps surprisingly prominent hop flavors, hitting all these targets without going out of balance. Pours a Stygian opaque black with a few reddish highlights here and there, with ample rich tan foam. Releases an assertive admixture of buttery, chocolate, coffee, roast barley, and toasty aroma notes, roughly in that order. Tastes of chocolate brownie, caramel sauce, freeze-dried coffee crystals, plums, smoked corn husk, light rum, wood, Samuel Smith house yeast and earthy, grassy hops with maybe a hint of citrus rind. Incredible complexity of flavor with the expected heavy, thick body and low to moderate carbonation. The alcohol burn is there but less harsh and astringent than some American examples of the style. I appreciate the refined and measured approach to a "big beer" and this epitomizes that ideal.

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Photo of Chiefy770
4.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 550 ML bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Appearance: Dense coffee-black body. A generous brown head forms and leaves a great amount of sticky lacing throughout.

Smell: Brownies. Dark fruit. Toasted grains.

Taste: Toasted malts. Dark chocolate. The hops kick in and create a coffee-like bitterness. Overall the sweetness and bitterness battle throughout the entire glass. All of these wonderfully complexities sit against a smokey, woody backdrop.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth. Nearly a full bodied brew.

Overall: Bow down to this classic. I put one in the cellar, plan on trying with a year on it, but this one is remarkable fresh. The great balance and fullness of flavor make this one stand out from the other Imperials.

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Photo of Hops4Pops
4.96/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bottle says 1 pint, 2.7 FL Oz 550 ML
A: Side pour into a pint glass. Lots of thick rich head, 3 fingers thick. Tannish off-white head with a very interesting texture. Thick foam with bubbles in size up to about 1/16th of an inch. Head retention is excellent. Most of the lacing is oily but a bit of sticky lacing on the sides is forming as head slowly recedes. The lacing that is left is very sticky. Reflective light reveals about as dark a brown as you can get, almost black. Light shining through the beer reveals only the slightest amount of light passing through the beer and it is a dark red color.
S: Lots of burnt malt and sugars. Dark fruit(s) raisin, plum. Coffee. Chocolate. Bittering hops. Alcohol. Oak like burned wood taste very faintly in the background. Very rich. Expectations are high.
T: The smell does not reveal the way this ale tastes. The ordering of the flavors is different than the ordering of the smell. Coolio! Burnt malt, sweetness, chocolate, hops, dark fruit, raisin, plum. Finishes with a very nice bittering hops profile and the taste of the way a burned out campfire of oak wood smells. A very dry finish and very bitter with an interesting burned wood sort of taste. Its like the smoky taste of a very nice scotch without all the afterburn from alcohol to cover it up. Wow.
M: Very medium bodied and and creamy. Finish feels rather thin and very dry. A little bit of warming from the alcohol.
O:Incredibly complex and very well blended in an unusual way. I want another quaff to see what else I can find in it. Smiles. Very robust. Complex. Well rounded. Balanced. Very Unique. Unusually well constructed to be able to put all of this into one beer. I would recommend this to anyone as an incredible execution of style. Not for the faint of tongue. Definitely an acquired taste and not a way to introduce ANYONE to craft beer!!!

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 1,710 ratings.