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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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1,696 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,696
Hads: 3,460
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.03%
Wants: 207
Gots: 368 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,696 | Hads: 3,460
Photo of rjs
3.55/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Poured into a pint glass, and the appearance looked great. Opaque Black with a tan, soapy head. The head kept retention throughout.

S-I picked up some mint, cherry dark chocolate in the nose.

T-Picked up some light chocolate notes, dark fruit, then just a hint of dry red wine. Finished dry with a heavy burnt toast note.

M-Felt pretty thin next to many other RIS offerings. Was expecting something more substantial.

O-This is a great looking brew, but the taste and mouthfeel fall just a little bit short for me when compared to other RIS I've had. (555 characters)

Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.55/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a pitch black with one full finger of dark khaki colored head. The foam is think and frothy, and takes forever to diminish. There is a ton of lacing left on the glass as it drinks.

S: The nose is caramel, chocolate, raisin, and soy. Uhh ohh. I'm in for a bad time. It smells a touch sour and just off. How long has this been sitting on the shelf at my local beer store?

T: It starts out sweet with roasted malt, caramel, and toffee. I get some milk chocolate in the middle, but nothing that dominates. I'll tell you what does dominate, though... sour. I get soy sauce and lacto throughout. Bummer man. The finish is more lacto and toffee.

M: Full bodied beer. This one has some good heft. It's coating but not syrupy. The flavors seem to be ok (minus that brutal sourness). I'm actually a bit taken aback by the toffee notes in this beer.

O: Not a fan. The off flavors really ruin this beer. I hope it's just a bad bottle, but who knows. I will try this again sometime down the road, but will prefer to seek this out on draft. (1,039 characters)

Photo of mbrown26
3.55/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pub glass. As I'm trying more beers, I'm learning stouts may not be my personal preference, but I imagine this would be very good for the style, which is I why I gave it higher marks than I normally would.

A: Had a nice dark, oil like color with a one finger head that didn't want to stay around too long.

S: Smelled great with chocolate and some mocha.

T: If you like stouts, this is probably a fine example. Not hoppy and plenty of flavor. Alcohol is well hidden, but has a nice balance.

M: Creamy and thick.

D: Fairly easy to take down. (572 characters)

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

A- As black as night topped with a deep beige head.
S- Dominated by breads and grains. Some sweet chocolate and java, as well as, a hint of the 7%ABV.
T&M- Very malty, super sweet with a bitter finish. Some chocolate notes coming through and a bit of a warm booze tinge. The feel is creamy, smooth, and heavy.

A good beer, but I felt it was either too sweet for the amount of bitterness or too bitter for the amount of sweetness. (430 characters)

Photo of fullsweep
3.55/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

355 mL brown bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: thick foamy heady, beige in colour; solid black brew underneath--so dark that even light didn't pierce through; plenty of lacing, slow dissipation of head.

S: strong, roasted barley predominant, toasted nuts as well

T: syrupy, quite a bit of alcohol in the flavour as well--a bit too much for my liking

M: thick and rich

D: while enjoyable, this was slightly less appealing. I would certainly try it again, as this was my first introduction to an Imperial. Can't see this being a go-to beer for me, but I'm happy to be proven wrong. (586 characters)

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

$2.29 12 oz. (355 ml) single at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a decidedly black body with an expansive, light khaki-colored head.

Smell: Lightly chocolaty, roasted malt nose with notes of soy sauce, aged, though basic port wine, apples, and black licorice.

Taste: Roasted barley grains with touches of unsweetened chocolate and caramel with an earthy, soy sauce-esque taste running through the flavor. Hint of licorice and ripe red apples. Bits of sweetness pick up here and there. Splash of spiced prune juice. Very, very distant buttery hint. Small hints of yeast and alcohol. Finishes fruity, with a very slight metallic hint creeping into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Slight, oat-esque creaminess to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Still a fine, decent RIS, even with those dirty nickels. But, if I had my druthers, I'd reach for a Taddy Porter instead. (920 characters)

Photo of scottoale
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the typical Samual Smith 550ml. clear glass pours a nearly black, just a hue of burgundy when held to light, with light brown foam capping. Two fingers thick rises from a fairly mild pour, then dies down to just a surface layer and a bit of lacing.

Burnt malt, dark coffee, sweet chocolate and a note of grassy hops. As it warms a bit, the hops stand out with a wiff of alcohol.

Sweet, yet bittery dark malty front that blends in some caramel, coffee, chocolate, tobacco and prunes, then turns lettuce and finishes bitterly clean. Rather well balanced.

With a medium plus body, it has a creamy as well as a tangy mouthfeel, with a pleasant warming of the alcohol ending each quaff. This stout fits the bill and it's definitely worth tasting. (755 characters)

Photo of riored4v
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 1/29/11

Poured in to a pint. Good 1.5 finger head, pitch black body. Head was dark tan.

Smell was estery and a bit off/weird. Very mild roast Good amount of sweetness. Strong raisin.

Taste had strong raisin and ester presence. Very mild roast with a good amount of sweetness. Some yeasty/english presence with a very light bitterness. Some chocolate notes as well.

Mouthfeel had a medium/light body. Light carb, slightly sticky finish.

Drinkability was decent. Lots of ester and raisin. Even splitting the bottle, 1 was enough. (544 characters)

Photo of jdklks
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

aggressively poured into an over-sized wine glass, producing a 1 1/2 finger tan-brown head. black with amber edges. smells of english hops and yeast (not surprisingly of course) and roasted coffee malt that provides a welcoming sweetness.

taste is thin and dry, an unbalanced sugary sweetness with little punch. for an imperial stout, not a whole lot of complexity. not much here besides a sugary sweetness accompanied by a barely perceptible hop bite that saves it from being too sweet.

mouthfeel is nice as far as thickness goes, but it is over-carbonated, and the aftertaste is too sweet on the palate. (608 characters)

Photo of jmdrpi
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, they've now switched to brown bottles.

black, with ruby highlights in the edges. almost no head. aroma is of roasty, but mild. taste is also mild roasted malt flavor, but not overly complex or bold. body is not as thick as most Imperial Stouts.

A solid beer, but just doesn't stand up to the top versions of this style. (337 characters)

Photo of Qbdoo
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A solid beer. Black with frothy tan head and strong licorice and anise flavors, as well as roasted malt and a hint of chocolate. Feel is thin for an imperial stout. Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout was one of my early introductions to craft and stout, so I'd looked forward to trying this for years but had never come across it. I suspect that 10 years ago this would have blown me away but now it ranks as a bargain imperial stout and a good introduction to the style. (465 characters)

Photo of Mistofminn
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Since Imperial Stouts have easily been my favorite styles lately, I figured I had to give this staple of the style a try.

550 ml bottle poured into a tulip. Dark opaque brown, nearly black colored liquid and a creamy lighter than expected tan head. Fizzes out rather quickly, not the greatest sign. Leaves a tiny bit of lacing here and there.

The nose is slightly muted, but I get molasses, lightly toasted malts, very sweet, possibly some coffee and chocolate. Not a whole lot going on, definitely not as much as I would expect from an Imperial Stout. On a good note, there is no alcohol present?

The taste, unfortunately, is even more muted than the nose. It's really sweet, much more than I was expecting. Molasses, toasted malts, dark coffee, chocolate and cream, it's all there, albeit muted.

Mouthfeel is much lighter than I expected also. It's incredibly smooth and creamy though! Very low carbonation only adds to the smooth and creamyness.

Drinkability is pretty good. Since the ABV is so low (compared to others in the style) this could be a pretty good "session" Imperial Stout. It's just not for me. I'm a fan of big, thick and chewy, sticky and slimey stouts. This isn't one of those. (1,202 characters)

Photo of Stunner97
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- very dark black with not a speck of light coming through this one, a big thick tan head off the pour, dark and menacaing

Smell- rich and strongly malty, milk chocolate, roasted malts, very sweet nose, not a super powerful nose but an over riding sweet one

Taste- sweet chocolate and malts, slight and i mean very slight bitter roasted malts on the back end but manly just very much a malt bomb, raisins and brown sugar sweetness up front quickly fade out, short to average finish, a nice flavor but not as powerful as many of the newer style stouts,

Mouthfeel- heavy thick and smooth body,

Drinkability- this stout is very easy to session but I think its because its almost extremely simplistic for what we have now come to expect from a good imperial stout, now I am not saying this is not a decent beer in its own right cuz its certainly enjoyable and easy to session through but its just not a game changer, short finish for sure and rather one dimensional, that said its worth trying and its certainly one you could easily session down with glee (1,065 characters)

Photo of johnmichael712
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into a nonic glass. There is no freshness date on the bottle. This beer pours a deep black color that just barely allows some lamp light through it, but in normal light you'd swear it's as black as they come. The two-fingered head is easily formed and is a beautiful medium brown color that takes quite a long time to dissipate, and eventually fades to a ring around the top of the beer with moderate surface coverage. A good amount of Belgian lace is left behind on the sides of my glass, and this is one fabulous looking beer.

Smell: The nose of this beer isn't as strong as some of the other Russian Imperial Stouts I've had, but it's still a pleasure to behold. Notes of black and chocolate roasted malts are well balanced with bittersweet chocolate, blackstrap molasses, and black currant fruit. There are also hints of espresso and a coffee-like earthiness, and a bit of alcohol to round it all out. Overall a subdued, yet wonderfully balanced, nose.

Taste: This beer starts out with a moderate acidity that has strong notes of raisins and other dark fruits, along with a strong hop flavor that is reminiscent of bitter orange peel or lemon zest. The flavor then moves to a moderate amount of roasted malt flavor that has notes of bittersweet chocolate and freshly-ground coffee, and this beer finally fades to a bit off treacle toffee sweetness and alcohol flavor along with a bit more acidity and hop flavor that compliments the exceptionally dry finish. I have to complain, however, because there are times that the flavor of this beer is downright astringent, and for a beer that's only 7% that's quite a shame. I was expecting a bit more complexity and depth, and unfortunately Sam didn't deliver.

Mouthfeel: I was surprised with my first sip of Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout, mainly because it doesn't feel like some of the much heavier American versions that I've been drinking lately. This one is much more acidic, much more carbonated, and bit oilier. Other than that, this beer has a medium body with a pleasant creamy-smoothness.

Drinkability: Not an exceptionally heavy beer, the texture and the low carbonation makes it possible to put back quite a few of these. The acidity, however, might be a bit too much, but this beer still manages to maintain good drinkability.

Notes: Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout is definitely a classic beer, and it's hard to fault something that's been winning gold medals since 1896 and that comes from as respected a brewery as Samuel Smith's. Unfortunately, however, I must do exactly that, and in my opinion this beer is no where near the level of Stone's IRS, North Coast's Old Rasputin, Founder's RIS, or countless other Russian Imperial Stouts. For a category of beer that is absolutely bursting forth with quality, Samuel Smith's version just isn't quite what I'm looking for. Judging by the other ratings for this beer it's possible that I got a bad bottle, but it's more likely that this beer just isn't quite up to snuff. I'll be buying this beer again to see if this was just a bad bottle, so look for possible changes coming up. (3,134 characters)

Photo of NCBeernut
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I managed to pour this whole thing in my Sam Adams oktoberfest mug that really has seemed to be a great for getting the most out of stouts. Dark brown, but not quite black, as the light will show. Big bubbly head that crackles like a soda, except with better retention and more dense.

Anise, belgian yeast and the dark fruit smell that tends to go along with it. Only a hint of roasted malt makes it through. a bit of alcohol and some apples.

Here comes the roasted malt that was hiding in the nose...so smooth. Anise is still there. The taste is complex. Dark fruit show up mostly at the beginning and give way to the roasted tastes. Maybe some apples somewhere in the taste as well. It all blends together surprisingly well. I couldn't drink too much of this though. (770 characters)

Photo of silentjay
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

not quite black with a generous light khaki head that sticks around a while and laces ok.

some coffee and chocolate, lots of caramel but with a lot of fruity, earthy, herbal, buttery english qualities to it. like a roasted english brown ale. not bad.

taste is dominated by black-strap molasses as well as lots of caramel. chocolate, coffee, toffee and soy sauce as well. some fruitiness with hints of dates, figs and raisins. ok.

medium bodied with a lot of syrupy molasses stickiness left in the mouth as well as some lingering sweetness.

drinks ok. flavor, aroma, and body are dominated a bit too much by molasses. complexity is lacking though its a decent brew. (668 characters)

Photo of nickynick
3.52/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer seemed a bit of a mystery to me. I love stouts, but have never had an Imperial stout. This was my first. The beer pours almost jet black, with a brown head. The smell of this beer is very sweet, and wonderful. However, the taste in my opinion didn't match the smell. The sweetness is only brief in the front, but then turns bitter, and finishes a bit smoky. Mouthfeel was think, and ok. Drinkability is ok, but at the end of the glass it was getting hard to finish. Overall, I can see why people like this, its flavorful, and has a lot going on. For me however, I guess I don't like overly bitter stouts. I was disappointed because I am a huge fan of Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout. I will give this beer another chance, but for the price, I'll take their Oatmeal Stout over this one. (792 characters)

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.52/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed 5/8/2007 (550mL bottle):

Pours an inky black color, big foamy tan head. Dry chocolately aroma, some sugars and malty aromas. Not much coffee aroma. Not heavy body, watery almost mouthfeel. Some coffee aftertaste, not much chocolate taste. Almost skunky taste. A good stout. (283 characters)

Photo of olympuszymurgus
3.51/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I always pass the Sammy Smith display but today it called me. A single slim bottle of an imperial stout for 3 bones? yes.

It pours a dark brown, red in the light. Aroma is subdued despite the good carbonation. The taste is slightly sour, perhaps a sour mash? A little roast, a little chocolate, no boozy bite, fairly dry. Body is thin, more like a porter than a stout, let alone an imperial stout.

I'm torn. I like this beer, but frankly it isn't an imperial stout. Perhaps strong porter is more apt. (504 characters)

Photo of punkrkr27
3.51/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Black pour with a tall, frothy, tan head. The aroma has lots of roasted malt, with light notes of chocolate, coffee and dark fruit. There's a slight off sour note in there too. The flavor has gentle notes of roast and coffee with a little more milk chocolate than in the aroma. Over all the flavor has a bit of metallic dullness though. The body is creamy with soft carbonation but a tad thin for an imperial stout. (415 characters)

Photo of scott
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Unknown production

Dark, with only the slightest of ruby accents hidden away. Very aromatic with nice notes of sweet soy & roast. Well-carbonated, this will lend itself to easy drinking coupled with a relatively thin body & well concealed alcohol. Nutty, mildly hoppy, and not nearly as dense as I would have hoped for, or expected. Recommended. (346 characters)

Photo of midwestbrewers
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Very dark, pretty much black with a nice very tan head. Probably 1-1.5 finger.

S: The smell is espresso all the way. Not much else doing here but the roasted coffee/espresso.

T: The taste is exactly like the smell but with the winy bite of alcohol at the back. Very roasted and carbonated, yet very smooth.

Overall I'm still undecided on the Impy's. A little too much alcohol, but still very good and complex flavor patterns. This one's good, but too much for 1 person and not enough to split (only 550ml.) Probably not going to buy again but a very good Imperial. Great beer Samuel Smith Old Brewery!! (609 characters)

Photo of Mikus
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%

This was very good. Some interesting toffee notes, etc on the nose, however the deep, full flavors and dark roasty nightmares I expect in an RIS were a bit lacking. That said, this is a really nice beer, and I would definitely drink again (esp. if I were out of my homebrewed RIS!). (282 characters)

Photo of risendragon
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%

Bought a bomber from Market Basket (go ATD!) and poured into my trusty kitchen glass.

A- As black as the IKEA table that it's resting on, nice tan head, about two fingers high (4)

S- I get chocolate, dark fruits, caramel, some booze, very floral and nice overall (4.25)

T- Milk chocolate, sweet, but not much else. I am somewhat disappointed considering the nose was huge with all the aromas I listed above. At least the booze is hidden rather well (2.75).

M- Heavily carbonated for a stout, more porter-like, somewhat watery and thin (3)

O- Looked good, smelled good, but did not deliver on the tongue. I was somewhat disappointed, maybe if I had not drank it chilled it would have been better. Oh well, next time I will not refrigerate it and try again (3.5) (767 characters)

Photo of artusory
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a big creamy tan head, mostly lasting. Aroma is chocolate and hops, some alcohol as well. Flavor is sweet and mostly chocolate, kind of a robust version of young’s double chocolate stout. Low amount a bittering makes this pretty unbalanced. Body is a little light for the style. More of a sweet stout than an imperial stout. (342 characters)

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 1,696 ratings.