Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

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.

1,696 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,696
Hads: 3,461
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.
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: 1,696 | Hads: 3,461
Photo of OlieIPA
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer had a very dark and clean appearance, while supporting a decent one-finger head. The smell and taste supplied my mouth with hints of coffee and roasted like flavors. The mouthfeel was above average and left my a bit dry after. This Imperial Stout was exceptionally easy to drink and I would recommend it to any beer lover. (332 characters)

Photo of titvs
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%

Review based on the BJCP2008 guidelines (style 13F). Bottle 36cl - Batch L14023. AROMA: roasted aromas mixed with port-like vinous notes. chocolate aromas and dried fruits (figs). APPEARANCE: black and opaque with a Brown head with average retention. slight legging. TASTE: roasted malt, chocolate, strong coffe and slight dried dark fruits. faint hop flavours and some vinous like notes. medium-low bitterness with a relatively sweet finish. low alcohol warmth. PALATE: medium body with low alcohol warmth. medium carbonation. OVERALL: an intense and complex imperial stout with a good range of aromas and flavours. lacks a bit of body and alcohol presence. (659 characters)

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

From 4 pack to glass...

Looks like dark coke. Not quite black, but very dark brown. Head fell down kinda quick.

Light coffee aroma, not a strong scent.

Good coffee flavor, some sour notes.

Body is a little thin for a stout.

Sorry, don't know what else to say. I bought this because it was on the BA Top 100 and I expected more. It's not bad by any means but I expected KaPow! This is the same week that I had Stone IRS and Speedway Stout for the first time so maybe I have the bar set too high for this little guy. Even as such, this is still a solid brew and Sammy Smith continues to make quality products (only let me down once - India Ale). (648 characters)

Photo of jeffboo
3.49/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Twilight zone stout. A pretty shiny black color with a light brown top. Aroma was a subdued roasted malt with a hint of chocolate, much lighter than the Imperials I've been drinking. The flavor leaned toward chocolate and a little acidity,there was also a red wine flavor that seemed out of place (maybe a little oxidized?). It had a nice medium body that made it nice drinking and hid the alcohol well, but the finish was also shorter than others of the same ilk.Not overly impressed with this sample- I may have to revisit it soon. (533 characters)

Photo of Chsyhkr
3.49/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The grand daddy of Imperial Stouts.

Clear bottle leads to some funny aromas, surprised? Not me.
Why do they do that...Get rid of the clear bottles.

Other than funny the aromas are ripe fruit and roast, very complex.

Leading to the same type of flavors, prunes and complex roasted flavors with plenty of hops in the end.

Not really strong enough for an Imperial Stout, 7.0%. But plenty warming.

Enjoy, just make sure you don't get a skunked one! (461 characters)

Photo of fountainofyouth
3.49/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16.9 oz bottle into a pint glass. Before I even comment on the categories above, I just want to say the beer SOUNDS good -- like pouring a fresh bottle of wine.

Appearance: HUGE light brown head and deep, impenetrably brown body.

Smell: It kinda smells like wine too, like a chocolate wine. Not totally in a good way -- too much booze. Besides the booze is sweet brown malt and no discernible hops.

Taste: The taste definitely follows the nose, although slightly more pleasantly so. It is a bit "grapey." There's a good mix of dark barley, plenty of sugar, a little booze, and maybe a hint of English hops. Nice, but not mindblowing.

Mouthfeel: It's got a good, full feeling and a good dose of carbonation. The alcohol is warm, but not hot, and kinda trails into the back of the mouth.

Overall: It didn't really have the depth I wanted. It's good, but I feel like it's trying to mimic to the flavor palette of oak-aged stouts too much. It's too sweet, not really balanced out by anything except a touch of alcohol. (1,033 characters)

Photo of hero27
3.49/5  rDev -16.3%
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. (877 characters)

Photo of Beejay
3.48/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark black body with a nice creamy tan head. Looks good enough to drink.

S: Alcohol, fruits and vinegar.

T: Sharp, distinct. Slightly sour to begin with, then settles in to nice smokey tones, and barley.

M: Slightly thin and watery feeling.

D: Don't think I am going to hop on board with this one. It is good, but not good enough to get a sixer. (353 characters)

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. (405 characters)

Photo of Overlord
3.48/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This was a somewhat unique RIS, in my opinion.

Poured a dark black, with a deep brown head and an inch or so of leathery foam. Good carbonation throughout, and a chewy, syrupy mouthfeel.

Smell and taste was unusual. Tons of rum, banana, butterscotch?, and an interesting malty ... thickness ... gave this a unique complexity. There was definitely coffee in there somewhere, but this was definitely heavier on the chocolate flavor. There's a sour, almost salty, after taste that I did not find appealing. At all.

Good. (521 characters)

Photo of BrewSomerville
3.48/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This Beer had a very nice aroma, it smelled very chocolaty. The mouthfeel was also very nice, it was silky smooth and almost kinda chewy. The flavour was alright, I tasted some dark cherry/ chocolate in it. It had a malty sweetness to it, however, the alcohol was threatening to overpower that malty sweetness. The alcohol gave a warming feeling to my mouth and throat. It's a nice winter Beer, but I'm not going to give it a rave review because of it's poor head retention. It looked beautiful at first with a lofty beige head, but it disappeared far too soon.

Overall Sam Smith's Imperial Stout is alright, and I would give it another chance sometime. (656 characters)

Photo of Tbn2
3.47/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A-Black; when back lit, no light shines through. Whiter than usual head settles and leaves little lacing.

S-Very sweet. Caramel and butterscotch cuts through instantly and have an all most overwhelming presence. Smells of alcohol and licorice are faint.

T/M-Just about the same as smell. Sweetness is almost too overwhelming for me. Needs a little better balance with something more acidic. Has a crisp, clean aftertaste with alcohol warming on the way down. Has the feel of a British brew.

Overall this beer is pretty good. If you like the 'British taste' you will enjoy this beer.

Cheers... (633 characters)

Photo of angelmonster
3.46/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a giant 2 inch mocha head, pitch black in color with good carbonation and head retention

Smells of faint chocolate malts with a bit of hops and alcohol. Would have liked a more powerful smell.

Tastes of burnt malts with some coffee like taste. Somewhat low hops for an Imperial stout but the hops are still present. Very faint alcohol taste with a weird copper like after taste. Some dried fruit , maybe prunes is also tasted

Carbonation is too much. My mouth is almost numb from it. Slight creamy going down but not too heavy. Too bad the carbonation kind of screws up the mouth feel

Good quality beer. Carbonation held it back from being a great beer. Not too bitter, not too heavy, great price. More drinkable than alot of RIS. Would buy again (756 characters)

Photo of katan
3.44/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle - no date

A - Another dark as night RIS. I wish I could come up with more adjectives for this, but I can't. Motor oil, dark, thick etc. Head quick light and left only a small film.

S - Not a strong nose - just a light amount of chocolate and malts. I'm guessing there is a light yeast note in there as well - odd for the style.

T - Starts off smooth and sweet. Nice combination of chocolate and other roasted malts. Perhaps some coffee like acidity in there. Finishes with some bitterness and some odd almost oxidation bite. Almost salty bite at the end, like a coffee sitting in the pot for far too long - not sure I like it.

M - Moderate body for the style - not overly thick but not watery either. Perhaps hard to judge this against its extremely loaded American RIS cousins, but it seems lighter than my expecations.

D - Moderate abv and easy drinking makes this one of the few more drinkable RIS beers I know.

I can tell where the style came from, but I also now know that I prefer our over the top American RIS offerings. (1,048 characters)

Photo of Px2GrafX
3.43/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

presentation: 12oz. thin CLEAR bottle with a white overly decorated label. gold foil on the neck and over the crown. logo at top with ancient gold medals displayed. "contractors to her majesty's forces" below the logo. another diamond logo in the center of the label over "imperial stout" in a diamond cut font. "bottled at yorkshire's oldest brewery est. 1758". 7% abv displayed. no freshness date.

appearance: pours a nice black with no real highlights in a stein mug. head is a nice inch and a half light tan. tight with good retention and lacing down the glass.

smell: vinous and a tad sweet. molasses and dark fruits like prunes.

taste: again vinous with grapes and a roasted malt flavor. chocolate and prunes and raisins. touch of coffee, but the coffee and chocolate aren't nearly as flavorful as in other impy stouts. grapes, prunes and other dark fruits dominate here. finishes a touch sweet and roasty. aftertaste is wine and dark fruit.

mouthfeel: light crisp and clean mouthfeel almost like that of a porter. not as thick as i expect from an impy stout. rolls and swallows smoothly with light carbonation.

drinkability: fairly drinkable with an easy mouthfeel and no hindering alcohol. but the vinous flavors slow me a bit.

overall: i've had this once before and didn't like it very much. at least not nearly as much as others. i've never had it since thinkin' i'd try it again later when my palate's more experienced, and what can i say? i'm still not a fan. i don't like wine very much and the very first flavor i get is wine. it's also a tad thin, even coming from england. a must try as this is a classic, but i'm one of the few who won't be rating this very high. (1,702 characters)

Photo of changeup45
3.43/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Black color, moderate brown head and some lacing. Alcohol obvious in the aroma with some roasted malt. Sharp, tart, alcoholic mouthfeel with some roasted malt and chocolate flavors. Dark chocolate aftertaste which was pretty nice. The more I drink it the better it gets, but in all honesty that just could be the alcohol doing it's job. (336 characters)

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

Great head when poured, thin film now. Very, very solid cradle of lacing. Copper-tinged black colour. This is truly, madly, deeply a great-looking beer.

Unusual nose. Pear (Yes, pear) is a big aspect of the smell, with a spiced, cinnamon edge. Nothing really dark or burned here, which deserves kudos. It's an extraordinary smell for a dark beer but that doesn't necessarily equal extraordinarily good. It's good, just not extraordinarily.

Slightly more dark on the flavour with a cocoa kind of undercurrent and a sout, cabernet kind of finish, but not really cabernet-flavoured. A slightly simple drop, with flavours that are nice but subdued. Mouthfeel is excellent. This seems to have a healing power - my mouth is in pain when this beer isn't gushing through it.

Overall this is a nice, drinkable drop, but it doesn't command too much of my respect. (857 characters)

Photo of blackcompg
3.42/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from their 12oz bottle...

Appearance - Poured 2 fingers of mocha head, color of the beer is a very dark but translucent ruby color.

Smell - Molasses, soy sauce, dark fruits, touch of black coffee.

Taste - Taste follows the nose: roasted malts, black coffee, dark fruits, and touch of soy. These flavors come all at once. In the finish I get some char, toasted pumpernickel crust and a fairly prominent mineral taste.

Mouthfeel - Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, medium carb adds some nice tingle and lends nice drinkability.

Overall - I'm a bit disappointed here, let me explain. The nose is wonderful, and by the smell of this "Imperial Stout" I thought this was going to be a big, flavorful, mouthcoating beer, but it absolutely is not. The flavors are nice, but feels a bit watered down. I like the beer, but have a hard time thinking of this as Imperial. This feels and tastes far more like a regular stout or porter. See what you think. (949 characters)

Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
3.41/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Actually looks brown when pouring it, but once in the glass it's pitch brown/black I suppose, with about two fingers of tan head, nice retention and lacing.

S - Roasted malts, milk chocolate, very milky... not to the point of being bad, but a little surprising. The subtle dark fruits and caramel are masked greatly by the lactose aroma.

T - Roasted malts, milk chocolate with an emphasis on milk! Lots of lactose type flavors, not spoiled, but more of a milk stout than imperial, chalky/coffee finish.

M - A little bright carbonation wise and slightly dry, but overall pretty smooth.

O - Really this was a lot less enjoyable than I imagined it would be, very very milky, lots of lactose and slight acidity. (715 characters)

Photo of CHSLBrew
3.41/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500mL bottle poured into a snifter.

A-Black beer, opaque. Brown head, large bubbles, big off the pour and sustaining. Continued to linger with an attractive 1cm heady layer.

S-Much of chocolate mixed with some dried fruits (raisins).

T-Chocolate, dark fruits and candy/molasses. Roasted barley character is present but doesn't overwhelm the other flavors. A little bit of alcohol in the tail end. Finishes roasty, bitter, a bit washed out/blah.

M-Medium-low small-bubbled carbonation. Medium to medium-full bodied beer.

D-Fine enough, but not really a great brew. I think the flavor profile was relatively thin, with a body that left me wanting. (650 characters)

Photo of tcfishler
3.41/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Darkest mahogany, almost black, with a thick light tan head.

Aromatic nose of quite sweet and just slightly roasted malt with a noticeable licorice character also.

Rich on the palate, with chocolatey-sweet flavors, with a pruny sort of fruitiness. Tiny amounts of astringency and bitterness keep it from being sickly sweet. Alcohol barely registers. Slightly sticky on the finish, which lingers and surprises with its intensity after such a smooth mouthful.

A sweet, rich, meal-in-itself (or more appropriately, dessert-in-itself) stout. Not as roasted and coffee-dominated as some others. Definitely a once-in-a-while, after-dinner sort of thing for me. Utlimately just a little cloying for my tastes. (712 characters)

Photo of Charliechu
3.4/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

550 ML bottle from Whole Foods.

It looks and smells just like an imperial stout. The pour was smooth and everything you come to expect from the style, just that taste wasn't there for me. Personally I thought this beer was a bit light for an Imperial stout. I was expecting something a bit more... flavorful. I also thought mine was a bit over carbonated, but that could just be my bottle. It does leave though a very pleasure after taste of some sweet coffee notes. Overall, I thought it was a decent beer, but as fair as imperial stout goes, I wouldn't be picking this one for my first choice.

Drink more beers!

Cheers! (626 characters)

Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.4/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 18.7 oz. 'Victorian Pint' brown glass bottle; nice, 'antique'-looking label. If I've deciphered the date code correctly, I believe this was bottled March 19th, 2012. Sadly, that's as fresh as we can usually get Sam Smith's in the States, but for this style of brew, that's not so bad honestly. Into my Black Sheep imperial pint.

Appearance: Obsidian-black beer with hints of brown around the edges when held up to the light. Nice medium-tan cap with pretty nice stick.

Smell: A bit unusual. No real roast, char, etc, but rather some musty apple and perhaps the slightest hint of chocolate.

Taste: Very much an English take on the style. Begins estery (apples and vinous dark fruit) before turning lightly roasty (chocolate malt, I think?) in the middle, with a bit of toast as well. Mild notes of char on the firm, bitter finish, with those apple-and-red-wine flavors that we started out with.

Mouthfeel: Every bit of 7%, and really seems a bit bigger than that. Smooth and creamy.

Overall: Overall, this is probably a somewhat better beer than this review suggests. I'm perfectly fine with the English style of RIS as opposed to the American variety. My main issue here is that this is a bit weak in the aroma department (precious little other than green apples) and that the fruity (and especially, apple) flavors significantly overshadow the malt and roasted flavors that, for me, need to be a bit more forward. I'd say that perhaps this beer's just suffering from age, but at just under a year old, this shouldn't be the case. At arond $4.00 a bottle, this is worth picking up once in awhile, but I wouldn't likely have it in my regular rotation.

83-B (1,678 characters)

Photo of kinger
3.4/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

OK, I know in my 2nd and last review of a S.S. brew I formally said goodbye due to overpriced let-downs but.... a) I scored this for $2.69, b) I grabbed it within the first week it hit the shelves, and c) I love stouts. So with that being said this is a solid stout although my rating is likely lower than my overall enjoyment of this beer but I have to put it up against other Imperials. Aroma is enjoyable, very roasty and bitter. Good dark pour with an easily attainable head with little to no lacing. Mouthfeel is somewhat creamy and the finish is smoooth, but it's rather thin for an Impy. Impressive taste, roasted malts-a-plenty, some light coffee and chocolate. Easy to drink for an Impy and the alcohol makes a quick appearance. Overall a solid stout. (760 characters)

Photo of meathookjones
3.38/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I haven’t had a bottle of this in years, basically the last time I had it I was still drinking craft brew from the bottle. So seeing how it is right behind on of my favorites in Stone Russian imperial stout I had to pick it up to review it. Pours out used oil black that looked a little thinner than other RIS’ I have had but great nonetheless. A full dark tan head formed atop the oily liquid and left no much in the way of lace as it faded away. There seems to be a strong smell of chocolate liquor coming from this with fruits and a bit of alcohol as well. Sweet chocolate covered fruit came to mind when I first sipped this. Chocolate and a touch of coffee were also present as well as a bittersweet finish. There was an odd sour taste that hit me a few times that was very unpleasant, not sure what this is from. Mouthfeel was good but not as thick as other Imperial Stouts but creamy still. Drinkability was lower than I would have though with that odd taste really putting me off. Not sure if I got a bad bottle or what but I plan on revisiting this in the future and giving it another chance. (1,102 characters)

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