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

1,737 Reviews
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Samuel Smith's Imperial StoutSamuel Smith's Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
United Kingdom (England) | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 02-27-2001

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Reviews: 1,737 | Ratings: 3,645
Photo of DenisKolkin
3.96/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

550 ml bottle served at cellar temperature and served into a Sam Smith's pint glass. Purchased for about $5 CDN from the LCBO. Seemed like a good beer for my 800th review.

Appearance - pours and ominous brown and virtually black coloured beer. Big three plus fingers of tan head with impressive retention. Some sticky tan lacing glazes around the sides of the glass.

Smell - chocolate mainly but some light fruity esters and some grainy notes too. Complex with the notes but straightforward in execution if that makes any sense. A little bit too metallic to be honest which doesn't jive with the rest of the beer.

Taste - a little chocolate with some subtle coffee suggestions. Maybe a hint of vanilla too to give it a slight mocha like characteristic. A touch of smoke and ash, with some woodsy tastes too. And initially a tiny metallic twang. Pretty good and balanced flavours leave one sip different from the next.

Mouthfeel - smooth and creamy, full bodied yet dangerously drinkable with just the right amount of carbonation. While many Russian imperial stouts are huge and full bodied and delicious, they aren't exactly the easiest beer to drink all day. However with the lower ABV, this imperial stout certainly is.

Overall - awesome feel, easy to drink, plenty flavourful, what else could you be looking for.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.96/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at the LCBO for $4.95 for a 550ml bottle. Served at 10deg C in a draught glass.

A- Opens well and pours a 2" high brown head that lasts for around 4-5mins before film out. Very dark brown colour

S- Not much here but metallic. Bet you it's mass produced in stainless steel vats.

T- Not bad. Has smokiness and chocolate but very subdued. It's a good blend but not great. Do enjoy malt backbone.

M- Not the best but it does have some creaminess

O- Nice blend. Will buy again which is not typical for me and mass produced beer which I generally call swill. For the price and what you get it's a winner.

Food Pairing

This pretty good brew went rather well with......... Roasted lamb leg. Cinnamon, fennel seed, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, clove, sugar, salt, pepper and thyme. The cinnamon are sticks that you slice and put into the leg. Braze and into the oven 325deg F for 20mins per pound for medium rare.


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Photo of Benish
3.61/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: poured into snifter glass. Jet black with a little translucence. Foamy head formed with light brown in color.

Smell: interesting. Smells almost like a cinnamon roll that came out of the oven. Except its a little moldy. Weird description but thats what comes to mind.

Taste: sweet chocolate and notes of coffee. Its like drinking a sweetened latte. There's a little bit of tartness at the end. No bitterness throughout. What I taste is different from what I smell.

Mouthfeel: light to medium bodied. Nothing significant about this.

Overall: The smell is what makes it different than the other imperial stouts. It's different but it's hard to get past that moldy smell. **Side note: this was purchased at a Utah State liquor store. They don't follow the best practices in storing beer. Considering this is an import, there could have been some unintentional changes in the flavor profile.

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Photo of J30wang
4.69/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Tastes phenomenal. Brings you through a spectrum from smokey to creamy with a nice hint of chocolate in the background. This is a very well developed stout--it doesn't push too hard. Cradles you right into it's comforting arms...no flares, no gimmicks; just down to earth stuff.

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Photo of vandeir_bochi
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Corpo denso! Sabor café mais intenso, chocolate ao fundo! Aroma pouco alcoólico, mas com presença do malt torrado! Pouca presença de lúpulos no aroma, mas amargôr bem intenso, pra uma inglesa!

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Photo of Spiff
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Spiff and friends took a trip to England with this imperial stout. We've learned we are not fans of Russian stouts so hearing that this beer from Tadcaster has taken Russian nobles to great heights has us Concerned. We have let it reach 50 degrees so here goes. Pleasantly Dark. Smell is rich and Carmelized sweet. Taste. Definitely not Russian so for us that's good. But the taste is not as sweet as smell. A dry chocolate. Thin in the mouth with a mid mouth carbonation bite but a smooth finish down the gullet. The taste is simple and not rich. Overall slightly disappointed hoping for more body but nothing to gripe about. Would order in A pub if all they had was Guinness and murphys and enjoy it but not in our top 25.

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

Pours very dark with a thin caramel head. Smells are of raisins. chocolate and malt. Tastes are raisins with a nice chocolate finish. Mild carbonation with a great after taste. Nice depth with lots of flavors.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Jeez, these guys brew consistently amazing stuff. Dark brown, near black with quickly disappearing top poured in a snifter. Candy caramel and toffee on the nose. Rich, velvety dark cocoa flavors among some roasted quality of the malt. Remarkably smooth, with slightly sweet lingering taste. Wow.

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Photo of beerboy21
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Black. Dark rum, chocolate, and lactose in the nose. Chocolate (semi-sweet) and lactose in the taste. Hard to believe this is certified as vegan. Really wish they'd put their stuff in brown bottles.

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Photo of ritwingr
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Wonderful Russian Stout. Dark brown almost black, with a dense two inch head that retains nicely....though leaves only spotty lacing

Aroma is overwhelmingly caramel with a faint nits if cherry. Taste is caramel with a pleasant hint of burnt toast on the finish.


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Photo of Glanzman
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black with a 2-3 fingered tan head.

Wonderful aroma of rich chocolate, coffee and caramel malts.

Looked great, smelled great, but the taste killed me. Had a bit of a "medicine" taste to it. Slightly improved as it warmed up to room temp but not too much. The feel... felt a bit thin.

I may purchase another ($3.99 for a 1 pint, 2.7 ounce bottle at local grocery store) and let it age a bit to see if this helps.

Served in a pint glass.

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Photo of FrothFanatic
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Not as good as Samuel Smith's organic Chocolate Stout, but it pours an excellent dark black creamy body with minimal bronze head. The aroma is profound, quite remarkable how strong the chocolate, nutty, coffee notes greet you, when the taste is not as bold. Still a very tasty stout, Samuel Smith is my favorite brewery for stouts and porters. Delicious!

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Photo of TheBeerMaster1
3.65/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A very nice stout. Very chocolatey and had a very smooth, chocolate milk like after taste. Had some caramel and molasses to it as well. I feel like they are a few ingredients away from making it awesome, as I wasn't impressed with its overall depth in flavor, but it is still something I'd consider buying again.

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Photo of teromous
4.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is from one of the smaller narrow 12oz bottles.

Appearance: Black bodied beer with a small light brown head from the start that fades out to a ring and a film on the surface. It does impart some spotty lacing from the minimal ring of foam.

Aroma: There is a strong chocolate aroma along with what smells a bit like coffee. There is a spun-sugar aroma to the beer which is quite nice. It is a really nice smelling beer. It is actually very addictive. As the beer sits the scent of caramel comes through. This beer smells like a sweet shop.

Taste: It has a very rich dark caramel flavor with the flavor of dark chocolate and just a bit of carbon at the end. It is absolutely fantastic.

Mouthfeel: Despite the fullness of flavor and dark appearance this beer supports a medium-weight body. It has a good amount of carbonation and it is very drinkable.

Overall: This beer has a substantially lower mouthfeel and ABV than many other Imperial Stouts but it boasts a fantastic aroma and flavor that is sought after in a beer such as this. It really was very enjoyable to drink and I will seek it out again. I am really blown back by how good this beer is.

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Photo of akolb
4.52/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured out of a 550 ml bottle into a tulip glass.
Very dark, near black in color. Foamy coffee head. Decent retention. 4/5
Chocolate, molasses, dark fruit, coffee in the aroma. Very strong and nice. 4.5/5
Sweet and rich in taste, a bit of spiciness, light bitterness. 4.75/5
Mouthfeel is thick and smooth. 4.5/5
A lovely, rich beer that would be great for dessert or by the fire on a cold day. 4.75/5

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Photo of EmperorBevis
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled & review from notes
Look black body with good thick tan coloured head
aroma more muted than expected, burned toast & brown sugar
dark fruit & charcoal flavours with a little hint of coffee
I found it a little thin for the strength & style

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Photo of johlac66
3.99/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured an opaque chocolate brown with a dark khaki head that stayed for a little bit leaving some lacing.
Lots of dark fruit on the nose. Taste followed with slight roasted chocolate.
A little more carbonation and thinner mouthfeel than what I'm used to for this style, but overall quite tasty nonetheless.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 bottle poured into a snifter

A: Black as oil, mocha colored head, creamy, lots of tiny bubbles in the head, looks a little thin, but just a classic looking Russian Imperial Stout.

A: Dark fruits, raisins, dates, prunes, lot of sweetness, slight chocolate aromas, not a lot of roasted malt or coffee aromas, leans sweet.

T: Like the nose, dark fruits, raisins, dates, prunes, hit of coffee/dry chocolate bitterness in the middle, finishes dry, with a dark fruit finish, alcohol is well hidden, very tasty.

M: Very creamy, nice balanced carbonation, finishes dry, medium mouthfeel.

O: Love this beer, I've had it several times before realizing I've never reviewed it, sweeter than American RIS I've tasted, but full of flavor, a great creamy mouthfeel, and a wonderful beer to enjoy after dinner.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours black with a 1/2" coffee colored head which leaves nice rings of lace. Aroma of roasted malts and dark chocolate. Flavor is complex and rich and slightly sweet. Full body.

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Photo of pat61
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: Pours pitch black under a 3” dense dark tan foam collar that slowly recede to a thick film and leaves thick lace.
S: Winey malt with roast and light chocolate
T: Malt forward with light roast, chocolate, traces of licorice, and a moderate hop bitter accent on the finish.
F: Creamy full body with fine soft carbonation.
O: This beer has an incredible texture and is a delight to drink.

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Photo of anthony23cippy
3.92/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Pours very dark brown almost black opaque with a tan and white 1 finger head that dissipates in average time with minimal lACINg. Smell is of dark chocolate, dates, salt water taffy, and a bit of a black coffee. Taste is not a whole lot different first the dark chocolate hits then a bit of a roasted malt then coffee and surprisingly a bit of lemon or citrus in the aftertaste? Mouthfeel is about on par with other stouts I like the tad bit more of carbonation in this one. Overall a 4/5 pretty darn good stout better I've had in a while wil definaytely have again and seek on tap or cask!

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Photo of PBRmeasap1980
3.74/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Black with thin head
S- Old raisins and dust?
T- Strangely sweet. Raisins, dates...
F- Medium body and fizzy. Way too thin for a stout IMO
O- Picked up this shelfie as I has heard good things about Sam Smith beers. Mouth feel was just too thin

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Photo of Overworkedta
4.81/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a snifter. Delicous. I'm a big fan of imperial stouts and barrel aged beers so this was not a departure from my usual. Good mouthfeel and good appearance. The head settles after a bit but it pours caramel chocolate in color.

Would but again. It's a solid beer I've had several years ago but wanted to try again recently. It's no whale but it's a delicious treat to someone who loves stouts.

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Photo of NordicIslander
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Tight carbonation on the pour; two finger head. Nice dark black tint, unable to see through the glass when holding up to the light. Great licorice taste and a tinge of fruit on the end,.. banana? Very subtle bitter at the end but I guess I'm looking for that at the end of a swallow of stout anyway. A little thinner tasting than I expected but still flat out delicious. I'm more enthralled with Old Rasputin R. I. S. but this is more than ample as a go to stout all day long. Stored at room temperature, placed in refrigerator for 25 minutes then poured into a pint glass.

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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.

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 1,737 ratings.