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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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1,702 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,702
Hads: 3,482
Avg: 4.17
pDev: 16.31%
Wants: 213
Gots: 384 | 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: 1,702 | Hads: 3,482
Photo of dacrza1
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

DATE TASTED: April 7, 2015... GLASSWARE: Duvel snifter.. OCCASION: celebrating the O’s opening day win while watching the NCAA finals... APPEARANCE: ominous black body that allows a swiftly simmering brown head to halo at the glass ... AROMA: powerful rum, vinous port, strong Spaltz and chocolate make for an inviting complexity--not to mention the roasted malts that provide a wicked balance... PALATE: smooth, slick, a bit dry, yet full-bodied--a paradox resolved only through a beautifully lingering aftertaste... TASTE: chocolate, roasted cracker, slight alcohol in a whiskey-like allure; the components make for a rich, dark, strong stout that is sweet and rewarding; some nut, raisin and cask wood further the experience...OVERALL: Once more, another brewery that does so little wrong--this beer commands the taste buds with strength and subtlety, rewarding the drinker with a sweet, powerful sip...

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Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - extremely dark with a massive beige head that has extreme retention. Ruby highlights against the light and loads of lace.

S - Extreme heavy burnt malts some sweet brown sugar and dark fruit and plenty of boose.

T - Wow what a mix from burnt malt to treacle like sweetness with a sour pang, good boozy punch. Almost like a stout meets barley wine.

MF - Pretty smooth and creamy with boozy nip and warmth coupled with moderate drying.

O - A great drink with ample flavour and clearly a winner for those who like big taste.

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Photo of cyoung35
3.22/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Drink this beer with your mouth hole. Appearance is black in the natural light. Lovely fuggle aroma and light hop bittering. Tastes and feels like a smooth cold coffee.

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Photo of maedhros09
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Dark brown/black with moderate tan head that leaves some lacing
Smell: roasty, dark fruit
Taste: Roasty chocolate/coffee with dark fruit and mild herbal hoppiness. little bitterness
Feel: medium body, smooth

Overall: This stout has the typical hallmarks of imperial stouts - sweet roasty chocolatey maltiness and a dark fruity acidity with a moderate bitterness. What is most different from american imperial stouts I've had is that it's not as thick and sweet. Also, accounting for the lower ABV, it is less boozy. The flavor balance is really remarkable - proof that you don't need a crazy high ABV to achieve an exceptional imperial stout.

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Photo of coltonbrimhall
4.61/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

-amazing thick thick head foam that lasts and a midnight black body
- roasted barly smells with a alcohol warmth
-one of my favorite Russian imperials alcohol warming roasted grains and slight oat cream
-a little to creamy for this style but great overall
-great beer will drink agian ideal russian imperial stout

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Photo of CTbrew32
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Black in color with a one a finger mocha colored head produced.

Aroma- Consists of dark chocolate and roasty malts.

Taste- Semi sweet chocolate is big upfront along with some bitterness from the roasted malt. Towards the finish a slight fruity aspect comes out showing flavors of orange and cherry, but not acidic or hoppy, rather esters from the yeast.

Feel- Medium to full bodied, light carbonation, and a creamy yet semi dry overall feel.

Overall- A 7% percent imperial stout is a unique thing to see, but regardless as a stout this is a great beer. The orange/cherry aspect gives this a really nice flavor dynamic with the roasted malt, espcially as it warms. Overall, this is very flavorful and easy to drink, and its definitely worth revisiting.

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Photo of marieli
4.94/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle. This was a great beer. Appearance dark brown. Wish the aroma had a little more oomph. I did not get the fruits many document. Maybe it was just me that day but otherwise this stout packed a lot of well balanced flavor. Coffee rose above chocolate and malts. A great blend. Creamy and delicious. Can't wait to see if the next one lives up to the first!

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Photo of avwrite
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.75

Fantastic. Dark, rich in flavor, and smooth going down, it's what a stout should be. Perfect balance of bitterness and coffee/chocolate tastes. Superb.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.11/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pitch black pour with a one finger caramel-colored head with minimal retention and decent lacing. The nose is roasty with a subtle sweetness along with hints of licorice, espresso, toffee, molasses, and a touch of dark fruits. The taste follows suit with hints of roasted malt, dark chocolate, molasses, espresso, dark fruits, licorice, and leather. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy with a nice bittersweet finish and great drinkability. Overall, another solid offering from Samuel Smith's.

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Photo of infinitebruner
3.77/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

January 21, 2015

550 ml bottle, snifter

A – Jet black and moderately thick, opaque. About an inch of medium-tan, big-bubbled foam with fairly low retention.

S – Sweet malt with deep toffee and roasted coffee and licorice notes. Hops are herbal, slightly woody. A bit of oaky, earthy character, and some fruity esters.

T – A lot of malty sweetness with licorice and light tobacco high in the mix. Roasty coffee notes and sweet molasses. Herbal, medicinal hop flavors and some moderate hop bitterness.

M – Moderately low carbonation, fairly smooth and lighter than expected. A lot of residual sweetness and moderate bitterness. Balanced toward sweet.

O – Fairly complex and enjoyable flavor profile, would like a little more bitterness for balance.

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Photo of RichardMNixon
3.22/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.25

Looks like a great stout. Smell is chocolate, raisins, must, and feet. Taste is cleaner but fairly plain and one dimensional. Mouthfeel is the strong suit, silky smooth and very chewy.

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

App - Pours like motor oil with brown head which resolves to fine brown lacing and minimal effervescent.
Smell – roasted malts, burnt caramel, dried leaves, fresh wood shavings, dried figs/dates

Taste – malt forward, bittersweet with a lot of dark, dried fruits notes (prune/raisin), bready (rye), a lot of dry woodsy notes. Fairly clean finish with only a hint of residual sweetness (almost like a fig).

Mouthfeel – medium bodied (akin to 2%milk) with a fair amount of carbonation as it warms, dries the palate and leaves a bit of syrupy stickiness in the mouth (not unpleasant)

Overall: very good imperial stout, a complex blend of flavors that make it a good winter sipper, with less alcohol than other beers within this genre. I enjoyed it, though there are several great American RIS that I’d prefer (at a more reasonable price point!) My current fave is the Yeti imperial Stout – very similar in complexity with a sweeter profile, cleaner palate and a bit higher ABV.

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

A bit pricey, but definitely worth it. T: toasty malt with a hint of coffee. S: burnt chocolate and alcohol. M: full flavored malt profile. Very tasty. I will definitely get more next time.

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Photo of thegodfather1076
4.64/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Nice label that has a very classic look and color scheme. Label gives a bit of brewery info, has an awesome eye-catching font, states “Fermented in stone Yorkshire Squares”, “1896 Gold Medal Winner International Brewers Exhibition” and “1930 Silver Medal Winner Brewers and Allied Traders International Exhibition and Market”. Gold foil wrapped neck and cap. Back label gives ABV info, brewery info, web info, and a nice description of the beer. Embossed on the bottle are “Samuel Smith” and “Bottled at Yorkshires oldest brewery est 1758”.

Appearance: An aggressive pour from its 550mL brown home into a 16oz Imperial Pint led to a thick creamy 4 finger cappuccino colored head atop a thick opaque black beer that lets no light through. Head retention was an amazing 6min 19sec before dissipating to a thick ring and 1 finger rocky coating with an amazing amount of lacing.

Smell/Aroma: Smell is of sweet dark fruits such as prunes or plums along with a bit of cooked molasses, slight coffee, and chocolate.

Flavor/Taste: Tastes of dark fruits and cooked down brown sugar and molasses with a bit of milk chocolate on the front end. Mid point becomes very roasty with a deep fresh roast coffee bean flavor along with a roast chocolate malt coming through. Back end again has a deep roast coffee bean flavor that becomes slightly smokey with a sweet milk chocolate taste for a nice balance. Finish and aftertaste is very roasty. Just phenomenal!!

MouthFeel/Drinkability: On the full side of medium bodied with a thick creamy mouthfeel that goes down smooth. Very drinkable brew!!

Overall/Comments: I have to say that this is one of the more impressive beers that I have had. Many RISs try to be so over the top with ABV and flavors that they become a bit overwhelming. Samuel Smiths Imperial Stout combines perfect ABV, flavor, and mouthfeel to make a must try beer! Classified as a Russian Imperial Stout @ 7% ABV. Consumed 1/8/2014.

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

Appearance: black. Kept a decent head.
Smell: sweet malt, cocoa, coffee.
Taste: same as smell with a bit of a bite.

This is excellent. It has a nice creamy if not oily feel to it. Tastes like it'd have a bigger ABV. Overall, I'm very impressed and will certainly get it again.

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Photo of pagriley
3.71/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

L - Almost opaque black. Light mocha head that dissipated quickly. No lacing but some syrupy legs
S - Coffee, dried fruit and caramel. Some sweetness
T - Coffee and bitter chocolate. Firm bitterness on finish. Something in the flavor has a bit of belgian yeast to it - a hint of estery fruitiness
F - A bit thin on the finish. Really wish there was more malt backbone to this

Overall solid, but not feeling the love entirely. Interesting but probably not something I will re-visit again.

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Photo of Can_has_beer
3.23/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this one a few times now and I just can't behind those flavors. I think its the yeast, which comes off as a bit Belgian to me. I think it needs less yeast and more roast.

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Photo of Jeffsta1
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A fine stout, a benchmark for me.
Pours dark, light head.
Moderate mouthfeel for an imperial stout.
Very nice flavor. Coffee, cocoa, mildly bitter, not overly sweet.
Finish is subtle but long; classic stout flavors

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle served in a snifter at fridge temps. No freshness date but was purchased in 12/2014.

Appearance: very dark brown with a nice and thick tan head. Fairly effervescent considering this is a low carbonation style. It was not as thick as some other examples of an imperial stout but was decent.

Smell: raisins, prunes, and other dark fruits, notably fruity (Ringwood yeast maybe), sugar plums. No alcohol, coffee, chocolate, dark malty character at all. Weird from an imperial stout with this pedigree.

Taste and Feel: pretty thin but very tasty, no alcohol at all, roasted character in the middle where I'd expect some classic stout chocolate or coffee notes would be, there is a roasted malt finish and the mouthfeel is rather dry for the style.

I have to say, this was not at all what I was expecting from a very classic imperial stout. Maybe it's because I'm used to the amped up American versions here in the states. I'm going to have to try to get a hold of some more classic English examples of this style to see if this is what it's supposed to be. I have another bottle that I'm going to try in a few months. Lets see if I can find a Courage RIS to try.

After a few months in the cellar all of the dried fruit flavors melded together to. Rate a very enjoyable beer. This is a nice palate calibrator for what an original Imperial Stout should taste like. Score was raised from about weak 3.75 to a solid 4.25

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Photo of majorbase2
3.99/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very very dark (possibly black) color with a very large, thick, brown head. Not the best retention. Recedes leaving a small amount of lacing around the edges.

Aroma leads with milky chocolate. Very very sweet. A bit of dark fruit, most noticeably raisin. Chocolate really dominates here.

Taste is more of the same, although not necessarily in a bad way. Some notes of biscuity malts, a bit more of the dark fruits, with a hint of black licorice. Sweetness dominates. Once again, raisin is the most noticeable dark fruit. Honestly not as much going on in the taste as I had hoped.

Although I have been disappointed to this point, mouthfeel knocks it out of the park. Medium bodied, perfectly carbonated. Nice and creamy, goes down very smooth. The most easily downable Stout I've ever had.

Overall, I'm honestly a little disappointed in my first entry from Samuel Smith. Although they completely nail the sweet, milky chocolate in the taste, I wasn't moved by any other aspects of the taste. Still a good Stout, but not what I had hoped.

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Photo of Arminius757
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Dark black coloring with mocha head.
Sweet smelling, with hint of chocolate and dark maltyness.
Sweet taste, super smooth, very dark taste. Dark fruity undertones. Some hint of coca and barley as well. Complex without being overpowering or underwhelming. Easily one of my new favorites.
Overall a truly excellent beer.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.66/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a fine looking opaque black and viscous looking liquid. The head's color is even more intriguing; a frothy and bubbly tan head retains well as a sticky lace that reminds me of cappuccino foam. The aroma is unbelievable! Espresso, chocolate, banana or raisin bread and roasted malty sweetness. Taste has elements of sweet roasted malts, creamy coffee, and balanced by a slightly dry and very subtle bitter finish. Carbonation is lively on the tongue and settles as drink,gets warm. A full bodied drink; excellent to warm up to in cold weather and to eat with chocolates. I have been equally impressed with all of Samuel Smith's products, and this one might be my favorite thus far.

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Photo of doktorhops
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, well, well Mr. Samuel Smith has an Imperial Stout, and judging by their other fine Ales this will no doubt turn out to be a world class example of said style... I’m going to enjoy this more than Fred Quimby’s nephew enjoying a clumsy Clouseau-esque French waiters pronunciation of the word “chowder” (its International Simpsons Reference Day by the way - D’oh!*).

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: A deep foreboding black body greets me with a nice boisterous khaki 1cm head on top. It’s a damn fine looking Imperial Stout, or RIS† for short. 9/10.

S: More on the dark chocolate than coffee side with a large roasted malt body, brown sugar, woody notes, with a hint of earthy hops in the finish. As a traditional British RIS you know that this will be sweeter and less bitter than its American cousins - it’s not always about hops Doc! 8/10.

T: Wow! A tour de force of a classic RIS here! Upfront it is quite sweet (we expected that) with dark cacao, roasted barley, brown sugar and woody notes. It follows through to an earthy/herbal light bitter finish. What amazes with this excellent Stout is how the sugar content hits the goldilocks zone in your tongue, it is indeed “just right”. 9/10.

M: Mouthfeel adds to the rich tapestry of this RIS with a mid to heavy body, some nice and sticky viscosity and a light English pub carbonation. 7/10.

D: I could quite happily finish a night on a few of these bad boys... obviously not a good idea to begin a night out with any RIS - they can generally be anywhere upwards of 7% ABV (this one is 7%), however the ease with which this one goes down does beguile one into thinking that it’s not such heavyweight. Needless to say this one is going on my regular beer shopping list (at least until Plonk gets more FBS back in). 9/10.

Food match: Fits right into that 20th century slot after dessert but before brandy and cigars... I would pair it with a bold English cheese platter, then move on to gout.

*Fool! - there is no International Simpsons Reference Day, ha ha!

†The “R” is short for “Russian” comrade.

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Photo of T100Mark
4/5  rDev -4.1%

A real 12 ounce bottle (not a Euro-weenie bottle) poured into a shaker pint glass.

Appearance - A black, opaque brew. Dense, tan head. No stickage to speak of.

Smell - Toasty malt. Alcohol.

Taste - Roasted coffee. Alcohol. Sweet. Black licorice.

Mouth - Slick.

Overall - The alcohol in this beer, for some reason, is very prominent (more prominent than the 7% content would suggest). Because the alcohol is so prominent, this stout lacks the creamy smoothness that the genre is known for. I'm aware of the fact that the word "Imperial" suggests a high alcohol content but this beer taste more like a barley wine than a stout. This beer is not bad but it's not what I was hoping for.

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Photo of interzen
4.93/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

355ml bottle poured into a Delerium Tremens tulip glass

Look: Pours black with a finger's worth of tan head. Poor head retention which leaves a small amount of lacing.

Smell: Quite sweet and woody with definite hints of dark fruit and liquorice - almost a medicinal edge to it.

Taste: The liquorice and fruit notes shine through here, along with dark roasted malts and a certain amount of hoppish bitterness. You'd expect something with a 7% ABV to have some alcohol notes but this doesn't. The medicinal woodiness definitely comes through in the aftertaste but manages to do so without dominating the other flavours.

Feel: Fairly 'thick' but without being excessively heavy. Surprisingly smooth, almost dangerously so.

Overall: An absolute stunner - I'm fortunate enough to live about 5 miles from the Sam Smiths brewery so this is fairly easy for me to get and a regular on my Beer Shelf. It's not really something you could have a session on, but the flavours and feel are such that it's extremely easy to knock a few of these back and get absolutely plastered in the process. It may only be a small bottle, but it manages to pack in a monstrous amount of flavour.

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 1,702 ratings.