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

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Samuel Smith's Imperial StoutSamuel Smith's Imperial Stout

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3,337 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,337
Reviews: 1,682
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 177
Gots: 289 | FT: 0
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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Ratings: 3,337 | Reviews: 1,682 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MrKennedy
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle thanks to Adam at Platinum Liquor. Poured into a Mikkeller tulip.

Pours thick for the ABV, black as night and with a nice tan coloured foam on top. Decent head retention, no real lacing other than runnings as it falls.

Smells cool. Plenty of chocolate, dark, darker and darkest. Also a real nice liqueur smell along with roasted malt and a touch of caramel.

Tastes of caramel, chocolate and roasted malt. Some warming alcohol detracts from what would otherwise be a pretty decadent experience.

Mouthfeel is full, big bodied for the ABV, still soft with some roasted bitterness late. Surprised at the alcohol heat that is the one thing that irks. Still, it does very well in this department.

A lovely beer. A reminder that the day i spent in Tadcaster was not nearly long enough. Wish i had drunk more of this in the UK. Might get some to cellar and hope that the booze drops out. A big stout and i have had worse with some other limited or brewery release RIS's. A very enjoyable beer.

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

Yet another 550 ml. bottle of Samuel Smith's and poured into a goblet. This beer pours a solid black and offers an inch of mocha foam. Retention is robust as the cap settles slowly and sheds lots of lacing on the glass.

Nose offers notes of chocolate and carob and the telltale yeast notes of the brewery, manifested here with a vinous cherry scent. Clean and bright for the style and quite pleasant.

Flavor follows suit with chocolate up front and offering a somewhat dry finish overall with a touch of fruit in the background. A nice and drinkable RIS that doesn't tackle the senses. Not far from a Baltic Porter in many respects....

Photo of vickersspitfire
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout is a very darkens seems almost black and only when you hold it up to a bright light can you even see a hint of color, even including its head which is a light cork board color and pretty thick. It has a strong dry chocolate smell that reminds me of those whisky chocolate candies and it has a crisp taste that’s kind of sweet and just a little bit bitter, but when it hits the back of your throat you can really taste the flavor in it.

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

a: Pours out a 1 finger mocha head. A steady recession leaves a decent layer and respectable ring. The beer is a very deep brown in color.

s: Heavy minerals under a body of dark bread cocoa pudding...that is, the toasted grain notes of a very dark bread tempering the sweetness of the dark chocolate pudding...but I don't want to say that this beer has a huge chocolate presence because it doesn't. Complexities include big dark fruitcake (figs!), licorice, hardwood charcoal, and soft dried cherries soaking in dark rum. Leafy English hops play a supporting role and let the complex aromas come through. Unique, and I think the mineral character really adds a lot. Just a touch of boozy heat.

m: Medium, delicate carbonation and a body on the full side of medium.

t: Smooth roasts give flavors of bittersweet chocolate and the toasted crusts of dark breads. Interesting smoky note after the swallow. Dried figs and cherries make an appearance Nice mineral fullness to the flavor. The roasts turn more astringent after the swallow. Finishes with gentle roasts and bitterness.

d: a pleasure, and a nice departure from the typical American take on the style

bottle on sale at Whole Foods Raleigh, $2.99

Photo of TheCondor
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%

Of course I love imperial stouts. Of course I love everything I have ever had from Samuel Smith's brewery in Tadcaster. Of course I am watching the Royals put on a clinic in the World Series game 6. All that notwithstanding, let's side pour with standard aggression this beer into a pint glass from the bottle.

Appearance - Just like you would expect, although it does have a nice three finger caramel colored head that lasts only for a minute or two and leaves little lacing. Deep chocolate brown coloring, cool packaging, everything I would expect from a world-class imperial stout.

Smell - As I poured this beer to take a picture of i t for my post on BA, I could actually smell the dark fruits and malts from several feet away when I went to pick up my camera. Roasted barley is also present in the nose, creating a strong, sensational olfactory experience. Raisins.

Taste - Like mothers milk. So smooth, deep and rich, its like drinking melted dark choclate ice cream, with beer and liquified dark fruits. Amazing. Intense raisin flavor makes for an incredible beer.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, creamy, rich. No alcohol bite.

Overall - This beer is raising the bar on beer like your loser brother raises his consciousness when he drops acid. This is probably the most amazing imperial stout I have ever had, it is so balanced, drinakable, and smooth. No amount of superlative speech can describe this brew. You need to try this one immediately if you like stouts or dark beer at all. Game changer.

Photo of baiser
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black, with a dense brown head, and sticky lacing. Aroma of prunes, cocoa, burnt coffee, wood and alcohol. Taste is tremendously complex. Roasted, coffee, chocolate notes, raisins, bitterness, touch of alcohol warmth. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Definitely one to be sipped and enjoyed after a meal.

Photo of MadTown1000
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from big pint+ bottle into a wine glass (lesson: when packing your apartment, pack the pint glasses last, not first.) Pours an apparent black - when held up to the light, it's actually a very dark nut brown. Just a small amount of blown foam quickly recedes away, leaving no lace and just a bit of residual froth. The usual imperial stout scent is obvious from the bottle, and also from the glass - I'd put it at a little sweeter than most with a certain fruity character to the aroma. The mouthfeel is smooth and syrupy - I notice that even before the flavor, which is quite mild for the type. I taste nuts and maple syrup, with the alcohol becoming more assertive in the aftertaste. More carbonation than you can see in the small head. 7% ABV isn't extreme for the style, but given the smoothness this could be extraordinarily dangerous - I find myself going through this a lot faster than other imperial stouts. Quite good, in keeping with what Samuel Smith's usually puts out. Expect a much smoother ride than you get with a lot of imperial stouts, although I think there is a slight sacrifice in terms of the intensity and complexity of flavor.

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

12 oz. bottle poured in a pint glass. Served just shy of room temp.

Appearance: Dark black in color with a beautiful tan head that struggles to dissipate.

Smell: Heavily malted with a wonderful fruity, coffee scent.

Taste: Roasted malt and coffee, bittersweet chocolate, almost lemon-like hops. Finishes with a nice smokey-pipe flavor, balanced with a sweet overtones.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, smooth and creamy. Carbonation is low.

Drinkability: A great Imperial Stout, although a stronger brew is preferred. Very good over a rich meal and a cold night. Certainly looking forward to the next pint.

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

A: Pours a deep, dark brown that borders on black. Fairly vigorous pour resulted in about a finger's worth of mocha colored head. The head died down pretty quickly, but what was left of it left some nice lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Big notes of roasted barley, some coffee, chocolate notes, and some sweetness/dark fruits. At 7.5% the alcohol's not very present, aside from a pleasant warming as you drink.

T: The same roasted flavor detected in the nose, bolder coffee. The dark fruits make themselves known, melding very nicely with some earthy, grassy flavors.

M: Medium bodied with good carbonation.

Overall, very impressed. A damn good Imperial Stout, and I'm looking forward to getting more.

Photo of OtherShoe2
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep brown/black with some ruby highlights when held to the light. Nice brown foamy head that dissipated to an uneven skim as I went through the pint. This skim left no lace, but clung to the sides of the glass. Nice.

Big dark dried fruit and blackstrap molasses aromas upfront, and a tart scent somewhere in the bake.

Nice complex flavors here. Molasses, deep roasted malt, coffee, dark fruit, some dark chocolate (not much, or just my imagination), and a slight tart acidic twang built into this one.

Medium bodied and silky smooth.

A 7% Imperial Stout. Alcohol was so far in the background that I did not even consider it until I got to this point in the review. Nothing hard about drinking this one. It has probably been 15+ years since I've had this, and wow have I been missing out on this year-round treat. Bought the 12 oz and it was just right. If you haven't had this one, and are a stout lover (all types), you need to give this one a try. Great balance, structure, and complexity.

Photo of amvrana
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Ralphus
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout is a bit low in alcohol content for an imperial but given that is Sam Smith's strongest beer we won't hold it against them. And with good reason, for their brew is excellent in many ways.

It pours a dark midnight black with a tan head that recedes to a reasonable ring of foam. There's no lacing to speak of but that shouldn't stop you from enjoying this one. Your nose will find much fruit and a very rich coffee background. A cold mouth initially finds a strong soya flavour but with each passing gulp it is forgotten in favour of wonderful milk chocolate and an earthy coffee taste combined with dark fruit. A well balanced hop bite finishes things off nicely. This is just tasty through and through and has many layers to examine.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth cream with just the right amount of carbonation. Do yourself a favour and grab this one if you see it in the stores.

Photo of nrbw23
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Pours black with a farily large light brown colored head that has great retention leaving some spotty lacing.

S- Smells of dark fruits, raisins, chocolate, coffee, molasses, and a bit of alcohol.

T- Flavours live up to the aroma. Coffee and chocolate dominate the flavour. It was served to me way too cold but as it warmed other flavours came through such as the darker fruits and roasted malts. A bit complex in taste could pick up quite a bit.

M- A little too thin for the style but not too bad probably adds to the drinkability.

D- Pretty solid brew I just think there are others that are better.

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

Poured near-black with two fingers of khaki head. Aroma of milk chocolate, caramel, and vanilla with just a touch of roast.

Moderate-to-lowish carbonation and a very smooth, creamy mouthfeel -- full but not too heavy. Dry, roasty coffee and dark chocolate up front followed by a touch of molasses and caramel sweetness.

Full-flavored without being too heavy; nicely balanced and easy-drinking.

Photo of OpaqueBrew
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into Sam Smith's tulip pint - I've had this one before, but the review got eaten by the random review eating monster that lurks in the depths of the site, waiting to eat up random, occasional reviews, never to be seen again.

Pours pitch black, with a creamy, one-finger tan head. Nice enough lacing.

Nose is sweet, mix of blackberries and dark chocolate, and an almost nutty roastiness underneath - light and inviting. Lightly roasted coffee, and a nice, dark breadiness as well.

Taste is beautiful, classic and decidedly old school. Earthy roast, dark fruit with just a hint of tartness, a finish that's nutty, a bit roasty, dark chocolate, bit of licorice, lingering earthy bitterness, bit of oiled leather, hinting at smoke, just a tiny bit of alcohol shows through just enough on the tail end of the finish. Very subtle, but timeless and fantastic.

Mouthfeel is a bit on the thinner side, a bit sharp, though still with a light creaminess to it. Very dry, finish is quite long.

Drinkability is fantastic. Full flavor, so enjoyable. Very nice.

Photo of whynot44
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Full bodied, full flavored, dark reddish mahogany brown with a tan head, smells a bit of fruit and chocolate.

Flavor is fruity - apricot, raisin? - with bittersweet chocolate, coffee and maybe some caramel. Behind all of this is a very pleasant hops bite that balances the fruit and sweetness to give a very nice finish and pronounced aftertaste.

The bit of alcohol warmth makes this a great cool weather drink. No wonder the Russians liked this stuff.

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

A - poured cold into some Allagash stemware and allowed to warm up. Fairly expansive brown head for an Imperial, though this isn't an 18% monster either. Color of dark-roasted coffee -- not quite black -- noticeable red and tan held up to light.

S - vanilla, cocoa powder, roasted nuts. as the beer came up to temp these became quite strong, almost pungent. yet only the slightest whiff of booze.

T - pleasantly burnt malt; nothing that would overwhelm the great aromas. pretty neutral sweet/bitterness. no alky burn at all.

M - moderate to heavy body, moderate stickiness & coating

D - no weaknesses, loads of well balanced flavors, and not too strong = a very drinkable RIS.

Photo of xav33
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout
12 oz bottle
Recent bottling, savoured 08/06
Medium pour in a pint glass

Poured black with a dark brown outer ring, with a mostly diminishing 1 inch frothy mocha head with no lacing.

Smelt of burnt molasses and some fruit.

Taste was sweet molasses upfront followed by fruity esters, bitter roast and lingering vanilla sweetness, with the finish mostly bitter and a hint of mushroom. Mouthfeel was light, oily and lively carbonation.

Overall, a great complex English version of an Imperial Stout that is only somewhat disappointing in its mouhfeel

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

A: Deep opaque black coloration with a thick creamy milk-chocolate colored head. Retention is fair, as the head settles to a thicker film over the top. Not a lot of lacing to speak of, but it's still solid.

S: Loads of molasses, dark fruits, bittersweet chocolate, and a spicy note from the alcohol.

T&M: Dark fruits with some floral hops initially followed by emergent bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee, and some sort of spicy/sweet alcohol-esque flavor. Very rich, sweet, and complex. The body is full, but not quite full enough for my liking. The feel is creamy enough, but I still feel like a slightly fuller body would help things out quite a bit.

D: Another great beer from Samuel Smith's Brewery. This is actually rather drinkable for a RIS. The alcohol content is on the low side, and the body isn't like motor oil, making it easier to sip on.

Photo of BranfordBound
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

550 mL bottle purchased at Coastal Wine and Spirits in Branford, CT.

This is the darkest beer I've had yet, even while pouring its practically black, never mind while sitting in the glass. There is a nice 1-2 finger light brown head that forms which settles to a covering leaving barely any lacing. Normal, maybe a little less than expected.

The smell is intense, there is a lot of dark fruits, very alcoholic, like a brandy. There is definitely a roasted and chocolate in the back, not much coffee.

The taste is very similar to the nose, there is a warm sensation from the alcohol while going down, and the dark fruits play the main role. In the back there is the typical stout flavors of roastiness and chocolate.

Whew, this is heavy stuff, albeit very smooth. Very heavily bodied.

This beer masks the alcohol well, which is to be expected seeing as it isn't too high compared to other RIS's. Still a sipper, though, drank 2/3's of the bottle and wouldn't want anymore, better for winter time, too.

All in all, not bad, I'll try a few other brands so I can choose my favorite to age, this one was a little too heavy on the dark fruits, but pretty darn good for not being aged.

Photo of seedsofchaos
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Lively head with a color reminiscent of cherries. Bubbles nicely when poured, quickly creating the beautifully fluffy head. Pours black: a deep and classic stout black with slight red tinges.

S: Sweet and malty. Maybe the head coloring is playing tricks with my tastebuds, but a slight cherry scent is present: like a cordial cherry chocolate.

T: Strong and malty at first but then gets increasingly chocolatey: dark, dark chocolate with some fruity undertones.

MF: At first, a bit thick for my liking... But then quite smooth as drinking continues and the beer warms a bit.

D: One of the first craft beers that I've had that I might make a constant in the collection. Great for a treat at night to unwind but without an overpowering ABV. Sweet and thick enough that it's great after a light dinner.

Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle to a SS tulip glass. Very impressive three finger head of mocha. Nice retention fading to a fine lace.

The Smell is of alcohal and deep dark roasted malt with licorice and a faint note of dark roast espresso.

The taste follows the smell with the alcohol taste not living up to the billing of the smell (thats good). Espresso taste is much stronger helping to cover any offensiveness by the alcohol. Semi sweet, not very bitter, coffee seems to also cover other tastes. Some notes of dark chocolate & licorice. Big plus- No funny stale alcohol after taste like a lot of this beers peers.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly medium, kind of watery while drinking for this thick rich style, however it does coat nicely also low carbonation.

Drinkabitity is surprisingly high as this beer does not offend.

Drink up Johny! MK

Photo of gunnerman
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Samuel Smith Imperial stout poured into a snifter, a nice dark black color with a carmel colored 1 inch head that leaves nice fat sticky lacing. Smell is of sweet dark chocloate with hints of roasted nuts. Taste is of a smooth mellow malted barley with hints of roasted nuts, very well balanced not bitterness with a hint of alchohol burn. I could drink this fine offering all day long very well balanced and goes with a nice meal, one of my favorites.

Photo of DeSoto
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my favorite style of beer. Gonna give this one a try

Poured from a 550ml bottle
Serving glass: Samuel Smith pint glass
No date on bottle

Appearance: Beautiful dark brownish black hue. Topped of with a brownish head. Nice head retention.

Smell: Classic caramel and toffee notes. Dark molasses profiles. Very straight forward for the style

Taste: Great on the palate. Dark figs and dates on the front. Had a small metallic tingle at the start, do know where that come from. Nice deep sugars through out the drink. It ends with a delicious coffee flavor. Would of like a salty or briny component to enhance the dark malts. Great taste overall though.

Mouthfeel: Heavy at the beginning, but nice through out. A bit sour at the end. Keeps you wanting more.

Overall: A great beer from the guys at Samuel Smith. A solid one that sure be a favorite in any beer lover's list.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,337 ratings.