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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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3,360 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,360
Reviews: 1,687
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 184
Gots: 308 | 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 (28) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,360 | Reviews: 1,687
Photo of albertmdh
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Didn't realize the bottle was clear until I popped the cap. This is a good thing. Smell is fairly bitter and chocolaty. Poured into a glass I found at the thrift store, wide hollow stemmed wine glass type thing, 3 inches of dark brown head, subsided to about a half inch. Taste to me is incredibly complex. Red wine depths, with chocolate and coffee overtones. Little bit of hops at the back. This one is a bit syrupy for me, though, I imagine a draft might smooth her out a bit. I can't see drinking more than one of these at a time, but I really do seem to enjoy the imperials.

Photo of ryan33iowa
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of LarryMyers
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Bogdawg
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of TheDinger
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a pint glass. Great looking motor oil black pour with an inviting 1+ finger of mocca head. Retention was nice and decent lacing . Smell was true to RIS form. Deep/dark fruits (raisins, figs, molasses) with a bit of chocolate and coffee on the end. Not very strong on the nose, but adequate. Taste was very smooth with the blend of the fruits that faded into the coffee characters. A little burnt wood, earthy note to close out. Nice subtle hop aftertaste to keep you coming back for more. Feel was a bit light for a RIS. A bit on the watery side, but this improved as the beer warmed. Overall- I had heard great things about Samuel Smith and it didn't disappoint. I found this to be a very spot on RIS. Loved the combination of big dark fruits and hints of coffee and chocolate. Complex and tasty. A definite must try and perfect for a cold December evening-

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

Photo of nixhecks
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was looking for a special drink with a kick for this wednesday evening and I think I found it. Presented in a 1pt. 2 oz. bottle, clear glass. Poured a jet black with a frothy tan head that stayed and stayed. Aroma was remiscent of dark fruit lik raisons or figs, and also included coffee, smoke, cocoa, and roasted malt. The mouthfeel was extremely smooth, going down just like silk and low in carbonation. It tasted very bittersweet, toffee and roasted malts as well as cocoa and a smokey-charcoal taste. Excellent choice. The overall character is very complex, and this plus the heavy body make this a great beer.

Photo of TheMultiYeast
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled June 26, 2012.

Very dark brown blocking any trace of light. A small sandy head forms briefly. Very little lacing.

Nose offers deep roasted barley aromas, chocolate, molasses, some dark fruit, and a hint of hops.

Taste also goes heavy on roasted notes, some dark chocolate, mild sweetness, a bit of charred bitterness and a long aftertaste.

Nice body on this one. Not overly thick, just enough to stand up to the flavors and modest ABV.

Just a classic Imperial Stout that everyone should have.

Photo of dudecandle
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deepest brown body with huge medium-dark mocha head, which leaves good lacing, and as firm a cap as I've ever seen.

S: Chocolatey, yeasty, with some dark fruit, possibly raisins, and some lighter burnt and caramel notes.

T: A bit of a booziness to the chocolate and dark fruit, but what really stands out is the ridiculously long toasted oatmeal finish.

M: Light carbonation up front, and a wonderful creamy finish.

D: At only 7% ABV, it's the not the heaviest stout out there, but it is excellent. A great balance of flavors and a rich, creamy body make this a wonderful experience.

Photo of stephenjmoore
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- Pitch black with thin tan head that leaves good retention.

S- Black licorice is the first thing I notice along with some roasted malt.

T- A little sweeter than I expected, with the roasted malts coming through on the finish. Anise and licorice are noticeable, but not overpowering. I taste more vanilla than chocolate too.

M- Great mouthfeel, smooth, velvety, drinkable.

O- A different flavor than most RIS's, very good.

Photo of wagenvolks
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle into a chalice.

First off, I love the elegantly tall Samuel Smith bottles. This particular bottle delivered a near-black body below a rising, 1" brown head. The foam dwindled quickly to a thin layer, but that top film of bubbles never left, thanks in part to a continuous supply from the carbonation. Aroma was packed with a rich, malty sweetness backed by notes of black cherry, butterscotch, and rum.

The flavor was a bit buttery, but mostly chocolate notes prevailed. Some slight caramels and a choco-liquor rounded out the taste, and some bittering hops finished. The body was medium-thick, exceptionally smooth, and somewhat creamy. This isn't something I could drink every day, but the complexity, great taste, and overall classiness of the Sam Smith's Imperial Stout make it a truly drinkable ale.

Photo of nickss
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Certainly not the first time I've had this brew... but I figured it was time I got around to reviewing it.

Pours an obsidion black with a monstrous chuny beige head. Tremendous chunks of lace cling to the sides.... in one word... gorgeous.

Smells strongly of alcohol, with a certain level of dank mustiness (not in a bad way). Smells of graininess, a bit of oat in the nose, along with a bit of a sweet smell, like that of dark fruit. Nice, and definitely unique.. you only get this scent from Sammy Smith brews.

When it first hits the tongue, there is a certain amount of bitter copperiness. Ive been told that this is due to the water that the beer is brewed, obviously unique to that certain geographical area. That being said, very bready and oat-y tasting. I'm having a hard time nailing down the flavors I am experiencing due to the overwhelming complexity of this brew. Definitely some sharp mocha notes in the aftertaste. Additionally, some berry in the flavour as well. Very nice, better than I remember.

The mouthfeel is tight and sharp at first, but quickly switches to a thick, mouth-filling libation. A little bit thicker, and it would be perfect.

Very drinkable for an impy stout... only 7% and you can certainly enjoy a few of these before you start embarrassing yourself.

Photo of beerandcycling88
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a pint bottle into a mug.

A Pours a nice black color topped off with an off white head that has excellent retention.

S Some roasted malt notes along with some fruit

T Lots of roasty flavors along with some fruit and chocolate. All accompanied by the distinctive Samuel Smith's hard water taste.

M Nice and smooth, almost creamy.

Overall I really like this beer, it is a great example of a nice well balanced stout. It is also quite well served by the distinctive hard water taste that all Samuel Smith's beers have giving it a unique flavor that you can't find anywhere else. Plus at $4.00 a bottle and 7% abv this is one I can see my self drinking quite a bit.

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.

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,360 ratings.