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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1,690 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,690
Hads: 3,444
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.03%
Wants: 202
Gots: 352 | 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: 1,690 | Hads: 3,444
Photo of hyuga
4.84/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours jet black under a darkish tan head that's not too dense.

Aroma of dried figs, dates, and sweet molasses. Faint dark cherry-wood in the background. Amazing complexity.

Burnt molasses on the tongue at the front, followed by plum and cherry with a hint of roasted grain. Fig laced with alcoholic sweetness linger through the finish. Very pleasant leafy hop aftertaste. Thick and biting mouthfeel. Leaves the tongue tingling.

This is an amazingly drinkable imperial stout. I haven't had this beer in a very long time and I find it even better than I remember it. All-around goodness. Low alcohol so you can have a few in one sitting, and it's as complex and satisfying as just about any 9%+ imperial stout. (717 characters)

Photo of Dmann
4.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A classic Imperial Stout if I have ever had one. This one poured a opaque black color with a small brownish head that soon setlled into a fine pillow of a head on top of my beer. The smell was great with a slight plum scent breeaking through the coffee and chocolate layers. The taste was decidedly Sam Smith with its great light mouthfeel and perfect carbonation levels and the flavors of dark chocolate, carmel and coffee were so perfectly combined that this has to be the most balanced and drinkable Imperial Stout that I have had to date! This one especially hit the spot on this unusually rainy and cold San Diego evening. A top shelf brew for sure, highly recommended! (674 characters)

Photo of mempath
4.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

continuing my obsession with Smith offerings since the local Total Wine has such a great selection. and they don't break the bank.

pours not a color, but the total absence of light. black is static. this is shimmering opaqueness that cannot be gotten through by sight. the dark brown head just builds high as the tower of babylon that settles about midway into the 18th century...clings and clings and laces and then settles 10 minutes later into a thick veneer with still massive lacing hanging on. majestic as it's namesake!

yep, sweetness and smoke, dried fruit, mincemeat, rumcake, coffee, sweetened dark chocolate, so rich, double dutch etc. oh and there's the malt. and some raisin bread. give it another whirl and this rich lusciousness comes out. what i imagine the willy wonka factory smells like sitting beside the chocolate river...

this is simply divine stuff. you see the writing on the wall. 1200+ reviews and it's got an overall A-...go figure. all this strength and verve of darkness and chocolate and smoke and toastiness and bravado and still it's smooth as silk. yes, the silk glove/iron fist metaphor means alot here. GREAT cold, but let it warm up a bit and try not to take big gulps every will reveal secrets. best bet, grab the larger pint+ size bottle if you can. usually about $3.79 or so. no catching some slight hop-edged bitterness. nice.

mouthfeel is nearly perfect. carbonation is more in the look of it than in the sip. usually, it carries over to being heavier seeming, but not here. not too thick and certainly not too thin.

it's scary how drinkable this is. i could session this easily. now, i didn't say with ease. i probably wouldn't survive the evening should i attempt it...

so very highly recommended. i recommend just about anything from this brewery. my oh my i am impressed. (1,834 characters)

Photo of Trentonator
4.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am not usually a big fan of stouts (they tend to be bitter or heavy), but after trying this for the first time, I have to say wow! This beer is so incredibly smooth and drinkable, and has a wonderfully soft mouthfeel. There are so many complex flavors and yet this brew is velvety smooth going down. The smell is intoxicating even before your mouth touches that chocolatey dark goodness. I will be keeping a few of these around, this is the best Stout I have ever had. (470 characters)

Photo of mntlover
4.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours black no highlights on this baby just black, with a creamy dark tan head which does not last long and leaves spotty lace.
Roasted malt, dark fruits, coffee and chocolate eminate, smells sweet and creamy. Tastes of roasted malt lightly burnt but smooth creamy chocolate moving to a slightly bitter coffee flavor with molasses covered fruit coming up in the mix enhanced by very light hops. A smooth and very drinkable Imperial Stout. This brew is creamy sweet with just the right amount of roasted flavors to make a perfectly balanced taste, perfection. Mouthfeel couldn't get any better. Drinkability is great. This may not be the strongest Imperial Stout but it is still damn near the best one. I use to have these more in the past but on my quest to try new stuff they have fallen to the way side. I say never again. (825 characters)

Photo of mattgreger
4.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The pour on this brew super dark. Not quite a solid black, actually a brownish/black. It had a beautiful mocha colored head. It had some pretty good retention. As the head on this brew faded, it left a nice lace as it falls down the sides of the glass.

This brew has a light chocolate aroma with hints grass, sugars and just a touch of fruit. I am detecting orange more then anything else.

From the first sip this brew is impressive. It a beautifully thick body, especially for the size of the brew., with some great chewy malts. It has dark chocolates and toffee flavors that give this brew some great balance. It feeds into a great taste of some dark fruits, which I am detecting some raisins, plums, and maybe some peaches. The touch of orange is there too, that I detected in the aroma. As the brew warmis, that alcohol is present, not to much, but a great warming feeling none the less.

This is a medium to fulled bodied brew. It doesn't have very much carbonation at all. It does have a nice smooth feel as you drink. As I said above, it has a nice, yet soft warming feel and a great sipping brew.

This brew was wondefully rich. Its a great brew. Something I could never turn down. Its has a great feel, but isn't so strong that you have to worry about the ABV. It has a great drinkability. (1,300 characters)

Photo of nlmartin
4.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served from a bottle into a twenty ounce wine glass.

Appearance: This one is like a black hole. Straight black coloration not even a hint of light escaping. A very large head with no sign of falling. The lacing clings as the beer is drained from the glass.

Smell: This one smells of raisons and molasses very floral hoppy smell. A nonoffensive alcohol smell is present.

Taste: This is very busy a nice roasted smokey espresso combination with the addition of brownies and some fruity goodness (prunes and raisons) in evidence. Good malty back bone with a nice supporting hop profile.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: Dam! I have drank many stouts over the last several days. This is not the most expensive or the most elusive stout on the market. It is simply the best of the bunch I have had the pleasure of drinking. Very drinkable very smooth. (850 characters)

Photo of assurbanipaul
4.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

"Contractors to Her Majesty's Forces"

Pours a nice coffee color with a half-inch brown head with some staying power. Aroma is red wine, sweet syrup, dark black malt. Light lacing as it goes down.

Taste is dark and rich, a mix of malt and sorghum. Shades of black patent and chocolate malt provide a nice blend of coffee, vanilla and roasty stout flavors. A mild and pleasant bitterness persists to the end of the taste, finishing a little winey with a clean coffee-like aftertaste. No alcohol flavors, nothing off about this brew.

Mouthfeel is medium-heavy, extremely well-balanced. Unlike the recent arms race in Imperial stouts where the trend is to bowl over the taste with everything in a bottle and sky-high ABV, this one is reserved, esteemed, confident in its rank among the newcomers.

The IS to which all others should be measured. (852 characters)

Photo of TypeSJess
4.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

very dark pour. very clean, thick tan head. aromas of roasted coffee and oats. one of the best tasting stouts I have ever had. very smooth drinking.
to me, Guinness has always had a bit of a lingering bitterness about it. THIS, does not. I would gladly take SSIS over Guinness any day. (286 characters)

Photo of maxpower
4.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours black as night, nice creamy tan head.Smells of dark roasted malts and coffee, thick creamy full mouthfeel, sweet malty and awesome, the flavors and aroma get even better as it warms. (188 characters)

Photo of AlexBlueV
4.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Very distinguished looking label. "Vintage", as the kids are saying these days. The only thing off-putting to me is the gold foil on the neck, and covering the cap (which is clamped down so tight that my bottle opener won't fit under it...) I'm dying to taste this beer, and now my floor is covered with little pieces of gold foil. Eh.

Appearance: Wow. I could have sworn I just poured chocolate syrup into my glass. This looks AMAZING. It's black. Light is no match for this. Caramel-colored head, nice and foamy. Good amount of lace sticking to the glass as the head dies down. There is still a thin layer of head, and I don't think it wants to go away.

Smell: So inviting. Chocolaty, toasty and warm. Very earthy. Coffee beans are here as well.

Taste/Feel: Just in case I haven't mentioned chocolate's definitely present in the taste. Coffee is certainly here as well. The aftertaste seems nutty to me, and I like that quite a bit. Everything seems very balanced about this beer. Having not tried many Imperial Stouts (yet), it's hard for me to judge how heavy this one is in comparison to others, but as an IPA drinker, this seems heavy to me. Not at all heavy in a bad way. It doesn't sting the taste buds, the ride is completely smooth. The alcohol warms the mouth/face quite nicely...and I'm only on sip number 4.

Drinkability: This stuff is so easy to drink... A fabulous beer for me to write my first review on.

What's that you say? There's more in the bottle? Done. (1,508 characters)

Photo of Opethsprite
4.86/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

(Review from notes taken at an earlier drinking.)
This beer pours a cola brown color with a thick, tan head. It smells of honey and burnt chocolate with syrup and something that reminds me of...tree bark. All of these smells are revealed in a very complex taste. I also found something spicy in the taste. It fades nicely into a brown sugar taste. This is a VERY good beer. I'd definitely recommend it! (403 characters)

Photo of klewis
4.86/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

355 ml bottle

A: Pours jet black with a modest tan head. Very little lacing.

S: Aromas of roasted espresso beans and burnt marshmellows from the campfire. Totally unique.

T: Roasted, burnt, earthy kind of flavors with coffee undertones. Totally smooth-as-silk flavor with little, if any, bitterness.

M: Medium bodied for a RIS, but understandably so for the ABV. Soft carbonation and a sticky texture make it a winner.

D: Overall, I don't think that this one is as quite as good as many other big stouts (Stone, Rogue, Victory, etc.), but this one is utterly enjoyable and earns points with me because of its uniqueness. Absolutely a must try. (659 characters)

Photo of twilight
4.87/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is the beer dreams are made of. The taste of the roasted barley. Chocolate. Coffee. Molasses. Even a hint of butterscotch in the aftertaste. This should be the one they judge all stouts by....

Points off for the loss of the small brown head, but points for the inky blackness and the elegance of the brew in a nonick pint and the head retention around the edges of the glass. It smells sweet, almost like caramel, but dark as night. The taste is heavenly, thick and full. Heavy and beautiful, almost like drinking candy.

I know I couldn't drink this all night, for fear of passing out on someone's lap, but oh, is it so good. (636 characters)

Photo of lackenhauser
4.87/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Deep black in color. Respectable tan head on top. Huge roasted aroma-a mix of burnt currants and a slight sherry aroma. Very vinuous. You can almost smell the velvety feel it has to it. Great big roasted malt flavor. Wonderful flavors all rolled into one-coffee,anise,dark chocolate. Theres an "ink" flavor that I find in some imperials and just love-this is full of that. Good body-not as full as some of the others but it plays well considering the overall flavor and texture of the beer. A highly drinkable brew-at an easy going 7% this could go on all night. A truely classic example. (588 characters)

Photo of cbl2
4.87/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Perhaps my favorite beer of all time, Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout pours from the bottle almost pitch black with a nice quarter inch head that rapidly settles and laces the side of the glass.

The aromas that emanate from the chalice (I like to drink my stouts in chalices...) are malty and sweet, like molasses (with a little tar tossed in) and chocolate.

The flavors that fill your mouth upon tasting are heavenly: first sweet with the chocolate that was hinted in the aroma followed by coffee flavors, and a slightly bitter finish that lingers (if you don't immediately take another sip that is).

I would drink this everyday if it weren't so expensive. A must have if you've never tried it!!! (706 characters)

Photo of Bonhoeffer
4.87/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ahh. Old friend. I bought a couple of these on my first ever out of state beer run. Fell in love back then, and now this is my first sip since. I bought a four pack at Richey's Easy in Pensacola for about $8.40. Excellent price for a most excellent beer. I shall probably hold on to the other three for a while to see where it goes.

I can't say anything that hasn't already been said. You know, jet black. Thick tan creamy head that lingers. Great sort of nutty aroma. Goes down soooo easy. Notes of chocolate, roasted flavors, perhaps a hint of cherry. I don't really notice the hops, but i know they are there to balance everything out.

Kind of entertaining that the label mentions awards given to the beer in 1896 and 1930.

Complex. Rich. A masterpiece. (765 characters)

Photo of nortmand
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tawny black pour, with a brown, fluffy head.

Ripe plums and dark roasts dominate the smell. A hint of citronella? in there as well.

Slight astringency up front, smooth, creamy roasts and dark chocolate flavors meld in a symphony of fabulousness.

Huge body, very smooth and definitely drinkable. Wow. (308 characters)

Photo of ghostwalker
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pitch black pour into my Three Philosophers chalice. If there are any color highlights, I can't see them. 1/2" of dark tan/brown head. Absolutely beautiful. Head doesn't stick around long, too bad.

Nose is very malty, nutty and rich.

Extremely rich and flavorful. Dark roasted malt. Smoky, coffee/espresso , dark caramel and molasses, the flavors go on and on. I really could go for a cigar to enjoy with this one.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, but still smooth and tasty. Coats the inside of my mouth with goodness. Wow! It's the beer that eats like a meal.

Outstanding drinkability. The 7% ABV is not evident to me at all. I could have a very nice session with this stuff playing darts or pool in a smoky bar somewhere.

My first experience with this one, it's an instant classic. The only bad thing I can say about this beer is that it appears to be very difficult to find in the big bottles, as well as generally harder to find than the rest of Sam Smith's line. Never fear, I will make the necessary trip to the stores that I know carry it. (1,062 characters)

Photo of beertaster13
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have found the stout to end all stouts. Pours a deathly crude oil black with streaks of ruby, the mocha/tan head is wickedly awesome and the lacing will leave gobs on the glass. The smell is of espresso and mocha chocolate raisins. A slight nut smell as well, alcohol is detectable. The taste is pure glory, the sweetness of the roasted chocolate invites you for more, a graham cracker marshmellow sweetness is icing on the cake. Hints of fruit, dried raisins detected. Alcohol is detected as well. Medium bodied for a stout, not to thick but perfect to invite more and more, a very drinkable stout and will become the staple for me. Awesome. (644 characters)

Photo of ThreePistols
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Opaque black color with a huge foamy brown head and lace all the way to the bottom of the glass. Huge roasted malt aroma with coffee, bread, fruit, chocolate, and oak. Medium to full body, slighty sweet, huge rich flavor of espresso, bitter chocolate, dark fruits (prunes, raisins, figs), and molasses. Great hops sharpness at first, then the sweetness comes though. Followed with the roasted flavor and malts to add to the complexity. A complex brew that is well balanced. A long lasting, outstanding aftertaste that reflects the complexity of this beer. A very warming beer. Enjoy. Cheers. (595 characters)

Photo of Daredevil
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

"Imperial Stout" was the kind of beer which was shipped to the russian nobility some 100+ years ago ... it seems that russian taste tends to go for strong bodied drinks with a certain sweetness .... most "imperial stouts" I know tend to accentuate the sweetness, sometimes with a "sticky tendency" ... compared to those this brew is "ultra brut" and with a medium to "slim" body ... but it's lack in corpulence is more than compensated with it's elegant smoothness ... to give you an image: this is like spotting a mysterious dark-haired beauty disguised in a porcelaine mask on the Carnival of Venice ... to die for (616 characters)

Photo of redleaves
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Light roasty malty nose. Black creamy head drops to lace. Poured into a dimple mug. Full flavor, not to syrupy like most ris's. Not too sweet, roasty but not too roasty, dry, but mouthwater juiciness. Perfect hop profile for the malt. Sam smiths has this wonderful mineralness that I'm not sure if its from the water, stone or yeast, or all of the above, but it sure is delicious. I've said it before, Sam Smiths can do no wrong. This is the most solid, most drinkable and most affordable RIS available. (503 characters)

Photo of mentor
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle obtained from Superior Liquor (Colorado) and consumed about a week later (July 2005). Pours a one-finger almond brown head over a pitch black liquid. A little bit of dark rbuy red edging when held to light. Smells cherry sour, roast, and underlying caramel. Tastes delicious...oh my! Chocolate, roast, sour, caramel, currant, raisin, blueberry, prune. Imagine a dense chocolate raisin rum cake, the weight of which has a buttery brown sugar syrup almost tearing out the sides, but nothing quite collects on the plate. Some beers flash a certain flavor before it bows and leaves the stage for some other flavor to shine in the spotlight. Not this beer...this beer holds each flavor throughout the taste. Each rising and mixing with other flavors and never quite going away before merging with some other flavor. A delight to pull each draw and ponder each aftertaste. No gulp is a repeat of a previous..there's alot going on and I seem to focus on different wonderful qualities during each taste. Plus, a wonderfully thick smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Carbonation is mild and tinkers the thick hanging on my tongue. I think this helps some flavors remain fruity and pleasant so that the beer isn't overly heavy. Lacing on the inside of the glass defines the level the liquid sat after each gulp. There is still a thinlayer of head on top of the beer. What an amazing selection. (1,383 characters)

Photo of acevenom
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass. Pours almost black with a creamy tan head. The beer is completely opaque and the head retains very well, dissipating slowly. The aroma is of dark roasted barley malt, chocolate, coffee, and some dark fruits. The taste follows the nose and is very rich. There are flavors of dark roasted barley malts, bitter chocolate, coffee, molasses, anise, and dark fruits. It has a mild sweetness that is not too cloying. The alcohol is well hidden in the taste. The body is medium to full with adequate carbonation. It is smooth and creamy. The drinkability is very high for a style that lends it self more to sipping. Overall, this is an excellent beer and a classic example of a RIS. With the wide availability of this beer, you shouldn't have problems finding this in bottle shops. (799 characters)

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 1,690 ratings.