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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1,702 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,702
Hads: 3,480
Avg: 4.17
pDev: 16.31%
Wants: 213
Gots: 383 | 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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Reviews: 1,702 | Hads: 3,480
Photo of ReadyFireAim
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thought I'd continue my stout kick with Sam Smith's RIS, here. Let's take a look-see, eh?

Poured into my pint glass with a good 3/4-inch pillow of creamy goodness on top. The head settled into a nice, toffee-colored ring for the duration of the drink (this was, of course, after Armageddon had cometh).

Goodness, me! These are scents the gods dream of, man! Dark fruit scents mingle with those of lavender and coffee beans. There are hints of rum-like notes in there, too. Heavenly.

Fruity upfront, not too heavy - good consistency - with bits of chocolate and rum notes carrying through into the middle. Finishes with a warm, smoky espresso wave to help warm the throat and tummy. Can definitely taste and feel the alcohol in this one. No doubt there. You know... I think I'm going to scrap the rest of this review and just enjoy my drink, here. Cheers!

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Photo of Shultzerdugen
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this in the midst of a super session, and although it wasn't the first time I've had SS's Imperial, it was like the virgin experience.

Next to Belgian triples and doubles,Samichlaus, barley wines, etc., it not only held it's own, it gave the aforementioned beers a kung fu kick in the balls.

Opaque obsidian, no seeing through this sucker. Great head with strong staying power.

So many smells. Prunes, black pepper, licorice, sweet booze. I was salivating like one of Pavlov's dogs after a dinner bell.
This Imperial is the A-1 ass kickin' bow down and be thankful for tastebuds thrilla. Great hop balance for such a huge beer. Dark chocolate, coffee, sugary malts. Long finish where the hops return for an encore.
Real thick and chewy, smooth and delicious.
Sure, I want to drink it again and again.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout is a benchmark beer for me, the one I compare all other I S's to. Say thankya!

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Photo of maddamish
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

An excellent stout!

Ap:Dark black in color. Medium head that retains well.

Smell: Butterscotch and coffee notes in the nose.

Taste: Carmel, Butterscotch, coffee and malt notes. These flavors interact and mix well. This is a very complex and satisfying stout that you will contemplate for awhile. A touch of toast Very nice. Very impressed.

Mouthfeel: This is the only weak part of the beer. It is too watery for me and I was a tad disappointed it wasn't thicker.

Notes: An excellent stout

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Photo of techdiver
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 550 ml bottle. Wow, deep brownish black color with a substantial billowing tan head that dissipates slowly leaving loads of lacing behind.

Nose of malt, molasses, and chocolate.

Taste is out of this world good. I've had a lot of RIS and what this lacks in ABV it more than makes up for in taste.

Great mouthfeel, feels so light in comparison to other brews of this style.

Great drinkability, wish I had more right now because it's gonna be gone before my Coronado Double Toro.

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Photo of jkoogler
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Deep dark brown almost black appearance with a nice foaming tan head that dissipated to a thin layer of foam with decent lace. I'm not seeing any light penetrate this brew. Aroma is sweet consisting of roasted malt, molasses, chocolate, wine and some floral-like flavors from the hops. Taste is all about the malts and is smooth and creamy with molasses notes up front followed by earthy hop flavors.

What a nice beer.

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Photo of irishmoss
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow, what a great Imperial Stout. I mean this is what I've always imagined. Amazingly dark body with brown head. Sweet malty base is balanced with chocolate, coffee, and hopped up undertones. This is both sweet and crisp. The lower alcohol percent gives you a chance to drink the entire four-pack without same effects of a 10% Imperial Stout.

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Photo of Neorebel
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is as dark as night with a thick, fluffy tan head- perfect! the head does not recede for a while... The aroma is fruitier than one might expect - plum and raisin can be detected, and in the background, a touch of coffee and roasted malt. Seems sharp and crisp. After a sip the actual taste is revealed to be just as interesting and complex as the nose. The initial splash of flavor is the fruit/raisin followed by, a roasted, smoked touch and a dry finish. Very crisp on the tongue. As I drink the head sticks tightly to the glass - this is a nice frothy brew. This has a relatively light mouth feel and I can hardly put the glass down even for a second. There's just enough of a warming sensation from the alcohol. A very classy staple in the Imperial Stout world.

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Photo of JasonCoop
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours black like good stouts should. looks like a good stout. huge beige head.

smells chocolatey with hints of very sweet coffee. sweet smelling.

tastes great. robust bitter chocolate taste. very creamy. good hops for a stout, you can actually taste the hops. a great sweet smokey tasting stout. very smooth.

mouthfeel is creamy and drinkabiliy is great. good robust stout.

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Photo of stewart124
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a pitch black with a huge tan head. Very fluffy head that leaves a beautiful lace. Aroma is of espresso and roasted malts. Initial tastes of chocolate and coffee with blends of fruits and a nice velvet body that soothes the throat. This is extremely thick and has hints of plums. Outstanding silky feel and an overall great beer. The aftertaste is of an almost wine character. The flavors only become stronger as this brew warms. As the bottle states this is truly a drink for Her Majesty's Forces.

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Photo of HossMcGraw
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of the best beers I've had. Pours pitch black and tastes like coffee, dark fruit, chocolate, roasted malt, and about a million other flavors that form a deliciously complex brew that goes down smooth as silk. This beer is soooo good and complex. Right now I'm having a bit of a crisis because I think I might like this better than the SS Oatmeal Stout. This one is definitely more complex, but I'd need an O-Stout here for comparison before I make such a big decision. I wanted to try this so bad that I paid 5 bucks for a single bottle. I know I got totally ripped off, but in Lancaster PA, my only alternative was driving to Philly or Maryland, or spending fifty bucks for a case. Had I known I'd like it this much, I might have gotten a case. Well, at least it was a kick-ass beer. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

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Photo of BeerBeing
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: bottle, 12 fl.oz, clear, custom, "Samuel Smith" pressed twice around neck, "bottled at yorkshire`s oldest brewery est. 1758" pressed around bottom, gold foiled neck, gold-on-white label, no fresness date.

Appearance: "very" black, no light can get thru, very large head of long lasting brown-colored foam.

Smell: sweet fruitiness, molasses, coffee, hint of bitter chocolate

Taste: rich, full body, medium mouthfeel. Coffee, raisins, light chocolate, black cherry (?)

Notes: Sole US distributor - Merchant du Vin

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Photo of Byeast
4.84/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint , color is opaque black with thick tawny brown head that dissipated to a thin layer in a few minutes. Taken to the nose, complex odors of sweet dark fruit come first( hint of raisin ,plum, prune) ,dark roasted barley , some coffee , also some alcohol spirits. Great smell . Whoa! This is exellent. Taste is a complex blend of dark fruit ,roasty malt flavors of coffee , a little smokey chocolate , and some nice light hoppy notes in the finish. Very , very good! Mouthfeel is light and slick. This Russian Imperial Stout went down so easy , and a little to fast as im wishing i had some more now. It really is a top notch brew.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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