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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,722 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,722
Hads: 3,574
Avg: 4.17
pDev: 16.31%
Wants: 217
Gots: 430 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
United Kingdom (England) | website

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 (31) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,722 | Hads: 3,574
Photo of DagFishHead
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Black ink pour, huge, creamy, dark tan head relents from three finger to two and stays for the duration. The thickest, creamiest lace I've ever seen.
Smell: Regardless of your favorite beer style, I implore you to at least smell this... Deep dark chocolate, strong espresso, dark ripe fruits (raisins, dark cherries, prunes), toasty roasted malt, smoke... oooh, baby. Thank the maker, this is heaven!
Taste: Big smoked malt sweetness immediately bolstered by dark fruits that linger with the carbonation, then the tide receeds to a semi-dry hop finish that allows the mellowed original flavors to mingle with a smooth alcohol warmth. Whoa...
Mouthfeel: Slick, smooth, chewy smoked malt, but just slightly thinner than other examples (more English-style I would say).
Drinkability: A stunning imperial stout. My personal preference for the slightly fuller American-style mouthfeel in no way detracts from how incredible this example is...

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Photo of azorie
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a: jet black with a large head. no lacing seen. very nice

s: earthy rich dark chocolate malts, some hops, lots of fig like fruit. a touch of booze his the nose after it warms more. Smells good to me.

t: ahh its has that well water bitterness of all the SS beers. dark bitter chocolate, some hops, a tad touch of the booze, some coffee, mostly rich fruit like a roasted fig or something. reminds me of some of the great quads.

m: smooth, rich, low carbonation, medium to heavy body.

o: outstanding beer. its a standard, too bad others go beyond this.

drank 2 550ml bottles good stuff.

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Photo of drmeto
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

-pours the darkest of brown with a small khaki head
-sweet chocolate,slightly roasty,caramel,toffee,vanilla,mocha
-chocolate,toffee,plums,raisins,dates with a strong coffee finish
-low carbonation,medium-full body
-alcohol not noticeable
Lovely imperial stout.

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Photo of jwc215
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured BLACK with fairly thick, tan head that became a well-retained lace.
It had aromas of sweet chocolate, coffee, and anise. Robust smell.
The taste was extraordinary. Very complex and robust. Chocolate, anise, coffee tastes were well-balanced. Just the right balance between sweet and bitter. Very invigorating.
Left a nice bitter-sweet mouthfeel.
This beer is exceptionally drinkable. It's silky smooth with a slight alcohol finish. It's characteristics are god-like. Well worth the price for this one!

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Photo of Dantes
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Package: Appropriately regal, extra-tall 12oz. foil-topped, crowned, clear bottle. Label notches, but no date key or ABV. Old-fashioned white label with gold and black lettering.

Cost: $6.99 per 4-pack

Presentation: Imperial pint at ~50º

Appearance: Very dark brown with some ruby glow. Generated a moderate 1 to 2 finger head, that quickly resolved to a thick foam collar that gradually receded. Not the darkest stout, but plenty dark enough.

Smell: Very toasty, with some fortified-wine notes, coffee, chocolate, and dark blackberry and currant fruitiness on the nose. A generous, round, full aroma.

Taste: The flavors follow through on what the aroma promised, adding just the right amount of burnt-sugar sweetness, nuttiness, bitterness, and alcohol volatility to keep things from being bland or cloying. An homage to good water, skilled brewing, and the art of toasting malt. Very multi-dimensional, with the finish of Methuselah.

Mouthfeel: Excels. This powerful, flavorful beer defines finesse. Creamy, perfectly carbonated, with a full, rounded body. Coats the tongue, but remains dry enough to remind you you’re drinking beer!

Drinkability: Stouts don’t get more drinkable than this! Rich, satisfying, but not overwhelming. Delivers a surfeit of flavor without being hugely filling and lets one have two or three without repercussions. I should deduct 0.5 because I want a 20oz. serving!

Backwash: I haven’t had this in some time, and more’s the shame! A recent article in the Times led me to buy some and try it again. Boy, was I impressed. Not the darkest, not the hoppiest, not the highest ABV; but still the archetype of Imperial Stout. You can have all the Storm King you want, I’ll be happy with this! They haven’t forgotten that malt is at least as important as hops when it comes to stouts. And, what are you guys who mention the price talking about? It’s beautifully made and shipped over here, for less than what a lot of US microcraft brewers charge for inferior beers, and worth every cent! This beer clearly proves what Mies van de Rohe said, “Less is more.”

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Photo of Sachsenfreude
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Another exceptional brew from Samuel Smith, not all that surprised, wouldn't expect anything less.

A beautiful near pitch black beer with an good tan head. The head slowly retreats, leaving thick and creamy lacing, so nice and sticky. I can almost smell a sweet bourbon and some black licorice. Really a toasted malt to almost smokey flavor but then some brown sugar sweetness too. Aftertaste is smooth and bitter in a creamy way, reminds me of quality dark chocolate, not sweet at all. A little bit of alcohol is present when one slurps the beer from the glass, instead of pouring it in the mouth, pretty damn good to say the least. The mouthfeel is loose yet thick and creamy, really complex, one could probably write a poem about it. This is an almost perfect beer and the lower alcohol content makes it more drinkable than of others of this style. Slightly heavy with a roasted malt bitterness in the aftertaste, complex yet strong and makes it less drinkable, but only by a bit. Who wants a beer that is drinkable like water any way though? Certainly not me, I like a meal in a glass.

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Photo of horndecker
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

500 ml clear bottle with one of the grandest little labels...

It's the deepest darkest, reddish walnut with a fine sticky dark tan head. Beauty. The nose is all roasted malt, citric hops, a bit of a tang, wonderful combo, cocoa, faint cherry-ish aromas, caramel, espresso brings up the rear. Burnt edges, whiff of smoke.

So smooth. First sip is tangy hops, a flash of herbal bitterness and dusty cocoa powder, quickly followed by a sweet malt, roasted, toasted and round. Raisins, caramel.The sweetness lingers. Alcohol shows up and buzzes around the tongue, but it's not too forward. Bitterness returns, but this time dry and citric, slowly sliding towards a cocoa and dark fruit aftertaste. Jeepers. The tastes develop slowly and the finish is long.

Soft and smooth mouthfeel, rather full and foamy. Luscious.

One of my favorites.

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Photo of Crafts_and_recreation
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is a surprisingly complex and well executed brew!

A: pours a lovely black, opaque hue

S: Fruit forward aroma of dark wine, raisins, caramel, toasted barley, and wood combine to awaken the senses

T: Complex notes of sweet, rich malts with an ever so slightly charred alcohol flavor reminiscent of dark wine and toffee or licorice

M: A balanced medium body that carries smoothly across the palate and has a slightly dry finish

O: A great stout! Very interesting combination that works well and gives some variety to the traditional flavor

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Photo of Admbmb92
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

550ml bottle poured into Bruery snifter. Bottle date is June 17 2013.
A-oil black with mocha brown head. Great lacing.
S-chocolate, cherry, vanilla, coffee, very sweet aromas. Very nice.
T- follows up with aroma. Lots of sweet chocolate, incredibly smooth. No hop bitterness which is a plus for me.
M- full bodied and sticky. Insanely smooth, head makes it all the way down to the bottom of the glass.
O-perfect imperial stout, aged very well no offensive or off flavors. Would pair great with vanilla Ice cream

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Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well...I have to give it a 5 for appearance cause you just can't barely see through this beer. Held directly against a 60watt lightbulb reveals just barely a deep deep reddish/auburn hue. This beer is black and proud of it. Really appropriate carbonation and a beautiful head that leaves a touch of lacing on the glass.

Incredible nose. Just incredible. Strikes me as rich rich bitter chocolate. My favorite kind. Some really nice nuttiness there too. A definately some winey notes. You get the signature sam smith notes times 100. Really really nice.

Really fantastic flavors too. Not quite perfect...but really freakin' good. Definately some strong chocolate malts and some roasted notes too. Very pleasing bitterness. Just right. Fairly strong bitterness, but it really just balances out the rich dark malts nicely. Get the standard Sam Smith flavors as well. Really a wonderful beer.

Mouthfeel is right on the money. Perfect.

I could drink this beer all day long. Really one of my favorites. Warming yet not overwhelming. Rich and complex to keep one interested but not bewildering.

This might be the best deal at my local store: $2.99 for a 550ml bottle. WOW.

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Photo of orfeu
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

550 mL clear bottle. Black with faint chocolate highlights. Creamy, finely attenuated tan head that soon becomes a mere cap. Aromas of chocolate, fruity cough syrup, smoky raisins and toffee. Taste is of hops, at first, then smooth chocolate and coffee bliss. Surprising bit of boozines for only 7%. Cherry cordials. Slightly buttery but mostly spicy bitter finish. Mineral aftertaste. Not bad at all. As it warms, the flavors balance out more. Definitely a standard-bearer of taste, but not quite the heaven in a bottle I was expecting. Incredible mouthfeel, however: tingly, slick and oily and an eminently downable medium-to-thin body. Low ABV (for the style) + totally mesmerizing sipping = super high drinkability. Absolute pioneer for the style and deserves much credit for that alone.

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Photo of sk8man121
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

550 ml bottle poured into Allagash chalice. This is my second review of this beer (last reviewed on 3/30/10).

A: Pours a completely opaque pitch black with a massive three-finger brownish-beige head. Settles at one-finger, leaving no lacing on the glass. Excellent retention.

S: Dark chocolate, caramel, bitter fruit and alcohol; I even get a little bit of subtle banana. There's a lot going on in here, but it smells very cohesive.

T: Intense dark fruit up front, followed by sweet dark malts and lots of dark chocolate. Extremely complex, with everything working in perfect harmony.

M: The moderately heavy carbonation takes what seems at first like a rather thin stout and transforms it into a creamy, almost chewy drink. Velvety smooth, and perfect for the style.

O: Figured I'd re-review this one given the fact that I haven't had a bottle in close to a year. Little has changed in terms of this being one of my favorite beers out there, and quite possibly the best imperial stout on the market. And for under $4 a bottle!?


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Photo of canucklehead
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This sample came from Hawaii as the B.C. liquor stores decided
not to stock this example of Samuel Smith , which is a shame
because this beer ranks among the best of its type.

The colour is black as a moonless night and the nose is treacly
and enticing. What really makes this beer excel is the rush of
coffee flavours entwined with a beautifully balanced malt/hop
combination. I had to sip slowly to appreciate what a complex
and drinkable beer this becomes. This just might be my favourite
stout with Rogue's Shakespeare Stout coming very close.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It's about time I tried this sucker.
It's rich and delicious.
This is probably the easiest to find for me of the world class stouts out there and I am glad for it.
The "lower" alcohol content and smooth flavors make this stout outrageously drinkable.
Lots of deep, smooth coffee and chocolate gluttony to be found. The hops are used just enough so that the sweet flavors do not become cloying.
Others have gone into great detail as to all that can be found in this bubbly black nectar so I'll just chime in with- if you are jonesing for a stout this will set you at ease and leave you with a smile on your face.

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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 krazyboi
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a strange(stick) glass..It's very dark and has quite a big head..It smells like dark chocolate with a bit of roastiness..The taste is very balanced, with a dark chocolate being the prominent flavor..It feels very smooth in the mouth and somewhere between light and heavy..I feel like I can drink a couple pints of this and enjoy it the whole time...A very good beer, and one I will go to time and time again..

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Photo of MrNuggets
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Head retention to the fullest! For an imperial stout that is. High above the rim of my glass. Smell is huge, lots of cherries and stuff. Taste runs deep into my soul. Dates, currants and all that jazz. What ever the heck's going on its bad ass. Like a mouth full of tar. Thanks to the low, for an imperial stout, ABV this can be drunk in excess.

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Photo of Overworkedta
4.81/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a snifter. Delicous. I'm a big fan of imperial stouts and barrel aged beers so this was not a departure from my usual. Good mouthfeel and good appearance. The head settles after a bit but it pours caramel chocolate in color.

Would but again. It's a solid beer I've had several years ago but wanted to try again recently. It's no whale but it's a delicious treat to someone who loves stouts.

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

Pours black with a khaki head that stays around forever.

Aroma full of fruits, coffee, rum, molasses. Awesome, so much to take in.

Medium body, so smooth. Rum flavors mixed with fruit up front move to a coffee flavor with a light alcohol flavor. Molasses show up in the finish and leave a sweet-alcohol aftertaste.

This is my first imperial stout and it is nothing short of awesome. My only concern is this is as good as it gets.

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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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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 1,722 ratings.