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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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

3,269 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,269
Reviews: 1,668
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.51%
Wants: 151
Gots: 250 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Todd on 02-27-2001)
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Ratings: 3,269 | Reviews: 1,668 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of winomark
2.78/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Jet black with a substantial foamy brown head.

Aroma: Smells like chocolate licorice. Slightly sweet with toasty and yeasty notes.

Taste: Quite bitter and sour up-front, with a medicinal finish. Some chocolate tones.

Mouthfeel: Dry, but coating. Again, bitterness and sourness dominate.

Drinkability: Not a favorite of mine. Don't like the sourness of this stout.

Tasted blind at the Saint Louis BA tasting 12/14/03

Photo of TheViolator666
2.78/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I just don't understand.
Why does everyone go berserk over this brewery? Over the past two nights I've had 3 beers from "good ol'" Sam Smith that have done nothing but disappoint. This being the second stout I've had (first was the highly revered Oatmeal Stout) has followed in this trend. I went into this really wanting to like it... truly hoping that this brewery would offer something that I would like, but no.

That being said, I would buy a keg of this before I thought about taking another sip of Guinness.

550 ml bottle poured into Great Lakes stout glass.

A: Appearance is average. Dark brown/black with a thin brown cap. No lacing is visible.

S: The smell turned me off immediately. It smells like smoked over-salted beef jerky. Reminded me instantly of Guinness... must be something about the United Kingdom, but I really haven't had a stout from across the Atlantic that I've enjoyed in the slightest.

T: At least the taste is an improvement on the smell (or stench). Pretty bitter, surprisingly. A dash of dark fruit sweetness. The hint of coffee flavor saves this one. Hides the 7.00% ABV well. Gets better as it approaches room temperature, as with any stout.

M/D: Why must the UK make thin/bland beers? Too thin for my taste at least, but I guess that's why it goes down so smooth.

I'm no patriot, but fuck bless the USA for making such awesome Imperial Stouts.

Photo of warmstorage
2.8/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce clear glass bottle, gold foil topped, states 7.0% ABV.

Pours an opaque black with a small amount of medium brown head which dissipates rapidly, leaving little to no lacing.

Aroma is sweet prunes, plums, and indicates higher alcohol that the bottles indicates.

Taste is some sweet fruit, perhaps prunes, a slight bit of chocolate, some roastiness. Definitely thin for the style. A distinct metallic taste from the medium taste all the way through the finish and aftertaste really detracts from everything else; this is something I've noticed in Samuel Smith's oatmeal stout as well.

Mouth is relatively tingly with carbonation, lingers, light to medium physical body.

As disappointing as all the times I've had this beer before. It's just a weak example of the style, notwithstanding Samuel Smith's historical pedigree. I might give it a try again in a year or two, but certainly won't go out of my way to seek it out.

Photo of RedwoodGeorge
2.8/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

I'm a big Samuel Smith fan so I'm rather surprised at how disappointed I am in this stout...

The pour is promising enough - dark, dark amber with a thin tan head. I wouldn't expect much carbonation with this style and wasn't surprised when the head died down quickly leaving very little lacing along the glass.

The smell is promising enough - plenty of notes of caramel, coffee and a roasted aroma that you'd expect.

The taste was rather one-dimensional. While there were hints of roasted grain in there, this was primarily a treacle and prune drink (which isn't really a good thing) The brew was just shy of being overpoweringly sweet with an overbearing molasses taste accompanied by an equally strong flavor of plums, prunes and raisins. There was very little hops to compliment the thick, sweet flavors leading to a very unbalanced brew.

Mouthfeel was the highlight of the beer - it was almost velvety smooth. Carbonation was low as per the style but if they'd added a few more hops to dry out the palate it would have been near perfect. There was an oily residue left on the tongue but that's to be expected of a heavy stout.

I'm not sure I've rated a beer a 2.0 before but "not impressed" is exactly how I'd describe my experience. I'm a big fan of Samuel Smith's brewery and adore their oatmeal stout so I'm very surprised at how unexciting this brew is. It's heavy bodied and high in alcohol but I was hoping for something more...

Photo of cbutova
2.85/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours pitch black with a huge tan three finger head that retains better than almost any beer I have seen, nice and creamy as well. No lacing at all but it might be my glass. Smells of roasted malts and a metallic scent, not liking this metal thing at all. Also some dark sweet fruits in the nose. The taste is out of whack to me. It has nice roasted malts but also has a huge metallic taste, more than any beer I can think of. It kind of throws the balance off and ruins it. After reading other reviews I definitely get soy sauce, yuck. The extremely sweet fruity taste in this beer also does not belong in an imperial stout. Some hops compliment the finish but the sweetness of this beer is way too overwhelming. Also some cocoa behind the metallic sweetness. Mouthfeel is pretty good. Nice and creamy with good carbonation and a coat of that sweetness. No warming really at all. The drinkability here is not good, the sweet/metallic taste is hardly tolerable. The roasted malts save it but I can hardly finish the bottle. The price was very good but I will only try this one again if I really, really don't trust this bottle. The worst part is the appearance was so good I thought I was in for a super cheap Imperial treat.

Photo of jar2574
2.85/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Thought this came in a dark bottle, but after pouring the beer I see that it's clear. That's how dark black this beer is. Very thick caramel colored head. Black beer. No light gets through at all.

Smells of chocolate, licorice, and coffee. Enjoyable.

Unfortunately, the taste reminds me of day-old coffee reheated in the microwave. That said, there is complexity here that others might find intriguing. I just can't stand the taste enough to want to try it again. Tastes like licorice, roasted grain and burnt coffee. Not much hops. Too much roasted flavor and too acidic. A little watery and comes across as a little flat.

As much as I have loved other Samuel Smith beers and want to like this one, I doubt I give it another shot.

Photo of adamette
2.85/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Live review. Poured from the 550 ml dark brown bottle with gold foil over the cap. Poured into my Samuel Smith pint glass. Mark on neck of bottle: SD02H1 but I am not sure what that means.

A 4 inch generous medium brown head over a mostly very dark body that shows a bit of dark mahogany light in front of a light bulb. Classic look. 4.5

S Dark roast malt and an unexpected dark fruit smell of dates or raisins. At first I thought this was a sense of alcohol but repeated smells revealed the dark fruit smell. At a minimum the smell is interesting. 4.0

T Well, the taste is directly related to the smell. Dark roast malt, dark fruits carry right into the taste from the smell but added is the wet texture and a rather unwelcome and badly disguised taste of alcohol. 2.5

M More thin than I would have liked. I am spoiled by so many American Craft RIS's and their big, luxurious mouthfeel. 2.0

D Not that good. I finished one pint and it took me a while to conclude what I would do with the remaining until I finally poured it out. 2.5

Notes: Samuel Smith, brewer of some of the most classic beers (Oatmeal Stout, Nut Brown Ale) disappointed me with this one. As suggested, my palate is spoiled by other, much more engaging American craft RIS's.

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
2.88/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours black with burgundy highlights with a creamy dark tan head that dissipates quickly.

Smells like sour caramel and smoke.

Tastes like tangy coffee and cough syrup. Finishes with a medicinal sourness. When it warms a bit (as it took so long to stomach it) some hazelnut flavors introduce themselves.

Mouth feel is creamy with small carbonation.

Yuck. I tried drinking this slowly to pick out all of the flavors. I tried gulping it and also I tried letting my mind wander so I could surprise myself with a sip. Either way, this was just not an enjoyable beer. I’ve found a lot of British stouts to be a bit sour, but this is down right un-pleasant. This tastes more like a porter or brown ale, so based off of rating by style, this beer misses the mark.

Photo of GoodKnight1220
2.88/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle to a glass.

Very, very dark in color looks black, little to no head.

Smells of heavy alcohol and dark chocolate, smells much like a wine.

Alcohol taste right up front, ending with a very bitter chocolate.

This has a greasy & syrupy mouthfeel.

I could drink one of these in a sitting, and you need to drink this on a cold day.

Photo of freditoj
2.9/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Very dark color, like a 2 inch head.

Smell - Malty.

Taste - Like soy sauce. I don't know if my beer was bad. When it was served the owner of the store told me it was frozen and gave it to me for free. I understand the beer was damaged.

Mouthfeel - The taste is heavy and strong.

Overall - Don't know what all the fuss is about.

Photo of 1Adam12
2.95/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured this into a beer mug. Very dark with a decent sized carmel colored head on it. Smelled notes of chocolate and maybe just a little bit of coffee. Taste was very light compared to many of the other Imperial Stouts I've tried. Tastes of chocolate and malt, but kind of watery to me, however did have a very nice lingering coffee aftertaste. Ahhhh there's the coffee! At 3.99, this is something I would drink if I wanted an Imperial Stout, but didn't have the money to get anything else

Photo of tweeder263
2.95/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours out a nice dark beer with tan head,very nice.Aroma of licorice slight alcohol smell not bad.Taste up front is nice ,balanced ,but the lingering bitter afterwards sucks. I had high hopes for this beer and other sam smith beers but now im not quite sure.Nice slick mouthfeel though the taste killed the drinkability of this beer.

Photo of Bruiser81
2.95/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a deep brown if not black with a two finger tan head that didn't stick around long. The nose was dominated by fruit, alcohol, and a little maltiness The taste was extremely sweet, almost like a sour sweet. It also had sort of an astringent taste but it wasn't good. The mouthfeel was medium, but I didn't like how it sat on the palate. I'm not sure what the word is maybe tannic? I was disappointed with this brew especially after all the good reviews. Maybe it was skunked. I've never had a skunked beer.

Photo of semibaked
2.98/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours super black with about 2 inches of brown head.

S - First thing I smell is red wine (kinda weird) but also has roasty malts and some syrupy sweetness too.

T - Wow a lot acidic and sharper than I thought it would be, really boozy up front, some hops with some malts and raisin sweetness. Really disappointed in the taste I was expecting a traditional Imperial Stout and I didn't get it.

M - Really smooth and creamy, very nice, too bad the beer doesn't taste better.

D - I am pretty bummed by this, I usually really like Samuel Smith's beer but this is bad stuff. Definitely will not be drinking or buying this again.

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
2.98/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Relatively clear super dark brown. Almost black. Pours with a higher than expected carbonation. Head is tan, wispy, and bubbly after a few seconds. Drops to a tiny cap with some points of lacing. Looks a but thin overall.

Smell: Sweet, chewy, burnt chocolate, but more sweet than burnt. Loaded with dark fruit. Plums, ripe cherry, even fig. Super fruity. Lingering alcohol on the back. Hints of vanilla and something that reminds me of oak, but it can't be. Mild earthiness buried in the back. Chocolate malts. Loads of roasted barley. Vague sense of minerals from the water. Soy sauce.

Taste: Roasted. Sharp snap of cocoa and burnt malt. Some minor sweetness. Roasted barley. Chocolate edge is so bitter it's almost acrid. Mineral. Rocks and some sense of earthy hops. Some dark fruit (mostly cherry) mixed with soy sauce and some caramelized sugars. Vaguely nutty. Burnt and sweet as it warms. So much barley.

Mouthfeel: Significantly thinner than I would expect. Carbonation is high and contributes to a body that runs on the light side of medium. Lingering dryness.

Overall: Are we sure this is imperial?

Trying not to compare this to the absurd American Imperial Stout/American RIS is hard. This drinks thinner than most standard American stouts and the British water and yeast are distracting.

Photo of mctizzz
3/5  rDev -28.1%

Photo of richbrew
3/5  rDev -28.1%

Photo of martianMan
3/5  rDev -28.1%

too sour for me

Photo of DrMindbender
3/5  rDev -28.1%

Photo of thebeeler
3/5  rDev -28.1%

Photo of smartassboiler
3/5  rDev -28.1%

Photo of YourOnlyMan
3/5  rDev -28.1%

Photo of krl2112
3/5  rDev -28.1%

Photo of anwo56
3/5  rDev -28.1%

Photo of chrispoint
3/5  rDev -28.1%

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,269 ratings.