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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: 3,575
Avg: 4.17
pDev: 16.31%
Wants: 218
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: 3,575
Photo of willyumlong
3.3/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

bottle looks great love the gold wrapping
black as tar with good head retention and lacing
not a very potent smell but still good
disappointing probably because i had such high expectations due to the style and price, im glad i didn't see its reviews before drinking or i would have been even more disappointed. don't get me wrong it is good beer but not spectacular to my pallet. in all honesty i would be just as happy with a plain old guiness. sorry.
probably won't be buying any more but was fun to experience.

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Photo of capn
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout is a Russian Imperial Stout with an eye-catching, old style label reminiscent of its Victorian roots. It is 7% ABV but other than that, they really don't tell you much else about it. I first had it at a tasting event some time ago and enjoyed it very much but haven't gotten around to reviewing it until now.

It pours with an opaque, dark black color with the slightest ruby hints at the edges that could only be revealed by direct, bright light. It developed a tall, light-brown head that was creamy and fluffy. The initial aroma was very light and only of sweet malt which I thought was a bit odd. That is when I realized that it had been chilled to standard refrigerator temperature which is well below its recommended serving temperature of approximately 60 degrees. After allowing it to warm a bit, the aroma evolved into one you could really stick you nose into. It was deep and complex but all its notes were subtle and required hunting, which is part of the fun for me. The malty sweetness remained but I also detected slight notes of vanilla and chocolate. The first sip doesn't disappoint either. The mouthfeel starts with a moderate tingle on the front of the tongue which subsides quickly, developing into a thick, creamy feel all over the mouth. The taste is initially slightly sweet which instantly gives way to the hops and alcohol, which blend excellently. The flavor has complexity, but like the aroma, the notes are subtle and you have to work for them. I detected bitter chocolate, hops, some roast, and smoke. It finishes dry with slight black coffee notes and lingers a little.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout is an excellent beer. It is right in line with the expected characteristics of this style while maintaining great balance throughout. I recommend you use a sniff and sip technique while drinking and enjoy it slowly to get the most out of it. It has the qualities to be enjoyed alone or with food. It even has the legs to stand with a full-bodied, maduro cigar.

I wish you Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
The Cap'n

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Photo of swede96
2.22/5  rDev -46.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured black with a 1 finger light brown head into a pint glass. The appearance was good, but the head did not stay long after the pour.

Smell was of dark fruit and did not get anything else from the aroma.

The taste reminded me of prunes...dark fruit with very little hop.

Mouthfeel was full with a fruity sort of coating.

Drinkability was I had one it that was enough. the dark fruit was just not getting it done with my palate.

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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.

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Photo of mtschmitz
3.33/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice dark opaque brown with single finger head. The head seems to dissipate quickly to a fine lace but inconsistent.

S: Smell is a bit less aromatic than i was anticipating being an imperial. Subtle hints of chocolate and coffee. Even after letting it sit for a while the aroma did not expose itself too much.

T: Lots of smoky flavor and a taste of coffee and dark chocolate. Tones of alcohol which quickly diminish to smoke. A bit overpowering on the alcohol taste, but good nonetheless.

M: Mouthfeel is pretty thin but the flavors evolve on the palate quite well. A bit less chewy than is my liking for an imperial

O: Overall I'd say that it's a decent Imperial Stout. Im a big fan of their nut brown and porter but this left me wanting more out of the beer. You can't beat the price and I'm I'll return to this some time in the future.

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Photo of Garzan72
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a really nice imperial stout. Very well balanced and was very enjoyable. It looked nice and thick and creamy. Smelled very rich and complex. Tasted great and went down real smooth with a fruity after taste. Mouthfeel was thick yet rich and creamy. Real easy to drink.

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Photo of GoBrewOrGoHome
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- jet black, dark tan head, great head retention
S- nice roasted malt, gingerbread, leather, dried fruit, cooked apple, yeasty, notes of soya
T- dried fruit, brown sugar, low astringency, worty, hints of alcohol, short lasting bitterness
M- full bodied, low bitterness for an imperial stout, with a lingering malty finish
D- very smooth, very complex, no flavor dominates another.

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Photo of keysofebony
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is by far one of my favorite beers.

This is a pretty dark beer although a slight hint of red when held up to a bright light. Tan head that sticks around.

Smell is like a snickers bar put in coffee. a little funk to it, but that's more of a caramel smell.

Taste is outstanding. Definitely what is expected from the nose; caramel, coffee, and chocolate mostly. No alcohol taste really and it is not too dry and the slightest bit sweet. Small amount bitterness and comfortable malty taste.

I bought a bottle of this for a friend's dad who swears by Guinness and he was blown away. I have to say this is one of very few imperial stouts I have had, but every time now I have a guinness or regular stout it is just not enough. Will continue to buy (this is the third time I've gotten it)

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Photo of aaronbeach69
4.7/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

WOW! this is my favorite stout to date, granted I can still count the number of different stouts I have had on two hands... well, maybe a few toes too. But, this one was amazing, very drinkable yet very real, very hoppy, very thick = very happy.

In particular the beauty of this beer (and one of the greatest things about all imperial stouts) is the great mouthfeel. As this thick syrup slides down my throat and sticks to the sides of my mouth I can hardly believe that this substance can even be called by the same name as what most people gulp down by the can all over this country, I really feel the calling to spread the word to the ends of the earth that a veil has been drawn over the eyes of the public and this dark slosh is just the substance to wash away ignorance and replace it with a knowledge of thick, full, roasted goodness!!!

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Photo of stephen1162
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just finished drinking this beer from a 12 oz. bottle in a stemmed glass. I let it sit for about 30 minutes after pulling it from the fridge, so I imagine the temperature was about 50-55 degrees F.

Appearance was very nice: moderate head that lasted for about 1/2 the beer; nearly black in color; no yeast in the bottle.

Smell was typical for Imperial Stoudt; licorce, coffee, roasted smell.

The taste was very smooth, and was really enhanced by nibbling on some bitter-sweet chocolate chips while drinking the beer.

The mouthfeel was almost velvety, and in my opinion, considerably better then Victory's Imperial Stoudt.

I can't wait to sample the remaining 3 bottles from my 4-pack.

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Photo of DrZarkov
4.56/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Very dark and rich looking. The head in particular was exceptional looking with a dark carmel appearence.

Smell: Smells very good sort of earthy.

Taste: Toasted grain taste without tasting burnt. Also a bit of carmel and coffee.

Mouthfeel: Superior. One of the smoothest and richest feeling beers I have ever tried. Creamy and thick.

Drinkability: Definitely one of the top 10 beers I have ever had. Going to have to take some of these home to the family to try for the holidays.

I actually tried this beer only because it had a high rating on Beer Advocate. Massive props to BA for steering me towards this amazing brew!

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Photo of ewurm
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

As I poured this stout, I noticed the uniform color with a quality head. I enjoyed the robust flavor. I tasted coffee, licorice, ginger, and a hint of chocolate. I tried this on the recommendation of a friend and was not disappointed. The finish was fairly clean. I would not recommend more than one at a sitting, as I found it filling. A quality brew from a quality brewery.

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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 BurghBrewPSU
3.65/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice black. Rather clear, not too thick. Smells of chocolate and coffee. Tastes sweet, not too sweet, but just right. Chocolate, coffee, molasses, and some hints of fig make for a delightful beer. Overall this is a tasty brew. I have had some imperial stouts where I couldnt finish the last couple sips. I enjoyed this beer to the last sip.

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Photo of evolbob
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

18.7 oz bottle poured into a Samuel Smith IP glass. Nice, dark, coffee appearance with thick head. Smells good. There is some buttery notes along with coffee and chocolate, with small amount of hop finish. This is a smooth Imperial Stout though I am not as impressed with it as the ratings would indicate. I really like Samuel Smith products and would buy this again if no Rogue or Great Divide were available.

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Photo of mapofthedead
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a rich black with a decent tan head.

S: There was some hint of sweetness, sugar and toffee maybe combining with a bitterness of dark chocolate and coffee. Also picked up a slight roasted smell in the background.

T: Again, the sweetness of toffee/sugar was present but nicely offset by the bitterness of chocolate and coffee.

M: Awesome! Full bodied, creamy and smooth.

D: Very drinkable and no hint of the alcohol content!

Notes: 355 ml bottle poured into a Imperial Pint Glass. BBE DEC 09.

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Photo of vhiggins
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

550ml bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Deep dark brown 100% opaque from top to bottom. Head is a dark beige with a slight red hue here and there. Poured a very nice head that webbed down the side for the entire pint.

S: Smell is very sweet. Reminds me of dried cherries or cranberries with a hint of maple syrup

T: an excellent tasting beer. Creamy and Full flavored. At first u taste some alcohol then a little spice as it balances out to finish as subtle tasting beer.
You can taste a few things. chocolate, caramel but mostly the fruits

M: Creamy and rich!

D: I could probably drink this morning, noon and night but I am afraid that it would loose it's luster if I had more than 2 in a row. It might be to sweet and rich for me to drink..and drink..and drink...and drink..repeat.

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Photo of crizmo2352
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brew pours opaque black with thick medium brown head that sticks around and eventually fades to thick pad, lacing the glass with broken sticky blotches. The nose is strong with rich maltiness, dark chocolate, molasses and dark fruits. Very big brew on the palate. Fills out with rich sweet malt and dark chocolate. Very round mouthfeel... complex flavors are quite overwhelming. Fruit tones and toffee/roast character present as well. Sweetness helps round the mouthfeel out yet isn't overbearing and is reminiscent of molasses or sorghum. Brew lingers on the palate with complex series of flavors. Abundant strong flavors supported with good hop bitterness. Decent quaffibility considering style, although it is quite filling. Definately meant to be savored, yet finishing the 550ml bottle is not challenging at all.

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Photo of LestatSabastian
4.67/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance was dark nearly black with a nice tan creamy head.
smell was of chocolate coffee and some nut hint to it
taste was so awesome chocolate coffee dessert anyone hmmm.
mouthfeel rich creamy bold taste leaves you like coffee in the morning.
drinkabilty drink it slow and savor the flavor. would drink this any day of the week. Try this Beer

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Photo of Keblar
4.16/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 550ml bottle into an imperial pint class. Coffee to dark cola color, with a little translucency at the bottom of the glass. Nice thick 1 inch head with a nutty caramel color.

Very malty smell. Sweetish but not as malty as I expected start with a sharp spicy bitter finish.

Thinner than I expected (guess I've been drinking too many nitro stouts) - that may because of the high ABV.

Great beer, but too bitter for more than a couple.

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Photo of beerquestman
4.6/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very dark with a light brown head, looks like espresso

Smell: I could smell caramel, espresso (like roasted coffee), and could smell whiskey.

Taste: Tasted of chocolate, espresso, and burnt bread. Starts sweet but has a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy and not an overly thick body, more like a medium body

Drinkability: Strength of alcohol and complex flavors make this a sipping beer. Not quite as drinkable as a Gusiness.

Overall, I'd consider this a world class beer. Very very good. I'll definitely have this one again.

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Photo of Spiff
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Spiff and friends took a trip to England with this imperial stout. We've learned we are not fans of Russian stouts so hearing that this beer from Tadcaster has taken Russian nobles to great heights has us Concerned. We have let it reach 50 degrees so here goes. Pleasantly Dark. Smell is rich and Carmelized sweet. Taste. Definitely not Russian so for us that's good. But the taste is not as sweet as smell. A dry chocolate. Thin in the mouth with a mid mouth carbonation bite but a smooth finish down the gullet. The taste is simple and not rich. Overall slightly disappointed hoping for more body but nothing to gripe about. Would order in A pub if all they had was Guinness and murphys and enjoy it but not in our top 25.

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Photo of robg2251
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The appearance of this beer is a good solid black. It pours a dark tan creamy head that has stayed about an eight of an inch solid for a while now.
The smell is a very sweet carmel malt - strong bitter molasses scent.
Coffee nut molasses flavor. A very robust chocolate malt rum taste.
Mouth feel is very creamy and smooth. Carbonation not too big, and the alcohol feel isn't upfront or immediate. Finishes very smooth, no real bite to this beer whatsoever.
Overall, this is a good Imperial Stout. A nice heavy drinkable beer. This beer weighs in at 7% abv, and is a perfect winter warmer for a cold December night.

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Photo of escapements
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Thick tan head, deep mahogany red, very nearly black. Very rich & thick appearance.

S - Malt, choc/coffee, caramel.

T - Mellower taste (for a stout) than it first appears by sight, but still a very rich flavor. Malty goodnes to be sure, choc/coffee again, sorgum, sweet, then turning dry slowly with a pretty clean finish, maybe a little licorice. Very slight alcohol taste, well hidden by the overall level of flavors.

M - Very smooth. Thick and creamy.

D - Very, very tasty brew. Filling also. A couple of these and i'm happy.

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Photo of sierra11b
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into Glass

A: Neat looking bottle with a nostalgic label and feel. Pours a nice espresso brown and forms a nice light brown, stiff-peaked head. The head slowly disintegrates into a a thin layer on the surface.

S: Caramelized malt and fruit (tartness).

T: Very similar to what you get from the nose. Wonderful finish of molasses and lingering toasted coffee catch the back of the tongue.

M & D: Nice body, viscosity, and light carbonation to help it go down smooth. Have one with a meal or more than one among friends. Like with their other brews, Samuel Smith is a force to be reckoned with.

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