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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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3,299 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,299
Reviews: 1,677
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 168
Gots: 263 | 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:
Beer added by: Todd on 02-27-2001

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,299 | Reviews: 1,677 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jar2574
2.92/5  rDev -30%
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 ralree
4.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Dark completely opaque brown with a nice tan head. 2-fingers of head easy. Laces nicely.

S: Chocolate and caramel with hints of apples and maybe a little coffee, but not much. Pretty good smelling.

T: Slight alkaline taste initially. Lots of chocolate and roasted malt flavor make this a very good tasting beer. Fruit comes through second. Coffee becomes apparent only in the aftertaste as a nice bitter ending. A definite winner for this style.

M: Medium-bodied, barely astringent, and perfectly carbonated. Pretty dry.

D: A very drinkable brew - especially for the style. This is on my buy list.

Photo of MJR
4.97/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm honestly puzzled how some can rate Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout higher than their Imperial Stout.

Pours pitch black with a dark tan head that doesn't want to stick around, but is easily aroused with a simple swirl of the glass.

The smell alone is enough to buckle this beer lovers knees. Roasted malt, raisons, burnt fruit, molasses, alcohol-covered fruit, you name it, it's in here. The flavor is stunningly complex, with more and more flavors showing up as the beer warms up. The mouthfeel is outstanding...nice and creamy, which I think is the main thing lacking from their Oatmeal Stout...it's a bit thin.

One of the great beers of the world.

Photo of truesolution
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of benclimbs
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours big and black with a nice brown head that leaves some pretty significant lacing in the glass.

Smell is nice, with some overripe fruit and just a little yeast...

Taste is really really interesting and nice - has some real british ale characteristics, though it maintains the sweetness, malts and coffee characteristics of a Russian imperial.

Pretty good beer! I'm impressed.

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 time...it 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.

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

Pours a very dark brown translucent, nearly black with a gorgeous, rich, dark taupe colored foamy head. Head retains well, but eventually subsides to a persistent 1/8" cap. The aroma consists of banana, honey, sorghum, chocolate, and roasted malt. The mouthfeel is full, smooth, thick, but not viscous, and compliments the beer very nicely. Flavors of honey and banana up front. Sorghum appears second and never dissipates. Rather, it bitters with the expression of the hop alpha acid. Some sweetness still occurs as the beer cascades down the sides of the tongue. There's just the least little bit of that liquid medicine flavor that keeps this beer from being perfect. It is a great beer though. Very British.

Photo of jmsedgwick
4/5  rDev -4.1%

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

Paid $2.49 for a 12 oz. bottle...

The appearance on this one was quite nice for a stout, typical black-brown base with the chocolatey colored small-to-mid sized low carb head and a great lacing effect on the glass. The aroma is pleasent, a nice mocha smell to it, with a few hints of some fruits.

The taste is great, a simple but productive stout with all hints of the aroma plus some caramel and roasted goodness, absolutely splendid. The mouthfeel is great, smooth as a 7% stout could get, feels less heavy than some porters that I've sampled as well. The drinkability is high as this stout went down fast and smoothly.

Final Thought: Another winner from Sam Smith's collection, this is the way a stout should be, ideally.

Photo of xav33
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout
12 oz bottle
Recent bottling, savoured 08/06
Medium pour in a pint glass

Poured black with a dark brown outer ring, with a mostly diminishing 1 inch frothy mocha head with no lacing.

Smelt of burnt molasses and some fruit.

Taste was sweet molasses upfront followed by fruity esters, bitter roast and lingering vanilla sweetness, with the finish mostly bitter and a hint of mushroom. Mouthfeel was light, oily and lively carbonation.

Overall, a great complex English version of an Imperial Stout that is only somewhat disappointing in its mouhfeel

Photo of SWMeyer4141
3.18/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into Sam Smith Pint

Appearance-Pretty dark, almost a dark dark red. Head was a tan 2 finger head that had pretty good retention for a RIS, probably cause the ABVs only 7. Lacing was pretty good.

Smell-Roasted Malts, Coffee, Dark fruits, and some booze.

Taste-Follows the smell, alot of flavors going on in a 7% stout. Only problem is it's a little bit sour, not sure whats going on here. I still get some nice Roasty Malts, Coffee, and Plum. Something about this beer is different then I remembered.

Mouthfeel-Light to Medium bodied, I'd say more on the lighter side. Carbonation was pretty low.

Overall-I remember enjoying this beer alot more a while back. Going to have to try another bottle soon. Still a good beer, but an Imperial Stout it's just to thin, I'd consider it more of a Stout.

Photo of ejw127
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of tappangordo
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of jopezu
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

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

A-pours very black with zero transparency thick creamy tan head is very nice to look at.this pillow of foam hangs around for a pretty long time before dissapating into a thin shell capping the blackness beneath,beautiful lacing as well

S-hints of rich dark chocolates,creamy milky caramels,roasted nuts

T-this is an extrodinary masterpiece chocholates,carmels,dark coffees,dark fruits blueberries,plums the tastes go so well together its hard to believe how complex it really is

M-creamy full body,perfect carbonation,slight bitterness at times but never the burnt bitterness that I often experience with other stouts

D-this is a very special beer(period)

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

Appearance; Pours a slightly thin, black, 1-finger tan head that settles slowly.

Aroma: Roasted malt, licorice, some alcohol, a hint of chocolate.

Taste: Bittersweet...some alcohol....roasted charactyer

Mouthfeel: Smooth with a dry finish.

Overall: Solid but there are others I would choose for regular drinking.

Photo of pheelingIt
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of AtrumAnimus
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Here is one good solid stout. Any stout lover will love this one. The maltiness and hopps are blended to perfection to offer a stout with a crisp clean finish. A little light on the nose but exceptional in quality. This is a highly quaffable stout and can go down so fasts you will be left wanting - more that is. Exceptional if you can find it on tap as well.

Photo of zachattack555
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Realale
3.23/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clear black with a significant ruby component. Nice very fine mocha head.

Nose is initially sour cherry with a touch of chocolate. The fruitiness comes more into balance with time and a medicinal aspect appears. Rather distinctive nose.

On the thin side of medium in the mouth. A little light on malt, and comes off a touch sweet. Really could use more bitterness to balance. Average length.

Mouthfeel is fine. Quite drinkable for an Imperial, but not terribly interesting.

Tasted blind at the 12/14/03 St. Louis BA tasting. This was perhaps the most conspicuous victim of the blind tasting format. This bottle certainly did not live up to the lofty reputation of the beer, yet nothing indicated a bad or mistreated bottle to me.

Photo of StoicBeast
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Dools9
3.86/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into nonic pint

A: Jet black, very dark. Thick light brown pillowy head retains forever and leaves excellent lacing.

S: Lots of dark fruits, I get something that reminds me of figs and raisins. Theres light hints of chocolate. Decent amout roasted malts, light toffee and light coffee notes come through. Mostly dominated by dark fruit and sweet mollases.

T: Rich roasty malts, sweet mollases, light dark chocolate and hints of smoke. Bitterness is there but not overpowering. Definitely getting alot of dark fruit, plums and raisins mostly. Different but I like it.

M: Lighter bodied for a RIS. Its very smooth and theres no alcohol detected.

O: Very nice, different than previous RIS's that I've had but very easy drinking. Can see why this is so highly rated. Maybe not my favorite imperial stout, but well crafted.

Photo of majorbase2
3.99/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very very dark (possibly black) color with a very large, thick, brown head. Not the best retention. Recedes leaving a small amount of lacing around the edges.

Aroma leads with milky chocolate. Very very sweet. A bit of dark fruit, most noticeably raisin. Chocolate really dominates here.

Taste is more of the same, although not necessarily in a bad way. Some notes of biscuity malts, a bit more of the dark fruits, with a hint of black licorice. Sweetness dominates. Once again, raisin is the most noticeable dark fruit. Honestly not as much going on in the taste as I had hoped.

Although I have been disappointed to this point, mouthfeel knocks it out of the park. Medium bodied, perfectly carbonated. Nice and creamy, goes down very smooth. The most easily downable Stout I've ever had.

Overall, I'm honestly a little disappointed in my first entry from Samuel Smith. Although they completely nail the sweet, milky chocolate in the taste, I wasn't moved by any other aspects of the taste. Still a good Stout, but not what I had hoped.

Photo of Ieatlambfries
4.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The appearance of this Imperial was exceptional in my opinion. Not only was it an opaque opal color, but, it also had a nice 2 finger dark tan head that just lingered. It looked so darn good. Even when the head did start to go down it left a curtain of lace that would then form perfect rings around my glass. This was a visual 5, no doubt about it. The smell was excellent as well. A caramel nuttiness, with plenty of roasted malts and coffee notes. To me it's a similar smell to the Taddy Porter. The taste was of burned caramel, roasted espresso beans and roasted sweet malts. It also had the sweetness of burned fruits, raisons, and dates. The mouthfeel, although very good, was a bit thinner than I expected. Again, not bad at all, but from the richness of the rest of the experience I expected a bit more body. Very drinkable, the exceptional taste of this Imperial makes you wish winter would last a bit longer so you could squeeze a few more sessions in around the fire place.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 3,299 ratings.