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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

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,998 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,998
Reviews: 1,638
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.24%
Wants: 126
Gots: 153 | 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: 2,998 | Reviews: 1,638 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rochefort10nh
Rochefort10nh

New Hampshire

5/5  rDev +19.6%

11-30-2011 23:49:20 | More by Rochefort10nh
Photo of smcolw
smcolw

Massachusetts

4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not even opaque, this is a dark, dark mahogany brew. This features a truly awesome head for a bottle. Deep tan in color, the head leaves an impressive sticky lace throughout the tasting.

Strong oily alcohol fullness in the aroma. Powerful dark malt richness--chocolate, black patent malts.

Rich and oily, this is a beer to be consumed slowly. Strong chicory coffee flavors. Unlike pale ales, the hop is used strictly as a spice. The aftertaste is long lasting and bitter in an espresso way (the hop is quietly present as a touch of counterbalance) . This is a big beer in every way.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2004 17:55:11 | More by smcolw
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16.9 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a dark brown, with a full and thick tan head, which leaves some thick lacing in spots.

S: Milk chocolate predominately, with licorice, molasses, and a bit of tropical fruit.

T: Heavy creamy chocolate coats the tongue on the first sip followed by a burst of quenching acidity, though nowhere near as high as a sour or Le. Coq. There is also a serious dark fruit component to this beer which I don't often find in American versions of this style - prune syrup and raisins. The flavours are mellower and subtler than its American cousins, but the flavours are still as tasty.

M: Velvety and smooth, with a hint of alcoholic strength, calming.

D: A very drinkable Imperial Stout, on the light side of this category, but is probably more reminiscent of the actual historical style of this beer, very good.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2008 20:08:02 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of BlackHaddock
BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2nd Beer of 2014: 355ml Bottle, BBD Aug 2014, poured into a Palm badged tulip on 1st Jan.

Black with a deep, tanned head.

Coffee nose with dark chocolate notes and a mildly over roasted over smell.

The taste mirrors the aromas but more bitter than the sweetness I half expected from the esters coming out of the glass.

Smooth mouthfeel, the alcohol is hidden very well by the flavours and overall it's a great beer with few equals in it's style.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2014 22:11:43 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of mendvicdog
mendvicdog

Maryland

4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

04-30-2013 22:34:36 | More by mendvicdog
Photo of Gavage
Gavage

New Jersey

4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear black in color with a thick 2" tan head. Some thick lacing develops thorugh the drink. Nice combination of coffee, chocolate, caramel, and alcohol in the aroma. The flavor follows the nose, as chocolate, coffee, licorice, dark plums, and roasted malts are well balanced. Mild bitterness and light alcohol rounds it out.

Mouthfeel is crisp at the start, and mildly crisp at the finish. Finish is also rather short in the aftertaste, as the flavors disappear from the tongue quickly. Superb drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2005 18:15:32 | More by Gavage
Photo of XmnwildX12
XmnwildX12

Minnesota

4/5  rDev -4.3%

12-13-2013 01:41:35 | More by XmnwildX12
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl brown glass bottle served into an EKU 28 snifter at the Kortrijk train station (I was on the go). Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a one finger tan colour head of wonderful cream lacing, great thickness, and standard retention for the ABV. Colour is a solid black.

Sm: Caramel, chocolate, roast, coffee, toffee, vanilla, and cream. Rich and decadent.

T: Heavy caramel lacing weaves through a lightly roasted barley body. Hops are those that support the flavours from the nose with the exception of coffee. It's really quite nicely layered. Complex and brilliant.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with adequate coarseness but not enough dryness for the style. It matches the flavours almost perfectly.

Dr: With a fairly high ABV, a very good price (~2.70 euro in Switzerland), and incredible drinkability, it's a brilliantly done stout that I'd definitely have again.

I don't know that it's a good candidate for aging on account of its ABV (which is a bit low).

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2011 20:45:59 | More by kojevergas
Photo of GClarkage
GClarkage

California

4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12/15/04- Purchased at Bevmo in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 16.27 oz bottle with no freshness date poured into my Shipyard pint glass.

Appearance- A dark brown pour with an average head and avergae lacing. Nothing spectacular, but better than average.

Smell- I had to really sniff to get a good whiff of dark chocolate, roasted malt and a bit of toffee.

Taste- Very good taste, but for on the toffee and coffee side than the chocolate. I just couldn't pick out that much chocolate taste. But, of the taste I did pick up on, it was very good.

Mouthfeel- Nicely carbonated for an IRS. Went down with ease.

Drinkability- I need to try this one again. I drank it right after an extra hoppy barleywine and my buds may have been off. But for what I did taste it was better than average and I am looking forward to trying it again.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2004 05:34:15 | More by GClarkage
Photo of imperialking
imperialking

Illinois

4/5  rDev -4.3%

12-19-2011 05:13:07 | More by imperialking
Photo of corby112
corby112

Pennsylvania

3.25/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serving type: bottle.

Pours a dark black color with a thick coffee-colored head. Aroma of malty chocolate, roasted coffee and toast. Flavor is similar to aroma with lots of roasted chocolate maltiness, caramel, coffe, toffe and oatmeal. A bit watered down though with a dry finish.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2008 07:43:57 | More by corby112
Photo of MarkyMOD
MarkyMOD

Colorado

3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

04-05-2012 21:38:44 | More by MarkyMOD
Photo of weeare138
weeare138

Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a deep, rich black with caramelized, dark brown edges when held to the light. A fluffy, 2 finger, creamy tan head slowly fades out in a minutes time. Scattered spots of lacing are left all around the glass.
Smell is of plums, raisins, molasses, roasty malts, cream, baker's chocolate, English toffee, slight butterscotch, anise, and mild coffee with dusty notes of wood.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas highlighted by a fruity, prune and raisin flavor that mixes creamed coffee and roasted oats with a touch of caramelized sugar that borderlines the path of cloying but remains along the spectrum of balance.
Mouthfeel is rich, medium-full bodied, slight thinness like the OG started off very high but was watered down to make the volume greater. The brew starts off sweet at first with roasted malt sticking in the middle of the tongue.before fading to a gently hopped, semi-dry roastiness.
All in all, this is a British classic that shouldn't be missed. There are other styles emulated by the Americans that I feel have gone a step above this pioneer of Imperial Stouts but consider this the "Old Guard" of the style that should be revisited every now and again out of respect, if not for the delicious aromas and flavors.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2006 00:30:50 | More by weeare138
Photo of yourefragile
yourefragile

District of Columbia

4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

550 mL bottle purchased in March 08

Pours a dark, nearly opaque brown with garnet hues around the edges against light. Massive, fluffy deep tan head with a light crimson hue. Aroma is complex balance of dark fruits and toffee/caramel malts. This almost smells like a red wine at first. Full bodied with light carbonation results in a very creamy, soft feel on the tongue. Flavors are similar to the aroma, body is initially fruity sweet, before the malt and chocolate flavors take over with a slight hop bitterness in the finish. Malt and bitter fruitiness lingers long into the finish. I had purchased two bottles of this and drank one fresh. For some reason that night this seemed too overpowering for me, but tonight this tastes well balanced and very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2009 01:07:57 | More by yourefragile
Photo of lacqueredmouse
lacqueredmouse

Australia

4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Lovely cascade out of the bottle, a very dark black-blood-red hue, just giving a glimmer of ruby when held to light. Head is a creamy crest of beige bubbles. Good lacing. Just delicious looking.

Dark chocolate-sweet notes on the nose. Not huge but tasty and sweet. Hints of something slightly tannic as well, like tea leaves or red wine cork. Nice.

Very solid, roasted and smoky characters on the palate. Dark and bitter - everything implies fire and charcoal, except that it has this wonderful airy sweetness that never drags it right down. Back palate is quite ashy, but in a pleasant drinkable dryness. Mouthfeel is creamy and thick, but with a pleasant levity. Very nice.

Extremely drinkable, despite the darkness. Just creamy, rich, sweet, and slick. A superbly balanced and extremely well made brew. This beer cements Samuel Smith's reputation for me.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2009 07:16:20 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark ruby, but not quite opaque like a good impy. Nice looking tan head, unfortunately it disappears pretty fast. No lacing, not a bit.

Smells like dark, fruity alcohol and lacks any roasty notes. Tastes is smooth with dark ester qualities. No roasty or smokiness, fairly simple profile and subtle, but still good.

Easy drinking for an impy stout and feels nice. Its a good RIS, but I find this, like I've found some of the other Sam Smith beers, to be overrated. A good beer, but one of the last RIS's I'd choose if I had a good number of choices. There is better, bolder stuff to be found at America's own craft breweries.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2005 06:24:26 | More by tempest
Photo of wl0307
wl0307

United Kingdom (England)

4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Revisiting this lovely ale 3 years since my last encounter; BB 05/2009, served cool in a tulip-shaped sniffer (Gulden Draak's branded glass). NOTE: the packaging has changed from the clear bottle to the dark brown one now - good to see some improvement with presentation!

A: pours a jet black hue, coming with a well-lasting tan frothy head and very light carbonation.
S: oily and thick, full of dark malts' aroma but shy of more pronounced coffee-ish aroma - jammy plums (but not sweet), fat black prunes, a faint touch of licorice, focused edge of oily black syrup, gristy malts, a fine touch of lightly toasted nuts and Fuggles hops. Deep, semi-complex, oily and malty.
T: not as thick as the nose suggests, the foretaste is soothingly carbonated, packed of toasted walnuts, fat black prunes, burned malts, grassiness, then a wave of delicious prune-ish and winey fruitiness expands along with earthy hop bitterness that intensifies to render a semi-dry palate, while black malts and a rather light roasty hint lend a bit more complexities in the end.
M&D: soft on the carbonation and pretty fresh for the full flavour. The consistent, mildly winey-sour hint becomes almost the most important key to connect different flavour elements. Comparing this bottle with my previous notes, I can say that the performance this time is equally good overall. Delicious, lighter than the abv. suggests, even quaffable!

* Tasting Date: 19/05/06
Got this bottle at just 1.79 pounds at the Nelson Wines, South Wimbledon, London. Bargain! Served cool in a large Burgundy bulb wine glass.
4.5 A: jet black hue; the effervescent tan beer head comes creamy and tightly frothy, only slowly settling while tight and even sheets of lacing emerge on the tracks... Elegant!
4.5 S: sour-sweet and "jammy" dark fruits (raisins+prunes+dried longan-fruits) prevail upfront... leather-ish, chewy and slightly roasty dark maltiness gradually join force, resulting in a "sticky plum pudding"-ish aroma with coconut-shavings on the top; an impossible-to-miss and profound treacle-ish note stays deep and low, which, not as thick and sweet as in other samples, rather gets a refreshing sour edge attached to it at every step. Overall, aromatic, fruity and sweet--complex and inviting~~
4.5 T: aromatic, black-sugary maltiness hits the palate upfront, backed by an intensifyingly black-prune-ish, slightly winey, and smoked fruity+malty mid-flavour; the initially creamy palate gradually turns drier and drier, where the sour-sweet, juicy, chewy and slightly woody-tannic vinous dark fruits provide a solid backbone and attach to the deep end of the palate, joined force by bits of roasted grainy elements with a tinge of licorice lingering towards the very end.
4.5 M&4.5 D: velvety smooth yet full-bodied for a 7%abv. Imperial Stout, without falling thick or hard on alc.; the softly carbonated body is ideal, which, along with a constant sour-fruitiness, keeps the thicker malty elements in check, so as to ensure a balanced palate. Slightly on the weak side for a preferably heavier roasted-malt input and also aromatic hoppy presence. But if one places this beer alongside Harvey's Imperial Russian Stout, there's an idea how a genuine English "RIS" might have tasted some hundred years ago... For me this Imperial Stout is utterly easy-drinking in this category--really worth seeking out this one! (Yet I still don't get why SS can't make it bottle-conditioned?)

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2009 19:35:04 | More by wl0307
Photo of oriolesfan4
oriolesfan4

Maryland

4/5  rDev -4.3%

04-23-2013 02:23:45 | More by oriolesfan4
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am continuing to drink my way through the Samuel Smith's oeuvre, thanks to a recent inspiration in one of the forums. Just in case anyone wondered what I was doing ... Now, THIS is the way to kick off my New Beer Sunday!

From the bottle: "Brewed at Samuel Smith's small, traditional British brewery with well water (the original well sunk in 1758 is still in use), best barley malt, roasted barley, yeast and hops to create a rich flavourful ale; deep chocolate in colour with a roasted barley nose and flavour that is a complexity of malt, hops and yeast. Fermented in 'stone Yorkshire squares'. This distinctive type of ale was originally shipped to Imperial Russia; it was a favourite of Russian nobility."; Captioning a picture: "Having imparted their bitterness & aroma, hops are separated from the wort in the hop backs."

An impressive pour, resulting in two thick fingers of deep-tan head with excellent retention. Color was midnight black with deep-brown highlights at the edges. Nose was rich with coffee, dark chocolate, dried dark fruits, smoke and even some alcohol heat. Whew! Mouthfeel was a little thin for the style, but still bigger and chewier than many other beers. The taste was very bitter, coffee-like, which was perfect since I was having this with and for breakfast. Take that, Catherine the Great! Finish was smoky, bitter, dry, a big Wow!, but without the often overpowering alcohol of its modern American iterations. Nice, plus it is accessible year-'round without having to stand in line to score some.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2011 14:10:33 | More by woodychandler
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a 550 mL bottle served in a weizen glass. The stout is near room temperature.

A: The stout is pitch black, no ruby red hints, no nothing. There is a light brown head that is fairly small.

S: The ale has a strong chocolate aroma with hints of lactose sweetness.

T: The flavor here is very reserved, completely unlike any US RIS beers. There is a semi-sweet lactose flavor and hints of chocolate, both of which provide a pleasantly strong flavor. Hops are practically non-existent.

M: The stout is a very refreshing take on the RIS variety.

D: The stout is very drinkable with a mid-range abv. This is a good stout for those who don't like the American over-hopped types.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2006 02:30:36 | More by akorsak
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce clear bottle, Pours deepest of mahogony, ruby highlights at the edges. Active expresso froth colored head, showing good retentive powers. This one leaves blotchy thick and sticky lacing. Nose is coffee, dark chocolate, alcohol and dark malts. Heady, strong, flavorful Impy stout. Notes of more chocolate, lots of burnt coffee, vanilla, burnt fruits and grains, smoke. Bold flavors, but still somewhat subdued and subtle, basically this is still British style and its not over the top. World class sipper. A must for stout lovers

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2005 12:24:38 | More by Billolick
Photo of orangesol
orangesol

Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I bought this one at Wegman's. I have had it a bunch of times now, time to sit down and write a review for it.

A - Pours jet black with a bubbly one and a half finger tall tan head leaving small streaks of lace down most of the glass.

S - Smells of dark roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits, black licorice and a touch of fruity yeast. This one has nearly everything you would look for in an Imperial Stout.

T - Starts off with quite a bit of dark roasted malt quickly giving way to some sweet chocolate and dark fruits. Once the sweetness dies down you get hints of black licorice, port wine and a very light fruitiness. Finish has plenty of dark roast, lingering long after consumption.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. This one is dark and roasty throughout, clinging to the pallet long after consumption. The soft feel does help to keep things in check tho.

O - Still one of the better "simple" stouts out there. It has a good amount of flavor and the lower than average ABV makes it easy to drink. A great entry level beer into the world of Imperial Stouts.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2012 18:15:25 | More by orangesol
Photo of stakem
stakem

Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes taken 2/14/10.

Pours a dark brown color with red and brown highlights around the edges. Produces less than a finger of tanned head without much retension. Sweet aroma of dark fruit and a bit of yeast. Tastes include burnt grain, bitter chocolate and a lingering taste of coffee is left in the mouth. Moderately carbonated and a very smooth medium feel. The type of smoothness I have now come to expect but is yet seemingly distinct about this brewery. For 7% the alcohol is fairly well hidden. The alcohol starts to come through in the finish as it warms.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2010 11:47:21 | More by stakem
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(Served in an imperial pint glass)

A-This beer has a nice deep dark midnight brown body with no visible sings of carbonation it is so opaque. The head is a boiling mat of light brown that settles to a nice even layer.

S- The deep dark aroma has notes of graham cracker and nuts with some caramel notes and a dark roasted malt and barley with some faint slightly bittersweet chocolate in the finish. As it warms I start to get a hint of banana milkshake in the finish.

T- The taste of dark malt has a slightly sour earthy quality. The finish is dry with some slight hints of honey oddly enough. The taste of bittersweet chocolate comes through with more fruity flavors of raisins as it warms. The notes of fresh bread and alcohol hints come through in the finish also.

M- This beer has a full body with some velvety texture to it. The alcohol warmth is very soft and helps finish the taste of the beer.

D- This beer has nice big dark flavors but the secondary flavors were a bit strange with banana and bread seemed to take over. I would have liked some more malt complexity and maybe a bit more alcohol or hops to balance out this big beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2005 02:25:03 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis

North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours an opaque black (not the darkest black I have seen in a stout) in color with hints of dark brown and red when held up to the light. The beer has a half finger tall dark tan head that reduces to a thin patchy layer covering the surface of the beer with a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate lacing is observed.

S: Definitely some sweetness in the smell with some dark fruits as well as toffee/caramel coming through. After that the dark roasted malts are noticeable. Overall, some nice complexity.

T: Starts with some nice dark roasted malts and some dark fruit, more plum/raisin than fig. After that some of the caramel sweetness comes through.There is a light amount of milk chocolate presence and light lingering bitterness.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth and creamy.

O: This is a very enjoyable and very drinkable stout. The beer has a nice complexity of flavor and aroma while still keeping a relatively low ABV. Not exactly sessionable but definitely easy to approach and not a beer that requires a lengthy time sipping. No noticeable alcohol present.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2012 00:05:44 | More by dbrauneis
Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
93 out of 100 based on 2,998 ratings.