Imperial Stout
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

Imperial StoutImperial Stout
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Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #105
Ranked #1,707
4.19 | pDev: 11.22%
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
England, United Kingdom
Imperial StoutImperial Stout
Reviews: 1,819 | Ratings: 3,912 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Darkmagus82
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass
Appearance – The beer pours an almost pitch-black color with a one finger head of tan colored foam. The head has a fantastic level of retention, very slowly fading over time to leave a ton of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.
Smell – The aroma of the brew is massive of a nice molasses and caramel smell mixed with a rather strong showing of a roasted malt and a cola aroma. Along with these smells comes a big hit of a dark fruit smell of plum, raisin, and prune as well as a touch of a oaky smell. Overall, the aroma is delicious!
Taste - The taste begins with a moderately roasted taste that contains a decent showing of a cocoa flavor as well as a touch of coffee. Right from the start there is a good sum of sweetness, with it being mostly of molasses and toffee nature, but containing some of the dark fruit that was detected in the nose. The roastiness gest slightly stronger as the taste moves forward, all while the darker fruit tastes fade. At the same time, some caramel and a touch of a char and a woody taste comes to the tongue. At the end of the taste, a tiny bit of a carob taste comes to the tongue as well as a touch of a booze, leaving one with a sweeter (but not overly sweet), and dark and very easy drinking taste to linger on the tongue.
Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is one the thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that is quite low. For the tastes and the style, the feel is fantastic and makes for a very easy, but slow sipping and tasty brew.
Overall – A quite nice and approachable stout. While at only 7 % abv, I am not sure I would consider it an imperial stout, but categorization aside, this is a very tasty brew. Well crafted and balanced!

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Darkmagus82 from Virginia, May 11, 2020
Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Tan head with lace. Black color.

Roasted malts and chocolate. Cocoa powder. Caramel. Some dark dried fruits. Lots of flavor for 7%. Smooth, creamy, lightly roasted. Medium to full bodied.

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mothman from Minnesota, May 10, 2020
Photo of StoutElk_92
4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark maroon black with a dense creamy light tan khaki colored foam head. Smells like dark roasted malts, roasted barley, some dark fruits, dark chocolate, coffee roast, molasses, caramel, dark toffee, and earthy herbal hops. Tastes like chocolate, dark roasted malts, some char, roasted barley, coffee roast, toasted bread, mild dark dried fruits, a touch of spice, molasses, caramel, dark toffee, with herbal earthy hops. Feels medium bodied, creamy smooth with moderate low carbonation. Overall a really nice Russian imperial stout.

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StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts, May 09, 2020
Photo of Mindcrime1000
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip.

Pours opaque black with limited head and lacing.

Aromas of roasted malts and dark fruits waft in equal measure. Just a hint of booze.

The flavors are simple but solid. Roasted mats, dark sugars, dark fruit, chocolate, coffee, and booze. Initially sweet, it transitions into an astringent flavor in midstream with an ashy boozy finish.

The feel is a bit flat and chalky--maybe the only drawback. Still not a heavy brew by any means.

But for a somewhat odd feel and finish, this would be a top tier representation of the style. As is, it's still impressive.

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Mindcrime1000 from South Dakota, Mar 21, 2020
Photo of JamFuel
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a light cap of soft, tan head.

Smell is roasty with notes of coffee. figs. tobacco and fruity and meaty hints.

Taste is roasty and rich with notes of cofffee, leather, tobacco and hints of smoke and cured meat. Soft bitterness and a hint of wood on the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium, smotth and well carbonated.

Overall, a very nice stout with lots of flavor for the ABV.

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JamFuel from Sweden, Jan 28, 2020
Photo of jwp777
4.57/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle, tasted 1/9/20 but could not find bottling date.

Pours a very dark brown coffee color with a thin tan head which disappears quickly. Not much lacing.

Aroma is rich with chocolate and roasted malt. It smells GREAT, I just wish the aroma was a bit stronger to be honest.

Taste is roasty, earthy, some bittersweet chocolate, and maybe a bit of molasses as well. The hops, malts, and other flavors are balanced well. Finish is quite long but I don’t tire of the taste at all.

Feel is bold, and at only 7%, it lacks the heavy booze feeling that many imperial stouts bring, which is nice for me if I want that flavor but I don’t want the weight. It is fairly thick and feels like syrup toward the end.

Overall, great well balanced brew in all facets.

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jwp777 from Oklahoma, Jan 10, 2020
Photo of ThemThangs
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours super thick, not much of a head. Smells like chocolate and brown sugar, with something in the background that reminds me of raisins or dried fruit. Taste is the same, with quite a bit of sweetness. Also has kind of a roasty taste, with some faint alcohol and ashy taste in the background perhaps? I don't usually like imperial stouts that much, as I find them overbearing, but this is great, maybe the best one I've had.

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ThemThangs from California, Dec 31, 2019
Photo of spectru
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark, opaque, as one would expect, the tan head recedes to a skim, somewhat lacy; The aroma is rich and dark; Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, carbonation is mild, but not bad for a stout; Flavor is rich, full bodied, good. Stout is not my favorite - it's hard to find a good one. This is a good one.

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spectru from Florida, Dec 30, 2019
Photo of MaximalC
3.62/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours seal brown, topped by nearly an inch of frothy, khaki suds. Mellow aroma smells of toffee, roasted malt, candied apples, and chocolate.

The taste follows the nose, with toffee, molasses, and earthy hops taking the lead, succeeded by notes of bittersweet chocolate and that signature Sam Smith's acetaldehyde flavor. Warming reveals notes of burnt sugar and toasted bread. Medium body and moderate carbonation make for a slick, smooth, slightly oily mouthfeel.

Overall, this traditional RIS is a far cry from the modern incarnations that have saturated the market. The oily mouthfeel and mild tang are more reminiscent of a Baltic porter than anything. Even so, you have to give a nod to the genuine article, even if it's quite tame by today's standards.

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MaximalC from Illinois, Dec 16, 2019
Photo of elnachooo
3.5/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cerveza de cuerpo y carbonatación media con una cabeza espumosa de buena retención. Aromas tostados sumados a cacao y café. En boca tiene un gran equilibrio.

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Photo of beersampler6
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very enjoyable Russian imperial stout from a very respectable brewery. No date on bottle. Pours a thick black opaque color with just a little film of tan head and some small rings of lingering lacing. Smells of medium coffee, milk chocolate, brown sugar, vanilla, caramel, bread, malt and stone fruit. Taste follows the nose, good balance and depth and complexity. Higher ABV was well hidden. Smooth, luscious, slightly creamy mouthfeel and just the right amount of carbonation. A very good beer.

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beersampler6 from Michigan, Oct 29, 2019
Photo of VABA
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours a very dark color with a smooth light tan head and lacing
A- Aroma has malt, roasted barley and hop hints
M-The taste follows the nose with a malt, roasted barley and hop flavor
M-A medium bodied moderately carbonated beer
O-A well done Russian Imperial Stout

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VABA from Virginia, Sep 03, 2019
Photo of Ozzylizard
4.02/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

$ 3.02 (Including tax and deposit)/12 oz bottle ($ 0.252/oz) at Alkies, Massena, NY. Reviewed 7/29/19.
After a diligent search, no date code was found on either the glass bottle or the label. Stored on shelf in store. Traveled in my ice chest, then refrigerated overnight in hotel refrigerator before being served in a hand washed and dried shaker.
Appearance – 4.25.
First pour – Dark amber, clear.
Body – Pitch black, opaque.
Head – Large (Maximum nine cm, aggressive center pour), khaki, medium density, average retention, stabilizing at a three cm lacy crown and cap. After a rest, this slooowly continues retracting to an irregular seven to fifteen mm crown and a complete cap with small rocks. Multiple narrow tiny to medium bands of lacing remains as the head retracts.
Lacing – Excellent! Irregular sheet of tiny to small bubbles, with an occasional medium one thrown in for variety. See also above.
Aroma – 4 – A bit of brown sugar and a hint of molasses and that’s it.
Flavor – 4.25 – somewhat malt-forward and very slightly bitter with a long hang time. Flavor is subdued. A slight gastric warming occurs. No alcohol taste or aroma (7 % ABV), no diacetyl, no dimethylsulfide.
Palate – 3 – Medium, almost creamy, soft carbonation.
Impression and interpretation – 4 - (Lost 0.25 point for undated individual container.) Overall, I was a bit disappointed in this brew. It is indeed a kinder, gentler, RIS – so much so that I question if it should be classified as a RIS at all. I didn’t find the highly noticeable aroma or flavors typical of this style, at least typical of an American take on it. Perhaps it’s just too subtle for my crude colonial taste buds.

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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania, Jul 29, 2019
Photo of Mister_Faucher
4.34/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Two 18oz bottles purchased at Total Wine in Lynnwood, Washington. Served in a Samuel Smith pint glass I also purchased at the same time for $1.93!!

Look- Menacing, black as midnight with a massive cola colored head that has holding power. Lacing heavy and beautiful. Hard to tell if there is much carbonation going on in this used motor oil.

Smell- So much going on here. Instantly got hit by all I can describe as fresh, warm rum cake followed by dark fruits (figs, dates, raisins) followed by chocolate/chocolate cake and a hint of red delicious apple.

Taste- Basically replicates the smell with some boozy licorice or anise in there towards the end.

Feel- Not as thick as I imagined. Smooth as silk and doesn't weigh me down.

O- One impressive stout. Being an Imperial, maybe 8% or 9% wouldn't hurt in my opinion but definitely makes my top 3 stouts.

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Mister_Faucher from Washington, Jul 15, 2019
Photo of ludachris
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A thick and frothy cappuccino coloured head forms quickly from a gentle pour. There's no room for light to pass through its flat black body. It's a stern looking stout.

It's rich and layered and not overbearing. A meaty smokiness is enveloped by warm toffee and dark chocolate pudding. Its roast is more sweet than dry. Sticky raisins and plums add a deeper layer of richness.

A fruity start with plenty of Christmas cake, raisins, over-ripe plums, and sweet dark grapes without any of the acidity. A thin layer of toffee and smoke coats the tongue. The dense, pleasantly sweet chocolate in the nose has morphed into a scoop of cocoa powder; subtle and soft.

There's a brightness to its body that stems from all of its dark fruit, tingly carbonation, and sweet stroke of alcohol. It's also both creamy and coating and sits comfortably at medium in terms of weight.

A synergy is struck between barley and yeast derived esters that is played out in layers of fruity, roasty, sweet complexity. As much as this is a classic, I find this a refreshing take on the style. It's clean and light on its feet with moments of brightness. A worthy mention when talking about the style and the range it can span.

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ludachris from Ontario (Canada), Jul 06, 2019
Photo of MaltyMagic
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Black, opaque, with red highlights around the edges, brown sugar top with good retention, sticky lace. Molasses, licorice, chocolate, dried figs, coffee, tobacco, wood. Salty acidic, somewhat astringent, dry finish.

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MaltyMagic from California, Jun 30, 2019
Photo of GuyFawkes
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From old, undated notes. Poured from the bottle.

Black liquid; a hint of purple when held to the light.

Nice dark khaki head; strong lacing.

Plums & booze in the nose.

Medium thick, creamy mouthfeel.

Dark fruit up front; chocolate undertones in the finish. Tastes like a Belgian stout to me!

Complex, unexpected & tasty.

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GuyFawkes from Illinois, Apr 16, 2019
Photo of Tony210
3.23/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pulpits very dark, big foamy head. Very yeasty aroma and even more yeasty flavor. Do not like at all. Too much yeast flavor, a little smoky, not enough chocolate.

500 ml bottle purchased recently
3 rating.

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Tony210 from New Jersey, Apr 14, 2019
Photo of MercInc
4.48/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured 550ml at 56 degrees into a stout goblet. Nice tan head, Very dark color, passed my 1000 lumen Surefire test, with no light passing through. Rich Taste. There is a sweetness there with the dark malts. Hardly noticed the 7.0 ABV. Nice smooth finish.

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MercInc from Wisconsin, Mar 25, 2019
Photo of NiceTaps
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle in to a tulip snifter glass.

Tar black in color with a 2F-plus topping of mocha colored cream. A thick film ensues, lacing abounds.

Dark chocolate, cherry cola, toffee, semi-sweet, gentle alcohol. Roasted malt.

Lots of dark fruit, including cherry. There's licorice, chocolate, roasted malt with the slightest char.

The carbonation tingle and the 7% abv keep the body in check for a medium feel. there's a touch of sugar before a clean finish.

Made for winter evenings.

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NiceTaps from New Jersey, Feb 03, 2019
Photo of Craig-er
4.04/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Lovely color and foam. Not what I expected from an Imperial Stout. It tastes traditional as opposed to all the chocolate and coffee flavors seen today. I would rate this very high.

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Craig-er from New Hampshire, Feb 01, 2019
Photo of jkblr
4.01/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle coded SA13P1 (1/13/16) poured into a Samuel Smith tulip pint glass at fridge temp 7% ABV. The beer pours dense black with tight mocha colored head. The head recedes to an eighth inch cap. The aroma is dark roasted malt, dark chocolate and a hint of cherry. The taste is semisweet chocolate and roast malt followed by a little tangyness and a lightly bitter finish. The mouthfeel is a bit chalky and medium to full bodied with just less than medium carbonation and a mostly dry finish. Overall, good. I purchased this at room temperature almost 2 years old, just a couple months ago. It's still good, but might have been a lot better.

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jkblr from Indiana, Jan 23, 2019
Photo of puck1225
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

It has been a long time since I had this classic beer. It will not be as long till the next time. Great beer!

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Very dark brown with a light brown head and great lacing. Fragrant chocolate and licorice smell with these flavors carrying to the taste. Dark berries and just slightly boozy. Loved it!

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Photo of EMH73
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very dark brown (not quite black) with a half inch dark tan head that left excellent lacing. Smells of roasted malts, chocolate and coffee. Tastes of dark roasted malts, dark chocolate, light to medium roast coffee, toast, raisins, licorice and a bit of char.The beer starts out sweet and finishes mildly bitter. Medium bodied for the style, light carbonation, smooth mouth feel, dry finish.

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EMH73 from New York, Dec 25, 2018
Photo of IronLover
4.07/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black in color with brownish hues on the edges of the glass. Poured with a tall, creamy, dark beige foam with excellent retention. Sweet dark and roasted malt aromas with sweet dark chocolate and mellow ground coffee notes. Medium bodied with medium light carbonation. Rich, creamy smooth feel with pleasant warmth near the finish. Roasted and sweet dark malts up front with dark chocolate notes. Medium light bitterness through the middle followed by bitter, lightly charred maltiness to the end. Finished dryly with light charred malt notes. Great look and a fabulous feel. Roasted and dark bitter malts were nicely balanced by sweet dark and chocolate malts. Great, dry finish with a mild aftertaste made only enhanced the drinkability.

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IronLover from Pennsylvania, Nov 28, 2018
Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 3912 ratings