Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout | Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

1,758 Reviews
Samuel Smith's Imperial StoutSamuel Smith's Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
England, United Kingdom

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 02-27-2001

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Reviews: 1,758 | Ratings: 3,721
Photo of pat61
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: Pours pitch black under a 3” dense dark tan foam collar that slowly recede to a thick film and leaves thick lace.
S: Winey malt with roast and light chocolate
T: Malt forward with light roast, chocolate, traces of licorice, and a moderate hop bitter accent on the finish.
F: Creamy full body with fine soft carbonation.
O: This beer has an incredible texture and is a delight to drink.

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

Pitch black pour, dark brown head; incredible retention and lacing until the last drop. Eager, highly anticipative aroma of burnt malts, plums, raisins, heavy notes of alcohol. Up front this bad boy is thick, yet smooth and creamy. Velvety slick, with a port feel to it; roasted malts, the alcohol is quite noticeable, yet it is in the background and does not offend. Character notes are many, to include nuts, raisins, port, burnt malts, coffee beans and chocolate; absolutely incredible flavoring and taste. Savoring, enjoyable, a warming brew, immensely drinkable, quite complex, worth a novel; clearly one of the best brews out there.

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

pours a beautiful dark hue with red around the edges
with a 2 1/2 inch tan head with a slight orange hue to it.

the first thought of the smell was fresh bakes devils food cake or brownies/english toffee

tastes of toffee, bitter sweet chocolate, fresh oats, bitter sweet taste.

this stout left lacing well after pour and first few sips

i will have this stout again its a new found favorite!

ABV: 7.0%


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

of course there's no answer to the "favorite beer" question. forced to make a decision though, this would definitely be in contention.

more burnt brown than black, with highlights of mahogany, and a small staid head. perhaps my perception of its appearance is tainted by my knowledge of what comes next, but if that's the case, then so be it. smell is of barely warm brownies, prune juice, walnuts, liqueur, coffee. taste is a haphazard (in a good way) blend of the same flavors, along with burnt brown sugar, chocolate covered raisins, charcoal, and fig pudding. subtle and refined in the mouth -- not harsh, bruising, or daring like the american interpretations. inviting, and warming. pleasingly inebriating. drink a couple and you'll be singing.

i've drinken this from snifters, pint glasses, and (gasp!) straight from the bottle -- it's always fantastic. an obsession.

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

A- complete black except for a tiny shred of burgundy at the very bottom. thick dense dark-khaki colored head is firm and wiggly as jello and as it slowly settles down it leaves gobs of lace behind.

S- alot of roasted malt sweetness and a little bit of smoke. well water, plum, currant, some anise, cocoa powder, and earthy hops with mild citrus aroma. toffee, marshmallow, and caramel stand apart from the roasted notes with a very appealing dessert-like sweetness. raisin, fig, date, cedar. chocolate instead of coffee. doughnut, funnel cake, creamstick, etc. this baby smells like a pastry.

T- huge amount of malt flavor with a touch of smokiness, over-ripe sour dark fruit, cocoa, coffee, and earthy hops makes for a nice bitter burnt biscuit aftertaste and moderate hop bitterness. the malt profile here is sublime, and any more hops would be a hindrance. sweet and roasted, everything burnt, with the perfect balance of burnt and sweet. tastes exactly like bittersweet chocolates. with a coffee-ish edge. and a shiver of alcohol as i swallow. citrus and blackberry syrup notes on the backside, long burnt finish.

MF- thick and rich with its melted chocolatey self, has a slight grainy cocoa powder feel and i'm not surprised because this right here is a lunch in itself. somewhat of a light minty colling effect as well, probably from drying and evaporation of alcohol on the inhale/exhale. carbonation is low low and almost nitro tiny and hell, even if there were no bubbles at all, this would still feel like heaven.

D- a benchmark indeed, that goes without saying, and though our american brewers make some great RIS, this one takes the cake for me. Old Rasputin might give it a run for its money, but sammy wins in the long run cuz of the mysterious D factor. in this case it's not so mysterious- the 7% abv. yeah and the incredible flavors and smells and everything else, but with that 2-4% lower alcohol come less knock you out of your chair intensity, allowing this one to drink as good as their oatmeal stout. this is unquestionable perfection. i could easily (if i wanted to wind up with my face on the concrete) sit and enjoy pint after imperial pint of this magical elixir.

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

Dark 12 oz bottle with the golden foil on top. Poured into a guinness pint glass (sorry...pretty funny!). No freshness date.

A: Very dark brown with small hints of red. Brown and creamy head and a very beautiful lacing.

S: Coffee, chocolate, fruits.

T: Bitter chocolate, Raisins, prune. A magnificent finish. The alcohol is present (maybe because I know it's there), but the balance of the flavors with the alcohol is amazing.

M: Medium + bodied, medium carbonation. Very silky.

D: I am very impressed with this beer, it feels like Cognac in your mouth ( I meant it as a compliment). This Imperial Stout is very drinkable, and again, I think it could suit a lot of paladates. Balance!

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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 SteveO1231
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aw man This is an awesome beer!

Pours a jet black with an awesome thick foam of tan head on top. Low carbonation.

Huge roasted malt aroma with some delicious smells of dark chocolate, butterscotch, and caramel. Makes my mouth water.

Rich creamy texture, delicious roasted chocolate taste, so damn good! Followed my a dry bitterness of black coffee, burnt caramel/toffee. Nice little kick of alcohol esters in the finish, not too much, but just right.

Most perfect Imperial stout I have ever tasted, so balanced and drinkable. Why did I wait so long to drink you? I enjoyed this beer with some X-mas chocolates, Awesome!


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

Truly an exceptional beer. Smoked chocolate coffee notes, slighly bitter yet sweet. Creamy & rich. Pitch black like most stouts against a medium brown head. The head slowly dissipates down to about an 1/8 inch and stays there. Goes down like a glass of milk. Are you worthy?

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Photo of cuzinpete00
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

best RIS ive had yet.

very very smooth.

this beer almost seemed creamy similar to the oatmeal stout that Samuel smith makes.

tasted well balanced.

this is a great beer to pop open after work with a little kick that sets you in a comfortable mood.

i cant wait to get more! this is a must buy!

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

From XXXII. In Teku glass. Playing South Park The Stick of Truth. Has something that makes crave for more after each sip. Really good tasting, smelling and feeling, and with an ABV lower than usual in the style

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

[This is my 100th review, a slight milestone in my BA life, so I had to go with my favorite style, and I'm very glad I did]

Poured from the clear 550ml bottle into a snifter the beer was a very dark black that let no light thru. It was topped by a little more than one finger of frothy dark tan head. Big rings of lace clung to the glass throughout the sample.

The smell was dark and roasted. Malt upfront but very well accented with chocolate, black coffee, and cocoa. A slight "bitterness" to the smell, a bit like black liquorice.

The innitial taste was a heavy roasted (almost burnt) maltiness. This gave way to a flurry of black cofee and dark chocolate flavors. Only a slightly bitter kick to the end similair to chicory. Some strong coffee flavors and a slight warming to each sip. Little alcohol in the taste, but the slight alcoholic warming associated with Imperial Stouts. A robust and full flavor that has some hints of darker fruit as well.

Medium to slightly heavy on the palate with a robust body that is sturdy yet maintains a creamy consistancy on the palate. Only slight carbonation.

As far as Imperial Stouts go, this has got to be one of the most drinkable. Every aroma is matched in taste and everything is so well balanced so as to accent everything else. The moderate alcohol content makes it easy to finish and despite its body, still very easy to drink. The perfect end to any meal, and one I will not keep my fridge without.

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

Appearance: this is a very dark beer, of course imperial stout, but looked great nice brown head.

Smell: Smells great coffe, malt ect great balanced smell.

Taste: Coffee great taste not at all metallic, not bitter at all very smooth. flavor

Mouthfeel: Great carbonation good thick feel.

Drinkabilty: I could down a ton of this stuff and I would like to have this in my fridge always..

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

Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout pours a perfect black from a 12oz clear glass bottle. Head is a pleasing brown with the consistency of yogurt and easily goes to over two fingers while covering the glass sides in a vale of foam as the liquid is consumed.

Nose is the most delightful assortment of dried fruits, and chocolates that I have ever found in a stout of any kind. Fig and sweet prune are in abundance in both the nose and the palate with a nice drying coffee like bitter for the finish.

Contractors to Her Majesty’s Forces can be found on the bottle label along with gold and sliver medals from the 18 and 19 hundreds.

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

Whoa! How have I gone all this time drinking the Taddy Porter and Oatmeal Stout without ever trying the Imperial? This stuff is dark black in appearance although a bright light behind it revealed rich bugundy red. Beautiful inch thick light brown foam that left rings down the glass.
Very fragrant with smell of malt, chocolate, molasses and a slight alcohol twinge.
Rich, robust flavor that just doesn't quit. Roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee, raisins and others are all present. Good hop presence helps to balance the sweetness.
Nice sweet, full mouthfeel this is so rich, it's like a meal in a glass.The flavor is so full that I couldn't tell it was 7% alcohol.

One of the best I've ever tasted, extremely drinkable, I wish I had bought more than one.

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

A commanding nose of chocolate syrup liberally poured over baked berries, anisette wafer cookies and a spoon of vanilla ice cream. A predominate roastiness oversees a mélange of fantastical flavors that meld perfectly with a smooth, oaty mouthfeel. A masterful creation out of the old brewery. Like having your own personal flavor harem stroking your buds whilst you lay back in a state of exquisite wonderment. Drinkable? Please! How can you keep your lips off it? Elegant *and* accessible.

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

Black with creamy tan head, not sticking but maybe because I'm drinking it too fast. Really good all around. Smells and tastes full of roasted maltS, coffee, deep dark fruit hops, Smoked fruit malt finish. Balanced perfectly in smell and taste. Velvety chewy full body that goes down extremely smooth.

Give me more.

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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's a bit thin.

One of the great beers of the world.

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

Dark but not opaque with Burgundy highlights and a wisp of foam on top. The aromas are of milk, blueberries, prunes and old-fashioned licorice with a dusting of cocoa and sweet spices. Velvety, peptol-bismol-like texture and even a little medicine-box nuance, like old bandages, kicking in. Delicious sweet milk, walnuts, vanilla bean and burnt sugar. No obtrusive hop herbalness at all. Brilliant, satisfying, and amazingly drinkable for an Imperial Stout. A beer with class and poise.

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Photo of Hops4Pops
4.96/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bottle says 1 pint, 2.7 FL Oz 550 ML
A: Side pour into a pint glass. Lots of thick rich head, 3 fingers thick. Tannish off-white head with a very interesting texture. Thick foam with bubbles in size up to about 1/16th of an inch. Head retention is excellent. Most of the lacing is oily but a bit of sticky lacing on the sides is forming as head slowly recedes. The lacing that is left is very sticky. Reflective light reveals about as dark a brown as you can get, almost black. Light shining through the beer reveals only the slightest amount of light passing through the beer and it is a dark red color.
S: Lots of burnt malt and sugars. Dark fruit(s) raisin, plum. Coffee. Chocolate. Bittering hops. Alcohol. Oak like burned wood taste very faintly in the background. Very rich. Expectations are high.
T: The smell does not reveal the way this ale tastes. The ordering of the flavors is different than the ordering of the smell. Coolio! Burnt malt, sweetness, chocolate, hops, dark fruit, raisin, plum. Finishes with a very nice bittering hops profile and the taste of the way a burned out campfire of oak wood smells. A very dry finish and very bitter with an interesting burned wood sort of taste. Its like the smoky taste of a very nice scotch without all the afterburn from alcohol to cover it up. Wow.
M: Very medium bodied and and creamy. Finish feels rather thin and very dry. A little bit of warming from the alcohol.
O:Incredibly complex and very well blended in an unusual way. I want another quaff to see what else I can find in it. Smiles. Very robust. Complex. Well rounded. Balanced. Very Unique. Unusually well constructed to be able to put all of this into one beer. I would recommend this to anyone as an incredible execution of style. Not for the faint of tongue. Definitely an acquired taste and not a way to introduce ANYONE to craft beer!!!

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Photo of kegerator
4.95/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I enjoyed this beer quite a bit.
Poured out black as night with a nice brown head, appearance was right on for this style.
the best way i can describe the aroma is oily chocolate with some hints of coffee and port. I was excited by this.
taste was just about the same as the aromas, but I wasn't getting the oily part in the taste. very smooth.
I will buy this one again for sure. It would have gotten all 5's and probably deserves it but in comparison this one just didn't quite have the heartiness of storm king almost too smooth. get it and taste it. you won't be disappointed

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Photo of tfp4268
4.95/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is truly an amazing brew!

Pours opaque brown with a creamy light tan head that never goes away. Gorgeous!!

Smells awesome! Pure dark malts and milk chocolate. The smell really makes you anticipate the taste.

Taste doesn't dissapoint-Starts out sweet and choclatey, with a little raisin, then finishes up with a very pleasant hops and alcohol nip in the end.

Mouthfeel is smooth, but not really thick...nice tho.

Drinkability is crazy...You'd never know you were drinking a 7% brew untill you feel it. It's amazingly smooth. Yeah, I belive I'll have another!

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Photo of wages
4.95/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It's been a long time since I've had any Samuel Smith. I had a few different kinds about 4 years ago which I really just didn't like at the time, so only recently have I decided to try it again, and what better way to start than with Imperial Stout?

Appearance - 5/5 - It has a deep rich black color with a thick creamy brownish head

Smell - 5/5 - Roasty and ..maybe a plum brandy. Hard to describe but wonderful.

Taste - 5/5 - Rich roasty and estery. Bitter, roasty, slight fruit (plum or raisin) aftertaste that lingers. Somewhat minerally (albeit from the well water used). Perhaps that is what put me off years ago, but I've since gained appreciation for the uniqueness of flavor imparted by the water.

Mouthfeel - 4.5/5 - Semi-thick, biscuit (?) body. Very well carbonated. Pleasant but the body could limit me to two.

Overall - 5/5 - In the end, my interest in Samuel Smith has been greatly revived! I'm looking forward to re-trying all of their non-fruit brews. And of course, more Imperial Stout is in the future.

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Photo of budgood1
4.95/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

oh baby....pours black as molasses with a thin tan head. fruitcake, molasses, chocolate in the nose. huge malty mouthfeel fills your tastebuds full of sweet goodies. there is some hop bitterness that dances on your tongue in the finish and lingers afterward. alcohol is present but only adds to the wonderfully balanced profile. wow is this stuff great!

 358 characters

Photo of Meyers1023
4.94/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the beer I compare all Imperial stouts to. It pours a perfect black color with a tan head that disappears leaving a lace along the glass. The smell is sweet, i get cherries but I'm not the best at guessing what something smells like. It's a very smooth beer with a creamy mouthfeel. You get roasted malts and raisins with a slight chocolate finish. This brewery has set the standard on many styles for me!

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
4.17 out of 5 based on 3,721 ratings.
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