Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

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

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Samuel Smith's Imperial StoutSamuel Smith's Imperial Stout
3,784 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,784 |  Reviews: 1,778
Photo of bunnyhustle
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled from 550 mL bottle. Poured into chalice and wow is it dark, I really cant see any color other than black, nice mocha colored head however very little of it. I was expecting a thicker head but for whatever reason very little on glass #1 and none on glass #2. Smell was initally as alcohol, another sniff revealed what seemed to be raisin. As it warmed it took on a slightly coffee-like smell. Taste was incredible, the first smell wasnt too impressive but boy was the taste. Very creamy and smooth texture to the drink. I can taste chocolate, coffee, raisin, a bit of the "typical" stout tastes (for me at least) but something about this one was incredible. I like the fact that it is lower in alcohol, that made it a little more drinkable and enjoyable in my book. Overall a great beer and seems worthy of its high reviews.

 831 characters

Photo of jneuff
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this delightful beverage in a pint glass. The color is an impressive midnight black. The smell is of smoke and chocolate in great balance. The taste is very much what the smell would indicate, more smoke and chocolate. The mouthfeel to me is a bit overcarbonated, but the beer is growing on me. I had an amazing Oak aged Yeti Imperial stout last night, and I recall enjoying it a bit more, and there being slightly less carbonation. The beer is as drinkable as an imperial stout can be, much like nipples, one is too few and three is too many.

 547 characters

Photo of DevWand
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Livid
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

550ml bottle. Pours pitch black with two full fingers of frothy tan head. Smells "dark" - molasses, chocolate, slight roasty notes, and an undercurrent of alcohol. It's thin bodied, well carbonated, and slides right over the tongue. The taste is chocolate, molasses, hints of roasted coffee, licorice, and a hint of alcohol. Compared to the 10%+ IRS that are more common on the west coast, this is a light example of the style, well-balanced and better suited to beer drinkers who don't have the taste buds or stomach for stronger renditions.

 542 characters

Photo of MickeyHops
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Pingotas
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The roast tones are prominent and show thru the rich, essentially opaque color. Heads up quickly but settles just as fast (checked at about 57 degrees) Drink this at a distance from meals - each will significantly alter the taste the other. On a clean palate, the flavor is consistent and richly aromatic; the coffee hits you almost immediately, although it bitters up a bit too much for my fancy. Interestingly, I would take their oatmeal stout over this one (again, I'm a sugar hound) but the difference between the two is admittedly meager. I'd love to try it on tap!

 570 characters

Photo of Beeeeeerman
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Jacobob10
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A truly beautiful appearance. Pitch black with the darkest tan head I have ever seen. Awesome! The only reason this didn't get a 5 for appearance is because it left virtually no lacing on the glass. Great aroma as well. Very crisp and fresh for something with such a dark and roasted smell. Full bodied beer that contains flavors of caramel, roasted malts, and coffee, but it has a touch of sweetness to it. Very creamy mouthfeel. The drinkability takes a hit due to the high alcohol content and the thickness of this beer.

 523 characters

Photo of BretSikkink
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Oily black looking beer with some copper edging. Head is super thick and whipped, lasts for a long time. Eventually there's only a tiny ring of head and not much lace.

Strong aromas of dark fruit, molasses, and maybe some spices. Anise comes to mind, along with an almost cinnamon-like aroma. Really strong and nicely complex.

Palate is again strongly reminiscent of molasses with a large amount of dark fruit behind it. Tons of fig paste and raisin make up the middle of the taste, with a finish of licorice and coffee.

Decently full mouthfeel, quite viscous and oily. Acidic finish, leaves it a little dry. Good drinking for style, but still a little work to do.

 670 characters

Photo of Jwale73
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in my DFH snifter. Poured just shy of black with zero light penetration. Half inch khaki-colored cap comprised of tight tiny bubbles. Head lost half its volume in under a minute before settling into a thin, soapy skim. No lacing on this one. Nose is molasses, brown sugar and dark fruit. Cocoa character dominates the taste, followed by toffee; however, sweetness revealed in the nose is cut slightly and dark fruit is present closer to the finish. Body does not quite approach medium. Carbonation is minimal and no alcohol heat detected. Balanced flavor and body makes this an easy drinking goto RIS.

 608 characters

Photo of dubinsky
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured cold into my Brooklyn Brewing snifter and allowed to warm up. Huge foamy, mocha colored head. The beer pours an a complete black with no translucency. Nice lacing left as the head came down. Looks like an RIS to me.

S - Initially it has a very mild aroma of Roasted coffee/espresso. As is sits and warms up it began to warm up and i got vanilla and dark friut. Not a boozy beer, which i love.

T - Great, light malty back bone, with slight hints of coffee. I gave some to my wife to try and she said it tasted like Dr. Pepper, i think she's right. The finish is a bit fruity, i thought i tasted apple, but now that i think of it, it was prunes. Very neutral sweet/bitterness.

M - Moderate to heavy body. Very smooth and creamy.

D - Well balanced flavors, and not too strong. A very drinkable RIS.

 811 characters

Photo of AgentMunky
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce (355mL) bottle into a cervoise glass. Best before 12 March (whoops).

A: Thick head has good retention. The body is completely opaque and the darkest of browns. Good looking stout.

S: Deeper than I initially gave it credit for. Alcohol-soaked fruit, coffee beans, chocolate, molasses.

T: Hrm...Subdued (raw) molasses notes float around. The maintaste is unexpectedly fruity (apples, grapes). The aftertaste showcases the gentle bitterness of this imperial stout, providing dark chocolate with a touch of carbonation. Overall, splendidly balanced.

M: A bit too light, I feel. Served near the recommended 60 degrees, but I might have preferred it a mite colder if that made the body more viscous.

D: Very drinkable, and a bargain at the price (£2). Certainly recommended. Will drink again.

 815 characters

Photo of philipt
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good stout turned up a notch versus your typical dry stouts.

Nearly black in color (one can catch a faint reddish tint if the light catches it right) with a a tan, no, light brown head. The head was rather small, but I believe that was due to my overly cautious pouring - used a smaller glass than normal. Roast malt in the nose. Taste was roasted malts, some chocolate, light hop spice. The alcohol is neatly disguised.

This is a solid beer worth every point in my rating.

 479 characters

Photo of dreadnatty08
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fairly aggresive pour into my chalice produced a half inch dirty brown head that recedes to a bubbly thin covering. Minimal tracing. Oak, dried fruits, and a bit of chocolate at the end in the aroma. Flavors of bitter coffee, baker's chocolate, and raisin. Pretty bitter for a stout, sweetness isn't present at all. Bitterness gives a little tinge on the tongue at the end. The roasted maltiness dominates with little hops detected. A beautiful beer for a cold winter night, and fulfills my stout craving most definitely.

 521 characters

Photo of Cs1987
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Black, 2 fingers of beige head which reduced.

Smell - Very strong, malty and dark fruits.

Taste - The strength and taste are both almost reminiscent of bourbon. Coffee and dark fruits present.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, low carbonation.

Drinkability - Challenging but rewarding.

Overall - The first Imperial Stout I have tried, and a very good one too.

 363 characters

Photo of numenor1
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours almost black, though somewhat lucid. Nice tan head which reduces to a color with some slightly lacing. Smell is of butterscotch and chocolate. Taste upfront is sweet diacetyl butterscotch and chocolate, then some light roastiness kicks in and then fades to a slight hop, chocolate finish. Overall the body is medium at best and carbonation too. The overall effect is nice, but i'd prefer this to be a little stiffer. Overall very enjoyable. Alcohol is nonexistent.

 470 characters

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours dark as they come. No highlights. Tan leather head forms and dies down to a thin film. Leaves minimal lacing. Doesn't pour very viscous.

S-Sweet nose. Hershey syrup. Some good roasted coffee too. Burnt caramel. Subtle hints of dried dark fruit. Light sizzle of alcohol. Interesting and inviting nose.

T-Hershey syrup again. Roasted coffee is secondary but quite tasty. Lightly bitter. More dark chocolate bitter than hop bitter. A bit nutty. Plums and figs. Like chocolate milk with too much syrup in it. Light tobacco hint in the end.

M-Heavier body but relatively light for a RIS. Carbonation is definitely noticeable. Not too viscous. Easy drinking however. Lightly bitter. ABV masked well.

O/D-This is a pretty decent beer. I didn't love Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, but this one is pretty legit. Easy drinking, mellow, and sweet. Not excellent but good for a four pack that is easy to get.

 905 characters

Photo of bwhite105
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: pours black, with a hint of dark red. nice head for a bottled stout. It sticks around for a bit, then dissipates. Head is a rich creamy red color.

s: nutty, woody and smokey

t: nicely balanced. tastes faintly of bitter chocolate along with a smokey wood hint. the back has enough bite to let you know you're drinking a beer. slightly alcoholy aftertaste.

M: Relatively high amount of carbonation for a stout. Not particularly thick either.

Overall a very nice beer. I have had it both on tap in London and out of a bottle in the US. Unlike many of its imported stout counterparts, it travels well.

 604 characters

Photo of sevenarts
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep black with a hint of brown at the edges. Generous tan head that sticks around a bit and leaves behind nice strong bands of lacing.

S: Dark fruits, chocolate, molasses, lots of big roasty malt flavors. Smells real sweet and smokey.

T/M: Real big flavor. Kind of fruity at first, with plums and raisins, then some burnt woody flavors and bittersweet chocolate. Body is only moderate for a stout, it could stand to be a little thicker or creamier.

O: A great, rich, flavorful stout. Loses a little bit on the body/mouthfeel but otherwise this is just all around tasty. A lot of these Samuel Smith beers have a similar flavor profile, and with that in mind I'd probably go for the Oatmeal Stout or Taddy Porter over this, but it's still very good.

 754 characters

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up recently just because it's one of the classics and a style that I love. This beer is a lot more subtle than I thought it would be, but that's probably because I'm used to the American versions of this that are a lot more potent and complex. This is, without a doubt, the most subtle Russian Imperial Stout that I've had, but that doesn't necessarily make it bad. It's well up into the 80's here in New Jersey today, and it doesn't feel too out of place with the lighter foods that I've been eating.

Decent pour to this - dark, light on the carbonation, and a decent amount of tan head. The taste was mellow - some current, bitter chocolate, and plum notes to this, and it goes down easier than just about any other RIS I've ever had. This almost reminded me of a strong bock beer because of it's medium body and mouthfeel and near-absence of carbonation. The lack of alcohol can be felt here too, as I've downed nearly all of the bottle and can hardly feel it. For me, that's good thing, as I prefer the taste to dominate over the alcohol!

I thought this was a solid beer that seems almost categorically mismatched in this day and age of microbrews by the shelfload. Nevertheless, I've never had a bad beer from Samuel Smith and it's nice to enjoy something as timless as this. Those looking for an RIS that will knock them into next week will be disappointed but for true beer connoisseurs, this is a pleasant surprise and a joy to drink. It's easy to see why this has been brewed for as long as it has.

 1,522 characters

Photo of Gemini6
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of scottakelly
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Black.
S: Burnt grain, sweet molasses.
T: Sweet, molasses, slightly chocolatey.
M: Full, thick.
D: Low. A little too sweet.

Overall a great beer. A little overwhelming on the molasses, and not very complex, the sweetness really stands out. It's the first Imp. stout I've had in awhile, I've been drinking a lot of wine lately, and the sweetness really stands out, making this a little hard to finish off.

 415 characters

Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have been waiting to try this beer for quite awhile and the day has finally arrived.
Served in a clear 550ml bottle. I have never been a fan of the clear bottle in some rare cases, the beer lasts and fights the light.
Poured an opaque black with a nice creamy head resembling chocolate milk. Great lacing as well.
The smell is fantastic. Raisins, mollases, figs and malt. Not an overwhelming hop presence but a great balancing effect.
I was a little dissapointed in the taste. A little too sweet I think for an imperial. Yes, very sweet. A nice hop bitterness is present and some chocolate and fruitiness such as prunes and mollassas are present as well. The sweetness is not to my liking.
Sticky mouthfeel with the bitterness lingering for a while. Not an overwhelming alcohol mouthfeel which is nice because I think more alcohol would make this a completely unbalanced beer.
A nice cool fall night beer.

Overall, I was dissapointed. I had high expectations, maybe too high. A very good beer though.

 1,012 characters

Photo of captaincoffee
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown, near full black. Small head with limited lacing. Nose is full of sweet caramel and fudge, as well as roasted notes. Flavor is mild but full of pleasant stouty stuff. Less roasty toasty notes, and more chocolate and dark fruit. Mouthfeel is harsh from rough over carbonation. Overall, a very good beer that was hurt by the rough feel and would have been great with a more creamy feel.

 412 characters

Photo of vhiggins
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

 802 characters

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 3,784 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.