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

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
3,747 Ratings
Samuel Smith's Imperial StoutSamuel Smith's Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
England, United Kingdom
samuelsmithsbrewery.co.uk

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
3,747
Reviews:
1,767
Avg:
4.17
pDev:
11.27%
 
 
Wants:
237
Gots:
528
For Trade:
3
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,747 |  Reviews: 1,767
Photo of BMoldy
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Vigorous pour yields a pitch black brew with a big creamy, espresso foam-like head that sticks around for a few minutes before settling. Great lacing.

S: Toasted and roasted malts. Some cocoa notes. Molasses-like sweetness. A little boozy, with an almost scotch-like aroma.

T: Rich and roasted, but not overwhelmingly so. Balanced, leaning at first toward the bitter/burnt side, then opening up into a mellow, dark caramel sweetness that lingers a little through the finish.

M: Full, medium-heavy mouthfeel. Lively carbonation for a stout (I'm assuming from the added CO2 they indicate on the bottle). No signs of alcohol, except in adding robustness to the body.

O: An all-around great imperial stout. I love it for what it is, but the jaded American beer geek in me wanted something a little bolder. Still, guaranteed to please any lover of the dark stuff.

 865 characters

Photo of jkbusman
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - opaque almost black color with light brown two finger head that left some nice lacing on the glass

S - rich malty aroma with notes of coffee and chocolate and toffee

T - a solid malty flavor with a secondary coffee presence along with notes of toffee and caramel; some alcohol presence without it being overwhelming; a very rich offering

M - a wonderfully full body that is creamy and silky smooth; just the right amount of carbonation to hold it up

D - this was the first imperial stout I tried and still has a special place in my heart; while I personally don't prefer this beer to SS Oatmeal Stout, it is a wonderful offering in the style and definitely worth your time

 681 characters

Photo of ummswimmin
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked up this bottle in pursuit of reviewing the top 100 beers of fame. The price was really affordable at about $4-5 a bottle for such a highly rated beer.

I paired this beer with an Argentinean spiced flank steak. I think it worked well, which is to be expected for red meat.

I used a snifter glass. It is black, but not pitch black. The head is spot on. It is tan, sticky, and about two fingers.

The smell and taste are off light coffee, raisins, boozy sweetness, and a very good dose of malt.

I liked this imperial stout. It is a very good offering. It probably isn't in my top 5 imperial stouts... but we've been blessed to have many great offerings from this style out there. AND, they are readily available.

 722 characters

Photo of genitempo
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Bottled elegantly (I guess you would expect this from the UK) with gold foil surrounding the cap. Label does well presenting an English feel. Beer pours nice, deep dark brown body with little head, mild tan in color. Practically no lace, and what's there diminishes quickly.

S: Since the ABV is not as high as some Impy Stouts, the scent pushes through a little easier, displaying dark fruits, sugar, and a little caramel.

T: Complex, but not overbearing, but not quaint in any form or fashion. Roasted flavors push through but end fairly quickly.

MF: The weakest part of the brew. Not as thick as I like my stouts. I felt like the carbonation bares its face, as well. Which can usually be covered by higher ABV and flavor, which this beer lacks (in a good way, though).

O: I'm not familiar with England brews in any form or fashion. They probably view Sam Smith's as we view our big domestics. But this beer definitely has it's place on the shelf.

 955 characters

Photo of FreshHawk
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark cola brown/black with brown hues on the edges. Slightly above average sized frothy, bubbly, dark beige head that disappears fast and doesn't leave any lacing behind except a faint ring around the glass.

S - Fairly sweet with some molasses and brown sugar along with some dark chocolate. Also some dark fruit (particularly dates and raisins) and hints of roasted coffee. Fairly standard stout aroma with a nice balance of roasted, sweet, and tart aromas.

T - Starts fairly fruity with a good amount of raisin, date, and a faint touch of dark berry. Somewhat tart (in a stout kind of way). Also a good base of lightly roasted malt and barley. Some burnt caramel, molasses, and brown sugar comes out with the roasted flavors for a slightly bitter and slightly sweet taste. Finishes with those flavors and an increase of prune and licorice/anise along with a slight hoppy earthiness. Has a slight stout tartness on the finish.

M - Medium body with a touch lower than moderate carbonation. Smooth and slick feel with a touch of creaminess sneaking in.

D - Pretty drinkable stout. Balance between flavors, featuring many classical stout tastes, particularly some fruity and licorice aspects and a stout tartness. A little light, but still full of flavor. Enjoyable to drink.

Notes: A nice stout, but nothing that particularly blew me away. Features plenty of classical RIS tastes, but was a touch thin. I would gladly get this again, although I prefer the Oatmeal Stout more.

 1,483 characters

Photo of kdivers
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of vandeir_bochi
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Corpo denso! Sabor café mais intenso, chocolate ao fundo! Aroma pouco alcoólico, mas com presença do malt torrado! Pouca presença de lúpulos no aroma, mas amargôr bem intenso, pra uma inglesa!

 198 characters

Photo of mpyle
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Small tight head, tan in color. Head retention decent. Color very dark (almost opaque) but with red tints. Clarity looks good.

Plum, raisin, and some diacetyl (butterscotch) smells. Complex esters highly appropriate to the style. No hop aroma.

Big hit of dark malt flavor and fruity character (mainly plum) up front. Some alcohol taste evident, but not overpowering. Some sherry-like oxindation notes, which don't harm this style.

Fullish body and smooth despite the subtle warming alcohol presence. No astringency, carbonation subdued. Very nice mouthfeel.

A flavorful big but not overpowering stout. Fruity and complex, but possibly not at its peak of freshness (clear bottle can't help!) Alcohol is well controlled, allowing the malt and yeast by products to shine through. Would be easy to curl up and down a few of these on a cool evening.

 856 characters

Photo of ph2001
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

had this as a 12 oz bittle poured into a pint glass.

pours smooth, not at all thick. very dark color with no light getting through.

very smooth and pretty drinkable. smells like chocolate. it has a sweeter malty flavor with a quick sharp bitterness tucked in.

 263 characters

Photo of mobrado
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Jcarter1221
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of barnzy78
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, pours black with a fluffy, brown head that doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. Aromas and tastes are similar: dark cocoa, chocolate, slightly boozy (even for 7%), and slightly bitter on the finish from the roasted barley presence. Mouth-feel is velvety, smooth, and full bodied. Overall, even though this isn't over-the-top in alcohol % or boldness, its delicacy makes it a great example of the style.

 418 characters

Photo of dafizzif
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pitch black. May be the blackest black I have ever seen. Creamy mocha head. Nice lacing down glass.
Smell: Dark chocolates and rich coffee. Nice.
Taste: Chocolates and coffee like in the head with the addition of dark fruits. As the beer warms up even more, there is a greater emphasis on the coffee notes.
Mouthfeel: Good (though kind of thin) body with a nice amount of carbonation for a stout.
Overall: Great beer that I will come back to time and again I think.

 478 characters

Photo of BrownBottle
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Brent
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Liquid dark bread. Dense with lots of roasted caramel flavor. Not as creamy as some but drink it with a fork. This is the gold standard for the traditional version of the Russian Imperial Stout - there are others I like better, but this is the measure.

 252 characters

Photo of joezak5
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured into a Duvel sniffter; black as night with an overflowing dense mocha head. Excellent retention with a ridiculous smooth layer of lacing as it's being enjoyed.

Smell: Sweet, spicy raisin, milky and cidery, smooth caramel malt. Very different.

Mouthfeel: Full chewy body with subdued carbonation.

Taste: Anise cidery malt. Excellent hoppy bite at the end.

Drinkability: This is unlike any RIS you've ever had and well worth trying. It's subtle and enjoyable.

 484 characters

Photo of coasterfreak75
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour was pitch black with a good one and one half inch head that slowly dissapated and left a light ring around the edge of the beer. The thick head was a nice beige color. Like my son said the top is brown and the bottom is black.

The smell was very thick and strong. Very strong and acidic. Only as it warmed did the chocolate overtones start to show up.

The taste started with very strong malt sweetness followed by an acidic middle with a finish of alchohol and lingering chocolate and malt.

This would make a great sipping beer to sit around with friends and discuss the merits of life with. I have one extra bottle, I think I'll put it away for about a year and revisit this one.

 698 characters

Photo of tykees88
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Perfect pitch of black hue, a fantastic color of mocha head. Lacing is beautiful. A true blueblood of what this style should be.

S-Rich with coffee and toffee, malts.

T- A chocolate taste, coffee just a little bit of the toffee, and there is a noticeable hop presence in the end.

M- Not like oil, but not guinness either. A happy medium. Very smooth.

O- Pretty great beer here. If it was ever on tap I would jump at the chance when I saw it.

 449 characters

Photo of WillCarrera
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

550 ml bottle, no bottled-on date that I can find, poured into a pint glass.

A- Pours black with a huge, fluffy brown head, has very good retention and leaves awesome lacing.

S- Chocolate, roast, dark fruit, vinous aroma. Smells nice, a pretty fruit-forward stout aroma.

T- Lots of dark fruit, some roasted grain and light chocolate. Finishes with more fruit and maybe some vinousness.

M- Medium-bodied, it's about what you'd expect for a 7.00% stout, but it's pretty thin for the style.

O- A solid imperial stout, it's tasty, and although the flavor isn't massive and the body is a bit thin, it's still a great beer for the price point.

 643 characters

Photo of dank203
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

very nice beer, can taste cherry malt, hints of light and dark chocolate. really creamy feel, aroma is sweet subtle chocolate, very nice to smell and taste simultaneously. medium bodied so not a huge viscous stout. reminds me more of an "export stout" like Guinness export

 272 characters

Photo of Hoppsbabo
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black body with a sexy beige head.

S: Has a cointreau-like pungency. Smokey.

T: Loads of dried figs, incredibly rum-like. Lemonade and smokey bitterness in the finish. Has that metallic quality associatd with Sammy Smiths though.

M: Very smooth and full bodied.

O: I used to think this was the best beer in the world. Way too metallic though.

 349 characters

Photo of BeefyMee
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black with a tan head. Decent lacing. When it was in the bottle I could hold it up and get a little glint of light through it. Now that I have poured it, it has become a black hole.

Smell: Chocolate and a faint alcohol scent.

Taste: A lot going on here. Chocolately and cookie-like with some smokiness to boot. Every few sips there's a fruitiness as well that is something along the lines of raisins or currants or maybe prunes. As I drank, the smoke flavor became more evident. The alcohol is barely noticeable.

Mouthfeel: So creamy and wonderful.

Drinkability: Alcohol is not a factor here, only flavor. The last half of the beer was simply not as good as the first half.

I might need more time to figure this beer out. I can certainly see myself coming back to it.

 794 characters

Photo of Josh012012
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Dazka
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Gagnonsux
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance of this imperial stout is one of the best I've seen. The color is pitch black. Head is large, creamy, and dark tan. Retention is great. The aroma has an inviting mixture of toffee, chocolate, and dark fruit smells. I just wish the aroma was a bit stronger. The taste starts with a strong chocolate flavor with edges of toffee. Dark fruit flavors mix in nicely along with a bit of alcohol flavor. A slight butteriness is noted, especially near the finish. The sweet finish is especially long-lasting. Without a doubt this beer has a excellent mix of flavors that are layered nicely, but when compared to the bigger American imperial stouts, this falls a little short of exceptional. Still, this is highly recommended.

 731 characters

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
4.17 out of 5 based on 3,747 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.