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 asabreed
4.94/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

550 ml. bottle into my Delirium Tremens glass.

Appearance: This definitely looks hot in the glass. Black as black can be of course. Mocha head that's not huge but stays at about 1/2", and I didn't give it the most vigorous pour. Nice sticky lacing hangs out on the glass too. A good looking brew.

Smell: Damn. Some coffee, chocolate, oatmeal I think, a bit of sourness, some chalkiness, and a touch of burnt and toasted malts. Also some slight bitterness from hops in there. Balanced, complex, and though it doesn't have the insane amount of alcohol (though many have indiscernible levels) as many RIS, this is singular and wonderful.

Taste: Initial sourness, followed my a bit of hops, maybe some oatmeal, then some chocolate, chalkiness, burnt malt, some more sourness, and then finishes with all of it together. Long finish with a weird combination of hops present also. This is singular beyond belief, and also awesome in every way.

Mouthfeel: Wow, how do they do this? For the style I'm so surpised how velvety this is, how much carbonation there is, and how it maintains its creaminess through the entire process. Looks much thicker than it feels.

Drinkability: I wasn't sure about this being too overhyped, but no, it's not. Awesome drinkability, price, balance, flavor, complexity. If you like the style and haven't had this yet (and I consider myself in this camp also), then you should consider yourself silly and go get a bottle. Can't wait to stock up on this.

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

Bottle. This was a great beer. Appearance dark brown. Wish the aroma had a little more oomph. I did not get the fruits many document. Maybe it was just me that day but otherwise this stout packed a lot of well balanced flavor. Coffee rose above chocolate and malts. A great blend. Creamy and delicious. Can't wait to see if the next one lives up to the first!

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.94/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have never had this before, what a feast!!!!.
The 12 fl.oz. bottle has a Royal looking Gold and White label, and so it should, for it proudly boasts Samuel Smiths as, “Contractors to Her Majesty’s Forces”. Bloody Hell - I want to Join the Army right now.
It is totally black, solidly opaque, not even Neutrinos can get through this beer! A velvety brown head coats the beer with a thin head that laces the glass with an old fractel design from the 1700’s. WOW!!. This beer does not have a sense of humor – it is one very Serious Stout. Smell is the very definition of “Imperial Stout”, through and through. Aromas and Tastes are inextricably linked to each other and are (in no specific order); Alcohol, Roast Malts, deeply burnished Mahogany, Roast Coffee Beans, Blackberries, Cocoa Beans, Liquorice from Pontefract, Bourneville Chocolate, Dark Rum, 5 year old Xmas Fruit Cake, Blueberries, Charcoal, distilled Cassis, dark Cherries (you know the ones I mean?), Brandy Chocolate Liqueurs, Dark Rum chasers….. need I go on?.
Extremely well balanced, big start that fades with a lingeruing roast malt bitterness. Man this beer is seriously good. Sams have an uncanny knack of making highly drinkable beers, and this is no exception.
A Simply Stunning Regal Stout that has a truly Nobel, Imperious, Majestic quality.
A "High Borne" Aristocratic Sovereign amongst Stouts.

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Photo of WildMaverick1200
4.94/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is truly a world class beer. It pours beautiful black and creamy into the glass with just the right amount of foam. Teased by a moderate aroma of malts, wood and good bread, the taste is just the right balance of kick, bitterness, sourness and sweet. It's never too much or too little, it's just right. Most stouts (especially imperial) tend to lean heavily to either side; too bitter and strong or not at all. This beer has the flavor complexities one would expect of a Porter, as opposed to typical stouts. This is a medium-heavy body beer, just barely entering into sipping territory. Carbonation is extremely even, contributing to its smoothness.

Overall, you will feel fantastic after trying this one. You will.

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

Absolutely one of the best stout! Poured from the tap has a dark black with two fingers of creamy tan head. Smell oak barrel, dark chocolate, pretty intense. Taste: smooth coffee, creamy, dark fruit.
It s one of the best stout I ever tried, even if I am not a fun of imperial stout.

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Photo of interzen
4.93/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

355ml bottle poured into a Delerium Tremens tulip glass

Look: Pours black with a finger's worth of tan head. Poor head retention which leaves a small amount of lacing.

Smell: Quite sweet and woody with definite hints of dark fruit and liquorice - almost a medicinal edge to it.

Taste: The liquorice and fruit notes shine through here, along with dark roasted malts and a certain amount of hoppish bitterness. You'd expect something with a 7% ABV to have some alcohol notes but this doesn't. The medicinal woodiness definitely comes through in the aftertaste but manages to do so without dominating the other flavours.

Feel: Fairly 'thick' but without being excessively heavy. Surprisingly smooth, almost dangerously so.

Overall: An absolute stunner - I'm fortunate enough to live about 5 miles from the Sam Smiths brewery so this is fairly easy for me to get and a regular on my Beer Shelf. It's not really something you could have a session on, but the flavours and feel are such that it's extremely easy to knock a few of these back and get absolutely plastered in the process. It may only be a small bottle, but it manages to pack in a monstrous amount of flavour.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.92/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout has a thick, creamy, beige head and a very dark brown (with red tints) appearance with some lacing. Aroma is sharp, dark-roasted barley malt, fudge, and bread crust, and taste is of dark malt, black coffee, sugar, chocolate, sweetness, and some hop bitterness thrown in. There is also some dark fruit aspect, like dates. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy, and Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout finishes heavy and semi-dry. Overall, this is a wonderful beer.


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Photo of trpng0bily
4.92/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This brew is black as can be, with a moderate, creamy tan head that dissipates. The smell is robust, with chocolate, coffee, anise, spiciness, malts, and a hint of alcohol. The taste does not dissapoint - it more than follows though on the promise of its nose, adding a brilliant bitterness to the chocolate, as well as the dry finish that nobody delivers quite like Sammy, though it is, appropriately, not as prominent as in other of their offerings. A perfect harmony is achieved between the bitter chocolate, sweet malts, and spicy hops. This beer is rich, though it could stand to be just a bit fuller in body, with carbonation that has some pop, and a nice warming effect (though the alcohol is not noticable in taste) that lingers comfortingly. Finally, this stout is as drinkable as any I've tried.

This has long been my favorite stout, and for nostalgia's sake I somewhat regret not making it my first review on BA. Better late than never, I suppose.

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Photo of prsguitarsr4me
4.92/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Excellent beer. Highly recommended. The flavor is fantastic and it pours very dark - and tastes that way. I've been digging these imperial stouts a lot lately, and the Samuel Smith is one of the best, one of my favorites with Old Rasputin, Boris the Crusher, Oaked Yeti, Stone, etc.

Purchased at Kokoman Fine Wines and Liquors in New Mexico.

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Photo of rkhaze
4.92/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours out black with a little dark mahogany escaping the edges. Small, thick creamy head. Smells of dark roasted malt, sweet chocolate, coffee, some red fruits and a bit of licorice. It had an almost vinuous aroma.
Tastes of sweet roasted malt, espresso, milk chocolate, red fruit, burnt brandy and black licorice. Wonderfully balanced with a pleasant bitterness, a smidge of salt and a lingering wisp of smoke. Just an outstanding melding of great flavors!
Medium bodied but a little light for the style. Lower in alcohol and lacking that viscous mouthfeel I love about Imperials. That being said...what a mouthfeel! One of, if not THE creamiest, velvety smooth beers I've ever had. Perfect amount of carbonation leads to the easiest and best drinking Imperial on the market. IMHO.
An outstanding Imperial worthy of the hype!

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Photo of Slatetank
4.92/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I am a fan of most Samuel Smiths beers, some of my first English ales that I tasted were from them. I decanted this cool into a tulip.
A - Deep ebony w/ dark amber highlights. A thick 2.5 fingers of compact, pin sized tan bubbles crown the black fluid.

S - Rich odors of toffee, Port, vanilla, caramel and roasted nuts are concentrated in the aroma. Slight tinges of anise and berries round out the nose.

M - Roasted coffee, with light astringency, moderated carbonation and mild sweetness. Woody touches w/ a faint peppery spice.

T - Very concentrated dark malty and roasted tastes w/ a hint of smoke. A smooth rich toffee flavor w/ hints of bourbon and molasses w/ a nice vanilla cream taste and woody dry aspect. A toasted nut and rich dark chocolate flavor settles the char notes. Absolutely clean compared to the burst of malt and intense flavor as the stout becomes consumed.

D - Like black magic, it weaves a spell and tells a story w/ its magnitude, a fantastic example -The premier of it's style. I truly enjoy this quality stout sip by pleasure filled sip.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.92/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - this Sammy Smith offering produces a full finger of espresso colored head atop a dark black brew

S - wow, i'm surprised there is a very strong banana aroma, very inviting banana with a slight alcohol twinge; it overpowers any espresso/chocolate aroma that i expected

T - this is damn good, it has a overpowering banana/coffee flavor with a bitter finish

M - very smooth with a great bitter finish

D - high, this is a great brew, I might have a new favorite beer of ALL time, try this beer, it is awesome!

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Photo of Beernoisseur
4.92/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a sublime beer. Near perfect, if not perfect in every category. The bottle is badass looking, like opening it is going to be a historic event in and unto itself. Gold foil, awards won in a different century, things of that nature- they all add to the feeling of ceremony associated with this beer.

Appearance is so dark that it might be sucking the light out of the room like a black hole. The head was smaller than I expected, but the pour was not aggressive.

The first aroma to greet me was the scent of fine bourbon. This quickly gave way to toasty, fruity notes, with maybe a hint of caramel coffee in the background.

The flavor is excellent. Everything is in balance. Toasiness leads the charge, but in there is a citric fruitiness that delights to no end. The hops are muted, but only just. There's almost like a barbeque like flavor in the mix. This beer would be great with a huge cheeseburger grilled right before you put the barbeque away for winter. you know, sometime in late october, early november.

I love stouts, and this is certainly a front runner for my favorite.

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Photo of AudioGilz
4.9/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

It's pitch ass black, defining the word opaque. A large two inch tan head forms and reduces to a thick coating which laces well. It presents itself like a perfect stout, and a perfect stout it is damn close to. The aroma is a strong concoction of roasted malts, vanilla, and chocolate. I get some dark fruits coming through as well, but vanilla stuck out the most. I love it! Super-smooth creaminess is the mouthfeel of this medium to full bodied brew. Strong flavors of burnt coffee and chocolate treat your palate, and then some hops come by for a quick stay in the finish. Warming alcohol is prevalent in the finish, a reminder of the strength of this brew. This is one heluva stout, simply put.

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Photo of nortmand
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tawny black pour, with a brown, fluffy head.

Ripe plums and dark roasts dominate the smell. A hint of citronella? in there as well.

Slight astringency up front, smooth, creamy roasts and dark chocolate flavors meld in a symphony of fabulousness.

Huge body, very smooth and definitely drinkable. Wow.

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Photo of ghostwalker
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pitch black pour into my Three Philosophers chalice. If there are any color highlights, I can't see them. 1/2" of dark tan/brown head. Absolutely beautiful. Head doesn't stick around long, too bad.

Nose is very malty, nutty and rich.

Extremely rich and flavorful. Dark roasted malt. Smoky, coffee/espresso , dark caramel and molasses, the flavors go on and on. I really could go for a cigar to enjoy with this one.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, but still smooth and tasty. Coats the inside of my mouth with goodness. Wow! It's the beer that eats like a meal.

Outstanding drinkability. The 7% ABV is not evident to me at all. I could have a very nice session with this stuff playing darts or pool in a smoky bar somewhere.

My first experience with this one, it's an instant classic. The only bad thing I can say about this beer is that it appears to be very difficult to find in the big bottles, as well as generally harder to find than the rest of Sam Smith's line. Never fear, I will make the necessary trip to the stores that I know carry it.

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Photo of beertaster13
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have found the stout to end all stouts. Pours a deathly crude oil black with streaks of ruby, the mocha/tan head is wickedly awesome and the lacing will leave gobs on the glass. The smell is of espresso and mocha chocolate raisins. A slight nut smell as well, alcohol is detectable. The taste is pure glory, the sweetness of the roasted chocolate invites you for more, a graham cracker marshmellow sweetness is icing on the cake. Hints of fruit, dried raisins detected. Alcohol is detected as well. Medium bodied for a stout, not to thick but perfect to invite more and more, a very drinkable stout and will become the staple for me. Awesome.

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Photo of ThreePistols
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Opaque black color with a huge foamy brown head and lace all the way to the bottom of the glass. Huge roasted malt aroma with coffee, bread, fruit, chocolate, and oak. Medium to full body, slighty sweet, huge rich flavor of espresso, bitter chocolate, dark fruits (prunes, raisins, figs), and molasses. Great hops sharpness at first, then the sweetness comes though. Followed with the roasted flavor and malts to add to the complexity. A complex brew that is well balanced. A long lasting, outstanding aftertaste that reflects the complexity of this beer. A very warming beer. Enjoy. Cheers.

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Photo of Daredevil
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

"Imperial Stout" was the kind of beer which was shipped to the russian nobility some 100+ years ago ... it seems that russian taste tends to go for strong bodied drinks with a certain sweetness .... most "imperial stouts" I know tend to accentuate the sweetness, sometimes with a "sticky tendency" ... compared to those this brew is "ultra brut" and with a medium to "slim" body ... but it's lack in corpulence is more than compensated with it's elegant smoothness ... to give you an image: this is like spotting a mysterious dark-haired beauty disguised in a porcelaine mask on the Carnival of Venice ... to die for

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Photo of redleaves
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Light roasty malty nose. Black creamy head drops to lace. Poured into a dimple mug. Full flavor, not to syrupy like most ris's. Not too sweet, roasty but not too roasty, dry, but mouthwater juiciness. Perfect hop profile for the malt. Sam smiths has this wonderful mineralness that I'm not sure if its from the water, stone or yeast, or all of the above, but it sure is delicious. I've said it before, Sam Smiths can do no wrong. This is the most solid, most drinkable and most affordable RIS available.

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Photo of mentor
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle obtained from Superior Liquor (Colorado) and consumed about a week later (July 2005). Pours a one-finger almond brown head over a pitch black liquid. A little bit of dark rbuy red edging when held to light. Smells cherry sour, roast, and underlying caramel. Tastes delicious...oh my! Chocolate, roast, sour, caramel, currant, raisin, blueberry, prune. Imagine a dense chocolate raisin rum cake, the weight of which has a buttery brown sugar syrup almost tearing out the sides, but nothing quite collects on the plate. Some beers flash a certain flavor before it bows and leaves the stage for some other flavor to shine in the spotlight. Not this beer...this beer holds each flavor throughout the taste. Each rising and mixing with other flavors and never quite going away before merging with some other flavor. A delight to pull each draw and ponder each aftertaste. No gulp is a repeat of a previous..there's alot going on and I seem to focus on different wonderful qualities during each taste. Plus, a wonderfully thick smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Carbonation is mild and tinkers the thick hanging on my tongue. I think this helps some flavors remain fruity and pleasant so that the beer isn't overly heavy. Lacing on the inside of the glass defines the level the liquid sat after each gulp. There is still a thinlayer of head on top of the beer. What an amazing selection.

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Photo of acevenom
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass. Pours almost black with a creamy tan head. The beer is completely opaque and the head retains very well, dissipating slowly. The aroma is of dark roasted barley malt, chocolate, coffee, and some dark fruits. The taste follows the nose and is very rich. There are flavors of dark roasted barley malts, bitter chocolate, coffee, molasses, anise, and dark fruits. It has a mild sweetness that is not too cloying. The alcohol is well hidden in the taste. The body is medium to full with adequate carbonation. It is smooth and creamy. The drinkability is very high for a style that lends it self more to sipping. Overall, this is an excellent beer and a classic example of a RIS. With the wide availability of this beer, you shouldn't have problems finding this in bottle shops.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow, just when I thought I had tried Samuel Smith's best beer, this beer comes into my life. At $2.25 a bottle I can't think of a better choice. Wonderfully rich aroma, roasted coffee and smooth chocolate flavor. Medium thick tan head and really nice lacing. This is a new favorite, I can't wait to try it again.

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Photo of jtw5877
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark as midnight, thick and chewy, caramel, coffee, chocolate, intense flavors. Hands down my favorite stout.(until I tried storm king) Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout is everything a beer should be. This is the first Imperial Stout I ever tried and I love it.

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Photo of mynie
4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

BLACK! A very small tan head that doesn't stick around too long. If you look into the glass you see clouds forming and swirling about like cream fingerpaint against a canvas of absence. Beautiful.

Smells like sweet molasses. Hints of coffee and burnt malt. There's also a bit of fruit somewhere in there.

Complex and wonderful flavor. I am overwhelmed and half tempted to just say that this beer is beyond my novice description. Sweet and bitter. Coffee and Cream. Molasses. Bits of heaven. Close your eyes and you're wherever you want to be, your favorite memory of warmth. The first time you taste or experience something new, a new sensation of love or of life, that loss of precious virginity that you simultaneously bemoan and celebrate, that feeling is reborn in every sip.

PERFECT mouthfeel. Beyond fantastic. Full, thick body that doesn't come off as slimy. Just fizzy enough. Fizzy in a strange way, so that it doesn't really affect your the front of your tongue and throat but it tickles the back of your tongue in the most wonderful of ways.

Goes down smooth.

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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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