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

3,736 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

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Ratings: 3,736 |  Reviews: 1,763
Photo of MMansfield
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a single at Vin Art Wines. Very excited about this one.

Appearance: Pours a jet black with a massive foamy brown cap that stays for eternity, leaving tons of lacing.

Aroma: Nose is dominated by hints of sweetened chocolate and roasted organic coffee beans and fresh baked bread. Also get some floral hops.

Taste: Quite sweet. Very chocolatey, with strong whiff of bitter coffee in the finish. Some caramel and grass. Moderate bitterness, definately a sweeter RIS.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and rich, not it's strongest point, but drinkability is pretty high.

Final Statement: Definately a winner. A good & sweet RIS from a very respectable brewery. This is my favorite of the their brews, and will definately seek out regularly.

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Photo of biegaman
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A lustrous, inky black facade that twinkles with temperate glints of rustic red. Close inspection to the light proves shadowed clarity possible and thus reveals the beer to not be opaque after all. Its hazelnut stained head has sunk in the center but still strongly envelops the outsides. Not withstanding thin prints of lace, I demand something a little darker.

Its bouquet brims with copious amounts of blackstrap molasses. It's an almost sedative smell that combines browned sugar with hints of bittersweet chocolate (leaning to the sweet side). Alongside a minor amount of black licorice it would seem a very liberal amount of stale, cold coffee was blended into the mix as well.

The taste has a phenomenal presence of soured berries and dark fruit thrown into the prevalent flavours of cold coffee and blackstrap molasses. The usual cast of heavy-roast espresso and rich, gooey chocolate are considerably understated; a stale black coffee and handful of cocoa beans would be far more accurate descriptors.

The roast is present but fails to linger in either bitterness or aftertaste. The texture has an unexpected creamy smoothness and washes over the palate with dove-like delicacy. The modest 7% alcohol is rightfully discreet and plays no determinant for drinkability. These factors together create for an unusually mild imperial stout.

Many of the great Imperial Stouts are considered such because of their heavy, rich and decadent profiles. Although robust, the Sam Smith is certainly far more modest than has become commonplace with the style. Still, it is a classic rendition of a more traditional, old-world example and should appreciated as such (...which is a very easy thing to do!)

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Photo of Sruds1
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Dzu
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 0.355l bottle into goblet.
L: Very dark brown (almost black) colour with a weak coffee-like foam head.
S: Cocoa beans, dark chocolate.
T: Bittersweet, dark fruits, raisin.
F: Very tight for that ABV, low carbonation.
O: Saturated taste, nice smell - excellent RIS!

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Photo of Ranz
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: In my snifter, this thing poured a ridiculous amount of head that looks more like mousse. Black as sin in color, it has that beautiful look any imperial stout ought to have.

S: Milky malts, french coffee, and slight caramel notes waft first. It's actually got a nice acridity to it. Is there even the faintest hint of lemongrass, too?

T: Roasted malt, toffee, earthy barley and spelt, all leading to a nice creamy thickness at the end.

M: It lingers on the palate, and it's smooth as butter going down.

O: This is pretty solid, and I got it for cheap at my local Central Market. This might have to be a go-to stout.

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Photo of Thrasher
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I tasted this side by side with Sam Smith's Taddy Porter, and the two brews are very similar. I will comment on the differences. This is the denser, thicker, more lustrous of the two, and the more alcoholic which is definitely noticeable right off the bat. In fact, it dispenses with the fruity, creamy, sweet character of the milder Taddy Porter for a spicier, more solid, and ultimately more satisfying experience. Because of its strength, it stands up better to the brewery's trademark clear glass bottle. (Why, Sam, why?) This beer will definitely weigh you down and is good for the end of the night.

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Photo of 13tido
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Hat_Fulla_Beer
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

550ml bottle poured into Sam Adams pint glass.

Pours a very dark brown with one fat finger of light brown head that leaves splashing ocean wave lace as it recedes.

Smells of dark fruit, licorice, molasses, chocolate and coffee grounds.

Tastes of molasses, sugared raisins, prunes, fig, dark chocolate, creamed coffee and mild herbal hops.

Feels like a Sam Smith beer, all right. Big and soft. Full bodied with smooth, creamy carbonation. Finishes dry.

Verdict: Vigorously recommended. Another knockout by my favorite English brewery.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown to black color. Thick beige head, with good retention. Some patchwork lace clings to the sides of the glass. Dark chocolate and coffee aroma, also suggestions of dark fruit and a hint of alcohol. Dark roasty flavor, and vinous. Fruityness is balanced by just enough hop bitterness. Alcohol is somewhat noticable. Medium to full body, with low carbonation. This beer is very well balanced and probably the best example of the style. Top notch!

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Photo of TheFightfan1
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Opague black with a very thick light brown heading that does stick around a while. Very impressive looking.

Smell is mostly of roasted malts. Some coffee notes as well as some black licorice. Heavy syrup-molasses aroma.

Taste is toasty to say the least. Some dark chocolate notes that mix well with a somewhat lactic sourness.Coffee and molasses barge in for a smooth finish.

Mouth is velevet like. Super smooth texture and a solid full body. Awesome carbonation tingles on the tongue. There is a lactic like gritiness left in the mouth afterwards.

A solid R.I.S. I must say easily available in all areas and a must trying for veterans and beginner's of the style.

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Photo of GuitarIPA
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of stratobastard
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of Spider889
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

For whatever reason Samuel Smith is everywhere, and yet I don't ever recall seeing this around town until yesterday. Bought this very cheap at From the Vine. ($3.99 I believe)

Pours a thick jet black, with a fast rising mocha colored head. Decent retention and thin veins of lace arching across my snifter.

Smells very rich. Decadent sweet dark chocolate and dense roasted barley. A little char in there from the malt, and toffee on the finish.

The flavor is very nice here. This is an excellent RIS brewed very classically. You first notice how sweet this is. Fudge brownie meets vanilla bean. Then there are notes of bitter black coffee. Roasted barley flavors finish the beer off with more bitterness and ash.

Very smooth, I wouldn't be surprised if there were some oats hiding in here. The alcohol isn't hidden from the flavor profile, but it's not really hot or anything.

Overall a wonderful beer. I really wish I could find this at every grocery store like all the other Samuel Smith offerings.

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Photo of stephen1162
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just finished drinking this beer from a 12 oz. bottle in a stemmed glass. I let it sit for about 30 minutes after pulling it from the fridge, so I imagine the temperature was about 50-55 degrees F.

Appearance was very nice: moderate head that lasted for about 1/2 the beer; nearly black in color; no yeast in the bottle.

Smell was typical for Imperial Stoudt; licorce, coffee, roasted smell.

The taste was very smooth, and was really enhanced by nibbling on some bitter-sweet chocolate chips while drinking the beer.

The mouthfeel was almost velvety, and in my opinion, considerably better then Victory's Imperial Stoudt.

I can't wait to sample the remaining 3 bottles from my 4-pack.

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Photo of seanyfo
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 edition, stored in a dark storeroom since novemeber 06.

Brought in the new year with this bad boy. Aggressive pour into my chimay chalice.

A- Jet black body with a mocha coffee 2 finger head, creamy with great retention. Im excited!

S- Roated malts, nuts, chocolates, vanilla, raisins

T- Lots of choclately roasted malts, vanilla, coffee, nuttiness in the finish.

M- Low carbonation, creamy

D- Fantastic, couldnt and wouldnt want to drink more than 2,one to savour!

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Photo of Sappyjoker
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of JTuomi
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of zeff80
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out black with a mocha colored, 4-finger head. It left lacing as I drank it.

S - It smelled of malt and coffee.

T - It had a roasted malt and bitter coffee flavor. I also noticed caramel amd toffee flavors.

M - It was soft and creamy. Heavy-bodied.

D - It is a very good Russian Imperial. Fortunately, it isn't as strong as some others in terms of ABV.

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Photo of hoegaardenhero
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

550ml bottle poured into snifter

a: deep black body that is completely solid with a tan/brown head that fades to eventually leave a centimeter of tan head that stays the duration

s: what hits my nose first is a sweet spicy coffee fragrance; hints of alcohol; some dark chocolate and darker fruits

t: strongest is the roast coffee malts; a hint of yeasty bitterness as well; floral hops; prunes and apples; strong sweet chocolate at finish; seriously complex flavor

m: thick w/ light carb; could maybe be just a teeny bit creamier

d: this is a great beer but it is not to be taken lightly; it is like a full meal both in terms of how much it fills you up and the complexity and strength of flavor; i have had this beer on numerous occasions and have never been able to finish the 550ml because i feel so stuffed after about 400ml
it is hard to believe it, but it has been approximately 6 years since I reviewed this beer and it has been aging in my cellar. Time for a review of Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout after 6 years:

a: the beer still pours a thick opaque black although it has some sort of burgundy highlights near the bottom of the glass that I don't remember from before. Same beautiful tan head that fades leaving a thin coating on the top of the glass that lasts for the whole experience. very light carbonation is visible in the black depths.

s: really fragrant; port and alcohol are the predominant aromas; dark prunes and raisins are present as well; chocolate;

t: chocolate and raisins are the predominant tastes; the raisiny sweetness lingers while some more roasted/burnt flavors come into the sip; overall, very sweet and smooth with a good blend; a lot sweeter than i remember, but very, very well balanced

m: incredibly smooth with very, very mild carbonation; creamy and silky; this may be the area that has improved the most.

d: in my opinion, this beer has improved and mellowed with age and as it last lost some of those burnt notes, it has gained some great fruity notes and really found a warm spicy balance.

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Photo of steverx8
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of Durge
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This pours into the pint glass a pretty black brown color with a fuzzy medium light brown head and solid lacing throughout. The aroma is a mild charcoal coffee blend, fairly bitter on the coffee side. The first taste brings out a sweet orange overtone on the charcoal base. Very nice on the taste buds. I pick up some gin-like qualities in the mild alcohol presence. As it warms I pick up more of a chocolate malt in the sweetness. It's quite drinkable for this style, midland body feel. Boy this goes good with cheese and hot pepper rings. I don't know that much more description is necessary, it's very solid, and not exactly like every other stout out there. This is consistent with the other Sam Smith mainstays I have enjoyed, a pleasure to drink on most any occasion.

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Photo of waughbrew
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Black black black is the color of this truly lovely beer. Small creamy light brown cap with great retention and lacing. Aroma is of tar, oats, raspberries, sourness, and acidity. The flavors are all subtle and blend wonderfully: Seems like a cross between a milk, an oatmeal, and an export stout. Smooth tobacco finishes with chocolate, dark fruit and a bit of acidic sting. I do find that overall there is a surprising lack of coffee, chocolate, and alcohol aromas and flavors. Compared to modern expectation of an Imperial stout, this is very mild, but complex nonetheless. Velvety texture. Quaffable.

Sam Smith products tend not to impress me much, but this beer is very good. However, I get a sense of polish on this brew that somehow comes across as being "over-produced" like a pop album. Perhaps it is because no flavors stick out much - there are no rough edges. When I want an imperial stout, I want the beer to take chances and be a little bolder. This is a nice, smooth brew that I will remember as a stronger sweet stout with very blended, subtle flavors.

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Photo of gatorsuf1
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a nice tan head. The lacing is incredible. Smells like dark cocoa and roasted espresso. This tastes amazing. So rich and sweet. Definitely a lactose type taste is coming through, like a milk stout. Still has the coffee and chocolate flavors, and there is also a hint of soy sauce. Carbonation is on the low side. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy, yet so smooth. This would be the perfect Imperial Stout if the ABV was a little higher. Another great beer from Sam Smith!

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Photo of yasky
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ngandhi
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big malt and calm ester nose; light phenols and hops, too -- what you'd hope for in an imperial. Licorice and currants, maybe?

The taste is of true, roasted malt. There's a caramel and chocolate backbone well supported by barley, a creamy sweetness, and a black patent bite. The hops are late to arrive in this brew, but are there. The residual sweetness adds a good body to the beer and is augmented by an estery hop accent like chocolate fondue. The cocoa elements, typically overpowering in a beer, are mellowed by the other malts. I suspect that a lot of the "black patent bite" is actually the hop bittering as this is an imperial stout. The finish, too, is largely chocolate and coffee, but it's put in its place to the point where this tastes more like a classic stout rather than an imperia; also, light cognac. The trademark Sammy Smith diacetyl works wonders here.

I can see the chocolate-covered raisins others have mentioned and as I think about it, it comes out more and more above the gums. This has so much in it, that whatever you think of will probably be there. Buy a few and let your imagination run wild.

The harsh qualities of big beers are nicely assuaged in this brew, but then this isn't all that big either.

As it warms, the depth of flavor comes to a head. The malts harmonize like a symphony that has played together for decades. Samuel Smith Imperial Stout isn't as inventive as Bell's Expedition, but perhaps a benchmark for the style en masse. Tradition meets excellence.

Relax, relax.

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
4.17 out of 5 based on 3,736 ratings.
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