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

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
3,730 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:
3,730
Reviews:
1,761
Avg:
4.17
pDev:
11.27%
 
 
Wants:
236
Gots:
522
For Trade:
3
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Ratings: 3,730 |  Reviews: 1,761
Photo of Sammy
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chicory roasted and not too coffee was a plus. Creamy and bit chewy-was that supposed to be? Nice carbonation.
Had another bottle 21 months later and now I very much appreciate its smoothness. A bit acidic and oily, a perfect roast and brown colour. Fresh batch.

 263 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%

Photo of Texasfan549
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with just the slightest tinges of dark brown when held up to the light. Head was 1 inch that fades to a small cap. Lacing is spotty and random on the glass. Smell is of roasted malt, overripe dark fruit, and soy sauce. Taste is of bitter chocolate, burnt coffee, and slight dark fruit essence. There is a lingering roasty taste on the tongue after each sip. Good carbonation and rich mouthfeel. Not too thick or thin. Drinkability is good and the price point on this beer will lend itself to an easy buy again.

 528 characters

Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -28.1%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

a fantastic rendition of an English version Russian imperial stout. textbook really. the pour is thicker and darker, but some light can still enter, and the head is sudsy and lasting, just off white. the nose is bittersweet, with plenty of chocolate malt and pushing burnt bitterness. in terms of flavor, the first sip or two are by far the best. vanilla and cocoa together, but not as intense as some American versions. the malt is really allowed to shine here, and glorious woody bitter notes come through thick and creamy. it gets a little thinner and washed out as it moves along, but its still damn good. chocolate and light bittering hops kick in on the back end. plenty drinkable, at a lower abv for the style and a really smooth texture. not nearly as full bodied as they come on this side of the pond, this is a brew I could have several or more of, and could easily be a regular in my refrigerator. I have no complaints other than a slightly underwhelming carbonation presence and it getting a little watery as it warms, but that's me being annoying. one of the best sam smith beers, which is definitely saying something.

 1,131 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Knapp85
4.34/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This was quite a surprise. I knew the beer would be dark when I bought it but I hadn't noticed that it was in a clear bottle! When I picked it up I thought it was black or brown glass. It wasn't till I starting pour this that I noticed it was a clear bottle. So with that the color of the beer is very dark black. The head is tiny and its a brown color, it fades very fast. The aroma is of burnt sugar and malts, also heavily roasted. The flavor of this beer is reflective of the aromas. There is abig roasted malt kick and settles into a sweeter aftertaste. The mouthfeel was a little light I think, but overall this a pretty good brew.

 637 characters

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of metter98
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger high dense tan head that quickly died down and left lacing on the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of roasted malts in the nose along with some hints of raisins and other dark fruits.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and has flavors of roasted malts and raisins. There are some hints of bittersweet chocolate.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. There are hints of dryness in the finish.
O: For its style, this beer is very easy to drink because it's relatively light bodied and the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

 649 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is the best balanced stout that I have ever had. i used to drink this beer regularly, but then was lured away by many stouts that have bolder flavors. Recently revisiting this brew makes me wonder why I have been away for so long. The stout has a very bold roasted quality with a light bitterness due to the black malts and light hopping. Has a layered cocoa, coffee, and milk flavors for added complexity. The beer, though bold and strong, is never intimidating, domineering, or aggressive. Moderately sweet with a rich and complex robustness. Properly brewed and well aged. Full and rich to the texture with a silky, creamy flow. Finishes extremely clean for such sweetness, texture, and roastedness. A slight hint of lactose sugars and a minty note adds a delicacy to the finish. A beautiful beer.

 805 characters

Photo of biboergosum
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

550ml bottle, at the Metro Pool Hall, working my way through their commendable fridge(s).

This beer pours a nice inky black, with very slight red edges, and three fingers of puffy, foamy, and extravagantly bubbly chocolate milk brown head, which damned-near coats the glass as it genially recedes.

It smells strongly and evenly of dark chocolate, caramel malt, toffee candy, edgy black fruit, oxidized red wine, a touch of black licorice, and faint earthy, weedy hops. The taste is semi-sweet milk chocolate, gritty caramel/toffee malt, subtle and indistinct sour black fruit, surprisingly prominent cola and anise notes, a wisp of woodsmoke, and mild earthy hops.

The carbonation is generally quite understated, the body a stocky, solid medium weight, and silky smooth, with suggestions of creaminess. It finishes on the sweet side, with more chocolate, roast, and touched fruit.

As it warms, I get a strong semblance of boozy hot chocolate, which would make it, I imagine, a lovely apr├Ęs-whatever sipper, be it with dessert, or more robust cold weather activity. I'm sure the tsarina had experience with both, in spades.

 1,129 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of kojevergas
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

33cl brown glass bottle served into an EKU 28 snifter at the Kortrijk train station (I was on the go). Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a one finger tan colour head of wonderful cream lacing, great thickness, and standard retention for the ABV. Colour is a solid black.

Sm: Caramel, chocolate, roast, coffee, toffee, vanilla, and cream. Rich and decadent.

T: Heavy caramel lacing weaves through a lightly roasted barley body. Hops are those that support the flavours from the nose with the exception of coffee. It's really quite nicely layered. Complex and brilliant.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with adequate coarseness but not enough dryness for the style. It matches the flavours almost perfectly.

Dr: With a fairly high ABV, a very good price (~2.70 euro in Switzerland), and incredible drinkability, it's a brilliantly done stout that I'd definitely have again.

I don't know that it's a good candidate for aging on account of its ABV (which is a bit low).

3.98

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11.28.14: Truncated notes. 7.0% ABV. Classy iconic label art. Gold foil-ed over pry-off pressure cap. 550ml brown glass bottle.

Served cold into a Guinness goblet in high altitude Castle Rock, CO. Reviewed live as an imperial stout per the label. Served chilled and allowed to warm over the course of consumption.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Four fingers wide. Khaki colour. Creamy, nicely thick, soft-looking, plump, and supple. Retains well - for about 5-6 minutes. Smooth and rolling.

BODY: Opaque black. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Quite appealing overall, but nevertheless typical for the style.

AROMA: Fresh intoxicating Belgian chocolate. Soft chocolate malk, lactose sugar, cream, and a hint of roast. Hints of dark fruit - mainly plum and prune. It's soft, light, and incredibly inviting. I can't wait for the first sip. An exquisite aroma of above average strength. Fantastic.

I find no burnt, coffee, yeasty, or off characteristics.

TASTE: Extravagant dark fruit - plum and prune - blends immaculately with soft Belgian chocolate, milky lactose sugar, and pleasant cream to form an incredibly well-balanced flavour profile with plenty of subtlety.

TEXTURE: Smooth, supple, soft, wet, silky, and fantastically creamy. Excellent overall presence on the palate. Full-bodied, ideally thick, and not too viscous or heavy. Really elevates the beer.

OVERALL: Absolutely a classic in the style, but not a reigning champion. This is a beer that must be tried by any fan of the style, but since its introduction it's been eclipsed by more daring bold brews. In any case, it's a touchstone and a paragon, and ought to be regularly revisited if only to calibrate one's imperial stout barometer. Extremely drinkable, and always enjoyable, Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout is ludicrously good.

B+

 2,812 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an obsidian black with a nice mocha head; nice retention and lacing

Smell: Roasted malt, dark fruit (figs and prunes), some bittersweet chocolate and a nice whiff of rum

Taste: Starts out with a combination of roasty malt and dark fruit (raisin, date and prune), with the hops adding a bitter element by mid-palate; after the swallow, the roasty, fruity and chocolate flavors predominate into a complex finish that provides point and counter-point

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation and a hint of warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: I've come around to this one over time and have re-reviewed this while maintaining the original review date; I now appreciate the complexity and restraint in this version compared to the production of some of the American craft brewers

 810 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.55/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black body, mahogany brown as it's poured. Tan foam that manages to stick around. Minor strands of lacing here and there.

When the stout is first poured, there's a strange yet interesting balsamic vinegar undertone, with black olive. It's also slightly metallic, which lended itself to these aromas. There was also some dark fruit like plum or raisin. No trace of alcohol.

Flavor is plummy, with an earthy roast that creeps out halfway through. Some carob or chocolate syrup, not exactly pure. Low astringency, medium level of carbonation. Not especially sweet or bitter, it's fairly mild feeling. It's easily drinkable and enjoyable, but overall not that remarkable.

 671 characters

Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a opaque black beer with a medium dark brown head with minimal retention. Aroma is quite incredible and consists of pure black chocolate, roasted malt and some coffee. Taste is also quite a treat with the chocolate hitting first (without too much sweetness) and followed by the roasted malt and coffee to finish the whole thing. Very well balance with limited bitterness, which probably makes it one truly good dessert beer. Wow!!!

 446 characters

Photo of largadeer
3.55/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Black, slight transparency as it thins. Pours with about an inch of frothy brown head.

Smell - Vinous, subdued dark chocolate sweetness, notes of dark fruit, burnt bread and anise.

Taste - Black licorice, toast, molasses and dark chocolate. Deep roasted notes and a red wine-like drying bitterness come out in the finish. Medium-bodied and moderately carbonated. Nicely balanced.

Notes - A very approachable Russian Imperial Stout - it's warming but not overly heavy or bitter, and it still has plenty of character. That said, I'd take Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout over this any day.

 600 characters

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
4.17 out of 5 based on 3,730 ratings.
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