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

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1,745 Reviews
Samuel Smith's Imperial StoutSamuel Smith's Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
United Kingdom (England)

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: 1,745 | Ratings: 3,666
Photo of Mikus
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%

This was very good. Some interesting toffee notes, etc on the nose, however the deep, full flavors and dark roasty nightmares I expect in an RIS were a bit lacking. That said, this is a really nice beer, and I would definitely drink again (esp. if I were out of my homebrewed RIS!).

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Photo of beerdedking
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

I suppose I've been ruined by American Imp Stouts weighing in at 10% ABV and higher. My first time with
this one, and I've been left wanting more. It's great, no doubt, with sweet toasted malt and dark fruit hitting home.
I like it. It's great. But I passed up an Expedition Stout in my fridge to have it, and there's where I went wrong.
I would gladly have this again, but I'd say think of this as a bigger single porter or a smaller imp stout...

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Photo of at7000
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Second time I have bought this. English "bomber" sized bottle. Raisin to the extreme, even prune juice. That sounds horrid, but this is indeed a great beer. Definitely works. The Brits know what they are doing I suppose, after all those years. I'm an IPA guy and still like this one. Like a Guinness Stout that has some extreme flavors going on. Intense. Complex. Nuff said.

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Photo of TimZebGir
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%

A: Black, barely perceptible ruby when held up to light, foamy, well-retained head (3/3)
S: Lots of chocolate, alcohol, raisin throughout (10/12)
T: Imperial, lot of sweet maltiness in beginning, roasty, light chocolate undertones, and light metallic/astringent on finish (15/20)
F: Very bubbly and light, pretty dry finish (3/5)
O: The longer it lingered on the palate, the more I got used to it, but the body was surprisingly light in comparison to the flavor, and left it a little hollow therefore. (7/10)

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Photo of Immortale25
3.97/5  rDev -4.8%

Poured into a Funky Buddha Brewery snifter. Bottleneck says SE12N1.

A- Pours a 99% opaque black color with an 1/8 inch dark tan head that immediately fades to a paper-thin ring around the edge of the glass and the faintest specs of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves small clots behind.

S- Quite sweet-smelling with notes of dark roast, wood and raisin.

T- The sweetness continues and the raisin notes are even more apparent here. Almost tastes like a barleywine with its dark fruit complexity however it's not very boozy. Biscuity, buttery and, once again, woody.

M- Dry and slightly chalky with medium-low carbonation and a full body.

O- Although I like the Oatmeal Stout better, this one is quite enjoyable as well. A lot different than the American RIS's out there with its high level of sweetness and what is likely English yeast.

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Photo of Gear54
4.71/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From a 550ml bottle into a pint glass.

A: pitch black with zero light penetration. Two fingers of thick kaki head with amazing thick lace. I have never seen a stout stick to a glass as well as this one.

S: roasted malts and dark chocolate. I don't pick up any hops what so ever.

T: follows the smell well. Roasty dark chocolate with some carmel undertone. Absolutely no hop bitterness to offset the malt.

M: thick on every swig with lots of head and heavy on the tung.

O: this is my opinion of a great IS. Not my favorite but one hell of a good beer.

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Photo of Admbmb92
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

550ml bottle poured into Bruery snifter. Bottle date is June 17 2013.
A-oil black with mocha brown head. Great lacing.
S-chocolate, cherry, vanilla, coffee, very sweet aromas. Very nice.
T- follows up with aroma. Lots of sweet chocolate, incredibly smooth. No hop bitterness which is a plus for me.
M- full bodied and sticky. Insanely smooth, head makes it all the way down to the bottom of the glass.
O-perfect imperial stout, aged very well no offensive or off flavors. Would pair great with vanilla Ice cream

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Photo of EvoRich
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look: Pours pitch black with about two fingers of head. Head actually sticks around for awhile, but does eventually reduce to a small layer.

Smell: Carmel, brown sugar, some dark fruits, cherry, chocolate. A lot going on here!

Taste: Not quite as good as I was hoping, but still excellent. Not as sweet as the smell.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied. Very smooth. Just the right amount of carbonation.

Overall: A little let down by the flavor. and I must say, the flavor is the biggest factor in a beer to me. But, just because I was a little let down does not mean this is not a good beer. I always get excited about an RIS and always expect the world. RIS's always score big with me, and this is no exception.

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Photo of fscottkey
2.68/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Jet black with 1 finger head that quickly disapates.

S: Dark fruit and licorice

T: Malts, raisins and dark fruits. Sweet finish with no bitter taste at all.

M: Not as sily or smooth as I would expect.

O: Nose is weak for an Imerial Stout. The mouthfeel is watery for an I.S. I prefer a coffee or chocolate forward I.S.

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Photo of leantom
4.69/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm very happy that I bought this. Here goes:

A: A dark black that lets no light through - completely opaque. The beers pours a small brown head that leaves plenty of lacing upon consumption (good protein content). Lovely, but not that impressive for the realm of imperial stouts.

S: Exquisite. Lots of brown sugar, caramel, toffee and milk chocolate at the forefront, but can also detect many dark fruits like plums and raisins. Emphasis on the milk chocolate bit. Can't detect any hops and the English brewer's yeast is also imperceptible (which is to be expected; it's not a Belgian ale).

T: Taste follows the nose. Lots of dark malt leading to an obvious chocolatey flavor profile, but there's also a lot of raisins and plums that linger in the aftertaste. Rather, the initial taste is one of robust chocolate but this gives way to darker, sweeter fruit. Very nice and well balanced interplay of dark fruit and chocolate.

M: Nice. Decently carbonated and well-rounded thickness/creaminess.

O: A very nice, well-balanced stout bursting with chocolate and dark fruit.

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Photo of DanielMB
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was not a typical imperial stout. It has a good look, but the smell and taste is overwhelmingly choclately, with little of the hoppy roastiness that typical RIS boasts. Some of this may be the result of the unusually low ABV of 7%. It is still a very good beer, but anyone looking to buy this would be well-advised to purchase a single first if he can. I bought an entire 4-pack for $10 at Total Wine, and it just hasn't really panned out for me.

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

Pours opaque dark brown in glass, with a head of two fingers dark brown head which dissipates.

Smells of malt, and yeast (slight sour) coke, dark liquorice, malt.

Taste of malt, yeast, emanthal cheese, and dark coffee. Slight bitterness at the end which dissipates. As it warms, becomes more chocolatey and slightly sweeter. Cherries at times, and red wine.

Low carbonation. Feel of sharp carbonation comes first with no taste, then dissipates to nothing as it passes smoothly, its smooth moderately heavy body over the tongue.

Nothing like this I’ve had, thick texture, rich textured aromas and flavours, and a great history to go with it. Would give it 8.5 out of 10. Goes well with pork rinds.

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Photo of janubio
4.65/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

335 ml. bottle. Pours an opaque black clour, with a tan head that lasts forever and leaves a ring all around the glass. Smell is impressive: chocolate is predominant, but there's caramel, dark fruits, port wine, vanilla, liquorice, and ome coffee. Taste is more or less the same, chocolate everywhere, with coffeemore noticeable than in the nose, caramel, dark fruits and vanilla. The only that doesn´t do it justice, IMO is the medium body and thin palate. Anyway, a great beer.

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Photo of Bizz88
3.81/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out into a standard pint glass, non-cloudy, deep, dark, almost black mahogany. 1 + inch foamy caramel head. Burnt malts with dark chocolate undertones with a slight alcohol esters permeated on the nose, as did the palate with this medium heavy on the tongue Imperial Stout. The 7 % ABVs served well for my perchance for high octane brews. Thought not over the top in that category. A foam lace of the entire glass of this consumption. As expected, a quality

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Photo of chogm54
3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

355mL bottle purchased from a local imported beer store. Annoyingly noticed when I got home that the best before date was June 2013. Luckily the store had been storing the beer in almost cellar like conditions (cool, dark), so i decided to give it a go.

A - black, so black that its almost opaque. Pours a thin, brown head.

S - Whoomph! like christmas pudding - dark fruits and a strong port, mixed with liqourice. A bit overwhelming and hard to get away from.

T - sweet coffee with strong roasted malts coming in halfway. Earthy yeasts in the background. Slightly acidic aftertaste - Kind of like flat cola.

M - full and creamy body, low carbonination, feels rich and hearty.

O - very good, the coffee and roasted malts are very warming, and the mouthfeel is perfect for a stout. The smell put me off, as I am not an aniseed fan. Stay clear if its hot summer months, this is the winter warmer!

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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 Bone53
3.74/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a snifter at around 55°F

Appearance: Dark pour with a thin tan head. Black as can be with no light coming through.

Smell: Dark fruit, light roasted malt, classic SS yeast character

Taste: Nice balance of lightly roasted and subtle sweet malts, yeast, and bittering hops

Mouthfeel: light medium body, and watery for an imperial stout; Moderately bitter finish

Overall: I could see this being mind blowing before the existence of American craft beer, but now it seems weak in aroma, taste, mouthfeel, and abv for an imperial stout. I respect their tradition, but in this day and age they need to reclassify this as a regular stout and brew a real imperial. I dont even think this is a good value anymore at $5 for a 18.7 oz bottle. You're much better off grabbing a four pack of Old Rasputin or the like

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Photo of archyquaffer
4.6/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I love the label on this beer- ornate, black and white, pictures of all their medals of yore, and includes a variation on the Yorkshire rose symbol. It looks like something straight out of the 19th century.

Poured from a 18.7 ounce narrow necked bottle into a shaker pint. A moderate pour produces about 2 inches of frothy, billowing sticky and semi-stiff head. The beer is very dark brown, bordering on black. When I drink a little down and fill it up again, the last ounce or two causes the head to billow up again.

I get a lovely sweet mineral and malt aroma right off the bat- best beer aroma ever. Tons of complexity are evident in the flavor-aromas, including distinct dark cherry, chocolate, plum, coffee, nut, chocolate, and a slight leafy note reminiscent of celery. A fruity, spicy tang is quite apparent, particularly when you draw the foam off the top. This lightly sweet tang lingers into the aftertaste to balance some bitterness. Bitterness is relatively low in comparison to a stout brewed in the U.S., but it is subtle, and complements and even draws forth the malt flavors rather than hiding or overwhelming them. Not as chewy as many stouts are, and completely lacking in the over-the-top hop or extremely bitter, stale, burnt coffee flavors found in some American stouts.

I think yeast and mineral water are doing some unique things here. I wonder what chorus of little, beneficial bugs inhabit those Yorkshire squares? It's interesting to note, as I found out with a little online searching, that the Yorkshire Square process developed from early 18th century research on the absorption of gases into liquids. These squares are made of slate, which is known for its thermal stability and chemical inertness.

This is a classic and very accessible beer, and perhaps the best beer available in my area (and actually kinda cheap!). It is very unique and complex, and should be savored. I gotta remember to load up on this at Christmastime. Cheerio!

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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

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Photo of Ohiolager
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Samuel smith's imperial stout 550 ML brown bottle $3.49(OH)

no freshness date. i looked over and over again. just some codes on the neck (SH27M1) fresh beer only revealed it was bottled on 8-27-2013. and stouts have great shelf lives. should be good until 8-27-2014.

poured into a pint glass. pours jet black, almost zero light comes through. leaves a three finger super thick head, that stays around for ages. nice silky bubbles are pressed up against the glass by the thick tan head.lots of clingy spider web lacing leaves a desirable look.

it smells rather strong for 7% ABV, i smell strong malts followed by coffee, caramels and chocolates. the aroma is very roasted/toasted and inviting.

the taste is rather mellow, heavy roasted malts followed by a coffee blast with a touch of warmth. a slight taste of chocolate and caramels. the end taste is of that of cocoa and naturally is a tad bitter.

the mouth feel is medium bodied and feels creamy with only a hint of carbonation. has that strong stout feel and aftertaste.

overall this is an excellent stout. i have no real complaints, however decoding that date in the store could be a problem. and if it was old i would take it back, being an inconvenience. a great imperial stout being more towards the light side, ABV wise.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.09/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed out of a 16.9 oz bottle with gold foil concealing the neck and cap and no bottling date that I can discern. Poured into a 50 cL glass stein with a textured exterior. A listed ABV of 7% reveals in interesting juxtaposition between this beer's name and the ever-increasing use of "Imperial" in modern parlance to mean above 7.5% alcohol. I've had this many times in the past, but decided to finally record my enjoyment for posterity (or something).

Appearance - A moderately aggressive pour yields a two-finger head the color of mocha tan, dense and creamy looking, with lots of microbubbles and a meringue-like surface until some pocking starts to show. Beneath the pie topping head sits a body of jet black, hinting at shades of dark taupe when held immediately in front of the light. Head retains for a bit before slinking down and settling as a thick film across the surface, leaving silky, but short-lived sheets of lace that fade away completely after awhile.

Smell - A rich blend of roasted malt and bittersweet chocolate notes along with dark, dried fruit and licorice. To me, the most dominant elements are the roasted component and licorice--the other aromas are mere complementary players. Dark fruit comprised of dates, prunes, but fleeting and mostly overpowered by the strong roasted notes, bordering on char.

Taste - Pleasantly bitter baker's chocolate and more roasted malt, like burnt toast are the standard-bearers for the flavor. There is a slight malty sweetness at first with each sip, but it quickly makes way for a more lingering espresso-like bitterness. Not much--if any--in the way of hop characteristics, which is just fine by me. To my palate, a generous presence of hops can confuse the flavor for this style.

Mouthfeel - Chewy and luscious medium-to-heavy body with moderate, creamy carbonation and a slightly viscous mouthfeel. Lingering bitterness in the aftertaste.

Overall, a fantastic beer from an English brewery that I just love. Proof positive that a Russian Imperial Stout doesn't need loads of alcohol content to have tons of flavor and interest-generating potential. And this one is great in that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. It's a wonderful thing that you can just go to most respectable beer stores and grab this one off the shelf. In fact, you should do it if you haven't.

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Photo of beholder_pl
4.56/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: pitch black with thick tan head that drops slowly and marks the glass nicely.

Aroma: mostly dark chocolate and coffee, a bit roasty and malty. Some fruity sweetness in the back. Aroma is not very intense, but not weak as well. This is a classic imperial stout, so there's nothing wrong.

Taste: first comes dark chocolate, than coffee, which is a bit acidic, than average roastiness. Malty, rather sweet and averagely bitter.

Mouthfeel: full bodied, oily, very soft carbonation, almost flat.

Overall: Highly recommended to every stout and imperial stout lover out there. Classic, great beer.

Enjoyed from a snifter glass.

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Photo of chinchill
4.34/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

550 ml bottle served in a goblet.
Pours dark chocolate in color, nearly black in the glass, with a decent, semi-durable tan head.

Aroma: complex; rich; appealing; balanced.

Has a rich, malty flavor with just the right amounts of sweetness, bitterness and 'coffee'. Great balance and blend of flavors. Lasting aftertaste of coffee and dark roasted grains.

Feel: full, creamy smooth body with perfect carbonation.

O: not innovative but world class nonetheless!

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Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: poured from a 550 ml bottle into a pint glass, dark brown with a large dark tan head that lingers leaving good lacing, clear

S: brown sugar, caramel, slight bourbon, vanilla, very sweet

T: very nice flavor, not as sweet as the nose, coffee, chocolate, brown sugar, toasted malt, finish bitters with British hop flavor noticeable

M: thinner and less oily than expected alcohol well hidden, slightly higher carbonation

O: an old brew that is still very good, it isn't the aggressive American version of the style, flavors are more subtle and controlled

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Photo of Nostrajonus
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Black pour with a two finger creamy tan head that is amazing.

S-Roasted barley and with hints of dark chocolate and hops.

T- Rich malts and dark chocolate. The hops are there too, but in the background. Complex and well put together.

M- Creamy smoothness. This drinks really well.

O- Had this before, and will have it again. Drinks very well, full bodied flavor, reasonably priced.

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
4.17 out of 5 based on 3,666 ratings.
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