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

3,757 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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,757 |  Reviews: 1,769
Photo of CaptJackHarkness
2.65/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured deep dark brown body with thin dark beige head. head lasted 15 seconds.Slight lacing of glass.
Choco-coffee dark rotting fruit smell.

The bottle tells me it is brewed with well water from a well first used in 1758. It tastes as if they forgot to filter the mud out from the water!! Too bitter, burnt coffee. I am going to pour out the rest. (My sink is becoming an alchoholic!). I am giving up on Russian Imperial's!!

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Photo of plumcrazyfx
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of BearsDitkaBears
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of corzocl
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Photo of Elfastball7
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Photo of EmmetD
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Photo of BobZ
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of sbricker
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of nanobrew
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of dnh2
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of justintcoons
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of bombadil
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.36/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a coffee black. The head is a pillow of dark cream, awesome head retention -- it doesn't dissipate at all. Nice sticky lacing. The aroma is that of bitter chocolate, raisins, and burnt malts. The taste is wonderful as it mimics the aroma: bitter chocolate, a hint of sweet raisins, mellow roasted malts, and a nice dry finish. The mouthfeel is just light enough and it's very drinkable at 7% ABV. Overall, and exceptional brew. It's delicious, looks good, and is very smooth. Highly recommended.

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Photo of tkelley
3.65/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

550 mL bottle poured into a dimpled mug.

Dark body, pillowy brown head that dissipated quickly. A thin layer of foam stayed around for quite a while.

Smelled liked dark sugar (think brown sugar, rum, or molasses). Taste was very similar, but also had noticeable fruit tones and tasted a lot like the burnt/almost burnt underside of homemade bread -- the part that was touching a pan and got a little too brown. That was mostly in the back of the tongue. The front was roasted malts and english hops (not spicy or bitter, but... just there).

It gave me a nice warm feeling. I didnt keep this in the fridge when I bought it today, but rather stuck it in my cabinet under the counter. It looked really thick and viscous when it poured into the glass, but it didnt feel too thick when drunk. There was noticeable carbonation, but not too much. You could leave it in your mouth for a while without getting that bubbly feeling on your tongue.


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Photo of greenborn
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was yet another beer recommended to me by a brewer friend of mine that knew I was into English Ales. This was a pretty good beer. Much more flavorful than the Fullers ESB or Belhaven Wee Heavy but just as good but not as smooth. The flavor was more complex than most of the English ales I have had but more malty and less hoppy. The color was dark and rich just as its flavor. I found this beer to be great with a white/milk chocolate and/or cheese- oddly. Good to drink- better with food.

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Photo of jegross2
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing a Samuel Smith Imperial Stout by Samuel Smith Old Brewery.
Score: 94

2011 vintage bottle served in a brandy snifter.

Appearance: A finger's length of fizzy heady pours and subsides into a thin blotchy tan lace. The color is as dark brown/black as midnight, and no light even pretends to permeate through. 4/5

Smell: A very sweet, vanilla-extract nose. Faint dark rum and unsweetened dark chocolate notes. I go back and forth as to if I smell faint oak flavors, though that might just be the vanilla. 4.5/5

Taste: Very complex, malty and balanced. Flavor toggles between sweet/dark chocolate, and then smoky roasted coffee. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: A viscous, sticky beer. Slightly foamy, and the finish is of delectable coffee breath. 4.5/5

Overall: Wow. This is light in alcohol, but big in flavor. This beer is super smooth, and certainly one of the better Russian Imperial Stouts I have had to date.

Recommendation: This is one of the better beers I have ever had the pleasure to drink. This would be a great first Russian Imperial Stout to drink in order to get into the style, as the flavors are less aggressive and more balanced than some other Russian Imperial Stouts.

Pairings: Dark meats or chocolate dessert.

Cost: $3.99 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

 1,270 characters

Photo of JohnWaynes44
4.76/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big frothy pour, almost black. Huge thick head dark tan in the middle fading to darker brown on the edge. Nose is faint. I pick up alcohol, coffee. On to the taste. Can't get here quick enough. This is so good, every time. Coffee and dark, charred mocha and sweet toffee are blended perfectly. Finishes with bitter smoke. Mouth is very creamy and dense with just the right amount of carbonation. This is such a classic. It is different than any imperial by U.S. Just... done right and consistently great. The standard in my opinion, as is many from this brewer. Long live the Tadcaster!

 586 characters

Photo of seesnow3
2.23/5  rDev -46.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Shot glass-flight, unknown freshness

Pour-Dark brown with black tint, tiny effervescence and a good amount of it, light lacing, some head retention but not much.

Nose-Huge fruity nose, very familiar scent, after hearing the word Twizzlers I 100% agree, so it must be an artificial cherry kind of flavor.

Palate-Very sweet, some sour, some bitter. Red licorice, very fruity, some roast, off caramel flavor.

Body-Full, heavy, creamy. Don’t like this beer at all, the flavors are not for me.

 495 characters

Photo of KajII
3.88/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

[Best served in a snifter]

The pour was a deep dark murky black with a large (2-3 finger) light brown rocky head that lasted a decent while leaving behind some really nice residue floating on top thus producing some really excellent lacing.

The aroma was wonderfully robust with a burnt dark bread malt and a mild sweet leathery yeast with notes of dark chocolate, dark roasted coffee, licorice, some dark fruit and a hint of molasses.

The taste was lightly sweet and malty with a hint of chocolate from the onset then became a mild bitter sweet with a nice note of coffee at the end with the flavor lasting a nice long while proceeding the swallow.

Mouthfeel was nice a full in body and rather creamy and a tad dry in texture with a mild carbonation.

Overall a superb Imperial Stout, very easy to drink and very enjoyable on the taste buds.

 846 characters

Photo of tito42
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 550 mL bottle to an imperial pint. Bottling date was smudged off of this bottle.

A: Very dark, nearly opaque black. A few rays of light make it through if held up to the light and are cola in color. Active carbonation with a thick cocoa head with great retention and lacing. What a nice stout should look like.

S: Chocolate, prunes, oak barrels, and a strong vanilla extract presence. Slight hints of coffee, rum, and cane sugar.

T: Roasted barley up front, and the coffee flavor comes through much more in the taste department, holding down the middle. Prunes, molasses, hops, and biscuity yeast bring up the rear. Chocolate hints throughout. Well balanced and very, very tasty.

M: Smooth, medium bodied, with just a touch of a hops finish and a bit of spritz from the carbonation. Just a tad bit of dryness after the finish. A little on the thin side of stouts. A nice alcohol warmth, holds its ABV well.

O: Just a notch below the best I've had, but much more attainable. A wonderful find for me on International Stout Day. I'll definitely be coming back to this one!

 1,086 characters

Photo of ehammond1
3.61/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5


Holiday Wine Cellar
Escondido, CA

Black as can be with a thick, persistent light brown head. Sheets and dots of lacing are left down the glass. Perfection!

An interesting aroma for an imperial stout: roasted malt, milk chocolate, and graham cracker crumbles. It's interesting and quite intoxicating.

The flavor isn't nearly as nice as the aroma, unfortunately. There's simply not a ton here: roasted malt, light chocolate, and a bit of sugary sweetness, but not much else.

Thin to medium bodied with low carbonation.

This was really disappointing (because I had such high expectations). While this is gorgeous and quite aromatic, it just doesn't do it for me in either the taste or mouthfeel departments. While certainly a decent big stout, I won't feel like I'm missing out if I don't ever have this again--which is too bad, because I was hoping I'd love this stuff--it's so inexpensive!

 901 characters

Photo of gopens44
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Darkest brown without being full on black with a generously thick creamy head that takes on the color of an Arby's Jamocha shake. The lacing is a sheet of foam that runs evenly around the entire glass.

S - Dark chocolate aroma doesn't allow for too much else in the nose. Perhaps something fruity, as in dark fruit.

T - Dark chocolate follows to the tongue with a raisin or plum characteristic. A touch of heat towards the end, but bitter chocolate still prevails

M - Smooth, creamy and medium body. Decent carbonation with little aftertaste, other than bitter chocolate.

O - Quite a nice little drinker this is. Well balanced, not excessively heavy, and it isn't too demanding.

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Photo of Scotchboy
3.68/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz (from the UK?) bottle poured into a Snake River pint glass.

A: Good dark black body with brown & ruby highlight...2 fingers of dark khaki colored head; rocky and foamy, it leaves behind some lace.

S: Dark fruit and astringent (soy?) sweetness...maybe some woody notes, and coffee underneath that with an herbal character.

T: Dark fruit tang upfront with a flash of toffee...roast after that, and it finishes with some coffee bitterness but I feel like this is a pretty lightly hopped RIS.

MF: Moderate body, creamy mouthfeel, decent carbonation.

O: Not my favorite flavor profile...decent, but I prefer more roast, coffee, hop/earthiness, etc.

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Photo of Damian
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Drank from a 12 fl. oz./355 ml bottle purchased at Julio's Liquors, Westboro, MA
Served in a snifter

The liquid appeared much thinner and lighter in color than your average Russian imperial stout, but it made up for this shortcoming with an attractive, bubbly, light brown, two-finger head. Excellent retention. The crown faded to a thick, lasting ring of froth. Streaks of lacing cascaded down the glass.

The nose was fantastically rich and complex. Dark fruit notes were quite apparent. Raisins, figs and plums were most noticeable. There was a definite bourbon-like presence, which was surprising considering that this beer is neither bourbon-aged nor high in alcohol. Lots brown sugar sweetness. Powdered cocoa notes were detectible. A bit of roast. Overall, quite smooth and balanced. The aroma became even more robust and complex with time. Port-like notes appeared as well.

Dark fruits again came through strong in the flavor profile. Lots of deep roast. Rich and malty yet quite dry. Brown sugar was noticeable. Some dark chocolate and cold black coffee. Notes of char came through on the dry, slightly smoky finish. Some hops were detectible as well. As the beer warmed, the flavor profile became smoother and more robust. Nevertheless, this was definitely one of the most quaffable Russian imperial stouts I have sampled.

The mouthfeel was the only real letdown. It was very thin for the style. The liquid contained a moderately spritzy effervescence that seemed a bit distracting.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout is a unique take on this now ubiquitous style. Although it may not be as intense as many of the monster stouts brewed today, it it impressive nonetheless. All in all, I found this beer to be refreshing both literally and figuratively.

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Photo of jeranbrews
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Beautiful! Dark body the color of flakes of bitter-sweet chocolate and black coffee. A gorgeous dark burgundy head of khaki and black cherry. Super strong lacing like shaving cream hills. Lovely.

S - Sweet mildly smokey. Some liquid malt smells like a lightly toasted chocolate pastry. Tiny puffs and hints of hoppy leafs. Like those treats they sell in SE Asia wrapped in banana leaves palm leaves.

T - This is nice. Bitter roasted sweet. Sorghum and caramel dipped coffee muffins. Initial palate is cool and minty then sweet and full, then aftertaste is slightly alcohol burn. Maybe the only problem.

M - So smooth and creamy. Like a honey milkshake. Refreshing to no end. Slight alcohol burn might be off putting for some, but it's not a deal breaker.

D - Sam Smith boys know about beer. They deliver once again, in a refreshing smooth beer that is both filling and hearty and at the same time light and playful. Could drink this until my feet give out from under me.

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
4.17 out of 5 based on 3,757 ratings.
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