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 riored4v
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 1/29/11

Poured in to a pint. Good 1.5 finger head, pitch black body. Head was dark tan.

Smell was estery and a bit off/weird. Very mild roast Good amount of sweetness. Strong raisin.

Taste had strong raisin and ester presence. Very mild roast with a good amount of sweetness. Some yeasty/english presence with a very light bitterness. Some chocolate notes as well.

Mouthfeel had a medium/light body. Light carb, slightly sticky finish.

Drinkability was decent. Lots of ester and raisin. Even splitting the bottle, 1 was enough.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a pitch black with a very impressive 3 fingers worth of brown head that leaves great lacing

S: Extremely malty with hints of dark chocolate

T: Same as the smell, a definite malt bomb. The dark chocolate is nicely toned down. Not complex by any means, but still tastes great

M: Heavy body with a decent amount of carbonation. Very smooth, not watery at all

D: Low abv in terms of imperial stouts go, I'd love to make this one a session beer. Like most SS beers, there's not much complexity to it, but it is damn good

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Photo of BeardedRiker
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The last time I drank a Samuel Smith's was about a year ago. They were some of the beers that made me start to get into good quality brews. When I trying to decide what beer to get last time I was at my local store I remembered that I hadn't yet reviewed Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout, and since I'm such a big fan of imperial stouts I couldn't so no! I'll probably pass out from drinking this but whatever.

It pours a foamy tan head that dissipates quickly and smells of chocolate, coffee, sweet malt, and a bit of liquorice.

This is a good imperial stout. It's full of flavor with roasted coffee dominating and then chocolate and coffee bitterness balancing it out. It feels more carbonated than recent imperial stouts I've had but is still smooth. I'd like it to be more syrupy but this is still worth a buy. Try it with steak!

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.52/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Classic Stout appearance, replete with a giant mocha head, good retention. Surpisingly little lace.

S - Dark fruit is subtly discernible, coupled with smoky and vinous notes. Complex and delectable.

T - Nice warming alcohol, brown sugar, molasses, dark dry fruit, vinous sherry and smoky undertones. Nice long merlot finish.

M - Lighter side of medium-bodied, very easy drinking as such.

D - Still great after all these years. Geez, I remember 10-15 years ago, I actually thought this stuff tasted like soy sauce!

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Photo of TCgoalie
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours black with some light feeding through which almost makes it look brown. Some foam upon pouring with some big bubbles lingering along the edges. I am not entirely impressed with the lacing, but there is some present.

Chocolate is the main player in the smell with some brown sugar and roasty-ness. I am confused by the dry fruity tones. It is hard to place but it smells somewhat like sour grapes. I saw soy sauce in a recent review and have to agree.

This is a rather refreshing drink. It is on the gentle side of imperial stouts but lends to drinkability. Milk chocolate starts the taste and transitions to a roasty, chalky finish.

Soft and medium in the mouth, I really like the feel. The finish is clean and dry for the style.

This is very drinkable and a nice change of pace from the big stouts I've been drinking lately. Putting a few of these away wouldn't be a problem.

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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.

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

How have I not reviewed this yet? Bought a couple bottles 6 months ago, this is the last survivor. Don't think it qualifies as vintage though.

Pours midnight into my pint glass with a mammoth mocha colored head. Slowly recedes. When held up to direct light, a hint of ruby shines through.

Plums, raisins, dark fruit on the nose. Almost spells like a dopplebock.

Wow, delicious. Great balance of chocolate and roasted malts. Bit of dark fruits as well. Absolutely sublime.

Mouthfeel is very nice. Unfortunately I've come to expect more from Imperial Stouts, so that'd why I gave it a 4 instead of 4.5.

Stupidly drinkable. I could drink these all night. A nice change from the roast / hop fail bombs from the American brewers.

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

poured a dark brown coffee color with 3 finger collar of copper foam. not the typical imperial stout, this one was quite sweet, which i didnt mind too much because i felt like it blended well with the other characteristics of the beer. had a nice bite to towards the end and it left me wanting more. overall good beer.

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Photo of Briken
3.19/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Dark bubbly brown and frothy/foamy brown head with good retention. Bright fruity chocolate aroma. Taste follows the aroma with a roasted malt finish. Fairly thick but a sharp bite and a bit foamy.

An interesting flavor but a bit put off by an almost lager feel. Roasted malts start to take over about halfway through. This one's definitely better near room temperature

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Photo of MoreThanWine
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a massive 3" mocha colored head which took a long time to dissipate to 1/4". Dark as coffee. Smell is roasted grains and coffee with the slightest hint of chocolate. Taste is a little sour, like a sourdough rye bread but with the sweetness and some tartness like fig. Body is only medium, not as thick as other Imperials. Still, a really nice quality product and at a competitive price especially for an import.

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Very dark appearance, Frothy brown 2 finger head, well carbonated.
S- Sweet caramel aroma, very malty with hints of coffee.
T- Very Sweet for an Imperial Stout, syrupy molasses taste, great balance with the bitterness and sweetness, hints of coffee. No apparent alcohol taste.
M- Heavy but smooth mouth feel. Carbonations well balanced, mouth feel almost chewy in a way.
D- Very smooth, a little too caramely for my taste. Good beer would recommend everyone trying it at least once.

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

Pours a very dark brown/black with one finger of brown head. Head is quite persistent and leaves a nice amount of sticky lacing behind.

Smell is primarily earthy malt with some nice roasted notes. Not much else to the smell, but what is there is very good.

Taste is similar to smell, primarily earthy roasted malts, with a small sour/ripe fruit note also present. Finish is nice lingering bitterness. Nice to have an RIS not overrun with sweetness. No apparent alcohol taste.

Moderate mouthfeel with more carbonation than I was expecting. Very nice.

Very drinkable. A very pleasant earthy taste with alcohol well hidden. Just an extremely well crafted beer.

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Photo of obrendano
4.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

such a quality beer, from probably the most consistently great brewery on the planet

A - first off, I'll give hats off to Smith's for having some of my favorite bottles and graphics. the heavy, dark bottle prevents spoilage better than many others, and great classy looking logos for each product. the stout in question is a few shades darker than cola on the pour and pitch black in the glass with a frothy brown head

S - heavenly dark roasted coffee and rum tones

T - a burst of huge sweet coffee flavor, hops are just barely noticeable (as they should be for this style), and leaves behind a sticky, smokey tone like burnt toast but much smoother

M - my only gripe is that it's slightly thin, BUT not by much, still leaves some stickiness all around

D - a great treat after a long workweek, and for like $3, you could easily do much worse

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

Poured from a 550 mL bottle into my Samuel Smith's pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a walnut brown color with a monster coffee and cream colored head. Great retention and tons of sticky lace all over the glass.

Smell: Lots of nice roasty character. Roasted and chocolate malt, dark chocolate, a touch of coffee and molasses.

Taste: Roasted malt, unsweetened dark chocolate, a bit of espresso. Some cocoa and molasses add some sweetness. The chocolate flavors grow and eventually take control. The finish is lightly bitter, but also a bit sweet and fairly roasted.

Mouthfeel: For an RIS, this is not the fullest body, but that was expected with the 7% ABV. Quite creamy, and a little bit sticky. Rich and silky as the various flavors unfold on my tongue. Slightly drying.

Drinkability: This gets high marks for drinkability because of the wonderful taste, especially compared to the ABV. Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout is a classic.

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Photo of gueuzeonhigh
3.71/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a nice looking beer. Pours bible black with a long lived tight knit head. Some minor lacing left as the beer drained to it's destination.

Beer produces a mild nose with hints of toasted malt and caramel.

I like the flavor, but it's somewhat subdued for an Imperial Stout. I'd call it spot on if it were a stout-- but when I see "Imperial" on the bottle I expect "up-front and center". So maybe this might be an "Imperial" with a small "i".

Beer's flavor is chock-a-block full of hops, toasted malt and caramel. The flavor stance is lighter especially considering an Imperial Stout.

Beer has a very cordial mouthfeel with a long lasting finish and a "coating" like feel. And enough "life" in the flavor to make for a long enticing finish.

Drinkability is superior espeically for an Imperial in that the ABV is under 10% and the general demeanor of this libation is that of a strong ale.

I would not hesitate to serve this Imperial Stout to fellow beer aficionados.

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Photo of NotACommunist
3.78/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from 550mL bottle into Guinness pint glass.

A: Pours a dark black with a thick rich head that last a long time. Head is the color of a coffee stain on a white sheet of paper. Lots of nice lacing. Can see a peek of ruby reflecting through the bottom reflecting the light. H

S: Deep roasted barley, slight chocolate covered cherry smell

T: Lingering bitter hops on the back of the tongue; bitter chocolate taste. Alcohol doesn't take over... Pleasant.

M: Rich but not too thick. Becomes more thin as it warms up while drinking.

D: Great for a nightcap, especially when the heat is out at your house in winter, like it is in mine.

I like this as I am exploring this style.

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Photo of K7online
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a gem among stouts. From the moment you pour it you will notice the nice thick body and the gracious crown that forms. That crown will hold for a long time.

The aroma is subtle and you immediately detect the coffee that is infused. The coffee taste is of course found at first sip. Notes of vanilla come to mind and molasses. It is light on the palette and does not overwhelm you with its malt flavor.

Overall this beer is offers great enjoyment and is a good accompaniment for food or just watching a game.

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Photo of Onenote81
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split this bottle with my wife. Poured my allotment into a small stemless cocktail glass. [*Note: A buddy had just given me this glass, and I don't drink cocktails, so why not a RIS?] Paired this with a big slice of dark chocolate cake.

Pours a deep dark black. Pours thinner than I'd have thought. A small tan head blankets the deep black abyss. Light lace left behind. The nose is really sweet with notes of dairy, chocolate, toffee, and sweet warm bread. Faint alcohol tones on the finish, but very light.

The mouth is creamy and smooth. Much more so than expected with the thin pour. The chocolate comes through in the flavor, but is much sweeter like milk choc., rather than dark choc. Licorice and butter toffee round this out. Easy-drinking "big" stout. With the lower ABV compared to its contemporaries in the style, this would be a great one to sit back and enjoy most any evening.

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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 gskitt
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a etched imperial pint glass. Pours a very dark color with a medium brown head that just stays forever. Smells of plump dark fruits, and crusts of brown bread. Some bourbon on the nose as well. Tastes of dark rye bread, some licorice as well, and some vanilla and some expresso bitterness at the end. Smooths and evens out as you drink, smooth mouthfeel, not as thick as i would have thought. This is a very drinkable RIS. Not my favorite but a damn good beer.

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Photo of kjyost
4.41/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Undated foil wrapped 550 mL bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Gorgeous looking beer. Pitch black beer, light brown head that retains forever (at least half an hour) and leaves light lacing. Nothing more you could ask for.

S: The nose is more muted than the taste. Molasses and licorice dominate.

T: Marevelously complex. It changes with time. Molasses, licorice, cocoa, coffee, black cherry... Stuff I just can't even begin to nail down. Nice sweetness that is more dominant than the bitterness.

M: Strong carbonation, slick in the mouth and the sweetness is not cloying.

D: Gorgeous beer. Helps it is a low ABV RIS, so you don't feel bad about drinking one on your own.

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Photo of Hatzilla
4.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

550 ml bottle into a tulip

A: Pitch black pour with a beautiful thick beige head that hangs around, finally receding to leave some nice tan lacing in its wake.

S: A lot going on here: Licorice, cocoa, dark fruit, coffee and dark malts.

T: Taste begins with the licorice, cocoa and dark fruits, with the coffee appearing in the aftertaste.

M: Very smooth and creamy - this stout coats the tongue and leaves a nice coffee aftertaste and a dry finish.

D: Drinkability is very high with this stout due to the great taste and low abv. Every stout lover needs to give this one a try, you won't be disappointed.

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

Black, but not "Darkness" black. Light tan head... I think someone else said khaki, which sounds right. a nice lacing.

Toasted malt, roasted barley, with some coffee and cocoa. Not sweet exactly. There's some amount of dark fruitiness too. No definitive hop aroma, but some alcohol smell.

Toasted malts and a milky flavor dominate for me, with chocolate and coffee on the side. Not sweet but not dry. Very balanced. Hints of fruit, not as much as the smell. a nice bitterness.

Milky and creamy. Some alcohol vapors, but not at all harsh.

I'd have another. I like that it's a little less alcoholic than other RISes, because then I can definitely have a few. This is a great winter beer, according to my taste buds.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.63/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep dark black with great cap of brown dense bubbles, good retention. Strong scent of roasted grain with molasses, dark fruit, licorice, bitter chocolate and hints of char, soy sauce. Bitter burnt grain taste, strong char with the bite of molasses, chicory and licorice on top of bitter chocolate, dark fruit faint hints of soy, very little sweetness. Medium bodied, suprisingly and disapointingly light for the style, very dry finnish. Slightly disapointed in the lack of complexity or firm body.

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Photo of Mancer
4.26/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle poured out a jet black body with a three finger high light brown head. The foam slowly dissipated into a thick and sticky lace the coast both the beer and the glass. The initial aroma of is highly dominant of spiced licorice with notes of dark fruits, caramel and malts. The initial flavors were predominantly of licorice , with light roast, hints of dark fruits and light caramel. The brew had a medium body with light carbonation.

Overall, this was an interesting Russian imperial. I think that on most days I wouldn't be fond of the overwhelming licorice, but this was actually quite nice and well rounded.

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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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