Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

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

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Samuel Smith's Imperial StoutSamuel Smith's Imperial Stout
BA SCORE
4.16/5
Exceptional
3,784 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
Ranking:
#1,369
Reviews:
1,778
Ratings:
3,784
pDev:
11.3%
Bros Score:
4.44
 
 
Wants:
241
Gots:
539
Trade:
3
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,784 |  Reviews: 1,778
Photo of jsprain1
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Black body, thin khaki head. Head lasts pretty well. Thin lacing.
S- Smell is coffee, some chocolate, a bit of licorice and spice notes.
T- Taste is a bit more complex. Good unsweetened chocolate, pronounced coffee, some licorice and molasses notes.
M- Full, but roughly average body for style. Low carbonation, but appropriate.
D- A splendidly drinkable RIS. Low abv for style makes it even more drinkable. While I may like the flavors of something like Stone IRS more, this was just so smooth and easy drinking.

 518 characters

Photo of BatDaddy
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark viscous black with a brown coffee colored head. Head has excellent retention and lacing.

S - Sweet dark fruits, roasted coffee and semi-sweet chocolate. Bit of alcohol in the nose as well.

T & M - Creamy and smooth. Roasted chocolate and ripe dark fruits. Lots of roasted goodness. Some herbal hop notes here and there, but malty sweetness wins out in every sip. This one coats your tongue in the best way possible. Delicious.

D - Very very tasty and not super high abv for an Imperial Stout.

Sometimes Russian Imperials are too sweet for me, but this one is very well balanced. Great beer.

 611 characters

Photo of mckeowbc
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a very dark brown, almost black. About three fingers of caramel colored foamy head that left good lacing on the glass.
S - Smell is light. There's a subtle sweetness with a note of sourness like sour cherries with maybe a hint of chocolate.
T - Taste is full and malty. Almost no hop bitterness, just a bit of sourness in the finish that seems to be characteristic of all their beers.
M - Mouthfeel is heavy and full, without being unctuous. There's a creaminess to this beer, but not so much as something like a Guinness.
D - The sourness of British ales has always been a little bit of a turn off for me. I enjoy them, but not in quantity. I tend to prefer the crisp hoppy bite of American ales, rather than the smooth, sour creaminess of British beers. Still this beer brought me back to the time I spent in the UK and was enjoyable.

 847 characters

Photo of bamadog
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally picked a bottle of this up after walking by it for a couple of years. Review is from notes taken on 1/27/2011 and poured from a 355 ml bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is darkest brown/near black and it starts with a solid 1 and 1/2 finger dark tan creamy head that fades slowly to a full and complete skim on the surface; body is dark and entirely opaque; it does look a little thinner than some other imperial stouts, but I predict a moderately thick body overall;

Smell: After the pour, I can smell it from my table -- scents of dark bittersweet and a touch of sweet chocolate; a definite sweet nuttiness actually; a bit of a sweet, dark fruitiness -- like cherry is in there too (I wonder if it will provide any tartness?); a slight bit of a roast coffee maltiness; really an excellent smelling beer.

Taste: Oh my -- freaking excellent -- I can't believe I've waited this long to try this beer. Taste really matches the nose to a "T" -- lots of dark bittersweet and the hints of slightly sweeter chocolate; definite dark fruity/cherry aspect that actually does have an ever-so-slight bit of tartness to it that provides some nice balance to the roasty bitterness from the dark and roasty/burnt maltiness.

Mouthfeel: Ha, my prediction was right -- a moderately thick body that isn't overwhelmingly chewy or anything; carbonation is present and starts out pretty strong when it hits the palate, but it finishes pretty smooth; a moderately thick sticky coating that is moderately dry sticks around the entire palate and even into the back of the throat.

Drinkability: This is a great beer that seems to be readily available -- excellent flavors and scents that aren't so massive that they wreck your palate or anything; body isn't too thick or heavy either, so it's not as if it weighs you down. Really, a great choice and I can see what it has the ratings it does.

 1,884 characters

Photo of YouSkeete
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Pitch black appearance with a frothy dark khaki head

S: Nice smooth roasted coffee aroma and a great dark and milk chocolate tint. Darker fruits like grapes plums and figs are present, along with roasted and malted barley.

T: Fantastically smooth and fresh coffee and chocolate flavors. Fruity, malty and grainy all at once. Not much else to say. Perfectly balanced.

M: Sticky, milky, and syrupy. Medium to full body, medium to low carb. Aftertaste is a little funky, but shouldn't take away too much from the 'final grade'

D: One of the best. Ever. Really.

 564 characters

Photo of scottfrie
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into AVBC snifter.

A: Pours a pitch black with a billowing, dense, thick, light brown head that slowly receded into a thick frothy film that left great streaks of lacing down the glass.
S: Thick unsweetened chocolate syrupy, licorice, and sweet roasted malts.
T: Notes of roasted grains, caramelized sugar, molasses, brown sugar, caramel, and just a hint of chocolate. Finish is clean and sweet with just a faint hint of alcohol. Aftertaste shows some coffee and roasted marshmallows.
M: Soft medium-full body and for the most part a creamy mouthfeel. Everything falls a little flat in the finish though. Carbonation is minimal.
D: Great straight forward clean flavor. Not the most rich, potent or flavorful of the style, but it doesn't have to be. This is a great easy drinking RIS, and while I may not prefer it to Old Rasputin or Ten FIDY, I can see how this is considered one of the best.

 907 characters

Photo of Auslander
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Black in color with a light brown head. The head dissipates quickly leaving a little lacing.

Dark fruit and alcohol aroma.

A tasty stout with mild chocolate and dark fruit flavors with a hint of alcohol.

Purchased at Piccolo's Wine Shop.

 264 characters

Photo of beerquestman
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very dark with a light brown head, looks like espresso

Smell: I could smell caramel, espresso (like roasted coffee), and could smell whiskey.

Taste: Tasted of chocolate, espresso, and burnt bread. Starts sweet but has a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy and not an overly thick body, more like a medium body

Drinkability: Strength of alcohol and complex flavors make this a sipping beer. Not quite as drinkable as a Gusiness.

Overall, I'd consider this a world class beer. Very very good. I'll definitely have this one again.

 547 characters

Photo of FanofHefe
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip. Huge three-finger dark tan head over a dark brown/black body. The head dissipates leaving a light foam over the top that drapes some nice lacing along the glass.

Nice aroma. Starts with some sweet toffee/coffee notes followed by black licorice. A little dark fruit aroma blends with a slight hint of bourbon/rum.

Tasty flavors that are combined pleasantly: coffee, caramel, raisins, and chocolate. Only a hint of tartness at the end. No real notice of alcohol.

Creamy mouthfeel that is lighter than the most prominent American craft stouts. But, the lower comparative abv makes it more drinkable. Superb brew.

 661 characters

Photo of UTCengOwl
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 550 mL bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. Drank it while watching the Bears Packers game.

Pours black with a nice tan head that leaves excellent lacing. It's a solid looking beer, but I'm not all that impressed.

The nose is predominantly chocolatey with good roasty notes. It's not overwhelming in any way, but it's very solid.

The taste is dominated by the roast. It's pleasant and not astringent. The beer isn't overwhelming in any way, but it's very solid. This isn't what I expect from a RIS, but maybe that's my American palate. The mouthfeel is somewhat thin, but the carbonation makes up for that. It's extremely drinkable and I'm enjoying this quite a bit. It's not an "Oh my God" experience, but I'd definitely drink one again. The price is pretty good, too.

 793 characters

Photo of GallowsThief
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a bomber into my Duvel tulip.

A - Black pour with a massive creamy brown head. Nice sticky lacing.

S - Chocolate, dark fruits and coffee. Just barely a sweet smell along with a touch of alcohol.

T - Umm chocolate explodes in the taste first. Mocha and coffee are not far behind. The dark fruit lines up and you taste that as well. Just barely a hint of the sweetness that you smell but it is perfect.

M - Creamy all the way. Medium bodied. Covers the mouth in goodness.

D - 100% yes. This is a damn smooth stout. Relatively low ABV at 7% makes it highly drinkable. This is a winner.

 606 characters

Photo of StaveHooks
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours jet black with a full frothy mocha head that sinks slowly forming a velvety ceiling. Excellent lacing patterns.

S - Chocolate covered pretzels, waffles, sweet roasted malt, hints of coffee.

T - Roasted dark malt, chocolate, molasses, cherry, prune, maple. A smokiness compliments the sweetness and helps to dry it out. Finishes dry with a somewhat robust aftertaste.

M - Very smooth and creamy feel. Floats across the palate.

A very sold Stout. This is always very enjoyable beer. It's a comfort beer that I could drink any time of the year. There's a certain delicacy about it that makes you want to savor every sip.

 632 characters

Photo of Satchboogie
4.16/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle (bottled 7/22/10) poured into a Sam Smith Nonic Pint glass

A: A slightly over-aggressive pour (oops) leads to a 2+ finger mocha colored foamy head that slowly dissipates. Black and completely opaque.

S: Dark roasted malts, prune, molasses, dark chocolate

T: The roasted malts, prune, and molasses come through first and fairly strong with just a little floral hops in the background. It then smooths out while the dark chocolate comes in strong with a nice kick of sweetness. Finish is bitter sweet chocolate, prune, and molasses. This has a solid level of depth and complexity, one of the more enjoyable "prune" stouts.

M: Medium carbonation, medium to full body, extremely smooth with a good viscosity. It coats the entire pallet. Velvety smooth texture that goes down extremely easily. One of the better textures I've had, only a little more viscosity could improve this one.

D: I found myself drinking this rather quickly. I just couldn't enough of the progression from roasted malts/prune to sweet velvety chocolate. The fact that it's just 7% alcohol is pretty amazing, it's completely hidden.

This might not be the biggest, most robust, most extreme stout out there, but for 7% ABV, it's hard to beat. My favorite beer from Samuel Smith so far.

 1,272 characters

Photo of bisonkron
4.41/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance -Very dark black color. The head is a great brown color, thick, stuck around for a long time. really great looking.

Smell - Great smell. roasty, chocolaty, coffee, and fruity.

Taste - Chocolate taste, fruity aftertaste, thick, creamy, roasty, licorice, and molasses. very smooth.

Mouthfeel - Creamy, thick, smooth. Well carbonated.

Drinkability - Very drinkable. Will be buying more soon.

Glass: Snifter

 423 characters

Photo of HalfFull
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Yet another 550 ml. bottle of Samuel Smith's and poured into a goblet. This beer pours a solid black and offers an inch of mocha foam. Retention is robust as the cap settles slowly and sheds lots of lacing on the glass.

Nose offers notes of chocolate and carob and the telltale yeast notes of the brewery, manifested here with a vinous cherry scent. Clean and bright for the style and quite pleasant.

Flavor follows suit with chocolate up front and offering a somewhat dry finish overall with a touch of fruit in the background. A nice and drinkable RIS that doesn't tackle the senses. Not far from a Baltic Porter in many respects....

 637 characters

Photo of THECPJ
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes 1/19/2011

A: coffee and chocolate with hints of malts, and an alcohol presence

Ap: black with a 1 finger tan head, dissipates quickly, minimal lacing

B/T: mild carbonation, smooth, semi-thick

Af: chocolate more dominant than coffee, slight booziness

O: a nice way to end an evening

Cheers!
The CPJ

 323 characters

Photo of imbibehour
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Big Fist full of head and a great milk chocolate bubble look. Dark brown off the pour like varnish for a body and light brown hues on the edges. Really nice head cap on this with great retention.

Great balance of malt and milk chocolate smell and nuts and even a little bit of vinegar hidden in the background. Really good, even some tobacco, nice bouquet on this stout.

Taste is a great malt and somewhat butter, but some sour fruit that's quite pleasant. Alcohol, banana, and roast coffee on the finish compete with a chocolate middle palate taste. Some carbonation in the middle palate also, but tolerable at least.

For the inexpensive price and pocket size go to feel of the bottle, this is a great go to stout which just makes drinkability a little better than good. This is a very good place to start for this style.

 867 characters

Photo of PittBeerGirl
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Body is a thick, vicious, dark brown-nearly black hue. Pours with a 1-2 finger creamy creme brulee colored head. Head eventually fades to a thin collar and little to no lacing is left behind in the glass.

S- The nose is a little hot and offers a good amount of anise, dark chocolate, and just a shade of roasted malt. The nose is actually pretty dry overall.

T- Dry roasted malt, a hint of plum, and dark chocolate. The finish adds a touch of anise and leaves a moderate, dry roasted malt bitterness.

M-Medium bubbly carbonation and a moderately thick, vinous body. Slightly dry, slightly velvety.

D- This is a good beer overall-I guess it can take partial credit for making imperial stouts a popular style. I'm actually surprised at the roasted character of this one. Its a good, readily availabe option for an Imp stout-at nearly 1/3 the alcohol of Black Tuesday!

 872 characters

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this one up to review. Never had it before mainly because I didn't really think about Samuel Smiths stuff. Looks really commercialized so I pretty much ignored it when I would go to the store. Glad I've tried this beer and their oatmeal stout now.

Pours a deep black. Deeep black. Very thin tan head that dissapated to a ring. Not alot of lacing.

Aroma is the best part. Dark fruits and toasted sugars and caramel. A slight roast with a sort of boost aroma. Smells awesome.

Taste is mostly roast forward with some dark fruits thrown in. A little bit of sweet caramel and a bitter roast in the finish.

Mouthfeel is good. Nice maltiness and a good carb.

Overall an awesome beer. They should cange their marketing because it sucks I never had their beers before. Needless to say I will be having them again.

 816 characters

Photo of CountJustinian
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This rich looking dark-brown-almost-black offering is a force to be reckoned with. Dark chocolate and molasses flavors blend almost seamlessly with a raisiny sweetness and a smoky malt finish. Medium bodied and very well balanced. Regal old world labeling complements the style effectively. Not as in your face as many other Imperials, but can go toe-to-toe in understated style with most of them.

 397 characters

Photo of websherpa
4.44/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

550 ML bottled. Born 7 months ago purchased cold. Poured in a 12 oz tumbler.

Appearance: Pitch black no opacity against light at all. Mocha colored 2 finger head which melted down to a very modest covering through the rest of the beer. Lacing nearly non existent.

Smell: Chocolate malts, some roasted notes coming through, dried fruit, raisons, more chocolaty malts.

Taste: Delicious. The raisins come through stronger, but not at all overpowering. I would love to try this fresh and see what fresher hops could do to this flavor. Not overly complex, but well executed and rich in all aspects. The chocolate malts are pulling me away for another drink...

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy

Drinkability: Had a 550ML, could have easily had another. Not an all night drink, but not a one hit wonder either.

Value: Priced reasonably and oh so good. Go get some.

 863 characters

Photo of GreenCard
3.91/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark mahogany brown, opaque, thick layer of dark-tan foam that slowly compacts to a creamy cap, bits of lace

Aroma: roasted grains, molasses, prunes, malt syrup

Flavor: dry malt profile dominated by roast and a mild acidity; hints of dark cocoa, licorice, vanilla, and burnt sugar; finishes semi-dry with a smooth roast bitterness

Mouthfeel: medium-full body, smooth texture, silky

Other comments: Delightfully more balanced than the typical American Imperial Stout.

 482 characters

Photo of rowingbrewer
3.33/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours dark brown nearly black with a well retaining, but lighter colored head for the style

the smell is roasty and malty, but there is a little tangyness at the end that I can't put my finger on

the taste is pretty similar to the smell, starts with the roasted malty goodness that so many imp stouts do, but was followed by a tangyness. i did by the bottle from a shop with less traffic for the type of beer that this is, maybe had an infection that developed over time

mouhfeel and drinkability were hurt by the tangy flavor as it left an odd after taste, will give the beer another chance in the future and if necessary re review

 645 characters

Photo of TheHammer
4.01/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this one at Chester's Beers of the World, which was a very nice place. Keep in mind, I had slightly more then a half yard of Strongbow at a nearby restaurant, stopped in at Chester's to warm up (being a Canuck) before heading to another pub for two pints of Moosehead and then heading home

Appearance: Black as scrooge's heart pre-ghost of Christmas future with a solid thumb of creamy head that laced somewhat and retained exceptionally well. Not much more to say.

Smell: I'm certainly getting a nice predominantly smokey aroma from this one with a touch of fruity berries with chocolate and coffee notes. The smoke asserts quite a bit more then anything else and warming doesn't really change much of the beer.

Taste: Very nice, starts with a healthy dose of roasted malt that expertly comes across as well roasted and not burnt with some berry notes. It then turns to a more smokey flavour as mild hops make an early appearance with a touch of licorice. The hops continue a very mild end as a slight touch of coffee and chocolate ends the experience. It just squeezes in at 4.5 thought mainly because the smokiness is quite dominant. Still it hides it's alcohol content very well.

Mouthfeel: Nice and creamy with ample carbonation, amazing transitioning and a mild chocolate, coffee and smoke aftertaste the by no means overstays it's welcome. The only thing keeping it from perfect is the smokey tastes as you drink the beer come off as a bit odd.

Drinkability: Very, very smooth going down but once it's down it is a bit heavy. Still it is a stout and it doesn't quite drink like a meal. Refreshing, which I wouldn't expect from the smokey flavour and all in all quite good.

Final Thoughts: Well, it seems to me instead of coming across as burnt, this beer has ample smoke taste and sensations to it. Now I do like a good cigar every now and then, so I really did appreciate it, but I could see it putting some people off. That being said, it certainly didn't put me off and I would certainly buy it again even though I had to pay ten bucks for it. Thumbs up.

 2,074 characters

Photo of Trevor7
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

550ml bottle into a 22oz hefe glass (all I had)

A- pitch black with a brown-ish head that disappears slowly

S- roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, etc dominates the nose.

T- very malty, burnt coffee and chocolate in the front followed by a slight (very slight) hop character after-tone.

M- Medium mouthfeel, not thick by any means, I would say medium at most.

D- Very drinkable for a stout. but would sneak up on you after a few pints!

Very good beer!

 456 characters

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 3,784 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.