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 ryan1788a5
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours very dark brown, almost black. A one-inch tan head caps the beer but recedes quickly. Delicate rings of sticky lacing manifest themselves on the glass as the beer is consumed.

S: Very estery. Prunes, plums, raisins, juicy blackberries, and a slight vinous taste. Hints of espresso, dark chocolate, and maybe a faint whiff of burnt malts underneath.

T: Just as in the nose, powerful fruity esters open. Plums, prunes, juicy berries, and vinous grapes. Molasses, toffee, and dark chocolate follow. Finishes with flavors of deep espresso. Complex.

M: Medium bodied. Slightly syrupy and mouth coating. High level of carbonation.

D: Very high, especially for the style.

Notes: A classic. Taste is delightfully complex. Quality craftsmanship is very evident here. My only criticism is that it isn't quite as big and bold as I would like, but sometimes I feel that my palate is jaded after having all these overblown American versions of the style.

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Photo of swede96
2.22/5  rDev -46.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured black with a 1 finger light brown head into a pint glass. The appearance was good, but the head did not stay long after the pour.

Smell was of dark fruit and did not get anything else from the aroma.

The taste reminded me of prunes...dark fruit with very little hop.

Mouthfeel was full with a fruity sort of coating.

Drinkability was I had one it that was enough. the dark fruit was just not getting it done with my palate.

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Photo of TexIndy
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a pint glass. No dating info. Was a dark black color with some surface carbonation evident. It had an average sized brown head that quickly settled into a thin collar. Slight lacing with none sticking.

The aroma was dark fruits, dark malt and molasses. Also a touch of booze. Not my favorite smelling RIS. The taste follows the aroma with the dark fruit leading the pack. A little bit of hops to offset the sweet. Mouthfeel was full with good amount of carbonation. Acidic aftertaste.

Overall, a good RIS but far from the top of the list of my favorite RIS's. Just didn't grab me and seemed way too reliant on the dark fruit aroma and taste. Missing the complexity of the better RIS out there. No dating info so maybe I got a bad one but this seems to match other review descriptions. Avail here in TX. Rotation - worth trying once but that's enough for me. [N;O]

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Photo of marty21
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours pitch black with a very big creamy tan head. Head lasts for a long time and eventually gets down to a thick tan cap. Leaves some good lacing.

S: I get chocolate, dark fruit, dark malt and there's a bit of a sweetness in the aroma.

T: Initially it's very sweet. But then you get a bit of a dark roasted malt taste and the after taste you get dark chocolate/coffee and dark fruits.

M: A medium body with medium carbonation. Goes down very easy.

D: This was the first imperial stout i've ever had so I wasn't exactly sure what to get. After having this again I appreciated this beer a lot more.

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

I poured this 550 ml bottle into a Nonic pint glass.

A: blackish brown, nearly opaque, majestic, long-lasting tan head, thick cap, and rope-like lacing.

S: smoke, coffee, farmer's cheese, soy sauce, milk chocolate, toasted raisin bread.

T: sweet bread, caramel, nutty, and cheese notes hit up front, then the woodsy, smokey, and coffee notes hit in the middle, the finish has dried fruits, toffee, soy sauce, and a gently smokey note. Very tasty.

M: medium-bodied, creamy up front and chalky during the finish, moderate carbonation as expected.

D: What's not to like? Sure, it is widely available and not a cult beer. O.K., it wasn't aged in a bourbon barrel or brewed with cocoa nibs or chicory. If you want a good stout at a good price, it is hard to beat.

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Photo of zdk9
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- This beer pours with a billowing head of cocoa bubbles. It's a little uncontrolled at first but after it settles down it's a pretty beer. The liquid forms a black 8-ball in my Duvel glass.

S- Candy anyone? The aroma has licorice, dark chocolate, cream, cherries, dates. Some hints of sweet espresso syrup.

T- I miss the complexity in the taste that was in the smell. There's some chocolate and more roast than in the aroma- leading to coffee notes. Also some booze- vodka at first, melting into bourbon.

M- Good, syrupy but not overly so. Good sweet and roasted bitterness balance.

D- Very drinkable. Good complexity and flavors. Delicious

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Photo of Stigs
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle, had this over a year now. served in a Duvel tulip.

A - pours with almost half an inch of loose, foamy medium-tan colored head. the beer is about 90% black, letting through a small amount of light around the edges. just a couple spots of wet foam cling to the glass.

S - strong and dominating dark roasted malts mixed with a great deal of (almost metallic) graininess. picking up some ash, dark fruits, licorice, and milk chocolate.

T - roasted malts and barley again flash from the start, turning slightly sweet with some fruity plums, prunes, cherries and chocolate. warming helps bring out a bit of toasted nuts and oats. a bit of booze closes it out alongside maple syrup and toffee.

M - body is a touch light for the style, but still holds up to the robust flavors thanks to an oddly alluring thin yet prickly carbonation. somewhat chalky and chewy to the finish, before being wiped clean by a brief alcohol burn.

D - solid all around, yet a good treat helped nicely by its availability and price point ($2.50!). a great nightcap or dessert beer, with a lot of beauty hidden in its simplicity.

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Photo of Cheesemoose
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle into my handy snifter.

Dark black pour, mild viscous nature. Mocha head seeps to the top with a good head. Little to no lacing with the head dissipating halfway through the glass.

Turbanado sugar nose, or even caramel sweet, with a nice roasty edge. Alcohol is there, but in the far back.

Roasted deliciousness all the way. A complex palate, with it starting rather sweet, moving into a dry caramel, and finishing with a flourish of toasted grains. Hops give a nice spike of bitter citrus notes, though more of a header than a real presence.

Medium to medium high carbonation with a superb mouthfeel. Alcohol is well hidden, but you get a great warming sensation as you drink. A great choice for a winter's night.

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Photo of goalie33
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into 13oz tulip glass.
A: Opaque black color with half a finger of mocha head. Good lacing in the glass.
S: Rich aroma of roasted malts.
T: Roasted malts with a sweetness that is similar to that of their oatmeal stout but not as sweet. Quite good. Slight taste of alcohol.
M: Medium to full body with a slight feeling of carbonation.

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Photo of OakedCanuck
3.33/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured this one into a tulip

Pours a nice black with decent tan head. pretty good lacing. Smell is of roasted coffee, some raisins and plums, and can pick up some smoke. The flavor is about the same as the nose but with a kind of a stronger graininess about it, smoky, and sort of astringent. Mouthfeel was thinner than expected and medium dryness. Easy enough to drink but I'd rather have the oatmeal stout from them.

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Photo of vandemonian
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout is black in colour and has an excellent light tan coloured head. The smell is of sweet malty raisins with some alcohol as well. The taste is of nice smokey malt with no bitterness at the end. Delicious. The texture is nice and creamy. This is an very nice Russian Imperial stout.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.32/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The pour is a dark brown color with about a finger's worth of tan colored foam sitting on top.

S: The nose is chocolate and roasted malts for the most part, with some definite dark fruit notes. I pick up a bit of a yeastiness too, that I don't often get in imperial stouts.

T: Flavor starts off with some old chocolate, mild roast character, and a bit of water. There are some muddled, sweet, dark fruit flavors there such as plums and prunes, as well as that same yeastiness the nose had.

M: The body is medium, not all that impressive for an imperial stout with a moderate carbonation.

D: Sort of disappointing since I really like their Oatmeal Stout. I'm fine with not having this one again.

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Photo of TallDrinkOfLager
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, dark brown, with a nice light brown head that sticks around. The only way you're going to see through this one is by getting out the flashlight.

The smell is wonderful -- deep, sweet, fruity smell. Prunes, raisins, and stuff like that. I sat around inhaling the aroma for so long my wife had to remind me to drink it.

Tastes just wonderful. Not overpowering at all, and very well-balanced -- a chocolatey-pruney sweet that dissipates into a nice lingering bitterness. The relatively lower alcohol content ensures that any booziness doesn't detract from the flavors, and it's thick enough to have plenty of body without feeling syrupy.

I don't know -- it's pretty hard to find fault with this one. Just a fantastic brew overall.

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

To me Samuel Smith always has super solid beers but nothing thats out of the ball park.

Solid black with some red when you put it up to the light. Nice finger head and it stays with the brew for a long while.

Smells of raisins and chocolate.

The taste is pretty similar to the smell although with much more roasted malt back bone. It leaves a sticky burnt chocolaty taste in your mouth for sometime after taking a sip. Then it even fades into a coffee aftertaste.

I enjoy this beer and will be buying it again in partially because I like the 550ml size and its a fair price.

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Photo of chalsk
3.78/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My first Sam Smith. Pours a dark brown color with a caramel colored soapy head. Has an aroma of molasses and dark fruit with a hint of chocolate. Very creamy and malty. Sweet up front and nice subtle bitters on the back end. It is missing something, a tad bland. But a decent IS.

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Photo of bubseymour
4.78/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I just had this beer with Thanksgiving Dinner and it was wonderful. The best I've had from the Samual Smith's line. Great black appearance with a wonderful light brown head about 2 fingers thick. Very drinkable with only a very minor touch of hop aftertaste. This Sam Smith was my first Imperial Stout and I now know why this style of beer is so highly regarded amongst the BA crowd. I will definitely buy this again and also try other Russian Imperial Stouts.

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

Look: Thick opaque black with a dense creamy coffee complexsion color and head. Magnificent Appearance

Smell: Boozy and very fragrant aromas of plums, prunes, cherries, raisins, molasses, coffee, chocolate, oak, and some type of syrup. Wonderful aroma all in all

Taste: Oak, coffee, roasted malt, molasses, and dark chocolate appear as starting flavors followed by a presence of hops with the faint flavors of cherries, raisins, and maple syrup. Not bad overall

Feel: Thick and rich(though maybe just a tad bit watery for a stout) with mild carbonation and a bit of tingling from the hops and carbonation. Very good all in all

Drinkability: Pretty good overall, good flavor and a good feeling make this stout quite a nice drink.

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

I poured into a pint glass to a mountain of mocha head. The body of the beer is dark brown with ruby highlights. The are all kinds of aromas wafting from this beer. I smell plums, black cherries, chocolate, and coffee. The taste begins with the dark fruit flavors and fades into dark chocolate and roasted coffee. The roasted malt lingers just enough to leave me wanting another taste. It has a creamy mouthfeel. This is another solid offering from Sam Smith's. I have really enjoyed everything that I have sampled so far.

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

Pours from a traditional foil topped Samuel Smith's bottle. Stark black with a very minimal tan head.

I get some burnt caramel and roasted malt aromas

Nice mild coffee and molasses flavors. Also a touch of burnt malt flavors. Nice level of carbonation. Fairly dry and well balanced to bitterness. I don't really detect an alcohol flavor.

A little slick on tongue initially with a slightly creamy finish. Could use a tab more body.

Overall good beer, certainly don't have a lot of experience with this style and seems to be from the style guidelines on the lighter end of the style.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

4.0 A: Black color. One and a half fingers of reasonably creamy light brown head. Decent retention and moderate lacing.

4.0 S: I just had the oatmeal stout and this seems surprisingly weak by comparison. Good amount of roastiness and molasses with some coffee and a nice nuttiness. Good, but not as good as the oatmeal.

4.0 T: Flavor is more bold than the nose. Roasty, toasty, coffee, and molasses are the leading flavors. Secondarily, I pick up anise and a light chocolate note.

4.0 M: Lighter medium to medium body. Carbonation is a bit higher than I'd like, but still fairly moderate. Smooth and somewhat creamy, though could be creamier. Still, good overall.

4.5 D: This is a lot like the oatmeal stout, though paradoxically, less flavorful. There was some time between finishing the oatmeal and starting this (including some non-spicy food) so I think I'm not too desensitized. Anyway, this is good too and very drinkable. I could go for another one of these as well. Finally, in a world where "imperial" has been designated for massively huge beers, it's good to see a beer like this use the title.

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

I poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a snifter, jet black, medium tannish head, light lacing. Big notes of mollasses, and dark fruit, light notes of chocolate and coffee. Taste better than it smells, lots of dates, and plums dipped in mollasses. It finishes with a lingering coffee finish, sweeter than other RIS. Full in body, creamy mouthfeel and light carbonation. Really good beer, better than expected.

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Photo of eric5bellies
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank from my Bambardier Conic Piny Glass.

A - Pours the usual jet black colour with a tanned head that retains and laces.

S - Aromas of licorice and roasted malts and maybe a little stewed fruits.

T - Like the aromas has plenty of malt up front followed by licorice and dark chocolate that finishes smoothly.

M - A touch light on the body for an RIS, low carbonation.

D - Although this is not a heavy RIS it has some real qualities that make this beer a very good example of the style.

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Photo of tbern007
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the best! Everysip is something different. There are a myriad of tastes here.

Very dark black/brown. NO other color gets through. Thick head that dissipates slowly. Good lacing.

Tastes of so many things: coffee, chocolate, prunes, plums, slight smoke, malt, some hops, caramel, molasses. Excellent all around. I had this with a rare steak seasoned only with salt - fantastic pairing!

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Photo of mbrown26
3.55/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pub glass. As I'm trying more beers, I'm learning stouts may not be my personal preference, but I imagine this would be very good for the style, which is I why I gave it higher marks than I normally would.

A: Had a nice dark, oil like color with a one finger head that didn't want to stay around too long.

S: Smelled great with chocolate and some mocha.

T: If you like stouts, this is probably a fine example. Not hoppy and plenty of flavor. Alcohol is well hidden, but has a nice balance.

M: Creamy and thick.

D: Fairly easy to take down.

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Photo of TheSeeker61
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this a few times and never reviewed it and thought why not. I'd had this bottle for a couple of months and decided it was time to indulge and give it a review.

It poured a black as oil with a half finger head which faded rather quickly into a nice ring which hung around. Had a nice lacing.

The nose was incredible with the dark fruits dominating with a noticeable chocolate caramel aroma availing itself as well.

The taste begins with dark fruit and moved to a mellow malt and finished with a slight bitter. Very balanced tasted.

The mouthfeel is nice, somewhat creamy, really enjoyable. Surprisingly I really enjoyed this one over the other Sammy Imperials that I've tried which makes me want to try this stout again.

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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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