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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Ratings: 3,757 |  Reviews: 1,769
Photo of climax
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As black as the outline of this website, and no brown highlights. The head was creamy and dark. Retention was good as well.

The nose was no surprise, dark and bold. However, it was not overly roasty or dry. Flavors molasses, raisins, vanilla, licorice, and brown sugar all were evident. Very complex aroma, even some ripe raspberry syrup flavors came through. It definitely keeps me smelling.

The taste follows the aroma quite close, with some added acidity. The more roasted tones of dry coffee and chocolate showed themselves, unlike in the nose.

The body is full, as expected, pretty easy to drink though. The carbonation was mild but ample. Ultimately, it was very creamy with a dryish finish. Damn Good, and surprisingly easy to drink.

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Photo of ivanwatling
3.83/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Summary: A wonderful example of a strong stout.

Appearance: Thick black gloop, even the creamy head has a brown colour

Taste: Roasted malt predominates, sweet, but the bitterness is still apparent.

Mouthfeel: Thick, cloying, bitter aftertaste

Drinkability: Very yummy, very moorish

Second try, quite unpleasant taste, didn't finish bottle

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Photo of mightymoksha
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a squat pint glass

Pours a thick, opaque black with faint coffee hues with good head retention. Head is of a rich toffee color and moderate thickness.

Cacao, dark fruits, dark roasted coffee and roasty aromas are present, along with a rum-like alcohol nose and sweetness. Pussers Rum comes to mind.

Dark chocolate, coffee and roasted malt flavors are immediately prominent, which segue into notes of dark fruits and a pleasant hop bitterness. Finish is a dry, slightly smoky sweetness with a pleasant presence of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and medium in body. Carbonation is perfect.

This is the first imperial stout that I have had the pleasure of drinking in quite some time, and this offering wastes no time in reminding me why the RIS is one of my favorite styles. An absolutely fantastic beer.

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Photo of burnerfinger
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from the 12oz bottle into my new belgium goblet:

A pours thick and dark like maple syrup or root beer. tan or darker head settles quick, leaves just a bit of lace. a calm stout

S: sweet/ and a bit of abv to the nose

T nice. this is a deep beer, love the taste. toffee chocolate

M: SMOOTH silky with lots of body less ABV on the palate than on the nose

D this is really great. but not to be guzzled, more like savored VERY rich and creamy.

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Photo of ncfranklin
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a imperial nonic pint glass.

A : Pitch black with only the slightest ruby highlights wand a big three finger brown head that stays and laces the side thickly. Impressive pour.

S : Roasted malt all over. Only a bit of sweetness underneath.

T : Following right after the nose, lots of roasty domination. The sweetness comes in halfway through, but is carefully balanced with a bitter note. An exceptionally smooth finish wit ha coffee note.

M : More medium bodied than most imperial stouts, with a creamy texture.

D : Quite quaffable, almost session-able, solid low ABV sout.,

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Photo of Sachsenfreude
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Another exceptional brew from Samuel Smith, not all that surprised, wouldn't expect anything less.

A beautiful near pitch black beer with an good tan head. The head slowly retreats, leaving thick and creamy lacing, so nice and sticky. I can almost smell a sweet bourbon and some black licorice. Really a toasted malt to almost smokey flavor but then some brown sugar sweetness too. Aftertaste is smooth and bitter in a creamy way, reminds me of quality dark chocolate, not sweet at all. A little bit of alcohol is present when one slurps the beer from the glass, instead of pouring it in the mouth, pretty damn good to say the least. The mouthfeel is loose yet thick and creamy, really complex, one could probably write a poem about it. This is an almost perfect beer and the lower alcohol content makes it more drinkable than of others of this style. Slightly heavy with a roasted malt bitterness in the aftertaste, complex yet strong and makes it less drinkable, but only by a bit. Who wants a beer that is drinkable like water any way though? Certainly not me, I like a meal in a glass.

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Photo of IPAescotch
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Dark as night. very bubbly some lacing continues bubbling long after the pour.

S: oaky, like bark. Probably aged in wood barrels. Some chocolatey espresso scents

T: a comfortable bitterness. Chocolatey, coffee like, balanced. NOt very extreme in any one area very balanced

M: A little bit thin for a stout. middle of the road and a little watery in the finish.

D: a tasty beer. nothing spectacular but a solid choice for a stout example

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Photo of bens0n
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours to an opaque black with a small amount of creamy light caramel colored head. A small amount of light shines through and you can catch a few glints of amber around the edges of the glass.

It has a nice malty aroma, not overpowering, but pretty substantial. There is also a slight scent of molasses and even slighter coffee scent.

The first sip I took actually tasted kind of like whiskey with a sharp alcoholic bite. Moving past that the beer has a mild malty flavor with a hint of coffee. There is a hint of dark fruit that lingers around too.

There is a pretty substantial amount of carbonation that kind of messes with the smoothness of the drink.

Overall, its a good beer but not as good as I was expecting, I like SS Oatmeal Stout a little bit more.

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Photo of MeMyselfNAles7
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my favorite RIS. Sam Smith did an above average brew with this one. It may be a little on the short end due to its 7%abv, but its still a solid brew.

Poured this brew on a snifter it casts a very dark brown brew with a beige, creamy and rich full crown that has a good retention. Full body with nice carbonation. The aromas are of strong roasted coffe, dark malts and dark cocoa, no alcohol perceived on the nose. The first sip brings the dark malts out followed by the roasted coffe and closing in with a nice touch of dark cocoa that gives it a great finish, with no lingering notes. Nothing overpowering. More drinker friendly than Old Ras but its an exceptional example of the style.

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Photo of jampics2
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

8oz or so, enjoyed at a beer tasting with Samuel Smith, the son of the current head of the brewery @ the Winking Lizard. Consumed in a branded English half-pint glass.

Black with little head, there is some excellent lace. The head re-awakens with a small swirl, and it's milk chocolate color is nice.

Smells of chocolate, coffee molasses, mild roasted malt, and some hops. Everything is well-rounded and balanced. It's pretty expressive as well, especially for an authentic RIS and not some American version with tons of ingredients and additives.

The taste is nice - loads of roasted malt and molasses sweetness leave me with the impression that this is on the mark. Soem dark fruit is present, mostly raisin and fig. Mild hops and some coffee combine to produce a slight lingering bitterness and some slight metallic tastes. Still well above average and enjoyable.

The mouthfeel is thinner than the pinnacle of the style, but the light carb makes it feel creamy. There's some lingering roast and slight bitterness in the finish. A fine beer, and it paired very well with the English cheeses and sausage plate that welcomed us to this wonderful tasting.

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Photo of bobhits
2.21/5  rDev -47%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Dark brown and opaque once in the glass. A good 2 finger head that's holding well enough. Leaving impressive lacing (wasn't expecting much). That said this doesn't last. It also leaves a bit of residue when swirled, I love this...sucker. But overall a touch below average for the style but average for a beer.

.Astringent sour smoke and butter scotch? Unlike the oatmeal not description here to judge from. OK so 7.0% and an imperial stout. A bit light for the style.

Sweet flavors and some lets say a smoky flavor with sweet dominance and finishing with some earthy hops. It's just off imo. This beer either needs more hops or more of a bunt flavor. Or it could go the strong malty sweet route (not my ideal). This beer needs to go somewhere and it doesn't. There's a chocolate flavor here. There's some sweetened coffee in a way. All of this is just again poorly done.

This isn't as pillowy and creamy as the regular oatmeal stout but the carbonation is good and the body is thicken enough. Average maybe a touch more than.

I'm not interested in another beer. Unlike my last few beers of the night I won't be pour out the remainder to avoid getting too buzzed (drunk?). That's mostly because this is my last beer of the night. It's not a drinker or sipper. I don't get what these oatmeal stouts that aren't overly strong are going for. I don't want to sip it on a cold night. I don't feel I should grab a cigar to go with. I don't want to drink quickly and I don't see this going with any food I'd eat. So what's left?

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

I poured this one from a 500ml brown bottle into an Imperial pint glass. The bottle was crown capped with the top wrapped in gold foil.

A= This ale poured a deep dark, inky black. When held to a very strong light I saw just a mere glimpse of red/brown clarity near one edge but that was it. The head was a nice tan color and rose a full 3/4". Retained pretty well, eventually dropping to a solid but thin cap. Left some spotty lace behind.

S= Not overly strong in the aroma, but it was complex nonetheless. I found light roastiness, caramel, toffee, figs, raisins, and soft alcohol in the nose.

T= Similar to the nose. Started off malty and rich with the caramel and toffee leading the way. Then the fruity and estery notes kicked in to bring out flavors of raisins and figs. A light roastiness followed, with a kiss of leafy hops. Finished fairly dry, with an awesome warming alcohol presence that was near perfect.

MF= Actually thinner than I expected...probably just around medium in body. Carbonation was solid without being overdone.

D= A very drinkable Imperial stout, with a lovely alcohol warmth and lots of toffee and fruit sweetness. Not my favorite RIS, but certainly one of my favorite English RIS' and one of the better offerings from Samuel Smith's.

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Photo of johnwarne
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A beer haiku for you:

"English Black Russian,
Hits back while you hit on it.
Tasty but stout stout!"

Like other Russians, this one is not what you would call a session beer. Nice taste and mouthfeel, but packs that alcohol 'wallop' that is indicative of the breed. A worthy companion on a cool night.

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

color is just making the black verdict, and has a finger of head fading to a collar around the edge.

Nose and flavor both hint toward milky and chocolaty flavors, there is just something dairy-esqe poking out from under the sweet malts and roasts, but only lightly. There is also some sweetness in the vein of Vanilla bean. this is a lighter imperial, at least in this day and age of monster beers.

Really creamy mouthfeel, medium body but silky smooth.

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Photo of Augustiner719
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 550ml bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a deep brownish black color with some minor red highlights. Looks very classic and produces a massive light tan head with some lacing. The aroma is strong toffee, chocolate, a touch of espresso and rich roasted malts. Really inviting. The flavor is very nice with lots of roasty malts and a big dark chocolate bitterness on the finish. Great toffee and even burnt coffee flavors meld nicely with it's sweetness. The mouthfeel is light and easy to drink, though it's Thinner than most RIS out there. Great off dry finish with a bitter kick to level the sweetness. This is the most drinkable RIS I have had so far. Really nice.

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Photo of Pballa4lyfe
3.34/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- poured this beer into a mug and it was very dark with some good light brown head

S- smelled very nutty and malty

T- meh...stout just isnt my taste...very malted down and nuts...if you like almonds grinded up into a beer, you'll like this

M- clean feel, crisp, nice carbonation...

D- very heavy...could only have about 1 or 2 of these in a night..hits the taste buds hard

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Photo of tewaris
3.61/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

550 ml bottle with no freshness date poured into a 25 oz snifter.

Appearance 5/5
It's hard to tell the difference between Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout and Imperial Stout based on visual inspection alone, except that the Imperial Stout, perhaps, is a shade darker. Pours clear and dark brown with a big brown head with decent retention and lacing. Going by the looks, an Imperial Stout alright.

Aroma 4/5
Roast; some tartness, but not funky. Instead, the tartness in smell seems to derive from the astringency of roast or the acidity of coffee. There is a dark fruit character that corresponds to a dried sweetness of raisins and dried plums, but not as aromatic/flavorful like dates and figs. No hops. Some sweet alcohol once in a while, that lends a vinous quality when paired with the acidity.

Taste 3/5
Roast and bitterness and the tartness of aroma. This is not the tartness of an infected beer, it's perhaps that charred character that's not getting masked under residual sugars. Also, this is not the only RIS with the described character, but the described character is strongest in this one among all RIS's I've had. The finish is slightly harsh for the style and medium dry, leaning towards dry. The aftertaste has hints of chocolate milk. The richness is missing from this beer in my opinion; yes it's big-ish, yes it's roasty, but that's about it. This is a mediocre RIS at best.

Mouthfeel 3.5/5
Thin and overly carbonated for the style.

Drinkability 4/5
Drinkable? Very much, but what sense does knocking back a few make when one doesn't get the Russian Imperial Stout experience? Between this and other common examples, I would rather have my senses assaulted than experiencing the English kind that gets exported to the Americas.

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Photo of avw555
3.97/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought this at Tiffany's in Kalamazoo, MI

Appearance- Black, nice off-white head, decent lacing. lightly
Smell- Dark chocolate & espresso
Taste-Bold coffee/espresso. Great after taste of espresso. The alcohol burned the sides of my tongue just a bit to let me know it was there. Very pleasant.
Mouth feel- heavy, but not over bearing.
Drinkabilty- Easy to drink. I really enjoy this one. I probably could not drink more than 1 in a "sitting".

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Photo of glazeman
3.37/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 355 ml bottle into a snifter

A: Dark, Dark brown with a medium brown head that measures 2 fingers. Excellent retention and lacing.

S: Not that fragrant of a beer. There's a little bit of chocolate at the front, and some alcohol at the end, but not too much in between.

T: This is defiantly a good stout but quite generic, there is nothing in particular about it that makes it stand out to me. There's a bit of interesting bitter chocolate up front that fades on the tongue and doesn't leave much else at the finish.

M: Pretty good. This beer has viscosity, but is over-carbonated in my opinion. Nice aftertaste though.

D: Ehh, It was nice to try, but there are too many better options out there for me to go looking for this one again.

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

Appearance -- Pours dark brown with two fingers of chocolate tan head.

Smell -- Molasses, prune, cocoa, licorice, dark roast malt, a bit of spiciness.

Taste -- Burt toast is the most forward flavor up front. Cocoa powder, molasses, raisin, licorice, mild roast coffee. Some mild hop bittering evident in the finish; earthy, a bit medicinal.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-full in body, slick, a little chewy. Carbonation is fairly abundant, but gentle. Overall, pretty smooth.

Drinkability -- This is a very pleasant RIS. Glad I finally pulled the trigger on this one.

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

Serving type - Bottle

Appearance - Very dark black, light head, dark very dark

Smell - Barley, malts, spices, some coffee, oatmeal and chocolate is present

Taste - Wow, as usual with sammy smith, smooth, tastey and full of flavor. This is a imperial stout? Wow, its so flavorful and smooth, Its a stout imo. The spices combined with coffee kick, mixed with the english malts make this amazing.

Mouthfeel - Theres no burn, this coats mouth with all the flavors you want in a stout. Totally enjoyable and easy to drink. Every drink is sweet and spicey, and pleasureable.

Drinkabilty - Beening a imperial stout, this is way to easy to drink. I want a whole case so i can drink this beer weekly. Sammy smith proves, you dont need to be the hoppiest, the strongest or maltest to be the best, this is unmatched in taste, the best!

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Photo of Beerislife652854
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a near-frozen 12-ounce bottle into a Guinness pint glass.

A - Very dark brown, almost black opaque body with a tiny beige head that stays around. There is thick lacing just above the surface of the beer.

S - Coffee and hints of cocoa.

T - Very malty with some hints of spice. The coffee influence is dominant.

M - Less carbonation than most beers, though slightly more carbonated than the beer whose name graces the front of my glass.

D - Obviously this is a heavier beer. Great with hearty stews and spicy foods.

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Photo of gford217
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

550ml bottle.

Pours almost completely black with a thick beige head that shows excellent retention and lacing.

Aroma is sweet with chocolate malts, lightly roasted with some molasses and dark fruits.

The taste is sweet but has a bit more roast, especially in the finish. There is some light coffee notes, bakers chocolate. Less fruit than the nose. Dry finish.

The mouthfeel is smooth with strong carbonation and on the lighter side of things as RIS's go.

This was the first imperial stout I ever tasted and it probably doesn't stand up to some of the bigger stouts out there, but it's damn drinkable and very tasty.

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice little stout here for sure. I say little, because I feel that 7% might be a bit light for a RIS, but this guy certainly made up for it in flavor. Pours the characteristic dark black/brown with a bit of chocolate milk-colored head that had ok retention. Aroma is pretty nice, some fruit, chocolate, roasted malt, hint of booze, maybe even some vanilla in there too. Taste has some nice bitter roasted malt making a big play, but dark fruit poke in and out at times. Dark chocolate also makes an appearance. Again some booze comes in there too. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, but a bit thin as far as I'm concerned. Really enjoyed the drink, a good, available, affordable RIS.

It is a little weird that at 7% the booze in this one is not very well-hidden. What's weirder is that I think it works for the beer in that alcohol flavors are pretty normal for other popular big ABV guys in the style.

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Photo of sasky7777
3.83/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of my go to RIS. It is quite drinkable and is beer that emphasizes malt characteristics. It pours a dark brown much like coffee, and has a foamy tan head. Dark fruit flavours are at the for front, with just enough hop bitterness to balance it out. This beer is also excellent to use in cooking desserts like chocolate cake, I tried it also in a pot roast, but found the fruity, molasses, and well "Christmas" flavours did not work as well. A fine example of the style.

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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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