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

3,735 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: 3,735 |  Reviews: 1,763
Photo of irisier
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 oz brown bottle.

Appearance: Deep but not quite opaque black with a nice tan head.

Smell: Dark bread with some dryed fruit smells (raisins, prunes). Also some definite chocolate/brownie smell. A little milky with maybe some coffee and wood.

Taste: Roasty with some noticeable hops. Some coffee and unsweetened chocolate flavors as well as some bitter dark malts. A little milky sweetness as well. Maybe a bit of faint smoke. A little warming alcohol in the stomach.
Not as many charred flavors as other imperial stouts.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy, fullbodied but not heavy. Low carbonation, which is on par for the style.

Impressions: Lovely and flavorful. Great after-dinner drink.

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Photo of Richardberg
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - poured cold into some Allagash stemware and allowed to warm up. Fairly expansive brown head for an Imperial, though this isn't an 18% monster either. Color of dark-roasted coffee -- not quite black -- noticeable red and tan held up to light.

S - vanilla, cocoa powder, roasted nuts. as the beer came up to temp these became quite strong, almost pungent. yet only the slightest whiff of booze.

T - pleasantly burnt malt; nothing that would overwhelm the great aromas. pretty neutral sweet/bitterness. no alky burn at all.

M - moderate to heavy body, moderate stickiness & coating

D - no weaknesses, loads of well balanced flavors, and not too strong = a very drinkable RIS.

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Photo of AlexCorleone
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Black body with big cappuccino head, a little more head than the usual stouts

S- The first note definitely is Vanilla, after that the smell carnival starts: Chocolate, coffee, alcohol, roasted malts and little odd nuttiness and smoke almonds.

T- Now Smoked almonds, dry fruit, alcohol, appears at the beginning and a hint of vanilla appear at the end.

M- Cigar, almonds and bitter chocolate.

D- One or two is enough, recommended with strong cheese, and smoked "jamón Serrano".

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Photo of brewdub17
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Completely dark with a nice tan head. Usual for an Imperial Stout.

Smell: Nice aroma but heavy on the alcohol smell. Nice balance of sweetness.

Taste: Great mellow flavor with strong dark chocolate flavors. diverse flavors balance nicely with each other.

Mouthfeel: Very light but complex feel that allows for many sips.

Drinkability: Not too strong of a beer so you don't get much of a taste of alcohol. All the combined flavors make the drinkability high and enjoyable.

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

550 ml bottle into pint glass, served at room temperature.

An almost perfect example of bold goodness in a bottle. Black body with a thick, dark tan head. Smell and taste such a harmonious blend of coffee and chocolate sweet malts & bitters. Perfectly smooth and totally complex. I tell you when I opened it, I heard the sound of an English stream..

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
3.51/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I always pass the Sammy Smith display but today it called me. A single slim bottle of an imperial stout for 3 bones? yes.

It pours a dark brown, red in the light. Aroma is subdued despite the good carbonation. The taste is slightly sour, perhaps a sour mash? A little roast, a little chocolate, no boozy bite, fairly dry. Body is thin, more like a porter than a stout, let alone an imperial stout.

I'm torn. I like this beer, but frankly it isn't an imperial stout. Perhaps strong porter is more apt.

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Photo of rawthar
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Black cokey body with a persistent cappacino cream head...a total void of all light, a nice standard impy stout look, with a little more head than the usuals.

S- The entire array of Impy stout aromas: a bit of chocolate, a bit of coffee, a hint of licorice, lots of alcohol, roasted malts, a little odd nuttiness.

T- A little bit sour plums up front over a backbone of the same flavors from the nose. Opens up a lot as it warms up, with the different flavor characters differentiating themselves.

M- A little on the watery side, a little carb still hangs around.

D- A nice, standard staple for the style, balanced all around, not much to distinguish from the rest.

Can't wait to compare to the bottle I have aging in the cellar.

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Photo of jpittman80
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is proof that more is not always better. In comparison to other imperial stouts, especially the ones from the US, this is less. Less aroma, less flavor, less body, less alcohol. That being said, this is quite an enjoyable experience and is extremely well balanced. Also, I have to admit that I have a little soft spot for this one, as it was my gateway to other imperial stouts.

It pours a stark black with a finger of tan head that lasts to the end. When held to the light, it shows touches of deep red. You get a big raisin and other dark fruit aroma, with bananas, chocolate and a hint of both coffee and alcohol. The flavor follows suit, with a nice rounded raisin flavor. The chocolate is more pronounced here, as is the strong roast malt character. The alcohol is actually less prevalent in the flavor than the aroma. It is very deftly balanced between sweet and roasty bitterness, but to the devoted strong stout fan, it comes off as relatively subtle. A medium body and a nice soft carbonation (in conjucntion with the relatively low ABV) make this a very smooth, satisfying brew.

So, when you want something bolder than your average brew, but aren't in the mood for the overly aggressive or sweet malty mess of most big stouts, I'd say give this classic a shout.

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Photo of dobiechief
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 those wonderful "meal in a bottle" brews that I find so enjoyable. The flavors cover a wide range of the palate. The initial sip can be surprising for its variety and it maintains its interesting appeal throughout. The aftertaste is also quite pleasant; not bitter or overpowering. While not as sweet as some Russian Imperial Stouts that I have encountered, its balance makes it one that I have often heartily recommended to someone who is becoming more adventurous with their beer choices.

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Photo of soju6
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

C: Pours a deep mohogany with a good tan head that fades slowly.

S: Dark fruits, roasted malts and sweet aroma of chocolate & caramel.

T: Sweet taste with malt & chocolate blended together and finishes with a hint of fruit and excelent touch of bitterness.

F: Good medium body that is creamy and smooth. A well balanced brew with no hint of the 7% ABV.

D: It's easy to forget this is a great sipping beverage, to savor all the complexities going on. This looks like the standard to compare all other Imperial Stouts against.

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

Poured from a 550 into a snifter.

A-Deep black with a creamy tan head that only comes up with a vigourous pour, but settles rapidly without much lacing. Ruby amber highlights when held to the light.

S-Semi sweet roasted chicory, bakers chocolate, coffee, licorice and molasses.

T-A creamy carryover from the nose with a well balanced hop finish that brings a bit of anise to the aftertaste. There are many big stouts that taste better than this, but I can't think of any that taste this good at 7%. This packs a huge flavor and complexity for a relatively low ABV, and I daresay nearly as much enjoyment as some of the more powereful examples of this style. I love a beer that lets me drink more of it. Well done.

M-Medium plus, nice and creamy...well balanced carbonation.

D-An extremely drinkable stout that is readily available. I normally like my stouts strong, powereful, dark and thick, but this is such a satisfying brew at a lower octane. I'm usually not a big fan of Samuel Smiths or English beers in general as they seem tepid in comparison to the wonderful availabilities here in the States, but this is one to keep on the list. I'm not abandoning my Ten Fidy, my Raspy or my Stone RIS, but this is very worthy.

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Photo of Clydesdale
4.53/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a deep, dark brown with garnet highlights. The tall, creamy head has an even tan coloring. Retention is good, and sticky ribbons of lacing cling to the glass.

S: Roasted dark malt aromas, per usual. Some sticky molasses character. Notes of chicory and dark fruit - preserved plums and blackcurrant. Bittersweet chocolate, along with faint notes of espresso.

T: Molasses and roasty malt up front. A bit of sweetness. Dark fruit, chicory, light black licorice. Equal parts coffee and bittersweet chocolate into the finish. A measured hop bitterness, with some herbal/spicy flavor.

M: Medium-full body. Carbonation is modest, and the mouthfeel is extremely smooth and creamy - wonderful. Close to ideal in terms of mouthfeel.

D: I thought this might be a delicately-flavored imperial stout considering the 7% abv, but this is very refined and extremely flavorful. Also a great alternative to all the smoky, insanely hopped American RISes flooding the market. Drinkability is very easy.

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Photo of fullsweep
3.55/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

355 mL brown bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: thick foamy heady, beige in colour; solid black brew underneath--so dark that even light didn't pierce through; plenty of lacing, slow dissipation of head.

S: strong, roasted barley predominant, toasted nuts as well

T: syrupy, quite a bit of alcohol in the flavour as well--a bit too much for my liking

M: thick and rich

D: while enjoyable, this was slightly less appealing. I would certainly try it again, as this was my first introduction to an Imperial. Can't see this being a go-to beer for me, but I'm happy to be proven wrong.

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Photo of FreshHawk
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark cola brown/black with brown hues on the edges. Slightly above average sized frothy, bubbly, dark beige head that disappears fast and doesn't leave any lacing behind except a faint ring around the glass.

S - Fairly sweet with some molasses and brown sugar along with some dark chocolate. Also some dark fruit (particularly dates and raisins) and hints of roasted coffee. Fairly standard stout aroma with a nice balance of roasted, sweet, and tart aromas.

T - Starts fairly fruity with a good amount of raisin, date, and a faint touch of dark berry. Somewhat tart (in a stout kind of way). Also a good base of lightly roasted malt and barley. Some burnt caramel, molasses, and brown sugar comes out with the roasted flavors for a slightly bitter and slightly sweet taste. Finishes with those flavors and an increase of prune and licorice/anise along with a slight hoppy earthiness. Has a slight stout tartness on the finish.

M - Medium body with a touch lower than moderate carbonation. Smooth and slick feel with a touch of creaminess sneaking in.

D - Pretty drinkable stout. Balance between flavors, featuring many classical stout tastes, particularly some fruity and licorice aspects and a stout tartness. A little light, but still full of flavor. Enjoyable to drink.

Notes: A nice stout, but nothing that particularly blew me away. Features plenty of classical RIS tastes, but was a touch thin. I would gladly get this again, although I prefer the Oatmeal Stout more.

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Photo of biglite351
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - near black with a tall mid-dark head that lasts for the entire time that you are drinking.

S - mild creamy chocolately and inviting.

T - solid, chocolately, malty. You want to take another drink.

M - coats entire mouth. Mild tingle on front of tongue.

D - I could drink this all night.

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

12 oz. stately slender bottle - no best before date or anything. Served at cellar (54-55F) temp.

Pours a jet black liquid with a gorgeous 2" creamy and blossoming khaki head. I added an ounce or so as it settled and actually grew the head another half inch. Now it sits over 2 1/2" with no signs of diminishing. Due to its utter opaqueness, no visible carbonation can be detected. Perfect rings of tan lace all the way down.

A few swirls evokes fresh Raisinettes (milk chocolate covered raisins). Seriously, just like a huge handful of mashed-up Raisinettes. A little malted milk and faint creamed coffee.

A perfect balance of the aforementioned scents translate perfectly into the taste category. There's a little char which melds well with the dark fruit flavors. The roasted dark malts are more amplified as the beer warms, giving it its first dimension of heartiness I've detected so far.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a low level of carbonation, which is common for a British made stout. It's oily and slick and does not build-up on your tongue. There's a little chalkiness on the long, fruity and roasty finish.

Drinkability is awesome. Not at all harsh and a very 'gliding' swallow.

Overall a finely tuned and masterfully balanced R.I.S. In a time where this style is all over the place, this stout is in perfect pitch. Very restrained and soft-spoken, but has a lot to say if you listen closely. When you're done with the chalice next to your ear, position it a quarter way around your head and tilt slowly and enjoy!

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

330ml bottle served in a chalice.

A: Pours a deep-brown-almost-black color forming a big creamy tan head. Good retention. The head never disappears completely but only few lacings are left in the glass

S: Sweet. Roasted malts, earthy yeasts, dark chocolate cookie. A bit of alcohol in the end

T: Roasted malts, brown bread, dark fruits. Sweet malts upfront. In overall, a dry body, but not extremely. End is bitter, smoky with a bit of alcohol

M: Medium creamy and molasses body. Medium carbonation. Sweet upfront and a mild roasted bitter aftertaste

O: High drinkability. Perfect English Stout. Absolutely recommended

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

Review from notes on 7/20/09

A - poured very dark brown with garnet hues. Tan 1.5" head, left a bubbly cap but very little lace. 4.0

S - rich malty sweetness, chocolate, oatmeal, and caramel. Light blackberry notes too. 4.0

T - Hugely malty, rich roasted barley, touch of cream, light hoppy bitterness mingling with coffee beans, finishes with dark chocolate and caramel. 4.5

M - rich and velvety, coats the palate yet doesn't make it feel sticky. 5.0

D - 550 mL isn't enough. Never enough. 5.0

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Photo of ClimbStuff
4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - dark like fresh brewed coffee, excellent thick, foamy head

Smell - subtle roasted notes, a faint hint of smokiness, very inviting

Taste - bold and rich roasted flavors, then a smooth essence of sweet textures, finally, a pleasant 'hang' ... makes for a very well balanced beer

Mouthfeel - medium body, lightly carbonated, sits on the palate nicely, a hint of roasted flavors and then a soft, smooth lingering presence

Drinkability - love the complexity and balance of flavors and textures, but very filling, not a "session" beer at all

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

Review from notes taken 2/14/10.

Pours a dark brown color with red and brown highlights around the edges. Produces less than a finger of tanned head without much retension. Sweet aroma of dark fruit and a bit of yeast. Tastes include burnt grain, bitter chocolate and a lingering taste of coffee is left in the mouth. Moderately carbonated and a very smooth medium feel. The type of smoothness I have now come to expect but is yet seemingly distinct about this brewery. For 7% the alcohol is fairly well hidden. The alcohol starts to come through in the finish as it warms.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No date on the bottle, contents poured into a tulip. Beer is black and forms a brown head of medium bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass but the head doesn't have staying power.

Aroma is nice, sweet with a hint of alcohol and some caramel. Smells really good, a subtle roast.

Beer is really smooth and tastes great. Full bodied, carbonation in the mouth is minimal. Leads with a sweetness followed by a slight bitterness of the roast. There is no aftertaste, good palate connectivity. I would recommend this beer and drink it as a repeat.

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Photo of mjurney
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

[Appearance]: Deep black, fairly nice creamy head, leaves a little lacing on the glass.
[Smell]: Molasses, roasted malts, fruits (apple/pear), touch of ginger in the nose.
[Taste]: Dry fruit up front, molasses, hint of licorice, raisins in the midway of my palate, finish off roasty.
[Mouthfeel]: Medium-heavy bodied, very silky in the mouthfeel, light on the carbonation, pretty smooth, leaves a nice roasty aftertaste.
[Drinkability]: Drinkability is good.

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Photo of brewerburgundy
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drunk yesterday from a goblet.

Quite dark molasses brown with only hints at the bottom and rim. A good-sized khaki head, maybe the English introduced the world to the khaki colored foaming beer as well as khaki uniforms. The initial inch or so fell to a built up ring and slick.

A load of dark, full, ripe berries and even a touch of rich red wine. Turkish coffee, molasses, cocoa powder, bready/doughy yeast.

Very much a reflection of the nose, with such a bursting bunch of sweet berry or vinousness. Quite sweet, carmelized sugar, and molasses. Very rich espresso with lots of sugar.

Thin compared to the Imperial Stouts we are accustomed to. Slightly fizzy and not bottle conditioned.

Quite drinkable, low abv comparative to style with lots of flavor I didn't expect.

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

A- jet black, dark tan head, great head retention
S- nice roasted malt, gingerbread, leather, dried fruit, cooked apple, yeasty, notes of soya
T- dried fruit, brown sugar, low astringency, worty, hints of alcohol, short lasting bitterness
M- full bodied, low bitterness for an imperial stout, with a lingering malty finish
D- very smooth, very complex, no flavor dominates another.

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Photo of semibaked
3.03/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours super black with about 2 inches of brown head.

S - First thing I smell is red wine (kinda weird) but also has roasty malts and some syrupy sweetness too.

T - Wow a lot acidic and sharper than I thought it would be, really boozy up front, some hops with some malts and raisin sweetness. Really disappointed in the taste I was expecting a traditional Imperial Stout and I didn't get it.

M - Really smooth and creamy, very nice, too bad the beer doesn't taste better.

D - I am pretty bummed by this, I usually really like Samuel Smith's beer but this is bad stuff. Definitely will not be drinking or buying this again.

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
4.17 out of 5 based on 3,735 ratings.
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