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 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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Photo of jlindros
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The crazy bottle neck on the bottle's neck forces a huge head on the pour that rises up for 2/3 of the glass. A thick frothy dark colored hear that is. The beer itself is almost pitch black, but not quite.

N: Tons of malts hit first. SOme roasted malts, caramel malts, and a few others. Some caramel aromas and sweetness, a little oatmeal, some dark fruits, and a little bitter English hop aroma tops it off. A little chocolate as well.

T: Very fruity actually. Tons of malt as well, again with lots of dark malts, caramel, a little roast, I think even a nice bit of Marris Otter as base. Creamy milk chocolate, oats, dried fruits, hints of spicy hops. A little bit of juicy hop flavors as well.

M: Creamy and semi thick, with lots of carbonation.

F: Semi bitter with more English hops, and lingering hot roast and dark malts. Some sweetness on the finish as well with more caramel and brown sugar.

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

Initiating my Tripel Karmeliet tulip (thanks Dan!).

A: Pours an opaque black color with mocha head that kisses the glass as it fades away fairly quickly, leaving a thin, soapy layer on top.

S: Has a big chocolate nose, as well as cherries, coffee, roasted barley, and just a touch of alcohol. Just about everything I expect out of an imperial stout.

T: Chocolate. With plenty of fruit on the side. A mild smokiness resides within, alongside just a hint of roastiness. I love the nesses :) Melds together like it's supposed to.

M: Just so smooth at every turn except the grand finale. A little dry for me. I would love this to leave just a little bit more on the tongue, but I feel almost like I need to drink a ton of water after each sip. Other than that, almost perfect.

D: As it barely crosses over into imperial territory, the alcohol content is just right. If it didn't finish so dry, I would drink it all night long. Next to Old Raspy, this is my standby.

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Photo of Thur123
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A heavy pour yields a two and ha half finger head that's toffee in color and is suspended over a nearly opaque reddish black color. The smell is light roasted malts and a big fruity sweetness. Cocoa, caramel raisins and plums dominate the odor. The head recedes slowly leaving sticky clumpy lacing on the edges.

Reminds me of Old Ras, the first ImpStoudt I tried.

Glug glug glug

The flavor is bigger on the roasted malt, which tastes like charred bread or meat, you k now the black caramelized parts. In addition a kind of mellow creaminess pervades allowing the raisins and cocoa to complement, not dominate, the roasted malt character. There's also a slight cola taste, which is really just caramel that seems to pick up towards the end. Over all the texture on this is very thick and authentic feeling. I can see how this inspired what American brewers are doing with stouts and to compare it to those ImpStoudts would be unfair as it helped give birth to the idea of bigger and bolder stouts. An excellent and simply traditional Stout, very tasty.

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Photo of 05Harley
4.36/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle # SB19G1 (bottled on February 19, 2007)

Purchased @ Johnson's Market Place, New Durham NH

Appearance: Pours with a creamy off white head that fades fairly quickly. Black as night with moderate viscocity. Lacing artwork left behind as I sip the glass.

Smell: Faint roasted malts and bitter chocolate. Not a big nose with this one.

Taste: burnt roasted malts and bitter chocolate as the nose suggests. Raisins come through in the middle followed with a slight smokiness in the end. Very little alcohol in the taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation. Creamy feel which ends with a dry bitter finish.

Drinkability: Highly drinkable IMO. An unexpected experience at 7.0%. I'm impressed. I've been drinking this for quite some time but never reviewed it until now. Certainly a more sessional beer as far as Imperial Stouts go. Pretty smooth. Good work SS.

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Photo of JohnnyP3
4.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 355ml bottle with a best before date on the shoulder of November 2010. Neck wrapped with gold foil and a label identical to that of the caption picture. A very informative label graces the opposite side of the main label with a plethora of descriptions of the beer and serving suggestions. The beer landed in a standard pint glass.

A: Predominantly black, with some ruby red hues to it. Topped by a nice creamy head that pours with a roughly 2-finger width. Head settles to a nice layer and clings to the sides of the glass. Great lace patterns down the sides as I drink.

S: Dark chocolate and cherries stand out to me. Some roasted coffee bean smell as well. Milky and malty!

T: Delicious and rich! Chocolate malts, coffee, some background hints of fruits, but not overwhelming. Dark fruits are pleasantly subdued. This RIS is a great example of the old saying that sometimes less is more. Delivers a decadent dark brew without some of the over-the-top antics of its much younger brethren. A little bit of the toasted/burnt malt character is present as well. Molasses and rum currents as well. Quite complex for a lower alc/vol RIS.

M: Wonderful creamy texture with nice complementary level of carbonation. Silky smooth, to coin a taxed phrase.

D: My favorite RIS as of this date. Very smooth and easy going RIS that warms the body and soul on a winter eve and does not incapacitate you with an alcoholic gut punch.

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Photo of bsp77
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Very dark, rich brown with thin tan head that lasts for awhile.

Smell: Sweet molasses, licorice, dark fruit, chocolate and coffee.

Taste: Molasses and roasted barley are very prominent, with notes of chocolate, coffee and dark fruit. Rich and malty, with much less hops than most American made Imperial Stouts.

Feel: Thick, creamy and smooth body with low carbonation.

Drinkability: Overall, a much milder RIS than the American-made ones I am used to. However, it is very easy drinking (at least by RIS standards) and it has a nice full and smooth body.

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Photo of hophead247
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

F'ing OUTSTANDING BEER!!!..Beautiful black stout with an incredible tan head and nice lacing. Nose of sweet malt, light alcohol, & cocoa. Taste of sweet malt, cocoa, bitter espresso, with a bitter hop finish to counter the sweetness. Mouth feel is a bit thin for an imperial stout; not surprising, since at 7% ABV this is more a session stout than an imperial, but I was damn impressed. Very nicely done from a world class brewery.

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Photo of heissebier
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This has been sitting in my fridge since November, saved for a special day. It turns out there is nothing particurally special about today (except perhaps the beer I'm about to drink), I just couldn't wait any longer.

Appearance- Pours jet black with a nice mocha colored head. Coats the side of the glass beautifully with lacing.

Smell- A very interesting smell, unique to this beer. Sweet caramel notes blended with some coffee and choclate flavors. There is also a rum or bourbon like aroma mixed in there. Gives the beer a certain old-school badass character.

Taste- Maintains that distinct character, malty with chocolate and caramel flavors dominating. Some dark fruits present. Slightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel- Thick and smooth, with just a touch of carbonation. A roasty flavor tends to linger in your mouth. Also a very warming brew.

Drinkability- Fantastic considering the darkness and complexity of this brew. Perhaps it can get overwhelming after a few glasses.

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

Poured into the Sam Adams pint glass from a 550ml bottle.

A - Pours a strong dark brown color with some nice reddish hues. It has a big 1.5 inch head that is tan and very dense. the head is nice and sticky with some good lacing.

S - Some nice caramel sweetness along with chocolate, vanilla bean and believe it or not some banana bread. Mild alcoholic warming esters are also present. Some mild mocha hints as well.

T - Some nice smooth and creamy chocolate hints as well as some vanilla. Mellow roasted character that is subdued by the alcoholic sweetness. The mocha hints are very delicious and there is definitely some banana bread hints in there. Very nice.

M - Might be a little watered down for a RIS but its still very delicious and refreshing.

D - Might be a little on the low side with the complexity and teh ABV.

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

The first thing that is noticeable when smelling this beer is a strong dark coffee malt scent and molasses. There is a hint of chocolate malts that rounds out the scent. Due to the 7% ABV you can also notice a touch of alcohol in the scent. The taste starts off with a rich coffee and chocolate malt, followed by molasses and dark fruit like raisins, dates or prunes. There is a bitter floral hop taste that lingers into the aftertaste.

This is a medium bodied beer that has a good creamy coating in the mouth. The carbonation level is mild like one would expect of a stout.

This is a very easy beer to drink. It's actually a beer I would love to see my local English Pub put on tap. I could see myself ordering one of these after a rough day at work. The 7% Alcohol By Volume is barely noticeable in the taste, you almost have to be looking for it to find it. This is an excellent example of an n Imperial Stout;

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Photo of mulder1010
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

355 ML poured into a tulip glass

A-- Poured motor oil black. Not as thick as other RIS's in the pour and in appearance but still black. Just tints of red in the pour. Dark brownish gold head that once settled it was just a film. No Lacing and no real showing of carbonation.

S-- Bitter chocolate and a lot of roasted malt. Does have a sweet quality to the beer. Very big flavor for this beer.

T-- Baking Chocolate, big malt, bitter coffee or espresso taste. Feels like a bitter and sweet chocolate cake.

M-- Flavor does not last that long in the mouth, yet what is there is excellent and packs a punch. Only real negative is the mouthfeel and that is still very good.

D-- A 7% RIS??? Oh yeah, quite good and worth drinking. Biggest thing is how drinkable it is. Can be done all year. Not like other RIS' that really are fall/ winter beers due to the overcomplexity and high ABV %. This makes up for the smaller ABV by the flavor. Rich and full, yet drinkable. A real versatile beer. Can be sessionable and can be sipped and savored.

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Photo of kegger22
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout was a very dark brown color with a half-inch light brown head that faded to a collar.

The aroma was a rich chocolate malt smell that dominated the brew.

The taste too, was chocolate roasted malt, nice and sweet, but not over sweetened.

The mouth feel was medium to full bodied, oily and reasonably carbonated.

Drinkability was very good, pairing an excellent flavor to a sane ABV.

I had good feelings about Samuel Smith's beers before, but the imperial stout has raised them to a higher level IMO.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 550mL bottle into Ommegang tulip.

A - Poured a thick oil black with a generous brown head that built upon pour. Very clingy lacing.

S - Soft smell, creamy and rich. Hints of chocolate and malts with a nice cherry alcohol undertone.

T - Chocolate and roasted nuts. Creamy malts.

M - Smooth and silky. Goes down easy. Leaves my mouth feeling fresh and cool.

D - Very drinkable RIS. The ABV isn't too crazy either which makes this a great one to throw back. Will DEFINITELY be enjoying this brew over and over again.

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Photo of Stunner97
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- very dark black with not a speck of light coming through this one, a big thick tan head off the pour, dark and menacaing

Smell- rich and strongly malty, milk chocolate, roasted malts, very sweet nose, not a super powerful nose but an over riding sweet one

Taste- sweet chocolate and malts, slight and i mean very slight bitter roasted malts on the back end but manly just very much a malt bomb, raisins and brown sugar sweetness up front quickly fade out, short to average finish, a nice flavor but not as powerful as many of the newer style stouts,

Mouthfeel- heavy thick and smooth body,

Drinkability- this stout is very easy to session but I think its because its almost extremely simplistic for what we have now come to expect from a good imperial stout, now I am not saying this is not a decent beer in its own right cuz its certainly enjoyable and easy to session through but its just not a game changer, short finish for sure and rather one dimensional, that said its worth trying and its certainly one you could easily session down with glee

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Photo of juju7
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A real pleasure.Pitch black with lots of chocolate and sweet roasted notes. A kind of burt molasses character on the palate with some serious choco malt, really cool. Full bodied with perfectly smooth carbonation. Not as strong or aggressive as some of the modern RIS styles but holds it's own no problem. The Barry White of beers.

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

The very first RIS I ever drank.

A deep dark black, not the used oil you might see recently, but before those kinds of beers, this was about the darkest.

Smell, too much alcohol in the nose, especially for only 7%. Taste, nice, coffee, choco licorice. Mouthfeel, gets rid of the alcohol smell blast, some toffee or something along for the ride. Drinkable, but a little pricey. Too much dark fruit notes, alcohol for my tastes these days.

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

pours a fairly viscous black, but not as stouty as i remembered. you always remember things as bigger than they actually are. One finger light tan head, minimal lacing. smells burnt coffee, peanuts, fruit, caramel. not as intense and bold as i like for an imperial. high carbonation with a tart, slight sour finish. the taste is light, but still wonderful.

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Photo of Cyn1c
4.56/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a bottle, carefully poured into my favourite pint glass.

Appearance: Opaque and jet black in my glass with a short, caramel colored head. On close inspection, the beer is actually a clear, deep amber brown.

Smell: Sweet, figgy, raisony aroma.

Taste: Smooth, round and satisfying. Fruit and brown sugar flavors primarily, with some chocolate. Balanced well with subtle nutty and smoky notes.

Mouthfeel: Thick and velvety. Slightly syrupy. No astringence.

Drinkability: Easily drinkable. Rich, but not too rich. Very delicious. Very Alcoholic.

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

Poured from a 550 mL into a shaker: two-and-a-half fingers of pourous, soft head, latte-colored, over a very dark brown that's also kind of purple. Very faint, deep ruby highlights and substantial lacing.

Smell is that kind of sour-ish chocolate, like Hershey's milk chocolate, dark fruit (raisins & prunes, especially), & a spiciness like black licorice.

Starts with dark fruits & some acidity, then moves into a dark chocolate bitterness, introduces a sharpness from booze, turns milky sweet, & ends with a pleasant roasty flavor.

Full mouthfeel, foamy carbonation, a little sharp from alcohol. I like it -- not knocking my socks off, but a really nicely done representation &, I'm assuming, one of the most authentic examples of the style around.

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Photo of ChanChan
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

550 ml bottle, poured into a Standard English pub glass.
A: Obviously as dark as an Imperial Stout should be. Nevertheless, a hue of burgundy can be detected when held up to the light. The head is thick and slightly creamy with good lacing.
S: Roasted coffee, a bit of handmade chocolate and some raisins. For some reason I also get a bit of clove every now and then.
T: Tastes reminds me of a Guinness Extra Stout but much smoother and complex. A very enjoyable drink. The finish alone makes me want to crack another one open. Well... if I had another one.
M: Just the right thickness which results in coating the mouth beautifully! This might be my favorite aspect of this beer; it feels as thick as tomato juice.
D: The aromas given off by this beer are a lot more complex than what I can describe. The ABV seems a little low for an IMPERIAL stout but this may make it even more enjoyable. I have never had their oatmeal stout because I do not generally enjoy low ABV drinks but if the taste is similar than I would most definitely want to try that as well, this one is fantastic!

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

335 ml bottle.
I really enjoy the look of this bottle, strong looking, the label is fitting and interesting, gold foil lets you know, this is not just any beer.
Poured an almost perfect black the light could not pierce, into a sturdy mug. A finger thick dark tan head appeared atop, reminds me of a root-beer float, receeding slowly into the depths of this dark liquid, with little broken lace down the glass. The aroma i inhale is strong roast malt, coffee, and az it warms slightly, raisin. I raise the glass to lips in anticipation, and down the hatch.. cold coffee, bitter chocolate throughout, hops, dark fruit-prune/raisin. Medium-full body almost oily, feels lighter than its appearance might have you believe, with small/close, almost 'biting' bubbles on the tongue. Not a 'beginner' stout if there is such a thing, however very drinkable and enjoyable. Very tasty, a slight warmth is felt gradually with this 7% brew. If fate will have it i will drink this again, i recommend it to those looking for a quality stout, its a real treat. I feel very good/relaxed rite now, but dont want another glass, i am content, i am pleased. Cheers!

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Photo of bbkd3b
3.76/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Really dark looking like an imperial stout should be. Holding it up to a lighted background doesn't make it look any lighter either. Has a good, 1.5-finger tan head with decent retention and the lacing sticks really well.

S: Concentrated chocolate hits the nostrils hard. Along with it are subtler scents of dark fruits and licorice. Pleasant.

T: Good tasting brew! The licorice is much more noticeable on the tongue than when I smelled it. It has more complexity as a result because it is balanced really well. The chocolate mixes really well with dark fruits and a slight bitterness (coffee?) finishes it off.

M: Creamy and a little thick, with perfect carbonation. No complaints here.

D: Good beer to drink, but strangely, I wasn't too interested in another round. I'd certainly buy it again, but I think the thickness put me off a little. At $4 for a 550mL bottle, I'm not complaining!

Overall/notes: Excellent beer, really. I drank this on a quiet night, and it was really relaxing, in a strange way. I still haven't had many imperial stouts, but I really am enjoying them. It also gave me an intense craving for chocolate. Go for it if you like imperial stouts.

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Photo of sevopie
3.62/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Pretty much black, with a medium brown 2 finger head that dies down to a coating and stays.

Sweet cocoa and dark fruit dominate the flavor. There's a bit of a toasty malt in the background and a hint of coffee.

Chocolate, coffee, and dark sour fruit all come in waves topped off by the alcohol flavor in the background.

Creamy smooth with a good, but not overpowering amount of carbonation.

I'm not quite sure how to feel about this one. It feels just a bit away from being fantastic, but something about the sweet and sour aspect puts me off just a tad. Its not a deal breaker, but it just sits a bit uneasy. Sam Smith's always has amazing body and smoothness to their beer though, and this is a fine example of that.

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

Served from a 355ml bottle purchased at Wells in Baltimore, Maryland (01/19/10) into my 20oz. Samuel Smith nonic pint glass at the appropriate temperature. I've had this bottle tucked away in the "cellar" for about 2 years and just decided to give it a try.

A: Wonderfully creamy and almost jet black with a one finger mocha colored head with nice retention and some patchy lacing.

S: Very unique and unmistakably Samuel Smith. A slightly sweet chocolate and dark fruit concoction with hints of rum, smoke, raisins, mocha, cinnamon bread, licorice, and coffee. As with many of their offerings, this aroma is subtle yet complex.

T: Truly a wonderfully unique flavor profile with chocolate and raisin highlighting first. Layers of cinnamon raisin bread, licorice, coffee, smoke, and rum are present as well. Very smooth and extremely complex.

M: Medium-bodied with low carbonation with a great degree of creaminess which adds considerable fullness to this Imperial Stouts. Quite silky and delicate, yet substantial and hearty at the same time.

D: I have always found this to be one of the most drinkable Imperial Stouts and this bottle confirmed that. The 7% abv. is is a non-factor as it is modest and completely hidden.

Overall this for me was my first Imperial Stout and it has not lost any of its luster of mystique throughout the years. Highly Recommended.

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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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