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

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Samuel Smith's Imperial StoutSamuel Smith's Imperial Stout
3,793 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: 3,793 |  Reviews: 1,779
Photo of Cyn1c
4.56/5  rDev +9.6%
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 -3.1%
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 +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 +0.5%
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 -9.6%
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%
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 +5.3%
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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Photo of claminat420
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- poured the typical stout black with a two finger tan head. medium lacing.

S- just a slight roasted raisony scent.

T- well the raisony character comes out but also accompanied by a slight chocolate taste. alcohol is very well hidden. the roasted malt really holds the brew together.

M- light bodied. nice carbonation.

D- could drink a couple of these 550ml bottles.

Overall- i'm not usually a stout fan but i'm on a kick cuz of the weather. this brew is pretty good. if you're a stout fan and haven't tried this i don't know what you are doing. grab a bottle!!

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Photo of exparte
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Fairly complex but mild aroma of chocolate, coffee, licorice and roasted malt. Pure black in color with a thick and creamy espresso head. Tastes slightly sweet, mostly licorice, with mild bitterness at the end. Full bodied with creamy carbonation and a lingering sweet licorice finish. Well crafted and enjoyable but too heavy on the licorice to become a favorite.

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Photo of mempath
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

continuing my obsession with Smith offerings since the local Total Wine has such a great selection. and they don't break the bank.

pours not a color, but the total absence of light. black is static. this is shimmering opaqueness that cannot be gotten through by sight. the dark brown head just builds high as the tower of babylon that settles about midway into the 18th century...clings and clings and laces and then settles 10 minutes later into a thick veneer with still massive lacing hanging on. majestic as it's namesake!

yep, sweetness and smoke, dried fruit, mincemeat, rumcake, coffee, sweetened dark chocolate, so rich, double dutch etc. oh and there's the malt. and some raisin bread. give it another whirl and this rich lusciousness comes out. what i imagine the willy wonka factory smells like sitting beside the chocolate river...

this is simply divine stuff. you see the writing on the wall. 1200+ reviews and it's got an overall A-...go figure. all this strength and verve of darkness and chocolate and smoke and toastiness and bravado and still it's smooth as silk. yes, the silk glove/iron fist metaphor means alot here. GREAT cold, but let it warm up a bit and try not to take big gulps every will reveal secrets. best bet, grab the larger pint+ size bottle if you can. usually about $3.79 or so. no catching some slight hop-edged bitterness. nice.

mouthfeel is nearly perfect. carbonation is more in the look of it than in the sip. usually, it carries over to being heavier seeming, but not here. not too thick and certainly not too thin.

it's scary how drinkable this is. i could session this easily. now, i didn't say with ease. i probably wouldn't survive the evening should i attempt it...

so very highly recommended. i recommend just about anything from this brewery. my oh my i am impressed.

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Photo of chickenm
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours opaque black with a big creamy light brown head. Sweet malty aroma with a licorice smell. Flavors of roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits, and licorice. Alcohol is slightly noticable even though this is only 7%. Full bodied and creamy with a dry finish. I prefer Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout over this, but this one is very good too!

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Photo of donniecuffs
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Into a pint glass: poured black with one finger of khaki head that laced spottily. Smelled of chocolate, caramel, and roasted malt. Tasted of chocolate, toffee, and butterscotch, with a sweet'ish finish, and a slight roasted aftertaste. Medium-bodied and smooth on the palate. A nicely sessionable imperial stout, which is rare, but I'd much rather sip a stout with more robust flavor and mouthfeel.

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Photo of tuckevalastin
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black as night with a decent dark tan head

S: Strong sweet boozy smell

T: A thick toasty flavor. Has a small alcohol bite without much bitterness. Hints of coffee but the slight bitterness takes over that taste. The chocolate tones I've heard of didn't come through for me but some surprising sourness does. An earthy stout where, again, the roasted malt flavor prevails.

M: Relatively smooth while feeling a little thick. There is a very slight looming bitterness.

D: Definetly a sipper. Too strong to be an everyday stout. But flavorful enough to want to drink again.

Overall it's a decent and distinctive stout. Not a bad beer but not a great one for me either, at least not in the Imperial stout style which is full of world class beers.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-dark black color that has very faint hues of red, the head is a tan color, relatively thick, very creamy and lingers for a little, but it doesn't leave a lacing any lacing, it does crawl down as it dissipates.

S-the nose is very nice, it has some dark fruits, prunes and grapes, then it brings a fair amount of molasses, with just a touch of dark chocolate

T-extremely smooth and creamy, the body is a little lighter than I would prefer, very low level of carbonation, no alcohol shows through. the beer itself is tasty, light touch of dark chocolate malt, a hint of molasses, with some dark fruits, very sweet plum and prunes

D-very tasty and just a smoothness and creaminess that is awesome! nothing huge but a solid drink!

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Photo of Josievan
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pretty dark in color, but not black. Great head piles up.

Smell: Roasted malts and maybe a little something sweet.

Taste: Roasted malts, but not too roasted. A touch of bitter chocolate and a little nip of sweetness. No sign of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Samuel Smith really excels at making smooth beers, and this is no exception. It's medium-to-full-bodied, but doesn't seem filling.

Drinkability: So easy to drink for an imperial stout.

Notes: At 7%, labeling this an imperial stout is a slightly misleading, but that's of little consequence, since it's so good. Think of it as a stout of comparable quality to Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout, just without the oatmeal, and you've got yourself a winner. Another great offering from Samuel Smith.

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Photo of natelocc787
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the great classics and I believe the lowest abv RIS ever to touch these lips. Darkest chocolate body with a dark caramel head. Nice lacing and the head retains well. Powerful notes of roasted barley in the nose. Maybe the most roasted barley I have seen in a beer since the Dogfish head WWS. This is also very fruity for the style. Sweet molasses to back up the barley presence, plum and prunes in the aroma as well. The taste is complex to say the least, molasses, birch syrup, jammy plums and blackberry preserves, nice rich toffee notes, fig, dark sour cherries and a raisin wine richness. Like a complex, fine port wine-a true treat, I'm so happy it can be found regularly in my parts. Mouthfeel is heavy, creamy and silky on the tongue. Moderately chewy and very rich, enjoy with chocolate or vanilla ice cream to bring out the many intricacies.

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Photo of czechsaaz
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Happy new year Great Brittain.

Lots of chocolate malt aroma and some roast and big ripe plum yeast esters.

Deep black but with red highlights when held up to the light. Not quite translucent. Has a big tan foamy head that lasts for the entire glass and leaves lots of lacing.

Nice malt dominant flavor. Some bittering hops but that's it. Gets bittering from the roast malt too. Lots of brown sugar and molassis flavor and a ton of fruity yeast character. Yum.

Full bodied with a creamy carbonation level.

A classic example of the British end of the style. Not aggressively hopped or knockout big like some American classics in the same vein. So it's a lot more drinkable.

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Photo of betterbgood
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Might be the greatest imperial stout ever. How it remains imperial at 7% i don't know that intrigues me, usually imperials i see around go around 8 percent and up, molson xxx is 7 percent. but the color is great and black, the smell is nice and malty, chocolaty, and creamy. the taste is the previous description creamy of some sorts, not like stone russian imperial. real smooth, light thickness. what ever brewery that can hide the alcohol levels and not taste it has a good skill level. if i want to taste alcohol to bad i'll drink some vodka or others. ya dig.

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Photo of Bajasith
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow... A great Imperial Russian Stout.

Appearsnce/Smell - Poures very dark as a stout should with very small smokey in color head. Smell is that of chocolate and very dark molasses with some fruity undertones along with the alcohol to highten the senses.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Defenitely A feel of heavy molasses around my palate with chocolate aftertaste and the alcohol to smooth it out... Very pleasant. Found myself sipping and sipping and did not even notice my snifter glass had gone dry. Very drinkable Imperial Stout.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.66/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass

Pours opaque reddish black with a huge light beige head that dropped to less than a finger within a minute or two. Smell is fruity and dark and sweet.

Taste is bitter with a sweet cherry aftertaste. A little chocolate, maybe a little apple in the taste. Not as thick and bitter as I would expect for a RIS.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly thin and light, but fairly smooth. Drinkable, especially for a RIS.

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Photo of babaracas
3.68/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with ruby edges, half inch tan head. Considering this one started foaming before the pour, surprised at the staid head. Smell: You can smell this one from a few feet away, but it's not really what I want in an RIS. Buttery, earthy, burnt sugar, sweet. Taste: lightly roasted, hops are mostly earthy and a tad leafy, diacetyl, toffee. A mineral-ly, hard water thing going on, but fairly smooth and active carbonation. There's a chance that this is closer to the original intent of the style than the US craft interpretation, but I prefer the latter by a wide margin. This was pretty disappointing.

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Photo of ujsplace
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an over-sized pub glass

A: Huge billowing, long lasting tan head, sticky lace, nearly pitch black in color.

S: Toasted caramel and mild chocolate

T: Dark earthy fruits, dark chocolate, roasted caramel, some sweet maltiness that fades quickly to a nice bitter finish.

M: Thick and lays nicely on the tongue, mild carbonation.

D: A really nice imperial stout, that is very enjoyable. I think this is a very good take on the style and would love to session this...the abv is very well hidden.

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Photo of Mayhem976
3.94/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Very dark, you can pass light through the glass but not much, has a brown tint to it. Small Head that fades quickly and zero lacing.

S- Lots of grains is the only thing I can smell, sorta reminds me of moist bread, tiny bit of malt as well. Not winning any awards in the aroma department.

T- The smell hardly translates to the flavor (thank the beer Gods). I taste light bodied coffee, malt, and small trace of chocolate. Based off the smell I would have never guessed it could taste so wonderful.

M- Medium body and slightly creamy, not too shabby.

D- Tasty, economical, and a good ABV will keep me coming back for seconds... or 55ths.

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Photo of dudecandle
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deepest brown body with huge medium-dark mocha head, which leaves good lacing, and as firm a cap as I've ever seen.

S: Chocolatey, yeasty, with some dark fruit, possibly raisins, and some lighter burnt and caramel notes.

T: A bit of a booziness to the chocolate and dark fruit, but what really stands out is the ridiculously long toasted oatmeal finish.

M: Light carbonation up front, and a wonderful creamy finish.

D: At only 7% ABV, it's the not the heaviest stout out there, but it is excellent. A great balance of flavors and a rich, creamy body make this a wonderful experience.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: This beer pours dark brown to black, appears somewhat thin for style, nice foamy two finger head forms on pour, dissipates to a 1 cm head. Leaves lacing

S: caramel, chocolate syrup, hazelnut, toffee, this has a much sweeter smell than other RISs. I'm not getting that deep dark roasted flavor that I am used to, but the nice sweet caramel character smells quite nice

T: the taste pretty much matches the nose directly. The caramel and sweet flavor work nice as there is nothing cloying or overwhelming about them. A bit of a different take on the style compared to what I am used to, but delicious never the less

MF: medium body, medium carbonation

D: This is a very approachable imperial stout. I wish this was one of my introductions to the style as there are no flavors that really overwhelm the palate. This is also a little lower in alcohol for the style, but it allows this beer to be highly drinkable.

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 3,793 ratings
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