Imperial Stout | Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

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Imperial StoutImperial Stout
3,807 Ratings
Imperial StoutImperial 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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,807 |  Reviews: 1,785
Photo of fishbrew
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Black with a fluffy cappuccino colored head. Colorwise there's not a lot to be said, but the head and lacing are beautiful. 4.5

Roasty and inviting, hints of sweet butterscotch. 4.0

Phenomenal. Perfectly balanced blend of roast, sweetness, and bitterness. A great, great beer. 5.0

Viscous and tongue-coating. 4.5

DANGEROUSLY drinkable. This goes down incredibly easy; I think I could sit and drink it all night. 5.0

Overall, a phenomenal RIS, and I imagine a great beer for introducing someone to the style. I could live on this beer.

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Photo of noslenwerd
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I by no means have as refined a palette as most on here but, all I can say is this is a great beer. I am a fan of stouts/porters and this is without a doubt in the top 10% of all beers I have had. It seems to "smell" a bit stronger than it actually tastes, almost has a butterscotch smell to it. Very complex taste to it (sorry but I cannot pick out the particulars like others on here). Super smooth for a stout.

Will without a doubt be drinking this one again.

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Photo of Mistofminn
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Since Imperial Stouts have easily been my favorite styles lately, I figured I had to give this staple of the style a try.

550 ml bottle poured into a tulip. Dark opaque brown, nearly black colored liquid and a creamy lighter than expected tan head. Fizzes out rather quickly, not the greatest sign. Leaves a tiny bit of lacing here and there.

The nose is slightly muted, but I get molasses, lightly toasted malts, very sweet, possibly some coffee and chocolate. Not a whole lot going on, definitely not as much as I would expect from an Imperial Stout. On a good note, there is no alcohol present?

The taste, unfortunately, is even more muted than the nose. It's really sweet, much more than I was expecting. Molasses, toasted malts, dark coffee, chocolate and cream, it's all there, albeit muted.

Mouthfeel is much lighter than I expected also. It's incredibly smooth and creamy though! Very low carbonation only adds to the smooth and creamyness.

Drinkability is pretty good. Since the ABV is so low (compared to others in the style) this could be a pretty good "session" Imperial Stout. It's just not for me. I'm a fan of big, thick and chewy, sticky and slimey stouts. This isn't one of those.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. No bottled date.

(A)- Pours pitch black that produced a big 2+finger tan head that dissipated after a few moments, but is staying with a thing layer on the top.

(S)- Rich roasted cocoa and molasses with bits of raisin.

(T)- Rich & decadent cocoa and molasses with a roasted baked bread background. Rather chocolatey.

(M)- Good carbonation level amidst a rich, yet balanced stout that is simple, but simply fantastic in the mouthfeel; goes down easy.

(D)- A great stout that tastes great and is easy on the stomach. Among all of the usually massive abv imp. stout out there, Sam Smith's is a no nonsense, less alcoholic, easily drinkable stout that maintains everything a stout should be like.

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Photo of capn
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout is a Russian Imperial Stout with an eye-catching, old style label reminiscent of its Victorian roots. It is 7% ABV but other than that, they really don't tell you much else about it. I first had it at a tasting event some time ago and enjoyed it very much but haven't gotten around to reviewing it until now.

It pours with an opaque, dark black color with the slightest ruby hints at the edges that could only be revealed by direct, bright light. It developed a tall, light-brown head that was creamy and fluffy. The initial aroma was very light and only of sweet malt which I thought was a bit odd. That is when I realized that it had been chilled to standard refrigerator temperature which is well below its recommended serving temperature of approximately 60 degrees. After allowing it to warm a bit, the aroma evolved into one you could really stick you nose into. It was deep and complex but all its notes were subtle and required hunting, which is part of the fun for me. The malty sweetness remained but I also detected slight notes of vanilla and chocolate. The first sip doesn't disappoint either. The mouthfeel starts with a moderate tingle on the front of the tongue which subsides quickly, developing into a thick, creamy feel all over the mouth. The taste is initially slightly sweet which instantly gives way to the hops and alcohol, which blend excellently. The flavor has complexity, but like the aroma, the notes are subtle and you have to work for them. I detected bitter chocolate, hops, some roast, and smoke. It finishes dry with slight black coffee notes and lingers a little.

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout is an excellent beer. It is right in line with the expected characteristics of this style while maintaining great balance throughout. I recommend you use a sniff and sip technique while drinking and enjoy it slowly to get the most out of it. It has the qualities to be enjoyed alone or with food. It even has the legs to stand with a full-bodied, maduro cigar.

I wish you Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
The Cap'n

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Photo of roblowther
4.63/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

550ml bottle and I feel sorry for you poor bastards with the 355's. Dang it. It just looks the part. The bottle looks straight out of the Victorian era. It is oily coal black with a deep tan head that yields neither for man nor beast. Smells of fruit soaked in rum in a barrel. With a cocoa powder sprinkled on top. Yes, I filled a barrel with fruit, rum, and cocoa just to confirm that so you can believe me. Taste starts with prunes, then moves to a surpisingly mellow coffee/dark chocolate mix that melts to a pleasantly dry chalkiness. WOW! This is the subtlest stout I've ever had and it is just off the charts. Mouthfeel is soft if a bit undercarbonated but its English so it comes by it honestly. Drinkability is fantastic for a stout. Not bitter or over-roasted at all. Not what I expected, the style is not my favorite but this is just phenol-menal, if you'll forgive me. I bow to the altar of Samuel Smith's on this one.

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Photo of magine
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a motor oil color, with a tan thick frothy head. Has nice think lace.

Brew smells of caramel, chocolate, roasted malts. Very good smell.

Brew has a very smooth mouthfeel. Can taste the roasted malts, chocolate. Malty flavor more then anything and a bit of coffee flavor. Very good.

This brew is very good; smooth and very tasty. Very much a stellar Russian Imperial Stout.

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Photo of r0nyn
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 550ml bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a thick, black, opaque color with a good two-finger head thanks to a vigorous pour. Head dissipates gradually, leaving a good amount of lacing. Smell has a decent malty character, but also a pretty prominent soy sauce smell... from the barley? Not sure, but definitely a unique and unexpected smell.

Taste starts off with a bit of malty sweetness, which was surprising from a stout. That gives way to some hoppy bitterness which coats the palate and spreads the flavor around. Not too much soy sauce taste, which is good. The back end finishes off with an alcoholic kick, which is atypical of a stout with a relatively low ABV. The bitterness also lingers into the aftertaste for quite a bit. There are very subtle nuances of vanilla and coffee as well. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, not too heavy, but not watery either. A nicely balanced brew, with a small amount of carbonation.

Drinkability is only hindered by the rather surprising smell and interesting taste, which is to say, not really very much. A solid example of an RIS. Not the best I've had, but definitely not the worst.

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Photo of Bill7007
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours and nice black with a nice frothy creamy One inch head in a pint glass..Nice coffe chocolate aroma..Good mouthfeel and very drinkable...I would rate this right up there with Smiths oatmeal stout also..But it has a little more of a bite than the oatmeal stout. Good beer to go slow and take your time with and enjoy, be great with spicy food.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter glass.

Appearance is opaque black with a lovey tan two and a half finger head. The head is almost creamy. Great retention.

Smell is of sweet malts with hints of chocolate. Perhaps some dark fruits and coffee.

Taste is quite sweet and roasted. Hints of bitter dark chocolate, light coffee and the alcohol wile not prominent, gives a nice bit of warmth. Very nice taste.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and smooth. A nice amount of creaminess. Fairly low carbonation. A slight bittersweet lingering on the tongue.

Drinkability is very good. I believe this is the lowest abv of any of the RIS that I've had so I could see this a a possible session beer for the style. Maybe a few in one evening. Goes down very smooth and is quite enjoyable.

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Photo of CityBoy1986
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter from a 12 oz. bottle.

The pour is very dark with only a hint of ruby hues around the bottom edge. Two fingers of beige head linger for a while before leaving a bit of lacing.

The nose is alcohol, toffee and chocolate with a lot that licorice? The taste is more of the same with the licorice taking on even more of a dominant flavour.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side, but it's ...not creamy, but more milky. Drinkability might be a bit too high.

This is a very good beer that I wish I could buy at home. Until then there is always Oatmeal Stout.

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Photo of jt31914
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. Bottle:

A: Dark black with 1 finger of brown tinted head. Beautiful Imperial Stout, head retains phenomenally.

S: Smells of faint alcohol, chocolate, possibly some licorice. Very nice.

T: Amazing! This is one of my new favorite beers - remarkably smooth and flavorful but not overpowering at all, great taste.

M: Smooth and refreshing.

D: Very good and drinkable.

This was great - one of those beers you drink and immediately want another bottle of, my favorite Samuel Smith's.

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Photo of mrcarterxxl
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

pours a beautiful dark hue with red around the edges
with a 2 1/2 inch tan head with a slight orange hue to it.

the first thought of the smell was fresh bakes devils food cake or brownies/english toffee

tastes of toffee, bitter sweet chocolate, fresh oats, bitter sweet taste.

this stout left lacing well after pour and first few sips

i will have this stout again its a new found favorite!

ABV: 7.0%


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Photo of khumbard
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Classic big Sammy bottle into tulip glass. Pours a dark black with a half inch creamy head. This is a good looking beer. Smell of roasted malts, and hints of licorice, chocolate, and coffee. Taste follows suit... well balanced. Roasty, malty backbone with chocolate and coffee hints. Nothing coming through too strong. Finishes pretty dry. A little bit thin on the mouthfeel for a RIS, but very drinkable, and quite tasty. Great beer.

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Photo of originalsin
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Man do I love Sammy Smith. Just finished up a 4pack of the Nut Brown Ale with a friend and now it's on to a new one for me- their Imperial Stout.

She pours an awesome opaque black. I've never had to worry about pouring Sammy Smith brews too vigorously and this brew was no exception. A full on straight down pour yields about 1/2 an inch of rich creamy nutmeg colored head.

Aroma is exceptionally sweet- bitter chocolate dominates the nose.

This is yet another exceptional offering from a brewery that's fast becoming a mainstay in my fridge. It's mildly creamy and beautifully smooth. It tastes of coffee, bitter chocolate, and flaked oats. This is a malty beer with a lot to offer. Though the taste failed to wow me, the nose was great and mouthfeel and drinkability are pretty damn good.

Final word: try me.

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Photo of Kinsman
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Opaque black with a thick foamy tan head, fading quickly to a nice tan lace.

S: Sweet malt character, smells like someone's baking desert.

T: A wide variety of sweet malty flavors. Most noticeable would be brownies, followed by coffee/latte flavors. Roasted barley also makes its presence known. Alcohol provides a nice warm kick at the finish.

M: A full bodied brew but not overly chewy with relatively low carbonation.

D: A great dessert drink, but one is enough.

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Photo of Keblar
4.16/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 550ml bottle into an imperial pint class. Coffee to dark cola color, with a little translucency at the bottom of the glass. Nice thick 1 inch head with a nutty caramel color.

Very malty smell. Sweetish but not as malty as I expected start with a sharp spicy bitter finish.

Thinner than I expected (guess I've been drinking too many nitro stouts) - that may because of the high ABV.

Great beer, but too bitter for more than a couple.

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Photo of Docer
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looked good, and never had it.. and I love when a real Imperial is on the shelf, and only about 7% alc... when most normal stouts are 5 or so....

- Solid dark brown molasses.... big quick bubbly mocha head... down to a finer bubbly layer with a ring of lace-maker.

- Wonderful sweet bitter chocolate... roasted and slow-baked malts... I could smell this all day... that IS a stout! Seems England has the stouts and porters covered very well.

- Bitterness on the tongue right off... and light bitterness throughout... light roasted chocolate... like a fine light stout... how in the world is this 7%..? Lightly creamy... but yet smooth and great.... wow.

- Dryness leaves the mouth a tad chalky... dry... but OK.

- Overall this is a fantastic strong stout... but yet tastes like a standard American stout.... but better. Top of its class for sure, and one many need to try... and not so expensive! (Not affecting the judging).

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Photo of jminsc76
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Into a tulip, pours a large, thick, and foamy head, cocoa in color, atop a black impenetrable body. The head eventually dies but reemerges nice and thick upon agitation.

Initial aromas of molasses, with more fruity smells of plum, rasberries, and other dark fruits. Also some vanilla in the nose, or custard, or something mildly sweet and pleasant.

Flavors include coffee, hops, lighter fruits such as bananas, and some slight booze-iness. A little toast-iness in there as well. This definitely tastes like an English-style ale, with an almost steel or metallic taste. Not too bad though.

The mouthfeel is almost thin - strange for an RIS of 70% - but this is some easy drinkin. Plenty of carbonation keeps the palate light, with a slight espresso bitterness on the back end.

Overall, I give this an A-. The look and bouquet are both excellent, but regarding the taste my verdict is out. Some of what I am tasting is almost a little stale, so I am not sure how old this version is. However, it's still pleasant, just nowhere near as intense as many American versions.

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Photo of BeerSingh
4.11/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16 oz bottle poured into a goblet

A: Dark brown that turns reddish when held against light. Nice creamy head with decent retention and lacing throughout

S: Big coffee and chocolate nose

T: Like rum and raisins, bitter chocolate

M: Silky smooth, medium to heavy body and medium carbonation

D: This IS is very drinkable, top of the line

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Photo of njmoons
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As with all Samuel Smith beers that I have had. An excellent, spot on to catagory, beer.

Poured dark brown/black. Two Fingers of foam from a vigorous pour, which slowly dissipated.

Smell of malt, heavy fruits (cherries, plum), and a hint of coffee.

Taste was slightly sweeter on the front end and more bitter on the back end than I expected, which is fine for an RIS. But overall the beer was nicely in balance. The malty heavy fruit ale taste is slowly taken over by the bitterness leaving a nice finish for a heavy beer.

The mouth feel is think and heavy as would be expected, with just a note of alcohol burn.

I could drink a few no problem, but would need a ride home

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Photo of SamN
3.76/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber purchased from Campus West Liquors and poured in my classic Cutthroat Porter tumbler.

A- Pours nearly total black, but glows red against light. Huge tan head, beautiful foam that flows out and down the glass.

S- Soy sauce, vinegar and bourbon in the nose.

T- Lighter tasting than I remember. Light on malt and heavy grains, floral and lightly hoppy, slight alcohol finish. Nothing very "imperial" about this imperial stout at all. Not bad tasting, just lacks what I love about stouts.

M- Thinner than most, medium body with little carbonation.

D- Very good. Being a lighter-than-most stout lends itself to more drinkability, so higher marks for sippability.

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Photo of tronester
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black, with a hint of ruby/brown at the edges. Thin tan head. Smell is of liquorice, and sweet malt. Taste is chocolaty and coffee up front, thick malt middle, and a roasted, earthy bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is super smooth and creamy, nice low carbonation. Drinkability is very good. Much lower alcohol than the average RIS, makes this easy to drink the entire 550ml bottle. An excellent example of a RIS, not as *extreme* as some US varieties, but still very tasty and holds its own.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 550mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: utter impermeable blackness with a thick creamy beige head. Beautiful.

Smell: the first thing that hits me are apples, pears and plums, followed by some other fruity esters. Nice.

Taste: this beer is surprisingly fruity all-round. The flavor profile is very similar to that of the aroma, with the addition of some chocolate and a little alcohol. Quite good.

Mouthfeel: medium-thick with low but well-integrated carbonation. It leaves a nice coating of the mouth for optimum flavor distribution.

Drinkability: this is very drinkable. I will have no problem finishing this bottle, and at only 7%, it's downright sessionable for a Russian imperial stout. Kudos!

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Photo of wiseguy142
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

7% for an imperial stout? Ok. Still pretty tasty tho.

Pours black with an icecream like foamy brown head. Rocky, but not as rocky as some west coast style beers. Sort of like an ice cream float.

Aroma is very heavy on the caramel. Vanilla and spices. Reminds me of Halloween candy for some reason.

Taste is heavier on the caramel malt than most imperial stouts. Sweet creamy aftertaste with the roasted malt in the background for the most part. Not sure how this would go if there was more alcohol in it. Definitely a sweet stout that finishes dry with roasted malt, just short of charcoal flavors but not heavy on either chocolate or coffee flavors.

This is a cool beer. Not sure if it's my first choice among the imperial stouts.. more just like a British stout but still very good.

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Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 3,807 ratings