Imperial Stout | Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

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Imperial StoutImperial Stout
3,813 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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Ratings: 3,813 |  Reviews: 1,787
Photo of CHL
4.26/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beuatiful beer, opaque black with a tall brown head that tastes like coffee and chocolate. It's so good. Sweet biased, with the pruny imperial stout taste refereed by chocolate, fruit flavors, dark malts, coffee, swirling in a satisfying and thick brew. Certainly warming and alcoholic, but not oppressively.

Only the stomach and this beer's cost impedes its drinkability.

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- Well distinguished bottle label...very old school. I poured this and got a several inch thick foamy tan head that has a retention unlike any other beer I've seen, finally settling to a frothy film covering the beer. Color resembles thick black tar, no light is penetrating.

S- There is a whole variety of aromas here. First, the smell is not of astringent burnt malts, but more muted, like molasses, and of dried fruit...dates/prunes/raisins. Once I get by that, there is some muted coffee and cocoa aromas and on the finish is when I can detect the delicate toasty malts, and some alcohol is in there too.

T- The flavor is a rich, flavorful mix. There is a smooth coffee-ish, dark chocolate note right up front, followed by something of a metallic flavor, which I'm thinking is due to the higher alcoholic content. The sweet malts are fruity, mainly of the aforementioned raisins, plums and dates. The finish leaves a roasted character, along with a decent hopped bitterness. I would also agree that this has a smoky note in there as well.

M- This is a full bodied beer. Its' got a deep flavor, and is deliciously smooth, as the carbonation is mellow and the bubbles are fine. This reminds me of drinking a bit of a espresso flavored beer, and overall it is well balanced.

D- This is an excellent representation of a stout, and I believe this is my first imperial version. I very much enjoyed drinking this beer, and I think it would be a very good compliment to an aged cheddar or similar type of cheese. It would be good with a rich beef dinner as well. I don't think I'd have another bottle after the first however, as it's so rich and full that it's almost a meal in itself. Great job overall!

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Photo of seand
4.31/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep black, with just a tinge of brown hues around the bottom of the glass. Head is thick, foamy, big bubbles, fairly dark tan. Retains pretty well and leaves great lacing.

S: A kind of muted sweetness, full and complex. Roasted coffee notes blended with dark chocolate tones and molasses.

T: Lots of flavor, full and complex. Similar to the smell but moreso, with rich bitter coffee and dark chocolate notes as well as dried fruit.

M: Medium amount of carbonation, very full bodied, with an aftertaste that lingers for a long time.

D: It's very full bodied and heavy, but, given that, it's also very drinkable.

A great RIS, that shows you can create a hugely flavorful beer without a similarly huge ABV.

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

Purchased at total wine.

A - Poured dark brown with 1 finger of capuccino head. Dissipated moderately and left little lacing.

S - Medium roast coffee, dark chocolate, and flowery fragrant hops.

T - Medium coffee, dark chocolate, flowery hops, and light bittering hops.

M - Moderate bodied and well-balanced. Finishes dry and some light feeling of alcohol.

D - Good overall. I am enjoying the beers of Samuel Smith. Great English brewery.

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Photo of brewgirl
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: poured black, clear, with a tan head. Head retention was impressive--even after five minutes there was still a good amount.

Aroma: This bottle was two years old and was slightly oxidized. Other than that, there was a strong molasses aroma, dark chocolate, toffee and a lot of dark fruits (raisin, currant).

Flavor: The flavor was complex with the molasses and toffee hitting first, followed by a slight coffee/chocolate and then tons of the dried fruit character (mostly raisin). Unlike a lot of American Imperial Stouts that are very hoppy and roasty, this one was more subtle and the English yeast seemed to contribute to the fruitiness.

Mouthfeel/Finish: Full bodied, a little thinner that I would have expected for the style. Had a lingering sweetness in the finish.

Drinkability: Very easy to drink for the style.

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

Appearance - about as dark as it gets, good sized tan head that retains well. Good lacing.

Smell - Very toasted malt smell, it's over the top. Some chocolate/coffee hints in there.

Taste - Good toasted flavor reminiscent of the smell, little sweetness on the tail end. Slight traces of the alcohol and coffee.

Mouthfeel - excellent, good full bodied, and creamy textures.

Drink - Goes down great, could drink a couple of these easily.

Great example of a drinkable stout. Reminds me why I like this company. Sadly I haven't seen it here where I live, but glad I got to try it. Would have to agree with fishbrew decent stout to introduce someone to the style I think.

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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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Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 3,813 ratings