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

3,755 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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,755 |  Reviews: 1,769
Photo of Rayek
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep garnet color borders on black. Big and foamy tan head has above average retention and leaves spots of lace.

S: Chocolate, espresso and dark fruit aromas are joined by a smattering of charred wood.

T: This is a very complex stout. Bakers chocolate hits first, followed by a bevy of dark fruit flavors from dark cherries and black grapes. Bitterness comes on with a very well balanced earthy flavor. Finishes dry with a slightly acidic coffee bite. There's a touch of warmth as the beer goes down.

M: Medium-heavy body is creamy and thick. Carbonation level could stand to be a touch lower.

D: This is an incredibly refined stout. There are no rough edges on this one, as all of the flavors balance perfectly against one another. Despite the beer's strength, the alcohol is almost completely hidden by the complex flavors. Definitely worth a revisit down the road.

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Photo of WakeandBake
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark black color pour with a finger of light tan head that hung around for quite a while.Aroma of chocolate,burnt barly,and some earthy,musty,maybe slightly oxidized but still a good aroma. Flavor of cask wood,charcoal,licorice,tobacco,and a touch of alcohol.Full body,with a somewhat oily texture,and a suprise bitter finish. A pretty darn good stout,fun to try,and quite drinkable.

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

Had this at a tasting at Old Towne Ale House in Fishers.

Poured black as night with small off-white head. The nose smelled of dark burnt chocolate. The mouthfeel was incredible, very chewy and delicious. Lots of coffee/chocolate in the taste. This is the first stout I really like. Excellent.

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Photo of twbrewer
3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A-Pours as dark as night.14" off white head that quickly fades to nothing.No lacing present.

S-Smells of roasted malts,licorice and black strap molasses.

T-Has a bittersweet taste upfront with hints of licorice,brown sugar a roasted chocolate malt finish.

M-Medium/light bodied more towards the light side. Very carbonated which hutrs mouthfeel.

D-I am becoming a big fan of this style of beer,and this is the lightest bodied one I have tried so far it is still very tasty and still worth checking out.

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Photo of HappyBivouac
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

550ml bottle into Ommegang Chalice. no indication of date that I can find.

Pours dark woody brown with an almost non-existent head of clouds of light yellowish tan bubbles. looks pretty tasty. Dark fruits, caramel, brown sugar, bourbon, vanilla and quickbread dough in the nose. Smells very sweet and slightly boozy. Taste is fainter than expected. Mostly roasted malts and bread dough. A little bit of brown sugar and vanilla sweetness. Almost barbecue-like wood smoke character comes on strong in the finish. Tastes delicious but like I said a little too faint. Mouthfeel is watery with a few bubbles here and there. Underwhelming.

Well this beer tastes great and doesn't punch overly hard. That said the flavor wasn't quite as big as I'd hoped for. What can I say? I like it a lot. It's very pleasant and doesn't try to bomb you as hard as possible as a lot of impy stouts do. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of skrib09
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured imperial stout black. great dark tan head. good lacing.

smells bready. bread dough.

tastes malty, i definetly get the alcohol. malty and smooth. i get some roast in the after taste.

good mouthfeel. the alcohol comes through here.

pretty good drinkability!

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

Well done.


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

Appearance: It pours a very dark brown color, bordering on black. There's a little light getting through at the edge giving it a slight red tint. The head is mocha brown and is easily two and half fingers deep. It was very slow to recede and left an impressive coat of lace lining the glass.

Smell: The nose is fairly straight forward. It's good, but not as deep or complex as others in the style. It's very sweet smelling. Lots of chocolate malt. There's a little roasted malt, as well, but it's not as strong as its chocolate counterpart. Smells like a little roasted coffee's present. It's buried in the malt, but it's there. A little brown sugar and licorice emerge late.

Taste: Sweet chocolate malts are the predominant flavor. Roasted malts blend well, but clearly are secondary to the strong chocolate flavor. It has a nice coffee/espresso flavor that's stronger here than on the nose. A little brown sugar and molasses are noted, but they're not very strong. No alcohol is noted. At 7%, it's not as high as others, but it is worth noting that the alcohol is blended well. Finishes sweet.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's on the lighter side medium bodied. It's a little too thin. Carbonation is a tad high and gets in the way a little. I've developed pretty high standards for feel as far as a RIS goes. This is not quite up to par. Drinkability is good, but not great. Relatively low abv for the style bolsters its case. But, there's a number of other beers of the style I prefer.

Samuel Smith's Russian Imperial is a classic, no doubt. Very solid beer all around (with the small exception of it's anorexic body). However, this is a style that has really been improved with pushing the envelope a little. This one does not quite measure up in that regard. Nonetheless, it is a legend that every BA needs to try.

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Photo of BretSikkink
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Oily black looking beer with some copper edging. Head is super thick and whipped, lasts for a long time. Eventually there's only a tiny ring of head and not much lace.

Strong aromas of dark fruit, molasses, and maybe some spices. Anise comes to mind, along with an almost cinnamon-like aroma. Really strong and nicely complex.

Palate is again strongly reminiscent of molasses with a large amount of dark fruit behind it. Tons of fig paste and raisin make up the middle of the taste, with a finish of licorice and coffee.

Decently full mouthfeel, quite viscous and oily. Acidic finish, leaves it a little dry. Good drinking for style, but still a little work to do.

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Photo of erz316
4.11/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - pours completely opaque black with a khaki head. the head leaves some lacing, generally in large chunks, coming down rather quickly, and becoming more of a light tan colour

S - Alcohol and raisins come to the forefront, the syrupy-ness of the beer lending me to think I smell something reminescent of 'brayer rabbit molasses." It is a dark sweetness that slowly crawls into the nose and complements the alcoholic raisin notes.

T - the most noticeable taste to my palate is that of a dark chocolate or a bitter bakers chocolate. The appearance of roasted malts becomes more noticeable, and adds coffee flavours; strongs ones, French or Colombian roasts. however, nothing is too authoritative in this beer, noting comes right out and immediately hits you in the mouth and says: "oh wow. like, thats a ton of malt." It all blends in smoothly together.

MF&D - not much carbonation, and is not as thick/syrupy as expected. A most enjoyable drink.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.33/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ordered at bottle at the Washington Sq Tavern this past weekend for $6. Poured into a glass. Very dark black color. Slight brownish white head. Some lacing. Smell was a bit lacking. Taste was what I expected from a British RIS. Lots of roasted barley. Slight coffee overtones. The problem with this beer is that I have always found Sam Smith beers to be a bit in the thin side, and this does not help a RIS. Tasty beer, easy to drink, but a bit watery for a stout. Might be worth picking up for $3-4 in a beer store, but for $6 in a pub, not quite worth it.

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Photo of robbyc1
3.96/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Inky black, lovely tan head, dissipates slowly.

Nice malt, hints of chocolate, some hops, maybe a bit too cold, but alcohol comes through as well. Expected a bit more nose.

Deep malty chocolate notes, with a nice bitterness aftertaste, finiishes balanced, not overpowering just a nice roasty flavor, easy to go down. The abv is noticable as you drink it even though it's not as high as some RIS'.

Heavy with nice carbonation, well balanced.

Drinks well, easy and smooth, perfect serving size bottle as an imperial pint, more would be overdoing it. One to keep around for sure, not overpoweringly good, but nice.

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Photo of TypeSJess
4.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

very dark pour. very clean, thick tan head. aromas of roasted coffee and oats. one of the best tasting stouts I have ever had. very smooth drinking.
to me, Guinness has always had a bit of a lingering bitterness about it. THIS, does not. I would gladly take SSIS over Guinness any day.

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Photo of thegodfather2701
4.51/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a twelve ounce bottle into my Samuel Smith's pint glass. It is very black with a nice two inch tan head. The nose is nothing overpowering, but it smells like chocolate and espresso. It tastes of rich dark chocolate and some espresso notes. There is also a touch of alcohol in the finish. The mouthfeel is amazing. It is thick, rich, and creamy almost like a milkshake. This has a very high drinkability and it is my favorite Russian Imperial Stout to date. Simply an amazing beer.

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Photo of jazztoloc
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark 12 oz bottle with the golden foil on top. Poured into a guinness pint glass (sorry...pretty funny!). No freshness date.

A: Very dark brown with small hints of red. Brown and creamy head and a very beautiful lacing.

S: Coffee, chocolate, fruits.

T: Bitter chocolate, Raisins, prune. A magnificent finish. The alcohol is present (maybe because I know it's there), but the balance of the flavors with the alcohol is amazing.

M: Medium + bodied, medium carbonation. Very silky.

D: I am very impressed with this beer, it feels like Cognac in your mouth ( I meant it as a compliment). This Imperial Stout is very drinkable, and again, I think it could suit a lot of paladates. Balance!

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Photo of Foxtrot
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A - This brew poured a very dark inky black with a big tan 3 finger head. Was also completely opaque with great head retention and lacing.

S - Unfortunately I had a slightly stuffy nose when I tried this, so I will try my best. Able to pick up lots of sweetness, that's for sure, with subtle notes of vanilla, chocolate, caramel and roasted malts.

T - Very malt heavy with flavors of dark fruits throughout with chocolate and toffee and a nice alcohol bit. It wasn't strong, but just enough to make you take another sip.

M - Loved the feel of this. Nice and viscous with a good clean finish.

D - Other than the above average ABV, this would unquestionably be a very good session beer.

This was my first foray into Russian Imperial Stouts, and I enjoyed it immensely.

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Photo of jiggahertz
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with no light passing through. Aggressive head results in a 2 finger head, eventually subsiding.

S: Nice and sweet caramel, chocolate and toffee.

T: Very full caramel, chocolate and roasted coffee up front. No detectable hops here.

M: Full bodied, medium carbonation, alcohol comes through at the end.

D: Could have a couple of these, alcohol is definitely present.

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Photo of hoplover82
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thick black color with a creamy dissapating dark brown sugar head.

The aroma is of strong roasty mollasses.

The flavor was strong with malted barley, notes of chocolate and mollasses and smooth on the palate.

Full bodied and viscous. A little hot on the alcohol.

Ok drinkability.

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Photo of angelmonster
3.58/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a giant 2 inch mocha head, pitch black in color with good carbonation and head retention

Smells of faint chocolate malts with a bit of hops and alcohol. Would have liked a more powerful smell.

Tastes of burnt malts with some coffee like taste. Somewhat low hops for an Imperial stout but the hops are still present. Very faint alcohol taste with a weird copper like after taste. Some dried fruit , maybe prunes is also tasted

Carbonation is too much. My mouth is almost numb from it. Slight creamy going down but not too heavy. Too bad the carbonation kind of screws up the mouth feel

Good quality beer. Carbonation held it back from being a great beer. Not too bitter, not too heavy, great price. More drinkable than alot of RIS. Would buy again

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Photo of ssam
3.6/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A- pitch black color and a slightly dark, tan head. the head is very creamy and full.

S- in the scent there is a light coffee nuance along with a chocolaty smell-- it smells dark and deep, like its appearance

T-like in the scent, the coffee and chocolate stand out, they are almost overpowering. the aftertaste is a hoppy dryness.

M- mouthfeel is nice but the initial goodness is followed by flatness

D-the flavors are not countered by anything and make this, in my opinion, an unbalanced beer. if i were talking to sam smith, i would tell him to bump up the ABV to take some focus from the coffee chocolate. im not gonna run to the store for this anytime soon

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Photo of Fatduck
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

At 7% is it really imperial? For Sam Smith, I guess its imperial.

Black, BLACK its freaking dark. Maybe a little red/brown at the bottom of the glass. This thing smells like malt and sugar and over ripe fruit. Taste fooking GREAT. I really like this beer, and after walking home in the windy -4F weather this is exactly what I needed. Its smooth and thick, looks a bit like motor oil. Taste sweet and the carbonation is perfect. Smooth and wonderful, creamy. I cant say enough good stuff about this beer, Ive had a few tonight and I wish I would have started with this so I could enjoy it more, but its still GREAT.

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Photo of wheelinshirt
3/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very cool looking 550 mL brown bottle, gold foil neck, purchased from the cooler at Capone's in Norristown for $6. No freshness date.

Pours rich and dark with a very light tan head, good size, creamy, slowly fades to a half-finger of foam and then just a collar by the end of the beer. Some lacing.

Smell is some very restrained alchohol and roasted malt, followed by some dark fruit which seems a bit unusual. I'm not sure what it is from, perhaps the yeast. This is followed and then dominated by a very unpleasant metallic odor that just wouldn't quit.

Taste is right on par with what you would expect from a RIS albeit a bit more subtle than normal. The roasted and burnt malt flavors, the fruity and booziness are all there but in proportion to the 7% ABV. Nice tasting, but not great. It is hard to get over the metallic nose but it doesn't really show up in the taste.

Mouthfeel is creamy, medium-heavy. Definately good for a stout. Not over or under carbonated and definately not too thick.

The drinkability really takes a hit from the metallic smell. It is a good beer, and at 7% would almost be sessionable for the stout lover, but I didn't enjoy the bottle enough to want another. If I see it somewhere and I know it is fresh I will probably give it another try. I may have gotten a bad bottle or just one that was past its time, but without a freshness date it is hard to say.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.63/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this at De Bierkoning in Amsterdam.

From a bottle into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: Pours a relatively small but thick tan head that slowly dissipates into a healthy film. Head is pretty persistent and leaves a little lacing. Pitch black, pretty opaque, and very little carbonation is evident.

SMELL: Nose of burnt roasted malt, dark fruit, such as prunes, and a strong scent of black licorice. A bit of toffee and a hint of smokiness is also evident. Not bad.

TASTE: The initial taste is somewhat lacking, but some burnt and roasted malt flavor. Some black licorice, toffee, and dark fruit come out as it goes down. A roasted and bitter aftertaste, with a hint of chocolate, lingers nicely. A very complex taste for sure. On the downside, the alcohol is a bit too present for 7% and it flirts with that dried apple taste as it warms, which both held it back a little bit.

PALATE: Really shines here. A thicker body and medium carbonation. It goes down relatively creamy smooth and finishes very dry. Nice job here.

OVERALL: A good RIS for sure, but nothing spectacular and a little too boozy for 7%. I've had others in the style that I've enjoyed more, and I find this to be a slight disappointment considering how good their Oatmeal Stout and Porter are.

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

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout is a brown black ale with a dense brown head that leaves nice lacing. The aroma is mostly of sweet malt, but it's also grassy and fruity. It smells so damn good! It has a medium-full body that's smooth and surprisingly crisp. The flavor is not overwhelming: sweet baked cookies, licorice and baking chocolate with a nice dark roastiness. It's a very pulled-together flavor. There is a lick of medicine in the finish. This is a mature Imperial Stout.
(rated Jul 8, 2008)

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Photo of popery
3.23/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A thin, somewhat disappointing Russian Imperial Stout with a flavor profile that is not bad but merely average for the category. I was really expecting more from Samuel Smith with this one. The Taddy Porter knocked my socks off and their other beers are generally, at least, excellent values. This offering is basically RIS light. It lacks the depth and complexity of flavor that is nearly commonplace amongst its competition. The feel is somewhat watery and really fails to bring the required breadth. That said, it's not bad, at all. This beer's rating is very much a product of its place relative to some truly great competition, and with Old Rasputin sharing its shelf space, it's not even a very good value in this neck of the woods (I imagine other areas have better Imp Stouts and RIS's as well). At any rate, the beer pours opaquely black with good lacing from a nice beige-mocha head. There are notes of toasted malt and English, minerally hops. The flavors just aren't big and strong enough. Also, while I usually like a thick, viscous feel on my Imperial Stouts, this one manages it while still being too watery, which turns out to be not altogether pleasant. Not a bad beer but far below the heights of the style.

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
4.17 out of 5 based on 3,755 ratings.
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