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

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Samuel Smith's Imperial StoutSamuel Smith's Imperial Stout
3,792 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: 3,792 |  Reviews: 1,779
Photo of bmwats
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint.

A: Very dark brown in color. Low carbonation pours into a 1 finger, foamy, tan head. Settles fairly quickly, but leaves a little security blanket on the surface. Beer ring lacing remains.

S: Dark roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, pecan shells, scotch whiskey.

T: Roasted coffee beans, unsweetened chocolate, a little scotch or bourbon whiskey.

M: Thick and robust. Flavor fills the mouth and coats the palette. Malty start, strong alcohol taste in the finish.

D: Great drinkability. This is best savored though.

Solid appearance, nice complexity in the nose. Flavor is a bit more simple than the nose lets on, but very well balanced and full. Nice, albeit heavy, feel. This is a high quality quaff.

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

500ml bottle. sampled feb 20/09.

pours deep dark brown, not quite black but still pretty much opaque. a very dense brown head forms, dropping very slowly and leaving a ton of lace behind.

aroma is great. rich dark chocolate. dark roast coffee. multi-grain bread. bit of biscuit. light alcohol. rich caramel. a bit of fruity character too that i'm enjoying. there's a bit of a yeast there too, which i also don't mind.

taste is great. solid malty base of mutl-grain bread, biscuit, and oatmeal. rich dark chocolate, caramel, and coffee. medium-low bitterness level. light alcohol. there's that nice fruity and yeasty component adding a nice depth to it.

mouthfeel is great. just under medium carbonation. medium-large body. smooth.

drinkability is great, and to add to that it's a RIS that won't knock you on your ass at 7%. this seems like the "big brother" to their oatmeal stout. a little bigger, a little richer, and a little darker. it's really that beer turned up a notch, and i think it benefits from it - more depth, a little more intensity. just better all around. while i'm just as gaga over the latest big american stout, i'd be very happy to have a steady supply of this excellent english offering. a great stout that i will certainly not be waiting long to pick up more of.

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

Pours black with brown highlights. A huge, fluffy brown head forms with excellent retention and lacing.

Smells heavily of sweet molasses, brown sugar, coffee, dark chocolate, raisins, toffee and caramel with a nice hint of roastiness.

Smooth and creamy on the palate, like a thick oatmeal stout. Sweet toffee and brown sugar combine with a delicious roasted malt flavor and the expected chocolate and coffee notes. Raisin and fig notes linger in the background with a slight spiciness. Alcohol is undetectable.

Delicious. Perfect dessert beer.

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Photo of 196osh
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is my first review on BA. Lets hope all the beers I will review in future will be as nice as this Samuel Smiths RIS.

One of the only Imperial stouts I can find regularly. Pours dark black, not total blackness but close enough. Smells of dark fruits, chocolate and coffee. Execptional flavours which mimic the smell but improve upon it.

Mouthfeel is on the slightly light side for a RIS. But that vastly improves its drinkablity for a RIS.

Brilliant beer.

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Photo of Stockfan42
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this bottle up at random trying to find any kind of Imperial Stout (after having ktg I want to try other RIS beers). So this beer was around 5 bucks for a pint at kappys and is at 7.0%.

So I popped the cap off which is topped in a foil wrapper. Poured this beer into my Winter Bourbon Cask Ale glass and looked for anykind of tint of color but could only find black. Very black beer with a great mocha coffee colored head.

Taking a wiff of this beer i'm pretty sure its going to be some treat. A malty chocolate aroma with a fruity plum and light hop presense makes a great smelling beer.

This beer has a great offering of flavor. Very malty chocolate tone with hints of coffee. I taste some plums and raisens, maybe a bitter hop added to the mix? None the less this beer is bad ass and wish I had another bottle.

This beer goes down pretty quick (atleast in my case) for an RIS, but isn't to strong and is pretty smooth so its really no wonder why. Grab a few bottles if you see some.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3.52/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed 5/8/2007 (550mL bottle):

Pours an inky black color, big foamy tan head. Dry chocolately aroma, some sugars and malty aromas. Not much coffee aroma. Not heavy body, watery almost mouthfeel. Some coffee aftertaste, not much chocolate taste. Almost skunky taste. A good stout.

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Photo of brewintheLou
4.04/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a tan head that sticks around and leaves lacing down the glass.

Smell is not very strong, but I get some sweet fruitiness.

Taste is very smooth with a little bit of roasted malt. There a hint of the same sweet fruit in the taste. Mouthfeel is very creamy and wonders through the mouth nicely. Highly drinkable beer going down as smooth as it does.

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Photo of nrpellegrini
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thick black color with a thin tan head that fades. Smells of roasted malts, some chocolate. Tastes decent, a typical stout. Roasted malts with a faint chocolate background. Not the best mouthfeel but nothing to complain about, smooth. Drinkability is ok, as it got warmer it became harder to put down.

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Photo of bowersdm
3.18/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Normal sized bottle poured into a mug

A - nearly black. 2cm of brown-ish head

S - roasted barley, coffee, chocolate, fruit, hops (kind of citrusy, but there's also a spiciness), alcohol

T - fruit, coffee, chocolate, barley, and hops at the very end. everything is very subdued and subtle.

M - thin and watery. too thin for an RIS

D - this wasn't a bad RIS, but it lacked the beefiness that I'm used to with an RIS.

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

English take on the RIS. Black pour, nice light brown head. More chocolately than coffee, nice amount of carbonation. Flavor similar, quite sweet with molasses, malt and chocolate. Not as astringent as some imperial stouts. Balanced, full bodied yet very drinkable. An excellent stout that is not too tough to find.

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Photo of pokesbeerdude
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a couple 550s of this quite a while ago at Northridge in Laramie. About $3.50 each if I remember correctly.

A: Pours a deep brown, edging on the brink of black with a medium tan colored head about an inch and a half thick, quite tight. Huge chunks of lacing all around. Recedes to a film.

S: Some definite chocolate and a very distinguishable Samuel Smith scent, it must be their yeast that produces the same characteristic in almost every beer I've had from their, and the only thing I can liken it to is "pub", somewhat musty, a few earthy English hops are lingering in the back somewhere.

T: Smoky roasted malts, chocolate, the same "pub" taste as from the nose, a bit of chocolate, surprisingly bitter, although its a "dirty" bitter, more so from the burnt malt. A definite coffee presence. Nice citrus there too, but not really a hop citrus. Hop character is piney, and subdued. Blended nicely into the background. Almost a red apple flavor, Belgian dark ale character. And even a few hints of lighter Irish whiskey. A lot going on here, and a good example of the beginnings of the style, but really nothing too fantastic.

M: A little thin, quite highly carbonated, a little warm on the alcohol end as well.

D: If persuaded to, I could drink another pint of this. It isn't bad by any means, but its more of a one and done type of beer. An excellent glimpse into the past of the Imperial Stout. Not a bad beer, and I'd recommend it to anyone that was curious.

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Photo of Jmoore50
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a good drink, but a lot of things are missing. The bar is consistently being raised with Russian Imperial Stouts. There are brewery's that focus a lot of time and energy aging and putting in the finest ingredients. I am starting to think that year around Imperial Stouts should be given a seasonal treatment, because that is the way it is meant to be.

The appearance is really dark, but held up to the light has dark amber edges. The head comes up nice, but leaves just as fast. The thickness or consistency of the brew is like darkened water. I am used to brews that pour like motor oil, not like water out of a faucet.

The taste was good but kind of bland. There are no overwhelming flavors, just subtle little ones. This is the second one that I have had and overall just really okay. The drinkability of it is good, which I can give a high score because more RIS are not drinkable at all. The mouthfeel is okay, but both times I got a small hint of something sour. Overall just another average RIS that will not bring back any fond memories. Doesn't warm me up like Bourbon County, doesn't perplex my taste buds like the Abyss, or even get me buzzed with goodness like Old Rasputin. Overall average.


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Photo of Rayek
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
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 +3.8%
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 +4.1%
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 -11.1%
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 +8.2%
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 -0.2%
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 -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well done.


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Photo of prototypic
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
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 -1.4%
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 -1.2%
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%
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 -4.8%
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 JCurveball
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
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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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 3,792 ratings
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