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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,792 |  Reviews: 1,779
Photo of barknee
3.91/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a virtually opaque espresso brown with a textbook mocha colored head. Nose of roasted cocoa beans, vanillin, egg yolk, custard and English toffee predominate. Velvety smooth in the mouth, with massive flavors of bittersweet dark chocolate, along with generous hop bittering keep things in check here from the rich malting and generous flavors. Mid-weight in texture, this brew has a wonderful presence in the mouth; is well balanced and highly drinkable. This is a slightly more tame Imperial for the rest of us.

 518 characters

Photo of dnichols
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: It poured a shiny bright black body reminiscent of black ink. It had a dark chocolaty head that was robust and long lasing. It had leggy and long lacing.

S: It had the aroma of thick espresso with hints of caramel and dark fruits.

T: It had a decent balance between the dark roasted malts, dark sugars and molasses, and dark fruits. There was a dry bitter bite that complements the sweet flavors.

M: It was medium bodied with modest carbonation. It was smooth and finished dry with a slight bitter aftertaste.

D: It was a nice RIS but a bit flat and dry compared to others. The low ABV and medium body, however, makes this more of a candidate for multiple drinks in a single session then others in this style.

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Photo of marcpal
3.81/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Was on hiatus from Sam Smith after their Winter Welcome last year, which I found hideous. However, lately, Ive tried some of their others and are quite good.

Foiled bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Jet black with a sandy brown foamy head.

S: Coffee, licorice, and more so fennel spices. The toasted flavors are terrific but I can do with out that spicy twing.

T: Coffee and chocolate predominantly. Some fennel which I would rather not be there but its more through the nose. Could really go with some more chocolate malts and less of the licorice.

M: The thinnest, lightest imperial I can remember, but the intensity doesnt have to be overpowering. Some creaminess when warmed down.

D: High ratings and easy as hell to drink. For the style, one you can have a few of and not feel completely grogged out. Not bad and worth the effot.

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.3/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Nice dark brown in color, almost black. The tan head is very tightly formed with an assortment of small and large bubbles.

S- Wonderful smells of chocolate, anise, and even bourbon. I'm also getting a cherry taste as well, I would venture a guess as to a cherry cordial smell.

T- The taste is very heavy on the burnt/roasted malts, very bitter. It almost seems like they swirled a stick of charcoal though this before bottling. The chocolate taste isn't quite as there as I was hoping for though the impressions I got from the smell.

M- The mouthfeel is good, not great, I was hoping for something a little thicker, this is a bit on the thin side of an RIS.

D- Easy to drink, not too happy with the overly burnt taste though.

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

Samual Smith's Imperial Stout pours a dense opaque black with a short stiff tan head. The smell is good and moderately strong of sweet chocolate and roasted malts. Taste is absolutely fantastic from the get go. It's very robust of chocolate and malt. Mouthfeel is silky smooth with a moderate abount of tightly wound carbonation. This tighness gives the liquid an ultimate dense like feel. Drinkability is great from the start and finishes progressively smoother lightening up a bit from its initial density. Overall a this is a great imperial stout, great buy for the price and taste. A real winner of a brew from Samual Smith's.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clean, pitch black with giant, brown creamy head.

Smell: Smells very meaty. Also getting whiffs of milk chocolate. Definitely an original smell. Kind of reminds us of Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock. Meaty and sweet, with a spicy kick. Really tough to describe...

Taste: Smokey and meaty (we argued about which of these two flavors is more predominant), milk chocolate, mocha, burnt malts. Dry, mocha-flavored aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Thick body, though not really syrupy. Almost no carbonation and a very dry finish.

Drinkability: Kind of a weird flavor, but not necessarily bad. Not hard to drink at all, but this one had kind of a novelty feel to it. Will probably try again in the future.

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Photo of glid02
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this from Green's in Atlanta.

Pours a black color that has a dark brown fringe when held up to the light. Head is about one-finger of milk chocolate colored foam. Head recedes slowly until there are patches with different thicknesses. There's a thick ring around the glass throughout. Really good looking beer.

Smells good. Very biscuity with a tiny amount of roasted aroma while it's cold. As it warms there are more and more dark fruit aromas.

Tastes great. A biscuity malt is most prevalent in the beginning, with the dark fruit taste taking over as the beer warms. As the fruit taste becomes more apparent so too does a tinge of sourness. There's a solid bitter finish throughout. Not even the slightest hint of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is good. Thickness is great with a good grainy carbonation. Goes down very smoothly.

Drinkability is up there. This does not taste like 7%. I think it's a bit more drinkable when it's colder, the biscuit flavors are smoother than the dark fruits.

Overall this is a great deal. It's not as robust as other RIS's - it's all about the subtlety, but everything works perfectly together. Definitely worth a try.

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

A: Dark black with a thick tan head.

S: Chocolate, light alcohol, sweet syrupy

T: Starts with a sweet body with a slight soured flavor, Finished with a toasted chocolate finish

M: light carbonation, wish that there was a little more to this

D: Well constructed, I would like to enjoy this brew any time

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Photo of jwinship83
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- black body with a moderate sized beige head.

S- toffee, chocolate, roasted malts, and a hint of licorice.

T- very roasty with a strong coffee after taste. lots of licorice as well.

M- creamy and smooth, but too thin and watery.

D- very interesting beer thats easy to drink. other than the thin mouthfeel, this is a great beer. very possible to have a couple of the 550ml bottles in a sitting.

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Photo of prosper
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

based on the appearance and smell, I was expecting a good, but hardly exceptional stout. Then I drank some. Wow. This beer grabs your attention immediately and holds on!

There's an immediate, sharp carbonation bite on the tongue, accented by fruity late-hops and big almost belgian esters. The next think you notice is the creamy chocolatey-smooth texture and the usual (but subdued) accompaniment of roasted grain flavours, and a nice grainy bitterness without any astringency. You'll notice lots of fruit notes; cherry, apple, etc. It finishes with dark grainy bitterness and hops, with a slight alcohol warmth. This is an absolutely stunning stout. I'll buy more of these.

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

Pours black, and completely opaque. A half inch light brown head forms on top and lingers with good retention.

The aroma is alright, but nothing too special. Some darker malts, with a bit of fruit, and slightly floral.

Taste is ok. Dark malts give some burnt flavors, burnt coffee being the dominant. A bit of dark sweet fruit follows.

Mouthfeel is kind of thin for a RIS, feels watery. Carbonation is fine.

Drinkability is moderate to high. Flavor is fine, and alcohol is easily manageable. It's a good beer but nothing out of the ordinary.

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Photo of Stonebreaker
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Motor oil black with a thick rich head and hoops of lacing.

Smell: Faint chocolate, spice and alcohol.

Taste: Chocolate, faint prune notes, warming alcohol, well balanced. What is that signature taste that lets you know it's a RIS, whatever it is this has got it.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and rich as butter.

Drinkability: A very drinkable brew, but ought to be respected, delicious. A classic.

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Photo of kinger
3.4/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

OK, I know in my 2nd and last review of a S.S. brew I formally said goodbye due to overpriced let-downs but.... a) I scored this for $2.69, b) I grabbed it within the first week it hit the shelves, and c) I love stouts. So with that being said this is a solid stout although my rating is likely lower than my overall enjoyment of this beer but I have to put it up against other Imperials. Aroma is enjoyable, very roasty and bitter. Good dark pour with an easily attainable head with little to no lacing. Mouthfeel is somewhat creamy and the finish is smoooth, but it's rather thin for an Impy. Impressive taste, roasted malts-a-plenty, some light coffee and chocolate. Easy to drink for an Impy and the alcohol makes a quick appearance. Overall a solid stout.

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Photo of changeup45
3.43/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Black color, moderate brown head and some lacing. Alcohol obvious in the aroma with some roasted malt. Sharp, tart, alcoholic mouthfeel with some roasted malt and chocolate flavors. Dark chocolate aftertaste which was pretty nice. The more I drink it the better it gets, but in all honesty that just could be the alcohol doing it's job.

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

A- Pours Black, small tan head, small amount of lacing

S- Smells roasty, chocolatey, and a hint of coffee

T- Chocolatey, with a subtle coffee flavor, smooth, a bit sweet for my liking but good

M- Nice body, reminds me of a bigger version of their oatmeal stout

D- Good beer, but with its similarity to the oatmeal stout, think Id rather drink that and be able to have a few

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

Poured this beer into a pint glass. It poured black with a thick tan head. The smell was of alcohol and roasted malts. I also picked up a hint of coffe in the scent. The taste was more coffee, with a hint of roasted malt coming through in the after taste. The mouthfeel is heavy with a touch of carbination. This is a very enjoyable beer, and is widely available. I would recomend this to anyone who is a fan of the RIS style.

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Photo of PatronWizard
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From 4 pack to glass...

Looks like dark coke. Not quite black, but very dark brown. Head fell down kinda quick.

Light coffee aroma, not a strong scent.

Good coffee flavor, some sour notes.

Body is a little thin for a stout.

Sorry, don't know what else to say. I bought this because it was on the BA Top 100 and I expected more. It's not bad by any means but I expected KaPow! This is the same week that I had Stone IRS and Speedway Stout for the first time so maybe I have the bar set too high for this little guy. Even as such, this is still a solid brew and Sammy Smith continues to make quality products (only let me down once - India Ale).

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Photo of matty
3.35/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black colored stout with a creamy head that fades to about a half an inch.Aroma is a mix of cocoa and coffee.Taste is chocolate,coffee and alcohol.I personally think this is a much better brew than their nut brown ale.I would buy again and recommend to my buddies.

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Photo of AltBock
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Slender brown 12 oz. bottle with a classic white label on it. This classic label has the name of the beer in gold lettering, the brewery's symbol of a barrel with the established year on it, and some of the medals it won back in 1896 and 1930. Don't they have any recent medals laying around? The back label on contains the mandatory US information. Just below the gold foil that's over the cap is some kind of bottle code. Mine was bottle code SB06B1. I'm sure that's a code that the brewery can only understand.

Appearance: I poured this Samuel Smith's beer into a Maudite Snifter. What came out of this small bottle was a big black colored beer. It was an oil black, but it wasn't a oily black sludge of a beer. Great color! The head of foam was almost as nice. The initial head of foam was about 1 inch in height and was a mocha/light tan color. It had great retention that left behind a small mocha/tan film, foamy rings along the edge, and just a small amount of spots of lace around the glass. It was just a nice Imperial Stout appearance!

Smell: When I first popped the cap, I got this unique aroma that combined black cherries and a bale of hay. When the beer settled, the bale of hay was gone, but the black cherries still remained. Along with the black cherries, there was the smell of dark roasted coffee beans, dark roasted malts, a hint of dark chocolate, black berries, and then finishes up with a subtle scent of sweet caramel and bitter roasted hops. I noticed there were a few malted tea leaves hiding in here too, but those came and went as they pleased.

Taste: This Imperial Stout starts off dry and roasted with dark roasted malts, dry roasted coffee beans, a splash of bitter dark chocolate, and a touch of of dry roasted bitter hops. I thought that was the end of the taste, but that was only the beginning of the taste. After the hops, the taste goes sweet with sweet English toffee, sweet roasted malts, and some ripe black berries at the finish line. I thought the first half of the taste was good enough for this beer, but the sweet finish was the icing on the cake.

Mouthfeel: This Imperial Stout was more medium bodied than full bodied. The aftertaste was adark and roasted like it should be, but it wasn't as thick as I would have liked it to be. This dark roasted aftertaste contained dark roasted malts, a hint of roasted coffee beans, a touch of bitter dark chocolate, and a few crushed berries at the end. There was plenty of flavor, but it was lacking the punch.

Drinkability: This has to be one of or the very first Russian Imperial Stouts made available. Unless I'm mistaken and those award on the label from 1896 do not belong to this beer. If you like your R.I.S., then you should try one of the first ones made available.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Out of the bottle this is the darkest beer I have yet seen. Even up to sunlight you cannot see through it! Nice aroma like molasses with earthy notes. Not much head and it faded quickly. Great mouthfeel, full body and medium/light carbonation. Flavor is more robust and less sweet than the smell. Coffee, nearly burnt malt (heavily toasted) with a slightly bitter finish. This is totally varietly appropriate and as hearty and packed with gumption as I would want out of a beer. Classic.

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Photo of nrbw23
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Pours black with a farily large light brown colored head that has great retention leaving some spotty lacing.

S- Smells of dark fruits, raisins, chocolate, coffee, molasses, and a bit of alcohol.

T- Flavours live up to the aroma. Coffee and chocolate dominate the flavour. It was served to me way too cold but as it warmed other flavours came through such as the darker fruits and roasted malts. A bit complex in taste could pick up quite a bit.

M- A little too thin for the style but not too bad probably adds to the drinkability.

D- Pretty solid brew I just think there are others that are better.

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

Pours black, ruby on edge and in the light. Tan colored head with good retention.

Big malt in the nose. Goof amount of sweet aromas. Milky lactose type of nose, sweet chocolate and molasses. Rum like alcohol.

Roasted malt hit the tongue up front. Definitely hops almost sweet/sour citrusy flavor. Coffees and chocolate flavors on the back end

Full mouth feel but very smooth and creamy. Quite enjoyable to drink.

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Photo of Donnie2112
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

dark, had a lot of head to start was able to retain about a quartor inch of head and I couldn't see any carbonation

nice coffee and shiwky smell nothing perceptible as hops over all impression of bananas

banana split with a chocolate topping well concealed alcohol straight up yummy

rather light and easy very smooth with the right amount of carbonation

I am transferring my notes from some time ago so I'm not sure if I remember how drinkable it was but as I recall it was absolutely excellent

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

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass

A: Extremely dark with a nice brown head that laces. Similar in look to most any RIS.

S: Very strong with coffee and cocoa along with noticeable dark fruits

T: The taste is very strong, which I live. Tons of coffee in the flavor along with some chocolate. The hops are definitely present as well with a nice bitterness

M,D: The mouthfeel is rather thick, with a little lack of carbonation on this one. Overall, decent brew, but not one of my favorite SS.

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Photo of JoeMayo
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours black with a light tan head. Not much in terms of head retention or lacing.

S- The smell is outstanding and incredibly unique! Sweet gold or dark rum and dark fruits (mostly raisins with a little fig). Vanilla comes through quite clearly as well as molasses. Hints of brown sugar, caramel, and a mild spiciness are also noticeable.

T- Unfortunately not as good as its smell. The smell is so intense and the flavor seems to be a dumbed-down version of the smell. It reminds me of rum-raisin ice cream with the following flavors: rum, raisins, vanilla, and sweet cream. Molasses and caramel also make an appearance. A generous dose of malty flavor is also detected. The flavor is complex and good, but somewhat watered down.

M- A little thin for a RIS, but thick enough and moderately carbonated. Crisp finish with a lingering aftertaste.

D- I split the bomber, but I feel like I could easily drink the whole thing and maybe finish a second one.

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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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