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

3,747 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: 3,747 |  Reviews: 1,767
Photo of clayrock81
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Notes: Paired this with some chocolate balls (seriously) and it was delicious.
Poured into a pint glass and received a midnight black, thick brew which gave me a voluminous three-finger, tan head that quickly died to one-finger and left a lace ring. I can say the smell was good, but hard to pinpoint the smell. Malts cam through like coffee and maybe caramel and/or chocolate, there was some sweetness in the smell. A full-bodied beer that is very smooth, almost silky, and creamy. Even with a dry backbite that is the perfect finish, a tasty body with roasted, coffee and chocolate malts at the forefront of my taste buds. Didn't notice many hops, but there was a slight hop bite from the carbonation and something like dark fruit (black cherries) that was faintly in there.
I will gladly throw this down with anyone and recommend this beer to my non-beer geek friends as that rare beer that is not expensive yet close to perfect.

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

C: completely opaque solid pour with a two finger head that settles to about a half finger. tan think head.
S: deep scents of toffee and chocolate with a hint of vanilla bean. smells like a ice cream parlor.
T: incredibly thick chocolatey approach, turn to toffe in the middle and heavily roasted malt in the back. incredibly crafted stout.
M: smooth very lightly carbonated with an incredibly thick body.
D: This one is definitely a sipper, or a nice beer to have with desert. I usually don't pay this much for a four pack but I was absolutely not dissapointed. I will keep this around more often

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Photo of philbe311
3.62/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Opaque glossy black color... Caramel colored head quickly dissappears... Little or no lacing...

S - Coffee, Licoroise, Roasted Malt, Toffee, Buttery, and Chocolate... All scents that I associate with a solid stout... Incredibly well balanced...

T - Sugary coffee... Artificial sweetner... Darkly roasted malts... Dark raspberries... Not what I expected...

M - Smokey burnt feel... Slightly bitter...

D - Looks and smells like a great stout, but tast and feel are average... A nice brew, but I expect more from Samuel Smith brews... I'll take a Taddy Porter over this in a heartbeat...

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Photo of gonzo46and2
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm glad I let this one warm up. Picked up 12 oz bottle from World of Beer in Tampa, FL. Pours a near opaque black with a dark tan head the recedes rather quickly. Aroma is great. Not to burnt or powerful on the malt side and the hops do shine through with a bit of bitterness on the finish. Could benefit from more hopping but still.... Yummy.

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

Just in time for a night cap and what a perfect beer to finish to night with. Pours an opaque black, blocking out any and all light that may try to overtake.

Nose is of maple syrup, molasses, prunes and a slight burnt malt hints of black patent. This brew is a monster but balanced all at once, more molasses with coffee and bittersweet chocolate mingles with strong but flirting herbal hop tinges. Sweet malts blend with plums, raisins, and prunes. Slight leather note that finishes to a round sweet malt note that fades to a slight soy sauce and then back to herbal hops and yet again back to sweet malts. MAN, what a finish on this beer. Mouthfeel is thinner than I remember but at the same time this beers' finish is just one of the best I can recall.

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

550ml bottle poured into a snifter.

A full inch of tan head erupts from a fairly vigorous pour, great lacing, mostly black with some cola brown colour around the edge of the glass. Heavily roasted aroma of coffee and cocoa powder with some chocolate sweetness, black currant, prune, molasses, and a bit of briny saltiness.

Flavour starts off heavily herbal with anise and fennel coming right to the front, then that heavily roasted coffee bitterness that immediately gets set off by a lactic acidity that cleans the palate nicely. Not much in the way of sweetness, but what there is is demerara sugar mixed with a dark fruity note. This is a very well balanced Impy stout, mannered but very flavourful. Not overwhelming, just a great sipper. Carbonation is medium-low, and the palate dries well with the bitterness and acidity, begging for another sip. Drinkable as the 7% lets you finish a big bottle and not feel too bad.

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Photo of BullCityB
3.68/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a goblet, Sam Smith's Imperial looks rather nice, with a deep near black color and a nicely tanned head. Retention isn't bad, but not great either.

The aroma is a little odd for the style. There's some sharp roasted malts, but also a spicy/yeasty smell that is quite strong compared to most stouts that I've had. I like it, but it's definitely not the norm. It could be more intense, as well.

The flavor opens up with a little sharp roastiness followed by a dried fruit character in the middle. The finish is odd, almost slightly metallic in addition to the requisite roast character. Spicy and yeasty as well. Oddly enough, this tastes slightly Belgian. Seriously! I kid you not! If not for the metallic overtones, I would have given it a four.

In the mouth, it's solid. The head lends a nice creaminess, though it dissipates too quickly. I could definitely have gone for a bigger body here, but for 7%, this is quite big.

Overall, this is a drinkable ale, but it's biggest defect is it's odd flavor combination. Don't get me wrong, its good, but at the same time, I feel it could be a lot better. To be honest, it tastes like it was fermented too hot and a few off flavors developed.

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Photo of RomanW70
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours beautiful black with a thick black head. Wonderful aroma of chocolate and toffee. Taste of dark chocolate and toffee that slides into a slightly bitter finish, which has a roasted quality. Beer is faily well balanced. Not quite as big as an American Imperial Stout, but has an impressive taste profile.

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Photo of Tbn2
3.47/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A-Black; when back lit, no light shines through. Whiter than usual head settles and leaves little lacing.

S-Very sweet. Caramel and butterscotch cuts through instantly and have an all most overwhelming presence. Smells of alcohol and licorice are faint.

T/M-Just about the same as smell. Sweetness is almost too overwhelming for me. Needs a little better balance with something more acidic. Has a crisp, clean aftertaste with alcohol warming on the way down. Has the feel of a British brew.

Overall this beer is pretty good. If you like the 'British taste' you will enjoy this beer.


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Photo of acrawf6
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out very black with no light coming through and a tan head.

Smell. Initially smells a bit cloying with malty sweetness. Almost reminds me as something between a dubbel and a eisbock. There is a potent sweetness to the aroma that isnt too appealing to me.

Taste. Flavor is much nicer than the aroma. Roasted and a touch of burnt malts come out nicely. There is a touch of a soy sauce flavor to it, but not nearly as much as some other RIS out there, and leaves the palate nicely. As it warms i get a bit of a fruity sweetness. Aftertaste has small sweet espresso flavor to it, which is nice.

Mouthfeel. Body is full. The style is often a bit raw from the amount of hops some breweries throw in...this one isnt hoppy, but i still get a bit of rawness to it. Carbonation is at a proper level.

Overall, a very solid stout. Flavors are potent, but not cloying or overbearing, yet still solid. Not my favorite in the style, but still deserves a lot of respect and is one i would definitely get again.

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Photo of Cs1987
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Black, 2 fingers of beige head which reduced.

Smell - Very strong, malty and dark fruits.

Taste - The strength and taste are both almost reminiscent of bourbon. Coffee and dark fruits present.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, low carbonation.

Drinkability - Challenging but rewarding.

Overall - The first Imperial Stout I have tried, and a very good one too.

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

Finally managed to get my hands on this to sample it, and locally as well. Fits the bill in appearance for the style, pitch black and impervious to direct light, only faint intermittent cola hue specks along the perimeter when done so. Thick creamy tan head that settles and rests into an everpresent cap. Great retention.

Smokey, roasted malt on the nose, some licorice root and treacle as well. Not complex, but satisfying.

The flavour as well is not complex, but hits home all the same. Rich sweet molasses, balanced out with robust roasted malt on the finish. Lightly bitter cocoa/coffee in the aftertaste, although pleasingly balanced with some sweet brewer's licorice. Combine it with the full, yet smooth and creamy mouthfeel, and this has got to be one of the most beautifully crafted stouts I've ever tried, Imperial or otherwise. I can easily see how Catherine The Great and her court (or cohorts) could have fallen in love with something akin to this as well and kept a steady supply ordered and imported from England, Yum! Can't say I share her intense love of horses however....

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Photo of ph2001
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

had this as a 12 oz bittle poured into a pint glass.

pours smooth, not at all thick. very dark color with no light getting through.

very smooth and pretty drinkable. smells like chocolate. it has a sweeter malty flavor with a quick sharp bitterness tucked in.

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Photo of tedpeer
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce pour into a pint.

A - Huge head that settles to about 3/4 to an inch of tan foam. Pours black. Some lacing.

S - Roasted malts, coffee and chocolate.

T - Chocolate and coffee. A little sweet. A little bitter at the finish.

M - thin, but carbonation is perfect.

D - Very good.

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Photo of kbnooshay
3.86/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured similar to a Guinness with a frothy brown head taking up half the glass in all its creamy foamy glory. This brew is for all purposes black but when held up to the light you can make out some brown color. The head stuck around for a long time. The aroma is sweet and fruit-like with the presence of alcohol. At first sip it is confusing but afterwards the flavors come out. This sweet brew is rich in awesome bitter dark chocolate and coffee flavors. The feel is surprisingly thin but smooth and slick. Towards the end of the pint my mouth is fairly dry. One pint is enough. Different than any imperial stout I have ever had!

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Photo of iconoklaztor
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice black color with a small, slighty tan, head

The smell is of weak coffee and no chocolate. Its a little dry smelling.

The taste is about the same. Its a decent, everyday, stout but nothing that special. The taste is of stale or old coffee.

Overall, this is an okay beer. IDK if its worth a top 100 spot BUT its still decent.

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Photo of ibbjamin
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Paid $3.49 for a bomber from BevMo in Gilroy, CA. Poured into a pint glass with 2 pours.

A brownish tan almost 3 inch head that builds quickly after a somewhat aggressive pour and slowly recedes. Lacing is more like watery carbonation bubbles which quickly recede and leave some trails behind.

Wide array of pleasantries in the nose; toffee, coffee, toasted malts.

The taste is sweeter than the nose and very well balanced. Many of the same hints as found by smell, but they are all so well balanced that none of them really stand out more than each other.

Watery in front, creamy and thicker in back. Perfect carbonation. Heavier body, but this is easily deceiving because this one is easy to drink and makes you want to come back for more.

Probably the best Stout I've had to date and the price is right for a heady import.

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

Picked up a bottle at Magnum's in early November for 2.99.

Beer poured black as night with a two fingered tan head. Nose is roasted malts, coffee, and English hops. Taste is a very good medley of roasted chocolate malts, coffee and cream, hints of molasses all balanced quite nicely by those English hops. Mouthfeel is quite smooth and creamy but is a bit thinner than most in this style. Drinkability is quite good. Although this is quite a bit lighter than most in this class this is a beer that is definitely worth another go around for me as it offers a lot of great characteristics in one 355ml bottle.

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Photo of crizmo2352
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brew pours opaque black with thick medium brown head that sticks around and eventually fades to thick pad, lacing the glass with broken sticky blotches. The nose is strong with rich maltiness, dark chocolate, molasses and dark fruits. Very big brew on the palate. Fills out with rich sweet malt and dark chocolate. Very round mouthfeel... complex flavors are quite overwhelming. Fruit tones and toffee/roast character present as well. Sweetness helps round the mouthfeel out yet isn't overbearing and is reminiscent of molasses or sorghum. Brew lingers on the palate with complex series of flavors. Abundant strong flavors supported with good hop bitterness. Decent quaffibility considering style, although it is quite filling. Definately meant to be savored, yet finishing the 550ml bottle is not challenging at all.

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Photo of SQNfan
3.6/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Black in color with a medium head. Aromas were of molasses, brown sugar, bitter chocolate and a touch of coffee. In the mouth it was medium-bodied with plenty of carbonation to keep it seeming fresh. Hops are noticable on the finish keeping it bitter.

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Photo of Traquairlover
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12-oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A = Dark mahogany with a good foamy dark tan head, fair retention.

S = Dark chocolate cocoa powder, creamy capuccino.

T = Dark strong flavors. As with the smell strong bitter cocoa powder taste, pepper, long bitter finish.

M - Medium body, good mouthcoating, carbonation stings just a little too much.

D = Good drinkability. A very nice RIS.

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Photo of JonathanL7890
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Last of my Samuel Smith flight I picked up at my local liquor store. Seems that Samuel Smith gets taken for granted by BA's since it is readily available. I grabbed 4 flavors and I've fallen in love all over again...
On to the review.
Poured from a 550 ml brown bottle into a pint glass. A good 3 finger head of brown foam covering a dark brown - black (light black) beer.
The head dissipated after about a minute or so leaving behind substantial lacing.
Smell: Prunes , raisins, some sort of dried fruit dominates.
Taste: raisin, roasted malt, chocolate, some vanilla. very little bitterness. The carbonation stimulates my taste buds.
Mouthfeel: smooth and creamy. Hard to believe that a 7% ABV RIS has this good of a mouthfeel.
Drinkability; very nice. I could drink this beer all night. It's very refreshing for an RIS.
One of my favorite stouts. I will be definitely be buying more.

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Photo of gordavidson
4.46/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Nearly pitch black, but some light does make it through around the edges when held to a lamp. The creamy, light brown head is absolutely beautiful with excellent retention. This looks killer.

S- Some coffee and chocolate, but pretty subdued. There is also a very apparent English aspect to it. Not nearly as roasty as a lot of other Russian Imperial Stout.

T- Much more going on here than in the aroma. There is a lot of chocolate and coffee flavors, but they are pretty smooth. There is a good amount of sweetness as well as some vanilla. Pretty complex.

M- Silky smooth and crisp. A little dry on the finish, but this just causes me to want to drink more of it.

D- Very impressive. I have had this numerous times in the past and didn't think too much of it. I guess my palate has evolved a bit.

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Photo of PatrickJR
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into oversized snifter.

A - Dark dark brown, nearly opaque. Smallish brown head the receded to thick collar.

S - Mostly caramel and brown sugar. Some smoke and wood enters also.

T - Coffee at first, followed by caramel. The finish is dominated by oak and smoke undertones. Bitterness from the roasted malt takes over. Long, lingering aftertaste of both black coffee and smoke.

M - Very slick, heavy-ish body, almost no carbonation. Alcohol is not present at all.

D - I couldn't drink more than one, maybe two of these; not because it doesn't taste good, but because of the heaviness and intensity of this brew.

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

Presentation: Very distinguished looking label. "Vintage", as the kids are saying these days. The only thing off-putting to me is the gold foil on the neck, and covering the cap (which is clamped down so tight that my bottle opener won't fit under it...) I'm dying to taste this beer, and now my floor is covered with little pieces of gold foil. Eh.

Appearance: Wow. I could have sworn I just poured chocolate syrup into my glass. This looks AMAZING. It's black. Light is no match for this. Caramel-colored head, nice and foamy. Good amount of lace sticking to the glass as the head dies down. There is still a thin layer of head, and I don't think it wants to go away.

Smell: So inviting. Chocolaty, toasty and warm. Very earthy. Coffee beans are here as well.

Taste/Feel: Just in case I haven't mentioned chocolate's definitely present in the taste. Coffee is certainly here as well. The aftertaste seems nutty to me, and I like that quite a bit. Everything seems very balanced about this beer. Having not tried many Imperial Stouts (yet), it's hard for me to judge how heavy this one is in comparison to others, but as an IPA drinker, this seems heavy to me. Not at all heavy in a bad way. It doesn't sting the taste buds, the ride is completely smooth. The alcohol warms the mouth/face quite nicely...and I'm only on sip number 4.

Drinkability: This stuff is so easy to drink... A fabulous beer for me to write my first review on.

What's that you say? There's more in the bottle? Done.

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
4.17 out of 5 based on 3,747 ratings.
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