Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

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

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Samuel Smith's Imperial StoutSamuel Smith's Imperial Stout
3,785 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,785 |  Reviews: 1,779
Photo of ph2001
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

 263 characters

Photo of tedpeer
4.2/5  rDev +1%
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.

 289 characters

Photo of kbnooshay
3.86/5  rDev -7.2%
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!

 631 characters

Photo of iconoklaztor
4/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

 340 characters

Photo of ibbjamin
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

 832 characters

Photo of arizcards
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

 608 characters

Photo of crizmo2352
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

 822 characters

Photo of SQNfan
3.6/5  rDev -13.5%
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.

 251 characters

Photo of Traquairlover
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

 382 characters

Photo of JonathanL7890
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

 887 characters

Photo of gordavidson
4.46/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

 803 characters

Photo of PatrickJR
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

 640 characters

Photo of AlexBlueV
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
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 enough...it'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.

 1,508 characters

Photo of Proteus93
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours dark as can be... a sandy coloured, creamy head tops it off. Nice and slow to settle down.

S: Warm, rich maltiness, milk chocolate, fresh baked bread,

T: Toasted malts, a tangy bitterness, a touch of coffee, and some hints of anise. An excellent balance of flavours coming together to make a very nice tasting brew.

M & D: Rich and very well-rounded. It's got a big and full flavour, but doesn't go overboard. Rather, it's a bit more subdued with nice complexities to make out of it. An excellent representation of the style, and one I will be making a point of coming back to regularly.

 602 characters

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

The beer pours a thick, clean brown... it looks rich enough to paint with, but the highlights speak of an excellent clarity.

The smell is dominated by the signature sam smith's tang accenting the caramel notes... with bittersweet chocolate and slightly coffee notes

The taste is also good, well balanced... proving again that simplicity is beautiful... nothing sticks out, but nothing is lacking. Chocolate, coffee, apple... all there, but nothing overwhelms the drinkers taste buds.

Very, very drinkable, rich and light.... Sam smiths has done it again, the alcohol is barely apparent.... a joy to drink. I expected more of a punch in the face from the "Imperial" aspect of this beer... but was very pleased with the balance of intensity. This beer will not disappoint.

 773 characters

Photo of everetends
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought these as individual bottles from Dekalb Farmer's Market in Atlanta, GA.

This is one of my all time favorite breweries and this beer does not disappoint at all.

The appearance is a very dark brown, allowing just a bit of light to penetrate. The head is a light brown but never left the beer I poured.

Smell is of roasted coffee, almost mocha, with chocolate and malt following closely. Could sit and smell this all day.

Taste is almost perfection. Only the slightest taste of alcohol gives way to a hint of chocolate and roasted coffee. Not too sweet, not too bitter. Somewhere it the middle.

Mouthfeel is nice. The alcohol is not over powering and doesn't effect the feel at all. Goes down nice and smooth thanks to the 7% but still gives you warmth.

I can drink this all night long if I could afford it and if it was available to me in Alabama. Love this beer and highly recommend.

 897 characters

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

This is one of my all time favorite breweries. They make some fabulous beers and this is a prime example. I enjoyed this slightly chilled in my Warsteiner mug. Dark, opaque brown in appearance. Nose had an aroma of bittersweet chocolate with a hint of molasses and a touch of candied sugar. Taste was superbly balanced with enough hop bitterness to not makeit overly sweet with some baker's chocolate notes and a kiss of molasses. Very good stuff.

 447 characters

Photo of csmiley
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours dark brown and opaque. Only a speck of light gets through on the edges. A typical pour gave up a solid one inch head that showed good retention. A mocha colored cap of head remains on the beer for a long time. Lacing was also good.

S - Starts out with some roasted aromas and molasses on the nose. Some milk chocolate sneaks in and mixes with a warm alcohol smell. On the tail end, some coffe is evident.

T - Roasted flavors show first that quickly get met by some molasses and maple. Some bittersweet chocolate and coffee show up midway. Rounding things out are alcohol and a hint of smoke.

M - Medium bodied with good carbonation. Finish is a little sweet and does not stick around for long.

D - Drinkability is good. Alcohol is low which makes it go down easy for an Imperial Stout. There is a smooth character overall that I enjoy and would recommend this beer to anyone.

 890 characters

Photo of Hoagie1973
3.76/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I gave this one a second look and it turns out I just had a bad bottle before.
Doesn't have many of the characteristics I would expect from an Imperial, starting with the head. Only about one finger and it didn't hang out long, leaving nothing behind.
Sweet aroma of roasted chocolate malt, molasses, and caramel. Hint of metal and malt vinegar.
Immediately after swallowing there's a weird earthy flavor that dissipates quickly into sweet chocolate and molasses. Roasted bitterness and hops show up to balance the finish. I still think they could bump up the IBU's to cut a little more of that sweetness. Aftertaste slowly fades into a very nice mocha-coffee flavor.
Feel is medium and somewhat creamy. Nice carbonation levels keep the residual sugars in check.
Overall pretty nice, but not the best Imperial.

 810 characters

Photo of giblet
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours almost black. very good carbonation and a 1/2" head that settles. lacing on the glass as i drink it. wonderful rich roasted malt flaver. very full bodied and warming to the body. this is a very good stout. flavors range from coffee to chocolate to roasted smokey malt.

very good.

suckem up and movem out.


 320 characters

Photo of BucBasil
4.39/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured from the 12oz bottle into a Samuel Smith pint glass. The beer is almost completely black, but there is a bit of brown shining through the bottom of the glass when held to light. Head was unimpressive, getting to only one finger thick and dissipating quickly. Color was tan.

Smell: Milky chocolate dominates the nose, but there are other malts swimming under the surface as well. Molasses and roasted come to mind. There is a slight fleeting plum note. Then back to sweet chocolate.

Taste: This beer completely takes over the palate, sending your tastebuds on a rollercoaster through every imaginable malt flavor, and then some. Coffee starts things off, then comes smooth chocolate and roasted. A certain meaty flavor comes in at the midpalate. Finishes smooth with black coffee and a hint of sweet molasses.

Mouthfeel: A little more carbonated than what I was expecting, as the beer is also very very thick. Definitely full bodied and pretty heavy.

Drinkability: This is one I'll definitely come back to. My palate had to adjust to the hugeness of the beer, but once I did, it was pretty much heaven. The heaviness of the beer pretty much limited me to one bottle.

 1,188 characters

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

Poured a pint of this into a glass mug. I heard good things, so I had some pretty high expectations. I was not disappointed.

A: Pours a thick, black body with a thin, but silky, brown head. Very nice retention overall with excellent lacing along the glass through to the finish of the beer.

S: A nice, roasted smell with bittersweet, chocolate undertones. A nice smelling stout.

T: A nice, roasted taste with a slightly, sweet warming aftertaste. Alcohol was slightly evident in the aftertaste, but it was welcoming, warming, and comforting.

M: This stout is smooth as silk. A little light, but that is just because of the style of beer the brewer was goign for. Definitely well constructed and went well with the taste.

D: Definitely a drinkable beer. A nice combination of a great taste and a smooth mouthfeel made it an excellent beer. The alcohol is not too high for an "Imperial" by extreme beer standards, but it did well to compliment the mouthfeel and taste. An excellent brew overall.

 998 characters

Photo of Ysgard
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A world class brew, no doubts.

The head was not explosive as Old Rasputin's, though it stuck around through the end, the perfect brown cloak for this balanced black beer.

The smell is led by roast espresso and dark fruit, with sweet milk and caramel around the background.

My favorite thing about this beer is that although the flavor changes as it warms, as with any stout, it is excellent both warm and cold. When cold at the start, the sweetness is balanced by tart dark fruits and bitter chocolate. As it warms, the coffee and hops come out to the front. The path between cold and cool is one fine walk in the dark.

Smooth, with moderate carbonation, thick enough to roll through the mouth, but not chew, the mouthfeel is easy to get along with, and keeps the drinkability reasonable.

This I could drink everyday, if I could afford it.

 844 characters

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

It pours black as night with a small, tan head. Smells of sweet chocolate and a touch of toffee. The taste is very good. Semi-sweet chocolate up front, followed by a burnt toffee taste with coffee tones at the very end. It is very creamy and goes down nicely. This was not as over-the-top and a bit more balanced compared to some other Imperials I have tried.

 359 characters

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

Appearance - 4.5
Poured two fingers of frothy beige head that steadily reduced over a mahogany-black body.

Smell - 4.0
Rich, slightly sweet roasted malt with a strong yeasty kick. Somewhat burnt from the roasted malt.

Taste - 4.5
A whole lotta flavour in this one! Gets better as it warms with flavours of burnt coffee, dark chocolate and rye bread with a warming yet subtle alcohol. There is also a bit of lemon zest hiding in there somewhere.

Mouthfeel - 4.5
A lovely fine and persistent carbonation and thick, heavyish weight in the mouth.

Drinkability - 4.5
Worth going back to, not overly challenging, especially after warming. 7% is low for an Imperial Stout, making it all the more drinkable.

This is certainly a rich, impressive brew, and stouts aren't usually my thing. I would try this again, as I see the $6 price as being good value.

Edit: This beer hardly qualifies as a RIS at just 7% abv - but in the English tradition it delivers more flavour than would seem possible for the strength. Brilliant stuff!

 1,038 characters

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 3,785 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.