Imperial Stout | Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

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Imperial StoutImperial Stout
3,812 Ratings
Imperial StoutImperial 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: 3,812 |  Reviews: 1,787
Photo of daythree16
4.67/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours jet black with a creamy, tan, 1/2" head that fades to a thin layer but never completely goes away.

The smell is very rich. Notes of maple, roasted malt, and dark chocolate are present. It almost has the aroma of Rocky Road ice cream. Served cold, the taste is primarily bitter chocolate, toasted nuts, and a subtle alcohol warmth. As the beer warms, the alcohol presence becomes more noticeable, and some caramel flavor develops. Very little hop presence.

The mouthfeel is somewhat thick, as is expected, but it's very smooth and creamy, and it may be the most drinkable RIS I've had so far.

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Photo of nasty15108
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pilsner glass.

A - Black as night. Thin tannish head that slowly dissapated into a bubbly film and produced thick clumpy lacing.

S - Ripe fruits and dark chocolate.

T - Malty with the taste of dark ripe fruit (raisins). Finished slightly sweet with hints of chocolate, roasted coffee and a wee bit of smoke.

MF&D - Not overly thick, but very enjoyable. Very smooth and creamy. Top Notch!

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.08/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Large bottle calls for a large oversized widemouth mug, right?

This beer is black. Very rich 3 finger head lingers on and on and on...not overly viscous though.

Heavy malts, dark raspberries and dark chocolate on the nose.

Hmmm, one of the fruitier RIS I have had...has me wondering if this bottle might be a bit off. Not overly malty like I was expecting. I taste wheat bread, burnt toffee, a bit bitter. Full body and mouthfeel.

This one does not do it for me...I will gladly take a Rasputin or a Storm King over this any day.

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Photo of redneckchugger
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured into a proper pint , dark, hardly any light gets through at all, 2 inch head the nose is great, coffee, chocolate, toffee, hint of caramel, absolutley outstanding
first sip is all coffee and burnt malts. with a slight hop in the back, , not much alcohol at all which doesn't suit the style but thats fine.
mouthfeel is a bit thin for a imperial stout, kinda disapointed in that aspect
i could have several of these, not a session beer by any means but still so tasty that i wish i had bought more than one
overall this is one of the best imperial stouts i have had.

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Photo of Garzan72
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a really nice imperial stout. Very well balanced and was very enjoyable. It looked nice and thick and creamy. Smelled very rich and complex. Tasted great and went down real smooth with a fruity after taste. Mouthfeel was thick yet rich and creamy. Real easy to drink.

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

opaque black w tan head that fades to thin layer. some lace.

smell has chocolate, faintly coffee. roasted, charred malts. fruity plum and even fig paste. some earthy tones.

flavors are all similar, but somewhat muddled together, plus phenolic and alcohol character in the back. bitterness is moderate, with hops that are grassy, but mostly of charred malt.

smooth, but not really thick. gentle carb.

still quite decent, but not my favorite in today's competitive field. needs more distinctiveness between all the flavors, plus maybe more malt character.

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Photo of paskinsj
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer took me by surprise, i expected a harsher taste but it went down smooth, maybe too smooth. The flavor was like a light smokey stout. It was one of the better stouts that I could drink a few bottle all night and not get tired of it. Not as harsh as a lot of other strong stouts.

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Photo of BMoney575
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on 7-13-08

Pours a absolute black, but you can just make out tiny bubbles rising to the top. A foamy tan head quickly fades, leaving behind soft rings of lacing.

Smell is very sweet, some hints of anise and butter English hops.

Taste is very good, sugary malt at first, then a big roasted character, finished with a good bit of hops and lots of smokiness.

Mouthfeel is good, smooth and creamy.

Drinkability is decent, it is definitely on the sweet side.

Overall, a very English take on the RIS. A good choice for something different.

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Photo of GoodKnight1220
2.91/5  rDev -30%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle to a glass.

Very, very dark in color looks black, little to no head.

Smells of heavy alcohol and dark chocolate, smells much like a wine.

Alcohol taste right up front, ending with a very bitter chocolate.

This has a greasy & syrupy mouthfeel.

I could drink one of these in a sitting, and you need to drink this on a cold day.

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Photo of Nowhereman529
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very deep coffee brown with just a light bit of brown head. Really a good looking beer.

The smell is definitely something above average. It has the aroma of molasses, coffee and cocoa.

The aroma is definitely a lead in to the taste. Upfront chocolate with a coffee finish. In between the two is the molasses which gives this brew a firm beginning middle and end.

Mouth feel is good and chewy, just what I like from a dark beer. You could say it's a tad on the syrupy side, but it definitely doesn't detract from the beer.

This is a very drinkable brew, but not an everyday brew. A well deserved end-of-the-week draught for sure.

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Photo of roadhouse
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 550 ml bottle into a snifter.

Appears almost opague black, but when held up to the light some red highlights are visibile. Nice one finger dark tan head.

Aromas of dark fruits, raisins, chocolate, coffee, molasses, cookie dough, and a bit of alcohol.

Flavors live up to the aroma. Coffee and chocolate dominate the flavor profile, while a fruity character emerges alongside it. It finishes kind of creamy almost like a milk stout with a certain smokiness to it as well. Very complex.

Mouthfeel is pretty heavy, yet still a bit thin I think. Doesn't detract much overall though. If anything it just raises the drinkability.

Most Samuel Smith offerings have pleased me and I knew this one would too. I swear the aroma reminds me of the best chocolate chip cookie dough. Flavors are so complex here. I just want to take another sip right after I put the glass down. Excellent stuff.

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Photo of SpecialK088
4.63/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bollte into a pint glass.

Im not gonna review this beer as i normally do, im gonna say it pours with all the same charecteristics of a stout and thats where it stops being typical, very rich/comnplex flavor that can only really be appreciated by drinking it, exceptionally smooth and creamy. I've heard it said that people would feel spoiled if they were allowed to drink something on a normal basis and its exacly how i feel about this.

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

A: Deep opaque black coloration with a thick creamy milk-chocolate colored head. Retention is fair, as the head settles to a thicker film over the top. Not a lot of lacing to speak of, but it's still solid.

S: Loads of molasses, dark fruits, bittersweet chocolate, and a spicy note from the alcohol.

T&M: Dark fruits with some floral hops initially followed by emergent bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee, and some sort of spicy/sweet alcohol-esque flavor. Very rich, sweet, and complex. The body is full, but not quite full enough for my liking. The feel is creamy enough, but I still feel like a slightly fuller body would help things out quite a bit.

D: Another great beer from Samuel Smith's Brewery. This is actually rather drinkable for a RIS. The alcohol content is on the low side, and the body isn't like motor oil, making it easier to sip on.

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Photo of Gtreid
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Black, with about a half finger of toasted brown head that receeds quickly and leaves no lace.

A: Chocolate, molasses, and coffee. Big sweet and roasted malts, plus some earthy hops that balance it nicely.

T: Yum! Again, sweet chocolate, bread, and coffee. Just what an Imperial Stout should taste like. It finishes slightly dry.

M&D: A little light for the style, I was expecting something a little more viscous. At 7% ABV, I could drink plenty of these, but it would be best served as a sipper after dinner. Very good example. Skal.

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Photo of Strix
3.86/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Near opaque, with decent head.

Smells dark. Coffee, malts, roasted and burnt flavors. Smell is not strong though.

Flavors very heavy, but mild. Coffee and burnt flavors drag this down, and not much else in the mix. Even after warming up, the flavors are a bit muted for my taste.

Mouthfeel silky smooth, and was the highlight of this one for me.

I was not as impressed with this as I thought I might be. It was fairly heavy and flavors were muted. Still worth a try, but not among my favorites.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
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 +8.2%
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%
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 -3.8%
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 +4.6%
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 -3.1%
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 -11.5%
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 +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 -16.6%
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 +1%
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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Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 3,812 ratings