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

3,762 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: 3,762 |  Reviews: 1,770
Photo of martyl1000
4.14/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle , Madison, . A pleasant, pleasant surprise. Sam Smith's is so common I never thought to try it before. Sometimes just gotta trust the BA review. This brew hits on all cylinders. Gorgeous black with nice rocky tan head. Cocoa and creamed coffee.

Update 5/31/12
Had another to verify, this time comparing directly to my current favorite, Tyranena Dirty old Man (not a double stout, I know). The SS didn't hold up as well against the complexity of the TDOM. Downgrading my previous 4.7 rating.

However, the problem may have been serving it at cellar temp. Last time I had it around 50-degrees and flat out loved it.

Update 8/2/12
Having now had several tastes of true imperial stout greatness (Peruvian Morning, Mikkeller Black Hole, Mokha), I have to downgrade even further. I'd place this in the league of Founders Breakfast Stout; the two seem very similar, though this is a much smaller beer, of course.

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Photo of simonreadmusic
4.14/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of tgbljb
4.14/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured a very deep copper-brown, almost black color with an attractive tannish head that fell to a beautiful tan collar around the top of the beer. Smell is magnificiently complex with a mixture of coffee, dark fruits (prunes, plums, raisins, figs), molasses, maple syrup, and toasted malts noted. First taste is a bit overpowering, with strong notes of alcohol present. Subsequent sips bring forth strong chocolate notes mixed with a nice bitterness.The aroma a each sip is truly fantastic. Finished nice and creamy with a strong bitter note present. I enjoyed the beer, but to me it is something to try on special occasions. The strong aroma and taste can begin to get a bit overpowering.

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Photo of BierReise
4.14/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this before several years ago and haven't tried it again until now. Very impressive stout and a sweet surprise. Poured very dark almost black with short but tight tan head. Smell of roasted malt and usual english hop nose. Feels like velvet on my tongue and one of the smoothest stouts in recent memory. Taste is malty and rich with chocolate and roasted malt prevailing. Great to the finish.

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

A: Poured a rich black with a decent tan head.

S: There was some hint of sweetness, sugar and toffee maybe combining with a bitterness of dark chocolate and coffee. Also picked up a slight roasted smell in the background.

T: Again, the sweetness of toffee/sugar was present but nicely offset by the bitterness of chocolate and coffee.

M: Awesome! Full bodied, creamy and smooth.

D: Very drinkable and no hint of the alcohol content!

Notes: 355 ml bottle poured into a Imperial Pint Glass. BBE DEC 09.

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Photo of Bung
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
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 Dodo2step
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

P- Market Cross Pub in Carlisle

A- a motor oil like color. Jet black. A gorgeous fluffy light chestnut brown head as well. Only about a half finger though.

S- a burst of cocoa powder hits me first followed by coffee and sweet roasted malts.

T- a strong dark bitterness chocolate taste with hints of dark roast coffee. Cocoa powder as well.

M- Smooth and creamy. Quite viscous as well. Goes down without a hassle and goes down easy.

D- I could really pound this beer back because you cant feel the abv. Its smooth and silky creamy as well which makes it go down the throat easily.

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

roma is a nice creamy chocolate, with just a faint hint of roasted bitterness

Flavor is quite nice- more bitterness than the aroma, definite chocolate, some espresso beans, and a definite alcohol/op bite at the end. A little off at the end. But overall very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is decent, but actually a slight bit on the thin side.

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

The stout pours dark with a frothy mocha colored head with medium sized bubbles reminiscent of soda. The head lingers nicely.

The smell is dark and earthy with a hint of hops and roasted malts. As the beer opens up hints of dark chocolate come through.

The taste is a mix of bitter and sweet, with the bitter overpowering in the beginning giving way to some sweetness on the finish. A pleasant hopped mouthfeel lingers on afterwards.

Overall the beer looks and tastes great. A full-bodied stout with a good taste and smell that isn't watered down.

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Photo of y2j2280
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first review - Hopefully makes sense.

A - Dark and muddy - Almost looks like motor oil. Looks thick.
S - There is a overwelming chocolate aroma. Smells sweet and roasty.
T- Taste very good. Exactly what to expect from a Imperial Stout. Strong hints of chocolate. Got some caramel and cocoa also.
M - Mouthfeel was average. It was heavy which I def. expected but felt it was over carbonated for a IS.
D - Is good. Can maybe have one more. Def. not a session beer.

Overall a great IS.Def up there on my list for this style. Would def. buy again.

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

Quite impressive from the pour on....pours a very deep dark black with a one finger head. The pleasant, tan head doesn't last very long but has a nice thin layer that lingers on the edge of the glass. I smell dark chocolate, cherries and figs. It's almost port like.
The taste is earthy, chocolaty with some mocha and coffee hints as well. This beer is quite pleasant and very interesting.
Having just finished dessert this is quite the "capper." This RIS has a very smooth, rich and creamy feel to it which makes it all the more enjoyable. One could sip on this all night long, at a slow pace that is. Definitely the top I've had from Sam Smith to date.
Excellent brew!!!!

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

Half-liter bottle purchased at the Wine Gallery in Brookline for $4. Served in an Ommegang glass.

I like this beer. Its creamy but light mouthfeel make it a pretty easy beer to drink. It is not overwhelming like the majority of American Russian Imperial Stouts, and I appreciate the simplicity. There is a good deal of coffee and a bit of raisins in the malt, and it is enjoyable from the front of the toungue to the back of the throat.

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Photo of gopens44
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Darkest brown without being full on black with a generously thick creamy head that takes on the color of an Arby's Jamocha shake. The lacing is a sheet of foam that runs evenly around the entire glass.

S - Dark chocolate aroma doesn't allow for too much else in the nose. Perhaps something fruity, as in dark fruit.

T - Dark chocolate follows to the tongue with a raisin or plum characteristic. A touch of heat towards the end, but bitter chocolate still prevails

M - Smooth, creamy and medium body. Decent carbonation with little aftertaste, other than bitter chocolate.

O - Quite a nice little drinker this is. Well balanced, not excessively heavy, and it isn't too demanding.

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

This has been sitting in my fridge since November, saved for a special day. It turns out there is nothing particurally special about today (except perhaps the beer I'm about to drink), I just couldn't wait any longer.

Appearance- Pours jet black with a nice mocha colored head. Coats the side of the glass beautifully with lacing.

Smell- A very interesting smell, unique to this beer. Sweet caramel notes blended with some coffee and choclate flavors. There is also a rum or bourbon like aroma mixed in there. Gives the beer a certain old-school badass character.

Taste- Maintains that distinct character, malty with chocolate and caramel flavors dominating. Some dark fruits present. Slightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel- Thick and smooth, with just a touch of carbonation. A roasty flavor tends to linger in your mouth. Also a very warming brew.

Drinkability- Fantastic considering the darkness and complexity of this brew. Perhaps it can get overwhelming after a few glasses.

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

550 mL bottle from the LCBO; bottled Sept 2 2015 and served a little cooler than cellar temp. Last sampled in April 2014, though I neglected to write a review at the time.

Pours an opaque black-brown colour, crowned with just over a finger's worth of beige-coloured froth. It dissipates over the next couple of minutes, leaving behind a thin, filmy cap and a modest-sized collar. Minimal lace. Molasses and caramelized sugar are primary fixtures of the aroma, along with accompanying notes of milk chocolate, raisin, anise and cherry-flavoured red licorice candy. No complaints thus far.

And none are forthcoming - this is a very solid strong stout. Sweet flavours of treacle and caramel remain prominent, while roasted malt flavours of milk chocolate and coffee provide some much-needed complexity. Suggestions of prune-y dark fruit mid-sip. Herbal hops, roasted coffee astringency and some char/ash start to shine through on the back end, along with slight hints of alcohol and anise. Lingering roasty aftertaste with a bit of metallicity, and that's the only knock against this one that I can come up with here. Nearing full-bodied, with a silky-smooth, creamy and luxurious mouthfeel that makes this stout incredibly satisfying to sip. Not super-interesting, but the quality of this one's craftsmanship is undeniable.

Final Grade: 4.15, a worthy A-. If the original imperial stouts that were exported from Britain to Russia were anything like Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout... well then it's not hard to see why the Tsars were so keen on the stuff. Beer geeks who have been spoiled by the adjunct-laden "extreme" stouts that can be found across North America may not be overly impressed by this one, but screw them - that leaves more for the rest of us. If you are seeking out a classic-style RIS that focuses purely on the roasted malts, look no further.

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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 ItsBeer4Me
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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

stout beers are by far my favorite beers and this is an exceptional brew. Smooth on the palat with minimal aftertaste and a nice arome, this is a great beer for beginners or expert stout entusiasts. This is a good beer with decent head and smoothe drinkability.

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

I've always loved Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout and Oatmeal Stout and decided to do a side-by-side taste test. Here it is.


A - black, deep ruby next to a lightbulb, thick off-white head, though not as thick or as textured as the Oatmeal Stout.

S - steely caramel, mocha, malt, mild coffee, almost a mulled winey/port note - more pronounced than in the oatmeal stout. Towards the end something plum-like came out, and finally something apple-y.

T - malt, cocoa and dark chocolate, hint of tart

M - smooth but less silky than the oatmeal stout and finishes slightly dry and slightly tart

O - I really like the Oatmeal Stout and this one cranks up the robustness a notch or two in my opinion. It's got a more pronounced flavor.


A - black, deep ruby next to a lightbulb, the famous Samuel Smith's thick, tan, textured head

S - steely caramel, wet grain, malt, faint mulled winey note

T - mild mocha, brown sugar, hint of a tart-metal-caramel triangle, pastry note

M - silky, ends slightly dry

O - A solid oatmeal stout, very well balanced, delicious and palatable, perfect for drawing newbies into the stout fold. Its American cousins take the ball from there and elevate the robustness and complexity, but this is still a nice one to drink. I'm a little sad that it doesn't deliver as well now that I've expanded my stout palate, but I'll keep my nostalgic soft spot for it.

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Photo of ruckus232
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

18.7 Ounce brown bottle poured into a stein

Appearance: Dark brown, not heavily carbonated but with large amounts of tan head

Smell: Slightly toasted scent with a sweeter fruit smell, maybe raisin

Taste: Starts out sweet malty and fruity and then changes into a slight bitterness but not overwhelming. Finishes off with just a mild mix of both of those flavors.

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

This beer pours a nice dark color with a creamy head.
The smell is a nice roasted coffee like aroma that I could not get enough of.
Smooth and well balanced drink with a coffee and burnt hops flavor.
The mouthful is also thick and creamy.
Overall, a very good beer. If you are a stout fan then this is one of the best.

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

Chilled bottle poured into a sniffer. This beer has been provided courtesy of Platinum Liquor in Bellevue Hill Sydney.

This is the darkest beer I have ever encountered and as a person who prefers and hunts down dark beers I hope that explains how striking the density of this stout is

Pouring generates a massive titanic dark tan in color creamy texture head of about 3 fingers. It bonds tightly and then dries off with patchy lace on the glass.

Aromatically this is stout is dominated by dark fruits such as prunes with a blend of gummy molasses and rich dark chocolate.

In the mouth and across the tongue this is a dominant offering. Coffee like impact with a sweet dessert like finish. Raw unprocessed natural chocolate mixed with an almost perfect balance of praline. There are elements of roasted nuts, dried cured pork no doubt this is due to a very smoke box type finish that continues to kick well after the taste has been swallowed, interestingly I even get the profile of dried seaweed; once again perhaps this is due to smokey characteristics.

To call this full bodies is almost an understatement. Well balanced level of carbonated is a compliment and signs of a beer that is well crafted.

Thanks again to Platinum Liquor Sydney.

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

550 ml bottle poured into a nonic pint. Big thanks to my brother-in-law for the going away present.

A- A moderate pour left a 2-finger, dense, brown-tan head that maintained nicely at a foamy film throughout. The body was near jet, with burgundy hues at the edges. Nice sticky rings and webs were left on the glass as I drank.

S- It's quite bold. I was met with an initial fruity sweetness that developed into a definite raisin presence. Dark chocolate was present at colder temps. There was a pleasant alcohol aroma that was hard to place but came off as something on the hard liquor that's outta' my league (sherry perhaps?). A buttery characteristic came out with some woody/tobacco/earthy notes as it warmed.

T- Sweet raisin up front. Sweet alcohol came off of as something like a buttery rum. It had a little woody flavor. The finish was a little peppery with a residual sweetness.

M- Warming alcohol provides just a bit of a bite. A full body with light-medium carbonation makes for a creamy feel and adds to the viscus quality.

D- I'd definitely drink it again. Really good flavor makes me want to check this out again come cooler weather. It drinks a little bigger than the 7% ABV would suggest. The alcoholic qualities definitely add to the enjoyment rather than detracting from it.

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Photo of Jtrigonis
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Pours a dark black, with a hint of ruby/brown at the edges. Thin tan head. Smell is of liquorice, and sweet malt. Taste is chocolaty and coffee up front, thick malt middle, and a roasted, earthy bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is super smooth and creamy, nice low carbonation. Drinkability is very good. Much lower alcohol than the average RIS, makes this easy to drink the entire 550ml bottle. An excellent example of a RIS, not as *extreme* as some US varieties, but still very tasty and holds its own.

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
4.17 out of 5 based on 3,762 ratings.
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