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

1,755 Reviews
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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Reviews: 1,755 | Ratings: 3,713
Photo of sjccmd
4.29/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Prunes, rum cake, spices in the aroma. Rich and bready. Blueberries, toast, cocoa, and figs. Herbal, almost minty hops. Raspberries, cherries, chocolate. Complex aroma that continues to evolve. Fruit seems to fade initially allowing burnt sugar, caramel, and hearty toasted bread to come forward.

Pours pretty much jet black with a decent sized tan head. The head fades slowly, some lacing.

Burnt toast and figs on the palate. The fruit is more subdued than expected. Cocoa and cold press coffee. Berries linger more in the background. Fruity herbal hops provide balancing bitterness. A hint of clove. Surprisingly dry and balanced for the style.

Medium full body with medium low carbonation. Somewhat silky but not heavy or chewy.

Though the abv is low for the style, but I appreciate the dry finish and balance. Enough complexity up front to keep me happy.

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

Good, I just don't quite get the hype. Nice looking stout, black with dark head, but not too creamy. Smell was tough to describe. Hints at something like a fruity , heavy alcohol... maybe Mincemeat pie is the closest I can think of, which was super weird for a stout. I didn't get much coffee or cocoa, which would have been expected. Taste was Nice. Not what I would describe as creamy though. Thick enough. No drying experienced. Malt, slight caramel bite, and I keep getting that raisin/stone fruit/Mincemeat reminder. Interesting beer.

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Photo of kitschiguy
4.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a wonderfully thick, dark, chocolate brown with a thick, fluffy, light brown head. Lovely

Nose is a heady mix of coffee, caramel, chocolate, brown sugar, malt, biscuit and cooking spices.

Palate is big with lots of coffee and caramel dark malty flavours and spice and dark stone fruit. beautifully balanced.

Mouth is lighter than expected but welcome. Makes it very drinkable. very well rounded.

I was expecting a ig bitter beast with this one but was very pleasantly surprised as this is very drinkable. It make me wonder why so many people drink abominations like Guinness..... oh well....

Highly recommended.

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Photo of Miles_Wilson
4.84/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Wow! After enjoying the Sam Smith Pale Ale immensely I had to try the Imperial Stout out to experience its mettle. The look is exactly what you would expect from a stout, a nice foamy head with easy pour from the bottle but so thick and perfect you would think it might be a nitro brew. The smell is nothing short of intoxicating, full of deep malty and toasty notes much the same as the Pale Ale was for me.
The taste and feel are what this beer is all about; those malty cocoa notes roll over the tongue with a creamy but effortlessly smooth finish, full of malty lingering flavor.

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Photo of Bruno74200
4.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L - pitch black with a beige head that lasts

S - porter like smell, roasted, dark chocolate, a bite boozy

T - licorice, cocoa, more complex as it warms up

F - good mouthfeel

O - an amazing beer. It might be the benchmark for the style. Really balanced

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Photo of bobstockwell
4.44/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

jet black, tan head, Coffee,toffee, molasses, a delicious malty mouthfeel, I went to get Taddy Porter, but this called to me. I still prefer my founders breakfast stout, and rasputin's evil glare will continue to tempt me, but this is a damn good stout from the first "craft" beer company I remember buying, great balance, little low % for the style, but makes it more sessionable

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Photo of MacMalt
4.31/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into Samuel Smith Pint glass. It pours virtually jet black with a two-finger, foamy khaki-colored head and thick lacing. It smells of roasted malt, cocoa, dark coffee, molasses, and toffee. The taste largely follows the nose with lots of malt, burnt coffee, baker's chocolate, molasses, toffee, raisin, and a hint of hoppy bitterness. The tastes blend together very well and the stout sweetens as it warms in the glass. This stout is rather thin and lightly carbonated. With a manageable ABV of 7%, it is very drinkable for the style. Overall, this legendary Imperial Stout deserves its high rating. It is truly well crafted and enjoyable.

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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 RacerX5k
4.54/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Great beer. Been a long time (too long) since I've enjoyed this complex, unique and completely delicious treat. Great value too at $4 550 ml (18.7 oz). Could you imagine drinking beer this good at $4 a pint plus any bar?

Well carbonated beer I prefer 1/2 filled in a large snifter, concentrating the look, aroma, bitterness and flavor. Chocolate and cocoa blend with a delightful lemony hop presence, perfectly balanced, silky smooth. As this warms the aroma actually gets deeper, more complex and so very rich.

Bottom line delicious,'complex, rich, bitter, sweet, hoppy malt flavor bomb, along with Anderson Valley's Bourbon Barrel Stout maybe the best 7% ABV beer in the world.

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Photo of sherillc
4.44/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the best stouts I've tasted. Has a lovely burnt chocolate and coffee aroma and flavour, along with plenty of malt and a nice bitterness on the finish. A beautiful stout.

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Photo of gordonthulu
4.86/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Did not pour because I have no fancy glasses, still I like the presentation. The foil was a bit much, it does not come off easily at all. Smells great, almost like raisins with some barley. Mouthfeel was excellent, exactly what I want from a beer with good carbonation. Tasted like dark chocolate married a Guiness and this was their love child. Honestly the best beer I've drank in 2016.

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Photo of Reema
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Serving type: 22 oz bottle poured into a shaker pint

Pours ebony black with mocha colored suds that persist until the end of the beer. Smell is of toasted bread, coffee, small prune-like sweetness, along with a slight charred scent. Taste reflects the smell. Bitter coffee, toasted bread, small prune or plum like flavors, that finishes with a nice smokiness. Feel is perfect, thick with just enough carbonation to not be flat. Overall, this is a pleasant stout with great taste and aromas.

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Photo of craigmorris74
4.77/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A truly wonderful brew. Possibly the finest mouthfeel I've had. The malts are powerful and delicious, while lacking the bitterness or excessive roasted malt and black malt. A substantial beer that wouldn't offend a novice to the style.

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Photo of stevoj
4.44/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Another beer worthy of its reputation. Velvety smooth, pours black with a thick, creamy beige head. Aroma of roasted grains, black coffee, burnt toast. Taste is initially sharply bitter, mellowing to sweet dark chocolate. Easily drinkable, but also complex. High praise!

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Photo of 911CROFT
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

355ml bottle into a Snifter. Paid £1.99 for a single bottle.

Pours an opaque, pitch-black body that remains unchanged when held to the light. A two-finger in height, bubbly, dark-tan coloured head gradually reduces to a dense cap, leaving behind delicate bands of fine lacing,

The nose leads with a mixture of sweet, dark fruity esters, lightly roasted dark malts and a touch of soy sauce. Impressions of wood, smoke and earth all follow, along with a little rum-like alcohol detectable in the finish. The taste roughly follows suit. Moderately sweet darks fruits and a hint of raw cane sugar lead, before transitioning to lightly roasted dark malts. Mid palate the roast profile slightly intensifies, and is joined by mildly acidic coffee notes and touches of smoke and wood. In the mouth a medium to full body and excellent carbonation give a smooth, slick and slightly chewy feel. Towards the finish, pleasantly light bitter herbal hops combine with lingering roast and coffee profiles to slightly dry the palate and balance a tiny amount of residual sweetness.

Overall this is an excellent beer. It’s superbly well crafted, full of flavour and fantastic value for money. At 7% ABV, it's testament to the fact that not all Imperial Stouts need to have sky high gravity's or be brewed with handfuls of crazy adjuncts.

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown, near full black. Small head with limited lacing. Nose is full of sweet caramel and fudge, as well as roasted notes. Flavor is mild but full of pleasant stouty stuff. Less roasty toasty notes, and more chocolate and dark fruit. Mouthfeel is harsh from rough over carbonation. Overall, a very good beer that was hurt by the rough feel and would have been great with a more creamy feel.

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Photo of kevinlater
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

550ml bottle into snifter. bottled sep 2 2015, consumed dec 23 2015

a: black with a nice dark chestnut hue at the bottom of the glass. light brown head

s: huge fudge, milk chocolate, and caramel with hints of prunes and licorice

t: sweet fudge, prune sweetness, milk chocolate. a bit of woody, roasted coffee flavour. moderate bitterness

m: medium/medium-minus feel, carbonation is a bit prickly. good drying feeling at the end

o: a really delicious ale. far from the roast bomb that most imperial stouts these days are, but still packs a bunch of flavour

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Photo of Ksmoove27
3.96/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look - black oil with a light chocolate head that dissipates quickly...spotty lacing

Smell - Can't really call this one...perhpas my sniffer was broke tonight...perhaps it's a great hodgepodge of the flavors below.

Taste -of course, roast malt...expresso, dark chocolate and perhaps a hint of burnt sugar or smokiness...I couldn't pinpoint the added flavor until I realized there were notes of licorice..perhaps a little raisin....not much sweetness to this beer...some would see this as complex

Feed - Medium to heavy bodied...mild carbonation

Overall - Not my favorite Imperial Stout...perhaps its the licorice notes...onions and black licorice are my kryponite...I'd much prefer Founders, Old Rasputin, Yeti to name a few others

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.96/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

550 ml bottle served at cellar temperature and served into a Sam Smith's pint glass. Purchased for about $5 CDN from the LCBO. Seemed like a good beer for my 800th review.

Appearance - pours and ominous brown and virtually black coloured beer. Big three plus fingers of tan head with impressive retention. Some sticky tan lacing glazes around the sides of the glass.

Smell - chocolate mainly but some light fruity esters and some grainy notes too. Complex with the notes but straightforward in execution if that makes any sense. A little bit too metallic to be honest which doesn't jive with the rest of the beer.

Taste - a little chocolate with some subtle coffee suggestions. Maybe a hint of vanilla too to give it a slight mocha like characteristic. A touch of smoke and ash, with some woodsy tastes too. And initially a tiny metallic twang. Pretty good and balanced flavours leave one sip different from the next.

Mouthfeel - smooth and creamy, full bodied yet dangerously drinkable with just the right amount of carbonation. While many Russian imperial stouts are huge and full bodied and delicious, they aren't exactly the easiest beer to drink all day. However with the lower ABV, this imperial stout certainly is.

Overall - awesome feel, easy to drink, plenty flavourful, what else could you be looking for.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.96/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at the LCBO for $4.95 for a 550ml bottle. Served at 10deg C in a draught glass.

A- Opens well and pours a 2" high brown head that lasts for around 4-5mins before film out. Very dark brown colour

S- Not much here but metallic. Bet you it's mass produced in stainless steel vats.

T- Not bad. Has smokiness and chocolate but very subdued. It's a good blend but not great. Do enjoy malt backbone.

M- Not the best but it does have some creaminess

O- Nice blend. Will buy again which is not typical for me and mass produced beer which I generally call swill. For the price and what you get it's a winner.

Food Pairing

This pretty good brew went rather well with......... Roasted lamb leg. Cinnamon, fennel seed, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, clove, sugar, salt, pepper and thyme. The cinnamon are sticks that you slice and put into the leg. Braze and into the oven 325deg F for 20mins per pound for medium rare.


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Photo of Benish
3.61/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: poured into snifter glass. Jet black with a little translucence. Foamy head formed with light brown in color.

Smell: interesting. Smells almost like a cinnamon roll that came out of the oven. Except its a little moldy. Weird description but thats what comes to mind.

Taste: sweet chocolate and notes of coffee. Its like drinking a sweetened latte. There's a little bit of tartness at the end. No bitterness throughout. What I taste is different from what I smell.

Mouthfeel: light to medium bodied. Nothing significant about this.

Overall: The smell is what makes it different than the other imperial stouts. It's different but it's hard to get past that moldy smell. **Side note: this was purchased at a Utah State liquor store. They don't follow the best practices in storing beer. Considering this is an import, there could have been some unintentional changes in the flavor profile.

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Photo of J30wang
4.69/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Tastes phenomenal. Brings you through a spectrum from smokey to creamy with a nice hint of chocolate in the background. This is a very well developed stout--it doesn't push too hard. Cradles you right into it's comforting flares, no gimmicks; just down to earth stuff.

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Photo of vandeir_bochi
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Corpo denso! Sabor café mais intenso, chocolate ao fundo! Aroma pouco alcoólico, mas com presença do malt torrado! Pouca presença de lúpulos no aroma, mas amargôr bem intenso, pra uma inglesa!

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Photo of Spiff
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Spiff and friends took a trip to England with this imperial stout. We've learned we are not fans of Russian stouts so hearing that this beer from Tadcaster has taken Russian nobles to great heights has us Concerned. We have let it reach 50 degrees so here goes. Pleasantly Dark. Smell is rich and Carmelized sweet. Taste. Definitely not Russian so for us that's good. But the taste is not as sweet as smell. A dry chocolate. Thin in the mouth with a mid mouth carbonation bite but a smooth finish down the gullet. The taste is simple and not rich. Overall slightly disappointed hoping for more body but nothing to gripe about. Would order in A pub if all they had was Guinness and murphys and enjoy it but not in our top 25.

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Photo of tedvr
4.34/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours very dark with a thin caramel head. Smells are of raisins. chocolate and malt. Tastes are raisins with a nice chocolate finish. Mild carbonation with a great after taste. Nice depth with lots of flavors.

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
4.17 out of 5 based on 3,713 ratings.
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