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

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1,747 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: 1,747 | Ratings: 3,682
Photo of dfitch81
4.56/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Entertaining Victorian-style label proclaims Samuel Smith's to be "Contractors to Her Majesty's Forcces" - very appropriate for an IMPERIAL stout! Pours a deep, dark brown - bordering on black - with two fingers of chocolately brown head. Scent of sweet coffee and roasted barley greets the nose as you lift the glass for the first sip. Taste is first of coffee and dark chocolate, with hops in the background. Hop flavor becomes somewhat more pronounced later in the taste before giving over to a finish of sweet cream. Alcohol is rather light for an imperial stout, and flavors are perhaps less pronounced than in other examples of the style. However, the end result is a serious stout with interesting and enjoyable complexities that complement one another instead of battling to dominate your palate. Definitely recommended.

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

Thick khaki colored head, and nearly opaque/black in color. Head is robust and the lacing looks nice. Very appealing

Smells like dark fruits and roastyness up front, followed by chocolate and coffee. Complex and well balanced.

Rich malty flavors that I did not expect from the nose. Good balance of sweetness versus bitterness. Coffee, chocolate, and plum notes are in the background.

Creamy, but not overly. Alcohol is present as it warms but is not overpowering, and it is full bodied with medium carbonation.

This is a stupendous beer, one of my favorites by Samuel Smith's. Definitely recommend it

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Photo of ellisdee97
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Motor oil black with a dark coffee colored one finger thick head which quickly dissipates leaving a nice ring and some decent lacing.

S: Dark chocolate and nice deep alcohol with a sharp hop note. Toffee and caramel, with toasted malt and vanilla. Hidden within is a nice nutty hint.

T: Warming alcohol up front with some chocolate. Again toffee and nice deep coffee then bitter hops. Some toasted and slightly smokey flavors in the malt.

M: Nice carbonation. Smooth with a dry, smokey finish.

D: Excellent drinking stout, the alcohol is covered nicely. Wonderful combonation of sweet, smokey and bitter.

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Photo of Pehlman
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A solid black beer you can not see through held up to the light. Poured a nice 1-2 finger dark tan head that disappeared quickly leaving very little lacing. The slightest hint of alcohol at first but then a wave of smokey goodness with a slight dark-fruit malt backing. Mouthfeel comes on a bit creamy but just like the head, thins out leaving little behind. Left the roof of my mouth a bit dry but I didn't mind. Definitely a beer I could drink again and again with no end in sight.

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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 arms...no flares, no gimmicks; just down to earth stuff.

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

I think this beer goes very well with a spicy beef curry. I think it would also go well with chocolate. This is quite sophisticated, yet smooth. I can see why it gets all the hype and kudos.

I wish I were one of "Her Majesty's Forces" just to drink this for free on a daily basis. In 1896 this was awarded a gold medal (according to the label). Yep, this is good stuff.

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

Jet black color comes cascading out of the bottle into my pint glass. After settling down for awhlie a nice half finger head resides on the top with a creamy coffee color.

Aroma is roasted coffee beans, dark rich malts, brown bananas, and vanilla.

The first sip is strong and smoothe. Slightly bitter chocolate taste on the back end. Leaves a nice feeling in the mouth and does not become to strong.

Let this one warm up a bit once you pull it from the fridge. Drinking it too cold will not allow you to fully appreciate the flavors.

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Photo of mbrown26
3.55/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pub glass. As I'm trying more beers, I'm learning stouts may not be my personal preference, but I imagine this would be very good for the style, which is I why I gave it higher marks than I normally would.

A: Had a nice dark, oil like color with a one finger head that didn't want to stay around too long.

S: Smelled great with chocolate and some mocha.

T: If you like stouts, this is probably a fine example. Not hoppy and plenty of flavor. Alcohol is well hidden, but has a nice balance.

M: Creamy and thick.

D: Fairly easy to take down.

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Photo of eatabagofbooger
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle to a snifter.

A: Pours thick and black with a rich tan head.

S: Espresso and dark fruits. No noticeable hop presence. Hint of soy sauce.

T: Again, espresso, dark fruits, and a hint of soy sauce at the back of the tongue. Floral and grassy hops are present, along with dark chocolate. Light roasty/toasty notes.

M: Full bodied with plentiful, but not excessive carbonation. A tad thinner than most RISs, but with the low abv, this is not a surprise.

D: I love ISs, but hate feeling wasted after half a bomber. I could probably knock back a couple of these in a night and not regret it. Yet another wonderful brew from what may be my favorite brewery.

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Photo of bisonkron
4.41/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance -Very dark black color. The head is a great brown color, thick, stuck around for a long time. really great looking.

Smell - Great smell. roasty, chocolaty, coffee, and fruity.

Taste - Chocolate taste, fruity aftertaste, thick, creamy, roasty, licorice, and molasses. very smooth.

Mouthfeel - Creamy, thick, smooth. Well carbonated.

Drinkability - Very drinkable. Will be buying more soon.

Glass: Snifter

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Photo of mclanem
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: this is a very dark beer, of course imperial stout, but looked great nice brown head.

Smell: Smells great coffe, malt ect great balanced smell.

Taste: Coffee great taste not at all metallic, not bitter at all very smooth. flavor

Mouthfeel: Great carbonation good thick feel.

Drinkabilty: I could down a ton of this stuff and I would like to have this in my fridge always..

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Photo of Voss
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

While pouring this Imperial stout, I was very surprised that the bottle was of clear glass! Very black color with reddish-brown shades and quick wanishing beige foam. I'm new of this style, and the smell is another surprise. For sure someting very dense, thick, caramel, molasses, toasted coffee. Low carbonation, the beer warms and the taste comes out. Dry up front, I can imagine of smoke, bitter chocolate, coffe again, all rounding in the end leaving a bitter-sweet end. I repeat, I'm new to Imperials, I'm trying Samuel with bitter and milk chocolate (bitter is better, milk leaves your mouth too mixed up), and walnuts (as suggested on the bottle), but for the next I will stick with stilton and walnuts "gnocchi", ending with a good italian espresso.

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Photo of sasky7777
3.83/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of my go to RIS. It is quite drinkable and is beer that emphasizes malt characteristics. It pours a dark brown much like coffee, and has a foamy tan head. Dark fruit flavours are at the for front, with just enough hop bitterness to balance it out. This beer is also excellent to use in cooking desserts like chocolate cake, I tried it also in a pot roast, but found the fruity, molasses, and well "Christmas" flavours did not work as well. A fine example of the style.

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Photo of dmbfrat420beers
4.6/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation - Attractive clear (why do so many British breweries use clear bottles?) bottle with white label declaring Sam Smith's as the "contractors to Her Majesty's foces" haha.

Appearance - Dark with red tint around the edges. Big, tightly packed tan head. Lacing clings nice and thick to the side of the mug - very nice touch.

Aroma - hmm...very different from the other Imperial Stouts I have tried (Stone '04 and Old Rasputin). I would describe it as sort of a musty smell with grassy hop hints and some alcohol. Very strong, especially as you get ready to drink.

Mouthfeel - full bodied, decent carbonation

Taste - Like Sam Smith's India Ale, this beer is a far cry from its American style cousins. Strong grassy hop flavor up front that gives way to an ample roasted malty sweetness. Hints of bitterness left on the lips and in the back of the mouth, but otherwise turns into an almost candy like sweetness on the sides of the cheeks and tounge. Also leaves a nice fruity tartness. Lots of flavors going on here and it changes quite a bit from sip to swallow. Finishes very clean, no alcohol flavor to speak of, except a warm feeling as it goes down. Quite tasty and complex, though I wish there were little more of a bitter kick, but that is just my predilection.

Drinkability - Thought by the size and pungent aroma this beer would not go down easily, but was suprised about how easy it was to drink.

Final Words: Bought a 4-pack of this for $10, can't wait to finish the rest. The best of their beers I have had so far. It is hard to say how this compares to the American Double Stouts, they seem so very much different.

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Photo of indy169
3.48/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A nice looking heady black beer. The smell is rich and heavy as to be expected.
Mouthfeel is a little squirrely for my tastes but in line with other imperial stouts I've tried. Not my favorite variety. I find it strong, thick and unrefined. Flavors of dark chocolate, nutmeg, and coffee dominate.
Don't get me wrong, I love strong beer however this one does not entice me.
One is plenty for a sitting.

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Photo of nase
3.28/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle

Appearance - 3.5 - Opaque black that turns into more of an opaque brown in light; some head on the pour but not much leaving an incomplete layer of an antique white foam atop the beer

Smell - 3.0 - Malt and...coffee?

Mouthfeel - 3.0 - Seems pretty thin for an imp stout

Taste - 3.5 - Coffee notes on the sip; fairly malty and can taste a decent amount of alcohol and lots of bitterness on the swish; is that molasses on the finish?

Drinkability - 3.5 - I'd have this again but I wouldn't go looking for it..seems like an ordinary stout with a little more alcohol; nothing "imperial" about this

Final - 3.35

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Photo of Mayhem976
3.94/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Very dark, you can pass light through the glass but not much, has a brown tint to it. Small Head that fades quickly and zero lacing.

S- Lots of grains is the only thing I can smell, sorta reminds me of moist bread, tiny bit of malt as well. Not winning any awards in the aroma department.

T- The smell hardly translates to the flavor (thank the beer Gods). I taste light bodied coffee, malt, and small trace of chocolate. Based off the smell I would have never guessed it could taste so wonderful.

M- Medium body and slightly creamy, not too shabby.

D- Tasty, economical, and a good ABV will keep me coming back for seconds... or 55ths.

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Photo of StoryOfTheGhost
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a pint class

A- Very dark, black, copper head

S- Coffee is at the forefront. Some dark chocolate. Can smell the roasted malts

T- Roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate. Some fruity taste, like cherry or raison, sweet but not really sweet- more of a tart flavor. It has a metallic taste like most Sammy Smith beers. I am sure that it must have something to do with their yeast or something. As weird as this sounds, the metallic taste does not take away from the beer at all

M- A bit thin for a Imperial Stout

O- you have to take value and how easily available into account here- and it deserves a high overall rating. For 3.50 for a 22, it is an excellent deal, when many lesser imperial stouts go for 2 to 3x as much

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

I tried this a year ago while on vacation in Seaside, Oregon; curled up next to the fire with my Edgar Allen Poe and my Sam Smith's Imperial Stout. It lived up to it's billing and I made me myself a mental note to review it. Well, here I am now, reviewing this beer. Yep, here I am...one year later...in anticipation...on to the review!

Pours black ebony, two fingers of viscous espresso head that holds up well producing clinging lacing of substantial millage (Lastings Milledge?).

Smells like roasted grains, apples, brown sugar, chocolate, prunes and black tar, dried fruit.

Tastes of apples, chocolate, prunes and black tar; molasses, sugar, alcohol, dried fruit - dates; fruitcake. The apple lingers with some pleasant bitterness.

Slick mouthfeel with smooth tingling of carbonation. Clingy and chewy.

Drinkability? I don't know...yes???

I'm no expert, but I love this beer. It's like a national treasure that you know will always be there - like the tomb of Lord Nelson (he is buried in a tomb, isn't he?). I think anyone who loves a good stout or IPA can be considered a true beer lover, even if they can't articulate why in a precise or artistic fashion. Does one have to be an art major to appreciate great scuplture or brushstrokes? Trust your senses. Sorry, this is not an ad for BA...

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Photo of mwearl
4.62/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black in appearance with no light showing through. Head is minimal as is lacing. Very nice smell suprisingly light and fragrant for an imperial with no alcohol smell. Excellent taste with hops noticeable and a slight coffee, chocolate finish. Not as heavy as one might expect from a Russian Imperial Stout but flavor is exceptional. Mouthfeel was a little acidic on top of the tongue, but not an alcohol bite. Drinkability was the best of all Imperial Stouts for me, as it was the first time I could drink two at a single sitting.

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Photo of umfskibum
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Just about as black as you could hope for a stout to be. Poured with a light tan head that was surprisingly resilient.

S: The strongest scents coming out were coffee, chocolate and molasses. Sweet malt smell, and just the slightest hints of alcohol.

T: The taste is as consistent as could be with the nose. Coffee, chocolate and slight alcohol flavors. Sweet malts at the tip and a bitter finish.

M: Thick and creamy, this beer sticks around on the tounge for a while. Even so, goes down smoothly.

D: Great for the style. Tasty and filling, just like a good stout should be.

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Photo of wanker
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours black with a small but attractive head.

Very sweet taste with mild hops. Almost as sweet as a milk stout. I was expecting more hops in an imperial stout. Strong dark stewed fruit flavors. Reminded me of prune juice, which is not bad; I like prune juice.

Slippery mouthfeel. I would prefer more carbonation.

Tasty for sure, but not at the level of Victory Storm King. I found it a bit unbalanced in the malt direction. I think a bit more hop would help.

Highly drinkable, though.

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Photo of Guzzler78
3.92/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a solid black. A Generous light brown head that fades quickly. A fair amount of lacing.
Smell of chocolate, molasses, roasted malt/coffee.
Tastes of bitter dark chocolate, coffee, a bit roasted and smokey flavor towards the end.
A medium creamy mouthfeel.
A easy drinking Russian Imperial as far as I'm concerned.

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

A - opaque almost black color with light brown two finger head that left some nice lacing on the glass

S - rich malty aroma with notes of coffee and chocolate and toffee

T - a solid malty flavor with a secondary coffee presence along with notes of toffee and caramel; some alcohol presence without it being overwhelming; a very rich offering

M - a wonderfully full body that is creamy and silky smooth; just the right amount of carbonation to hold it up

D - this was the first imperial stout I tried and still has a special place in my heart; while I personally don't prefer this beer to SS Oatmeal Stout, it is a wonderful offering in the style and definitely worth your time

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Photo of jpoder
3.83/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: dark brown, almost black, with creamy tan head

s: chocolate and espresso

t: caramel...I get this taste in almost all SS beers. some chocolate, some honey, but overpowering caramel

m: a little heavy for me, but true to style

d: good beer! I'd like a little less caramel flavor and more chocolate/espresso, but all in all not bad.

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
4.17 out of 5 based on 3,682 ratings.
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