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

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1,746 Reviews
Samuel Smith's Imperial StoutSamuel Smith's Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
United Kingdom (England)

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: 1,746 | Ratings: 3,671
Photo of Rifugium
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: bottle from Total Wine, Cherry Hill, NJ

Pours a dark cola brown-black with bronzed tints, and a pillowy beige head. Roasty malt aroma, sugary, with coffee notes. More dark roasted malts in the taste, molasses, licorice, coffee bitterness. Not quite full-bodied, but quite rich and tasty, and a very drinkable stout.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.88/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a deep dark brown with a towering pillow like tan head. Cery nice retention, with a nice slow fade leaving just a film of a head on top. No real decent lacing though.

S - Smell was initially strong but mellowed some. Nice roasted malts, nutty smell, with lots of hints of caramel and sugar. A slight hoppy twang was present in the back of the aroma. A nice proper English type of smell if that makes any sense.

M & T - First impression was very smooth. Not overly carbonated, but not a bad thing. Not very thick, just very nice feel. Lots of caramel and roasted coffee flavors were the dominant tones here.

D - Overall this was a very nice, and very sessionable Impy Stout. It was not very robust, and would not stand up against some of the other heavyweights in its style. However, I feel it does have a nice place there as a good sessionable, not so outragously high ABV stout is always a welcome treat.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.92/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I am a fan of most Samuel Smiths beers, some of my first English ales that I tasted were from them. I decanted this cool into a tulip.
A - Deep ebony w/ dark amber highlights. A thick 2.5 fingers of compact, pin sized tan bubbles crown the black fluid.

S - Rich odors of toffee, Port, vanilla, caramel and roasted nuts are concentrated in the aroma. Slight tinges of anise and berries round out the nose.

M - Roasted coffee, with light astringency, moderated carbonation and mild sweetness. Woody touches w/ a faint peppery spice.

T - Very concentrated dark malty and roasted tastes w/ a hint of smoke. A smooth rich toffee flavor w/ hints of bourbon and molasses w/ a nice vanilla cream taste and woody dry aspect. A toasted nut and rich dark chocolate flavor settles the char notes. Absolutely clean compared to the burst of malt and intense flavor as the stout becomes consumed.

D - Like black magic, it weaves a spell and tells a story w/ its magnitude, a fantastic example -The premier of it's style. I truly enjoy this quality stout sip by pleasure filled sip.

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Photo of dcmchew
4.74/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Almost pitch black, long lasting one finger beige head, extremely sticky.
Rich smell of roasted malts, caramel, coffee, dark fruit (plus faint red wine), really good.
Initial taste is of rich dark chocolate, caramel, rich roasted malts. Big espresso notes, with lots of cocoa powder. Big hints of vanilla and licorice. Mild dark fruit (obvious raisin, fig, plum), with berries, cherries and dark grapes (bringing a mustiness). Low citrus also, with a nice crispness adding freshness to the heavy roast. Nice woody notes, with a low smokiness and light burnt wood/charcoal. Mild hoppy presence.
Creamy, with a warm booze that gives the beer almost a cognac feel.
A beautiful complex imperial stout, really good.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.32/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The pour is a dark brown color with about a finger's worth of tan colored foam sitting on top.

S: The nose is chocolate and roasted malts for the most part, with some definite dark fruit notes. I pick up a bit of a yeastiness too, that I don't often get in imperial stouts.

T: Flavor starts off with some old chocolate, mild roast character, and a bit of water. There are some muddled, sweet, dark fruit flavors there such as plums and prunes, as well as that same yeastiness the nose had.

M: The body is medium, not all that impressive for an imperial stout with a moderate carbonation.

D: Sort of disappointing since I really like their Oatmeal Stout. I'm fine with not having this one again.

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Photo of russpowell
4.16/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Black inky body that allows no light to penetrate. Huge brown/mahagony head that retains a 1/'2" head and lacing all the way down the glass.

Smell: Malt, Coffee, Alcohol, & toasted grains

Taste: Toasted grains, licorice, coffee, bitter choclate, and hops bittereness in the tounge

Mouthfeel: Damn, talk about smooth, great balance and carbonation.

Probably gets less respect these days becuase of much more potent Imperial Stouts & doubles out there, but pretty dang tasty to me.

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

Sample purchased from a store.

Top notch brew, some the best stuff on this planet. Worth the price ... a cold weather beer for me paired with a cigar.

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

A: Pours an opaque black (not the darkest black I have seen in a stout) in color with hints of dark brown and red when held up to the light. The beer has a half finger tall dark tan head that reduces to a thin patchy layer covering the surface of the beer with a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate lacing is observed.

S: Definitely some sweetness in the smell with some dark fruits as well as toffee/caramel coming through. After that the dark roasted malts are noticeable. Overall, some nice complexity.

T: Starts with some nice dark roasted malts and some dark fruit, more plum/raisin than fig. After that some of the caramel sweetness comes through.There is a light amount of milk chocolate presence and light lingering bitterness.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth and creamy.

O: This is a very enjoyable and very drinkable stout. The beer has a nice complexity of flavor and aroma while still keeping a relatively low ABV. Not exactly sessionable but definitely easy to approach and not a beer that requires a lengthy time sipping. No noticeable alcohol present.

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Photo of orangesol
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I bought this one at Wegman's. I have had it a bunch of times now, time to sit down and write a review for it.

A - Pours jet black with a bubbly one and a half finger tall tan head leaving small streaks of lace down most of the glass.

S - Smells of dark roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits, black licorice and a touch of fruity yeast. This one has nearly everything you would look for in an Imperial Stout.

T - Starts off with quite a bit of dark roasted malt quickly giving way to some sweet chocolate and dark fruits. Once the sweetness dies down you get hints of black licorice, port wine and a very light fruitiness. Finish has plenty of dark roast, lingering long after consumption.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. This one is dark and roasty throughout, clinging to the pallet long after consumption. The soft feel does help to keep things in check tho.

O - Still one of the better "simple" stouts out there. It has a good amount of flavor and the lower than average ABV makes it easy to drink. A great entry level beer into the world of Imperial Stouts.

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

A: Poured a deep brown, almost black with a one finger tan head. Moderate retention, dissipating to a small layer on top with splotches of bubbles. Spotty lacing.

S: Roasted malt, some caramelized sugar, and a surprising amount of dark fruits - some figs. The fruit intensifies as the beer warms.

T: At first there was some hints of chocolate, but as it warmed some darker fruit came forward, raisins, plums, and figs. There is a coffee flavor on the finish.

M: Medium bodied with good carbonation. Very smooth and creamy.

O: Really nice, the dark fruit flavors were a bit unexpected, but this one came together well. Had it once before and remember it differently, but that was a few years ago. Need to get it one more time.

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Photo of smcolw
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not even opaque, this is a dark, dark mahogany brew. This features a truly awesome head for a bottle. Deep tan in color, the head leaves an impressive sticky lace throughout the tasting.

Strong oily alcohol fullness in the aroma. Powerful dark malt richness--chocolate, black patent malts.

Rich and oily, this is a beer to be consumed slowly. Strong chicory coffee flavors. Unlike pale ales, the hop is used strictly as a spice. The aftertaste is long lasting and bitter in an espresso way (the hop is quietly present as a touch of counterbalance) . This is a big beer in every way.

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Photo of billab914
3.83/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 550ml bottle into my Stone RIS glass. Poured black in color with a thick and full dark tan head on it. The head settled to a thin layer clinging to the edges of the glass, where it left some great lacing on the sides.

The aroma has a good amount of chocolate to it with a bit of caramel and molassas coming through. It's pretty low on the roasty, coffee and bitter flavors a lot of the American versions are full of. Pretty decent and smooth aroma overall though.

The taste shows a lot of milk chocolate to it at first. I'm also getting a fruity, apple like flavor to it that I don't usually find in an imperial stout. Some roasty and bitter flavors come through towards the finish along with some more chocolate. Pretty flavorful and tasty beer and also different then others of the style to keep things interesting.

The mouthfeel is average thickness for the style but it has a very nice creaminess to it. Drinkability is very good, it's a very well made and classic beer. It had a lot of interesting and different flavors from a lot of the Imperial Stouts that I've had, and thankfully they were also pretty good flavors. Very nice beer to sip on this evening.

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 550ML bottle into my Duvel tulip.

a - Pours a dark brown color with one finger of tan head and high carbonation evident.

s - Smells of dark fruits, roasted malts, and chocolate. Hint of toasted malts and grain.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, toasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits, and a hint of alcohol and coffee.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A pretty good imperial stout that is heavy on the dark fruits in both the smell and taste. Would try again.

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

Appearance: Great same massive sized head as most Samuel Smith's brews out there, but this one has a deep brown amber black dark chocolate hue to it allows minimal light to pass through with a streak of prune hue purple deepness, lacing nice thickets of tan lacing clinging to my imperial pint. Aroma: Once again deep chocolate and coffee tones are present with fruit edges there fermented prunes or figs with chocolate sauce englazoned uone them how wonderful every dark roasted stout should smell this magnifcant. Minimal hopping in the aroma for the fruit and deep flavoful roasts mean to steal the show. Tase: Alcohol infused deep roasted malts with fruit remaninsce leaving their mark upon this heavenly dark ale, I really think this is one of the best imperial stouts on the market maybe not extreme or over the top but most flavorful and consistent the Sam Smith's reportoire get's the gold. Mouhfeel: A bit fuller than most Sammy Smith's this one packs quite the body keeping each sip not only flavorful but chewy. Drinkability: Is incredible for the amount of alcohol and flavor coming through I can't believe they allow this type of beer out there in this semi prohibitional state this country sometimes seems to be stuck in.

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

I've wanted to try this beer for a long time. Finally enjoying a mug of this while watching football. Ahh...

The beer is black with an inch of oily beige head. Lasting retention and plenty of lacing. The aroma offers molasses, malt, roast, dark chocolate. The flavor is chocolaty and rich with molasses and hints of dark fruit. The feel is velvety smooth and creamy with some light bitterness in the finish. Overall, this was solid and tasty. I would buy this again.

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

I am continuing to drink my way through the Samuel Smith's oeuvre, thanks to a recent inspiration in one of the forums. Just in case anyone wondered what I was doing ... Now, THIS is the way to kick off my New Beer Sunday!

From the bottle: "Brewed at Samuel Smith's small, traditional British brewery with well water (the original well sunk in 1758 is still in use), best barley malt, roasted barley, yeast and hops to create a rich flavourful ale; deep chocolate in colour with a roasted barley nose and flavour that is a complexity of malt, hops and yeast. Fermented in 'stone Yorkshire squares'. This distinctive type of ale was originally shipped to Imperial Russia; it was a favourite of Russian nobility."; Captioning a picture: "Having imparted their bitterness & aroma, hops are separated from the wort in the hop backs."

An impressive pour, resulting in two thick fingers of deep-tan head with excellent retention. Color was midnight black with deep-brown highlights at the edges. Nose was rich with coffee, dark chocolate, dried dark fruits, smoke and even some alcohol heat. Whew! Mouthfeel was a little thin for the style, but still bigger and chewier than many other beers. The taste was very bitter, coffee-like, which was perfect since I was having this with and for breakfast. Take that, Catherine the Great! Finish was smoky, bitter, dry, a big Wow!, but without the often overpowering alcohol of its modern American iterations. Nice, plus it is accessible year-'round without having to stand in line to score some.

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

Black color with dark beige head. Aroma has sweet chocolate and dark malts. Also a faint berries note. Taste starts sweet with a liquorice note and gets more bitter towards the finish but never getting unbalanced. Overall it's a classic, very well made imperial stout.

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Photo of stakem
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes taken 2/14/10.

Pours a dark brown color with red and brown highlights around the edges. Produces less than a finger of tanned head without much retension. Sweet aroma of dark fruit and a bit of yeast. Tastes include burnt grain, bitter chocolate and a lingering taste of coffee is left in the mouth. Moderately carbonated and a very smooth medium feel. The type of smoothness I have now come to expect but is yet seemingly distinct about this brewery. For 7% the alcohol is fairly well hidden. The alcohol starts to come through in the finish as it warms.

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Photo of jwc215
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured BLACK with fairly thick, tan head that became a well-retained lace.
It had aromas of sweet chocolate, coffee, and anise. Robust smell.
The taste was extraordinary. Very complex and robust. Chocolate, anise, coffee tastes were well-balanced. Just the right balance between sweet and bitter. Very invigorating.
Left a nice bitter-sweet mouthfeel.
This beer is exceptionally drinkable. It's silky smooth with a slight alcohol finish. It's characteristics are god-like. Well worth the price for this one!

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Photo of tdm168
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - pitch black with a huge, cascading brown head that is dense, foamy, and creamy, and it has great retention

S - chocolate, roasted malts, black licorice

T - chocolate, big dark fruit flavors, black licorice, roasted malts

M - smooth, well carbonated, medium to full bodied

This is different from most of the other RIS's I've had. The dark fruit flavors are very forward with an old ale or barleywine characteristic. The usual RIS notes are present but more subdued than I'm used to. It wasn't a bad beer, but there are better RIS's out there.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color is black as black can be, and the head is proud, large and a creamy tan color. Aroma is warm and wonderfully delicious, soft, creamy, notes of chocolate, slightly roasty, and edging into darker flavors, but not quite there. Palate is deliriously sweet and inviting. Mouthfeel: sursprisingly smooth and untroubled, gentle, harmonious, thick with malt, mellow with hops.
Very smooth drinking for an Imperial. I haven't had one of these in a long time, and have spoiled myself with the bolder, brasher, and far more adventurously flavored (roasted, malted, hopped, everywhichway) American versions, the Old Rasputins, Stormkings, Expeditions, Rogues, and Stones...
But, I can't help liking it. Great stout, delicicious,delightful, but a bit weak, at a "mere" 7%, compared to similar brews from "the colonies". Quite tasty, but I'd love it if they'd ever stretch out some.

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

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Big Fist full of head and a great milk chocolate bubble look. Dark brown off the pour like varnish for a body and light brown hues on the edges. Really nice head cap on this with great retention.

Great balance of malt and milk chocolate smell and nuts and even a little bit of vinegar hidden in the background. Really good, even some tobacco, nice bouquet on this stout.

Taste is a great malt and somewhat butter, but some sour fruit that's quite pleasant. Alcohol, banana, and roast coffee on the finish compete with a chocolate middle palate taste. Some carbonation in the middle palate also, but tolerable at least.

For the inexpensive price and pocket size go to feel of the bottle, this is a great go to stout which just makes drinkability a little better than good. This is a very good place to start for this style.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance of this imperial stout is one of the best I've seen. The color is pitch black. Head is large, creamy, and dark tan. Retention is great. The aroma has an inviting mixture of toffee, chocolate, and dark fruit smells. I just wish the aroma was a bit stronger. The taste starts with a strong chocolate flavor with edges of toffee. Dark fruit flavors mix in nicely along with a bit of alcohol flavor. A slight butteriness is noted, especially near the finish. The sweet finish is especially long-lasting. Without a doubt this beer has a excellent mix of flavors that are layered nicely, but when compared to the bigger American imperial stouts, this falls a little short of exceptional. Still, this is highly recommended.

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Photo of Billolick
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce clear bottle, Pours deepest of mahogony, ruby highlights at the edges. Active expresso froth colored head, showing good retentive powers. This one leaves blotchy thick and sticky lacing. Nose is coffee, dark chocolate, alcohol and dark malts. Heady, strong, flavorful Impy stout. Notes of more chocolate, lots of burnt coffee, vanilla, burnt fruits and grains, smoke. Bold flavors, but still somewhat subdued and subtle, basically this is still British style and its not over the top. World class sipper. A must for stout lovers

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Photo of drabmuh
4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No date on the bottle, contents poured into a tulip. Beer is black and forms a brown head of medium bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass but the head doesn't have staying power.

Aroma is nice, sweet with a hint of alcohol and some caramel. Smells really good, a subtle roast.

Beer is really smooth and tastes great. Full bodied, carbonation in the mouth is minimal. Leads with a sweetness followed by a slight bitterness of the roast. There is no aftertaste, good palate connectivity. I would recommend this beer and drink it as a repeat.

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
4.17 out of 5 based on 3,671 ratings.
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