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

1,758 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: 1,758 | Ratings: 3,721
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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Photo of aasher
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer poured a dark, dark brown to black in color with a three finger medium, soft and spongy moderate khaki head. The aromas are very surprising. Oddly enough, the first aroma that hits the nose is of bacon fat. It has slight smoked notes that are driving me nuts. At this point in the evening, I'm totally digging it. Aside from that you get some roasted and dark malts with a subtle sweetness. The flavors are pretty solid too. It begins with silky smooth chocolate before going into light coffee and roasted malts. It's an excellent mix! Everything is blended so well together. I can't believe I waited so long to finally try this one. It drinks medium bodied and is very smooth going down. The mouthfeel is on point. It's perfect. I honestly cannot believe I'm enjoying this so much. I never expected a beer of this caliber from Sam Smith. This is one of the most drinkable RIS around. It's crazy really.

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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 Gavage
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear black in color with a thick 2" tan head. Some thick lacing develops thorugh the drink. Nice combination of coffee, chocolate, caramel, and alcohol in the aroma. The flavor follows the nose, as chocolate, coffee, licorice, dark plums, and roasted malts are well balanced. Mild bitterness and light alcohol rounds it out.

Mouthfeel is crisp at the start, and mildly crisp at the finish. Finish is also rather short in the aftertaste, as the flavors disappear from the tongue quickly. Superb drinkability.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color, nice carbonation, small creamy tan head, some lacing afterwards. The nose is of sweet malts, slight hops, some chocolate/toffee. The taste is sweet malty, nice chocolate/toffee, slight alcohol. Medium body. Drinkable, a nice stout, but a Imperial, not quite.

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Photo of liamt07
4.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle from AJ's Fine Foods on North Central in Phoenix. 355ml bottle into a chalice.

Black with ruby red at the edges when held to some light, a great amount of lacing and some solid retention. Nose has chocolate with a great dark fruit character, sweet and rich dark malts with a dry and lightly toasty grain character. A touch of licorice as well. Taste has some dried dark fruits lightly coated in chocolate, some brown sugar and caramel. Light roastiness in the finish. A bit of the Samuel Smith hard water character too. Drying, creamy and great mouthfeel for the style - real bang on for what I dig. Low carbonation. An excellent imperial stout. My only point of contention? I wish this was bigger, maybe a few percent higher in the ABV category. Sam Smith does dark ales well.

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Photo of tempest
3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark ruby, but not quite opaque like a good impy. Nice looking tan head, unfortunately it disappears pretty fast. No lacing, not a bit.

Smells like dark, fruity alcohol and lacks any roasty notes. Tastes is smooth with dark ester qualities. No roasty or smokiness, fairly simple profile and subtle, but still good.

Easy drinking for an impy stout and feels nice. Its a good RIS, but I find this, like I've found some of the other Sam Smith beers, to be overrated. A good beer, but one of the last RIS's I'd choose if I had a good number of choices. There is better, bolder stuff to be found at America's own craft breweries.

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Photo of tone77
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 18.7 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1 inch head. Smell is chocolate, roasted malts, molasses. Taste is good, chocolate, malts, a touch of coffee, just a hint of bitterness, complex and tasty. Feels full bodied, a bit creamy in the mouth and overall is a beer worth seeking out.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.6/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Sam Smith pint glass.
Big black color topped with a thick burnt sienna head. I let it sit for a bit to let the head even out. It stayed quite well, laced all the way through the tasting.
Chocolate, coffee, and pepper in the nose, perhaps some plum and dark fruit.
Taste was chocolat and coffee mostly. I tasted some currant and anise, I think. Bittersweet. Bitter than sweet, sweet then bitter. Good balance.
Smooth easy drinking. Very rich

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Photo of WesWes
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark black color with a thick brown head. The aroma is great. It boasts of crystal, chocolate, and black barley. The taste is good. It is a smooth and rich dark beer with real flavor. There are a lot of chocolate and crystal malts here with some black barley for color and crisp roasted flavor. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a fine drinking stout. It's not much of a sessions ale, but it's one to enjoy. That's for sure.

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

550 ml bottle purchased from BevMo, on to the beer:

Poured inot a Guinness pint glass, the appearance is black with brownish hues on the edges and a thick tan head on top the body. The aroma has a pinch of alcohol, then followed by smoked chocolate and coffee. The taste begins sweet and smokey like tobacco and cocoa. There's some roasted characeter as well in the form of sweet malt. Alcohol is a little heavier than expectations, which makes things a little fruity. There's some chocolate fudge cake that appears briefly before being knocked down. The ABV is on the low-end for RIS's, but this beer has a full bodied taste that should be respected with slow sips.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glad to see Samuel Smith switched to brown bottles.

The beer pours a very dark brown to black color with a tan head. The aroma is chocolate with some roasted malt. I also get a little bit of mint in the aroma. The flavor is chocolate and roasted malt with some coffee mixed in. There is also some cream and oat notes in the flavor. Thick mouthfeel and low, soft carbonation. A very nice traditional imperial stout.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.68/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a glass mug. Dark as night with a mocha head.

Smells of roasted malt and peat, pretty interesting.

Tastes like a decent stout, with a slight off taste. Some roasted malt and boozy clean alcohal. Hints of cocoa. Moderately hopped.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, creamy and slick.

Drinkability is pretty good for the style, but the Oatmeal Stout is Sam Smith's greatest accomplishment. There are fresher American brewed Russian Imperials that I would take over this one.

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Photo of dar482
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks like a dark stout with a light brown head. It tastes of roasted chocolate. It has a good bit of Russian Imperial Stout flavor, but then also a creaminess almost like a porter.

It has a medium body with a good carbonation.

For an Russian Imperial Stout , this is really drinkable as it cuts off at the end. I would recommend it as an entry into the style. However, I do love it as someone who has had a few, so it's for all. Just maybe not those heavy heads into the deep deep rich flavors.

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

Pours black with a fairly nice head that settles but sticks around as a thin lid. Lacing is slight. The smell is of chocolate, prunes,cherries, wine, and a slight roastiness.Very pleasant. The flavor is similar, with an overlay of vanilla and sweet cherries that are more predominant as it warms. Very creamy and with nice chocolate notes on the finish. Beautufully creamy body, and not all that heavy. Very drinkable,and nice to have a RIS with some delicious flavors and low abv.

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

550ml bottle into a Flying Fish pint glass and then some. 1st time having this.

A- A shade darker than their oatmeal stout, this imperial version is black nuff said. It looked a tad brown coming from the bottle though. A nice dark tan head graced the top forever leaving lace patterns.

S- Quite different for an RIS as this is more on the fruity kick. I really can't get any distinct flavors, more like a fruit basket with different ripe varieties. This is backed by some roast plus coffee/chocolate aromas.

T- Dark fruits and chocolate with some coffee as well. The usual blast of roasted malts so common with this style. sweet sugars and some alcohol seeps through. Not getting much hops but they could of faded(not sure the date of this bottle)

M- A nice mouth on this one but a tad lighter than expeced for the style. I would say this is medium bodied. This is lacking a bit of carbonation but oh well. Alcohol comes through just slightly with some dryness.

D- Complex enough for an RIS but the low abv makes it a bit more drinkable than other high abv offerings in the style. Good enough for future visits on cold winter nights as this warms well.

Another winner by sam smith.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 550mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: utter impermeable blackness with a thick creamy beige head. Beautiful.

Smell: the first thing that hits me are apples, pears and plums, followed by some other fruity esters. Nice.

Taste: this beer is surprisingly fruity all-round. The flavor profile is very similar to that of the aroma, with the addition of some chocolate and a little alcohol. Quite good.

Mouthfeel: medium-thick with low but well-integrated carbonation. It leaves a nice coating of the mouth for optimum flavor distribution.

Drinkability: this is very drinkable. I will have no problem finishing this bottle, and at only 7%, it's downright sessionable for a Russian imperial stout. Kudos!

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Photo of biegaman
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A lustrous, inky black facade that twinkles with temperate glints of rustic red. Close inspection to the light proves shadowed clarity possible and thus reveals the beer to not be opaque after all. Its hazelnut stained head has sunk in the center but still strongly envelops the outsides. Not withstanding thin prints of lace, I demand something a little darker.

Its bouquet brims with copious amounts of blackstrap molasses. It's an almost sedative smell that combines browned sugar with hints of bittersweet chocolate (leaning to the sweet side). Alongside a minor amount of black licorice it would seem a very liberal amount of stale, cold coffee was blended into the mix as well.

The taste has a phenomenal presence of soured berries and dark fruit thrown into the prevalent flavours of cold coffee and blackstrap molasses. The usual cast of heavy-roast espresso and rich, gooey chocolate are considerably understated; a stale black coffee and handful of cocoa beans would be far more accurate descriptors.

The roast is present but fails to linger in either bitterness or aftertaste. The texture has an unexpected creamy smoothness and washes over the palate with dove-like delicacy. The modest 7% alcohol is rightfully discreet and plays no determinant for drinkability. These factors together create for an unusually mild imperial stout.

Many of the great Imperial Stouts are considered such because of their heavy, rich and decadent profiles. Although robust, the Sam Smith is certainly far more modest than has become commonplace with the style. Still, it is a classic rendition of a more traditional, old-world example and should appreciated as such (...which is a very easy thing to do!)

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Photo of tobelerone
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the beer that introduced me to the world of Imperial Stouts. It seems a bit light by today’s standards but it’s still a classic.

Jet black beer with a dark tanned head of great size and retention. Lacing is excellent.

The nose is full of bitter coffee, sweet maltiness, molasses, and fruits (plums and raisins, mostly).

The taste is intricate, with predominant bitterness of an espresso-like quality, hints of bittersweet chocolate, dry, wine-like tannins, mild sweetness, toasty malt, dark fruits, and traces of both hops and booze.

Medium bodied, light for this style by the standards of 2011. Slightly creamy and sticky but well short of cloying or viscous. Lingering finish is bitter and roasty.

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

Pours a deep black color that is topped by a creamy head. Thick aromas of molasses, coffee, chocolate, and dense dark malts all are found in the nose. Surprisingly any roast malt character is pretty subdued. This beer has a light creamy mouthfeel, with a finish of roast malts. The taste is reminiscent of malt balls, with molasses notes up front. The finish is sweet but it is balanced by a burnt acidity, the combination of the two is quite good. I also get notes of espresso and burnt raisins. This is pretty good, I haven't had one of these in years, and hopefully I will revisit this one sooner rather than later.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the cellar.. been down there since August.. Shared with Brenda.. mine from my New Belgium snifter... I am pretty sure they are going for about $2.50 at the Coop.

2" head .. rings of tan lace .. deep black brew.

Nose is more dark fruits than anything else.. prunes and dark brown sugar essence. Some chocolate and dark malts .. but not nearly as "black" smelling as most of the RIS's I've had in recent years.

Sweet and dark fruits with quick transition to coffee in the front of the palate .. Again more fruity than dark malt presence.. prunes with subtle side of the tongue chocolate with a molasses finish. No real "char" to speak of, and I'm okay with that on the Sammy. The roasty is present .. but seems to play second fiddle.. gives way even more as it warms.

I haven't had one of these in probably a year... instead been sampling and enjoying the bigger badder cousins in the style. The Samuel Smith RIS should be considered more as a founder or the father of the style in my opinion. Nothing is over the top and that adds immensely to the overall experience.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.01/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the 550 ml. bottle stamped SL15J1. Sampled on March 3, 2011. Rich, ultra-dark brown to nearly black pour. Opaque with a full, foamy head. The aroma is of a good, dark malt character but also a tad boozy. It seemed boozier in aroma than the 7% ABV would imply. The body is nice and bold. The taste is a fine balance of coffee, yeast, and a wonderfully dry finish. This is an excellent choice for Imperial Stout fans because it is enjoyable and more widely available than other Imperial Stouts.

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Photo of Zorro
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black brew, this is in fact clear, IF! You have a 500-watt bulb to hold it up too.

Smell is sweet and malty, reminds me of a doppel bock. Solid fruitiness to this beer, and a touch of sourness. Toffee and brown sugar smells are here too. There is a solid chocolate smell to this.

Taste is very rich, to many flavors to catch on the first taste, strong chocolate flavor. Complex toffee, and then smoke and then, milk, and then coffee and then chocolate. Caramel is in here, Vanilla, Nuts, and many more. A VERY big brew.

Mouthfeel is thick like I like it.

Very drinkable to me, but will probably kill a Budweiser fan. A Master brew unlike the "Hop Monsters" that just overplay a single aspect. GREAT brews have 10-20-30+ Different dimensions of excellence, not just one. I like this company’s Oatmeal stout a bit better than this one, but this is a world class brew none the less.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

550 mL bottle purchased in March 08

Pours a dark, nearly opaque brown with garnet hues around the edges against light. Massive, fluffy deep tan head with a light crimson hue. Aroma is complex balance of dark fruits and toffee/caramel malts. This almost smells like a red wine at first. Full bodied with light carbonation results in a very creamy, soft feel on the tongue. Flavors are similar to the aroma, body is initially fruity sweet, before the malt and chocolate flavors take over with a slight hop bitterness in the finish. Malt and bitter fruitiness lingers long into the finish. I had purchased two bottles of this and drank one fresh. For some reason that night this seemed too overpowering for me, but tonight this tastes well balanced and very drinkable.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16.9 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a dark brown, with a full and thick tan head, which leaves some thick lacing in spots.

S: Milk chocolate predominately, with licorice, molasses, and a bit of tropical fruit.

T: Heavy creamy chocolate coats the tongue on the first sip followed by a burst of quenching acidity, though nowhere near as high as a sour or Le. Coq. There is also a serious dark fruit component to this beer which I don't often find in American versions of this style - prune syrup and raisins. The flavours are mellower and subtler than its American cousins, but the flavours are still as tasty.

M: Velvety and smooth, with a hint of alcoholic strength, calming.

D: A very drinkable Imperial Stout, on the light side of this category, but is probably more reminiscent of the actual historical style of this beer, very good.

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Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
4.17 out of 5 based on 3,721 ratings.
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