Review of Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout

09 Apr
Today, I have a beer review from one of the most respected breweries in the whole world.  The drink that I want to spotlight is made by Samuel Smith’s at The Old Brewery at Tadcaster, North Yorkshire in the UK.

Samuel Smith’s makes several great brews, but my choice for this session is the Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout.
You can find the complete history of The Old Brewery from their website,

Some info on the Imperial Stout.

This distinctive type of beer was originally brewed to withstand the abuses of shipping in foul weather to Imperial Russia.  It was a favourite of Russian nobility whose taste for the finest food and drink was world famous.  

A rich flavourful brew; deep chocolate in colour with a roasted barley nose and flavour that is a complexity of malt, hops, alcohol and yeast.  Fermented in ‘stone Yorkshire squares’.

I’m eager to see if it’s as good as some of the other Samuel Smith’s I’ve tried.

I must first apologize for the picture.  It wasn’t the best quality, but maybe I can describe it well enough to get past that setback.

This beer is low in ABV for an Imperial Stout by standing at 7.0%.  It comes in a 12 oz. bottle with a decorative, gold foil surrounding the cap.

Once I got the beer in a glass and took a closer look, it appeared to be a very dark brownish/black color with some dark red/ruby colors showing through the middle.  Some ruby highlights also graced the sides and the bottom of the pint.  It had a wonderful cream colored head with more than adequate size and retention.  The lacing left behind was very prominent and sticky.  The head looked creamy, smooth and very inviting.

As I brought the brew to my nose and took a whiff, I detected a delectable, burnt fruit aroma.  Something similar to roasted raisin and plum.  I found a very robust “creamed” coffee combined with a toasted grain or wheat that intermingles with dark malts and just a faint note of alcohol.  All were blended very well.

The taste is very well balanced also.  Combining cream with dark, burnt fruit; touches of alcohol and a roasted grain.  It’s rich and sweet and, in many ways, reminds me of a fruit cake.  A small, small amount of discernible bitterness is found before it heads down the throat.

The mouthfeel was medium to full bodied.  Slippery and smooth.  Warming, thick and chewy.  The palate is drenched admirably with a comfortable alcohol warmth that invites another sip.

This brew doesn’t disappoint.  It’s a great beer.  It may be a bit too rich and sweet for some that may not be used to this type of style, however I found it quite enjoyable.  I sampled it on a frigidly cold and windy night in January and it fit perfectly.  In mentioning that, I would be inclined to say that I might just want this only in the Winter.  It’s a little thick and heavy for hot/humid weather.

As always, please let me know what you think if you have tried it.

Also, be sure to vote in the poll to the right and tell me what is your favorite style of beer.

Score:  4.2 out of 5
Grade:  A-    


4 responses to “Review of Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout

  1. Anonymous

    August 24, 2011 at 2:24 am

    I read your review of Smith's Oatmeal Stout, which the local proprietor also recommended, but the local spirits store was out. I picked up this beer as a consolation prize. I wasn't disappointed for long! I'm no beer expert, and I can't pretend to recognize up all the subtle flavors and aromas, but the complexity and the smoothness of this brew are very impressive. Your review was on the money, and I look forward to trying the Oatmeal Stout and many of the other brews you recommend. Thanks for sacrificing your time for the good of others!

    Dave L.

  2. shrews824

    August 24, 2011 at 1:08 pm


    First of all, thanks for reading, commenting and the flattering comments. It's most appreciated. Second, it's absolutely my pleasure to do these reviews. I love doing them. Trying different brews and finding all the subtleties. Some I like…. some I don't, but it's all good fun.

    Feel free to check back from time to time and leave a comment when you feel like it. I take criticism very well, so don't think you are going to hurt my feelings. Haha. Also, if there is anyway I can help in your “beer journey”, don't be afraid to ask.

    Thanks again,

  3. erwin21

    March 27, 2012 at 8:58 am

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

  4. Scott Shrewsberry

    March 27, 2012 at 12:44 pm


    Thanks for taking a few minutes to read and comment on the review. I agree with you. The Oatmeal Stout is a touch more appealing in the glass than the Imperial. Not to mention more delicious in my opinion. However, I still really enjoyed the Imperial and will be on the lookout for it again sometime in the future.



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