Samuel Smith Old Brewery
Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, England
Sam Smith has done very little that hasn’t been delicious. It’s also always nice to try a sample of a style from the country that created it.
As any good stout does, this one inflates with two or three fingers of beechwood colored foam. It starts to collapse around the outside, but sticks to the side of the glass. The color is jet black with just the faintest muddy brown at the bottom edge of the glass when held to the light.
The nose is all toasted oats and barley– dark chocolate, burnt brown sugar, and a rich nuttiness. There is no clarity to speak of, this thing is opaque, but the fineness of the carbonation on the head (not to mention the head itself) indicates that there is a lot of effervescence.
The mouthfeel is nothing short of outstanding – exceptionally smooth, with all the roasted notes flowing evenly through a creamy consistency that is full but refreshing. The chocolate and roasted coffee bean flavors are as subtle but effective as an English butler. The carbonation is barely noticeable until the end of the swallow when the bubbles dance across the tongue in perfect synchrony with just the faintest hit of bittersweet hops.
This stout is the real deal.