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Imperial Java Stout - Santa Fe Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Imperial Java StoutImperial Java Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

203 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 203
Hads: 883
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 21.8%
Wants: 88
Gots: 151 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Santa Fe Brewing Company visit their website
New Mexico, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: goochpunch on 03-31-2007

This is the kind of beer that gives the word "stout" a reputation. Extra generous quantities of barley malt, followed by vigorous fermentation leaves this "imperial" heavy weight with 8% alcohol A.B.V. and a body as full as chocolate bread pudding. A complimentary and complex array of bitter notes comes form potent American hops, earthy British hops, black-roasted malts and, of course, coffee. Santa Fe Brewing Company uses only top-quality ingredients like organically grown East Timor coffee beans blended with New Guinea coffee beans, locally roasted by O'hori's Coffee House. Its heavenly flavor and aroma can't be beat or imitated.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 203 | Hads: 883
Reviews by beesy:
Photo of beesy
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at The Friendly Place in San Antonio. Poured from a 12oz can into a plastic pint glass ;). No canning date.

A - pours a deep deep brow that appears black in the glass. A huge 2.5 finger head that's medium khaki in color builds and fades fairly quickly. Some water falling from an aggressive pour.

S - coffee and chocolate are present but take a back seat to the malt. Man this thing smells über malty and wheaty. To be honest, it smells a lot like a mash more than a finished beer.

T - really malty in the taste too. Just like chewing on a mix of malt with some wheat tossed in. Chocolate and coffee bitterness come on in the mid palate and finish this beer off. Slightly campfire marshmallow flavor. It really just tastes a lot like unfermented first runnings.

M - medium bodied. Slightly rich and creamy but it thins out because of some drying effects later on.

D - lowing for me. There is nothing offensive about it but I just can't get over how much it tastes like sort right out of the mash tun.

Overall a pretty good tasting malty beer with nice notes of bakers chocolate and espresso. Very malty. As I indicated before - the malty flavors tAste like wheaty unfermented wort straight out of the tun.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

CAN you dig it, SUCKA! Pours brown out the can, mild beige head about 3/4" deep. Aroma was magnificently coffee. They really knocked that out the park. No acridity, acidity or bitterness in the aroma.

Great taste, again, the bitter adjectives are not amongst this beer, yet the immense coffee ones are. Amazing mouthfeel to completely cover up the 8% abv, can't believe this. Its like they even had the perfect amount of creamer (lactose?) in it where you can't smell it or really taste it, but it just gives it a better mouthfeel than oats would probably do or maybe are there in tandem. Good carbonation, even if its too high for you, you can just let it chill for a few minutes and its adjusted to your likings mr. cask guy from britain. All the chocolate is very dry and never sweet.

Just a bang up job they did on this. Expand distribution!!

 849 characters

Photo of NailtheAle
5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Excellent beer by far. Great price.

35 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce can that one of my friends gave to me. No date that I can find on it. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with almost an inch tan head that stayed around for a bit. There's also a small amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells mostly like coffee but there's also some burnt/charred malt, caramel and some bittersweet chocolate noticeable. For the most part I think the taste is pretty much like the aroma, but there's also some vanilla flavor. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's smooth and easy to drink with a moderate amount of carbonation. I thought this was a good coffee stout. Glad I got to try it, but also disappointed I won't get to try this again soon since Santa Fe Brewing doesn't distribute here. Definitely worth picking up if you come across some!

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Photo of OrestesMethuon
3.14/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a fourteen-ounce tulip out of a twelve-ounce can that is (as is standard with Santa Fe Brewing) very simply and sleekly decorated. The result of the initial pour: a massive, sudsy mushroom-cloud of head, milky-khaki and oddly pitted or clumpy, but generally impressive and requiring two distinct pours from the can. The depletion is surprisingly fairly quick—down to a thin, eighth-inch creamy ring—but the lacing is sticky and pervasive down the tulip's rotund edges.

A bit of a metallic, aseptic, "off" quality dominates the faintest of café odors across what is, overall, a very limited and initially listless nose; as the stout airs, a little more coffee (and a little less "clouds taste metallic" defect) is detectable from atop the ale.

From the first sip, it becomes apparent that some of the coppery "off" notes are likely not "defects" but aspects of this stout—either derived from the coffees blended into the beer, as I find most likely, or from the "earthy British hops" or deep roasting of the malts. (It may also have arisen, in part, from some undesirable aging, as this beer is listed as a "winter" seasonal, and I purchased my six-pack on 18 August.) Irrespective of the source, these less-pleasant characteristics—as with the nose—subside after exposure to atmosphere, though never entirely departing.

Aside from these metallic impressions, the main melody of this beer is "bitter": coffee bitters, burnt-grain bitters, and herbaceous, damp forest-detritus (but pine-absent) hop-bitters all swirl throughout the creamy (but on the thinner side, for a stout) body of this stout. This decision definitely delegates a lot of bite to each sip, and likewise buries the alcohol behind a storm of various palate-smacking bitters, both subtle and pronounced, both dark and deep and grassy and gritty. However, while there is some good, nicely-restrained residual sugar allotted by the malts, the coffee and the multi-faceted hopping unfortunately don't provide much beyond the aforementioned—and, true to the patter's promise, complex—bittering.

Ultimately, I'd like to try this effort again, ideally a little geographically nearer and a lot temporally closer to the source. But even if the sniffing-a-nickel, sucking-on-a-penny characteristics *were* to be defects (either of canning or aging), I'm nevertheless skeptical I'd raise my score all too much: while Santa Fe's Imperial Java Stout is much too richly and variably bitter to be called "one-note," its very much "one-chord": many notes, but all firmly residing in a single register; complex, but in a narrow way; good at one thing, but all too reliant on only that thing.

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Photo of BeerActivatesNrf2
4.94/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So many coffee stouts fail to give a potent coffee flavor. This one gives a strong espresso feel. If you like coffee and beer, this is the beer for you.

 154 characters

Photo of davemarc87
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Tiernan
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of tbryan5
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of bulldogg915
3/5  rDev -24.8%

Photo of DaftPatrick
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Beaver13
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz can. Pours a dark brown with a medium creamy tan head that quickly goes to a collar that laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet chocolate malts and lots of roasted coffee.

The flavor is sweet chocolate with a lot of nice coffee and some bitter roast in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low but smooth carbonation.

Overall, not very complex (all about the coffee), but a great beer for coffee lovers. One of the best coffee beers I've had...yum!

 464 characters

Photo of DuckDodgers
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of barhoc11
3.24/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This was very underwhelming. There is almost no smell to this beer and the coffee taste is very minimal with a floral/sweet aftertaste. The aftertaste reminds me of fake sugar, which is what I am sure was used to backsweeten this beer. I am not sure what they are trying to accomplish but there are much better alternatives.

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Photo of wlevando
4.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can into a pint glass (for the 30th time in the past 12 months).
Caveat 1: This is one of my favorite beers. It is the first "real" beer that my wife came to appreciate, and since good, dark, complex draughts have been something that we've enjoyed together.

Caveat 2: This review is written while dinner is cooking. The subtleties are not tempered by a quick chew between draughts.

Eyes: Nearly opaque with red-brown tinges. Exciting, foamy head, especially in my wife's "dizzy" glass (indented-bottom tight-lipped snifter)

Nose: Strongly caramel and vanilla espresso with something (dry? spicy? hot? ) replacing the milk for an after-work latte. Not overwhelming or inspiring, but it is still inviting.

Tongue: A complex beer (see caveat 2 and my take). Quick hit of vanilla and lasting sweetness yields to chipotle. Spice fades over ~10 seconds, leaving pleasant coffee bitterness, roasty and sweet. Nice balance of malt (first time any beer characteristic needs be invoked).

Face: Dry, but lasting warmth. Nice, but fleeting (very few 10s seconds) lubrication leaves no dryness or desire.

My take: One of the very best beers ever commercially released (though see caveat 1). NOT A SESSION BEER. The 8% ABV notwithstanding, the subtleties invite contemplation. Great, instead, with light snacks and the best damned friends one's got. I cannot put it better than my cousin, leaning in for a group hug, "This beer makes me happy."

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Photo of JakerLou
4.21/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark brown color with an off-white head. The aroma features a lot of coffee, as well as a hint of chocolate and some roasted malt. The flavor is very similar. I get a lot of mocha coffee notes, as well as some roasted malt and vanilla. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A very nice chocolate stout. Glad I got a chance to try it.

 353 characters

Photo of waprimrose
2/5  rDev -49.9%

Photo of purvis_drew
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of IrishGermanAmerican
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of Franziskaner
3.79/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown in color with a half inch khaki colored head. Brussels lacing. Dark roasted coffee and and roasted barley aroma greets my nose. There's an abundance of dark bitter coffee flavor in this beer. The mouth is a bit chalky and thick. If yo are looking for something more so on the bitter end of the coffee stout spectrum,this is your beer.

 345 characters

Photo of bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of buyyourfreedom
4.66/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

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Imperial Java Stout from Santa Fe Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 203 ratings.