Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe now →

Imperial Java Stout - Santa Fe Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Imperial Java StoutImperial Java Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

204 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 204
Hads: 884
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 21.8%
Wants: 89
Gots: 152 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 204 | Hads: 884
Photo of 4balance
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz can into a Duvel tulip…opaque black with 2" frothy tan bubbly head with good lacing.

Smells like coffee and I mean a lot of coffee grounds, milk chocolate, spices, vanilla bean and slight amount of tobacco.

Tastes like 2 different coffee beans ground with milk chocolate, vanilla bean, cloves, sweet tobacco leaves, roasted malts and slight caramel backbone.

Mouthfeel is creamy lusciousness - medium bodied with no alcohol presence at all.

Overall surprising coffee stout. I would say this is a Stout Coffee Stout. Recommended.

 554 characters

Photo of wagenvolks
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz can into a stemless Hennessy snifter (my pimp hand is strong tonight, bitches!)

Nice appearance, with a rich mahogany brown core that fades outward to a ruddy amber color. The head is a dusty taupe hue, and the quarter inch of foam quickly settles to a ring and a thin veneer of bubbles. A very earthy aroma brings forward freshly ground coffee beans, fresh roasted, too. Dark malts lend notes of chocolate and bread crust, while the hops add a bit of balance to the ensemble.

The flavor matches the aroma's earthiness, and then some. Lots of roastiness to the coffee beans, verging on charred but the base beer dials in the balance just enough that things don't get too carried away. Alcohol is well-hidden. My only knock against this beer is the body--a bit thin for an 8% Imperial Stout. Still, good carbonation level and a clean finish. Overall, a tasty release from Santa Fe that any coffee beer lover should look forward to trying.

 945 characters

Photo of spoony
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a 12 oz can into a globe glass.

A-The beer was nearly pitch black. An aggressive pour produced a tall (two-plus fingers) head of grayish-brown head. The head dropped after a minute or two into a cap and left decent lacing on the glass.

S-Smell was strong coffee (espresso), roasted malts, and light bitterness. A little simple, but for a coffee stout, it delivered the goods.

T-Taste was also strong, slightly bitter coffee. There was some baking chocolate and smokiness, as well. A few demerits for a slightly metallic taste on the finish.

M-Feel was medium bodied with low carbonation. The brew was a touch watery for the style, but not awful.

O-This was a solid coffee stout. I found the coffee flavors to be straight-forward and not as complex as some, but sometimes simplicity is a good thing. The brew loses points for a weak mouthfeel and a somewhat odd finish, but I would drink this again when I'm in the mood for an affordable, easy-to-drink coffee brew.

 975 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can dated best by July 2013 poured a very dark brown color; clear, with a light brown head.

Nose: more hops than expected, matched in strength by coffee, with dark malts more in the background.

Flavor: mild-moderate bitterness until the moderately bitter finish and aftertaste. Good balance of hops, malts and coffee. Lot of coffee in the aftertaste. Some very dark roast flavor but only a hint of char.

Feel: carbonated is a bit more lively than expected, but works well; smooth; medium-full body. The ABV is well hidden.

O: an attractively priced, high quality, robust coffee stout. Recommended.

 610 characters

Photo of sweethome
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at pub. I had this a couple months ago - finally putting notes in -Well, I hesitate to call this an imperial stout...I would consider this more of a coffee stout, but here we go - rating based on what it tastes like - not the name:

Pour is a bit thin - you can see right through - looks more like a brown ale than IS.

Nose is of coffee and roast malt - a nice Starbucks Verona nose.

First taste really pleases - a nice coffee flavor with roast malt - a hop bitterness provides balance. The coffee flavors are complex and full - not just a blast and fade as many coffee beers are.

I would compare this with Bell's Java Stout, Lakefront Fuel Cafe, etc. As Coffee stouts go, I like the flavor profile here.

I don't consider this an Imperial Stout at all, but this beer works - it is clean - no faults, nice use of coffee - good flavors - satisfying beer...change the name!

 883 characters

Photo of homebrew311
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz can poured into pint glass. Appearance is opaque and black with a layer of tan head that retains nicely. The smell has bold roast espresso with some assertive hops present as well. Taste is chocolatey up front and is followed up by dry bitter espresso. Nice bold and beany finish. Mouthfeel is relatively light for style and abv. Overall, tons of espresso in the nose and flavor, missing a little in the way of body and depth.

 432 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: The very dark brown liquid is capped with a creamy tan head that leaves a few shards behind, while displaying good retention

Smell: Strong coffee aromatics, almost smelling like Vietnamese coffee (strong brewed and redolent of sugar, vanilla and cream); roasty, as well, and approaching a charred character

Taste: Deeply roasted (almost burnt) malt, up front, with the coffee intruding in the middle, bringing the Vietnamese character from the aroma into the profile - strong brewed, creamy and sweet; the vanilla-influenced sweetness lingers well into the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, with moderate carbonation

Overall: A bit too sweet and a bit too roasty but still a pretty decent example of the style

Thanks, BlueOkie, for the opportunity

 765 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a finger of tan head on an almost black body.
The aroma is dominated by the roasted malt and coffee but some lemon comes through to give it a rounded aroma.
The taste is cream, coffee, burnt malt and a mild lemon bitter finish. Excellent.
The texture is soft with crisp edges and moderate carbonation.
Nicely done.

 321 characters

Photo of Stevedore
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can, best by 8/21/2014. Poured into a Surly goblet 7/25/2014.

A- Dark brown, nearly black body with a three finger offwhite head with a lot of retention time. Bits of bubbly lacing as the head recedes and the beer disappears.

S- Lots of coffee mixed in with roast malt. Not a ton else, maybe a bit of milk chocolate. Smells like a warm cup of coffee.

F- Acidic black coffee, milk chocolate (don't think there's lactose in it, but I wouldn't be surprised if it had some), cocoa, roast malt. Very tasty and just what I want out of an imperial coffee stout.

M- Creamy with a medium body, very good for the genre. Good carbonation, nice bitter acidic black coffee finish tempered by some lactose-like sweetness. No real hint of the 8% ABV, might actually be a good weekend morning beer.

O- Pretty tasty stuff for the coffee lovers out there in the beer community. Not necessarily worth trading for, but it's a nice treat if you trade with someone from NM. Locally, I can get Brewhouse Coffee Stout from Central Waters, which I feel is easily better than this one.

 1,069 characters

Photo of MCain04
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Extra from a trade with Dimenhetfield thanks! Can poured into a 12 oz Half Acre snifter.

A: Root-beer brown body with a healthy kahki head of 2 fingers, good retention, moderation lacing.

S: Burnt coffee and roasted malts. Not much in terms of toffee or caramel or anything else, but decent nose.

T: Roasted malts and coffee are present. Not a lot of hops or bitterness, which is fine. Not much of a malty backbone. Taste is kind of thin.

M: Moderate carbonation, thin body, watery finish.

O: Not a bad coffee stout, but not great either. To thin on the taste and mouthfeel. This would have been a better coffee porter than imperial stout. Just not enough body to cash that check.

 685 characters

Photo of azdback
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass. Deepest, darkest brown possible. I can call this black but it wouldn't be a very dark black. The highlights are see through and light brown in color. Head is a gigantic five fingers and very explosive but as it recedes it shows it's beautiful creamy look. Lace is looking pretty good as well.

Smell is mostly dark roasted malts. Coffee, charred wood. There is some bright red tart fruit there too.

Taste is actually more chocolate than it is coffee. There is some coffee along with some figs and some hop bitterness and some alcohol burn. This is pretty nice.

Mouth is creamy but a bit on the bright side for an 8% stout. Carbonation is a bit over used. Body is on the heavy side and the finish is average and just a bit on the wet side.

Overall I really enjoyed this. I have had four of the Santa Fe BC offerings and have been pretty satisfied with all of them. This one does not disappoint.

 932 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

As it says, before or after noon and its both as it just hit noon. Thanks to dcloeren for this one.

Pours a creamy thick slight off white colored 1 finger head that fades fairly slowly with tons of lacing, pretty much pitch black thick looking beer. Breakfast?

Nose brings a bit of roast, actually plenty of roasted malt, some coffee with that mostly roasted beans but just a bit of fresh brewed. Then light cocoa, some oats, oatmeal like, hint of acrid roast. Some dark black patent like malt, and hint of caramel.

Taste is as expected, starting with coffee this time, some fresh brewed but also some roasted beans, and some roasted malt with just a bit of acrid bitter roast. More oats with a creamy oatmeal taste, and a bit of super dark bakers chocolate. Some bitterness mostly from the roasted malt but just a hint of earthy hops. Finish is drier bitter and more earthy hops coming out, long lingering coffee and slight metallic acrid, but f fresh earthy coffee too.

Mouth is med to fuller bodied, good carb, creamy oats.

Overall pretty good, nice coffee and roast with just the right touch of acrid bitterness, nice long finish, but just a bit more oats and rich feel would have made it even better.

 1,210 characters

Photo of Lerxst
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to chugalug06 for this extra

A-Pours a dark brown with a one and half finger sized coffee colored head that has fair retention and leaves wisps of lace.

S-A nice coffee aroma-not like espresso or anything, more like your regular cup o 'joe- but it is a nice aroma. Some roasted malt/barley and hints of chocolate. Smells good. Not terribly complex, but very pleasant.

T-A nice medium roast coffee flavor dominates, some charred malt notes come through along with hints of bakers chocolate. Not the most complex stout I've ever had, but it is pleasant to drink.

M-For an RIS, this is somewhat on the lighter side with much harsher carbonation than usually found for the style. This feels much more like a porter than a RIS. This is the weak point of this beer, IMO.

O-A nice stout that would benefit greatly from a more viscous and luxurious mouthfeel. With the harsh carbonation it seems more like a coffee soda pop. Overall, I have to give it a 4 because it looks good, smells good, tastes good-the mouthfeel is the only thing lacking here, so overall its still a 4.

 1,079 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at 1702; April 2009
This has a huge nose full of coffee notes that are all encompassing. The beer is black, quite dark, though it does have a touch of brown to it if you check closely. The beer arrives from the tap with only a ring of lightly browned foam that clings to the edges of the glass. The aroma is definitely coffee, complex coffee, but purely and simplistically coffee; I don't get any sense of the base beer here. The coffee contributes aromas of chocolate, a slight woody note, ample toasted aromatics and perhaps even a touch of burnt tobacco; overall the aroma is incredibly smooth and I like that it packs so much coffee aromatics without getting harsh.

The flavor has lots of coffee flavor; dark chocolate notes, a slight tannic roast wood note (almost seems a bit like cedar), some burnt berry notes. The coffee flavors are quite smooth with very little roast-acidity or acrid flavors. Some toasted malt flavors are noticeable and reminds me of a hardy browned bread. The texture is quite nice; not too heavy, though not light, but it has enough heft to carry the dominant coffee character well.

This is not a very complex beer overall, it is definitely coffee oriented, but the coffee is done quite well. If you like coffee then this beer is definitely for you. I am finding myself quite enjoying this beer. It has just enough of a roast edge to it to balance the smooth coffee and light dark malt sweetness and keep these from being cloying.

 1,471 characters

Photo of ocelot2500
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a n ebony color with a tight, tan head that leaves good sized bits of lacing.

Smells of deep roasted notes.

Tastes of the deep roasted notes with a moderate sweetness. Notes of coffee, chocolate, and brown sugar mostly make up the malt profile, with a little roasted bitterness coming through as well. Coffee is definitely part of the profile, but is not the main focus here. Some dark fruits also come through.

Mouthfeel is medium with a creamy amount of carbonation.

Overall, a pleasant surprise from a brewery that I never think about. Is it great? No, but it is still tasty and quite cheap ($1.59 a can).

 618 characters

Photo of jaymesbawned
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a tulip. Nice superdark tone, light tan head. Didn't get as much coffee on the nose as I would have liked, but this got better as it warmed. The taste was much better. strong coffee without overwhelming. nice balanced malts with a touch of hop bitter. Overall very solid beer, especially at 8%

 316 characters

Photo of KajII
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

[Best served in a Snifter]

The pour was an espresso jet black with an average sized (1-2 finger) light brown frothy head that was mostly lasting and produced some excellent sheeting on the glass.

The aroma was extremely strong of a fresh ground French Roasted coffee, a burnt black bread malt and an earthy doughy yeast with notes of bakers chocolate and a hint of toffee and black licorice.

The taste was lightly sweet and quite malty with notes of chocolate and toffee early on and then progressed into a strong bitter coffee flavor with a mild alcohol finish. The flavor lasted an average time after the swallow, and had a nice espresso taste that was left to linger.

Mouthfeel was bold and full in body with a dry, oily texture and a mild carbonation.

Overall this brew is very well balanced and quite tasty. It could very well be put into an espresso cup, and would be enjoyed immensely.

 897 characters

Photo of alaimoa
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Extra tossed in on a trade and I was surprised at how tasty this was
Overall nothing special about the pour with limited head and very aggressive spent coffee grind forward smell with a hint of leather and roastiness Flavor is what surprised positively with a very nice balance of sweet cocoa, roasted coffee packaged in a nice smooth finish with a solid medium heavy mouthfeel. I would buy again as a cold winter night drinker

 428 characters

Photo of katan
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz into a pint

A - This baby is dark - black in all the thick spots. I could be convinced of some amber highlights. Strong head formation, mocha colored.

S - Strong roasted, almost burnt edge. As you get closer to it, some bittersweet chocolate appears. A little bit of bready malts in the background.

T - Starts off lightly sweet, malty, some chocolate, a little bit of coffee roast. Mid-stream turns heavily burnt, edge, almost astringent. Finishes with a little chocolate malts and some retained coffee acidity.

M - strong body, strong carbonation which serves to lighten it up. Lots of burnt and grainy flavors stick to the tongue.

D - Very slow drinker - the chocolate is the only thing that prevents this from being overly potent. ABV is strong, but manageable.

If you like an espresso, and a beer, then this is your thing.

 839 characters

Photo of scratch69
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I poured a can into a pint glass.

Appearance- Dark brown color with a fingers worth of tan head. Fair amount of lacing.

Smell- Black coffee and dark roasted malt aroma.

Taste- Dark roasted malt and a strong coffee flavor.Light hint of chocolate.

Mouthfeel- Full bodied and smooth. An average amount of carbonation and slightly creamy.

Overall- A good example of a coffee flavored beer.

 390 characters

Photo of arizcards
3.87/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a single from Total Wine in mid-August for $1.79. Best by 10-19-13.

Beer poured dark brown with a nice brown head.

Nose is all coffee to me and not much else.

Taste is coffee forward, some dark chocolate, and a decent amount of hopping to keep the sweetness at bay.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and somewhat smooth.

Overall this is a nice brew at a nice price. Be ready for some heavily roasted coffee if you do get the opportunity to try this.

 457 characters

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

#BOTG 36!

Poured from can into Brooklyn tulip. Pours a dark brown/black color, off white head that retains decently. Smell- burnt coffee. Thats really about it. Trying to get more out of it, not much more there. Its not espresso, its burnt diner coffee at the bottom of the pot. Taste- iced coffee. Some roast, some chocolate, but man, this is like drinking an iced coffee. Some breadiness here, Maybe biquity in quality. But this beer is monotone. All about the coffee. Good, not great, I wanted more complexity.

 515 characters

Photo of flagmantho
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12oz can into a pint glass. My first New Mexico beer!

Appearance: rich brown hue with a murky haze and a thick finger of pillowy tan foam. Quite attractive.

Smell: smooth and chocolatey stout base with a pungent coffee aroma. A bit sharp, but I like it.

Taste: a bit roasty and a little chocolatey with a big, rough coffee flavor. I mean, it's good, but it lacks finesse.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good carbonation and a great creaminess. I like it quite a lot.

Overall: this beer is pretty good, but the roughness of the coffee element just gets to me in a not-so-good way.

 604 characters

Photo of Vdubb86
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter

Thanks to injuredreserve for this beer in the SSWYMO BIF

This interesting New Mexico can pours nice deep dark brown body with a beige foam nicely riding the surface. The aromatics are really hard to place. There is obvious espresso notes and something else. Lack of a better word has led me to toasted smoke...but not char and different from roast. It was minerally in nature, not bad, just weird. The taste is a combination of strong espresso and creamy vanilla and it works for this beer. The body is a lighter medium with a strong acidic flavor. The acidic flavor and the mystery smell make this an odd drinker, it's still a very good beer, but not as good as it could be.

 697 characters

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

I enjoyed this beer yesterday, and I was surprised by how good it tasted. Had it early afternoon and will definitely be buying this one for a camping trip

 154 characters

Imperial Java Stout from Santa Fe Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 204 ratings.