Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 203 | Hads: 883
Photo of AlexFields
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark thick brown, nice two inch creamy tan head.

Smells of rich sweet coffee...and really not much else. Smells great though!

Taste is rich coffee again, fairly bitter, more rich coffee, some burned cocoa. This is very good.

Good carb, rich creamy mouthfeel, but fairly light body for such a rich taste and really pretty drinkable. Not enough sweetness to be cloying and too much coffee flavor to taste any booze.

Great beer! Fairly one dimensional but really good.


 485 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 tone77
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A big shout out to woodychandler for providing this beer. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of coffee, a touch of chocolate. Taste is of strong espresso, the most coffee I have ever experienced in a beer. Alcohol is well hidden. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall if you are a coffee lover this beer is for you, otherwise it may be a bit to overpowering.

 403 characters

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 rudzud
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received as an extra in a trade and poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a very nice deep, rich dark brown nearly black. There was a good one finger mocha head that faded to leave almost no side lacing but did have nice retention/haloing.

S - Aroma pops with coffee and chocolate. Its almost, almost up there with the likes of other stellar coffee beers, thats how much it jumps out when you breathe deep. Its just doesnt explode in the surrounding air like some of those others do. Still, damn good.

T - Wow, this might be my favourite canned stout...Excellent coffee flavors along with light chocolate. Great black coffee. No joke, this is almost drinking like a poor mans FBS so to speak.

M - Mouthfeel is almost excellent. Stuff drinks like a mug of cold ice coffee. Goes down super easy. Just delicious.

O - Overall this is a shocking beer from New Mexico. Really, really enjoyed this one. In full agreement with WoodyChandler here, this is something special and I wish I had a donut.

 996 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!

 801 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Paid a bit too much for this (5 bucks) but considering it was a long time tick I put down the cash.

A - Has the look of a great stout, very back yet not incredibly viscous with an impressive full inch of mocha head that sticks around for a bit.

S - Like a frappuccino it smells of blended coffee's, mild chocolate, vanilla, and a touch of roasted malts.

T - The bend is fairly good. Roast is blended well with the hops giving a mild smoke/fresh filtered coffee taste. The sweetness of vanilla and chocolate is mild yet also satisfying.

M - A touch lighter than I expected yet still chewy and medium bodied.

Overall it is a pretty stand up imperial stout with coffee flavors. Try one if your a fan of coffee beers.

 719 characters

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can pours a rich, silky black color with a rather large, stiff head. Fades uber-slow and leaves nice lace. A good looking brew...

Nose is charred malt and strong black coffee. Just a hint of sweetness and the hops are pretty tame. A little nutty yeast comes out as it warms.

Alot of coffee to be sure, but it is pretty smooth and the velvety mouthfeel helps quite a bit to take the edge off. The ABV is astonishingly hidden, I would never have guessed it was more than 6% or so if it didnt have the word 'imperial' on the can. There is just enough sweetness to keep it from being astringent. A very good bargain at 8 bucks a sixer these days, unfortunately. Not everything tasty has to come out of an overpriced bomber. This is one of those beers that is best consumed fresh, and I cant seem to find a date on their cans.

 829 characters

Photo of champ103
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at Anvil in Houston, TX.

A: Pours a near opaque black color. A large tan and rocky head rises with excellent retention. Sticky, spiderweb looking lace is left behind.
S: Roasted malt, cream coffee, chocolate, and vanilla. The coffee and sweetness work well together.
T: Follows the nose. Plenty of roasted malt. Coffee comes next, but not acrid or over barring in any way. A big chocolate flavor is present along with some sweet vanilla. Fairly simple, but very nice.
M/D: A full body and moderate carbonation. Creamy, velvety, and smooth. So easy to drink. No alcohol in sight, and a joy to drink.

An excellent beer on cask. I really enjoyed this, and something I would recommend. A well done stout on cask.

 718 characters

Photo of thagr81us
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to cmanuel for sharing this one! Served from can into a New Belgium globe. Poured pitch black with a half finger khaki colored head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, acidic coffee, and milk chocolate. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, cream, coffee, and caramel. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a good brew. I have to be honest and say that I drank this one as a wake up beer while on a vacation day from work. But I am certainly glad that I did. This had a really nicely balanced flavor and aroma going on here that made it surprisingly refreshing and intriguing at the same time. It was really well rounded around the edges with every aspect having a balancing component going on with it. A really well done brew that I would love to have A LOT more of to enjoy as an alternative to coffee in the AM.

 1,053 characters

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

nice extra from daniloknezic! Thanks

I followed the directions on the can that say enjoy before noon; so i am drinking this beer at 8am central standard time!

poured into a snifter glass.

Appearance: Black body with a mocha colored head. Nice sticky lacing on the side of the glass. Head faded down into a ring capping the top of the beer.

Smell: Massive roasty coffee note. Malt and a mild astringency noted to the nose.

Taste: Nice coffee flavor its just so roasty, fresh, clean, and crisp taste. Its even got a refreshing quality to it. No bitterness from the coffee its all the perfect amount of roastiness that just remains during entire tasting experience. WOW! Almost reminds you of a cold and carbonated expresso.

Mouthfeel: Medium body that drink like a light bodied beer. This beer is really carbonated well for an Imperial Stout. It has more carbonation than one would expect, but this brewery just nailed it on this beer.

Overall: Fantastic. Must try, if you love good coffee stouts. This is the real deal!

 1,026 characters

Photo of cbutova
3.99/5  rDev 0%

Full notes taken at time of review.

A- Black bodied pour from the can to two pint glasses. Not ultra thick but a two finger mocha brown head forms with a creamy texture and good retention. Thick sheets of lacing followed by drizzle.

S- Strong roasty malts make up most of the aroma but you have to notice the medium roast coffee bean and cocoa notes. Milk chocolate sweets, caramel, mocha hints and some slight fruit from the yeast but it doesn't distract at all from the coffee and grains.

T- Coffee is stronger here than the aroma for me and even takes precedence over the smooth dark roast grains. A vanilla sweetness comes into play from somewhere and compliments the java and milk chocolate malts. Tons of fresh brewed coffee.

MF- A shade toward the light side considering the ABV and rich flavors presented. Carbonation low to medium with a roasty coffee bitterness in the finish.

A very smooth coffee stout that displays about 5 out of the 8 percent ABV it contains. Lacks a bit in the body but packs tons of well balanced flavors.

 1,043 characters

Photo of gford217
3.45/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jack for this 12oz can.

Settles in as a dark chocolate brown, just short of black, under a huge frothy beige head that shows excellent lacing.

Lots of roasted coffee and cocoa beans in the nose with some hints of lactose. The roasted black malts are the most dominant aspect.

Taste is sweet lactose and fresh roasted coffee with faint chocolate notes. It tastes a bit like a watered down iced mocha but with half the chocolate.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for a standard stout and on the lighter end if we're considering this one imperial. It's got strong carbonation and leaves a roasty bitterness on the palate.

I love coffee stouts but this is not one of my favorites. The coffee is subtle and doesn't really pop. It's a drinkable stout overall but not up there with the best coffee stouts or impy coffee stouts.

 833 characters

Photo of Suds
3.35/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This brew is utterly black, with a thin tan head. The smell is of highly roared grain and coffee. The taste is dry and acrid, and has a homebrew quality, it is somewhat acidic, but has a complexity as well. Medium to full in body. Just okay.

 245 characters

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

a: poured into a wide chalice, producing a nice khaki head that retains a thin layer and ring, the beer itself a deep chestnut brown in color

s: lovely coffee bean aromas - mostly medium roasts without any touch of char or burn, fresh, woody, and earty - really quite nice, the malts provide dusty chocolate and a nice toasted grain sugar, hops kept to a minimum, dig this

m: carbonation on the lighter side of things, with a body riding the line between medium and heavy, not thick but with a nice weight

t: the great coffee character carries over from the aroma, loads of light and dark roast coffee flavors, fresh and vivid, the malt body complimenting well with baker's chocolate and toasted sugars, nice grain flavor, not as "stout" as a stand-alone version of the style might tend to be, allowing the coffee to shine through, dries somewhat to coffee and cocoa with a mild bittering

o: a great coffee stout that came as a bit of a surprise, not hugely complex or deep, but the bean character is fantastic and really makes the beer

can from the Liquor Mart in Boulder

 1,077 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 papat444
3.81/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Able to knock off NM from my list of states to try.

Poured from a 12oz can, best by 01/18/14.

Dark brown body, decent thick head, bit lopsided with nice fingers of lacing. Aroma is rich sweet chocolate, milky cocoa powder. Taste has roasted coffee beans milky a bit, good coffee base, flavor sustained. Medium feel, nice bitterness in the finish. An enjoyable stout.

 368 characters

Photo of EgadBananas
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown in color, black to the untrained eye. Nice tan finger of head, laces well.

Big coffee aromas that dance with roasted malts and chocolate sweetness. I've bold and I'm diggin' it!

Nice coffee flavours, with roasted, toasted malts and some bittersweet chocolate notes. Good, but just not as in your face as the aroma.

Feel is nearly full, could be a bit heavier to really give it that RIS feel. Carbonation is good, and it's nice and creamy and slick.

The drink is great. Very enjoyable coffee stout, abv is lower, which really makes it easy to put away!

 575 characters

Photo of jzeilinger
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pitch black pour and a thin toffee colored lacing ring.

S - Lots of dark chocolate and Espresso/coffee on the nose.

T - Dark chocolate and coffee beans from start to finish with a little bit of char, deep roasted malt

M - Full body, thick, frothy, and leaves a dark roasted malt coating in the mouth.

O - Very enjoyable.

 328 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 Morey
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Dark-brown coming out of the can, but basically turns black in the glass. The head is light brown in color and has a bit of staying-power. When held to the light, you can definitely get some dark red and brown hues around the edges of the glass.

Aroma: Roasted coffee beans right up front followed closely by a sugary sweetness. Maybe a touch of chocolate in there as well. Not very complex, but nice.

Taste: Really nice coffee flavor on the front end. The sweetness that I was pulling out of the aroma isn't far behind. There's a nice bitterness mid to late palette that keeps the sweet flavors from becoming cloying.

Mouthfeel: This is my biggest knock on this beer. It just needs more body in my opinion. I would say it's medium for the style with the carbonation coming in on the lower side, which is appropriate.

Morey's Bottom Line: A pretty good coffee stout overall, but I could use a little less sweetness and a bigger mouthfeel. I wouldn't hesitate to drink it again, but I won't be searching for it either.

 1,034 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 RonaldTheriot
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Santa Fe Imperial Stout has a medium, creamy, beige head, a dark brown (with reddish-brown highlights) appearance, and a heavy lacing sheen left on the class. The aroma is of predominately dark-roasted coffee, dark-roasted malts, and maybe some water. Taste is of all that, with dark cherry and slight hoppy bitterness. Mouthfeel is mostly light, and Santa Fe Imperial Stout finishes mostly dry, rich, and flavorful. No alcohol shows itself. Excellent stuff, this.


 470 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 Chaney
4.16/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My man Huzuhbendah slipped me one of the these the other day to take home after a tasting. Thanks Matt!

Split with my wife.

A: Poured as black as night and with a fairly sticky mocha head that was a mere ring around the brew.

S: Intense smell of high grade coffee, burnt caramel, and vanilla. Really nice.

T: Nice coffee flavor as well as sort of a chocolate donut-like component. Very dessert-like in its disposition overall which suits me fine.

M: I really like the marriage of the sweet and coffee components here. It was definitely more of a Heath bar as opposed to a bitter java.

O: My wife just said, "I wish I had about 6 of these for tonight." Yep, I'd definitely have this one again.

 698 characters

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