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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

204 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 204
Hads: 883
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
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Reviews: 204 | Hads: 883
Photo of kemoarps
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jet black. I love watching the head rise on stouts, and this one is no exception. Creamy head that sticks around.

Malts. Burnt, roasted and sharp espresso

This review is not for the first can of this that I've had in the last couple of days, so I've tried it with various foods and by itself. This is my favourite iteration. Sharp cheddar and pumpernickel go well with the sharp burnt malts and bitter coffee. On its own these can be a bit overwhelming, but with other sharp foods it blends in well and is quite pleasing.

The carbonation is mild, but works well. The finish is bitter with cacao and coffee grounds. Solid as what it is. If you like sharp coffee and burnt malts it's solid. Might not appeal to everyone, but if that's your thing check it out. NM is coming into its own

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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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Photo of WesMantooth
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a coffee mug, so appearance is what I see coming out of the can. Very dark brown to black. Fairly viscous, with a fluffy/frothy tan head that all but disappears entirely, leaving a very small ring with some tight, tiny bubbles around the outside.

Aroma is ashy smelling. Mainly burnt malt barley and coffee beans.

Slightly sweet initially, with chocolate and caramel malts. Then it turns to bitter coffee and that deep burnt taste. Like the stuff that you have to scrape off the bottom of your pot when you have left a soup/chili sit too long. Very, very, very ashy. It seems to be improving as I make my way through it. Honestly not sure if it is temperature related, or the bitterness is starting to numb my taste buds. Either way, it is better toward the end.

Body is outstanding. Very silky and almost chewy. A little bit too much carbonation maybe as there is an initial crisp zing to it.

This is really close to being an outstanding beer. If I didnt have the aftertaste like I had just stuck my tongue in an ashtray, I would have been in the 4 range on taste and overall. It is just a little too rough for me though. If you are someone who likes a super black, super roasted coffee, you may want to give it a ride. It is still a very good beer overall.

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Photo of holden303
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from can into Duchesse de Bourgogne oversized wine glass.

A: Santa Fe's Imperial Java Stout pours a deep black with a finger of cream/tan head that dissipates almost instantaneously leaving a thing ring around the glass. Quite a few carbonation bubbles on the bottom of the glass.

S: Coffee grounds are dominating this one but can detect what seems to be roasted malts and/or chocolate malts.

T: Lots of coffee in this one but it compliments the beer nicely. Nice carbonation as well, typically I don't like too much carbonation in a stout but this works, it's almost as if drinking a really robust soda without the sweetness.

M: Fairly light mouthfeel, I'd guess this was a porter if I didn't know better. Very crisp, doesn't coat the mouth at all.

O: Nice coffee imperial stout. Very hard to detect the imperial ABV in this one, goes down very easy aside from the uncharacteristic high carbonation levels. I'd definitely recommend trying this beer if it's distributed to your state.

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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.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.81/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A nice, simple looking can design. Can simplicity be art? Methinks so. Anywho..the beer...

Dark pour. Deep brown, "light" black. Foamed up to about a finger of off-brown head, then settles to a ring. Would like to see more froth, but it does look good.

Chocolate, cocoa, baked coffee beans in the aroma. Roasted malt, maybe some oats. Overall, a stout with some coffee, but a coffee stout? A bit light

Flavors are nice, albeit not in-yo-face. Coffee, some espresso, toffee, cocoa and dark bread. A bit of a metallic taste on the back. From the water used? Of course I could be crazy. Nice flavors, but a bit light and bubbly on the feel. Nice canned stout

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

A: Dark black with a full, dense, brown head. The head lasts a while then slowly develops frog eyes

S: Coffee is the first thing that comes out on this guy. Following the coffee is a semi-sweet chocolate & rich dark fruit bread.

T: Coffee and chocolate up front, a slight bitter earthiness to the middle. Faint notes of vanilla and licorice, the coffee comes through from start to finish.

M: Medium to medium thick. Carbonation is low. The beer emulates coffee in the finish.

O: Overall very nice, especially if you missed your cup of joe this morning. Do yourself a favor, grab your favorite coffee mug and pour yourself some.

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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.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

Thanks to johnyb for this can!

D'ya think the emperor of Java cares that his title is being used thusly? Anyway, this stuff pours a very deep and dark sienna topped by a finger of shale foam. The nose comprises plenty of coffee, with some lighter notes of hazelnut, nutmeg, and toasted biscuit lying therebeneath. The taste brings in more of the same, with the coffee coming through darker and more roasted, some added cocoa, and a pinch of cinnamon. The body is a lithe and flexible medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, a nice coffee stout; a bit on the thin side, but with plenty of coffee goodness.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of capybara
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured full can into a pint glass. Poured black with a fairly nice size tan head.

S: Smells of chocolate, mollases and a hint of coffee. Overall sweet smelling.

T: Starts with crisp refreshing hop profile that lingers throughout the entire taste. This soon is intertwined with chocolate, a kinda sweet molasses taste and a nice helping of coffee roasty flavor coming in towards the end. I really appreciate how the coffee wasn't over done. Overall has a sweet flavor that fits with style accordingly. The hop flavor really helps balance and crisp up the beer.

M: Really nice body. Not overwhelming but truly is thick enough to call an imperial stout. Leaves lots of carbonation on the glass the entire way down.

O: I enjoyed this beer much more than i expected. I gave a new attention towards santa fe brewing. Imperial Stouts are my favorite category of ale, and I've had a lot of the best. So i wasn't expecting much for an 8% caned imperial. But judging that i paid about 9 bucks for a 6er I'm very happy this this ale. Will buy again

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Photo of JGlitz87
3.77/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Deep dark brown, almost black. Nearly opaque. Small off white head that leaves a decent amount of lacing down the side of the glass.

S: Lots of lots coffee. Chocolate and malts underneath.

T: Mirrors the smell. Dark espresso coffee dominates the flavor profile. Chocolate and roasted malts fill out the taste. Not for those that do not like their coffee black. Slightly creamy.

F: Medium carbonation and moderate to heavy body. Hides the alcohol well.

O: Good coffee stout. A bit strong on the coffee, but since this is advertised as a java stout, I knew what I was getting into to.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours an opaque but clear very dark brown (almost black) in color with some minimal to light amounts of visible carbonation and a faint amount of cola brown highlights. The beer has a finger tall creamy tan head that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the majority of the surface of the beer with a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of very roasted malts (almost burnt) with more moderate notes of coffee and some charred malts. Lighter notes of sugary sweetness including some hints of vanilla.

T: Upfront there are moderate to strong flavors of dark roasted, almost burnt malts and freshly roasted coffee. There are some lighter flavors of charred malts towards the finish. Additionally there are some lighter notes of milky/sugary sweetness (like what you would get if you had added sweetened condensed milk to espresso) and hints of vanilla + cocoa. Light amounts of bitterness in the finish that fade rather quickly.

M: Just shy of full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly creamy.

O: A little sweeter than I normally prefer my bigger stouts - I like the coffee and roasted malt flavors but there was a little too much sweetness (though I am a black coffee drinker normally so I know that is specific to my palate). Definitely enjoyable and with a very nice coffee presence.

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Photo of denver10
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark brown with a thick 2 thumbs width mocha head. A nice rich aroma of coffee, bitter chocolate, and roasted malts. The flavor is not quite up to par with the aroma but still quite good. Coffee beans hit the forefront, the middle is a weak roastiness, and then it picks itself back up with a nice chocolate and coffee finish. The aftertaste is quite good, tasting like mocha frappucino. A creamy, medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, I really dig this beer. Gonna have to try this one fresh next winter 'cause if its this enjoyable at this age, I can only imagine what it'll be like fresh.

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Photo of cvm4
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can poured into a snifter

A - Pours a thin black with a 2 finger tan head. The head stays around and dissipates into a ring around the glass. Minimal lacing.

S - Lots of coffee, cocoa nibs and roasted malt.

T - Coffee dominates up front and it meanders into a dark chocolate finish with roasted malt always in the background.

M - Somewhat thin but has medium carbonation.

O - Lovely stout poured from a can. I was pleasantly surprised!

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Photo of vande
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: A real thick, dark looking pour that seems suitable for a chilly night. It also has a nice, sandy colored looking layer of head resting peaceful as I sit out on my patio.

S: If I liked actual cold coffee, this is what I should think it to smell like. Roasted, java [yes I know its the name] aromas float easily from the glass.

T: Coffee right away, with a lingering but light bitterness or sour note...grainy with chocolate flakes.. but mostly, the roasted coffee surrounds this one..

M: Thicker than some I've had, but nice and creamy...to the point of it reminding me nearly of a sonic mocha shake...

O: Out of a can, this is a pretty good coffee stout. It had been buried in my fridge for some time now from a trade a while back....and tasted delightful! If you like coffee, stouts, or cans out of the beer...this would be one to put on your list.

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Photo of bump8628
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An Imperial Stout in a can - that's pretty kick ass. Looks like the real deal with a death pit black body and a swamp-bubbled espresso-colored topping of froth. The coffee is in the forefront and it seems like Santa Fe sprung for the good stuff. It's roasty as expected, but it's difficult to tease out what portion is from the coffee and which is from the malt. Chocolate and char are here too, as is a supporting smack of earthy hops. The only minor drawback to my full enjoyment is a twiggy woodiness that seems to be contributed by the coffee. This is good stuff nonetheless and great as a dessert beer.

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Photo of scarfield
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

App- pours dark brown to black with a 1" khaki head. moderate lacing through the glass

Smell- sweetness and dark roast coffee. Smells like "cold" hot chocolate.

Taste- there is definitely some alcohol coming through and an aftertaste that is quite bitter and earthy. Malty sweetness and the roasted coffee flavor and bitterness are not quite in balance, but it is not unpleasant.

MF- creamy/oily, and the very long aftertaste and high abv make this a sipper

Overall- this beer tried to Pull off something difficult and almost pulls it off. The balance just isn't there and the bitterness is perhaps too strong. Still it is quite a good beer despite this.

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Photo of MoustacheHero
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A canned offering from New Mexico.

A- Looks like a fresh poured coke, from its dark cola colour to its very bubbly head.

S- A powerful coffee smell dominates with hints of barley.

T- Like an amazing cup of coffee with undertones of hot liquor. Roasty all the way through and finishes clean, not bitter like many coffee stouts.

M- Surprisingly light bodied, this beer drinks very bubbly and slightly slick.

O- Overall I was impressed by this brews balance, drinkability and simple presentation. I'd order this in place of coffee any morning. :-)

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Photo of Tafyob41
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Tastes like coffee. As the beer warms hints of vanilla emerge. Very lightly carbonated unlike Schlafly's coffee stout that I'm more familiar with. It's very crisp. At times I feel like I can drink a ton of this in one sitting, but one might be enough. Pours with a tan head that didn't last long. Served at 54 degrees in a snifter. The coffee taste will stick with you and is not too overpowering.

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Photo of blakelive784
3.63/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz can served in a snifter, reviewed live:

A - Pours a nearly black color with a light tan, 2.5 finger head. The head is decently creamy, and retention is very good considering the relatively high ABV.

S - Ground coffee, espresso, light roasted barley, yeast, cream and a bit of peppery spice. Surprisingly mild in strength, though.

T - Nice fresh coffee and cream open over the roasted malt, though I wish it had more roast character. Has an almost mocha-esque taste to it. Dark fruit notes come through along with light spice. Subtly complex and well balanced. I dig it. No alcohol comes through at all.

M - Full bodied and silky smooth. Compliments the flavors nicely.

D - It's well built and well balanced. May not be for those who don't like unflavored coffee, but I'll certainly have it again.

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Photo of BradLikesBrew
3.63/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown body is just short of black, the head is creamy and light tan colored.

The aroma is one dimensional, but if you are a coffee fan, that won't be a problem.

The flavor is malty with a dominating coffee flavor with roasty bitterness on the finish. Some undertones of cocoa and some toffee maybe, but the java flavor is the central focus.

Medium body, moderatly creamy.

There is a touch of alcohol on the finish, but for the most part this is a really drinkable stout with farely well masked ABV. Imperial Java Stout doesn't hold a candle to Peche Mortel, Espresso Yeti, Beer Geek Breakfast or other notable coffee stouts. Its not in the same league, not even the same sport really. But it doesn't have to be. It is a fraction of the price of those beers. At $7.99 a 6pk and 7% ABV, it is an absolute steal, a must buy for coffee beer fans. I highly reccomend it.

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Photo of ZenAgnostic
3.61/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz / 355ml can with no date poured into a Three Philosophers mini wine glass.

Appearance - Black body. Light brown pancake batter head with decent to low retention and low stick.

Smell - Smells and feels like a Starbucks Java chip frappuccino in my hands.

Taste - Tastes better straight from the can. Do not pour this beer! I don't know if it just oxidizes quickly or what the deal is.

Mouthfeel - Astringent -- like the solvent taste you get in your mouth when you put raw coffee grounds in your both. Sort of thin and sharp.

Overall Drinkability - Tastes okay but the mouthfeel sort of kills it.

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Photo of mabermud
3.59/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

After a hard pour, this beer has a dense, off white, persistent head. The head forms a halo as I drink the beer, and the lacing is light and sticky along the glass. The beer appears black, but when held up to the sun, it is a dark boysenberry color.

The aroma is of light roasted malts, light coffee, and faint dark chocolates.

There is a light balanced taste of roasted malts, coffee, and dark chocolates. Nothing sparkles or stands out.

The mouthfeel is fair and substantial.

The ABV is mediocre and the taste is right there...in the middle. This is a solid mediocre imperial stout. I would drink this again as a standby, or if I couldn't find any of the top tier stouts on my list.

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