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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

207 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 207
Hads: 900
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 22.06%
Wants: 89
Gots: 159 | 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: 207 | Hads: 900
Photo of goochpunch
1.97/5  rDev -50.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Had it on-tap at the brewery about a week ago. Come to me in a 16 oz. plastic cup. Body was a translucent brown and seemed very thin, not viscous like it should be. No head at all, not even some bubbles popping up to the top. Smelled like an old soggy coffee filter filled with spent grounds. I got some faint roasted malt in there and some fruity esters, but the stale coffee smell overpowered all. Taste was about the same, actually, but it didn't have so much of that stale coffee characteristic. This leaned way too much towards coffee. Tastes like a sweet coffee drink from Starbucks. Body was way to thin with hardly any carbonation. This is the rare instance when I would have preferred a stout to be on nitro. I wasn't too enthused to finish this, but it was easy enough with its light body.

I was going to add this as an American Stout or something, but if the brewery wants to call this an Imperial Stout, then so be it.

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Photo of wedge6128
2.11/5  rDev -47.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

I rarely say this as I find most beers to be to weak and love a good dark stout but this beer is way to strong. Its almost unbearable. The taste is like drinking a carbonated Black coffee with no sugar or dream and only the slight hint of a Stout beer flavor. In theory this was a great idea for a beer but in practice it is pretty bad.

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Photo of Bluedog1211
2.63/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Pours a dark brown to black with about an inch of head that quickly dissipates lacing remains on the glass with every sip.

Tastes like a day old Starbucks coffee which is not a terrible thing. Besides the stale coffee taste it finishes with a black licorice taste that remains in your mouth. Maybe some vanilla as it warms.

A lighter mouth feel than I expected but not a smooth swallow.

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Photo of mactrail
2.91/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Smells just like old, cold coffee. Hard to make it smell steamy and aromatic. Black in the glass, not a particularly big foam. Quite bitter, like espresso. Hard to tell the hops from the java. Winey and strong with alcohol. Rich with malt and slightly sweet.

Kind of an oddity, but if you llike coffee beers, this one is about as coffeed-up as any I've had. I can't get too far into this-- it just taste like iced coffee needing some cream.

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Photo of czechsaaz
2.95/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Really malty smelling, nice roast and a little bit of coffee. Fruity yeast too.

Deep black. Half inch tan head that lingers as a little layer and leaves a touch of lacing.

Very sweet flavor but with a nice coffee aftertaste. Black and sweet maybe? Overall, it's too sweet for my taste. I have a hard time focusing on anything else. There's a bit of toasty stout and yeast but it doesn't get through unless I'm really trying.

Slightly warming and not as full bodied as most Impy Stout.

Not one I'll be stocking in my fridge.

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Photo of Karibourgeois
3/5  rDev -24.8%

Coal black pour with a light brown one-finger head. Really nice aroma of fresh coffee beans with a hint of chocolate. Very sweet flavor of chocolate and light roast coffee upfront. Medium body also has a hint of roasted malt and french roast coffee bitterness in the finish. Was kind of expecting more from the flavor as the smell was amazing.

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Photo of nsabo
3.09/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My first bit of praise is unnecessary and is in no way an indicator of this beer’s quality, but I gotta give props for the artwork. Totally brown can with its name at the bottom and a tiny nondescript picture of a coffee cup/beer pitcher. No big, flashy logo. If communists had state beer, this is about what their artwork would look like.
Okay, but on to the beer. The coffee is surprisingly balanced, it’s the dominant taste without taking over and becoming the only taste (unlike Bridgeport’s coffee porter, bleh). Each sip finishes with a crisp bitter blend of hops and coffee. Some baker’s chocolate, vanilla and cloves make this is a fairly sweet stout.
I like this, but I have to knock it for calling itself an Imperial stout. Thin mouthfeel, light shines through its dark brown color, and while tasty it’s not very complex. It drinks like a session beer, and when I drink an imperial stout I want to savor, not session it.
Call it a coffee stout and enjoy; just don’t expect anything imperial.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.13/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 fl oz can acquired at Davidson's Liquors in Lone Tree, Colorado and served into a nonical Guinness pint glass in me gaff in Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I fancy the style but I've never tried a beer from this brewery.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

The can cracked open and immediately started surging, indicating overcarbonation.

A: Pours a five finger khaki head of nice cream, nice thickness, and impressive retention for the high ABV. Colour is a predictable nontransparent solid black. No yeast particles are visible - but it's nontransparent. No bubble show.

Sm: Heavy coffee bean, coffee roast, cream, and dark malts. Coffee is definitely dominant, but it seems overdone; I worry about the balance. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Heavy coffee with a touch of roast, accompanied by some cream. Dark malts comprise the unobtrusive foundation. Hints of chocolate here and there don't amount to anything distinct or particularly impactful. Full-bodied.

Mf: Strangely syrupy and viscous - hot damn. Entirely too smooth and wet for the style - which demands dryness and coarseness. Adequate carbonation. It complements the flavours fairly well, but is far from ideal.

Dr: Quite drinkable and enjoyable, but far from complex or simple. The ABV is well disguised. Coffee is handled well here, but the base requires much more roasted barley. I'd have it again preferably on nitro-draught. Fairly priced. I look forward to trying more beers from this brewery.


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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 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 Thorpe429
3.3/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12-ounce can shared by yourefragile in line at the BA Sexual Chocolate release. Really nice design on the can; very appropriate for the day and time. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pours a very dark brown with a light tan head and a ring or two of lacing on the way down. Thin collar throughout. The nose brings loads of coffee along with a bit of cream and some chocolate. The flavor consists of the same, with the coffee taking the front following by a bit of cream and dark chocolate. Could have been a big hit, though the mouthfeel takes things way back, as it was terribly over-carbonated, ruining what I imagine otherwise would have been a nice creamy mouthfeel. Roast is there in the flavor as well. Pretty good.

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Photo of XicanoBeerRun
3.32/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured like used motor oil, black and opaque, and not thick like some stouts. Cocoa head about 1/8 inch thick dissipated rapidly. Smells like chocolate and coffee. I know this is not too creative, but it is all I could come up with. Taste: chocolate cake, chocolate covered coffee beans. The coffee was not as prominent as I had expected. I enjoyed this. It was somehow refreshing, which I do not expect from a stout.

I’ll have another.

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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.

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Photo of taxguyjase
3.38/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - Thick black body with a foamy, mocha colored head. Head is pretty sticky too, as it coats the glass substantially. 4.0/5.0

Smell - Coffee coffee coffee. The aroma is like sticking your nose right into a bin of coffee beans. Not just any coffee beans, but the uber-dark ones that will literally put hair on your chest. Any other smell is overpowered by the coffee. You get a hit of that coffee each time that you taste it too. 3.5/5.0

Taste - Like the aroma, coffee dominates the flavor, but it starts to smooth out a bit. The first time I had this beer, I was taken aback by the coffee flavor and almost had trouble finishing it. 2nd go around was much better with the toasted malt coming out. Very little sweetness, as the coffee's bitterness takes priority. It's like having a strong cup of Starbucks bold coffee...no cream...no sugar. 3.5/5.0

Feel - 1st taste is strong until your mouth adjusts to the beer. After that, you start to get some more of the flavor notes. 3.0/5.0

Drinkability - Jury is out. 1st time, probably wouldn't have bought it again. 2nd time, enjoying it. I'm guessing the 3rd time, I'll want to get a six pack or two for the fridge. 3.0/5.0

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Photo of yourefragile
3.38/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz can shared at BASC release.

Dark coffee color with a tan head, minimal lacing and retains a collar throughout. Aroma is strong burnt coffee, with mild cream and sweetness. Roast coffee, and faint hop bitterness are the focus of the flavor. Way too carbonated though, knocking this down a few notches in the rating. Not bad, could be better.

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Photo of bobhits
3.4/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Imperial Java Stout

Doesn’t have the viscous thick cream look of say a ten fidy, but the color in the glass is deep black with small tiny bubbles that quickly fade away. The pour is deep brown and amber colored far darker than many of the lesser stouts, but still pretty dark.

One of the biggest coffee noses I’ve ever smelled. Somewhat more bitter and maybe a touch I dunno sour which I pick up on many of these strong java stouts. I think this odd flavor is a result of hops and coffee and the hops are really making themselves heard as this one warms up a touch.

Tastes like an overly sweet cup of coffee. I’m talking way over the top sweet, whatever happened to black coffee? I kid a bit as this is pretty darn tasty. It’s a bit too sweet as I think this coffee flavor should be showcased a bit more.

Very well carbonated for an 8% beer and surprisingly thin in body. Normally I want a bit more viscous and creamy body, but something about this beer just really works for me.

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Photo of suspect
3.42/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz can into a Duvel snifter.

A: As per usual with a stout it pours deep dark brown almost black in color. Aggressive glug-glug pour leads to a growing 2 finger whipped mocha colored head that leaves plenty of lacing and nice rocky clouds on the top.

S: Over-brewed coffee and some dark toasted malts are the highlights of this one. Sometimes the coffee smells well blended and thoughtfully picked out. This is not one of those times. It doesn't really blend well and the bitterness really just overpowers.

T: Coffee and coffee grounds are what hit me the most with this one. There is a nutty flavor in the finish which is a pleasant surprise.

M: Creamy big finish. Just the right amount of carbonation for my liking with a stout like this.

O: A good, not great, beer. An easy drinking, nice touch putting it in the can.

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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.

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Photo of StroppyMare
3.49/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Picked these up on a recent trip to Albuquerque. If they brew as well as they cook, I'll be in heaven...

Appearance: Inky and dark, like I like. Cream-colored head that didn't stick around long and left some trace lacing.

Smell: Promising. Very coffee and roasty, but seems balanced.

Taste: OMG, did someone say coffee? I expect grounds at the bottom of my glass. But there's also some roasted (almost burnt) malt, vanilla at the end. None of the flavors stick around or round out. No alcohol detectable.

Mouthfeel: Thinner than I would like. Prickly carbonation.

Overall: Not bad. A very drinkable beverage. Not exciting. I wouldn't turn another one down if it were offered, but there are other beers out there I'd buy first.

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Photo of bennetj17
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Black color, with hints of light about the edges. Not really thick or viscous looking for stout. Leaves a thin tan foam after pour, but doesn't last long. Straight up coffee aroma, sweet, but lacks depth and is a bit one dimensional perhaps.

Flavor has a bit more roasted bitterness than the smell suggests, but I'm not sure it stacks up against the cloying sweetness of vanilla/cola like malt. The coffee taste is somewhat heavy, almost like it dominates the overall flavor instead of complementing the beer. There isn't much contrast from start to finish in the sip either. Alcohol seems pretty mild actually, not really understanding the "Imperial" title here. Moderately thick body, decent carbonation.

Overall a slight disappointment. Not a well refined Coffee Stout, and a little too sweet. Considering the abundance of options in the Coffee beer arena these days, this one will be easily forgotten.

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Photo of Nathan451
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Not bad at all or better than okay. To be fair, I'm drinking straight from the can(+.5 points) ; but I'd like something to make it more complex (like a vanilla or more pronounced chocolate). There must be something about drinking straight from the can... nope, pored it to a glass and still taste something metallic and not quite enough chocolate.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.51/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Cursory review from brief notes. On tap at Eske Brewing - served in a nonic.

Opaque bistre body, wheat head, sandy lacing, good retention.

Low coffee aroma, fruity, roasty...

Low bitterness, moderate sweetness, medium finish, some herbal/baking spice notes from hops - perhaps a touch of diacetyl.

A little thin bodied, though the ABV is well concealed.

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Photo of Netdigger2
3.51/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Extra, Thanks IR!

Pours foggy black with a very nice mocha head, mild brown highlights, and mild lacing.

Smell has a lot of roasted malt, some burnt coffee, hints of wood, charred toast.

Taste is large amounts of roast and bitter, high SRM malt- how this doesn't look like used motor oil is beyond me with all of the roasted barley character. I pick up some coffee, high cacao chocolate and toasted oats.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, well carbonated without feeling like rootbeer.

This is good, not near Peche Mortel or WnB, but very drinkable. I think a better quality coffee character would make this exceptional

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Photo of Retail1LO
3.52/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a can into a small snifter. Pours a jet black hue with a thin, bubbly, effervescent head that recedes quickly, and knows nothing about lacing. Smell is a pretty decent coffee note with a hit of dark fruit/cherries. Sweet nose, regardless. The taste is nothing to write home about. Some moderate coffee notes, but nothing that wows you. There's again, a pervasive sweetness to this that's just not right. The mouthfeel is thin as hell, something I'm not fond of in coffee beers, especially ones that are declared "stouts." Overall, this is "meh" at best. Another easily forgettable beer.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.55/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a dark chocolate brown with burgundy highlights. Wispy white head settles in quickly. A little thinner looking than I'd prefer.

S- Java for sure. Raw coffee bean aroma leads the way. Dig deep for chocolate and other roasted notes. Very straight forward.

T- Certainly more character than the nose led me to believe. Coffee forward again, but also has some espresso, toffee, roasted nuts, caramel, and pine flavour.

M- More body than expected from the pour. Mid body, but with a decent level of creaminess.

O- The coffee dominating aroma fooled me into thinking this would be more of a cold coffee stout, like Schlafely's, but I was fooled. Doesn't have the layers of depth to be world class, but a very solid value stout.

$9 for a 6 pk

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Imperial Java Stout from Santa Fe Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 207 ratings.