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 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.

 716 characters

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.

 440 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 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

 1,182 characters

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.

 347 characters

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.

 994 characters

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.

 841 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 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.

 733 characters

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.

 909 characters

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.

 347 characters

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.

 358 characters

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

 619 characters

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.

 598 characters

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

 751 characters

Photo of jaasen64
3.55/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into Lawson's snifter.

A- Pours a dark brown that appears jet black with a finger of beige head that has nice retention and recedes slowly leaving no head and a thin layer of lacing along the top of the glass.

S- Coffee, espresso beans, roasted malts, hint of caramel. Fairly sweet, about average aroma strength, pleasant but not as pleasant as some of the coffee stouts that I've had.

T- Bitter coffee, caramel, a bit of licorice, fairly sweet. A little bit too much licorice and a bit on the sweet side for my liking in a coffee stout.

M- Medium bodied, easy drinking, nice carbonation.

O- This was a decent coffee stout that wasn't anything too exciting. It had decent flavor, but was a little bit too sweet with a licorice flavor that controlled the coffee too much. It wasn't bad, but I probably won't be drinking this again in the near future.

 871 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 mjpolzin
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This was an okay coffee stout but not spectacular. It was very drinkable and the coffee was present but it didn't blow me away. This is a style I really like so I probably have a high bar for what I expect for a coffee beer. One thing that was interesting was that the nose had a bit of cola which reminded me of Trader Joe's Vintage Ale.

 338 characters

Photo of Foxybrau
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A little underwhelmed by this beer. Definitely has the look and strength of a stout, but missing the subtlety. I wasn't intrigued at all by either the smell or taste. Very coffee and alcohol forward so there's nowhere to go after that. If you're looking for 8% espresso this is it; and it's tasty by those standards, but doesn't hold up against many other coffee-centric stouts in overall quality.

 401 characters

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.

 690 characters

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.

 604 characters

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.

 813 characters

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.

 874 characters

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.

 658 characters

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. :-)

 550 characters

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