Samuel Adams Imperial Pilsner 2005 Harvest - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
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Ratings: 252 | Reviews: 242 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by the Alström Bros:
4.55/5 rDev +10.4%
Uniquely shaped 1pt 8fl oz brown bottle - best before January 2005 on the back label. Pours a crazy chill-hazed opaque burnt orange colored brew, crowned with a milky white head that settles to creamy lace with plenty of stick and retention thanks to all of the hops in this brew. Some clarity comes with warmth on this one. The small amount of dregs were avoided and left in the bottle.
Big fresh and spicy hop aroma, floral bouquet, and a sneaky alcohol waiting to kick my ass.
Oh man! The mouthfeel on this one is so damn smooth and creamy, and a bit chewy. Full-bodied, with an even sugary feel. Lively carbonation, that's crisp for about half a second. Blissful on the palate! Alcohol spice is the first to come to play, followed by some heat, then sweet bready malts. Juicy flavors of ripe citrus fruits. Wrapped around all of this is a massive profile of aggressive hops. It's all there: leafy, oily, resiny, coarse, a bit piney, floral, herbal, grapefruit rind, salty, with some earth and wood under the coarseness, and a faint dot of spearmint. Crazy.
110IBU from Hallertau Mittelfrueh? A hop that's around 3% alpha acid? A reckless use of hops indeed! Let's add pithy and grassy, too. Hops are so damn complex I might either faint or start trippin'. A toasty caramel also emerges as the beer warms and the spicy alcohol and heat also picks up the pace. Finishes with a drying coat of dusty hop tannins on the palate and a slight burnt hop and ashy resinous linger, and some crackery flavors. Leaves the palate bone-dry and wanting more.
I paid $2.99 for the bottle, making it the bargain beer of 2005 for me! What an amazing beer, and a Pilsner, oddly balanced and highly drinkable, and a ballsy release for Boston Beer Co. that succeeded, big-time. And, kudos to Jim Koch for recognizing that hops will deteriorate, and slapping this beer with a very short lifespan to ensure maximum enjoyment with consumers. Though I'm within the month, all bottles had up to this point have been pretty close, though with this one I'm noting an increase of heat and more hop tannins. Hop-wise, the beer peaked when it was released. And the point of this beer was its fresh use of hops - not to age it as it's big and "Imperial." Drink it now, before your experience is not as intended.
01-29-2006 05:38:34 | More by Todd
4.38/5 rDev +6.3%
24 oz brown bottle with a freshness date on the back label.
A- Amazing head retention even after you take several sips ... the lace pretty much clings all the way down the glass too. Completely orange-amber hazed color, this is most likely from the boat load of hops used in this brew.
S- Very floral, tad orangey with other mild citric tones ... faintly pine-like with an herbal backing, all from the hops. Mild and clean solvent alcohol.
T&M- Creamy smoothness is sublime in the full body, big hop presence of bitterness and flavor. Layers of pungent oil; soft herbal, clean citric, tobacco, dull pine. Maltiness drops in a foundation of sweet and toasted character ... but this is simply overshadowed by the massive hop onslaught.
D- A big two thumbs up to the Boston Beer Co. for brewing this beer ... I'd love to this or similar every year. Sometimes the more hops the better. Paired this with some sharp goat cheddar.
03-20-2006 00:14:07 | More by Jason
More User Reviews:
4.05/5 rDev -1.7%
Pours a clouded deep golden with burnt orange hue with a very tight two finger white head that left sheets of lace as it settled leaving a frothy top.The noble hops this beer is full of really show thru in the aroma sharp and peppery spice a little herbal over top of a doughy malt base reminded me a bit of a vienna style lager aroma wise.Quite a hefty pizza dough malt base lightly sweet and almost chewey stands out at first the reckless amount of hops hit mainly in the finish quite spicey and herbal that lingers nicely.Did I say this reminds me a bit of a big vienna style lager?A very good beer and I like the 24 oz bottle,well done.
12-30-2005 23:30:16 | More by oberon
4.38/5 rDev +6.3%
Pours from the big 24oz bottle a viscous, deep, opaque amber orange color with a wispy fluffy inch of off white head. Sticky strings of lacing all over the glass as the head falls on the brew. Aromas stand up and smack me in the face with a hoppy onslaught. Spicy, herbal, citrusy, piney hop notes abound along with an underlying sweet creamy bready, caramel aroma. Fresh, divine Hallertau Mittelfruh goodness. A very enticing aroma...way to go Sam Adams!
First sip brings a somewhat sweet doughy, caramel/crystal maltiness quickly followed by a blast of resinous Noble hop oil dominance. The freshness comes through via the intense green, herbal leafy sensation that each sip brings. The citrusy, piney, spicy hops fill the mouth with a hefty dose of bitterness on the way down. Lingering Hallertau after each sip met by spicy Noble hop burps. Nicely balanced, with the scales tipped rightly in the favor of the hops. Only a faint hint of the 8.8% abv exists.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, fairly dry with a wonderful creaminess in each sip. Simply delectable...this brew goes down very easily for this hop lover. Smooth and tasty it's really hard to put down the glass here. One bottle is enough for a sitting...but I'd pick up a few as you'll want to go back to this one again. A wonderful new entry from Jim Koch and Co. and I hope there is more to come. More brewers need to explore the Imperial Pilsner IMHO.
12-09-2005 23:32:51 | More by orbitalr0x
3.6/5 rDev -12.6%
22 oz bottle. Pours a hazy golden orange with a big rocky white head that retains well and leaves tons of lacing.
The aroma is grassy and floral hops and a little alcohol.
The flavor is very sweet (slightly fruity) and earthy with a big grassy bitter finish and a lingering extremely harsh bitter (almost metallic) aftertaste. There's a little alcohol. It's pretty raw and unbalanced with a big gap between extreme bitterness and sweetness. The mouthfeel is medium to full with a good amount of carbonation.
Overall, one of the more interesting Sam Adams beers I've had. Pretty good and bitter (German hops are not my favorite though), but gets dinged for being unbalanced and for the harsh aftertaste. I was expecting to like this less and less as I went through the bomber, but it was pretty smooth and drinkable.
01-13-2006 07:35:00 | More by Beaver13
4.9/5 rDev +18.9%
It poured a good dark golden color. Very little head. It has a strong hops smell. Hops overpowers everything in the taste and smell. Good thing I like hops. I generally don't much care for pilsners, but this is more of an IPA in taste and smell than a pils. It was smooth with little alcohol taste. I couldn't tell that it was 8.8% ABV. This is extremely drinkable. I could drink several at once if I wouldn't be smashed by the end of the second one. Very strong, this one. If I didn't know better, I would think this was an ale. Besides being like an IPA, it reminds me of an American strong ale.
11-22-2005 00:34:27 | More by badturtle
4.28/5 rDev +3.9%
I haven't had one of these babies since last year but scored some stragglers at a local liquor store that I decided to pop into for the hell of it. I was excited to see them because I remember absolutely LOVING this beer in the fall of '05. I was eager to see how much it has changed in a year.
Pours an extremely murky, dark orangeish color...like a lighter shade of cider. Enormous, frothy head that just stays there forever. Ridiculous lacing to boot...total white out of the glass. What a gorgeous beer, just as I remembered.
Aroma is of fruity, citrusy hops, hops, and more hops. It is noticeably lighter and a bit sweeter smelling than it did fresh. It's not as "in your face" as it used to be. When fresh, it would jump out of the glass and smack you around a bit before you decided to sip it.
Then the taste...whew. Still a hop bomb, although noticeably milder than it was fresh. That really isn't saying much though because it is still just completely over-the-top. When fresh, it borders on being offensive, and astringes your entire mouth. Sweet honey malts, and hops all over the place. Very bitter, lasting well after you put the glass down from your sip. God, this is good. More piney and spicey now than when it was fresh as well. It's the same beer but has a few slight different characteristics. I enjoy seeing how a beer can change over time like this.
Mouthfeel is very heavy, almost syrupy and rolls around on your tongue. I would describe it as chewy as well. This is a GREAT beer but is it very drinkable? I don't know. As with any over-the-top hoppy beer with a high ABV, it can only be so drinkable. I could probably take down a couple of these bombers but just one would be perfect and enough. It's a beer that you should baby and enjoy the hop attack.
This is easily the best pilsner I have ever had, by a long shot. I'm not a huge fan of typical pilsners at all. Also, imho, it is the best beer that Samuel Adams has ever brewed thus far.
10-23-2006 01:42:41 | More by Doomcifer
3.63/5 rDev -11.9%
While this beer is warming up a little, Id like to mention that it was laid on me by Casey Hard, the much esteemed cellarman at Maxs on Broadway in Fells Point, Baltimore. He is truly the Prince of Beer.
There is no mistaking the hops aroma, forewarned by the advertised hop load (enormous, almost reckless quantities) on the neck tag. The beer appears an orangey color and is fairly opaque in a clear pilsner glass. Its initial taste is somewhat lighter than expected but lingers with a nice bitter tinge. The malt flavors are decent but subtle. The head dissipated quickly but left a nice lace. There is no mistaking the 8.8% heft but with absolutely no alcohol slap. As I work into the second glass (were dealing with a 24 oz bottle), I can see the advantages of this beer on a cold winter day (its actually the Solstice as I write this); I generally leave off the pilsners during the cold months.
Im not sure what to make of the double or imperial pilsner style. Of all these I have tasted, I think the Small Craft Warning comes the closest to an actual Pils in style. I love the wonderful tension between the malt and hops in a well crafted Pils, of which south central PA is blessed, and there is just too much in these doubles to produce that delicate balance. I guess this sort of thing is something beer drinkers are just going to have to get used to.
12-22-2005 20:48:54 | More by BeerIsland
4.3/5 rDev +4.4%
Bomber bottle, with a hanging little booklet, giving information/propaganda about the beer. Enjoy before date on the rear label. Pours a glowing honey/orangy shade, with a slight cloudyness. Dense light tan head, that leaves gobs of lacing and sheeting. Nose is of pungent, spicy, musty hops. This a large,rich, bold, flavorful and hoppy concoction. Very coating and oily mouthfeel. Dry, flavorful and grainy finish. Hoppy oils coat the teeth and tell me to refill my glass with this fine brew. This went very well with a bratwurst cooked with sourkraut in some much less hoppy beer. Be sure to get a few bottles of this very worthy brew and enjoy.
11-26-2005 19:21:21 | More by Billolick
4.25/5 rDev +3.2%
A cloudy, murky golden orange color with two full fingers of bright white head...thin, web-like lacing forms and has tremendous cling.
Very inviting aroma...tons of earthy hops and sweet malt.
The taste is fabulous...an explosion of bittering hops hit the pallet along with a solid malt backbone to add just enough sweetness to balance it out perfectly. No real hop particles in the mouthfeel...just a feeling of hops clinging to my enamel.
Carbonation is perfect...so mellow and warming at 8.8%.
Drinkability is very good. I am very impressed with this offering from SA...always enjoyed their beers to an extent, but this one is so special and worth all of the praise it receives.
12-30-2005 01:57:53 | More by warriorsoul
4.03/5 rDev -2.2%
Poured a copper orange color with about a half inch of rich creamy head. Rich smell of Hallertauer hops mixed with various floral accents, even a grassiness to it. Taste is almost a hop explosion with piney and grassy flavors, bitter but not cloyingly so. Beer is heavy in your mouth and is medium to full bodied and moderate carbonation levels. Was a nice treat, and I would get more but it's not something I could have everyday.
01-27-2006 02:20:40 | More by badbeer
4.58/5 rDev +11.2%
Review from notes.
I was very happy to have found this at Carytown Wine and Beer and immediately procured some for myself and for AKSmokedPorter.
Very nice artwork on the bottle...
Rough pour yields a cloudy bright orange beer with a firm layer of off-white head that threatens to boil over the glass and quietly dies down to a modest pinkie-thin layer. Nice lacing with distinct rings of foam on the sides of the glass.
This smells very "fresh". This is a pilsner? Voluminous quantities of hops dance across your nose: Freshly squeezed fruit juices, ground herbs, fresh-cut flowers....all drizzled with pine oils. Only a fleeting waft of any sort of malt sweetness is able to break through.
Flavor is more balanced, but hops dominate. Some caramel sweetness noted but mostly a juicy mouthfeel of hops. Near the end, Mr. ABV pokes his head in to say "hi", and the end dries out with a hoppy burp-inducing aftertaste.
Chewy body with perfect carbonation. Extremely drinkable. My bottle disappeared far too quickly.
Notes: I would LOVE to see this brewed again and again. This was a real treat.
04-16-2006 22:20:43 | More by OldFrothingSlosh
4.2/5 rDev +1.9%
I bought this as a single at Union Jack's on the Manatawny. I drank it in a pilsner glass. On the back of the bottle it says "For Brewery Fresh Taste Enjoy Before January 2006. Comes with a little card describing how Jim Koch went to Bavaria to personally select the hops for this beer. Whatever...
Pours a very hazy (extra hoppy beers are often hazy) light copper with a huge 3 finger head of cream colored foam. The head falls to a 1/4" coating with fantastic lacing; you can count every sip. Carbonation appears low. When I finished the glass, it was entirely coated by lacing. Doesn't it seem every Sam Adams beer has great lacing?
Aroma is spicy, floral and maybe a little citrusy, with a gentle carameliness (?) riding in the background. It smells very inviting, even though I have to admit I was expecting a little more aroma. Malt and spice smell increases as it warms.
Flavor is at first caramel malt, which is quickly followed by spicy and citrusy hop flavor and a pretty damn strong level of hop bitterness. Residual sweetness is high. It's hard to believe this is a real pilsner; there's not much pilsnery about it, although it IS delicious. It's like a DIPA without the fruitiness. At 8.8%, the alcohol is very well hidden, only showing itself at the end. For the size of this beer, it's pretty well balanced. Aftertaste is long and hoppy and sweet.
Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy and full bodied. Carbonation is soft, with just a hint at the end of the sip. Finish is mouth puckeringly bitter and sweet.
It's kind of hard to rate the drinkability of this beer. It's very good, with a pretty good balance between malt and hops, leaning toward the hop side. I'm not so sure I could drink more than one of these in a sitting, but for a Sunday afternoon, it's just great.
01-15-2006 17:46:55 | More by jakester
4.75/5 rDev +15.3%
Imperial Pilsner? I think it might be better described as an Imperial/Double Kellerbier instead.
I was blown away by this beer. First of all, I'm not a pilsner fan. Secondly, I'm not much of a fan of Sam Adams beers. However, I would drink this one year-round if it was available. This murky beer isn't much to look at, but it sure tastes great. It definitely doesn't look or taste like a typical pilsner. Actually, this brew seemed to have some similarities to a St. Georgen Brau Kellerbier I once had on draft in Bamberg (ie - the cloudiness, the wonderful German hop bitterness and aroma set against a satisfying malt backbone, and the hint of sourness). No, this is certainly not "crisp" like your typical pilsner.
Whatever you want to call this one, it's a winner. The wonderful German hop character in this one is just outstanding. The muddiness of the malt might be something that could use some improvement. Oh well, this is easily the best Sam Adams beer I've had and is excellent just the way it is.
Sam Adams, PLEASE consider making this one available again. Better yet, how about making it a year-round product?
(Note: This review was based on my thoughts when first trying this beer back in late 2005.)
06-13-2006 21:55:26 | More by ohmybock
4.18/5 rDev +1.5%
Hazy apricot color with columns of bubbles quickly rising from bottom to top. A thick off-white head rises a full inch up the glass and stays for the duration. Rings of lace create a ladder around the inside of the glass as I sip.
Aroma is sweet bisucity malt punctuated by grassy hops. Flavor is initially hoppy, very citrusy with grapefruit and orange peel. It turns a little grassy, then allows some malt sweetness to break through, followed by ripe pear and some butterscotch. As it warms the malt depth increases and becomes more complex, becoming richer and chewey, thick and caramel/toffeeish. It plays well with the hops, which also seem to bloom and become more pungent as I get deeper into the bottle. Definitely the hoppiest pilsner I've had. A bit of alcohol warmth breaks through toward the finish and rises up the cheeks. Piney hops linger. Mouthfeel is a little tingly, is it overly carbonated or are the hops dancing on my tongue?
Very drinkable beer, one of the best I've had from Sam Adams.
12-11-2005 22:16:35 | More by far333
4.22/5 rDev +2.4%
Very hazy bright apricot appearance, pale head of large and medium bubbles settles to a light froth an about a minute. Nice and attractive dripping ring laces. Interesting but subdued aroma, like a spiced cinnamon candle with sandalwood incense qualities and a hint of prickliness. Lower carbonation, fully medium to almost heavy mouthfeel. Malt profile is adequate but is quickly subsumed by the hoppiness. Very spicy profile, clove, wild sage, cinnamon, with a strong note of cedar coming across broadly, and then fading to a less-well-defined bitterness in the aftertaste. Still, enough dried conifer to come up the nose a bit. Jim did amp up an interesting selection of hops here, damned distinct. Maybe a bit thick for great dinkability, and this beer is a good example of how "Imperial Pilsner" is a pretty open category
11-15-2005 00:31:36 | More by ADR
4.55/5 rDev +10.4%
Appearance: Cloudy amber golden big thicket of off white orangish brown tinted head leaves even speckled lacing down the conical v shaped pilsner glass. Aroma: Hallertau...Hallertau...and more Hallertau very much leaf, citrus, and floral toned blended with a pilsener note biscuit tone with a mineral note finishing with a touch of alcohol and heavy bready sweetness. Taste: Strong bitterness German noble hops earthy, floral, grassy, and citrus rinds mmh mmh good hefty grain bill produces some balance to the even heftier load of hops slightly sugary flavor a touch more sweetness and alcohol come out as it warms but Hallertau hops rain supreme with alot of bitterness. Mouthfeel: Medium to fuller body range carbonation slowly chugs along I'm assuming due to the higher gravity sticky with oils from hops and residual sugars nice. Drinkability: Very nice never experienced Halletau hops in this fashion very aggressive and innovative on a relatively low traveled style, I'm very happy nice from the bigger craft brewer and only $6.50 much better than Sam Adams last "special release" the Chocolate Bock at $15+.
12-10-2005 16:22:12 | More by WVbeergeek
4.08/5 rDev -1%
Pours an off-white head over a hazy amber body. Great lace and head retention. You can smell the hops emanating from the glass while its still sitting on the table. Upon further olfactory inspection this impy pils boasts complex floral hops aromas like no pils Ive ever met. The citric and spicy hop flavors dominate with a substantial bitterness. Sweet caramel malt pokes through, but recedes again into the hops tour de force. Full bodied. Lingering bitterness in the aftertaste and drying.
This is one massively hoppy beer, but the fact that the malts still push through is a testament to the artistry behind its creation. I wouldnt call this a well-balanced beer, but the hop varieties are well-chosen. A must try fro hop-heads.
12-01-2005 14:47:00 | More by Shovelbum
4.03/5 rDev -2.2%
(Served in an imperial pint glass)
A- This beer has a golden-orangey body with a slight hazy and a big creamy cream colored head. It has a good carbonation of tiny bubbles. The beer has nice lacing with each sip.
S- The aroma of fresh green hops is evident even during the pour. The smell of noble hops has a slight musty, earthy hint with some nice spice quality to the finish.
T- The crisp taste of good pale malt and fresh grain with a hint of sulfur taste is quickly overpowered by the big juicy green hops. The hops have a slight iced tea hint to the finish. Then the nice big hop bitterness brings up the finish. The bitter taste hangs on the back of the throat. As this beer warms the hint of pine comes through in the hop finish.
M- This beer has a nice medium-full mouthfeel with a creamy texture. There is no alcohol warmth but a slight astringent quality at the end.
D- This is a good pilsner supporting a big hoppy beer. Its nice to taste big noble hops and it shows the dimension of using different hops. The pilsner grain comes through more as it warms but the big green fresh hops are really well represented in this beer.
11-30-2005 22:59:28 | More by rhoadsrage
4/5 rDev -2.9%
bomber from BevMo!, West Hollywood
Like some have noted, this is far more DIPA (Imperial IPA) than it is Imperial Pilsner. That being said, this is a fine beer in that category I might say DIPA is becoming my new favorite style of choice.
It pours a nice golden color with a crisp, cloud, white laced head. The aroma is pure hops. Its a hop monster. Its taste echos the aroma bitter hop character with a smoother-than-expected finish. Pine and citrus flavors are evident with a slight but noticeable malt presence. Smooth, almost creamy mouthfeels covers the near 9% ABV nicely.
This is one of the better beers Ive had from the Boston Beer Company, I hope to get some more.
12-06-2005 01:01:36 | More by sloejams
3.8/5 rDev -7.8%
This poured to a nice thick copper and orange with a medium head. Lace is minor.
Hops dominate the smell with slight floral aromas. They take center stage right from the front of the taste as well. Bitterness is huge in flavor but not overwhelming. However, the malt content does not seem provide much character. The mouthfeel is slightly thin, while drinkability is good for the alcohol content.
02-12-2006 11:33:20 | More by watermelonman
3.9/5 rDev -5.3%
The imperial pilsner pours a nice bright orange color with an off white head that lasts for a bit. One smell of it lets you know what it is all about, hops! You get the bitter hoppy tasty when it firsts hits your lips and it is pretty refreshing. Shared this bottle with a few friends but definitely could take one or two of these myself and try to take them down. At the price and for the taste and mouthful you get out of this beer, I will definitely grab a few more bottles of this to share with friends and also to hourd for myself.
12-20-2005 04:59:51 | More by ggaughan
4.5/5 rDev +9.2%
Cloudy gold orange and a slght mahogany, with a white dense head. Lacing lasts. Aroma is very refreshing and fresh. Floral, a little piney and possibly minty. A little bit of grassy meadow as well. Taste is very fresh and juicy. Citric and floral with a nice full malt back. Suprisingly good. Very velvety but thick and chewy mouthfeel. Fresh and thick. Nice alcohol warming as well.
Just a really good + ultra fresh pilsner...amplified.
11-27-2005 02:57:02 | More by tastybeer
4.4/5 rDev +6.8%
I picked this up and was surprised.I have never heard of this type of beer and decided to give it a try.This pours a cloudy coppery color with a huge foamy head.
The smell is a hoppy citrus scent that is very strong.This is a very balanced beer.Although it is very hoppy,it's not too bitter. The malt is also strong and makes this a well rounded beer.A really full m/f,the taste actually explodes in your mouth.
If I can find this again I will buy it.Great job Sam.
11-05-2005 21:01:47 | More by jmz62565
Samuel Adams Imperial Pilsner 2005 Harvest from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
92 out of 100 based on 252 ratings.