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Samuel Adams Imperial White - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Not Rated.
Samuel Adams Imperial WhiteSamuel Adams Imperial White

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,251 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,251
Reviews: 640
rAvg: 3.45
pDev: 19.71%
Wants: 25
Gots: 54 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Witbier |  10.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Jason on 01-16-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,251 | Reviews: 640 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CrazyMacHarris99
3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This one poured beautifully and smelled great but it all went down hill from there.

Pours a deep cloudy orange with a thin whispy white head. Great lacing and small legs around the glass. The smell is wheat and orange with a hint of coriander. Some alcohol present in the smell. The taste is mostly wheat and orange. Not much of a coriander in there but a little. The alcohol is too much for this one. Making a witbier stronger, atleast in this case, does nothing for the beer. The alcohol takes over and the mouthfeel is oily from it. I would say the drinkability is low and this one could use a year or two in the cellar but I think that would only mellow the hotness and would probably not do much to the flavor of the beer.

CrazyMacHarris99, Mar 03, 2009
Photo of dananabanana
4.65/5  rDev +34.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: hazy orange. One-finger white head, pretty good retention. Strong lacing all around.

S: Smells wheaty immediately after opening, even from arms length. Bold citrus notes.

T: Mildly alcoholic tang. Citrus and spices. Bold and hearty. Lots of malt, wheat.

M: Nicely carbonated, slightly slick.

D: Very strong, took me a long time to drink and fully enjoy it. Definitely a big brew.

dananabanana, Mar 03, 2009
Photo of Haybeerman
3.33/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Hazy orange/copper color. Poured a 2 finger frothy white head with fari retention. Lacing sheeted down the glass.

S: Alcohol right up front. Clove spices and semi-sweet banana. Quite the balance between between the two.

T: Nice balance between wheat and malt. Along with big flavors, big alcohol. Orange, citrus zest and banana.

M: Full body. Balanced carbonation. Not a typical wit for sure; smooth, creamy, heavy bodied and big alcohol.0

D: Its an Imperial all right. This is not your summer-fun wit - more like one and done.

Haybeerman, Mar 02, 2009
Photo of CrellMoset
3.63/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of and split w/ dkachur - thanks! My portion poured into a tasting glass.

Appearance: Pours a transparent orange body, full of fine-bubbled and slow carbonation, indicative of a very thick beer. The one-finger head fades decently slowly for a witbier (especially one of this alcohol level) and leaves a nice, thick, sticky collar of lace.

Aroma: Dan said it best with "tropical fruit basket." Tons of pineapple, peach, heavier red grape notes, banana, cherry, and pear, mixed in with a light, neutral peppery note and - unfortunately - a slight hint of alcohol burn.

Taste: Thick, syrupy honey notes, cloves, white pepper, banana, pears, and the aforementioned alcohol, which is hot and spicy more than unpleasant. It still does detract from the other flavors, slightly, however. Just a very thick, syrupy, fruity beer.

Mouthfeel: Thick with plenty of fine-bubbled carbonation, making for a big, slightly cloying, milkshake-esque feeling beer. It's even and creamy, but very thick. Plenty of prickly, spicy alcohol, too.

Drinkability: This one's interesting. It's a good stab at a style that's hard to get right - the traditional witbier notes tend not to hide higher abv%s too well, so "imperial" renditions of it often fall flat. This one's even hotter than most, and though the array of flavors and notes it presents are nice, they're a) not very witbier-esque, IMO (more a Belgian Strong Pale) and b) don't do much to cover up the alcohol. That being said, this one's worth trying once. Hopefully, the SA Imperial Series will evolve in time as Koch gets more exposure to higher abv% brews.

CrellMoset, Mar 02, 2009
Photo of spointon
3.65/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured this one from a 12oz brown bottle into my Allagash tulip glass.

A= This ale poured a mildly cloudy orange/amber color. With an aggressive pour at warmer than fridge temp, the snow white head rose just 1/4" then quickly dropped to a very thin broken skim. Some minor lace on the glass.

S= At first sniff, I was surprised to find the aroma almost buried under the huge blanket of alcohol emanating from this brew. Wow. I had to blow across the rim of the glass to remove the alcohol vapor and then I could detect a rich blend of malty and fruity sweetness and a mix of spices. Over time this alcohol vapor thing lessened to reveal more of the beer's quality.

T= The flavor has big alcohol running throughout, but also shows a strong bit of coriander and nutmeg as well as peaches, tangerines, honey, and a generally bready malt sweetness. Finish is on the heavy side and sweet but leaves a pleasant aftertaste.

MF= Bigger medium body with just a moderate carbonation level. Sort of a tongue-coater though.

D= I was really challenged by this beer at first, but as I got to know it I liked it more and more. On the surface, its way darker than one should ever expect a "white" ale to be. It is also a bit sweet and heavier than you would expect, but that is the nature of "Imperial" I guess. Ultimately, this beer needs to sit in the glass for 10-15 minutes before drinking and in my opinion at that time it is an enjoyable sipper. I couldn't do more than two of these in a night though.

spointon, Mar 02, 2009
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This might be the most visually attractive beer I've ever had. Served in a pilsner glass, the beer was a hazy red/orange color with a thick white head and plenty of lacing. Spicy orange aroma, like those Christmas ornaments stuck with cloves. Mostly citrus (orange) taste, faint spice, and malt. But way too sweet! Cloyingly sweet. One and done.

lordofthewiens, Mar 01, 2009
Photo of jmz62565
3.43/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy honey/orange with a large frothy head. The smell is light with spices,bread yeast,and alcohol. The taste has alot of spices with pepper,alcohol,lemon,citrus flavors,bitter hops,and honey. The m/f is heavy with all the flavors mixing OK,but this type of beer is abit tough to drink. Not a bad beer,but just not my type.

jmz62565, Mar 01, 2009
Photo of tmoneyba
3.95/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from S&V, Fort Wayne.

Poured hazy orange color with a medium creamy white head that mostly lasted with good lacing. Moderate yeasty citrus aroma. Medium body with a smooth texture and lively carbonation. Medium to heavy citrus sweet flavor with a medium sweet finish of moderate duration with a small alcohol burn as it warmed.

My expectations where met.

tmoneyba, Feb 28, 2009
Photo of dasenebler
4.08/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Hazy dark orange. Pretty creamy and modest head, a thin layer sticks around. Big aroma of first syrupy orange and banana, then spice, and then alcohol.

Flavor is pretty strong, not very subtle. But it's very tasty. The first thing I noticed actually was the incredible mouthfeel. I literally felt my jaw drop under the weight of the beer. The bottle claims this beer has a huge mouthfeel, and that's not a lie. Remarkable. Flavor was citrusy, but not in a hoppy way. Very sweet and syrupy and warming as hell. Almost cloying. Contrary to what's above, my beer was marked at 10.3% abv. You can taste the alcohol, but it's pretty damn easy to drink despite that. I enjoyed this beer, though it needs more yeastiness to balance things out. But maybe subtlety was not what they were going for with this brazen brew.

dasenebler, Feb 28, 2009
Photo of Gavage
3.35/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: pours a clear orange color with some yellow highlights. A 1/2" head falls quickly to a thick surface foam. A few big bubbles hug the rim.

Smell: alcohol and orange citrus are bold, and some softer coriander lingers in tha background.

Taste: a somewhat grainy wheat base with soft banana, coriander, orange slices profile. The alcohol is a bit over the top here and extremely warming, taking away from the flavor.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Crisp throughout. Some dryness arrives late. Aftertaste is long as alcohol dominates.

Drinkability: this is a true slow sipping beer. One in a session is all you will consume. If you want a boozy beer, this will do.

Gavage, Feb 27, 2009
Photo of Psilo707
2.9/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light colored 10.3% ABV (not 9.0% as the title says) brew pours with a medium head and leaves solid, but thin lacing. Smell is one of fruits and flowers, with a strong alcohol after-scent.

Tastes like bubblegum and candy. I don't much like it at all. The alcohol aftertaste is pretty harsh too since the ABV is so high. Nothing really organic or too pleasing about downing this one. Mouthfeel is a bit better though nothing special. Drinkability is low due too mediocre mouthfeel and taste.

Overall, one of my least favorite Sam Adams. Much disappointed, since I liked the Imperial Series Stout a lot.

Psilo707, Feb 27, 2009
Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.23/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle with the abv being 10.3%, not 9.0%. Emerges a light amber color, slightly hazy, small white head forms on top. Not the large head typical of wits, but I assume that is due to the abv of this one.

Aroma is bubblegum, banana, cloves, sweet candy, and alcohol. Bubblegum leads the charge on this one.

More of the same in the flavors. Big time bubblegum with a small coriander bite and some caramel malts, with a touch of wheatiness.

Not bad I guess. It has a lot of the characters of a wit (some lemon and spice), but this could probably be considered a tripel or something rather than an Imperial White ale. Too sweet and alcoholic for my tastes.

SaCkErZ9, Feb 26, 2009
Photo of connecticutpoet
2.78/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I was looking forward to trying this beer, but unfortunately I wasn't thrilled when I got it.

When poured, a thin layer of head formed, which was quite loud. It died down to a thin film atop a clear yellow body.

Aroma was yeasty/bready, with wheat malt just beneath. An expected banana and spice aspect was present.

The taste was sweet, with wheat and spices to the fore. Unfortunately, there was also a somewhat medicinal flavor as well, and the alcohol aftertaste was too prominent.

Mouthfeel was average... maybe a little thin. Carbonation was noticeable.

Drinkability takes a hit because of the flavor. It's just wierd.

connecticutpoet, Feb 26, 2009
Photo of asabreed
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a Brooklyn snifter. Again, the ABV is wrong. It's 10.3% on the bottle.

Appearance: Bright and hazy copper with some gold in the middle. Nice soapy lacing with trails of white after a sip and some raindrop lacing also.

Smell: Huge rolling wheat aromas, which I like a lot, backed by some banana cream, citrus, some alcohol, and almost wine wine aromas. Big and balanced.

Taste: What I like most about this beer is the hops that balance out the big wheat and malt flavors, which you can get mostly with the ending citrus finish. Also coming through are big wheat flavors, sweeter vanilla and banana cream, and the burst of orange from the hops. I like this a lot.

Mouthfeel: A huge brew with a huge body, though coating, with good creamy carbonation, and nicely sticky.

Drinkability: For an Imperial White over 10%, I think many people may not realize how hard it is to make something with this much quality. This is an awesome sipper, and I like it for the winter more than summer. For the Hoegaarden fans, you're probably not going to like this. But I give Sam Adams props. I only got one bottle, but I may go back and get 4-pack after all. If you like the style, and like the bigger versions -- and there don't seem to many readily available -- you should definitely try it.

asabreed, Feb 26, 2009
Photo of JayNH
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a hazy almost copper color with a solid white foamy head. This brew just looks heavy...

S- Alcohol is noticeable upfront. Orange citrus notes hiding behind the alcohol.

T- Very boozy, it doesn't really burn, it's more in your nose. Orange peel and notes of mint.

M- slick, creamy, and heavy bodied.

D- This really is an Imperial. It's very thick and heavy. You can't drink these like a regular witbier. A solid brew but one's enough for me.

JayNH, Feb 25, 2009
Photo of rowew
3.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz longneck, black and blue label. ABV is marked, where I would expect a date it says enjoy this beer now or age it.

Appearance: Dark reddish orange and cloudy, average head, fades quick.

Smell: Some of the typical wit aromas - a bit of orange, some spice (coriander?). There is an interesting aroma that is a rich mix of spice and a bit of alcohol.

Taste: Again, a lot of the same flavors you would expect from a wit, but somehow a bit darker and richer. There is a definite warming note in the finish.

Overall impression: Interesting beer, its got a lot of the traditional flavors but richer and heavier. Drinkable, but the alcohol warming does get a bit much as it goes on.

rowew, Feb 25, 2009
Photo of dukedevil0
3.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single 12oz from Archer Liquors in Chicago, IL.

A: Pours a very amber colored with white head and good lacing on the glass.

S: smells of wheat, alcohol...almost a bubble gum smell

T: tastes like a mild wheat flavor, some slight malt flavor and alcohol but not overpowering

M: very smooth with a slight warming as it goes down

D: the flavor makes it easy to drink, but the warming as it goes down could slow you...i think one or two of these is more than enough

dukedevil0, Feb 25, 2009
Photo of edchicma
3.9/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an orange yellow with decent initial head..good lacing. This bottle indicates 10.3 abv and it expresses itself in this manner. COuld this be classified as a wheat wine? Smell is barleywine-like with deep elements and a distinct alcohol presence. In the taste area malt, corainder, floral, almost roselike qualityies come through in a thick blend that includes a distinct alcohol presence. Like many strong brews, the subleties become more appaent upon warming. Mouthfeel is warming, slightly viscuous, very substantial. Definitely a sipper, drinkability beacomes better upon warming.

edchicma, Feb 25, 2009
Photo of BDIMike
3.85/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark golden, orange color that is very cloudy with what looks like some suspended yeast. There is a thin white head at the pour, but it dissipates fairly quickly.
In the nose you are immediately hit with a very strong orange and coriander smell. After that, there is a nice fresh wheat smell also.
The taste is much stronger than the smell. The taste starts with the subtle orange, coriander, and spice taste of the regular Sam Adams White, but then hits with a very strong punch of alcohol taste.
Mouthfeel has a nice amount of thickness to it, especially for a wheat ale. The beer is smooth on the tongue, but after the sip it leaves a harsh alcohol burn in your throat.
Sam Adams Imperial White is a nice beer that is definitely worth trying, as I have never had anything quite like it. It has a nice appearance and aroma and a very interesting taste. The drinkability, however, is not that great. This is a nice beer to buy a 4-pack and split with three buddies because it has a nice taste and is definitely worth trying. Because of the harsh alcohol burn in the beer, though, it would be hard to have more than one or two of these.

BDIMike, Feb 23, 2009
Photo of BMoney575
3.25/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Sampled on 2-22-09
10.3% ABV

Pours a deep golden color with a filmy head. Clingy lacing forms in thin rings.

Smell is very sweet, almost frosting-like. Tons of orange/lemon aroma, with a little spice.

Taste is extremely sweet, with the only relief coming from the alcohol near the end.

Mouthfeel is good, super thick with low carbonation.

Drinkability is poor, sweetness and abv are a deadly combo.

Overall, I'll have to get a couple more and see what some cellar time will do.

BMoney575, Feb 22, 2009
Photo of smcolw
3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy orange-amber color. Very small head, particularly for the style. Light spotty lace on the glass.

Fresh raw wheat aroma with a strong dose of yeast. Notable alcohol in the background.

Starts off smooth and alcohol oily. The flavors of wheat are muted. In fact, the most distinctive aspect is sour, citrus flavor. The aftertaste is all alcohol. Overall, not my cup of tea (or beer that is).

smcolw, Feb 22, 2009
Photo of Jwale73
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in my Weihenstephaner glass. Poured a hazy orange with gold highlights around the edges when backlit. Quarter inch white head was embedded with tiny bubbles. Some strands of lacing were revealed on the tilt side of the glass. Nose was yeast, corriander, orange peel, bubblegum and bananna esters. Taste consistent with nose, but maltier than anticipated, as well as some booziness. Mouthfeel was medium-bodied and lively with some slickness. In terms of drinkability, I've never had an imperial white. It was a decent brew and flavorful; however, not as refreshing as your typical witbier.

Jwale73, Feb 22, 2009
Photo of erosier
3.63/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

L: Pours a nice amber-orange-yellow color with a medium sized and thin white colored head that laces the glass nicely all the way down.
S: Smells of sweet malts, wheat, orange, coriander, and a big alcohol whiff at the end.
T: Tastes of sweet wheat malts, nice amounts of orange and coriander, then a big alcohol kick at the end. I was not expecting this much alcohol, but it was certainly prevalent.
M: Somewhat smooth, sharp from the alcohol, and the perfect amount of carbonation.
D: Pretty drinkable, if the alcohol was masked more it would be a bit better, but overall this was something I never expected from Sam Adams, and I am glad they did this beer.

erosier, Feb 22, 2009
Photo of GilGarp
3.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a single to check out this "imperial white" beer not knowing entirely what to expect.

Pours into the curvy Samuel Adams glass. It has a very cloudy, almost murky, orange color. Almost no head develops even though I try to provoke it in the pour. The 1/4" that does form is gone quickly. Some lacing is left behind.

Aroma is sweet with a definate banana smell. Certainly reminds me of a Belgian style ale yeast but not a good one.

Flavor is mostly sweet with a slight spiciness to it. Lots of ripe fruit including bananas, apples and pears.

Mouthfeel is too thick and syrupy for my tastes.

A wit should be more crisp. I understand this is a really big wit but it sort of misses the point. I wanted big flavor, lots of spice and citrus. This comes across too heavy and thick. Not enjoyable and not worth seeking out.

GilGarp, Feb 22, 2009
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.73/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

4oz pour from a 12oz bottle at Big Z's SA tasting on 2/21/09

L - clear orange color with a white head that fell to a light layer.

S - citrus fruit and wheat aromas, orange, lemon tropical fruits.

T - coriander mixed with a sweet wheat malty flavor, moderate bitterness on the finish.

F - medium bodied with mild carbonation

D - a nice treat, but not for sessioning.

JoeyBeerBelly, Feb 22, 2009
Samuel Adams Imperial White from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
79 out of 100 based on 1,251 ratings.