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

Samuel Adams Imperial WhiteSamuel Adams Imperial White

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1,194 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1194
Reviews: 638
rAvg: 3.45
pDev: 19.71%

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)
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Ratings: 1,194 | Reviews: 638 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of bmwats


3.63/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a footed tulip.

A: Medium amber. Pours about a half finger, bubbly, white head. Settles pretty quickly, leaving a smattering of foam on the surface, and a ring around the rim of the glass. No real lacing.

S: French bread, lemon citrus, a little orange citrus, and a little bubble gum.

T: White bread, a little maple syrup and honey, a little clove and lemon.

M: Thick and syrupy. Dry finish, but little aftertaste except for a little acetone.

D: Sip and enjoy.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Slight head, but no real lacing. Nose is full of character with some fruity and indistinct sweet notes. Bready flavor with lots o' balancing components.... fruit, honey, spice, and citrus. Overall, this is a good quaff.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2013 03:53:41 | More by bmwats
Photo of alex_hart


3.25/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

served into my Chimay glass

Appearance is a hazy, rusty brown-orange with an off-white head that dissipates rather quickly. No lacing.

The smell is off-putting. It is so unbelievably sweet in the nose that it makes me a bit nervous. Toffee, caramel, sugar, just sweet sweet sweet with a hint of booze.

Taste is much better than the smell, but still isn't exactly what i was hoping for. still very sweet (not quite my cup o' tea) with caramel, toffee, a bit of bitter hops, some booze, some candied fruit (maybe orange; something citrusy). Not bad, but not great.

It is medium to full bodied with a creamy feel to it in the mouth. Mild carbonation. Leaves a little residue after the swallow.

Overall this was just not my thing. I was excited at the prospect of the style from sam adams, but this just isnt their best work. I'm sure with some tweaks to the amount of sweetening ingredients they used it could become much more enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2013 03:47:02 | More by alex_hart
Photo of BulbousBeer


2.35/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is my first imperial from Sam Adams. This beer looks nice in the glass and pours well ,but both things are soon forgotten as the taste is sickly sweet banana flavor with some strange spice after taste. It's body is syrupy It's like a cross between a cheap malt liquor and a badly made witbier. In fact I'd probably rather just have the malt liquor. Sam Adams is not my favorite brewery but I normally find their beers session-able. They need to withdraw this one. I may have been harsh on this beer but i expect better from them.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2013 21:26:35 | More by BulbousBeer
Photo of ChestSplitter


2.39/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2

This is a very attractive beer to look at, and the smell of malt and spices is pleasant. But eventually you have to stop staring and sniffing and actually drink it. Then you are just assaulted. All the fruits and spices and malt and booze just hammer you. The common theme with all these imperial series beers is this syrupy sweet flavor bomb. It works really well in the Imperial Stout. Not here.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2013 23:35:00 | More by ChestSplitter
Photo of vicg12

New York

1.75/5  rDev -49.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 1

The smell was interesting, I was initially intrigued. Really is a beautiful beer, loved watching it while it filled up my glass, like bubbly golden straw. Really large head. But, right when it enters your mouth you are just struck with a strong pungent burst, it discourages you from taking a large sip, I powered through and was not rewarded. It is really just disgusting. Too many flavors buying for your attention, and they are like steam rollers on your taste buds, they don’t get along. Save your money and don’t buy this beer, it’s only good to look at. I ended up using 75% of the 24 oz bottle for cooking because I couldn’t handle anymore awfulness. I really don't understand how anyone could enjoy this beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2013 16:27:39 | More by vicg12
Photo of LambicPentameter


3.13/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Belgian-style tulip glass. No "best by" date on the bottle, but there is a note that encourages you to age the beer to see what flavors develop. I wish that I had a second bottle to do just that, because I was not particularly impressed with it fresh.

Appearance - Predominantly apricot hue with flashes of polished copper. Head is fairly thin, and compared to other reviews, that causes me to wonder if I had an old batch. A weak flow of carbonation comes to the top, but the lacing on the foam is respectable. Surprising, given how weak the head is.

Smell - Heavy aroma of banana from the yeast, leading into a more banana-bread smell. Perhaps a hint of coconut as well. It's extremely sweet-smelling, almost like a fruit beer or even a flavored liquor, given how boozy it is. Not terribly excited by the promise of the aroma.

Taste - Unlike some fruity-smelling beers which end up having a much more muted and dry taste, this one had just as much banana overkill as the smell did. Hard to detect any bitterness from the hops or toastyness from the malt. Maybe candied malt?. Just sweet, with a feel almost like a flavored brandy or cognac.

Mouthfeel - A tad unpleasant, from the cloying sweetness as well as an almost sour feel, but not sour like a gueuze or lambic. Sour in an unpleasant way.

I can't help but wonder if I had a skunky bottle, given the lack of "best by" date. I would be curious to see how this one tasted after a good year or two of cellaring. Maybe it's just a very unbalanced beer. It's pretty to look at, so I guess there is that.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2013 07:38:20 | More by LambicPentameter
Photo of woodychandler


2.88/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I keep hoping that Sam. Adams will finally take the plunge and CANvert to CANs, but in the interim, my curiosity is piqued by their small batch series.

From the bottle: "Wheat Ale brewed with spices"; "Elegant and regal yet deceptively fierce"; "This golden concoction begins with the soft sweetness of its witbier roots with hints of orange and citrus. Yet these familiar flavors are taken to the next level with an exotic blend of spices reminiscent of medieval brewing. From coriander to dried plum and anise[,] the spices combine with a bolder, richer flavor for a warm, spicy brew that's smooth and refreshing."; "At Samuel Adams[,] we love experimenting. This series of limited edition brews represents some of our favorite small batch creations."

My pour produced a massive two-plus fingers of dense, bubbly tawny head that cascaded from the bottom and fell from the top, leaving nice lacing in its wake. Color was a cloudy orangish-amber. I definitely got coriander and anise on the nose along with a soft mixed fruitiness, reminiscent of chewing/bubble gum. Mouthfeel was smooth and creamy but the taste was a bit too riotous and unbalanced for my taste. I found myself unable to distinguish between all of the flavors trying to happen all at once on my tongue. I got vanilla, loads of spice and dried dark fruit, but it was all too much to parse. Finish was kind of hot on top of everything else. Man, this was much too intense for the style! Not everything needs to be "imperialized".

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2013 16:59:48 | More by woodychandler
Photo of dbossman


3.45/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark amber with a thin head that eventually dissipates to a thin film; lacing is quite good though

S: A lot of booze, apples, vinegar, spices, oranges, burnt/toasted malts; this is sweet, boozy--I'm not sure about this one

T: Thankfully not nearly as sweet as the aromas indicated; toffee, toasted biscuity malts, apples, oranges, and plenty of spices; a bit of an alcohol burn on the finish; this beer ends up okay but the aromas are a bit off putting and contribute negatively to the flavors

F: Decent medium body with not over-powering carbonation

O: Not Sam Adams best offering; a decent beer--but it doesn't quite come together

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2012 03:27:09 | More by dbossman
Photo of DavidS88


2.05/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Wow, I hated Samuel Adams Imperial White, and that's really saying something because I have loved pretty much every Samuel Adams. The appearance was decent, a deep golden-orange reminiscent of other witbiers. There was a one finger head that died the second I took a sip and there was pretty much no lacing on the glass The smell was decent-to-bad and had a lot of citrus and banana. What killed the beer for me though was the taste. It was horrible with lots of fake fruit tastes, no wheat whatsoever, and lots of spices at the end. For me, the combination of fruits and spices just did not work. At all. Plus the beer felt really thick and foamy in your mouth which was the final nail in the coffin for me. I will say that despite the high alcohol level, I couldn't detect any, but this combination of spices and fruit just didn't work. I've had witbiers with spices, but the fruit and spices was just terrible together. A true miss from Samuel Adams, which is really sad for me because, like I said, I've liked almost all of theirs.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2012 02:22:46 | More by DavidS88
Photo of Geegmasta

New York

3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- The beer poured great and formed a very small head of about 1/4''. The head quickly settled to almost nothing. The body is a deep orange. Looks delicious.

Smell- Has a very slight citrus smell but not much else. Nothing hinting at a high alcohol content.

Taste- Comes on as sweet in a citrusy way but not overwhelmingly so. This soon gives way to a very nice honey flavoring and caramel after taste. I can see how it may be too strong for some but I think it's a very nice feeling. Absolutely no sense of the ABV being 10.3%.

Mouthfeel- Thick like molasses and full-bodied. Feels like honey if it was heated up into a runnier state; or thick velvet being washed over the tongue. Fills and coats the mouth and lingers that way for quite a while afterwards. Very little carbonation.

Overall- A nice change up from my usual stout or porter. I was hesitant at first to spend $10 on a 4-pack of this because Sam Adams is usually hit or miss in my opinion. They have produced some very good brews and some not-so-good. I've even tasted differences in batches which disappointed me (after buying a 6-pack of something I enjoy to have it taste flavorless).

I give credit to the brewers at Sam Adams for this beer though! Very thick. If you don't like something sticking in your mouth and full-bodied this beer is not for you. The sweet honey/caramel flavoring is very enjoyable and this 4-pack won't last long in my hands. Just be careful that the masked ABV doesn't catch up to you!


Serving type: bottle

11-29-2012 00:19:26 | More by Geegmasta
Photo of kylehay2004


3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: 2 finger head with decent retention on a murky copper body. some lacing.

S: caramel, orange citrus, caandy sugar, some earthy hops and caramel.

T: honey, candied oranges, mollasses, caramel, brown sugar... all together make this very sweet, too sweet... with lots of booze.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation. a little chewy

Overall: this one is pretty hard to drink. very boozy. its too sweet too. Not really able to finish this one.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2012 03:01:08 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of Samuel906


3.43/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Pours a nice deep, but slightly hazy orange, with some nice effervescing. Nice head when poured, leaves some nice lace.


Very sweet aroma, with strong smell of malt, oranges, wheat, vanilla and spices. Not too boozy, especially considering the ABV.


Has a pretty decent mouth feel, medium bodied, but different than other Wits. Sharp carbonation, huge alcohol content, and the significant sweetness make it feel a bit heavier and not as "drinkable". Certainly not something I would want to chug down quickly.


Very sweet (it is an Imperial after all)! Honey, oranges, and wheat are your big flavors here. Some nice spices as well (coriander), other fruits (banana, pineapple) and a little bit of alcohol burn and fumes (not to much, and I personally don't mind a bit of alcohol flavor).


I was keen to try this after having the Sam Adams Imperial Stout which I personally enjoyed. This turned out to be a pretty unique beer, certainly not like other Witbeirs I've had, and I can't recall seeing too many other Imperial Whites. It was a pleasant change from the beers I usually drink, but nothing too outstanding. Very very sweet as I'm sure is expected, with some semi-complex flavors make for a nice, if not extraordinary, white.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2012 03:02:56 | More by Samuel906
Photo of yamar68


2.93/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a caramel gold with a thick eggshell white head that laces densely.

Thick, syrupy wheat profile that's stuffed with spices. Caramel malts, leather... how old is this? The alcohol character is pretty well contained.

Uhh... I don't know about this. Some butterscotch, vanilla, the wheat is smothered by spice and sweet dark malts. Pretty messy I think.

I appreciate the effort here but it just doesn't amount to anything worth writing home about.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2012 03:20:52 | More by yamar68
Photo of brockdidntslide


2.13/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

To be blunt, this beer blows. It's sweet and has an over-the-top alco-boozy taste that lingers like you just took a swig of isopropyl from the medicine cabinet. No wait, that might actually taste better. Mouthfeel and appearance are fine so maybe just look at it in the glass and then go get something better to drink.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2012 03:10:34 | More by brockdidntslide
Photo of RblWthACoz


2.25/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Eh. This just hits me as too sickly sweet. And the fact of that makes it so that it overpowers anything else that may be trying to show. So, it's a one act show with a strong alcohol and boozy tone stepping in for an intermission. A miss in my book.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2012 03:03:04 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of claspada

New Jersey

3.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy dark orange-amber color with a full, fluffy, off-white head.

Aromas begin with sweet barley and slighly sourish wheat maltiness. As it warms you get some tangy accents, notes of fragrant spices, light stone fruit and honey candy.

The tastes begin sugary sweet with toasted/bready barley and tangy malted wheat. As it warms you get pinches of spice, dried orange peel and drizzles of honey. The hops are faintly spicy and floral. Some warming alcohol qualities arrive late.

The mouthfeel is medium-heavy bodied with mellow medium-low carbonation. The finish is thick, sticky and heavy.

Overall the tastes are a bit heavy and sweet for the style. Not really a fan of this Imperial Wit style although this is one of the better ones out there asn the yeast phenols are under control where some are not. Not great by any means but could be worse.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2012 15:25:45 | More by claspada
Photo of Norfolkbarry

2.08/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Concur with other reviewers about nice appearance and mouthfeel. I drink witbeer routinely but in this case the cardamom completely overwhelms everything else. There is nothing subtle about the flavor, it is just cardamom. I found it nearly undrinkable and returned the unused bottles. Not one of their better efforts.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2012 21:21:55 | More by Norfolkbarry
Photo of donkeyrunner


2.4/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I recently moved a former employee of BBC and received a case of Imperial White in addition to monetary compensation. Anyone want the other 23?

Muddy caramel colored pour. Not much of a head but it does ease into a thin island skim retention.

A little spice in the aroma but this mainly smells like caramelized orange Fanta. Taste like orange caramel with a mild spice pop at the end. Lots of sweetness with little to nothing to play off of. Thick mouthfeel.

I have a feeling this is a pretty old bottle but at 10.3% it should hold up pretty well.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2012 01:42:31 | More by donkeyrunner
Photo of metter98

New York

3.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The beer is very hazy dark yellowish amber in color and has a moderate amount of carbonation along with some yeast particles visible floating in suspension. It poured with a two finger high off white head that gradually died down and left lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are aromas of candi sugar, orange citrus and wheat in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and is slightly sweet with flavors of alcohol and spices in the finish.
M: It feels a bit higher than medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The sweetness and alcohol flavors can make this beer a bit difficult to drink.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2012 02:27:12 | More by metter98
Photo of OdinMcHaggis

4.4/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Packaging is unimpressive, the slow pour yields a thin head that fades quickly. The beer is orange.
The smell is fruity and obvious, no hint of alcohol.
The beer has a low hops profile, a honey flavor, somewhat dry finish. The finish is long. No alcohol present.
The body is full. The carbonation is lacking.
Overall, this beer is a good offering. It's taste, ABV, relative value, make this beer a must try.

That this beer has a 79 is wrong. The Bros. need to review this.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2012 20:47:22 | More by OdinMcHaggis
Photo of MattyG85


3.73/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a fairly deep and hazy amber orange with lots of rising bubbles. Big four finger off white head with good retention. Leaves a lot of lace around the glass.

Smell: A pretty sweet smelling blend of wheat, malts, and spices. Lots of wheat and pale malts with hints of bready biscuit. Big hints of coriander and some pepper spices. Big citrus presence with good hints of orange peel, lemon zest, apricot, peach, and a little banana. Also a little whiff of booze. Hops are pretty muted.

Taste: Like the nose indicates, a pretty sweet and malty Witbier with a boozy kick. Wheat with lots of coriander and some pepper spice. Big taste of pale malts with a lot of bread. Some banana and a big citrus presence. Notes of orange peel, lemon zest, and a little peach and apricot. Light hint of noble hops towards the finish. Some booze in the taste.

Mouthfeel: Fairly heavy bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy, syrupy, and somewhat sticky. Feels a little hot.

Overall: An interesting take on a Witbier. A decent taste, but a little too syrupy and sweet.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2012 05:02:04 | More by MattyG85
Photo of Pjev11

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got a growler of this limited variety and finished the whole thing so I must have liked it well enough. Labelled as a witbier but was a little darker than most and certainly stronger and bolder than you would expect in that generally lighter style. More like a belgian ale, really. Overall a solid beer that is more of a sipper than a session. I think I liked it more getting it in a growler when I wasn't expecting to get anything on tap. Good and solid, not great.

Serving type: growler

06-29-2012 03:35:36 | More by Pjev11
Photo of imasloth


3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 1

A- Golden/orange in color with a thin white head. Beer is hazy but no so much as most of its style.

S- Very sweet with heavy alcohol finish. Like a lighter (in colour/roast) barleywine. Spice comes to forefront as beer warms.

T- Light malt balanced with some bitterness. Sweetness and alcohol. Really just a hint of a 'white' flavor, but tasty. A little spice and wit yeast flavor. A nice banana flavor as beer warms.

M- Thicker, but rather smooth especially given alcohol content.

O- The back of the bottle describes in aptly- pushes the boundaries of a wit style. Could have been more, but as my first imperial white I like and appreciate it.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2012 15:34:34 | More by imasloth
Photo of jsprain1


2.5/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A- A pleasing dark golden with a fair amount of haze. Head is one and a half fingers, buttermilk color. Retention is decent, minimal lacing.
S- The aroma is banana heavy, with a bit of canned peach syrup aroma as well.
T- And here is where the beer goes of the rails. A bit of sweetness up front, that peach syrup flavor again. Very quickly, boozyness comes through and really scrubs the tongue. There is a bit of coriander, but the boozeyness is overwhelming any other flavor.
M- The problem is when a beer gets this boozy, the alcohol gets abrasive. Here there is an abrasive dryness from the booze.
O- This sounds terribly insulting, but the beer was great till I actually tasted it. From there, the booziness of the beer just made it difficult to drink. The problem isn't that the abv was high. It's that the alcohol wasn't balanced or tamed by any other characteristics.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2012 19:53:43 | More by jsprain1
Photo of chefhatt


3.05/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this one into a perfect pint glass. it has a nice dark golden color body with some head that disappers quickly. The smell is on the sweet side with some citrus coming through. The taste is very bold up front, very sweet and strong of banana taste. I really don't taste any of the spices. The mouth feel is a little thick and it leaves a little bit of a after taste in my mouth. Overall i really didn't enjoy this beer, way to sweet for my likeing bad too boozy.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2012 01:53:59 | More by chefhatt
Samuel Adams Imperial White from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
79 out of 100 based on 1,194 ratings.