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

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Samuel Adams Imperial StoutSamuel Adams Imperial Stout

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very good

1,472 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,472
Reviews: 801
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 13.68%
Wants: 56
Gots: 82 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Duhast500 on 01-18-2009

Imperial in stature and bigger than your average stout. This colossal stout was inspired by those created by 18th century English brewers for the Russian Imperial Court of Catherine II. The special malts in this intense and massive brew delivers rich flavors of dark chocolate, coffee, and anise.
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Ratings: 1,472 | Reviews: 801
Reviews by the Alström Bros:
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

9.2% ABV. per label.Good to see SA branch out and make a foray into this style.Poured into a snifter an oil slick black with a minimal cappuccino (like the bottle says)colored head that is gone rather quickly.Aromas of charred dark fruit and black licorice,dark roast coffee and a bit of wood as well.Flavors are heavy on the black licorice with molasses and dark fruit quite prevelant as well,a nice bit of raw earthiness in the finish as well.A solid stab at the style,just all around good.

Photo of ExtraStout
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark, thick and syrupy. The frothy brown head is gone pretty quickly with little lacing. Smells of roasted coffee and semi-sweet dark chocolate. Mouth feel is creamy, smooth and very tasty with a little bit of bitterness. For a Sammy, it was an unexpected treat. I liked it a lot. Reminded me of the Stone 12th anniversary bitter dark chocolate oatmeal stout but a bit less smokey. I'll be getting more.

Photo of JasonA
4.36/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Oil slick black. Darker than my burnt 3 day old coffee. Ample 2 finger head, thick mocha chocolate color. Considerable lacing. No light getting through.

Dark malt. Boozie, rum raisin. Light espresso, maybe chocolate.

Dark bakers chocolate. Deep espresso, all througout. Wow. Dark malted roasted malt (does that make sense?). Ending with port in a yummy way. Some drying, hops, biscuit. Something upfront I cant place.

Thick, juicy. I can just let this sit in my mouth all night. Take a small sip, o2 it, and relax. Wow, sits perfect.

Reminds me a lot of Bells Expedition Stout. Not quite as syrupy with mouthfeel, a little better in that manner.

At 65F, line me up 6 of these. Ill knock them down, and they will knock me down. Id win the battle, but they would win the war.

By far the best Sam Adams ive had. Favorite to day was their Boston Ale (not Lager).

Photo of lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was a syrupy-looking black brew with a small orange/tan head and a tiny bit of lace. It had a bittersweet chocoloate and roasted malt aroma. A nice espresso bitterness, also some chocolate and dark fruit. More bitter than sweet, a pretty good stout.

Photo of warnerry
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours pitch black with two fingers of brown head. Head looks creamy and has good retention. A nice amount of lacing left behind.

S - Chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, dark fruits and a bit of anise. Also a touch of hops. Pretty nice.

T - The taste has more coffee than chocolate, moderate roastedoak malt, a subtle but noticeable hop punch, a bit of anise, raisin and faint cherry. Alcohol not noticeable at all.

M - Mouthfeel is medium, definitely not heavy, slighty bitter and dry on the finish.

O - Pretty good RIS overall, at a great price. Like a lot of Sam Adams beers, this seems a bit subdued, and so doesn't really stand out. But it is a tasty and easy drinking RIS that I could see having again.

Photo of Tiderion
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love this stout.

A: Black, black, black with an amazing tan head.

S: Light licorice aroma.

T: Little bit heavier licorice flavor.

M: Smooth end.

D: I'm not a licorice person but I do like stouts. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this beer despite my handicap.

Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, w/o freshness/vintage info...come on now, the label says "age it", how about some dating info? Anyway, rant over, this one pours Imperial stout dark/almost black, under the expected dark tan head, froth, film and leaves light and fine tiny spots of lace. Nose is full of dark chocolate, espresso, chocolate milk and burnt grains. Full flavor, heady stuff @ over 9%. Nose carries nicely into the tongue sensations, more dark, dark chocolate, roasted grains and dark coffee. Thick and smooth mouth feel. Real nice job here by S.A. Impressive.

Photo of tigg924
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: dark black color, with big chocolate brown head, medium carb

Smell: chocolate, with malts, and some wood

Taste: bitter dark chocolate, coffee, alcohol, and roasted malt

Mouthfeel: dry, slightly bitter, rich full body

Drinkability: A drinkable Imperial Stout, the high ABV is moderately masked. If this were on draft, I may get it, but I have had better imperial stouts

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a black color with a tan head. The aroma is roasted malt, chocolate, coffee and a little bit of dark fruit. A nice, complex aroma and better than I expected. The flavor is a mix of heavy roasted/charred malt, dark chocolate and some coffee. There is also a nice bit of cream flavor. Medium to thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A very nice Imperial Stout, easily the best beer from the Samuel Adams Imperial Series.

Photo of sculls65
3.29/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured nicely with a 2 finger head.. completely not seeing any light through this stout. Moderate lacing of the tannish foam. 1st smells of roasted malts with some chocolate, and smoky fruit?, but not overpowering. Tastes of coffee..dark cocoa. Mouthfeel is great: thick, mild carbonation, coats the tongue nicely. I think Sam Adams does a nice job of trying to bring a wide variety of brews to a mass market. Id drink it again but i think id take a Founders or Arcadia Ales IS over it anyday.

Photo of strangebrew52
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice dark black with some tan head, leaves some lacing on the glass.
S: Sweet dried fruit, some roasted malts. Slight smell of alcohol. The nose is surprisingly light for the style in my opinion.
T: Roasted malts, a hint of sweetness. The coffee finally comes in and lingers in the aftertaste
M: Nice carbonation, goes down smooth.
D: All in all a pretty decent beer. I wouldn't go out of my way for it but definitely wouldn't turn one down.

Photo of magictrokini
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured a very dark brown, nearly black, with a nice thick tan head that stuck around for a while. Good lacing. Good start. Strong licorice aroma with burnt barley and wood. Molasses and mocha with dried fruits round it out. Not the most appealing, but still good. Then, the first sip... ehhh, what happened? Weak mouthfeel, some may say even "watery" for the style, considering this is an Imperial Stout. Noticeable carbonation gives it a harsher feel as well. As for the taste, the molasses and burnt barley are most prevalent. Second-place is the alcohol and raisin flavors. Some soy sauce in the finish. Its not awful, just unbalanced.

Photo of jondeelee
4.97/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Boasts an aroma so thick you could use it to shore up cracked shipboards. Massive, meaty malt smells dominate, including notes of both chocolate malt and "real" dark chocolate, molasses, marbled rye bread, peat, and a slight hint of tobacco.

The assault on the tongue is no less impressive, the first flavors being sweet, with huge dark fruit esters, black cherries, caramelized brown sugar, toffee, blackstrap molasses, maple syrup. Mere moments later the malts crash in and flood the beaches, bringing waves of deep, smoky chocolate malts, hints of tobacco, peat moss, deeply toasted (almost burnt) grains, coffee. The hops mostly stay in the background, but do add just enough bitterness to remind you that they're there. The aftertaste is dominated by the near-burnt, smoky malts. Mouthfeel is similar to cream, almost extra virgin olive oil-like in viscosity.

Overall, I think this is a stellar Imperial Stout, and I place it right up with Old Rasputin in terms of potential. Because while this is excellent fare now, if you threw a few of these into a cellar for five years, you'd have an unbeatable drink.

Photo of dogfishandi
4.11/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

3-9-2009- fresh bottle

poured from brown 12 oz. at cellar temp. bottle into big fluted buffalo bills glass. pours completely pitch black, not oz. of light visible through this thing. one of the darkest beers ive seen in awhile. has some very nice looking dark tan, brownish, caramel colored head. also one of the darkest heads ive seen in awhile. very nice head retention as well. picture perfect stout which is why i went with a 5 on appearence. very sticky looking lacing as well. the nose is full of roasted malts and alcohol. also some coffee, chocolate, black licorice, dried fruits. alcohol a little too present in the aroma which is the only turn off their. big heavy mouthfeel, very sticky. some big heavy malts all around in the taste. black chocolate, coffee, black licorice, roated malts, dried fruits, a very complex taste. also some bitterness that comes through in the finsih. really a great beer, i would definately suggest drinking it at room temperature to bring out all the goodness. cant really stomach more than 2 of these however, both because of the 9.2% and the big sticky heavy body to it, but thats to be expected from an imperial stout. sam adams has always seemed like kind of a beginer craft beer to me. but this imperial series has some very well crafted beers, definately worth a try if you can find it, and i really hope you can.

8-9-2010- aged 1 year, 5 months (beer from same 4 pack as above review)

poured into an oversized wine glass at cellar temp. oh that appearence remains oh so picture pefect. super motor oil black, even when its coming out of the bottle. super creamy, frothy mocha brown colored head with great retention and tons of sticky lace. keep that a 5 for sure.

typical imperial stout aroma. alcohol is pretty aparent, but from the aroma seems to have cooled down a bit. pretty big on the dark chocolate and heavily roasted coffee. lots of roasted malt as well. it think i might have to move the 3.5 to a 4.

wow the taste is pretty incerdible. the flavors have melded and the mouthfeel has smoothed out quite a bit overtime. also the alcohol does not seem nearly as apparent a year and a half ago, but still there a little. wonderful flavors of heavily roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate, french roasted coffee, burnt marshmallow, vanilla. tastes a lot better than i remeber it. i almost want to change it to a 5, but i think ill leave it.

great mouthfeel, heavy, sticky, chewy. low carbonation and quite creamy.

although a big beer, it drinks really good for what it is.

age has done this beer wonders, i wish i had more than this one bottle in my basement. when drinking this fresh, a year and a half ago, i would have seen it as kind of an average stout, a little alcholic. but now, its up there. maybe not as good as some of the real great stouts, but pretty damn close. i highly recommend you age this beer if you can.

Photo of ehammond1
2.69/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottle (2010)

San Marcos, CA

A dark black pour and a big, thick, brown milk chocolate head. Some lacing down the glass, but not as much as I would have expected.

A somewhat chocolatey aroma but there's a touch of spice reminiscent of licorice that is a touch biting, surprising, and unfortunately, a bit unwelcome. Roasted malts and a touch of spicy black pepper round out the nose. Aromas are one of my favorite things about big stouts, and this one definitely falls short.

Flavor follows the nose almost identically, though the licorice and spice is a bit more present and there's not enough chocolate in the flavor to counterbalance the peppery licorice.

Very thin for the style. A bit too highly carbonated and sharp.

Disappointing RIS. I will not have this again.

Photo of MattyG85
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness Chalice glass. No date visible.

Appearance: Pours dark and black with no color shining through. Moderate amount of bubbles and a decent finger and a half of deep tan head that actually sticks around and leaves a thin frothy layer. Good amount of lacing.

Smell: Dark roasty malts with good hints of chocolate and coffee. Big hints of dark fruits with some cherries, plums, and raisins. Also some molasses and a light hint of anise. The dark fruits and chocolate really stand out here.

Taste: Like the smell leads, a fairly sweet and roasty taste of dark malts with notes of chocolate, coffee, molasses, and a little anise. Big taste of dark fruits throughout with some plums, dark cherries, raisins, and figs. Finishes with a little bit of earthy hops. Everything is well balanced. Tastes good.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Very creamy and pretty smooth for a big stout. Starts sweet and finishes fairly dry.

Overall: A pretty good take on an Imperial Stout. Well balanced and the underlying dark fruits are very nice.

Photo of ohmybock
2.83/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hmmm...this beer is a bit of a conundrum.

It claims to be an imperial stout, but tastes like something else. What that "something else" is...I'm not totally sure.

This brew poured a deep, dark, black-ish color with very little head. The aroma is not typical for an imperial stout. (Perhaps it has more in common with a Baltic Porter?) Maybe or maybe not. The aroma is subdued for the style and leads me to believe it's something else other than an impy stout. The flavor is malty and clean. I like it, but it just doesn't taste like an imperial stout. In fact, it's quite smooth and mellow...tasting like some sort of rich, dark, malty lager. Who knows...this might actually be a lager? The strong roasty characteristics I associate with an imperial stout (or regular stout) are not up-front in this brew. This brew has a sweetness that overpowers everthing else. It is a clean-tasting (and enjoyable) sweetness, but this brew seems to be beyond anything I would normally associate with an imperial stout. In the end, I do like this beer quite a lot, but it doesn't taste like an impy stout.

Photo of far333
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Blackish brown and opaque with a dark borwn soapy head that settles out quickly.

Aroma of roasated malt, faint marshmallow, some port notes.

Rich flavor of coffee and roasted malt, light cocoa, hints of fig and root beer. Molasses and some earthy flavors round it out, a bitterness emerges in the finish.

Even mouthfeel, not too rich, moderate carbonation. Tasty beer, good sipper, not the best representaion of the style, but a good beer.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Quite a quality beer from Sam Adams (which I'm generally a little harsher to than the average guy). Very impressed, pours 2000 mile used motor oil black (not 10,000, but impressive nonetheless).

Smells very alcoholic, but not the pungent, kind like the ace-ytle something they call it that you'll get when you screw up a home brew. Taste has a little bit of everthing, licorice, chocolate, coffee, toffee. . . mouthfeel, not quite what you would hope, doesn't have the staying or lingering power you'd like. Drinkability, leave at one, but the one you have will be enjoyable.

And that's the bottom line, this is quite enjoyable.

Photo of WVbeergeek
2.9/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Night of the dark beers the weather outside is right for the beers I'm drinkin'. I've been meaning to try this since the release, I finally found it at a bottle shop. Pours pitch black body with a beige khaki head that really fades pretty quickly this maybe one of the biggest beers from Sam Adams I've had. Minimal speckled lacing on the sides of my glass poured into my Piraat chalice. Aroma strong fruit smell tart cherries or grapes come to mind off the bat, maybe a bit of plum or raisin on 2nd sniftt. Dark beer characteristics are here with a bit of dark chocolate accent. Flavor is kind of a mess, there's a big wave of fruit and tart sourdough bread that clashes from the first sip onward. Not much coffee or espresso just a bitter black patent malt force that jolts the back of the throat with the tart/sour fruit tone and alcohol burn. Not much cohesion or finesse in this bruting style from Sam Adams, kind of a shame. Mouthfeel doesn't hit right at all sits thin and cloying on my palate, nasty over ripened fruit note sits like it's spoiled almost induces a gag reflux. Burn of alcohol just adds to the trainwreck at hand. Stick to the traditional low alcohol styles that got you where you are. I used to like the Double Bock I haven't tried the new version, and I couldn't really stomach the Double White so far these two failures are pretty much strike outs in my book. Disgusting I'm pouring the rest out I haven't done a drain pour in a hell of a long time we're about due especially with this beer at the helm, lousy version of a great style.

Photo of chinchill
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a Belgian snifter.

Appearance: This beer, rather gently poured, raised only a thin layer of head that soon reduced to a thin ring and small island. It is a pitch black in the glass, and opaque, but with dark brown edges visible in the pour.

Smell: Dark roasted grains, chocolate, molasses, roasted coffee, a hint of sherry and a trace of smoke.

Taste: Black light-roasted coffee, molasses, dark toast, burnt caramel, chocolate, raisins, dried plums, vanilla, and faint smoke. Lingering aftertaste features dark roasted grains and black coffee but is only mildy bitter. Excellent flavor integration.

Feel: Very smooth and full bodied; good, light carbonation.

Overall: Excellent RIS with moderate complexity.

Photo of SPRichard
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

purchased at the end of Feb 2009...drinking on May 17, 2009

pours an inky pitch black...similar to used motor oil in color...slim chocolate milk colored head that doesn't last very long....minimal patchy lacing

coffee....oak hints....smokey nose

burnt chocolate...roasted malts....smokiness...hints of boozy alcohol...burnt wood....ground coffee in the finish

silky smooth....medium body...carbonation made for a silky texture

drinkability could be a touch bit higher with some more age on it...didn't have one of these fresh when i first bought this 4 pack...still a bit boozy, but to drink a few of these shouldn't be a problem

Photo of glid02
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single of this at the Liquor Loft in Tallahassee, FL.

Pours opaque black with no visible highlights and a two-finger brown head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of robust roasted malts with hints of dark fruits and chocolate. Every now and then I get a very faint hint of citrus hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Roasted malt flavors up front give way to dark chocolate flavors midway through the sip and the dark fruits manage to make an appearance right before the mildly bitter ending. The finish seems a bit muddled and not as clean as I'd like.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with solid carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I had no problem finishing the bottle, though I'm not terribly inclined to have another.

Overall this is a good IS, though I'd stop short of calling it very good. That being said I'm always impressed with the quality of SA beers when considering the sheer volume they produce. Worth a shot.

Photo of DarrellK
3.69/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On pouring there was a slight fine head that dissapated very quicky. The pour was at about 50 deg F in a large goblet to hopefully release the promised aroma. While there was some faint aroma, I expected some richness and it just wasn't special.

The look of this very still brew is the expected opaque molasses but a tinge of brown in ther with the black.

The mouth had a viscosity of a high abv beer but really lacked a special character that an Imperial Stout should have. Not bad but not exceptional.

The finish was a dry (maybE too dry) chocolate and the expected alcohol flourish was nicely under control for such a high abv. The promise coffee was way in the background and the anise even further back if there at all.

This Imperial Stout is a good brew but based on price and expectation, I could name quite a few beers that are better in both taste and value.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer pours such a black body that it is almost blue with no light escaping at all. There is a thick dark coco colored head that sticks to the glass with each sip and last for a good bit.

S- This beer has a slight sweaty quality to the earthy black charred malt and a caramel malt note underneath. There is a dark but rich nougat note to follow and a soft alcohol heat that is just a bit fusel coming through as the beer warms.

T- This beer has a rich burnt black malt flavor that turns a bit vinous as it warms with notes of dark raisins and a black bitter grain note lingers after each sip. The soft taste of alcohol grows as the beer warms.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with not much alcohol heat until the beer warms a bit.

D- This beer doesn't have a lot of complexity but the charred malt flavors are big while other parts are a bit thin in the finish. As the beer warms a bit more alcohol comes through but not much else in the flavor does. Perhaps age might change this beer if there are more flavors underneath the big bitter black malt.

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Samuel Adams Imperial Stout from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
86 out of 100 based on 1,472 ratings.