1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Not Rated.
Samuel Adams Imperial StoutSamuel Adams Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

1,444 Ratings
THE BROS
80
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,444
Reviews: 796
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 13.95%
Wants: 50
Gots: 69 | 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:
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.

(Beer added by: Duhast500 on 01-18-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samuel Adams Imperial Stout Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 1,444 | Reviews: 796 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from annual special pack. Very drak brown and and a disapearing three-eights of an inch head. aste that is integrated chocolate and coffee and that stops short of being astringent in bitterness. Good drinkability and satisfying.Better than average from the style.

Sammy, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of t0rin0
2.75/5  rDev -27.6%

t0rin0, Aug 26, 2012
Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

spycow, Jan 18, 2013
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thick opaque black with a huge 3 inch dark khaki head that lasts. Random patterns of lace on the glass on the drink down. Smells of plums/raisins, licorice, milk chocolate, and slight soy sauce. Taste is of dark fruits, licorice, chocolate covered fruits, and soy sauce. There is an acidic component to this beer that lingers on the palate after each sip - almost a citrus juice taste/feel. Mouthfeel is a bit flat with a thickness in the mouth that is somewhat hard to take combined with the flavors of the beer. Overall, a pretty good RIS and one of the best from Sam Adams but there are lots of better beers out there.

UCLABrewN84, Apr 13, 2011
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +5.3%

djrn2, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

zestar, May 20, 2014
Photo of Thorpe429
3.13/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes.

Pours black with a very thin mocha head. Nose brings forward roasted malt, dark chocolate, a bit of coffee, dark fruits, some peat, and a large dose of black licorice. Taste has some roasted malt and some of the characteristics of the nose, but this is just dominated by anise in a way that is somewhat unpalatable. Feel is fairly heavy with low carbonation. Drinkability is severely affected by the one flavor that really takes everything else out of the game.

Thorpe429, Oct 16, 2010
Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +5.3%

nmann08, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Texasfan549, Nov 30, 2011
Photo of metter98
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a finger high dense and dark tan colored head that took a long time to die down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface, a collar around the edge of the glass and some lacing down the sides.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of licorice in the nose along with some notes of roasted malts.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, except that the flavors of roasted malts are more assertive and there are additional hints of chocolate and dark fruits. A slight amount of bitterness is also present.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. The roasted malts result in some dryness.
O: I found this beer to be an enjoyable and well-rounded Russian Imperial Stout. It packs in a good amount of flavors and also hides its alcohol very well from the taste.

metter98, Sep 26, 2012
Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +5.3%

kjkinsey, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A fairly hard pour yields two thirds black liquid and one third creamy mocha head that leaves strands of lace

Smell: Raisin and mocha aromas dominate, with burnt toast and vanilla underneath

Taste: A bit more dark chocolate comes through on the palate than in the aroma, with raisin, mocha and smokey elements adding complexity; a touch of hops appears by mid-palate; but the sweeter flavors push it to the back and leave a lingering sense of anise in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A decent example of the style and one, that because of the brand, might attract a new crowd; still, I can easily list many others that I would prefer

brentk56, May 04, 2011
Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It seems that it was only natural for the Boston Beer Company to brew an Imperial Stout.

The beer pours a very dark brown, basically opaque, pour that rouses a 1" head that eventually levels to a trace then holding firm. Lots of lacing on the glass- it's the look that you expect from an Imperial Stout.

Deep aromas of roasted grains bring out scents of dark-roast coffee and cocoa. A nice estery-fruity blend gives notes of grapes, anise, cherries, figs, and dates. A bit more complex than most great Imperial Stouts.

Flavors do much the same. The fruitiness wraps around the caramelized and roasted grains wonderfully. Fruits calm down as the cocoa and coffee flavors gain intensity well into the finish. Light pine hopping comes in the aftertaste.

A nice round texture gives a good deal of creaminess, weight, and fullness. Bitterness from hops compliment the bitterness of cocoa and coffee well. The texture takes of a powdery, chalky feel late and makes me beg for another sip.

Ulitmately the beer fares well. The fruity notes balance out the roasted notes well for variety, complexity, and imagination. The textures are fine but lack the rich smoothness that I have come to love in the top ranked Stouts. Boldness and assertiveness is kept in check respectively speaking.

BEERchitect, Mar 24, 2009
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a small dirty brown foamy head with average retention and some lacing. Aroma of black chocolate and dry roasted malt with light bitter notes is not all that bad. Taste is also a nice enough mix between some balanced roasted malt with lingering sweetness and some medium sweet black chocolate. Body is about average for style with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well made with no flaws thought doesn't really stand out from the pack.

Phyl21ca, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Buffed mahogany with a creamy mousse-like crown of caramel colored foam that occupies the upper third of the snifter. Gotta love the black-and-tan look of a well-brewed Imperial stout. The foam hangs around a while and leaves a smattering of suds when it eventually fades. Edit: in the end, tattered curtains of lace look fantastic.

The nose is slightly short on roasted malt and slightly long on alcohol. To be fair, the beer is still a few degrees too cool. A hint of dark butterscotch isn't unpleasant, although it is odd for the style.

Samuel Adams Imperial Stout doesn't seem as fine a creation as the other members of the Imperial Series. Double Bock is outstanding and Imperial White is very good as well. SAIS tastes like an Imperial schwarzbier... if such a beast existed. The dark power and depth and complexity of a world-class RIS just isn't there.

The flavor profile consists of dark-bittersweet chocolate, blackstrap molasses, a shot of Absolut, a splash of Sambuca, a dash of bitters and a mild-moderate smoky char. This is distinctive and different beer, but it doesn't quite fit my preferred profile for the style.

The mouthfeel falls a fraction short in terms of size. In other words, it's more 7.2% than 9.2%. Having said that, it's perfectly fine in the grand scheme of things and makes the beer easy-peasy to drink quickly or slowly. The latter is recommended.

Samuel Adams Imperial Stout is now available in the state of Iowa. That's fine and dandy, but Double Bock will get most of my Imperial Series dollars and Imperial White will get the rest. The brewery probably won't do it, but a minor overhaul is in order.

BuckeyeNation, May 11, 2010
Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

jaydoc, Sep 02, 2013
Photo of mikesgroove
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a thick, black as night opaque liguid, pretty much oil like in thickness. A large, two inch plus head of tan quickly rose over the top of the glass.

lots of dark chocolate hints were very noticeable from the very beginning. A touch of hops on the back end, and the ever present ABV smell came through after it started to warm.
dark chocolate flavor, very pronounced and noticeable. As it mellowed lots of roasted coffee and some notes of cookie dough and even a touch of vanilla were becoming noticeable. Very sweet and sugary on the palate, with a very present abv warming thoughout. It was not a light brew by any means. A very full flavor and feeling coming off of this one. Reminded me of some of thee other breakfast stouts I have had in the past. Very full bodied and the more you sip the more flavors you start to notice. Damn fine crafting on this one.

mikesgroove, May 18, 2011
Photo of kylehay2004
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful pour. Thick, perfectly black. Dark chocolate brown, three finger head with full lace all the way around.

S: Dark chocolate dominates with roasted malt and coffee notes.

T: Roasted malt dominates. The coffee, chocolate, nut notes. Not as sweet as I see others reporting.

M: thick body, moderate carbonation.

Overall: This is an impressive beer as for the smell and pour. The taste is good but not quite what I hoped after seeing it and smelling it.

kylehay2004, Oct 04, 2011
Photo of Knapp85
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Imperial Stout was the first of the three in the series that I tried. The pour was a dark black that generated a nice brown colored head that lasted for a little while. The smell was heavily burnt and roasted with some dark chocolate in there as well. The taste gave off much of the same flavors as the smell did but with the addition of some fresh wood in there too. The mouthfeel could have been a little thicker I think but overall this brew was pretty good.

Knapp85, May 24, 2011
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle - $2.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours an appropriate black body with a frothy, medium-sized, tan-hued head.

Smell: Malty bouquet of roasted barley, oven-charred bread crusts, chocolate, a dash of anise, and a cup of cafe au lait. Some simple alcohol wafts as well.

Taste: Roasty, toasty maltiness with tastes of caramel, black coffee, powdered milk, anise, and chocolate sauce with a fair degree of sweetness. Earthy, spicy hop flavor with a medium-high bitterness trying to cut its way through the dense maltiness. Black currant fruitiness throughout. The flavor turns a bit more char-based nearing the end. Earthy and warming on the drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Slight creaminess to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: It's good sipper, not great, but certainly worth a try or two. I am willing to get on board with this one.

ChainGangGuy, May 10, 2009
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.

oberon, Feb 22, 2009
Photo of largadeer
3/5  rDev -21.1%

largadeer, Oct 25, 2013
Photo of TMoney2591
3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

I remember trying this when it had just been released, but I can't for the life of me remember what I thought of it. As such, I figured I'd give it another go and put my thoughts down. It pours a straight obsidian topped by a half-finger of light tan foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, toasted wheat, buttery toffee, and wet cardboard. Hmm. The taste holds notes of roasted malts, chocolate, light molasses, and, near the end, a strange melange of sharp char, alcohol, and coffee. When this last wave hits, things go from good to not-so-much, ruining the experience entirely. The body is fairly hefty, with a very light moderate carbonation and a chewy feel. Overall, this one misses the mark a bit.

TMoney2591, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of biboergosum
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, the very last of my haul from last summer's (it seems so far away) Montana incursion. And today's sudden return of snowy, blustery weather just seals the deal.

This beer pours a dense, viscous black, no highlights, even when held to the snow-refracted light of day, with two fingers of tight creamy Brown Cow head, which settles fairly quickly, rendering but a low rise of lace around the glass. It smells of milky roasted cocoa, and slightly sour dark fruit stewed in booze. The taste is big chocolate malt, more zingy black fruit, a bit of earthy coffee, and a soft drying bitterness. The carbonation is very mild, the body full, smooth, and nice and creamy. It finishes still quite sweet and chocolaty, myriad subtle underlying drying agents keeping things palatable for the long haul.

A pretty tasty RIS, overall - the big ABV is AWOL as far as the flavour is concerned. Given the agreeably restrained chocolate goodness, matching this with a more sugary dessert would work nicely.

biboergosum, Feb 05, 2011
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Samuel Adams Imperial Stout from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
86 out of 100 based on 1,444 ratings.