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

Not Rated.
Samuel Adams Imperial StoutSamuel Adams Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
86
very good

1,405 Ratings
THE BROS
80
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,405
Reviews: 794
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 13.95%
Wants: 40
Gots: 59 | 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)
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Ratings: 1,405 | Reviews: 794 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2011 06:47:16 | More by Sammy
Photo of t0rin0
t0rin0

California

2.75/5  rDev -27.6%

08-26-2012 17:57:28 | More by t0rin0
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2011 04:24:16 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of djrn2
djrn2

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +5.3%

11-20-2011 18:10:50 | More by djrn2
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

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.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2010 19:05:38 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2010 14:51:27 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2012 02:45:37 | More by metter98
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

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

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2011 01:32:53 | More by brentk56
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2011 03:39:49 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of nmann08
nmann08

District of Columbia

4/5  rDev +5.3%

11-26-2011 17:37:34 | More by nmann08
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2009 04:17:38 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2009 04:05:54 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2009 00:30:54 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of kjkinsey
kjkinsey

Texas

4/5  rDev +5.3%

12-02-2011 17:48:57 | More by kjkinsey
Photo of jaydoc
jaydoc

Kansas

3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

09-02-2013 01:18:29 | More by jaydoc
Photo of spycow
spycow

Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

01-18-2013 05:08:16 | More by spycow
Photo of Texasfan549
Texasfan549

Texas

4/5  rDev +5.3%

11-30-2011 04:59:56 | More by Texasfan549
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2009 22:37:20 | More by oberon
Photo of kylehay2004
kylehay2004

Florida

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.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2011 01:41:51 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2011 20:54:01 | More by Knapp85
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2011 23:59:19 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a thick, foamy, brown head. It left sticky, thick rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled very roasty and of coffee notes. Some dark chocolate aromas, too.

T - It tasted of burnt maltiness and black coffee. Nice dark chocolate notes and molasses.

M - It was very soft and smooth. A medium bodied stout with a warming alcohol presence.

D - This is a pretty good imperial stout. I had higher hopes. I hope it is better with some age.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2009 00:14:05 | More by zeff80
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

3/5  rDev -21.1%

10-25-2013 07:03:58 | More by largadeer
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2011 23:21:22 | More by biboergosum
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

You can always trust Sam Adams to never let you down - to deliver something that's at the very least, up-to-snuff - but this one goes above and beyond.

Talk about flavor - it's packed to the gills! Super dark. Very full bodied. RICH !!! It's really quite intense, and at 9.2% alcohol, with all that malt still remaining in the body, it's got to be pretty high calorically. And I think that was probably something that the original "Russian Imperial" stouts had. The back label of the bottle reads "... our take on the stouts brewed by 18th century English brewers..." and I think they've probably actually tried to do that.

So, continuing with that thought, it's fairly moderately carbonated, which would have been the course, I'm sure, mimicking the cask ales enjoyed at home in Britain. Malty and smooth.

It also has a very English yeast character, which is obviously the first step and barely needs to be mentioned, but I pick up pears and apples.

Of course, there's also a bit of the "burnt currant" character that Michael Jackson used to refer to, which is more malt-led. Some of the roastiness of the malt leads to that, coupled with the fruitiness. There's black coffee and baker's chocolate, and the intensity of the dense malt offers anise as well, and even cola, althought they probably occur at least in part in combination with the leafy, softly grassy and floral, and even gently minty hops.

It's a sipper to be sure, but don't be surprised if it disappears more quickly than you'd expected ;)

It appears to be completely filtered, but I'd imagine that it would still age well, or at the very least, hold up for quite some time. Any oxidation would probably only lead to more bready flavors in the malt anyway. At the price they're putting this out, I'm buying more!!!

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2009 01:26:35 | More by NeroFiddled
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Samuel Adams Imperial Stout from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
86 out of 100 based on 1,405 ratings.