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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

801 Reviews
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Reviews: 801
Hads: 1,476
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 8.62%
Wants: 58
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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Reviews: 801 | Hads: 1,476
Photo of NeedBeerHere
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pour out dark as night with a one finger brown head with good retention and some nice lacing. Smell is of chocolate, dark fruits, coffee, a little toffee, and some burnt malts. The smell is better than expected. Taste is coffee forward with all the attributes I sensed from the nose except I didn't get the chocolate in the taste. Mouthfeel is quite thick which is nice for the style. Overall this is quite a nice beer for the style and a lot better than I expected. (466 characters)

Photo of DrinkNewport
4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

What a great little Imperial Stout! Extremely dark, strong aroma, strong but balanced flavor. Full bodied.

It's a LITTLE too bitter on the back end, but all in all a great standard issue imperial stout.

A great example of what Samuel Adams can do when they put their heart into it! (283 characters)

Photo of turbotype
3.08/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

I'm not going to type a whole lot on this one. Just want to say that I think it was an attempt at something good that failed. The brew had the appearance. Had the smell even. But the flavor tasted... I don't know, forced. Almost like some sort of artificial flavor was added. It left this starchy aftertaste too that lasted long after it was gone. Also, you can taste the alcohol in this one. Not that its a bad thing. Just that combine with the "forced" flavor made me think I was drinking some sort of flavored malt beverage, rather than a brewed stout. I tried to be fair with the rating best I could. (604 characters)

Photo of Flounder57
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a two finger head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a pitch black color with no clarity or vision of bubbles coming up through the glass. Nice lacing on the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Chocolate, molasses, roasted coffee, warm boozy alcohol, a little smoke, bready malts, and some toffee.

Taste: Roasted coffee, burnt molasses, chocolate, boozy alcohol, mild hop bitterness, toffee, raisins, vanilla, and tobacco

Mouthfeel: Smooth, full bodied, tingly bitterness, warm alcohol, and medium carbonation.

Overall: Pretty awesome RIS. It has a lot of deep flavors yo go with the traditional ones people would expect from this style. (716 characters)

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pours a black color with a small foamy brown head. The head fades rather fast leaving a light level of sticky and streaky lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell- The aroma of the beer is big of dark chocolate with a nice big smell of caramel and vanilla. They are joined by some other aromas of a roasted espresso and some light dark fruit smells. With a mild warming boozy aroma the mix of smells gives a very nice chocolaty and sweet dessert like aroma.

Taste – The taste begins with some milk chocolate and a nice roasted malt taste. Right from the start, there are some sweeter flavors of vanilla and caramel mixed with some lighter dark fruit flavors. As the flavor advances some of the sweeter flavors dwindle, transitioning the milk chocolate flavors to a more dark chocolate nature. Along with these changes, so too comes some coffee flavors to the tongue. They start out more mild in the middle, but as the flavor advances to the end they become more bitter and roasted taking on a more espresso like nature. Some sweetness seems to return to the tongue at the end, and is joined by a light char and boozy taste to leave a nice mix of chocolate, sweet, coffee, dark malts and booze to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is thick and creamy with a carbonation level that is average. While a slightly lower carbonation may have been a bit better for the style, the thick body is quite fantastic for the flavors coating the mouth in all the nice dark and sweet flavors.

Overall –Overall the brew had a nice blend of chocolate, coffee, sweet, roasty and malty. A quite tasty and enjoyable imperial. (1,692 characters)

Photo of bmwats
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a footed tulip.

A: Black. Pours a 1 finger, bubbly, brown head. Settles fairly quickly leaving a thick ring of foam around the surface. Spotty lacing.

S: Roasted espresso, dark bitter chocolate, black licorice, molasses.

T: Dark chocolate, licorice, and peat.

M: Thick and a little boozy. Lightly bitter and pungent finish. High alcohol is very apparent.

D: Sip and enjoy.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Dark and intimidating. Fair head, and some slight lacing. Nose is characteristic roasted coffee and malt, dark chocolate, licorice, and molasses. Thick and malty with bitter licorice, pungent peat, and bittersweet chocolate. Well balanced, but a little boozy. Overall, this is a good quaff. (728 characters)

Photo of bark
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

The colour is almost black (90 EBC), the liquid is clear. The finger thick brown head slowly sinks down leaving some lacing.

The smell is sweet with notable alcohol. Roasted flavours, coffee. Notes of cookies and clean bitterness.

The taste is bitter with dark chocolate, warming smooth alcohol and sour black malt. Chocolate chip cookies, chocolate mud cake. Hints of black pepper. Medium body. Warming alcohol in the smooth aftertaste. Coffee and chocolate. The finish is rather short with a robust bitterness.

The carbonation is strong; the short-lived bubbles small. The liquid is dry and thick.

A bit too obvious alcohol, and a surprisingly short finish. Otherwise, this is a classic RIS that don’t disappoint. A good introduction to the style. (758 characters)

Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass; no bottle dating, but is the old label, so it should be a few years old. Pours dense pitch black color with a 1 finger dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of dark chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, toast, toffee, light char, molasses, raisin, dark bread, and roasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt notes; with good strength. Taste of dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, toast, toffee, molasses, light char, raisin, dark bread, and roasted earthiness. Light roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, toast, toffee, molasses, dark bread, raisin, light char, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt flavors; with big flavor robustness and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and full bodied; with a very creamy and moderately slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice imperial stout. All around good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt flavors; with big robustness and very easy sipping. A very enjoyable offering. (1,347 characters)

Photo of Omnium
3.72/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle > Pint Glass

A - Pours a totally black color, one of the blackest of all colors I've seen, half a finger of brown head, thick lacing on the sides.
S - Aroma is lacking, but you get some really sweet candied dark fruit, mild toffee, roasted coffee beans, some dark chocolate.
T - There's a lot of acidic fruit kind of sweetness mixed with rich roasted malt, some grainy earthy flavors scattered in the mix, some alcohol, dark chocolate, a hint of coffee.
M - Thick, dense, sweet, mildly tart, and a tad creamy
O - This style really isnt my favorite, but this is done pretty well, though it does have a more tart sour cherry type quality to it than most RIS beers, I'd say put it in a blindfold taste with some others and see if people guess that its Sam's. (766 characters)

Photo of Gryphon69
3.62/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into the oversized wine glass

A- A wonderful dense black with some brown. Little to no head with slight lacing around the glass.

S- First thing that grabbed me was a chocolate covered cherry, with some coffee and more dark fruits like prunes

T- Light on the malts, more of a dark fruit with chocolate and some coffee, kind of on the sweet side.

M- More on the lighter side of a stout, not overly heavy but smooth.

O- It is ok, more balanced out with nothing really popping out to grab me. But to be fair, I did try this after a Old Rasputin RIS and the SA iS is on the other end of the spectrum. Wonderfull appearance, average nose, alright taste and mouthfeel. (678 characters)

Photo of Mojo
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12ounce bottle -> snifter

A - pours up as black as my ex-girlfriend's heart with a very nice two finger khaki colored head, fairly poor retention, and bits of lacing left behind.

S - aroma of morning coffee, chocolate, and some alcohol

T - taste is chocolate, caramel, soy sauce, coffee, toffee, molasses, and alcohol. This honestly tastes better and better as it warms.

M - kind of thin with a bit of a coffee aftertaste

O - nice offering, well done with a complex flavor. (481 characters)

Photo of Wrigfen
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I am not a stout drinker. Just a matter of personal preference. Well that is changing as of tonigh. I found a couple of bottles in our collection/stash my wife must have picked up at some time and I tried a bottle w/o even knowing I was chilling a stout until I poured it. What a great rich taste without being heavy or over powering as the few other stouts I tried in my life. The cocoa taste is excellent.
Guess what, I will know be a stout drinker with this as my staple mixed in with my IPA's etc.
Try this beer my friends it is really good!
I am hunting for some more tomorrow. Me! A stout who would have figured!
Nice job Sam Adams. (638 characters)

Photo of rdilauro
3.06/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

I need to make a disclaimer up front and now! I am a stout lover and as such, I have tasted some of the best Stouts made. So, keeping that in mind and trying not to allow that to influence me, here is what I have to say about this beer.

It poured like all other stouts. Deep rich black with a small be concentrated almost amber head.
No question about the coffee influence here. I did not detect any chocolate here, so, this one was more for the coffee/espresso lover..

The instal taste was very pleasant...The coffee was so very present, it just about came out of the glass and grabbed you.

I was hoping for more body. This seemed a bit thin, and the finish then was the same, somewhat thin. Plus there was a bit of an after taste I could not figure out. (758 characters)

Photo of arizcards
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up a single in late April from Total Wine for $2.49.

Beer poured black as night with a brown head that is leaving lacing behind.

Nose has some roastiness with a hint of mocha.

Taste is roasted malts, dark cocoa, some anise, and enough hopping to balance this out nicely.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and very smooth.

Overall this is a very nice brew. It is hearty, full of flavor and satisfying. Glad i finally tried and would recommend. (447 characters)

Photo of M_C_Hampton
3.81/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A: poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, very dark almost black with a short thick dark tan head that lingers leaving good lacing, clear

S: dark chocolate, sweet, molasses, coffee, malt, dark fruits, prune, raisin

T: starts sweet molasses, turns bitter with coffee flavors, a bit of hops on the end, not nearly as complex as expected

M: oily, viscous and thick, alcohol well hidden

O: good properties for the style, not as much taste complexity as expected (468 characters)

Photo of datalager
4.68/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Insanely cocoa colored head, sitting atop an oil black body. And to add to the stunning appearance is lacing as frothy as sea foam.

The nose is like a carnival...no...a three ring circus! Licorice, espresso, chocolate. Deep, full bodied aroma is immediately apparent cold out of the fridge. As it warms, the coffee scent steps back, and the anise steps far forward. Esters are quite present, to no surprise given the 9.2% demon.

Flavors follow the aromas nicely, with an addition of molasses mid gulp, and some slight caramel in the finish. Alcohol is ever more obvious upon swallow than in sniff alone.

Mouthfeel is where this ale gets a top award, IMO. Resiny, thick, syrup-like draw with a smooth burn upon swallow. Damn, this is a heavenly stout!

If you are looking for a top shelf beer that is strong, sweet and dark, this brew from Boston Brewing is as good as any I've had in the genre. (897 characters)

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.09/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.

Pours a dull, slightly translucent but rather oily brown colour, with a minimal flat futz of beige foam that becomes a static ring. Body looks quite thick, but the beer itself looks dead and lifeless. It's not overly impressive.

Nose is pleasant, though. Mild chocolate and toasty grain, with some boozy undertones which give vanilla and banana aromas. There's some deep caramel and toffee as well, providing a pleasant sweetness to provide body and structure. It's nice stuff.

Taste is similarly smooth and structured. Solid, pleasant dark malt sweetness, spiked with vanilla and aniseed. Some spicy booze comes out on the back, giving more of a prickly feel than anything else. Finish is surprisingly light, evaporating almost towards the end, with just a lingering roast character.

Feel is smooth but light and supple. It's very good.

Overall, this is a nice beer. A very nice beer, in fact. It's not an imperial stout that redefines the genre, but it's well made and well-structured. I like it. (1,054 characters)

Photo of BlackBelt5112203
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter at cellar temperature.

L – Black color with a nice 3-finger, frothy, foamy, tan head. Awesome retention and fantastic sheets of lacing.

S – Mostly sweet aromas with chocolate, caramel, and brown sugar. The aroma doesn’t have much in the way of roasted malt but it is very pleasant.

T – It starts off sweet with chocolate, caramel, and molasses and eventually progresses to a smooth and mild bitter roasted coffee taste. After the bitterness fades, there may be some sweet dark fruits and licorice that creep in. It’s not as complex as some of the best beers of the style, but it’s definitely tasty.

F – Medium-to-full-bodied with nice carbonation, a sticky and mouth-coating feel, and a bittersweet and slightly dry finish. Bittersweet coffee, chocolate, and molasses flavors linger.

O – This is a nice RIS. As I said before, it’s not as complex as some of the best beers of the style, but it’s a great basic example of the style – just like most Samuel Adams beers. It’s very tasty and drinkable, and the ABV is hidden very well. While there are other Russian imperial stouts that I’d rather have, I would certainly never say no to this one. Nice beer from Sam. (1,228 characters)

Photo of MichaelNickerson
4.79/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - unbelievably dark beer with a dark brown strong, thick, and prestigious head.

Smell - coffee and cocoa aromas with subtle brown sugar, molasses, and raisin notes

Taste - small sweet complexion, followed by a strong coffee flavor that dominates the palate. Not too hoppy, but finished instead with a roasted taste.

Mouthfeel - extremely smooth for an imperial stout. You don't notice the alcohol taste at all.

Overall - Extremely thick and relaxing beer to sip on. Excellent dessert beer, especially if you love coffee and chocolate. (550 characters)

Photo of BlesstheHarvest
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It is an extremely dark beer with a nice tan/coffee roasted head. It is appetizing and inviting.

The smell is great. It is sweet molasses, brown sugar, malts, chocolate, raisin, and some milder coffee notes.

The taste follows the nose. You can taste the molasses, the malts, roasted grains, the chocolate; it is a pretty good beer. It definitely pushes the sweet flavor boundaries but who can complain, it is dessert on a glass. It has sweet fruity notes like raisins and prunes, it also has a slight sour note on the back of the mouth but it is balances out with the sweetness of the roasted malts and the warmth of the alcohol notes.

This beer has a full body that coats your entire mouth with a sweet layer of malty chocolate syrup. It is mildly carbonated but overall it was enjoyable.

I would definitely have this again. (831 characters)

Photo of mntlover
3.52/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a black some red around edges sports a smaller coco head that falls to ring fairly quick with spotty lace.

Aroma is roasted malts quite a bit of dry chocolate, some nice smoke notes with hints of dark fruits and light coffee. Not a great nose for a big stout but fairly descent.

Taste is mostly like the nose roasted malts a fair amounts of smoke notes in the taste also nice bakers chocolate light coffee and dark fruits.

Mouthfeel is only little bigger then medium seems little light for a big stout. Feel is good nice and smooth anyway.

Overall not bad but not really a big kick ass stout like most RIS's. Fairly descent but have had regular stouts with this much flavor. Did enough the smokey notes though seems a nice touch. (740 characters)

Photo of ChestSplitter
4.41/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glad I waited to review this after my 4th one, not my first. This beer has grown on me with each one I've had.

Pours a thick brown/black. Not much head at all.

Smells sweet, lots of chocolate.

Taste/mouthfeel: Big and sweet. All the flavors you'd expect from a big stout. I never got a hint of the alcohol. This beer has a long, long finish that ends up like coffee.

I've had these now in close proximity to both Guinness stout and Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout, as well as Samuel Smiths Oatmeal Stout and Tallgrass Buffalo Sweat. This has a bigger taste than all the others. It's sweet, but long and complex, and I don't anticipate it getting boring. It's got a syrupy quality reminiscent of the other beers in Sam Adams' imperial series but it works great here with all the chocolate/malt/coffee flavors, whereas not so much with the white and the doppelbock.

Headed to the store for another 4-pack now. (911 characters)

Photo of lwillitz
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12-oz bottle into New Belgium globe

A - beautiful huge dark tan head over a beautiful pitch black body, great head retention and beautiful lace

S - dark chocolate, milk, coffee, suggestion of spice; smells sweet

T - dark chocolate, roasted coffee, dark fruit, alcohol stays mostly in the background until it shows up to warm the finish

M - slick full body with medium carbonation, warming finish, smoooth

O - a little on the sweet side, but a very excellent RIS (466 characters)

Photo of Braz
4.47/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown/black. One finger of creamy brown head that recedes after a minute leaving a light lace. Aroma is heavy dark chocolate with a light roastiness. Light sweetness of chocolate up front, with a dry roasted coffee finish. Subtle spice aftertaste - the anise perhaps. Smooth lightly carbonated thick body. Alcohol is well masked by the strong chocolate/coffee flavors. Very good beer with excellent body. Will definately have this again sometime. This almost tastes like a milk stout. (495 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown color with good opacity. The head is a one finger light tan color. It fades fairly quick, but leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

S: Honestly, if Sam Adams called this a chocolate stout, I wouldn't have batted an eyelash. Chocolate (both dry baker's and even a touch of the milk stuff), licorice and bright dark fruits are the most prevalent aromatic notes - even a bit of cherry seems to come through. Not much in the way of roasted malts; this seems like it'll be on the sweet side.

T: There isn't much deviation from the aroma. There's a lot of semi-sweet chocolate, cherries, and licorice to open the flavor profile. It finishes a bit weak, providing only a generic dark fruit and malt character that's far too hard to identify. The biggest problem is that it needs a bit more roasted malt to counteract its sweetness. I notice a slight 'soy' character on the aftertaste which is honestly kind of pleasant. Still, it doesn't alleviate how sweet it is.

M: Any doubts this is a sweet RIS are thrown quickly to the curb with its lingering, sweet, almost syrupy finish and aftertaste. It's also quite thick feeling. While this does a good job of covering the alcohol up, I'd honestly prefer it if were dry but a bit boozier.

O: Given its sweet nature and relative simplicity, I'd recommend this as a dessert beer or to someone who's never had an imperial stout before. All in all, this one is a fine offering, but nowhere near my favorite in the style. I'd pick Old Rasputin, Black Chocolate Stout, or Yeti over this any day. (1,590 characters)

Samuel Adams Imperial Stout from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
86 out of 100 based on 801 ratings.