1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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

1,413 Ratings
THE BROS
80
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,413
Reviews: 795
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 13.95%
Wants: 41
Gots: 61 | 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)
View: Beers (129) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samuel Adams Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,413 | Reviews: 795 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cokes
cokes

Wisconsin

4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Inky purple-brown-black as it exits the bottle into the glass. Viscous and dense looking with a small mocha head popping up and fading just as fast, but leaving a few island patches of bubbles on the surface.
Not the nose I expected. It's no 'triple espresso and electric evergreen' imperial stout. This is...almost subtle with its anise and grape and vanilla and port and smoked pork and muddled chocolate mints.
Grape mixes in right away, tastewise. Vinous as hell. It mixes immediately with a coagulating fudge. Coffee seeps up and adds bitter grounds. More chocolate not, with trailing caramel and vanilla. Cherry and prune juice squirt in. Cigar smoke wafts across. Meaty too, with impressions of salami and pork shoulder, and possibly barbeque sauce...or at least hickory/mesquite smoke. More grapes towards the end, concord now, bright and purple. Sweet and concentrated, like port, or Ice wine. The finish is grapey, chocolately, semi-smokey, and lasting.
Medium full in body, with the brawny fleecy texture one might expect.
This has all the hallmarks of a fantastic Imperial Stout. It may lack a bit of cohesion. But all in all, it's a good one.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2009 09:34:06 | More by cokes
Photo of clayrock81
clayrock81

Virginia

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

Pours a thick cola-like black with two-finger tan head and lace to match. A heavy aroma of roasted and sweet malts, typical of this style.
Taste and mouthfeel more of the same as this medium-to-fullbody goes down smooth and creamy. Taste mostly roasted malts, along w/ some breadiness, balanced w/ coffee and chocolate which gives this beer some sweetness. Possibly some molasses or syrup as there is a decent stickiness to the beer. A textbook stout - nothing superbly amazing but a great sipper that one must try.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2009 17:27:56 | More by clayrock81
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 tpd975
tpd975

Florida

3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Very deep dark black hue with a small mocha colored head. No real retention with just a touch of spotty lace.

S: Not very bold. Subtle roasted malt with hints of dark chocolate and dark fruit.

T: A bit astringant up front. The kind of flavor you get from over roasted malt or burnt coffee. Toasted goodness comes through in the middle along with a blast of dark fruit. Light notes of licorice and a wave of chocolate round things out.

M: Big and full bodied brew. Rich, with okay carbonation.

D: Okay, take away the astringancy and I would really enjoy it.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2009 22:11:56 | More by tpd975
Photo of beerman21
beerman21

California

3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I am a bif fan of RIS and i hate to compare beers with others but it is hard to live up to Raspution RIS. Will see how this one goes.

Ok so far so good pours a deep expresso black with a cinnomon head which builds and disipates just as it appears.

Smell dark choclate and cheap folgers coffee. Earthy tones come through as well like wet soil. Nothing really pronouced.

Here goes the first sip.... Ok intial thought of this brew very thick and creamy mouthful is impressive. Choclate, coffee and yes what the box describes anise comes through as well. Very intresting.

alright I'll be back got to finish this brew-Ha...Alright Im back the beer all in all was pretty enjoyable. Thought it was a good american version of the RIS. Warming, filling and flavorful. Yet I've had better RIS in the paste. Recomended might buy it again but if i see Rasputin i'll grab that instead.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2009 03:23:19 | More by beerman21
Photo of bruningmd
bruningmd

Illinois

3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pitch black, like a barrel of molassas, with a thin head that dissapated quickly---left a sticky residue on the glass

S: Lots of burnt notes, Caramel, Toffee, Charred malts, A touch of maple at the end

T: Tastes of dark chocolate, burnt wood, smoke, coffee, caramel, alcohol aftertaste, bitter at the finish, but in a good way

MF: Full bodied, thick and chewy, filling

D: A really solid interpretation of an Imperial Stout for Sam Adams. I could definitely see myself keeping a few of these in my fridge. It's nothing fancy, not gonna rewrite the history of beer, or even the history of the stout. But, It's a good beer, if a little on the simple side. Could use a little more complexity. That said, I was pleasantly surprised and satisfied.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2009 23:03:01 | More by bruningmd
Photo of cvfish
cvfish

Louisiana

4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - This beer poured a deep black color that produced a brown fluffy head that good retention and left a good amount of lace on the side of the glass

S - The aromas that were produced were straight forward RIS, roasted malts and coffee

T - The taste of this beer was also straight forward, the roasted malts and bitter chocolate was present with a little bit of coffee

M - The mouthfeel of this beer had a medium to heavy body that was accompanied by a light amount of carbonation

D - This was a very good Imperial Stout, very drinkable and made for sipping, you cannot go wrong with this beer if you like the darks

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2009 20:12:03 | More by cvfish
Photo of aforbes10
aforbes10

Iowa

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

Bottle from Monument in Concord, CA. Pours tar black and thick-looking with a half inch milk chocolate head. Strong lacing. Smells of chocolate covered cherries, dark biscuity malt and fruity ethanol. Big, thick and chocolatey flavor. Cocoa bitterness, strong alcohol mixing with chocolate and a well defined hop bitterness. Maybe just a little hot, but otherwise very nice. Big and thick. Drinks well, S.A. impresses.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2009 19:19:41 | More by aforbes10
Photo of againes
againes

Texas

4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Liquid Velvet:

This beer pours a deep, rich black color that is nearly impenetrable to light. Within my pint glass, I held up various lights to it to find a hint of color and could not find anything except black. Wonderful!

The imperial stout smells very sweet, a bit like dried fruits such as prunes or raisins with a slight caramel tone.

Taste starts as sweet with fruity and chocolate tones with a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel on this stout is huge with a very soft, silky feel on the tongue and throat.

Definitely not a session beer but, of course, that is not its purpose. A good sipping imperial stout that warms the stomach and caresses the soul.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2009 06:24:24 | More by againes
Photo of jkbusman
jkbusman

North Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - pitch black opaque with a medium sized dark brown head that fades quickly; leaves nice bubbled lacing on the glass

S - a huge roasted malt aroma with some notes of coffee and chocolate; nothing out of the ordinary here

T - a very smooth approach balanced with a nice amount of bitterness; hints of dark fruit, chocolate and espresso all hung on the sturdy malt frame; very little alcohol presence for it being 9.2ABV

M - medium carbonation helps to prop up a very full bodied stout

D - surprisingly easy to drink and an excellent first crack at the imperial stout by BBC

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2009 02:53:08 | More by jkbusman
Photo of ppoitras
ppoitras

Massachusetts

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

12oz bottle purchased as part of a 4-pack from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/4" dark brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head fades at a moderate pace, with lots of legs and average lacing. Aroma is rich deep dark grains and alcohol evident. Taste is syrupy sweet upfront with the dark malts, peeks of fruit in the middle, and a warming alcoholic close. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is good for the style. Kind of cutting edge for Sam, not trying to be a gateway brew like so many of their other styles.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2009 02:31:05 | More by ppoitras
Photo of DiabolikDUB
DiabolikDUB

Oregon

4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours jet black into the glass with a nice one inch mocha colored head. Much darker than I was expecting this to turn out. The smell is a bit faint with a little bit of roastiness. This taste is surprisingly nice, roasted malts and caramel with a touch of coffee. The beer is a little watery upfront but comes through in the end with a nice bitter finish

I'm very happy I got to try this beer. For the money its a pretty good deal. I didn't expect too much going into the tasting and left extremely satisfied.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2009 00:07:22 | More by DiabolikDUB
Photo of Shaw
Shaw

Florida

4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours totally black -- of course -- with a chocolate-milk like foamy head.

The smell is all about roasted malt, with coffee, toffee and chocolate aromas and a hint of solvent alcohol.

The taste is chocolately and sweet with a bit of a dry twang and notes of alcohol. Big roasted flavors abound.

The body is super slick and creamy and flows like glass.

This is an excellent imperial stout and one of Samuel Adams' best. Well worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2009 07:11:39 | More by Shaw
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Can a "mega" craft brewer brew a really good imperial stout? Let's find out. Listed at 9.2% ABV, and poured into a chalice, on to the beer:

Pours thick and black. A mocha tanned head forms on top the invincible black body about an inch thick initially. The nose is very charred and smokey, I swore it smelled like a baltic porter. A bit of chocolate is found, but the smokey aroma prevails here. In the mouth, it's a little smoother than other big stouts. It has a rich flavor and feel without going over (apologies to Bob Barker), and the alcohol is hidden well. Rich chocolate flavors hit first, liek drinking Dove chocolate. A little smokiness and wood add complexity. Very warming in the throat and tummy. This is a good imperial stout, but its pricetag may scare away the everyday consumer familiar with the brand (but maybe not beer geeks ;-)

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2009 05:44:50 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of alcstradamus
alcstradamus

Washington

2.25/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

A--Pours as black as the deepest depths of Charles Manson's soul, with a huge 3 finger dark brown head that leaves behind a thick trail of lacing. This is as good looking as any beer I've ever seen, I don't see how this could be rated lower than a 5 unless purposely trying to lower the overall letter grade.

S--As odd, funky wooden smell. Also some vanilla and molasses, maybe some bakers chocolate and dark fruit hidden in there. This smells bad, I am almost scared to drink it because any stout I've ever had that smelled like this ended up tasting like rotten fruit

T--Unfortunately, I am not surprised. There is a strong initial burst of rotting fruit, like a raisin that someone left on the sidewalk on a sunny day. A bit of imitation vanilla and bourbon notes, but I can't really go further because once I taste the funkiness I can't wade through it. This is not the worst imperial stout I've ever had, but it comes from the same family

M--Nice creaminess that luckily does not coat the mouth and leave an aftertaste

D--Nah, drain pour for me. Joins the ranks of Triple Bock and Cranberry Lambic as the worst Sam Adams beers

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2009 01:11:44 | More by alcstradamus
Photo of stephens101
stephens101

Oklahoma

3.13/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black with hazy dark brown edges. A thick, very dark brown head sticks for ages, finally leaving a wide stripe of lacing behind. Smells of very sweet caramel malts, black licorice, taffy and pine. Tastes a bit cloying at first. Underneath that exist some toasted malts, nuts, faint dark chocolates, alcohol and grain. Goes down big, somewhat smooth, and a little dry at the end. After a few drinks the sweetness becomes overkill. A decent RIS in all respects except the one that really counts; the one that ends up destroying this beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2009 23:33:57 | More by stephens101
Photo of wagenvolks
wagenvolks

Texas

4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle listed at 9.2% ABV.

An aggressive pour into my Duvel chalice sluggishly builds a half-inch of muddy brown head. Retention could be better, but a quick swirl of the glass rebuilds the foam. Nice fruity aromas of dark cherry, currant, and plum; a hint of booze lingers in the background. Some sweet chocolate malts lay a sturdy backbone, but to be honest this smells more like a Baltic porter than a Double Stout. Still enjoyable, though.

A tasty initial burst of toffee, earthen hops, and dark chocolate gives way to roasted coffee, mocha, and sweet booze. Notes of raisin rum and hops linger in the finish. Mouthfeel is creamy, full-bodied (but not syrupy), and packs a superb carbonation level. I really dig the flavor profile on this beer; it's complex, yet not so over-powering that I couldn't see myself enjoying more than one in a session. Easily the best beer in the Sam Adam's lineup beside their Hallertau Imperial Pilsener.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2009 04:14:34 | More by wagenvolks
Photo of Tone
Tone

Missouri

4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black color. One inch head of a dark tan color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of roasted malt, sweet malt, alcohol, and slight hop. Fits the style of an American Double / Imperial Stout. Mouth feel is really smooth and thick with a low carbonation level. Tastes of roasted malt up front, then a good amount of alcohol, some sweet malt, slight hop in the background, and some very slight raisin flavors. Overall, a really easy drinking Imp. Stout. Good body and blend of flavors, and the alcohol is noticeable, but not overpowering.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2009 00:49:18 | More by Tone
Photo of omnigrits
omnigrits

Texas

4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was planning on cellaring this bottle but temptation got the better of me. I'll just have to buy another one and lay it down.

Pours opaque black - holding it up to the window reveals no light coming through at all. A thinnish dark tan head quickly fades to a film of bubbles that remains throughout and leaves good lace.

A powerful and rich aroma comes from the beer. Plenty of sweet roasted malt in the nose, along with maybe a little aniseed and a hint of the alcoholic content. Cherries are added to the mix once the beer gets into the mouth - not displeasing at all, although there's a sweetness to this stout which isn't much to my taste. It's still a very good beer all the same.

This is the kind of beer I prefer to round the night off with rather than drink all evening, although I have an urge to try a glass of this with a full English breakfast in the morning. I'm pretty sure I'll be spending an hour two flaked out on the sofa afterwards.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2009 23:29:13 | More by omnigrits
Photo of DIM
DIM

Pennsylvania

3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a: This was a completely opaque black and poured with a medium sized dark tan head that quickly faded to a frothy whisp.

s: Interesting nose, and difficult to score. The first word that comes to mind is yeasty. Yeasty aromas earthy grains and something lightly fruity. It might not have been the strongest element, but it jumped out at me because it seemed a bit out of place. There were also notes of cherries, chocolate, anise, and alcohol. This smells good, but it doesn't have the big roasty character that I associate with an imperial stout. It smells a bit like an imperial milk stout actually.

t: This tastes like an imperial milk stout up front as well. Starts off lightly sweet before a finish of cherries and anise. I couldn't put my finger on what was missing here until after I finished it. There was no bitterness at all. No big roasty, burnt bitterness and no hoppy bitterness. I've never tasted anything like this.

m: Full bodied with creamy carbonation. The finish is long, but I can't decide if that's a good thing or not.

d: This was my second from the Sam Adams imperial series. The double bock was outstanding, while just seemed to be a bit strange to me. We live in a beer world inundated with fantastic big stouts. I don't see myself buying any more of these.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2009 14:43:01 | More by DIM
Photo of cjgator3
cjgator3

Florida

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

12oz bottle

A- Poured into a snifter. Pours a dark black color with a light tan head.

S- The aroma is dark and roasty with a lot of chocolate malts, coffee and some alcohol. The aroma is very nice, can't wait to get to the taste.

T- The taste like the aroma is dark roasted malt that starts out pretty smooth with some coffee and a nice burnt and bitter finish. The alcohol is present in the finish as well but isn't too overpowering, creating a warming finish.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Not bad, Sam Adams did a great job with this beer. Definitely worth a shot. Recommended!

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2009 04:58:04 | More by cjgator3
Photo of JAA
JAA

Florida

4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black labeled bottle with purple trim. I'm on record stating that i don't care for the design of the new Imperial beer series from the Boston Beer Company. Plain and boring. The trimming colors aren't too appealing to the eye. However, it does pour a beautiful pitch black, with almost no head. The lack of head is a little disappointing.

Doesn't emit a great odor, just a little light coffee and chocolate notes. I am also visualizing red apples.

The taste is an absolute home run. Very well balanced, i was shocked that they nailed the style on their first try(i think). Smooth chocolate malts and lots of coffee. Fairly boozy with an excellent hop bite. Ash lingers in the aftertaste. Some tart cherry does end up sneaking in somewhere in there.

Mouthfeel is chewy and bold. A good alcohol bite makes this brew a little less drinkable, but that should even out with time.

Overall, this is the second bottle i bought, because the first one impressed me greatly. Great beer from The Boston Beer Company, nice job Jim.

By the way, the bottle says 9.2% ABV.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2009 01:49:40 | More by JAA
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to jwc215 for this brew.

Poured into my SA glass a thick black color, very nice carbonation, very nice two-finger creamy tan head, with lots of sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some nice chocolate/toffee notes. The taste is sweet, malty, some nice chocolate/toffee notes. Medium body, nice creamy brew. Drinkable, the ABV 9.2% is hidden very well, recommended.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2009 19:32:06 | More by Wasatch
Photo of olmatty
olmatty

Oregon

3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Pours an opaque jet black beer with a think dark borwn head that hangs around the edges of the glass with clingy lacing,

Smell- Strong medicinal alcohol aroma, remeniscient of Irish Potcheen. Somewhat unpleasant.

Taste- Lots of bitterness all around, black licorice, roasty black malts, strong burn of alcohol, very dark coffee and some dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel- Middling carbonation, very thick and chewy body.

Drinkability- This brew is heavier than even it's 9.2% ABV denotes. Too big for more than one. Overall, kind of disappointing for what my expectations were. It was brand spaking new and probably needs significant aging to take the edges off.

Serving type: on-tap

04-24-2009 04:39:46 | More by olmatty
Photo of beerthulhu
beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: From the bottle poured a very dark merlot with a towering 2 finger plus frothy medium cinnamon colored head that was very impressive retention wise. In the glass the coloring was a near pitch coffee black. The lacing was thick and clumpy, smothering the sides of the glass while a thin skim covering lasts atop for the remainder of the drink.

S: dark roasted espresso beans, fresh grounded, though fairly light in nature and strength. Freshly burnt wood ambers add subtle hints giving this a dark, yet smoothing smoky aroma. Once again a little lighter then expected considering the label of imperial stout.

T: The flavor yielded a nice roasted malting with a touch of smokiness. Burnt chocolate with a dark earthy bitterness also is evident here. Some boozy dry whiskey notes, burnt cask wood, and some light freshly grounded charcoal powder and smoked peat blend well together almost seemingly into a smooth transaction of flavor. There is a nice earthy bitterness and smoked amber malting that lingers quite a bit after the swallow. Some coffee grinds that were bitterly roasted rounds things out in an otherwise pretty solid flavor.

M: silky, and good per style, with a nice smoothness and medium fullness for a body. The carbonation was good, providing just the right amount of tingle while maintaining a silky feel on the texture.

D: Nice drinkability with a big flavor that was boozy and dark roasted yet comfortable enough to drink a few of.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2009 22:28:39 | More by beerthulhu
Samuel Adams Imperial Stout from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
86 out of 100 based on 1,413 ratings.