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

1,453 Ratings
THE BROS
80
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,453
Reviews: 796
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 13.95%
Wants: 52
Gots: 72 | 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 (117) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samuel Adams Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,453 | Reviews: 796 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Zorro
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black light proof beer with a medium sized brown colored head.

Sweet and fruity with lots of fig and berry scents. Little bit of spice in this mostly Cinnamon. Sweet molasses under that coffee and chocolate are notable for being absent in the scent of a RIS.

Starts out chocolate, patent malt and bitter. Smoothes out a bit as you drink it, smoke starts to dominate the other flavors. Not as complex as expected.

Mouthfeel is thick.

This is OK but isn't all that great. RIS but lacking in many respects.

Photo of ZAP
5/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-Black with nice ruby highlights...really impressive looking...if this was a woman I'd have a bon...ahh forget that thought....it is fine looking though...

S-Great aroma..smells exactly how I like an Impy stout to smell...burnt molasses,figs, anise, dark chocolate, black coffee, black licorice (Alexander the Great would love the way this smells), and charred raisins.

T-Similar to the nose with a lot of charred, coffee, chocolate, molasses, licorice, and raisins.. Big time flavor....jumps out at you...

M-Creamy, rich, full bodied...abv is hidden but some dark chocolate bitterness on the finish...

D-This is one awesome Impy..I did a blind taster with this and Central Waters Impy which is also very good and this was by far the more impressive beer in body, big flavor, aroma etc...the CW was tasty but seems like a regular stout next to this. This is a great creation by Sam Adams....

Photo of jdklks
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a little light for an imperial stout and the head disintegrates quickly. still decent looking- dark black with brown edges when held to the light. Not as thick as I like my RISs.

S- Roasted coffee and malts. sweet dark chocolate. Nothing in particular stands out here.

T- Again, nothing really stands out here. Its almost like they are playing it safe (as sam adams tends to do aside from the few exceptions). A nice roasted chocolate flavor that is good, but ultimately kills the rest of the flavors while not really emphasizing itself. The result? a little boring.

M- This gets a 4 simply for its style. who doesn't like the mouthfeel of an RIS? However, it is not as full-bodied as I would like it, and it may be slightly over-carbonated.

Photo of Bierguy5
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, 9.2% ABV. Pours a pitch black color. Nice mocha, rocky head. Very nice head retention. A few spots of lace. Looks pretty good.

Chocolate, roasty, vinous, with some raisin and plum notes in the nose. A whiff of alcohol to go along with a bit of earthy, floral hop notes.

Nice amount of sweetness up front. Dark chocolate, followed by booze-soaked raisins. Good bitterness in the back to balance tings.

Seems a little thin for the size. Carbonation seems a bit high as well. Lacks depth, but still pretty tasty. Worth trying.

Photo of sonicdescent
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Let me preface this by saying I have never before this one had a drink completely ruined by carbonation. Reading over some other reviews, there is a chance this was a bad bottle and I will give it another shot.

Appears with a healthy froth of mocha head over a completely black liquid, very nice.

Scent is light chocolate malt but heavy earthy scents.

Taste is good, but I have a hard time sensing it over the massive amounts of bubble. I prefer my stouts to be near flat, but this isn't even a preference issue, it actually burns because of the amount of carbonation.

Mouth as stated before overshadows everything as this beer is a carbonation bomb. Overall drinkability suffers because of this. Will be re-reviewed if in the event this isn't a problem again.

Photo of SPRichard
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
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 JasonA
4.4/5  rDev +15.8%
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 Pencible
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured opaque black with dark tan head. It smelled like black licorice and bitter dark chocolate, with cooking vanilla and oak. It tasted like semi-sweet chocolate and black licorice, with vanilla oak and alcohol and roasted coffee. Sweetened some as it warmed, to create a bit more balanced flavor. It was fairly thick with a bit of carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste with alcohol warming. Overall this was a surprisingly solid imperial stout, which was easy to see a high level of effort that went into the brew. It had a nice scent and taste, and great body. The alcohol was a bit hot, so this beer was definitely for sipping. But some age might help mellow this out and build a bit more unique character. It's not a terribly complex beer fresh, but it was clean and very enjoyable. Well done.

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

Pours basically black with a sandy brown hint of a head. There's no light getting through this one. The smell seemed a smokey wood, chocolate, and molasses mixture with alcohol overtones. Very rich and smooth flavor. For me, the chocolate dominated and the smokey flavors that ensued were quite pleasing. I'm typically not much of a stout drinker, but there is something about this beer that just hits my taste buds the right way.

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

It poured a nice dark , thick pour. Leaving a very dark head, leaving some minor lace too.

It smells like roasted chocolate, coffee and mollases. Has a nice smell.

It tastes as good as it looks. With definatle chocolate, coffee and mollasses taste too. A nice thick taste with some hop notes and A nice toasty bready finish.

Just the right amount of carbonation, and its sweetish, not spicy at all.

A very drinkable beer overall and a winner from Sam Adams!

Photo of paco1029384756
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a small dark tan head.

Scent of roasted malts, dark fruit, molasses. A good scent, but a bit too sweet to be great.

Taste of roasted malts, sugars, chocolate a bit of alcohol and some dark fruits. Finishes with more roasted malts. Good, but kind of strange, a bit of a medicine quality.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with a small amount of carbonation.

Photo of carlborch
3.05/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured thick, black and dense. Large head of amber-brown foam formed, then settled into about a 1-inch collar. Leaves much lace in the glass. Not as full on the palate as the pour suggested. Lingers nicely. Noticeable forward bitterness. Notes of chocolate and cardamom and dark roast flavors. Reminds me a little of Westphalian dark rye bread. No spicy notes, though. It appears a little short on the palate. Definitely not moreish. Not for sessions! One will be enough.

Photo of scottyshades
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a rich, syrupy black color that produces a black cherry colored head that retains poorly, but leaves nice lacing along the glass.

S: Roasted and burnt malts, alcohol is present in the nose when the beer warms, and a dominant bitterness followed by some dark fruit

T: Bitter, malty, boldly hopped, chocolate, molasses, caramel, figs, and perhaps plums

MF/D: This is where the beer was lacking in my book. Way over-carbonated for my liking...also, a little too bitter for my personal taste, but I respect that

Photo of MDekker
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a large goblet that couldn't quite hold everything. Pure black in color. A finger of light brown head formed and then dissipated, leaving a rim of foam. Looks appealing.

S: Dark, roasted aroma of coffee, slightly burnt toast and licorice.

T: The flavor surprised me - a bitter, almost milky taste up front, like dark chocolate, almost baking chocolate - not too many sweet flavors. The alcohol is a little noticeable.

M: Decent - could be a little creamier. Good carbonation.

D: A good brew. It's not Founders KBS by any means, but its a good stout. I enjoyed it. I'm compelled to keep drinking it, but I couldn't pack them in by any means. I could see myself getting more.

Photo of CMW
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours an opaque jet black color that reminds me of cold black coffee. A small tan whispy head dies quickly and just leaves a tad bit of lacing.

S - Roasted malt, mixed with coffee, chocolate, dark fruit and alcohol.

T - Very sweet upfront with dark fruit that reminds me of raisins, figs, and dates. Roasted malt comes through after and provides smoky and coffee flavors. Almost no hop bitterness in the finish and the alcohol is also well hidden.

M - Carbonation tastes high but the overall mouthfeel is thin.

D - Although I wish the flavor was less sweet and more malty, this is very drinkable with the alcohol well hidden.

Photo of cokes
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.

Photo of clayrock81
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.

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.

Photo of tpd975
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.

Photo of beerman21
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.

Photo of bruningmd
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.

Photo of cvfish
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

Photo of aforbes10
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.

Photo of againes
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.

Photo of jkbusman
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

Samuel Adams Imperial Stout from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
86 out of 100 based on 1,453 ratings.