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

1,452 Ratings
THE BROS
80
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,452
Reviews: 796
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 13.95%
Wants: 52
Gots: 71 | 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: 1,452 | Reviews: 796 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DiabolikDUB
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.

Photo of Shaw
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.

Photo of DoubleJ
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 ;-)

Photo of alcstradamus
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

Photo of stephens101
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.

Photo of wagenvolks
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.

Photo of Tone
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.

Photo of omnigrits
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.

Photo of DIM
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.

Photo of cjgator3
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!

Photo of JAA
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.

Photo of Wasatch
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.

Photo of olmatty
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.

Photo of beerthulhu
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.

Photo of BeanBone
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A solid black body with a big dark caramel colored head that leaves nice lacing. It certainly looks the part.

Aroma: Rich and complex: bananas, dark fruit, bitter chocolate, sweet roasted malt and alcohol.

Taste: The malt body is massive, bitter, and very roasty (almost burnt at times). Still getting some strong banana and general dark fruit flavors. Definite dark chocolate and coffee notes in the mix too. Plenty of alcohol to compliment everything, but never so much to step on anyone's toes. The aftertaste is big and roasty.

Mouthfeel: Full and velvety body with low carbonation. Dries nicely in the finish.

Drinkability: A sipper, but perhaps a little bit quicker than average for the style.

Verdict: Imperial Stout is another solid beer from the new Samuel Adams Imperial Series. Miles ahead of the Imperial White, and a shade better than the Double Bock, this is my pick from the collection. Well done Jim, this is great stuff.

Photo of Naugled
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in tulip glass

A: thick brown silky rocky head, very opaque espresso brown color with low carbonation

S: deep bitter roasted malt aroma up front, hops can be detected in the background

T: very rich dark roasted toffee caramel and dark fruits like raisons up front. significant bitterness from roasted malts and hops alike

MF: very rich, silky and thick feel. too much bitter aftertaste, low carbonation

D: delicious beer but hard to drink, but that is typical for this style. It's not a session beer.

Photo of TommyW
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Black body with a creamy, tan head that fades to a nice lace and sticks well to the glass.

S- Burnt and toasted malts.

T- Burnt and toasted malts dominate the taste. Just enough hops to leave a nice dry finish.

M- Very creamy in nature.

D- Really good beer that I look forward to having again.

Photo of hardy008
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a bark black color with a dark tan foamy 2 finger head. I can see a little streak of ruby color when held up to the light.

Smell - Roasted malts, molasses, chocolate and coffee.

Taste - Sweet molasses finished by coffee bitterness with dark bitter chocolate.

Mouthfeel - Fullbodied, very creamy, and sweet.

Drinkability - A nice drinkable imperial stout. Has a heavy alcohol presence, quite good.

Photo of Stunner97
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- dark, dark, black to brown colored beer, nice tan foam head laces the top of the glass, so dark you are not gettin any light through this one

Smell- lots of dark malts and espresso, also some strong bitter dark chocolate mixing in with lots of roasted barley

Taste- Very nice bitter espresso flavor comes at the start, alot of the roasted barley and malts from the nose also break through on the tasting, nice long bitter finish that really stays with you, a very nice finish

Mouthfeel- Heavy and syrupy, a very full bodied brew no doubt about that,

Drinkability- A very well hidden alcohol percentage yet still definitely a sipping stout, very nice example of the style not the best stout in the world but it is a very solid offering no doubt about that and would make a great nite cap to end a long day,

Photo of malty
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours black with no edges or highlights. Creamy, dense khaki 2" head. Simply gorgeous. Thick and even sheets of beige lace all the way down.

Smells very similar to the English St. George Stout. A little fruity with gobs of dark chocolate and malted milk.

Very expertly layered flavors starting with bitter dark bakers chocolate. The coffee & cream hits about in the middle with the anise (as stated on the back label) and just a teeny tiny hit of warm alcohol (very well-hidden though). Very malty and creamy sweet (but not overly sweet) chololate and charred elements are very prevalent. There's even a hint of bitter walnut flavor that arises about 30 seconds after the swallow - very interesting.

Mouthfeel id full bodied and uber creamy. Oily and silky with a roasted and somewhat charred long finish. A semi-dry chalky exit that counterbalances the heavy malts quite nicely.

Drinkability is wayyy good. I believe the heavenly mouthfeel has the most to do with this.

Overall a masterfully crafter Imperial Stout that surely hits all the marks. I don't think I've ever felt a brew so creamy straight from the bottle (without nitro widgets). I'd be proud to serve this to my friends on a cold winter's day/night. Good stuff for sure.

Photo of berserker256
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I bought a four pack for $10.99. The ABV on my bottle says 9.2%. This is a perfectly beautiful beer. It poured out like dirty motor oil as a rich brown head shot to the top of my glass. Bubbles cascade downward as it settles and a sticky lace is left behind as the head slowly disintegrates. Sweet and burnt malt as well as licorice are the most prodominant aromas my nose picks up. Heavy and thick but not syrupy. It tastes like expresso, burnt Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate, and black licorice. There's a bitter but not too unpleasant aftertaste. The ABV and strong rich flavor limit this beer's drinkabilty but it's a perfect sipper. Strong black coffee drinkers should love this beer. It's pretty damn good.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle > Chimay goblet

A Deep dark brown, not black, substantially thick head, nice patters of lace and an overall old-leather look. 2" high thick brown head, very well-retained as it should be!

A dark brown sugar scented malt roastie oats, vanilla, soft brownies, dark berries and concord grapes. The best part: blueberry pop tarts!

Yep, this one has a huge malt complexity. roatie oats with smooth vanilla, and a brownie sweetness. The heat is well-hidden in this thick malt, roastie but sweet edge. Great balance of slightly spicey herbs underneath. This is a traditional Imperial Stout in every sense. I personally like these more traditional, less-hoppy versions. It's full bodied and the headiest Sam adams' brew next to the double bock. clean and mean with baker's chocolate, chalky, dry finish with a bit of coffee in the back at the end.

two thumbs up for tradition.

Photo of gameface23
2.65/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: The best aspect of this beer is definitely it's appearance. It pours pitch black with a brown head.

S: Malty booze, bitter chocolate, and anise.

T: Mocha, malt, and booze.

M: Average mouthfeel. Wasn't as thick as I thought the appearance would suggest.

D: I wasn't impressed with this one. The alcohol isn't hidden well and the flavor is too strong in the wrong areas.

Photo of BMoney575
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sampled on 4-19-09

Pours completely black and completely opaque, with a decent brown head that settle to a ring. Lacing is thick and brown but short lasting.

Smell is very fresh and sweet, with tons of bitter chocolate and anise. Smoky and a little soy sauce-y at the end. A little bit different.

Taste is extraordinarily malty, almost sour. Very sweet with lots of bitter hops at the end. Huge amounts of flavor, with alot of booze in the finish.

Mouthfeel is good, thick, right for the style.

Drinkability is decent, thick, sweet, and lots of alcohol.

Overall, a gigantic beer that could probably stand a couple more years in the cellar.

Photo of Strix
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black, some head.

Charred roasted malt in the nose, a bit of sweetness and booze as well.

Big roasty flavor, with charcoal, anise, coffee, and booze. A little sweetness in there that detracts a bit, for me.

Mouthfeel smooth, a bit light.

This was passable, but given how many great stouts are out there, I will probably pass it by if I see it again.

Samuel Adams Imperial Stout from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
86 out of 100 based on 1,452 ratings.