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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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very good

1,418 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,418
Reviews: 795
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 13.95%
Wants: 44
Gots: 64 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,418 | Reviews: 795 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rye726


3.73/5  rDev -1.8%

Pours a dark brown with a thin espresso head. The nose has licorice, molasses, roasty malts, alcohol and piney hops. Taste is also on the bitter/roasty side. Alcohol presence a bit hot. Medium to full body is a bit under carbonated. A decent stout from Sam Adams. Definately one of their better brews.

03-20-2009 17:51:52 | More by rye726
Photo of MrHungryMonkey


3.93/5  rDev +3.4%

Nose is devilishly rich, creamy, and roasted. Lots of vanilla, and some cocoanut-flavoring sweetness. Yes, it had a distinctive similarity to a blue cocoanut snowcone... go figure. Smells very good.

Pours as black as they come with a mild creamy head, little retention. Looks daunting. Looks nice.

Dark roast and bitterness. It's a tough cookie. Very heavily roasted, I get woodiness, earthiness, and some of the blackened-food-savoriness (that I assume is) from Maillard reactions. Some sweetness, some hints at that cocoanut, which is now more bubblegum, but still hard to pin down lurking in the malt. There's a tartness, an almost-leafy/fresh tartness that might be hops... at least it is kind of hop-like. Could be grainy malt or yeast. As it warms chocolate and espresso come into focus through the stiff bitterness. More leafiness is almost lemongrass-like. More esters inventing new fruit flavors as it warms.

Consider this analogy: ¼ part dark chocolate, 1 part espresso/dark-roast coffee beans, ¼ part charcoal (preferably from a recent campfire), 1 part leaves/grass/flowers/fruit (freshly picked), and 3-5 parts base of neutral maltly beer blended together, strained through a chinois, and carbonated just enough to provide additional body without the bite. Rich, thick, bitter, bold. Tastes like I've just had a chocolate milk shake on the burp-up, but the dull feeling in my mouth rather suggests that I'd smoked a cigarillo.

Tastes good. Feels good. Not so easy to drink. Like many amazing technical wonderments it's hard to swallow.

03-20-2009 02:15:27 | More by MrHungryMonkey
Photo of NCSUdo


3.98/5  rDev +4.7%

12 oz bottle

A: Deep black under a small, nearly non-existent brown head. No lace, no retention.

S: Very sweet, anise, sweet and dark chocolate, some dark fruits, roasted malt. Very pleasing aroma and the sweetness is a bit of a surprise.

T: Very sweet again, possibly a little too sweet. Anise and some sweet and dark chocolate again, slightly herbal, a bit of chicory perhaps as well and just a little hint of booze.

M/D: Full bodied, very viscous, low carbonation. Decent drinkability for such a big beer. Overall, a pretty good imperial stout. Taste is perhaps a bit too sweet at times, but overall it's solid.

03-20-2009 01:45:14 | More by NCSUdo
Photo of Blakaeris


3.93/5  rDev +3.4%

Pours midnight black with a creamy tan head that provides sheets of intricate lacing.

Aroma is smokey, roasted dark grain. Hints of chocolate, coffee, and bourbon.

Taste is initially very smokey, charred dark gain, matched with velvet smooth sweet chocolate notes. There is also an undercurrent of coffee, earthy hop, and black currant. Alcohol comes on strong with a bourbon character, that brings out a touch of vanilla and woody oak. Finish is clean and peppery.

Mouthfeel is medium-full. Smooth and creamy.

A different take on an RIS than say, Old Rasputin. Flavor is milder overall, with a definite sweet aspect. Alcohol comes on hotter than expected, but this offering remains a worthwhile RIS.

03-19-2009 21:51:06 | More by Blakaeris
Photo of Limberg316


4.65/5  rDev +22.4%

This was quite a suprise coming from Sam Adams. This is (so far) the darkest beer I've ever had. It was pitch black with no light being able to penetrate the lovely blackness. It pours very well leaving a very dark brown head and simply reeks of heavily roasted barley. To taste, one notes very strong coffee, chocolate and caramel notes. It is incredibly smooth and quite easy to drink. Simply astounding.

03-19-2009 21:19:40 | More by Limberg316
Photo of GJ40

North Carolina

3.4/5  rDev -10.5%

Sampled from a 12oz bottle purchased at Nikki's in N Providence, RI. No best by date.

A - Black with a tinge of light coming through. Very little head.

S - Roasted malts with coffee and chocolate notes. There also seems to be a hint of medicine or band aids that spoils the aroma.

T - Molasses and roasted malt but not particularly sweet. A nice roasted malt bitterness. The flavor definitely improves as the beer warms.

M - Moderate carbonation with very fine bubbles. A bit thick in the start but then seems to evaporate in your mouth leaving you a bit empty.

D - Like most Sam Adams beers (in my opinion) this is not bad but not outstanding. I'd drink it if there were no better options but this isn't one I'd seek out.

03-19-2009 11:17:39 | More by GJ40
Photo of theBubba

New York

3.6/5  rDev -5.3%

Pours a very dark espresso-like color with a nice two finger head that quickly shrinks to an eighth inch, but hangs in to the end. Smell is faint until it warms in the glass. Then to me it's black cherry and toasted malt.

This baby is 9.2 ABV and it tastes like it. The alcohol def comes through. I give Sam Adams credit for "pushing the envelope", but for overall enjoyment of this style, I'd go with a Samuel Smith Imperial or Oatmeal Stout.

03-19-2009 04:37:29 | More by theBubba
Photo of dukedevil0


3.93/5  rDev +3.4%

Single 12oz bottle from Archer Liquors in Chicago, IL.

A: Pours a dark black with lots of mocha colored head, three fingers that reduces down to one finger and lots of beautiful lacing on the glass.

S: Smells like an alcoholic-coffee-chocolate mix

T: some dark malts, dark fruits, a little coffee and chocolate, and a bit of alcohol at the end

M: thinner than some imperial stouts i've had, but not overly thin...pretty full bodied

D: very easy to drink, the flavors aren't overpowering and are subtly good

03-18-2009 02:32:34 | More by dukedevil0
Photo of Buebie


2/5  rDev -47.4%

Picked up this brew today as a single, not ready to pay $11 for a 4 pack of this yet until I try her out.

Poured from a 12oz tall brown bottle into my Surly Tulip. Forming a 2.5 inch head off a semi-soft pour. The head finally receeds leaving a nice quarter inch retention layer of light khaki color. Lace drapes cover most of the glass, more thin then thick, but coverage area is large.
The beer itself is black with no light penetration.

The aroma is lacking any punch, its faint and almost non-existant. Very very mild chocolate, almost root beer like, some molasses and a touch of charred wood. Thats it for aroma, and its quite dissapointing.

The taste is also dissapointing. The mouthfeel is thin, carbonated and a bit of wet cardboard at the start. Too much alcahol punch with a solvent kick.
This beer is representing the mass produced shit water that really pisses me off in a beer. Yea, your out to make a buck, thats fine, but atleast make a good beer. Makes meangry I bought it, this is not like any other Imperial Stout I've had. I'd say it would be up there with an ok regular stout, but no imperial..
There is alot of toasted grains and charred woodyness, but no chocolate, no oats, just straight bitter.

Glad I only picked up one of these. Not satisfied with it at all. Drainpour.

03-18-2009 00:02:07 | More by Buebie
Photo of Gehrig


4.13/5  rDev +8.7%

The ABV for Sam's Imperial Stout is 9.2%, since the listing did not have the information posted yet.

I stopped into the terrific Neil St. Piccadilly to see if they had some new wares I hadn't tried. Lo and behold, I saw that Sam Adams had a new Imperial Series, so I grabbed both the Imperial Double Bock and the Imperial Stout, which I tried first. Poured into the trusty Duvel tulip, it lays out a finger of moderately durable amaretto head over a dense, black body. Decent lacing and good duration get things off to a nice start.

Lots of dried fruit in the smell--raisin, date, and fig--with an overall densely malted nose. The taste is good though not great, nicely hopped though skewed toward the malt, good representatives of the style. Dried fruit pervades the taste, and Sam's good version of Imperial Stout definitely veers toward the dry rather than the sweet. Light molasses and coffee emerge near the finish. That the ABV is hardly apparent despite its high content is a definite positive.

This is a good, solid, and accessible Imperial Stout that could be more ramped up in the flavor. Yet on the whole, this is a fine effort from Sam's, not at all a surprise. Well done.

03-17-2009 20:40:13 | More by Gehrig
Photo of PatrickJR

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev +4.7%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into oversized snifter.

This is much more of an RIS than an American D/I Stout, so I'm rating it as such.

A - Completely black and opaque. Half inch of brown, almost purple-looking head rises. Decent retention and some pretty great lacing as well.

S - Butter and roasted grain with a slight caramel appearance is the most obvious. There's also a bit of chocolate in here and touches of sour dark fruit.

T - Huge on the butter. Initially this tastes like an enormous amount of butter on a piece of heavily toasted, but not burnt, dark toast. Sweetness grows mid palate with a modest dose of chocolate and some noticable woody/smoky/roasted flavors. Afterwards is a fleeting note of tart dark fruit, perhaps plums or currants but the flavor is indistinct at best. Char-derived bitterness grows quickly late palate and carries over into the finish with earthy and faint coffee notes. Alcohol is well hidden. Absent are the huge burnt and coffee notes present in some larger stouts which is refreshing and personally a bit more appealing.

M - Thick, full bodied, with a low but noticable carbonation. Perfectly suited to the beer.

D - Although very well rounded, the butteriness of this brew becomes quite rich, especially as the beer approaches room temperature. This intensity detracts slighty, but overall this is an enjoyable RIS and up there with some of the best I've had. Though it can become quite sweet, the relative absence of bitter, roasty, coffee notes is quite welcome.

03-17-2009 08:22:53 | More by PatrickJR
Photo of rodney45

New York

4.55/5  rDev +19.7%

This beer has a beautifully lingering toffee head, and color of the beer is that of the moonless night. The smell is that of fine dark chocolate, heart roasted malt with a hint of alcohol. The alcohol disappears in the taste, and although not very complex, very smooth for an Russian Imperial. Espresso and chocolate malt are present along with a host of other subtle fruit flavors that avoid my pallate. It is very drinkable, which could pose a problem at 9.2 abv. Smooth mouthfeel finalizes this beer as great, and beats out other varieties of Imperials that insist on NOT being classy with their alcohol presence.

03-17-2009 05:23:52 | More by rodney45
Photo of Mitchster


4.13/5  rDev +8.7%

$3.10 for a 12oz bottle @ Jacks. OG=24.5P, 316 cal/bottle. 9.2 ABV. Brewed with Two-row Harrington, Metcalfe, Caramel 60, Munich, Special B, Smoked malted barley, roasted barley, and malted wheat. Hopped with East Kent Goldings.

Pours out to a clear, very thick and dark black, forming a large whipped dark cocoa head with excellent retention and sheets of thick lacing. Carbonation is mild. The aroma is quite nice...it reminds me at first of Sam Smith Imperial Stout with that nice combo of mild diacetyl, smoked malts, soy sauce and sorghum molasses. Definitely English in nature. Mouthfeel is kinda stinging in it's smoky acidity and hop resin, with a dense oily body. The taste is a recap of the aroma, opening with a little bit of soy sauce and smoke, then diacetyl, burnt sugar, a medium strong, very herbal and earthy bitterness (I would have liked it less bitter and less earthy), prune juice and then tobacco in the finish. The middle is a little ruddy from the hops...I've never been a fan of EKG and their rubbery taste.

This is a good beer and a decent stab at the style. If you like Sam Smith Imperial, try this. I'd rather just have the real thing for the price.

03-16-2009 22:53:19 | More by Mitchster
Photo of Crosling


2.93/5  rDev -22.9%

This ale pours out of the bottle a very dark brown. It appears black in the glass with a average sized light tan head. Nose offers up potent notes of brownie, grape & black licorice. After tasting it seems really out of balance, overly sweet, needs quite a bit more hop. Lacking in body. Seems incomplete. I had higher hopes for the entire Imperial Series line.

03-16-2009 20:09:22 | More by Crosling
Photo of roadhouse


4.05/5  rDev +6.6%

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Appears jet black in color with a one inch tan head. It falls to a skim after a few minutes, but can be revived easily with a nice swirl. Doesn't leave much lacing, but I shouldn't really expect it to.

Aromas of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and some slight black licorice. A vague dark fruit character, I guess I would say raisiny if anything. A touch of alcohol in the back as well.

Taste is rich and caramelly up front with some heavy chocolate flavors coming in next. The dark fruit character enters midway through, still kind of raisiny but a sort of cherry aspect presents itself as well. The finish becomes a bit more roasty with some coffee flavors, definite black licorice, and light alcohol and perhaps some hops.

Mouthfeel is medium-full, with a wonderfully creamy texture and perfect carbonation.

I was impressed with this. I didn't go in expecting that much from it but it's actually much better than many RIS I've tried. Very true to style. Pick one up for sure. I think they would be a great candidate for some aging.

03-16-2009 05:13:15 | More by roadhouse
Photo of horshack7


4.43/5  rDev +16.6%

Appearance: This one pours a deep dark and extremely sinister black that may have been an understatement in fact it was. With a head on it that is very frothy as if it is the milk on top of a mocha coffee drink.

Aroma: Big dark roasted coffee notes maybe even esspresso. Only slight dark chocolate aroma. The roasted malts put off this incredible sugary aroma.

Taste: Wow what a punch borderline a nuke. Big espresso and coffee notes along with hints of dark chocolate. It has a very smooth mouthfeel that is much like silk so wonderful.

Notes: This is an incredible brew definately to be enjoyed during cold winter days. This beauty will warm you up. Cheers.

03-16-2009 02:33:35 | More by horshack7
Photo of smcolw


3.98/5  rDev +4.7%

Impressive three finger head; leaves huge chunks of "lace" on the glass. The color near black where no light shines through.

Smell of freshly ground coffee. Attractive.

More creamy tasting than the smell would indicate. Still, this could be a coffee stout. No notable alcohol taste or feel. The body is lower than most stouts, but not dramatically so. Great and lasting aftertaste of dark chocolate and coffee. Touch of chalk.

03-15-2009 21:55:01 | More by smcolw
Photo of Slatetank


3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Shared with tenderbranson69 poured chilled into a sampler glass

A - An opaque black like a piano w/ med brown sugar shaded cap. A thick ring of lace adheres to the glass, the bead is pin sized

S - A chocolate and smoke aroma in the nose w/ a hint of dark fruit like plum and mild caramel note

M - Med high carbonation w/ dry smokiness and rich concentrated dark sugary sweetness w/ a spiced hop finish

T - A bit of molasses w/ smoke and dark roast coffee w/ a mild alcohol flavor. The taste is sweet and has a mild anise and subtle pine hop flavor. There is a dominant smoke taste from the malt almost bordering on smoked stout w/ a beefy slightly salty flavor.

D - A borerline average imperial stout drinkability wise, but the smokey coffee-like flavor made it better and more interesting than most. I would probably not seek this out even though it has basically good drinkable characteristics

03-15-2009 20:56:54 | More by Slatetank
Photo of bashiba


3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

This beer poured very dark brown with a thick and creamy dark tan head with great retention and nice lacing.

The smell was very sweet with a bit of milk chocolate and a touch of coffee.

The flavor was very sweet with a big chocolate flavor and a big blast of alcohol, a bit of coffee and dark burnt malts and anise sneak through, but still the big alcohol sweetness dominates the flavor.

The mouthfeel is very full and creamy.

A very average imperial stout, too sweet, with the classic stout flavors taking a back seat to the alcohol.

03-15-2009 20:17:56 | More by bashiba
Photo of Goliath


3.85/5  rDev +1.3%

Pours black and completely opaque with a one inch frothy brown colored head. Great retention and some nice lacing as well.

The aroma is subtle but nice. Notes of chocolate, coffee, and booze hit me up front.

The taste is pretty good. Big roasty malts giving intense dark chocolate tones with a nice dose of coffee. The beer finishes fairly bitter, with a linger burnt malt tone. A lightly floral note comes through as well with a touch of a phenolic quality as well.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, lightly creamy, and yet still seems slightly watery. The carbonation is low with a fine and gentle bubble.

Drinkability is fairly high. The flavor profile is fine, and the beer is easy to consume. I'm definitely more impressed by this one than the White, but maybe not the bock. The Impy White was a flop, the Double Bock was pretty good, and this one falls between the two.

03-15-2009 18:25:46 | More by Goliath
Photo of allengarvin


4.03/5  rDev +6.1%

Poured into a chalice glass, this beer is quite dark, totally opaque, and features a tall brownish-tan head, thick and creamy. The aroma is not very strong, though it does have some tantalizing bitter dark-chocolate hints. Good flavor of roasted malt, dark chocolate, backed with significant bitterness. Very rich, with a nice peppery taste at the end. The mouthfeel is gorgeously creamy and full, one of the best beers I've had for feel.

My second Sam Adams beer today. First was the Blackberry wit. They continue to come out with well-crafted, interesting new beers like this one, while placing them alongside pedestrian offerings like the blackberry.

03-14-2009 16:42:47 | More by allengarvin
Photo of Hibernator


4.03/5  rDev +6.1%

Samuel Adams Imperial Stout
12 oz brown bottle
6566 on the back label
Served in a Smuttynose tulip glass

Pours a deep opaque black. Pitch black in appearance with a light brown head. Remarkable trails of stick lace decorate the glassware.

Complex nose with whiffs of chocolate, coffee and malts.

A syrupy flavor with a sugary sweetness, but the most intense flavors going on here are an espresso biterness and dark burnt malt backbone. Rich chocolate and perhaps dark fruit notes. Lots of flavors and complexities going on here.

A nice sipper brew at 9.2% ABV and one of the better Sam Adams offerings I've had in some time.

03-14-2009 15:59:50 | More by Hibernator
Photo of soupyman10

District of Columbia

4.13/5  rDev +8.7%

Deep brown color, almost black. Light brown head on top, two fingers. Solid lacing. A good looking beer.

Nose is lots of roasted malt and coffee. Light chocolate, some dried fruit. Sweeter than the flavor, light molasses. Light raisins.

Flavor is much deeper and richer. A ton of chocolate and roasted malt. Light prunes and raisins, definite spiciness. Not a sweet stout. Some light chalky earthiness. Alcohol as it warms.

Body is creamy and full up front, but a little thin on the back of the tongue. Carbonation is good.

Overall, a really nice offering from Sam Adams, one of their better beers. Nice to see them mixing it up with some higher gravity beers that the rest of us can afford. It's not the best imperial stout I've had, but it's definitely tasty and drinkable.

P St. Whole Foods/$8.99/4-pack

03-14-2009 14:30:07 | More by soupyman10
Photo of freshsmell


4.28/5  rDev +12.6%

Apperance: Black like the night. I held it up to a light bulb. No light came through. Light lacing after the head dissipated, but not much head to speak of.

Smell: Lacking a bit here. Not that the choco/coffee aroma isn't apparant, it's just lacking the richness that the flavor contains.

Taste: Gorgeously smooth for such strong flavors. A black licorice bite on the back while chocolate and coffee dominate the beginning and end.

Mouthfeel: Super Creamy

Drinkability: I can see some giving this a low rating being that it drinks like a milk shake but the alcohol isn't overpowering and I find that richness delicious!

Overall: A great drink for a cold nite. Not the most powerful imperial stout I've had but a for the price a great one!

03-14-2009 02:09:50 | More by freshsmell
Photo of sschliv

New Jersey

2.9/5  rDev -23.7%

Totally opaque dark brown maybe even black with a tan head.

Not really much of a smell as far as I can tell. Just a faint earthy sweetness.

Taste was sweet at first, then the subtle roasted flavors kicked in and finally a strong bitter metallic taste.

Mouthfeel is creamy but with a slight warming from the alcohol.

Not something I would purchase as I was not impressed with the taste.

03-13-2009 22:47:56 | More by sschliv
Samuel Adams Imperial Stout from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
86 out of 100 based on 1,418 ratings.