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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

1,453 Ratings

(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)
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Ratings: 1,453 | Reviews: 796 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of PSUBeerman
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle; tulip glass

Pours in thick and black with a 1 finger head. The head was an oily tan color, a little frothy. It left a slight head throughout.

Has a decent aroma with chocolate tones, malt and some licorice.

The flavor is definitely rich, perhaps too strong. Most pronounced was dark chocolate and coffee. There was some bitterness. I can only describe some after taste as being metallic. The alcohol is rather noticeable as well.

It was a little syrupy with sufficient carbonation. I could not drink more than one of these at a time.

Overall, not bad. I definitely had better RIS.

Photo of rowew
2.95/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Presentation: 12 oz longneck, purple and black label. Date code is cryptic.

Appearance: Pours completely black and oily, with a thick dark colored head.

Smell: Rather subdued - there is a bit of coffee and some dark chocolate, but both are faint.

Taste: Lots of alcohol up front, there is some roasted flavor that comes on after that.

Overall impression: This one is a little too hot for my tastes, all alcohol and not too many flavors.

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

A: Pours thick and black, with a minimal, milk chocolate colored head. This dissipates quickly, and leaves no lacing.

S: Smells of black coffee with a hint of dark chocolate.

T: Tasted of black coffee and bittersweet chocolate. High alcohol content for a Sam Adams beer is masked well. A little bit of a bitter aftertaste.

M: Thick and smooth.

D: Tastes great to me. I think I have a new favorite Sam Adams brand beer.

Photo of morimech
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark black color with a small tan head that quickly fades away. Just a little spotty lacing is left on the glass. I smell roasted malt and alcohol. Has a burnt malt flavor. Mildly smokey with anise and tobacco hints. A little too burnt for my taste. Finishes with fusel alcohol flavor. Has a nice thick, creamy texture. But with the burnt, smokey flavor, it leaves a feeling in my mouth like I just smoked a cigar. It is a big, bold stout. Just not one that suits my tastes.

Photo of hdofu
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Tastes strong of alcohol and anise. Also there is a taste of chocolate. reminds me a bot of dogfish's chicory stout only without chicory and alot of anise. HAs a bit of an alcohol burn with it Not unpleasant tasting and goes incredibly well with a few pieces of dark chocolate. Certainly one of Sam's better offerings.

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

12oz bottle poured into a goblet.

A: Black. Decent sized head that fades in a hurry.

S: Chocolate, molasses, dark fruits, coffee, and alcohol.

T: Sweetness from chocolate, molasses, and licorice flavors. Balanced out by coffee roastiness. Hardly any hint of hops. Some points off for the alcohol burn, which shouldn't really be an issue in a RIS barely over 9% ABV.

M: Thick enough. No complaints.

D: Very nicely done. There's nothing new here for a seasoned imperial stout drinker, but for someone new to the style, it's a good introduction without being too overwhelming. Thumbs up, Boston Beer Company!

Photo of barnzy78
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a thick, opaque black with a milk chocolate colored creamy head. Aromas of roasted and burnt malts, molasses and hints of black licorice, with a mild alcohol nose. Mouthfeel is appropriately thick for the style. Tastes of burnt malts, alcohol, and molasses, with hints of chocolate and espresso. Nicely balanced with a mildly sweet finish. Overall, I think Boston Beer did a good job for the style. It was better than I anticipated and average for the style - there are definitely better ones out there.

Photo of jjanega08
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A= pours pitch black with a little higher than normal head that's about a cm high and a pretty dark color.
S= bready kinda. Chocolate, coffee, other than that I'm not picking up much.
T= sooo thick with chocolate, and coffee. There's also a lot of dark fruits in it. Plums in perticular.
M= a little smooth and velvety. Low carbonation and heavy.
D= ok. Not my favorite imperial stout but still pretty good. I prolly won't buy it again but I am happy I tried it. Decent

Photo of Yeastcakes
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving notes: brandy snifter, cellar temp.
A - Light coffee roast, some chocolate, not as much alcohol in the aroma as I would expect.
A - opaque black, light brown head, two fingers thick.
M - Nice full body, alcohol warmth present but not overpowering for such a young imperial stout. Very light carbonation.
T - Very good balance of alcohol, roast and chocolate. Nothing dominates. These flavors combined with the full body produce a very smooth effect. This would be an easy beer to sneak up on you. Some raisins / dark fruits.
D - A very drinkable imperial stout (almost too drinkable for its own good). This is an excellent beer that I may try to save up for a vertical tasting.

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

Samuel Adam's Imperial Stout

Samuel Adam's has always been a mediocre brewery to me, nothing super special but nothing super great. I would grade them somewhere in the middle between good and excellent. I have found some great stuff from them but I have never been super impressed the majority of their brews.

Served in a chilled 14oz snifter

Appearance: Poured a rich, dark black with a tiny ¼ finger brown head. Little, to no, retention.

Smell: The nose is actually pretty light and sweet, not what I was expecting for a "Imperial Stout."

Taste: For what this brew lacks in its punch, it makes up for in its complexity. The brew is loaded with everything that screams vanilla late. Flavors of espresso, big vanilla flavors, buttery caramel, cream, slight chocolate, a tinge of hops, and alcohol come to mind. I have become customary to overpowering and intense Imperial Stouts and I think this is a refreshing change and does not compromise alcohol content, much like their Cream Stout does(only 4.9% ABV).

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy with light carbonation.

Drinkability: Lighter and not as overpowering as most American Doubles/Imperial Stouts. Its tasty but definitely not worth anything more than $10 for the four-pack. The four pack will definitely get you tipsy though, the brew stays loyal to the alcohol content of the Imperial Stout/American Double reputation. I will definately have another and I think this brew will make a good seasonal substitute for my lust of stouts.



Photo of rye726
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of NCSUdo
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

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

Photo of Limberg316
4.65/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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.

Photo of GJ40
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of theBubba
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of dukedevil0
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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

Photo of Buebie
2/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

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.

Photo of Gehrig
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of PatrickJR
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of rodney45
4.55/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of Mitchster
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$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.

Photo of Crosling
2.93/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

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.

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

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.

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