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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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BA SCORE
86
very good

1,435 Ratings
THE BROS
80
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,435
Reviews: 796
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 13.95%
Wants: 49
Gots: 69 | 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: 1,435 | Reviews: 796 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Buebie, Mar 18, 2009
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.

Gehrig, Mar 17, 2009
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.

PatrickJR, Mar 17, 2009
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.

rodney45, Mar 17, 2009
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.

Mitchster, Mar 16, 2009
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.

Crosling, Mar 16, 2009
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.

roadhouse, Mar 16, 2009
Photo of horshack7
4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

horshack7, Mar 16, 2009
Photo of smcolw
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

smcolw, Mar 15, 2009
Photo of Slatetank
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Slatetank, Mar 15, 2009
Photo of bashiba
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

bashiba, Mar 15, 2009
Photo of Goliath
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Goliath, Mar 15, 2009
Photo of allengarvin
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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.

allengarvin, Mar 14, 2009
Photo of Hibernator
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Hibernator, Mar 14, 2009
Photo of soupyman10
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

soupyman10, Mar 14, 2009
Photo of freshsmell
4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!

freshsmell, Mar 14, 2009
Photo of sschliv
2.9/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

sschliv, Mar 13, 2009
Photo of apwilla
4.4/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours jet black, not as viscous as some Imperial Stouts. lightly carbonated, not much head. leaves a little lacing.
roasted flavor, mildly sweet. hint of chocolate. not too much boozy alcohol smell or taste, considering the 9.2% on the label.
asos, good buy for $9 for a 4 pack.

apwilla, Mar 13, 2009
Photo of johnnnniee
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid black with a good sized mocha head that dissipates quickly. Smells of cocoa and chocolate syrup, a bit of alcohol, some dark fruits as well. Taste is boozy chocolate syrup up front, plums or figs or some such fruit midway melding into some hops followed by a roasty grainy finish. Mouthfeel is sticky and creamy, body is thick, carbonation is a little on the high side for a stout. Overall I though it was a good drink. It's still kind of hot and I think the flavors need some time to meld, but I think a little time on this might make it fantastic.

johnnnniee, Mar 12, 2009
Photo of atsprings
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a Boston Lager glass. Pours a deep opaque black with a thin tan head that diminishes to a ring and leaves very little lacing. Aroma is a subtle mix of all the usual suspects; roasted malts, espresso and cocoa. The taste is a nice smooth blend of roasted malts and bitter cocoa. The beer is a smooth and the 9% alcohol is very well hidden. This is an enjoyable Imperial stout, but there are certainly better ones out there.

atsprings, Mar 12, 2009
Photo of dedrinker
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Man this thing is black. The head is gnarly TAN CREAMY AGGRO. From there on things wind down with the expected aromas and flavors of dark chocolate and coffee and all the roasty grain intensity etc. Full body with a bitter burnt malt finsih that I find to be agreeable in my current circumstances.

dedrinker, Mar 12, 2009
Photo of OlieIPA
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Vendome on 3/11/09 and enjoyed later that evening with the very lovely Aimstatus.

A: Poured into my Piraat tulip glass, this beer possessed a lot of the qualities I look for in an imperial stout. A big and frothy tan-colored head that was easy to revive after a quick swirl or two, viscous, and as black as night. Lacing was on the weaker side though.

S: I hate to say it...but it smells like a Sam Adams beer. I don't mean this in a bad way, but my buddy pointed this out to me awhile back, and now I know what he means. Anyways, I pick up a lot of dark fruitiness mixed in with a faint amount of chocolate and roasty characteristics...not too shabby.

T: The dark figs didn't come out as much I had anticipated, but there was strong presence of burnt malts. Almost reminded me of taking a spoonful of Folger's coffee grounds and sticking them right into my mouth. There was also seemed to an acidic aftertaste that took take away from the flavor. Basically, one dimensional in taste.

M: For this style, the carbonation was a bit too strong and feel was a little thin for my liking.

D: Alcohol was slightly present, but overall easy to drink. The flavor profile needed to be more complex.

Overall: This was actually a not too bad. I think this beer could definitely be improved upon, but again...something I might try again. Cheers!

OlieIPA, Mar 12, 2009
Photo of oldhippie247
2.95/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours thick and black with a tan head that looks a bit creamier than it actually is.

Basic stout aromas that leave a little to be desired for an Imperial Stout.

Palate mirrors the aroma with its unfortunate let down. Mouthfeel is smooth, full, and rich, but the accolades stop there. Nothing on the palate stands out, and with such a great opportunity to showcase chocolate, coffee, etc., they've chosen the dreaded middle ground. Something a little sweet does peek through, but does nothing to make this beer more impressive.

I wasn't expecting a lot, but was hoping for something. I didn't get it. I must say that for Sam Adams it's decent, but I won't purchase again.

oldhippie247, Mar 11, 2009
Photo of bort11
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pub glass. Tall mocha brown head, very slow to recede. After I poured, I had to go run an errand (don't you hate it when that happens). After I came back, the most detailed lacing I have ever seen in an RIS. Color is a solid velvety black.

Smelly is a roasted coffee, a little bit of char, and some dark spices. Taste has some more chocolate, black peppercorn, anise and licorice.

Mouthfeel is velvety smooth and creamy. A pretty intense carbonation for such a thick texture. It's not overkill, just more than I would expect.

Blipped "Stackolee" by Samuel L. Jackson...motha f**ker!!

bort11, Mar 11, 2009
Photo of imagineiii
2.95/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured into my trusty dfh snifter. decent half inch of head. large bubbles, great brown color to the head. beer is dark as any out there.

its hard to find the scents i want to find, but theyre there. smells like my homebrewed imp stout, which i know cant be a good thing. maybe too much sweetness without enough burnt malts to cover it. molasses, brown sugar.

molasses and sweet alcohol dominate. some dark chocolate in there too. unfortunately this beer is ruined for me but a slight soapy quality. cant put my finger on it, but it almost ruins this beer for me. alcohol heat at the back.

mouthfeel is not quite heavy, but definetely thick. alcohol comes in the middle. aftertaste is ruined by soapy chemically notes. doesnt stick to the palate like my favorite imp stouts but thats probably a good thing.

its not harsh, but its not enjoyable.

EDIT: you MUST let this beer warm before consuming. it improves.

imagineiii, Mar 11, 2009
Samuel Adams Imperial Stout from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
86 out of 100 based on 1,435 ratings.