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Samuel Adams Imperial Stout - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

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Samuel Adams Imperial StoutSamuel Adams Imperial Stout

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very good

1,459 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,459
Reviews: 798
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 13.95%
Wants: 55
Gots: 76 | 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:
Beer added by: Duhast500 on 01-18-2009

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.
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Ratings: 1,459 | Reviews: 798 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rwrk42
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a nice tan head with some cling to the glass
Smell: Roasted malts, coffee and faint spices
Taste: Coffee, chocolate, roasted malts. Finished with bit of spice from the anise and a little bit of a alcohol taste
Over a decent imperial stout. Not my favorite but not a bad Stout for the price

Photo of zeff80
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a thick, foamy, brown head. It left sticky, thick rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled very roasty and of coffee notes. Some dark chocolate aromas, too.

T - It tasted of burnt maltiness and black coffee. Nice dark chocolate notes and molasses.

M - It was very soft and smooth. A medium bodied stout with a warming alcohol presence.

D - This is a pretty good imperial stout. I had higher hopes. I hope it is better with some age.

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

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours black, with a small mocha coffee coloured head, good lacing.

S: Anise, major blackstrap molasses, cherry, licorice.

T: Sweet dark fruit initially, black currant jelly, fig juice, raisin and dark chocolate. Bitter roast on the finish.

M: Medium/full body, thick, moderate carbonation, viscous and warming as a good RIS should be.

D: A real nice Imperial Stout, the flavours are akin to an Abyss, but at a much cheaper price tag. One of my favourite new stouts.

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

Picked up a single of this to give it a try.
Pours a very dark brown, near black with a very nice inch of brown, mocha colored head forming on top. The head sticks around for the entire duration of the glass. Smell is big roasted malts, some molasses, some coffee and just a hint of dark fruit and alcohol.
The taste is even better than the smell. This is a very well done imperial stout. All the flavors meld well together. The roasted malts and molasses/coffee flavors really work. This is very creamy and velvety smooth to drink. This is a very well done imperial stout that I'll definitely pick more up of if I come across.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It seems that it was only natural for the Boston Beer Company to brew an Imperial Stout.

The beer pours a very dark brown, basically opaque, pour that rouses a 1" head that eventually levels to a trace then holding firm. Lots of lacing on the glass- it's the look that you expect from an Imperial Stout.

Deep aromas of roasted grains bring out scents of dark-roast coffee and cocoa. A nice estery-fruity blend gives notes of grapes, anise, cherries, figs, and dates. A bit more complex than most great Imperial Stouts.

Flavors do much the same. The fruitiness wraps around the caramelized and roasted grains wonderfully. Fruits calm down as the cocoa and coffee flavors gain intensity well into the finish. Light pine hopping comes in the aftertaste.

A nice round texture gives a good deal of creaminess, weight, and fullness. Bitterness from hops compliment the bitterness of cocoa and coffee well. The texture takes of a powdery, chalky feel late and makes me beg for another sip.

Ulitmately the beer fares well. The fruity notes balance out the roasted notes well for variety, complexity, and imagination. The textures are fine but lack the rich smoothness that I have come to love in the top ranked Stouts. Boldness and assertiveness is kept in check respectively speaking.

Photo of theopholis
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Holy crap, this stuff is freaking black. Blacker than Pete Rose's heart. Not even highlights around the edges when held up to a 100 watt bulb. Small, dark brown head that fades quickly.

Smell- Mostly chocolate, coffee, a hint of dark fruits and alcohol.

Taste- Very creamy (I know that's mouthfeel, but that was the 1st thought that jumped into my mind.) Nice, slightly bitter chocolate with an undertone of malt sweetness. Very nice coffee roastiness. Just the tiniest hint of some dark fruits. Not quite as potent as I'd expect from an Imperial Stout.

Mouthfeel- Rich and creamy. Good CO2 level (on the low side, which seems right). Nice and sticky, so you get a nice aftertaste.

Drinkability- Well done!

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.

Samuel Adams Imperial Stout from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
86 out of 100 based on 1,459 ratings.