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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

1,424 Ratings
THE BROS
80
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,424
Reviews: 795
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 13.95%
Wants: 45
Gots: 67 | 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: 1,424 | Reviews: 795 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Goliath, Mar 15, 2009
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.

allengarvin, Mar 14, 2009
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.

Hibernator, Mar 14, 2009
Photo of soupyman10
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

soupyman10, Mar 14, 2009
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!

freshsmell, Mar 14, 2009
Photo of sschliv
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.

sschliv, Mar 13, 2009
Photo of apwilla
4.4/5  rDev +15.8%

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%

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%

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%

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%

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%

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%

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%

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
Photo of Hautacam
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%

Black, opaque with a small but persistent head that laces a bit in a tulip glass.
Smell is kind of faint , but floury and toasty.
Taste is slightly sweet, toasted malts, espresso with cream, licorice, figs, and a hint of leather. Finishes on the bitter side with a bit of chalk.
Really nice velvety carbonation.
A good dense, cold weather sipping stout.

Hautacam, Mar 10, 2009
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%

Pours nicely. Thick frothy brown head. Totally black. Nose isn't that vibrant IMO. Flavor is thick. Molasses, tar, roasted tones. Too much molasses for me, but it's still nice. Thick liquid feel. Carbonation is lower but nice. Nice enough to drink. A bit too tangy and too much molasses.

RblWthACoz, Mar 10, 2009
Photo of MaduroMike
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%

A - Black as the night.... Thick light brown head, dissipates down to a thin head that leaves nice thick lacing down the glass.

S - Aroma of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, hints of brown sugar, and dark fruits.

T - Heavy on the roasted malts, a bit smokey, hints of chocolate, coffee, and dark fruits.

M - Smooth and creamy, Slightly bitter. Medium to Heavy.

D- The flavors mask the abv well. Easy to drink. Could see myself buying it again in the future.

MaduroMike, Mar 09, 2009
Photo of grayburn
4.4/5  rDev +15.8%

I have found my new favorite Sam Adams beer, it pours a midnight pitch in your snifter with a muddy brown head that laces like nobody's business.
The smell is complex, notes of raisins, bitter chocolate, licorice, all balanced together very well.
The taste starts off with a bitter chocolate and then moves to sweet. A beer like this makes it hard to seperate taste and mouthfeel, because the creaminess blends so well with the sweet malt.
Very good carbonation, smooth, with just enough bitterness to move it along your tastebuds.
This beer is a little too heavy to be called sessionable, but certainly worth trying many times.

grayburn, Mar 09, 2009
Photo of TomGavin
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%

12oz. bottle.

A:Pours almost black with mahogany highlights. The head is milk caramel--about a half inch that withers down to a quarter inch. The bubbles are tightly packed and if you swirl the glass they slip down the sides in bunches packed tightly together.

S: Dark chocolate, smoked cherries, molasses, roasted malt, and a bit on the boozy side. Nothing too compelling, and the boozy notes hinder the score a bit.

M: Very creamy with medium to little carbonation. A touch oily.

T: Bitter chocolate dominates the flavor before a bizarre sour/tart fruit notes fly across the palate and leaves a few flares of molasses and roasted malt. A bit erratic.

D: Fairly drinkable for a 9.2% beer. I wouldn't recommend one for the beach, you could conceivably drink three or four on a good night.

Comment: Didn't do much for me. I felt the taste was unbalanced and at times all over the place.

TomGavin, Mar 09, 2009
Photo of sulldaddy
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Shared a bottle of this with Stopper. Poured a cellar temp bottle into a snifter. The beer pours a dark oily hue with only minimal beige head.
Some molasses and roasted malt on the nose and a little bit of booze pokes through as well.
First sip reveals a thick body and a little syrupy texture carbonation is fizzy but fine and tingles a bit.
Flavor is molasses and brown sugar with lots of warm booze. Warm through the finish. no real hops anywhere.
The beer is decent and interesting to see SA produce, I wonder if a year in the cellar would tame the warmth a bit?

sulldaddy, Mar 09, 2009
Photo of mattcrill
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%

Aroma: Moderate dark fruit esters up front. Warming alcohol on the nose. Background hints of dark roasted grain.

Appearance: Jet black pour with a tan, batter-like cap. Mild lacings cling to the glass.

Flavor: Heavy roasted barley note up front. Mild chocolate, slight anise, and some fruity esters to complement. Definitely some fusel alcohols that take away from some of the complexity. Earthy hops balance the roasted grains and fruity esters. The finish is bitter and dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied with high carbonation. There is a definite warming left in the palate and on the back of the throat. The higher carbonation makes this harsh and slightly biting.

Overall imperssion: A young, hot, Russian Imperial Stout. Knock down the carbonation and set it back for a few months and I think you are pretty close to having a winner. I thought this needed more time to knit itself together. Not bad but there are so many other great stouts that I can get locally and in six packs for the same price. I really wanted to like this beer but I probably won't try it very often simply b/c of price and how many great local stouts I can have.

mattcrill, Mar 08, 2009
Photo of TheFightfan1
4.58/5  rDev +20.5%

Poured into a pint glass.
Appearence is black non-transparent with a coffee colored thick heading.Which leaves rings all the way down the glass.

Nose is immediate with heavy chocolate malts also a slight hoppiness. I don't know how to explain it but smells fresh. If that means anything.

Taste is all chocolate malt with a bit of caramel and nice bite of hops in the end.Alcohol is very well hidden until you feel the burn in the belly.

Mouthfeel is very rich, creamy,and thick.Leaves your lips all stickey like (that's what she said)

Drinkability is good.I can't really see myself drinking a bunch but definitely until I get my fill.

Update: Year and 8 months later. Does seem to be a different beer now. Smooth, velvety and all of the flavors blend so smoothly.

TheFightfan1, Mar 08, 2009
Photo of sculls65
3.28/5  rDev -13.7%

Poured nicely with a 2 finger head.. completely black..im not seeing any light through this stout. Moderate lacing of the tannish foam. 1st smells of roasted malts with some chocolate, and smoky fruit?, but not overpowering. Tastes of coffee..dark cocoa. Mouthfeel is great: thick, mild carbonation, coats the tongue nicely. I think Sam Adams does a nice job of trying to bring a wide variety of brews to a mass market. Id drink it again but i think id take a Founders or Arcadia Ales IS over it anyday.

sculls65, Mar 08, 2009
Photo of Rainintheface
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%

A: Beautiful. Dark, dark black with nearly a one finger mocha head

S: dark chocolates, cherries, a little espresso and hint of vanilla

T: dark chocolate again. burnt malts, Coke,a little booze and as it warms a little smoke

M: thick, viscous and some sweetness

D: A great sipper

Rainintheface, Mar 07, 2009
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.38/5  rDev +15.3%

You can always trust Sam Adams to never let you down - to deliver something that's at the very least, up-to-snuff - but this one goes above and beyond.

Talk about flavor - it's packed to the gills! Super dark. Very full bodied. RICH !!! It's really quite intense, and at 9.2% alcohol, with all that malt still remaining in the body, it's got to be pretty high calorically. And I think that was probably something that the original "Russian Imperial" stouts had. The back label of the bottle reads "... our take on the stouts brewed by 18th century English brewers..." and I think they've probably actually tried to do that.

So, continuing with that thought, it's fairly moderately carbonated, which would have been the course, I'm sure, mimicking the cask ales enjoyed at home in Britain. Malty and smooth.

It also has a very English yeast character, which is obviously the first step and barely needs to be mentioned, but I pick up pears and apples.

Of course, there's also a bit of the "burnt currant" character that Michael Jackson used to refer to, which is more malt-led. Some of the roastiness of the malt leads to that, coupled with the fruitiness. There's black coffee and baker's chocolate, and the intensity of the dense malt offers anise as well, and even cola, althought they probably occur at least in part in combination with the leafy, softly grassy and floral, and even gently minty hops.

It's a sipper to be sure, but don't be surprised if it disappears more quickly than you'd expected ;)

It appears to be completely filtered, but I'd imagine that it would still age well, or at the very least, hold up for quite some time. Any oxidation would probably only lead to more bready flavors in the malt anyway. At the price they're putting this out, I'm buying more!!!

NeroFiddled, Mar 07, 2009
Samuel Adams Imperial Stout from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
86 out of 100 based on 1,424 ratings.