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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: 45
Gots: 65 | 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 tmoneyba


4.1/5  rDev +7.9%

Bottle from S&V, Fort Wayne.

Poured black color with a large creamy brown head that mostly lasted with excellent lacing. Moderate to heavy roasted coffee and chocolate aroma. Medium to full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. Medium to heavy smooth sweet flavor with a medium to heavy sweet finish of moderate to long duration.

My expectations where met with a solid drinkable beer.

02-28-2009 14:02:07 | More by tmoneyba
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

3.53/5  rDev -7.1%

12 oz. bottle served in my New Belgium goblet. Poured one shade shy of black. Opaque with a one inch, dense, mocha-colored head that eventually dissipated into a quarter inch consistent cap. Spatters of sticky lacing were revealed as the brew was consumed. Nose indicates anise (a little too much), a roasted quality, some alcohol and mocha. Taste follows nose; anise continues to be too up front for my liking. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, but carbonation is a little overstated. Some acidity is revealed towards the finish. I found the texture to be a little thin and watery; lacking the viscosity of great examples of the style. This is a solid offering, but anise is too in the forefront of the brew; however, alcohol was well-hidden.

02-28-2009 04:12:49 | More by Jwale73
Photo of SaCkErZ9


4.03/5  rDev +6.1%

Pours a pitch black with a very creamy, somewhat dark, chocolate colored head of great size and density. A thin layer of lacing completely covers the sides of the glass, making the glass look hazy and stained.

Aroma is different for an impy stout. Quite fruity with some bubble gum, licorice, roasted and burnt malts. Not a whole lot of choclate or coffee which is typical in the American Double. Perhaps this is more of an RIS (the bottle notes "This is our take on the stouts brewed by 18th century English brewers for the Russian Imperial Court or Catherine II.") Right on par for RIS. Slightly smoky.

Smoky and sweet flavor. Bitter chocolate, figs, dark roasted coffee. Pretty nice. Perhaps a little sweet but not really cloying. Soy sauce and salty beef jerky.

Chewy and syrupy on the tongue. Full bodied with a slight hop bite in the finish. A really nice RIS. I began judging this as an American Double but the bottle clearly indicates this as an RIS, so my judgement reflects this beer in that category.

02-27-2009 18:28:56 | More by SaCkErZ9
Photo of brianjay


3.35/5  rDev -11.8%

Pours dark, with a lacey, dark brown head. Really liked the smell: Notes of chocolate, some berry. The taste is where it lost me: A light maltiness (some coffee) which disappered after passing the palate. It was drinkable, in fact almost TOO drinkable. Disappointed with the body. When I hear "STOUT" I imagine a full bodied beer. This one was thin, indistinguishable. High alcohol content is un-noticable.

02-27-2009 01:53:05 | More by brianjay
Photo of Psilo707


3.7/5  rDev -2.6%

Pours a dark, jet black opaque into the mug, with a good looking brown head that leaves sporadic lacing. Very cocoa-ish look to it. Scent could have been a bit stronger but it was one of malty chocolate and the alcohol smell is apparent.

Tastes very piney/woodly. It's not nearly as milk chocolate tasting as I would have thought, but the overall cocoa taste is very prominent, especially when it's leaving the mouth. Dark butterscotch and wood chips are reminiscent.

Mouthfeel is alright, though might be the low point of the brew. And drinkability is right around where an Imperial Stout should be.

Overall, I think this is a good release from Sam Adams, and truly their darkest of all time.

02-27-2009 00:34:38 | More by Psilo707
Photo of riversider76

New York

4.22/5  rDev +11.1%

Pours the darkest of browns...almost black.Thin brown head with good retention and excellent laceing. Aroma is of dark chocolate,roasted coffee and malts. Body is medium with some carbonation. Taste is a milky mix of roasted coffee,chocolate,and dark fruits. Littl bit of a bitter edge make this one excellent stout!

02-27-2009 00:19:23 | More by riversider76
Photo of bgjohnston


3.98/5  rDev +4.7%

I poured the bottle into my favorite snifter. It was opaque black with a nice dark brown head. The taste was surprisingly dry, with very much a dark, dark chocolate flavor. No milk chocolate here. I didn't find it at all sweet, but had a woodiness that was kind of interesting and nice. Overall I enjoyed it very much, although I expected more fruitiness and more of a hint of the alcohol contained therein.

02-26-2009 20:03:14 | More by bgjohnston
Photo of beachbum1975


3.58/5  rDev -5.8%

I have been excited to try this since I read about it on BN over a month ago. It's nice to see Samuel Adam's give it a shot... 2009 Vintage

Impressive eyes on this one, for a Sammy Adam's. True to it's style, it pours a dark brown, almost black, with an attractive dark tan head with GREAT lacing.

Smells sweet (young?)... Lactose-like sweet quality with more sweet malts all around.

Taste is nice. Medium to full bodied, full flavored and high carbonation on the mouthfeel (That is high, at least, for a RIS). Lots of anise (black licorice), molasses, and sweet malts in the flavor profile. Maybe, some touches of pepper, as well. Hate to say this, but it's almost like "Abyss Lite".

Though it lacked some of the core qualities I like in a RIS (BIG flavor mixed with smoke, burn and some char), it was still very nice. I added some drinkability points to this review, as it's cheap for a RIS and easy to find. I will buy more of this and throw it in the cellar - I bet this would really improve with some age/mellowing on it. Nice work, Jim!

02-26-2009 01:24:22 | More by beachbum1975
Photo of thekevlarkid


3.65/5  rDev -3.9%

Out of a bottle this beer look like used motor oil when I poured it into my glass. The two-fingers of head was cocoa colored, retained well and laced in sheets. The aroma was of chocolate, toasted malt, butterscotch and alcohol. The flavors were rather dry, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, alcohol, spices, roasted malt, alcohol and some citrus rind bitterness from the hops. The mouthfeel was slick and tongue coating. It was also a little rough, the body was full and the carbonation a little too high and prickly. Not a bad brew but the mouthfeel needed work and the alcohol was a little too transparent.

02-25-2009 14:14:26 | More by thekevlarkid
Photo of CrellMoset


4.08/5  rDev +7.4%

Bottle courtesy of dkachur - thanks!! Split w/ dkachur and poured into a brandy snifter.

Appearance: Pours a thick, dark, milky, chocolatey, black body, not quite oily but close, with a relatively fast-fading one-finger of pretty dark brown head. There are a few flourishes of tan lace, glittery and thin, but there's not too much stickage goin' on.

Aroma: A slight kiss of alcohol over a sea of heavily roasted malts, mostly chocolate, very sweet and milky, plenty of toast, and hints of anise, raisins, spice.

Taste: Surprisingly bitter - much more bitter than the nose would suggest - with strong hints of raisins and other dark fruits, toast, bitter chocolate, earthy woodiness, and a definite anisey note that's reasonably well-integrated. The bitterness is reminiscent of but not quite coffee-esque, too. Let's call this one a licorice latte, shall we?

Mouthfeel: Not as thick as it looked, or perhaps that's the carbonation cutting through, but this one comes across as a little prickly, with a decent amount of carbonation, making for a crisp but even mouthfeel, not as creamy or milky as it may smell.

Drinkability: The alcohol on this one is a little apparent - though not up there for the style at 9.2% - and the flavors decently interesting, really pretty unusual for a RIS. Quite the Boston Beer Co. touch. I'd be happy to try this one again, though I don't know if it's going to become a fridge staple.

02-25-2009 05:20:53 | More by CrellMoset
Photo of Gosox8787

New Hampshire

4.05/5  rDev +6.6%

Poured into a glass from a bottle I bought as part of a four pack. The beer was completely black and opaque with a small lacing of brown. The aroma from this brew is heavy on the roasted notes. The taste is extremely strong, with the chocolate flavor of the malt taking center stage. There is also a coffee flavor that lingers after finishing a taste. The moutfeel is moderate and nothing special but works well for the beer. The drinkability is not that high, as this is a strong stout, but it does not have to be to be effective.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable and strong beer. Good for anyone who wants to try an imperial stout. Its good that a large brewer, like Boston Beer, is taking chances like this.

02-25-2009 04:59:52 | More by Gosox8787
Photo of SpecialK088


3.88/5  rDev +2.1%

Poured from a bottle into a sam adams pint

A-Deep near black with a nice 2 finger head and lacing all the wya down the glass. Almost has a redish tint when put to direct light

S-Very very sweet near sugary malt with some nice roasted notes as well

T-Brown sugar sweetness with nice roasted carmel malt, pretty full bitter finish

M-Medium body but still a little thin for an imperial stout, full bodied flavor all the way thru though an relitively complex.

D-Far from the 1st imperial stout I would reach for and to be completly honest it just seems to be more of what sam does best a great gateway to the style.

02-25-2009 02:03:16 | More by SpecialK088
Photo of gmc234


4.75/5  rDev +25%

12 oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams beer glass.

A: Pours like black syrup with a thick brown head. Completely opaque. Typical appearance for an imperial stout.

S: Roasted coffee notes, hops barely detectable

T: Powerful bitter dark chocolate (think >80% cocoa bar) followed up by a ristretto espresso

M: Thick character, barely carbonated

D: Excellent, but you wouldn't want to drink too many of these (unless you want to end up on the floor)

Overall this is an excellent imperial stout. In a way this seems to me to like a ramped up version of the chocolate bock. As far as food pairings go, this beer would go better either with or as dessert vs. pairing with hearty fare.

02-24-2009 02:10:36 | More by gmc234
Photo of BDIMike


4.05/5  rDev +6.6%

Pours a completely black color, even when held to the light. There is a very thin head with a nice dark brown, almost purplish color.
Not the strong smells that I am used to on an imperial stout. There is a slight bit of chocolate and coffee malts, but not much else.
The taste is much stronger than the smell, but still subdued for the category. There are a lot of malt tastes, mostly of a smoky, coffee taste, with a slight bit of chocolate as well.
In an imperial stout I am used to a much thicker liquid, but the drink is very velvety and smooth all the way down.
Sam Adams Imperial Stout is a lot more subdued than imperial stouts than I am used to. It is easier to drink than most, because the taste is more balanced and a lot less of an alcohol taste than normal. Although, the brew does not have some of the strong and great tastes of others of its style, it is more drinkable because of the good balanced taste.

02-24-2009 00:05:19 | More by BDIMike
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +5.3%

9.2% ABV. per label.Good to see SA branch out and make a foray into this style.Poured into a snifter an oil slick black with a minimal cappuccino (like the bottle says)colored head that is gone rather quickly.Aromas of charred dark fruit and black licorice,dark roast coffee and a bit of wood as well.Flavors are heavy on the black licorice with molasses and dark fruit quite prevelant as well,a nice bit of raw earthiness in the finish as well.A solid stab at the style,just all around good.

02-22-2009 22:37:20 | More by oberon
Photo of Domingo


4.18/5  rDev +10%

Solid RIS that's on par with any of the other big names out there.
Big and dark with tannish head. Looks thick and murky.
Flavors lean towards coffee, semisweet chocolate, dried fruits, molasses, and a little bit of rum. Unlike some others, it's not just a one-dimensional "roasty" stout either. It's sweeter, a little boozier, but it has the right amount of depth to back it up.
Doesn't go down as thick or as hot as it sounds. For a beer style that's intended to be sipped, it's as drinkable as any.
Way to go Boston Beer. As the largest craft brewer (or at least close to it), they're still able to bust out the big styles as well as anyone else.
If you like the style, you'll like this one. Not the absolute best one, but it's better than many. At $10 per 4-pack, the price is right, too.

02-22-2009 22:35:06 | More by Domingo
Photo of erosier


4.33/5  rDev +13.9%

L: Pours a deep black color with a short and thick tan colored head that laces the glass on the way down.
S: Smells of sweet dark malts, coffee, chocolate, and faint hops.
T: Tastes of rich roasted malts, chocolate malt, coffee, then a bit of vinous fruit, and then some faint hops at the end of it.
M: Very smooth, thick, warming, perfect amount of carbonation.
D: Very drinkable, even for the amount of alcohol it has. All the flavors were extremely well balanced and the perfect amount of them.

02-22-2009 14:27:13 | More by erosier
Photo of Beejay


3.78/5  rDev -0.5%

A: Poured very thick, and syrupy.. Large head on top, nice and dark. Looks like creamy hot chocolate. Just waiting for it to dissipate so I can pour the rest in.

S: Some chocolate and coffee notes.. Not getting a huge scent off this one...

T: Sweet chocolate. Something else in there, something sugary but I am note sure what.

M: Thick and chewy.. Like Syrup going down. Lets you know you are drinking a big beer.

D: I could do a six pack of this.. A pretty decent imperial stout, for a pretty fair price. This isn't going to beat a lot of other imperials on the market, but damn good if you're in a quick fix for something dark. Plus with the availability of Sam Adams, this will be an easier one to pick up where selection is bad.

02-22-2009 05:17:09 | More by Beejay
Photo of RobH


4.43/5  rDev +16.6%

12 oz. brown bottle

A: Black as night. Rocky tan head that leaves a nice lacing on the glass. Very nice.

A: Sweet malts with chocolate and toffee.

T&M: The thick, creamy mouth feel leads to unexcpected, but very welcome sweetness on the front, with hops bitterness catching up soon in the middle to balance. It finishes more sweet than bitter, but well balanced and not cloying. Just my style. I really, really like this stout!

D: For me, very highly drinkable. The alcohol does not show through on the palate to spoil the flavor. It's hidden so well. I am more of a sweet stout fan than dry and bitter, so this one hits the mark for me perfectly. This is a hit for Samuel Adams in my book.

02-22-2009 03:35:17 | More by RobH
Photo of Tarheels4life

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -7.1%

A: Very dark color first thought was black as night.
S: Not much of a smell here.
T: Good taste to it can definitely taste the coffee and chocolate in this one.
M: Smooth feel to this one not thick like oil like it looks.
D: This one is just not super special, it is good but not really worth the price.

Overall this beer was pretty good but not going to buy it again.

02-21-2009 04:51:17 | More by Tarheels4life
Photo of Brad007


4.13/5  rDev +8.7%

Pours a pitch black color with the consistency of motor oil. Has a large brown head that fades.

Aroma has hints of chocolate and coffee in the nose. A bit of dark fruits as well. Can't detect the alcohol, which is good.

Taste is smooth with a strong hint of roasted coffee with only a hint of chocolate and dark fruit. Creaminess is at a minimum but is still present. Some alcohol heat that warms up the stomach.

Mouthfeel is full of roasted coffee and alcohol heat. Not much creaminess but it does go down pretty smooth.

Not a bad example of an imperial stout. Strong and needs a bit of aging. Otherwise, it's par for the style. Could be creamier but hey, I don't brew the beer. I only review and enjoy it. Pick this up but I recommend buying a bottle instead of 4 bottles at once.

02-21-2009 04:41:39 | More by Brad007
Photo of littlekidlover


3.98/5  rDev +4.7%

Very different from any Imperial Stout I have had. Pours like motor oil with a light caramel head that disappears quickly and leaves a fair amount of lacing. Smells of brown butter, burnt caramel and dried fruit. Tastes the same with the addition of black licorice, not much in the line of hop bite. Mouthfeel is velvety and smooth. I wouldn't call this a session beer considering the alcohol content, but I could get down a couple.

02-21-2009 01:54:08 | More by littlekidlover
Photo of Proteus93


3.88/5  rDev +2.1%

A: Black as they'll come! It doesn't have the "thick or viscous" appearance to it that comes with some (ie: Ten Fidy, to give an example), but it's deep and opaque nonetheless. Head is a little delayed, but does form about a finger tall after a fairly assertive pour. Forms a nice tan/brownish colour, but doesn't stick around for an incredibly long time.

S: Roasted malts, some burnt sugar notes, some coffee and a bit of a plum-like fruitiness makes an appearance. Strangely, 'chocolate' is not among the scents I pick up, which tends to be more apparent in others. Still a pleasant aroma, though... not massive, but pleasing.

T + M: Quite similar to the aroma in many ways... the roasted malts, burnt sugar, and fruitiness are all noticeable. Coffee flavours and fruity tang are a little more intense/bitter and almost give it a bit of a 'syrup concentrate' type of character. The body likely plays a bit of a role in that, as it is a bit thick and sticky. The carbonation is enough to keep it from becoming too gooey, but it's pretty close. Granted, it allows for the flavour to linger for some time and that roasted malt profile does becomes a rather nice aftertaste after a few moments.

D: I find myself a little up in the air on this one. It's got good qualities, and I find myself enjoying it... especially slowly (and at 9.2%, it's the appropriate way to do it, I suppose). At the same time, I almost feel like something is missing, but I can't put a finger on it - the flavours are fine and develop further after each sip. The aroma is lighter, but offers a reasonable complexity in the scents. The body is thick, but not overdone. Outside of the appearance coming across as a little uninspired, it's a pretty solid beer. It might be that it's the slightest bit hot... perhaps a little age would do it good.

02-20-2009 03:20:55 | More by Proteus93
Photo of Experimentacious


3.63/5  rDev -4.5%

Poured from a 12oz bottle purchased about two hours ago, very excited to see this on the shelf at Kappy's in Peabody.

A- Blackness with zero light penetration. Tan head resembles the choco-froth of a starbucks mocha, good retention. Decent lacing not overly impressive. Head subsides about 1/4 of the way through drinking this stout, some sticky lacing remains.

S- Bakers Chocolate, smokey, something else...peat moss? earthy, alcohol, espresso, black truffle, almost buttery in a way, molasses, raisins, burnt cherries.

T- Wow, the taste is great but for me...lacks the hop profile I prefer in an imperial stout. I'm suprised with Sam Adams on this one though...big chocolate, burnt malts, big sweetness laced with alcohol undertones, the alcohol fights through until the finish, warming, coffee, caramel, earthy notes like fresh potting soil sweetened with a cafe mocha. What's trying to say is, although this isn't a kick in the palate type imp stout, for Sam Adams it's damn f***ing impressive. More sweetness than bitter balance almost too sweet but the alcohol and some bitter malt help.

M- Viscous, but not oily or syrupy, generous without being too thick, sugary on my teeth.

D- One is plenty I can feel the alcohol, which plays a big part in this brew.

I would prefer more hops earlier in the boil, maybe warrior or kent goldings, even if they cut out 2%-3% of the alcohol a better hop backing for this offering would be extraordinary.

Overall, Jim Koch you crazy saaahhhnuvabich, I didn't expect this. awesome beer, great job.

02-20-2009 02:56:58 | More by Experimentacious
Photo of StarlightSeraph

North Carolina

3.28/5  rDev -13.7%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my Foothills 10 oz. glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark, dark brown, that looks black in the glass and lets no light through. Two fingers of a chocolate brown head that receded fairly quickly, but left a decent bit of lacing.

Smell: Roasted malts, coffee, a certain astringency that's mildly unpleasant. Dark chocolate comes through as well.

Taste: Almost a cloying sweetness right away, which fades into a coffee bitterness. The flavors are surprisingly distinct from one another, and they almost seem to clash. There's the sweetness of the malt, and the bitterness of the coffee/roasted malts...and not much else.

Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated, and very thin - which was surprising considering the pour. Looked like it was going to be much thicker.

Drinkability: It's easy to put down, but I can't say I'd want more than one. The sweetness becomes cloying after awhile.

Not a terrible Imperial Stout, but just tastes...unrefined. I'd like to see this one with some age on it to let the flavors meld together a little more. There's just not that much to this one. It looks beautiful, but goes downhill from there.

02-20-2009 00:11:29 | More by StarlightSeraph
Samuel Adams Imperial Stout from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
86 out of 100 based on 1,418 ratings.