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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

1,465 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,465
Reviews: 800
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 13.68%
Wants: 56
Gots: 80 | FT: 1
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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,465 | Reviews: 800
Photo of dedrinker
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Photo of OlieIPA
3.23/5  rDev -15%
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!

Photo of oldhippie247
2.94/5  rDev -22.6%
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.

Photo of bort11
4.11/5  rDev +8.2%
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!!

Photo of imagineiii
3.01/5  rDev -20.8%
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.

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

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.

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Photo of MaduroMike
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of grayburn
4.4/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of TomGavin
3.46/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of sulldaddy
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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?

Photo of mattcrill
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of TheFightfan1
4.53/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of sculls65
3.29/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

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

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

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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!!!

Photo of hopdog
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle.

Poured a dark black color with a large sized brown head. Nice lacing left on the glass. Aromas of chocolate, roastiness, anise, and licorice. Tastes of roast, chocolate, caramel, licorice, some dark fruitiness, and anise. Alcohol content well hidden.

Photo of lackenhauser
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jet black with a decent head. Leaves some great lacing. Inky, somewhat of an elderberry aroma to it. Deep, deep dried fruit flavors upfront. Very sweet tasting. Quite low roasted flavor-I was expecting more. Missing some of the graininess and roasted flavors of a RIS. Decent mouthfeel. A good RIS but not great. Rather sweet for the style. I was expecting a lot more from SA but this is still good.

Photo of jdhilt
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a four finger brown head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Totally black color. Chocolate nose. Light-medium carbonation and heavy bodied. Flavor is sweet chocolate and hints of anise, lingering anise aftertaste. Decent stout. $10.49 for a 4-pak of 12oz bottles from Northend Superette Manchester, NH.

Photo of mcallister
3.46/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours pitch black in appearance. Absolutely no light shines through with a flashlight held up to my snifter. Head is uncanny and beautiful for this brew considering ABV. Thick chunky pillowy mocha colored with great retention and even nicer thick sticky lace that has what is called forever retention.

Semi sweet dark chocolates with hints of coffee and black fruits. An odd sweetness in the aroma that I've smelled before and I've always found offsetting almost butterscotchy? Diacetyl?

A good amount of residual sugar resides in this brew and is very cloying to my palate. Caramel and sweet chocolate flavors with only the slightest hint of coffee. Black fruits undestinguished. Good complexity but if not slightly thin in mouthfeel with a bit of alcohol in the mouth. If not for the sweetness would be much better. The mouthfeel is almost sticky.

Photo of nriech
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black, as it should be.

Thick and oily, good brown head.

Chocolate and mocha. Espresso, mild tad of hop. Alcohol is not overt, in taste anyway. A little bitter.

Wasnt as thick as you would guess, carbonation was right on, not too much. Would have been nice to have it a little more creamy.

Not as big and bad as many RIS I've had, its a good introduction to many who wouldnt have tried one from a smaller brewer. Glad to see this will be readily available.

Photo of dananabanana
4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: This beer is completely black, not the dark brown of many other stouts. Head is a medium brown. Foam does not cover the entire surface of the beer. Moderate lacing.

S: Slightly alcoholic. Smells rich and malty, even when someone is pouring it from a few feet away. A little chocolate and coffee scent.

T: Bitter coffee/ espresso hits right away. A little alcohol in the aftertaste. Burnt coffee beans. A hint of sweet cocoa, gets more intense as you drink more of the beer.

M: Thick, but not creamy. Well-balanced carbonation.

D: Too heavy for more than one, but it's not meant for that, anyhow. You can nurse a bottle for awhile.

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.48/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from The Liquor Shop in Tyngsborro, Mass. Pours an opaque black body with a good inch of tan head. Chocolate and caramel dominate the aroma, with some coffee and hints of citrussy hops. Caramel, coffee, and chocolate dominate the flavor, sweet and tasty. Rich full body with moderate to high carbonation. Super tasty, full, no flaws to speak of. Delicious. I hope this becomes more widely available.

Photo of Tbn2
4.6/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours as black as a cave that has never seen the light of day with a one finger, brown head that retreats to the ring of the glass and lacing slightly down the side.

Smells like you just walked into a bakery that made a fresh batch of fudge or caramel. I get big aromas of caramel, burnt sugar, some coffee, and a hint of alcohol.

Taste like a dream. A silky smooth feel at first that turns a to a bitter chocolate and coffee towards the center. I get a little bit of an earthy raisin flavor that finishes somewhat earthy, perhaps from some late hop addition. Overall this thing taste great.

This is the first I have had from the imperial series and I will certainly be heading back for more of the other styles.


Photo of leif86
3.54/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The brew is black blackity black black and topped with a dark brown froth that looks quite impressive but exits with the speed of the head on a coke. Little bits of lacing.

S: The aroma of rich chocolate and cherries reminds me of blackforest cake.

T: This is where I'm really let down. Subtle chocolate and barely any coffee is overpowered by a fruity alcohol flavor that makes this beer hot - and it lingers too.

M: A tad over carbonated makes it just a tad watery too. I'd rather see something just a little bit creamier.

D: Eh. For an imperial stout it's not bad for 9.2% but it's not just good enough to want to get any more.

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Samuel Adams Imperial Stout from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
86 out of 100 based on 1,465 ratings.