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

Not Rated.
Samuel Adams Imperial StoutSamuel Adams Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,424 Ratings

(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 Tarheels4life
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.

Tarheels4life, Feb 21, 2009
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.

Brad007, Feb 21, 2009
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.

littlekidlover, Feb 21, 2009
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.

Proteus93, Feb 20, 2009
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.

Experimentacious, Feb 20, 2009
Photo of StarlightSeraph
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.

StarlightSeraph, Feb 20, 2009
Photo of damienblack
4.18/5  rDev +10%

Beer is thick, black and syrupy, almost like chocolate syrup. Aggressive pour leads to a massive mocha colored head, billowey and frothy. Excellent retention, at the end leaves a plateau in the middle of the glass, like you might find in hot chocolate. Nice patterns of lacing remain around the glass. Exactly how a beer should look. Not a huge nose on it, like a mocha cross between coffee and chocolate, neither really stands out. Not much of a hop scent, either.

Strongly roasted, full of bitter chocolate. The chocolate is probably the strongest characteristic the beer brings, it tastes just like baker's chocolate. The roast malt is dark and harsh, but not overbearingly so. It counterbalances perfectly with the dark chocolate. Little bit of hops at the end adds to the mix, leaving a lasting sweet bitterness that just lingers. Nowhere near the boozy taste of the other 2 Imperial Series beers, the alcohol content is neigh undetectable. For me, this is pretty close to fresh BBCS. Not the most amazing impy stout, but very solid. My favorite of the 3 new Imperial Series from SA by far.

damienblack, Feb 18, 2009
Photo of bilge17
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%

12 oz bottle served in a pint glass

A - Very dark, clean and clear appearance. 1/2" dark tan head..dropped out fast.

S - Get a sweet roasted malt and alcohol smell at first, also a touch of dark chocolate. The alcohol smell dominates most other aromas.

T - Big alcohol punch at first, but expands into a roasty, chocolately end....it has a slight warm bourbon flavor. It took a few tastes to get past the over carbonation, but by mid glass it improved drastically

M - Rather thin on the tongue, which was disapointing from all the roasty, chocolatey aromas. CO2 fizz took away from the overall experience. It also has a good lingering bitter coffee aftertaste.

D - With the great presentation, aroma and medium body taste...it is overall a good Imperial Stout. Definately a slow drinker. I would reccomend this beer to a stout loving friend, but for the $10/4-pack and thin mouthfeel and heavy CO2...I will not buy it again.

bilge17, Feb 17, 2009
Photo of sprucetip
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%

From notes. Bottle into snifter.

black, thin brown head recedes fast, minimal lacing.

Strong smoky roasty, coffee, hint of vanilla.

Licorice, bitter chocolate, roasted grains, molasses, a touch of sweetness, an d then some hoppy bitterness in the finish. Clse to smooth, not quite balanced. I think some complexity is buried behind the smoky/roasty dominant flavors.

Plenty carbonated, thick, rich, full, alc warming, viscous.

Not bad at all. Pretty good, really, but a little off the mark. I wanted to rate it a bit higher because there was so much going on in it, but much of it was lost underneath the smoky/roasty intensity. Some age would likely do it some good. Wouldn't hesitate to have it again, and if I could get my hands on it in my part of the world, I'd age some.

sprucetip, Feb 17, 2009
Photo of jbertsch
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%

Poured into a Unibroue tulip glass. Poured ultra-smooth. Almost too smooth - I had to pour it aggressively to get any kind of head on it.

Color is pitch black. The head looks caramel-like, and has a medium body to it that fades quickly after the first sip. There's minimal lacing that stays with the beer until the last sip.

Hard to decipher if I smell a smokey slim jim, or a mocha with notes of dark fruit.

Taste is reminiscent of a very alcoholic mocha coffee. It's delicious, but almost too flavorful. I almost wish it was a bit more refined. But it does work well as an after-dinner beer.

Its mouthfeel is what you expect from the style - fairly thick, but not overdone so. Definitely best for sipping. The mouthfeel lends itself to a drinkability of probably no more than 1 pint. 2 would be doable I'm sure, but I think the taste would loose its charm and become cumbersome on a 2nd pint.

Another decent showing from Sam Adams, who's shown in recent years that they're good at many styles and have talents for other styles other than lagers.

I recommend you try this one, but is it the best Imperial? Or even the top 3? No.

jbertsch, Feb 17, 2009
Photo of prototypic
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%

Appearance: This one pours a very dark, chocolate brown color. There's no light getting through at all. At the right angle, it almost looks black. The head is a very impressive dark, mocha brown color that reaches two fingers in height. Retention was very good given the high abv. It stuck around for a long while. Lacing was thick and very sticky.

Smell: The nose is above average, but not quite good. A little lacking depth and strength. It's full of chocolate and roasted malts. It's got a nice, sweet smell to it. A little coffee is noted, but it's not particularly strong here. Smells like a touch of dark fruit is there as well. Maybe some light raisin. There's a slightly spicy scent that I can't quite put my finger on. Alcohol is blended very well and is not apparent.

Taste: The flavor profile is a tad better than the nose, but not enough to warrant a bump in score. It's sweet up front and very malty. Chocolate malts are the strongest, but the roasted variety isn't far behind. Coffee is very light in the mix. Too light if you ask me. Nonetheless, it is present and noted. There's a hint of dark fruit and licorice that add a nice dimension to it. I still can't identify whatever that light spicy presence is. Alcohol is much more prevalent here and is actually a tad hot. It finishes sweet and a little bitter. It's okay, but comes across as somewhat convoluted.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's medium bodied and not quite thick enough. Carbonation is light and it's ultimately pretty smooth. A little too thin to reach the next level. Drinkability is above average. At 9.2%, it is strong and a little too warm. The flavor's not put together well enough to command more.

BBC's Imperial Stout's an okay beer. Easily above average, but not quite what I was hoping for. It runs a little too warm and is a little convoluted in terms of the flavor. I'd be interested to see what happens with some age on it. It really could improve. Who knows? It's definitely worth checking out, but it's a little bit of a disappointment.

prototypic, Feb 17, 2009
Photo of RomanW70
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%

Pours jet black w/no head and minimal lacing. Looks super thick. Nose is cocoa, bourbon, vanilla, and coffee. Taste comes on a little hot, with a strong roast flavor with strong amounts of licorice. Is fairly thick, but not as thick as it looks. Loses some heat as it warms up and gives additional notes of vanilla and wood. Not the best Impy stout I've had, but not the worst either.

RomanW70, Feb 17, 2009
Photo of Kendo
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%

A: Poured into a Sam Smith's nonic. Thick black on the pour, body is black with a small tan head that settles quickly. No lace.

S: Roasty malt, chocolate and coffee. Also something else in the background I'm having a tough time putting my finger on -- char or smoke maybe.

T: Roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate and a hint of black licorice. As it warms I'm also getting a bit of fruit. Finishes with a dry slightly burnt charcoal-sort of bitterness. Pretty good flavors and decent balance with a good drying finish.

M: Just about full in body. Well carbonated.

D: Pretty good.

Notes: A solid stout. Bottle says it's 9.2% ABV. I believe I paid $9.99 for the 4-pack, which is more than what I pay for 4-packs of Old Rasputin, which outperforms this beer by a good amount. Recommended, but I wouldn't call it world-class.

Kendo, Feb 16, 2009
Photo of Johnkal
4.38/5  rDev +15.3%

great brew. I think a lot of the S.A.s have a distinguishable taste but this one does not have that typical S.A. signature. I think that this is a good thing. I love S.A. and this is just another reason to love this brewery. dark oil can appearance, nice dark tan head, taste of coffee, coco, and sweet malty goodness. Mouthfeel is good but not super smooth. you can't be disappointed with this one.

Johnkal, Feb 14, 2009
Photo of AlcahueteJ
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%

A - Poured into a Duvel tulip. One-inch tan coffee-like head, pitch black body. Looks like coca-cola poured into the glass. Leaves a very thick brown lace all around the glass that fades into a nice thin lace that remains.

S - Roasted coffee, espresso-like aroma. Big time chocolate as well. Faint smell of hops afterwards.

M - No other word to describe the mouthfeel except creamy. Almost nitro creamy in the feel. Minimal carbonation.

T - Less sweet chocolate in the taste, more bitter. The bitterness continues, with a huge roasted coffee flavor that's typical of an RIS. A bit too bitter, however still quite drinkable as the alcohol is well-hidden. Finish has a slight hop twang to it.

D - While the alcohol being less perceived makes it more drinkable, I feel as if some time down in the cellar would do this one justice. I would like it to be a bit sweeter. Even though it's a different style, this is how I felt about their double bock (the original). Then I tried a three year old bottle that was amazing, the malty sweetness was out of this world. Only time will tell with this RIS...

AlcahueteJ, Feb 14, 2009
Photo of jamie2dope
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%

Grabbed a single of this new beer from Sam Adams tonight at Sav Mor in Twin City Plaza. Good pour brings out a black color, with a decent amount of brown foam heading. Nose is of Belgian chocolate, licorice, sweet cream, fudge...very very nice. Taste is fairly rich, with chocolate and espresso notes. It starts off sweet, and ends on a mildly bitter coffee note. Medium body for the style, but it makes up for it in taste, still feels big to me. Pretty quaffable, I like this Impy Stout from SA. Next time I will go for the four pack.

jamie2dope, Feb 14, 2009
Photo of BigIrishman
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%

Poured into tulip

Appearance: Pours dark with a light cappuccino head, although not too much of it. Relatively no lace.

Smell: I can pull a lot of anise and coffee out of this, maybe a little chocolate but not much. There is also a mellowed black licorice smell in the back.

Taste: Resembles the smell, although the coffee is very faint. More of that licorice lingers as well.

Mouthfeel: A bit light for the style, but still rather syrupy.

Drinkability: There is a little alcohol burn on the back end of this one, but not too bad.

Notes: +1 for Jim Koch and the rest of BBC. They are really pushing the bounds of what can be a readily accessible big beer. The taste might have missed some of the hidden gems you often find in a good RIS, but overall a good accessible beer for the big beer lover.

BigIrishman, Feb 14, 2009
Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
3.15/5  rDev -17.1%

Served cool in a chalice.

Pours inky black with a rather thin dark caramel colored head of fine bubbles. Rather thick body but I've seen more syrupy. Leaves good lacing.

Aroma when cold is dominated by coffee. Then out comes an unwelcome meaty aroma, and finally as it warms up a huge banana nose dominates.

Flavor is weak and muddled, a combination of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt and (in my imagination) oatmeal. It wasn't big with either chocolate or malt or coffee.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, but maybe slightly thin for the style.

Drinkability was a let down. The meaty and banana aroma scream yeast abuse, which is really surprising for the pros at Boston Beer, they've got plenty of experience brewing big beers. And the flavor is muddled, nothing shining through. Both recipe and technique suffer. I'm surprised they decided to release this and declare that it's a new, permanent year-round offering without apparent public tastings first.

BattleRoadBrewer, Feb 09, 2009
Photo of bowersdm
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic.

A - Black (as usual) with a 3cm light brown/lightly creamed coffee look. On the pour, the beer looked as if it was the darkest beer I have ever seen. The overall appearance puts it high on my list of darkest beers as well.

S - cocoa, roasted barley, coffee. not much going on here.

T - cocoa, roasted barley, coffee, dark chocolate, a subtle spicy hop flavor and when the beer hits room temperature, a licorice/anise flavor is discernible. This is probably the anise flavor the bottle is speaking off. I could never tell the difference between anise and licorice, so I'm just going to say it was anise/licorice. The beer itself doesn't have the depth of flavor as other Imperial Stouts, but what it makes it taste great is how rich the flavors are. The alcohol became discernible at room temp also.

M - incredibly. This is probably the best mouthfeel of any bottled beer i have ever had.

D - I find it to be a really rich beer, definitely a slow drinker. It's a great value for the price (9.99 for a four pack) and I will definitely buy some again.

bowersdm, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of bluejacket74
4.18/5  rDev +10%

12 ounce bottle. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with a frothy 2 inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both pretty good. The aroma is roasted malt, coffee, dark/bittersweet chocolate, licorice and a bit of smoke. The taste is similar to the aroma, but I can also taste some oak/wood (even though I'm pretty sure this beer isn't barrel aged). It also has a good lingering bitter coffee aftertaste. Mouthfeel is medium/full, it's rich and a bit creamy. Drinkability is good, it's not hard to drink at all. It could be smoother, but overall it's still an enjoyable brew. I think it's a good beer, hopefully SA will decide to make this again in the future.

bluejacket74, Feb 07, 2009
Photo of magget
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%

12 oz bottle into stemmed tulip

dark as night with a very dark tan head,with a little swirl it becomes a beautiful dark brown color.very little lacing on the glass

smells like dark roasted malts, dark chocolate, and maybe some raisin or other dark fruits,not too sure.slight alcohol in the nose as well.all i can say is that it smells like an RIS should.roasty-toasty.

as the smell, it tastes as it should. super dark roasted malt flavor with dark chocolate and cocoa on the back end.maybe a little alcohol as well but nothing overpowering.

mouthfeel is solid and sticky.i like my stouts almost chewy/sludgy so this would be my only quam about this beer. a little thin for my taste but still a nice thick body.

drinkability is good for the style. its thinner body probably yields the ability to have a couple of these bad boys on these freezing winter days in new england.

over all a great offering from s.a. can't believe it took them this long to release an impy stout. nice work.

magget, Feb 06, 2009
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%

Bottle. Pours black with a small, thick dark tan head. Quite pretty. Aroma of sweet roasted malt and alcohol, perhaps a touch of dark chocolate. Flavor is quite intense in the first sip, with a big alcohol punch, and sweet alcohol (almost a touch of bourbon here...) and roasted, chocolatey notes in the finish. Palate is much fuller than I typically expect from SA beers, but it is also rather heavy and boozy. Definitely worth a try though!
7/4/7/4/15 (3.7/5)

LilBeerDoctor, Feb 05, 2009
Photo of TrevorGW
4.38/5  rDev +15.3%

a - 3 ounce draft sample poured at a festival. Nice tan head with a jet black body
s - Coffee and licorice. Truly inviting.
t - Brilliant dark chocolate notes in the taste. Nice balance with the bitterness from the hops. Robust but refined flavor.
m - A little bit grainy on the tongue. Not super thick.
d - For an imperial stout it is highly drinkable. Can't wait to see this in the bottle.

TrevorGW, Jan 21, 2009
Photo of Duhast500
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

Poured into a tasting glass from the tap.

The color was a dark black, the head was a a light brown not too think or foamy.

The smell is of chocolate and a smooth coffee flavor in the background that was not too strong.

The taste is of dark chocolate, coffee, and some nice hints of roasted malts. Also has a nice mellow smoky flavor in the background as well.

A great Imperial stout that is not too hard on the pallet. A bit smooth and also packing a pit of a kick. This is a new brew in Samuel Adams new Imperial series,

Duhast500, Jan 18, 2009
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Samuel Adams Imperial Stout from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
86 out of 100 based on 1,424 ratings.