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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

1,464 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,464
Reviews: 800
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 13.68%
Wants: 56
Gots: 77 | 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: 1,464 | Reviews: 800 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tubeboy
4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This Sam Adams Imperial Stout is a nice surprise. A strong smell of dark chocolate, coffee and roasted grains greet the nose. A good pour with a medium dark head that drops a bit too fast. A real nice flavor contrast while the head remains. The taste compliments the aroma very nicely. The mouthfeel for a stout is a little thin to my taste. All that being said I find this to be a pleasure to drink. I will definately buy this again in the absence of my favorite stout.

Photo of tigg924
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: dark black color, with big chocolate brown head, medium carb

Smell: chocolate, with malts, and some wood

Taste: bitter dark chocolate, coffee, alcohol, and roasted malt

Mouthfeel: dry, slightly bitter, rich full body

Drinkability: A drinkable Imperial Stout, the high ABV is moderately masked. If this were on draft, I may get it, but I have had better imperial stouts

Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, w/o freshness/vintage info...come on now, the label says "age it", how about some dating info? Anyway, rant over, this one pours Imperial stout dark/almost black, under the expected dark tan head, froth, film and leaves light and fine tiny spots of lace. Nose is full of dark chocolate, espresso, chocolate milk and burnt grains. Full flavor, heady stuff @ over 9%. Nose carries nicely into the tongue sensations, more dark, dark chocolate, roasted grains and dark coffee. Thick and smooth mouth feel. Real nice job here by S.A. Impressive.

Photo of asabreed
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Drinking near candlelight after the power went out in Richmond because of the freakish snowstorm.

Appearance: Solid opaque with a nice mocha-colored head that leaves an initially sticky ring of lacing, but not as much after that when it continues to move down the glass -- just some here and there drops and whatnot.

Smell: Burned malts, mild chocolate, dark berries, some charcoal, mild coffee. All balanced and nice.

Taste: Subdued, somehow, and balanced. Mild coffee, not much acridness or sourness, with some mildly bitter chocolate, earthy dark berries, all backed by the roasted malt flavors and long, subdued, again, yet balanced and flavorful.

Mouthfeel: Full but slightly watery-seeming yet it doesn't really detract, because there's there's weird almost chalkiness to it, like there's some dutch process cocoa powder in the mix.

Drinkability: Probably my favorite Sam Adams Imperial. Solid all around. Highly drinkable for a RIS, especially with the over 10% ABV, yet it remains balanced and doesn't try to do crazy things, which lets the flavors all come together well.

Photo of ToddT
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Deep dark chocolate color with a thick tan head. Head fades slowly to a cap but leaves nice lacing on the glass.

S- Roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, and alcohol are the big notes. There are some subtle notes of fruit and vanilla in there as well. Nice complex and inviting smell.

T- Big bold hit of the chocolate and the coffee right off the bat. Fades quickly to roasted malts and then to a hop bitterness with a rush of warmth from the alcohol. Complex and well balanced, but the alcohol overpowers a bit at the end.

M- Full bodied, and viscous, but with a little bit too much carbonation. Would have hoped for a little more creaminess and a little less carbonation.

D- The 9.2% ABV shows through and cuts down the drinkability a little. Some time in the cellar would help this out, it should age quite well. It's a big bold beer and it would be hard to have more than a couple of these.

Nice beer, not a stellar stout, but well done. Age this some and it might be amazing. Glad to see a successful brewer continue to experiment and push the envelope of their line.

Photo of jwinship83
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle that lists 9.2% ABV drank out of a standard pint glass.

A- comes out a thick looking ink black colored body with a small tan head. the head dissipates quickly, becoming no more than a crown. rings of lace left on the sides of the glass after every sip.

S- dark roasted malts with alot of chocolate and coffee as well. a bunch of alcohol is noticeable. slight hints of dark fruits. plums and figs mostly.

T- lots of roasted malt upfront with plenty of chocolate as well. the finish is bitter and full of coffee. you can tell its pretty potent, but it doesnt taste as strong as it smells.

M- rich and creamy with a little too much carbonation. pretty thick feeling. a slight warming from the alcohol as it slides down.

D- the strength of this one, is a deterrent from having more than a couple of these in a sitting. its nice to see this new line coming out from boston beer, and even better that its going to be year round. ill check this one out again.

Photo of dohastmich
3.64/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours out thick and pitch black, minimal head which dissolved

S - Sweet mixture of chocolate, vanilla, toasted malt. Strong alcohol smell

T - strong toasted malt and chocolate, followed by vanilla and nut taste, the high alcohol is felt and tasted in the background. Moca coffee comes near the end for a good finish.

M - thick and creamy, strong malt aftertaste

D - This is a decent showing by Boston Beer despite it being out of its "normal" zone. This one is worth another try .

Photo of stoutfiend27
4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into duvel glass

a-inky black and oily appearing with 3/4" tan head

s-sweet like ripe fruit but cant pin point which one...roasty character with slight hops in the nose

t-alot like the smell..sweet fruity esters ...chocolate, coffee and slight hop sting in the aftertaste followed by an espresso linger

m-slightly oily but not as thick as i would like my imperial stouts to be....it is thick but just never gets there for me

d-at 9.2 abv u would never know it..just a little on the sweet side to have more than 2-3 in one sitting...

overall a good beer from sam adams...i am impressed...just a little underwhelmed with the mouthfeel and the sweetness...if this beer was cleaned up it could be a steallar imperial stout

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

12 fl oz brown bottle; served in a snifter.

Syrupy, opaque black ink in color beneath a whispy, caramel-colored head. Spotted and patchy lacing with pretty good strength.

Rich, malty aromas: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, semi-sweet caramel, rich toffee. Touches of vanilla that round out the intense malts with a faint hint of peat smoke. Dark fruity esters: red apple, cherry, and plum that impart just enough of a balance to the rich, sweet malts.

Ripe plum and grape that initially creep through a dynamic, rich and chewy malt base. Rich and sweet toffee and caramel flavors that is followed by a dry chocolate and hazlenut. Very good balance of rich and dry characteristics. The vanilla sweetness isn't quite overpowering, but is certainly detectable throughout. The alcohol is slick and hot; unfortunately, it's a little bulky and not quite ripe. The floral hops impart quite an intense bitterness in the finish which is hurt by the lingering alcohol presence.

Full in body; rich and chewy with a good syrupy mouthfeel. It's too bad that the young alcohol causes such a slick texture in the finish.

Some very promising flavors going on here within a pretty good balance; however, the alcohol intensity is too readily apparent. I can imagine that putting this one away for a few years would really allow the alcohol to mellow and the other, already strong, rich flavors to really shine.

Photo of Haybeerman
3.51/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Black, no light coming through. Poured a 2 finger chocolate head that dissipated. Lace washed down the sides of the glass.

S: Big toasted malts; chocolate, coffee, toffee and roasted nuts. Also big alcohol.

T: The malts, and lots of them, work to create a very full roasty toasty taste with the warming of ample alcohol. A bit of bittering hops in the finish rounds the taste out nicely.

D: Full body. Low carbonation. Nice combination for this big beer.

M: This is a big beer. Fairly interesting and well made. Body and abv make this a good one and done.

Photo of Bung
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. Near black pour, dark tan head. I was surprised by the lacing and retention of this one. Roast malt but mostly chocolate aroma. Taste is a little more expansive, roast malt, nut, but dominated by chocolate, molasses and vanilla. Settles into a rather creamy mouthfeel. Descent finish of a mocha coffee. Found this enjoyable and drinkable. Almost a dessert beer because of the sweetness, would be nice if there was a little more balance. Southern Tier Choklat is the thing I would most compare this too. Suprisingly good brew from a big brewer.

Photo of drseamus
3.19/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Inky black topped with a nice mocha head. It looks great in the Sam Adams glass.

S: The primary aroma I get is banana. I find this occasionally in imperial stouts that are too fresh but much more in homebrews than commercial beers. I am usually pretty sensitive to this aroma and it's hard to get by it.

T: Nice and full flavored. VERY sweet initially but it calms down and some slight roast gets though. No real chocolate or coffee. At the back of the palate the roast finally takes over as the dominant flavor but fades soon after. Too sweet in general for me.

M: Full bodied and smooth.

D: A good to decent homebrew at best. Way too sweet. It almost seems out of style.

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

A: Black with only the faintest hints of brown around the edges when help up to direct light. Minimal coffee colored head that quickly dissipated.

S: A nice subtle chocolate balanced out by a nice amount of roasted malt. While not a super complex nose it is really enjoyable.

T: Reminds me of really good homebrew. The roast and the chocolate really work well together. A touch of hops in the finish to boot.

D: On the heavy side of mouthfeel. It is kind of a weird one in that one sip feels heavy and the next not so much.

D: I enjoyed this beer. Again it really did remind me of good homebrew. Nothing really stood out as excellent but it was good all around. Hopefully they will continue with their imperial series.

Photo of jbphoto88
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The label say this IS has 9.2% ABV, it pours super dark and slightly syrupy thick. Very deep brown, along the lines of motor oil. A milked coffee head dissolves quickly but not before leaving some suds everywhere on the sides of the glass.

There are traces of several dark fruits like currants and prunes. Slightly earthy roasted malts follow and create a mix of chocolate and coffee scents.

Taste is as dark as it looks. Molasses body with a strong roast malt backbone. They must have boiled a gallon of wort down to 12 ounces for each bottle because this one is thick and hearty. The fruits that are present in the nose appear again in the flavor. There is a slightly charred oak finish that is masked with light coffee and chocolate and a thin but durable bitterness.

An excellent stout. It's nice to see Sam Adams moving towards a more craft beer market. I've always enjoyed their product before but now with a this husky bodied stout and the imperial pilsner in the lineup, consider me a super fan.

Photo of jmz62565
3.56/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a jet black with a huge brown foamy head that leaves great lacing. The smell isn't as strong as other stouts,but you can still pick out dark fruit,alcohol,and chocolate. The taste has coffee,alcohol,chocolate,and dark fruits. Not bad,but nothing all that great either. The m/f is heavy with the flavors mixing well,but it is alittle harsh. Not a bad beer from Sam, but there is room for improvement.

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

12oz bottle into 8oz snifter.

Pitch black. I can't get any light to pass through this beer. A thin light brown head settles to a thin rim along the glass. Rings of lacing along the glass.

The label seems to describe this one perfectly: "The special barley in this ... brew delvers rich flavors [note: and aromas] like dark chocolate, coffee, and anise." Anise? Well, it's true. Comes out smelling like it was dry hopped with a bit of black licorice. Roasty grains are there as well, like any other imperial stout.

The anise doesn't show up as much in the flavor compared to the aroma, but the dark roasty grains are certainly there. A bit of dark fruit is in the background, and gives way to some lingering roasted barley. The alcohol comes more apparent as the beer warms. Full bodied, almost syrupy.

Not a bad entry into the RIS domain by Sam Adams. I've tasted licorice in these before, but the amount of anise-like flavors in this one is higher than average. Overall a good RIS, worthy of comparison to the incumbents. Recommended.

Photo of Bierman9
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I first tried a sample of this at the EBF, which later led me to snag a couple of bottles for further research. The label here says this ale checks-in at 9.2% abv, and notes that it's suitable for aging or immediate quaffing. I'll opt for the latter choice!

It looked a bit thick and oily as it poured into a small tulip glass. Head is a rich mocha hue, kicking off at about 1/4" but ebbing rapidly to a rim-job, with decent lacing. Bier itself is dense and opaque. Nose has some bitter, roasty choco and coffee notes, with suggestions of espresso. The body is more than medium, with a bit of chewiness present. On the tongue it passes quite smoothly, with nay but a hint of prickliness.

Light sweetness coats the tongue, with intimations of currants and raisins. Chocolate and mocha hit the palate, with an even-tempered bitterness, melding with the aforementioned sweetness. Espresso-tinged cocoa hits the tastebuds, with a mild, albeit tasty, smattering of hop florality. The alcohol is quite well-hidden in this bier, surprisingly so since it's a big-leaguer at 9.2%. I am impressed with this one. It didn't come across as much to write home about at EBF, though a 2oz sample served from an ice-cold bottle is hardly the best way to give a good impression. But at about 45-50F, in a small tulip or snifter, it gets the job done in fine fashion.


look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | drink: 4.5


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

Appearance: pours a blakc color with a dark chocolate colored 3" head. The head slowly fades, and a nice layer of lace paints the glass.

Smell: loads of roasted malt sweetness, dark chocolates and a hint of coffee are easy to pull from the glass.

Taste: follows the nose as roasted malts and dark chocolate are up front, and coffee, prunes, and a nice bitterness rounds it out. Alcohol is barely noticeable here which enhances the experience.

Mouthfeel: light crispness to start, smooth and velvety at the finish. Medium-heavy bodied beer. Aftertaste is long as the roasted malts and chocolates last a while in the mouth.

Drinkability: for the style this one is extremely enjoyable since the alcohol levels aren't in your face. IMHO, this is one of the best beers from Sam Adams.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was a syrupy-looking black brew with a small orange/tan head and a tiny bit of lace. It had a bittersweet chocoloate and roasted malt aroma. A nice espresso bitterness, also some chocolate and dark fruit. More bitter than sweet, a pretty good stout.

Photo of caminiti
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, dark, black with a large head for a stout that sticks around. Had a faint hint of coffee and even berry? Strong taste, as expected from the style, a good sipping beer. Not up to par with Rasputin, and a bit more expensive, perhaps worth a try. It is interesting that Sam Adams has now marketed itself as a micro...

Photo of david131
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Absolutely pitch black, thick and syrupy. The head is very thick and brown and settles to a nice covering. The lacing is pretty sweet.

S- It smells surprisingly sweet and fruity, with some toffee, chocolate, coffee, anise, smoke, alcohol, and some spices. Not as roasty and intimidating as some stouts in the style. The more I huffed this, the more I really enjoyed it.

T- Extremely sweet with some fruit, toffee, chocolate cake, anise, smoke, some alcohol. The flavors blend very well together, but this is extremely rich.

M- A little syrupy with a bit of a numbing alcohol presence on the tail end. The sweetness is a bit cloying.

D- A very rich beer that requires a bit of time to consume. I was not expecting this much of a sipper out of this. I am impressed, but also pretty numbed.

Photo of tmoneyba
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Jwale73
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of brianjay
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

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.

Samuel Adams Imperial Stout from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
86 out of 100 based on 1,464 ratings.