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Imperial Java Stout | Santa Fe Brewing Company

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Imperial Java StoutImperial Java Stout
BA SCORE
4.04/5
Exceptional
1,008 Ratings
Imperial Java StoutImperial Java Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Santa Fe Brewing Company
New Mexico, United States
santafebrewing.com

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
This is the kind of beer that gives the word "stout" a reputation. Extra generous quantities of barley malt, followed by vigorous fermentation leaves this "imperial" heavy weight with 8% alcohol A.B.V. and a body as full as chocolate bread pudding. A complimentary and complex array of bitter notes comes form potent American hops, earthy British hops, black-roasted malts and, of course, coffee. Santa Fe Brewing Company uses only top-quality ingredients like organically grown East Timor coffee beans blended with New Guinea coffee beans, locally roasted by O'hori's Coffee House. Its heavenly flavor and aroma can't be beat or imitated.

Added by goochpunch on 03-31-2007

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#3,021
Reviews:
237
Ratings:
1,008
pDev:
10.4%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
90
Gots:
194
Trade:
6
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,008 |  Reviews: 237
Photo of Lincoln
3/5  rDev -25.7%

Photo of redleg411
3/5  rDev -25.7%

Photo of nsabo
3.09/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My first bit of praise is unnecessary and is in no way an indicator of this beer’s quality, but I gotta give props for the artwork. Totally brown can with its name at the bottom and a tiny nondescript picture of a coffee cup/beer pitcher. No big, flashy logo. If communists had state beer, this is about what their artwork would look like.
Okay, but on to the beer. The coffee is surprisingly balanced, it’s the dominant taste without taking over and becoming the only taste (unlike Bridgeport’s coffee porter, bleh). Each sip finishes with a crisp bitter blend of hops and coffee. Some baker’s chocolate, vanilla and cloves make this is a fairly sweet stout.
I like this, but I have to knock it for calling itself an Imperial stout. Thin mouthfeel, light shines through its dark brown color, and while tasty it’s not very complex. It drinks like a session beer, and when I drink an imperial stout I want to savor, not session it.
Call it a coffee stout and enjoy; just don’t expect anything imperial.

 1,015 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.13/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 fl oz can acquired at Davidson's Liquors in Lone Tree, Colorado and served into a nonical Guinness pint glass in me gaff in Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I fancy the style but I've never tried a beer from this brewery.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

The can cracked open and immediately started surging, indicating overcarbonation.

A: Pours a five finger khaki head of nice cream, nice thickness, and impressive retention for the high ABV. Colour is a predictable nontransparent solid black. No yeast particles are visible - but it's nontransparent. No bubble show.

Sm: Heavy coffee bean, coffee roast, cream, and dark malts. Coffee is definitely dominant, but it seems overdone; I worry about the balance. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Heavy coffee with a touch of roast, accompanied by some cream. Dark malts comprise the unobtrusive foundation. Hints of chocolate here and there don't amount to anything distinct or particularly impactful. Full-bodied.

Mf: Strangely syrupy and viscous - hot damn. Entirely too smooth and wet for the style - which demands dryness and coarseness. Adequate carbonation. It complements the flavours fairly well, but is far from ideal.

Dr: Quite drinkable and enjoyable, but far from complex or simple. The ABV is well disguised. Coffee is handled well here, but the base requires much more roasted barley. I'd have it again preferably on nitro-draught. Fairly priced. I look forward to trying more beers from this brewery.

C+

 1,638 characters

Photo of OrestesMethuon
3.14/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a fourteen-ounce tulip out of a twelve-ounce can that is (as is standard with Santa Fe Brewing) very simply and sleekly decorated. The result of the initial pour: a massive, sudsy mushroom-cloud of head, milky-khaki and oddly pitted or clumpy, but generally impressive and requiring two distinct pours from the can. The depletion is surprisingly fairly quick—down to a thin, eighth-inch creamy ring—but the lacing is sticky and pervasive down the tulip's rotund edges.

A bit of a metallic, aseptic, "off" quality dominates the faintest of café odors across what is, overall, a very limited and initially listless nose; as the stout airs, a little more coffee (and a little less "clouds taste metallic" defect) is detectable from atop the ale.

From the first sip, it becomes apparent that some of the coppery "off" notes are likely not "defects" but aspects of this stout—either derived from the coffees blended into the beer, as I find most likely, or from the "earthy British hops" or deep roasting of the malts. (It may also have arisen, in part, from some undesirable aging, as this beer is listed as a "winter" seasonal, and I purchased my six-pack on 18 August.) Irrespective of the source, these less-pleasant characteristics—as with the nose—subside after exposure to atmosphere, though never entirely departing.

Aside from these metallic impressions, the main melody of this beer is "bitter": coffee bitters, burnt-grain bitters, and herbaceous, damp forest-detritus (but pine-absent) hop-bitters all swirl throughout the creamy (but on the thinner side, for a stout) body of this stout. This decision definitely delegates a lot of bite to each sip, and likewise buries the alcohol behind a storm of various palate-smacking bitters, both subtle and pronounced, both dark and deep and grassy and gritty. However, while there is some good, nicely-restrained residual sugar allotted by the malts, the coffee and the multi-faceted hopping unfortunately don't provide much beyond the aforementioned—and, true to the patter's promise, complex—bittering.

Ultimately, I'd like to try this effort again, ideally a little geographically nearer and a lot temporally closer to the source. But even if the sniffing-a-nickel, sucking-on-a-penny characteristics *were* to be defects (either of canning or aging), I'm nevertheless skeptical I'd raise my score all too much: while Santa Fe's Imperial Java Stout is much too richly and variably bitter to be called "one-note," its very much "one-chord": many notes, but all firmly residing in a single register; complex, but in a narrow way; good at one thing, but all too reliant on only that thing.

 2,678 characters

Photo of FBGordon
3.17/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of sgttibbs
3.23/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of barhoc11
3.24/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This was very underwhelming. There is almost no smell to this beer and the coffee taste is very minimal with a floral/sweet aftertaste. The aftertaste reminds me of fake sugar, which is what I am sure was used to backsweeten this beer. I am not sure what they are trying to accomplish but there are much better alternatives.

 324 characters

Photo of rkcrozier
3.25/5  rDev -19.6%

Photo of PieOhMy
3.25/5  rDev -19.6%

Photo of Rifugium
3.25/5  rDev -19.6%

Photo of jrbuckt
3.25/5  rDev -19.6%

Photo of Matt141
3.25/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of amalburg
3.25/5  rDev -19.6%

Photo of cmoody91
3.25/5  rDev -19.6%

Photo of Liondiscs
3.25/5  rDev -19.6%

Photo of mmulebarn
3.25/5  rDev -19.6%

Photo of djmichaelk
3.29/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Thorpe429
3.3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12-ounce can shared by yourefragile in line at the BA Sexual Chocolate release. Really nice design on the can; very appropriate for the day and time. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pours a very dark brown with a light tan head and a ring or two of lacing on the way down. Thin collar throughout. The nose brings loads of coffee along with a bit of cream and some chocolate. The flavor consists of the same, with the coffee taking the front following by a bit of cream and dark chocolate. Could have been a big hit, though the mouthfeel takes things way back, as it was terribly over-carbonated, ruining what I imagine otherwise would have been a nice creamy mouthfeel. Roast is there in the flavor as well. Pretty good.

 716 characters

Photo of XicanoBeerRun
3.32/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured like used motor oil, black and opaque, and not thick like some stouts. Cocoa head about 1/8 inch thick dissipated rapidly. Smells like chocolate and coffee. I know this is not too creative, but it is all I could come up with. Taste: chocolate cake, chocolate covered coffee beans. The coffee was not as prominent as I had expected. I enjoyed this. It was somehow refreshing, which I do not expect from a stout.

I’ll have another.

 440 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.35/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of Suds
3.35/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This brew is utterly black, with a thin tan head. The smell is of highly roared grain and coffee. The taste is dry and acrid, and has a homebrew quality, it is somewhat acidic, but has a complexity as well. Medium to full in body. Just okay.

 245 characters

Photo of taxguyjase
3.38/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - Thick black body with a foamy, mocha colored head. Head is pretty sticky too, as it coats the glass substantially. 4.0/5.0

Smell - Coffee coffee coffee. The aroma is like sticking your nose right into a bin of coffee beans. Not just any coffee beans, but the uber-dark ones that will literally put hair on your chest. Any other smell is overpowered by the coffee. You get a hit of that coffee each time that you taste it too. 3.5/5.0

Taste - Like the aroma, coffee dominates the flavor, but it starts to smooth out a bit. The first time I had this beer, I was taken aback by the coffee flavor and almost had trouble finishing it. 2nd go around was much better with the toasted malt coming out. Very little sweetness, as the coffee's bitterness takes priority. It's like having a strong cup of Starbucks bold coffee...no cream...no sugar. 3.5/5.0

Feel - 1st taste is strong until your mouth adjusts to the beer. After that, you start to get some more of the flavor notes. 3.0/5.0

Drinkability - Jury is out. 1st time, probably wouldn't have bought it again. 2nd time, enjoying it. I'm guessing the 3rd time, I'll want to get a six pack or two for the fridge. 3.0/5.0

 1,182 characters

Photo of yourefragile
3.38/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz can shared at BASC release.

Dark coffee color with a tan head, minimal lacing and retains a collar throughout. Aroma is strong burnt coffee, with mild cream and sweetness. Roast coffee, and faint hop bitterness are the focus of the flavor. Way too carbonated though, knocking this down a few notches in the rating. Not bad, could be better.

 347 characters

Photo of clotrich
3.4/5  rDev -15.8%

Imperial Java Stout from Santa Fe Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.04 out of 5 with 1,008 ratings
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