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Imperial Java Stout | Santa Fe Brewing Company

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226 Reviews
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Imperial Java StoutImperial Java Stout

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

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

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 226 | Ratings: 980
Photo of gustavmahler-09
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours black as night, not much head. As expected, smells of coffee, sweet. Tastes of coffee, chocolate, lingers on the palate. Goes down smoothly, feels creamy. Favorite so far from this brewery.

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Photo of TheStoutLord
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Very dark with a light brown head. Head last for quite a while, disappears cleanly.

S: Smells delicious. Heavy malty scents with strong coffee complimenting it. Can't smell anything of the high ABV.

T: Malt, malt everywhere and plenty of drops to drink. The malt and coffee smells did not fail to deliver on taste. Thick, roasted malt, with some hoppy bitterness dashed in goes great with dark coffee flavors. Strong and bitter, the flavor hides the high ABV perfectly. Taking a sip of this beer like like biting into a piece of bread and somehow drinking black coffee at the same time. Great representation of the American stout.

F: Heavy, thick and strong. Definitely a beer to sip. If the ABV comes out anywhere, its in the mouthfeel, not the taste.

O: Great stout. One of the best I've had as far as coffee stouts or Imperials are concerned. Gets to that perfect spot past too little flavor and before a high ABV. Will buy again on sight.

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Photo of johnnyd10vt
4.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent American Stout. Nice tan head that lasts a long time for CO2. Complex smell with coffee, malt, and smoke. Complex flavor, with the malt and hops nicely balanced. The high ABV is hidden pretty well by everything else going on. Well done, Santa Fe!

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Photo of damello1
4.75/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The smell of fleshy ground coffee beans is very pleasant. This beer almost taste like the perfect cup of coffee with just enough sweetness to mellow it out with round mocha tones.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Brown pour, dark brown, tan head almost a full inch. Aroma dropped heavy and fresh coffee, dark.

Drops more coffee tones on the tongue without harsh bitterness or alcohol burn. Drinks real easy but dangerously as this is still a very strong beer alcohol wise compared to the mouthfeel. Right amount of sweetness to counterbalance everything else. Best stout in a can I think.

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Photo of THSdrummer
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Look: Black, with very little light finding its way through. The head is a medium khaki, which sits for a decent amount of time.

Smell: Malt heavy smell with a hint of coffee aroma mixed in. Absolutely lovely.

Taste: Thick malts and alcohol come out first. Maybe a tinge of coffee throughout the taste. The coffee aroma is just a bit more present than the coffee taste.

Feel: Smooth, but not as bold or creamy as I might expect a similar world-class stout to be. Nonetheless, good, just not the best aspect of this beer.

Overall: Quality beer. I've overlooked it several times on the shelf due to its mundane packaging. Considering it's a fairly cheap, hard hitting coffee stout on the shelves year around, it's a lovely beer for hard drinking, or enjoying with breakfast for dinner. Don't make the same mistake I did, pick a can up and see what you think.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of Thirstygoat
4.19/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up as a 6 singles wow I wish they were all like this
Looks pitch black with a dab of head that leaves the slightest trace of lacing
Smells malty , very malty
the hops get through in the taste but it is about the malt
thick, ample mouthfeel
A really nice stout, like TenFiddy slightly milder cousin

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Photo of JeffBlue
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Draft, Santa Fe Brewery, Santa Fe NM) Coffee smell quite apparent. Super smooth to the finish.

Pale Ale - Lagerish and not too hoppy, 3.0
Happy Camper - Hopped nicely at first, but a bit underwhelming after a full beer, 3.25
Black IPA - Super dark malt flavor up front, very good but hard to distinguish in this category, 3.75
Adobe Igloo - yeasty mushroom, brown ale tasting, 2.8

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Photo of BigBry
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can - 2 cans actually, one for before noon, one for after noon.
It pours a deep, dark brown color with a tall, off white head.
First smell is like a cup coffee, rich and bold.
Taste has the same strong, bitter, roasted coffee flavor.
Some beers just have added flavoring, but this is more like coffee than beer.
Still has a solid stout beer base to hold up to all the strong flavors.
8% alcohol is well hidden, the mouthfeel is smooth with no hot alcohol burn.
An excellent beer, especially if you like this style.

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can, no readable date on can, but presumably brewed this year. Pours dark brown like any other stout, yet it has a creamy texture to it, nice lacing, with a decent amount of caramel-colored head. Aroma is strongly of both coffee and booze. Taste is of dark, malts, coffee, and chocolate. Medium mouth-feel, and creamy.

Definitely one of the better coffee stouts I have had. For the price, this one is worth having on hand, often.

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Photo of phrimplepoot
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Smell is amazing, taste is a little off. It's a little too intense on the coffee flavor. I'm not going to immediately follow this six pack with another, but I'm glad I bought this one. Worth getting off the beaten path a bit. Not boozy at all - digging that. Overall outstanding.

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Photo of Pegasus
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deep mahogany brown body, crowned with a massive, somewhat coarse cream-colored head, somewhat coarse, but with good retention. Scattered, thin lacing adorns the glass walls.

Aroma: Profound aroma of espresso, lots of roasted notes, with hints of vanilla, and an abundance of bitter cocoa.

Taste: The taste opens with profound notes of cold coffee, warming alcohol soon follows, although it is felt more than tasted. As the taste progresses, bitter cocoa and bitter chocolate have their turn. Later in the taste, wood and vanilla notes rise, these carry the taste to a gracious close.

Mouth feel: Rich and full, soft, and very pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: Simply wonderful, a treat to be savored as autumn ascends, would be even better on a cold winter day.

Presentation: Packaged in a standard twelve-ounce aluminum can, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pitch black pour and a thin toffee colored lacing ring.

S - Lots of dark chocolate and Espresso/coffee on the nose.

T - Dark chocolate and coffee beans from start to finish with a little bit of char, deep roasted malt

M - Full body, thick, frothy, and leaves a dark roasted malt coating in the mouth.

O - Very enjoyable.

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Photo of OrestesMethuon
3.14/5  rDev -21.5%
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.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.51/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Cursory review from brief notes. On tap at Eske Brewing - served in a nonic.

Opaque bistre body, wheat head, sandy lacing, good retention.

Low coffee aroma, fruity, roasty...

Low bitterness, moderate sweetness, medium finish, some herbal/baking spice notes from hops - perhaps a touch of diacetyl.

A little thin bodied, though the ABV is well concealed.

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Photo of MuFugga
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I would say this is an underrated beer just due to that its a New Mexico beer. Has a very good coffee flavor and a real nice mouth feel. The 8% abv is well hidden. This beer is a nice value at $9 at six pack when most similar beers are $10 or more a four pack. Can definitely hold its own against a even FBS. I only wish the availability stretched beyond the southwest. Try it if you see it!

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Photo of Suds
3.35/5  rDev -16.3%
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.

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Photo of tomfitz18
4.19/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Beer itself thick and dark black. It had about an inch of tan creamy head. Left some lacing on the glass.
S: Smelled strongly of coffee, chocolate, and some caramel malt.
T: Tasted like mocha, then sweet with the chocolate, then slightly malty, and maybe a little vanilla at the end.
F: Kind of thick, very smooth on the palate, low carbonation, a pretty full mouth feel, and well balanced.
O: I really like this beer! I was very impressed by it. I had it after a long morning of exhausting mountain bike riding and it kept me up and feeling good the rest of the day. I could see this be a great morning beer. Also, I love that it comes in a can.

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Photo of Canada_Dan
4.29/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

An underrated coffee stout for a great price. I've rated the Java in the past but I'm back today for a revisionary visit. 12 oz. can poured into a NOLA Brewing snifter. Pours dark mahogany turning to midnight in the glass with a thin, crisp lacing that lingers. A quick twirl of the can and out pours the remaining oz. as frothy as a cream colored vanilla milkshake. At first sniff, the nose is predominantly roasted malt with a touch of the coffee to come. A deeper breath reveals an espresso like depth within. I taste the bitter notes of dark roast with plenty of dark chocolate followed by an almost smoky dark malt. As it warms, the dark chocolate turns sweet and combined with the creamy mouthfeel, I'm reminded of a fudge brownie. Not the densest of imperial stouts but the perfect carb. more than makes up for any shortcomings. I have a feeling this won't be the last six Javas I purchase this Fall/Winter.

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Photo of stephens101
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Slick black with a dark tan froth.

Aroma consists of fresh roasted coffee beans, milk chocolate, fresh-baked chocolate cake and black licorice. Fresh and dessert-like.

Creamy on the palate with a mocha middle and a dark chocolate and lingering pine finish.

Soft and inviting with a medium to heavy body.

A consummate and flavorful post-prandial beverage that will leave room for more libations if needed.

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Photo of krrockwe
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this beer yesterday, and I was surprised by how good it tasted. Had it early afternoon and will definitely be buying this one for a camping trip

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Photo of emyers
3.99/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz. can poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours near black with a thin medium brown head.

Smell: Coffee dominates the nose. Some cocoa powder, hints of caramel malt.

Taste: Once again, coffee is the dominant flavor. Some vanilla bean, milk chocolate, caramel malt. Just a tad rough around the edges flavor-wise and has a bit of lingering alcohol flavor, but the base flavors are all very solid.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, pretty smooth on the palate.

Overall: Certainly not the same caliber of a Founders Breakfast Stout (which I find it difficult not to compare other coffee stouts to), but a very solid offering nonetheless.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz can poured into Spiegelau glass

A: super dark big head but it disappeared quickly some light escapes the corners

S: tons of coffee some light caramel lots of roast

T: pure coffee its a better coffee taste than most beers it actually tastes like coffee rather than the way roasted beans smell the coffee has a rich slightly sweet taste

M: medium to slightly fuller its not super thick but its still pleasing maybe its oily so it still coats the tongue a little

O: This is probably one of the easiest drinking coffee beers I've ever had and the best overall coffee taste. It puts FBS to shame.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce can that one of my friends gave to me. No date that I can find on it. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with almost an inch tan head that stayed around for a bit. There's also a small amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells mostly like coffee but there's also some burnt/charred malt, caramel and some bittersweet chocolate noticeable. For the most part I think the taste is pretty much like the aroma, but there's also some vanilla flavor. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's smooth and easy to drink with a moderate amount of carbonation. I thought this was a good coffee stout. Glad I got to try it, but also disappointed I won't get to try this again soon since Santa Fe Brewing doesn't distribute here. Definitely worth picking up if you come across some!

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Photo of BrownAleBollocks
4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours black with a one finger cream color head. Aroma is like a bag of unground coffee beans. Taste is super coffee forward, but not harsh or ashy. Mouthfeel is thin to medium, a bit lacking for a stout, but not bad. Overall a very coffee forward stout that is pretty darn good, I would like a touch more balance though.

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Imperial Java Stout from Santa Fe Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 980 ratings.
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