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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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Reviews: 226 | Ratings: 980
Photo of Domingo
3.96/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ah, coffee porters/stouts. I like 'em, but sometimes they can be a little tiresome and one-dimensional. Let's see where this one takes me.
First thing's first - this one is from a can. Pretty cool idea, as this would be a nice brew to take for an outdoor trip.
Pours a deep brown with a billowing slightly off-white head. Unlike some canned beers where the head falls after a few minutes, this one lingers and laces.
The nose is a mix of dark roasted coffee and semi-sweet chocolate. The nose is telling me this might be a one-note coffee brew.
However the taste clears that up nicely! While the coffee might be a star, there's a nice blend of other flavors offering depth. Roasted coffee hits the palate up front, followed by a bit of dark chocolate. As the beer hits the back of the tongue, a milky (almost creamer-like) sweetness kicks in. I don't think it is, but this has the flavor profile of a milk/coffee stout. Maybe it's just a lighter malt being used? Either way, it works well. The finish reveals more coffee acidity, but without ever being overly bitter. The ever so slight hop character comes in the form of a citrus rind, and blends with that finishing acidity nicely.
While some coffee brews can be tough to drink much of, this one's got a nice creamy body (again seemingly like a big milk stout), and drinking a can is something you'll probably do in a matter of minutes.
I really like this one. As someone who likes coffee and stouts, they mesh very well here...without either spoiling the things that work within the other.
The price is right, too. Recommended.

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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 chugalug06
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - As dark as burnt oil. Super black with a poured original saddle colored "super" head... head mellows to a thin tan

S - Coffee and Espresso scented... Side of malt too. Perhaps there's a little chocolate and mango buried somewhere...

T - Amazingly smooth, like drinking a cold "hot" chocolate. make for an amazing afternoon or drive home. I've had this brew a few times post skiing always make me enjoy the drive home a little more...

M - Super smooth and perfectly sweet, not over done like many java stouts. coffee is prevalent, but not over bearing

D - Drinkability is high! hard to put down and let sit. I look forward to the next sip, each and every time.

I want to give A CAN to everyone so they too can experience the goods coming out of SFB!!!!


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Photo of DenverHopHead
4.01/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Thick cup of coffee black! Smells like a good, strong cup of coffee too! Taste and mouthfeel are a bit of a let down, but not bad. This feels like a beer that would be great to wakeup to after a night of camping! Overall, I'll look for this again. Perhaps a hidden gem!

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Photo of KajII
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

[Best served in a Snifter]

The pour was an espresso jet black with an average sized (1-2 finger) light brown frothy head that was mostly lasting and produced some excellent sheeting on the glass.

The aroma was extremely strong of a fresh ground French Roasted coffee, a burnt black bread malt and an earthy doughy yeast with notes of bakers chocolate and a hint of toffee and black licorice.

The taste was lightly sweet and quite malty with notes of chocolate and toffee early on and then progressed into a strong bitter coffee flavor with a mild alcohol finish. The flavor lasted an average time after the swallow, and had a nice espresso taste that was left to linger.

Mouthfeel was bold and full in body with a dry, oily texture and a mild carbonation.

Overall this brew is very well balanced and quite tasty. It could very well be put into an espresso cup, and would be enjoyed immensely.

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Photo of cvm4
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can poured into a snifter

A - Pours a thin black with a 2 finger tan head. The head stays around and dissipates into a ring around the glass. Minimal lacing.

S - Lots of coffee, cocoa nibs and roasted malt.

T - Coffee dominates up front and it meanders into a dark chocolate finish with roasted malt always in the background.

M - Somewhat thin but has medium carbonation.

O - Lovely stout poured from a can. I was pleasantly surprised!

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Photo of azdback
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass. Deepest, darkest brown possible. I can call this black but it wouldn't be a very dark black. The highlights are see through and light brown in color. Head is a gigantic five fingers and very explosive but as it recedes it shows it's beautiful creamy look. Lace is looking pretty good as well.

Smell is mostly dark roasted malts. Coffee, charred wood. There is some bright red tart fruit there too.

Taste is actually more chocolate than it is coffee. There is some coffee along with some figs and some hop bitterness and some alcohol burn. This is pretty nice.

Mouth is creamy but a bit on the bright side for an 8% stout. Carbonation is a bit over used. Body is on the heavy side and the finish is average and just a bit on the wet side.

Overall I really enjoyed this. I have had four of the Santa Fe BC offerings and have been pretty satisfied with all of them. This one does not disappoint.

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Photo of Radome
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Tasted from 12 oz can.

L - Beer is pitch black and opaque in the glass. Head is light tan in color, moderately active on the pour and then fades to just a few whisps. "Legs" on the side of the glass like a strong wine, along with light lacing.

S - Aromas of coffee, scorched grain and light smoke. Not overly complex for this style of beer.

T - Initial flavors are of strong, almost esspresso-like coffee. This later is replaced by sharp, slightly acrid, burnt notes mixed with substantial bitter earthy hops flavors. Late in the palate the sharp flavors fade and leave milder chocolate notes just before the finish.

F - Heavy body. Moderate, mouth-filling carbonation. Very strong hops bitterness that leaves the tongue tingling. Some alcohol presence, but the ABV is well-hidden.

O - This is a big, enjoyable beer that emphasizes the coffee. Not a world-class example of the style, but well-executed.

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Photo of jngrizzaffi
4.73/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours pitch black with thick, brown foamy head with excellent lacing on side of glass. Strong roasted coffee aroma with hints of dark chocolate. Taste is very much of the roasted coffee variety. There is some dark chocolate taste in the beginning, but the coffee taste very much overwhelms it at the end. There is an excellent bitter aftertaste. Excellent stout!!

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Photo of kemoarps
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jet black. I love watching the head rise on stouts, and this one is no exception. Creamy head that sticks around.

Malts. Burnt, roasted and sharp espresso

This review is not for the first can of this that I've had in the last couple of days, so I've tried it with various foods and by itself. This is my favourite iteration. Sharp cheddar and pumpernickel go well with the sharp burnt malts and bitter coffee. On its own these can be a bit overwhelming, but with other sharp foods it blends in well and is quite pleasing.

The carbonation is mild, but works well. The finish is bitter with cacao and coffee grounds. Solid as what it is. If you like sharp coffee and burnt malts it's solid. Might not appeal to everyone, but if that's your thing check it out. NM is coming into its own

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Photo of BradLikesBrew
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown body is just short of black, the head is creamy and light tan colored.

The aroma is one dimensional, but if you are a coffee fan, that won't be a problem.

The flavor is malty with a dominating coffee flavor with roasty bitterness on the finish. Some undertones of cocoa and some toffee maybe, but the java flavor is the central focus.

Medium body, moderatly creamy.

There is a touch of alcohol on the finish, but for the most part this is a really drinkable stout with farely well masked ABV. Imperial Java Stout doesn't hold a candle to Peche Mortel, Espresso Yeti, Beer Geek Breakfast or other notable coffee stouts. Its not in the same league, not even the same sport really. But it doesn't have to be. It is a fraction of the price of those beers. At $7.99 a 6pk and 7% ABV, it is an absolute steal, a must buy for coffee beer fans. I highly reccomend it.

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Photo of Auraan
4.37/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured an inky, opaque black with a half-finger tan head that dissipated to a tan ring and left some lacing down the glass. Very nice, looks like an Imperial Stout should. Scents of black coffee, dark cocoa and slight roast malt. Very, very coffee forward, with the dark cocoa coming in the middle and the roast malt very faint in the background. The aroma lets you know this is a coffee stout. Taste follows the aroma. Full of flavors of rich, thick black coffee, dark cocoa powder and dark chocolate with slight milky and creamy flavors balancing the bitterness. There are some faint burnt herbal flavors, likely from the ground coffee and the hops. Black coffee bitterness is on full display in the finish and aftertaste, rich and well roasted like a good coffee should taste. An excellent, coffee forward flavor with a little bit of depth from dark chocolate, cocoa and sweet milk flavors, but coffee is very much the star of the show, much to my delight. Mouthfeel is thick bodied, creamy, smooth and slightly sticky with moderate stout level carbonation just barely pricking the tongue. Quite easy to sip, and very well done and true to style. Overall this is an excellent coffee stout. It brings out the rich, roasted, bitter quality of fine coffee and blends it with the dark cocoa and chocolate of an Imperial Stout, balanced by some milky sweetness. Add in the rich coffee aroma and you have a good sipping beer for Southwestern Winter nights. Highly recommended.

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

A: Quite black with a huge 2-inch frothy and thick head; decent lacing

S: Earthy coffee beans dominate up front; some chocolate and dark fruits linger underneath but this is a coffee bomb

T: The coffee, of course, is the star here but this is also hoppy up front with a balanced sweet malt base--chocolatey and yummy

F: Medium body and creamy with a sticky texture on the back end

O: This is a really nice coffee beer and the 8% abv is well masked; nice work, Santa Fe

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

Poured from a 12 oz can into a snifter. This pours a pitch black color with a finger thick mocha head which quickly dissipates. There is some coffee in the smells, nice espresso, some dark roasted malts, not much hop aroma, the alcohol is well hidden. The feel is thick and creamy, mid carbonation. The taste is pretty good, nice amounts of roasted malts, dark chocolate, and espresso. Nice.

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Photo of dcloeren
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured black with light brown edges when held to the light. Produced maybe a finger of foamy tan head.

The aroma on this beer is fantastic for a breakfast stout. Rich and robust coffee dominates the nose with dark chocolate and cream rounding it off.

Taste follows the nose. Rich coffee, dark chocolate and a little bit of cream. I love this brew because its coffee forward and it tastes like a proper cup should.... very flavorful and not overly bitter.

Medium to full in body, light in carbonation and an excellent drying coffee aftertaste. This beer goes down very easy... Might have to get a refill.

Overall, this beer is great in my opinion. It says to drink before noon and I plan on doing so! Perfect brew for teeing off on a saturday morning. Drink up!

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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 Myotus
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured at 47°F from a 12oz can (no date) into a Spiegelau Stout glass. Allowed to warm up to 50°F before reviewing. Consumed on 19Jul16.
SMELL: Intense aromas of spicy and earthy coffee are backed by mild aromas of bittersweet chocolate and subtle vanilla, caramel, toffee, earthy hops, and floral hops.
TASTE: Massive waves of spicy and earthy coffee initially erupt on to the taste buds. Some balanced is achieved when mild flavors of bittersweet chocolate immediately follow as the coffee flavors develop a mild, roasted bitterness. The sweetness of the brew is slightly augmented as subtle vanilla, caramel, and toffee flavors step on to the palate. Mild flavors of earthy hops and subtle flavors of floral hops flow in last while all previous flavors persist, except for caramel and toffee, which grow slightly stronger in an effort to boost the sweetness. The coffee flavors at this time also grow a slight acidity to them.
NOTE: This was a good Imperial Stout that could have been great if more balance was established. The coffee flavors took dominion over everything else. This resulted in an overly bitter beer. The second strongest flavors, the chocolate, were not sweet enough to present a proper balance between bitter and sweet. The hop profile was perfect and somewhat fought off the bitterness. I would recommend this to people who love a little beer with their coffee.

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Photo of XicanoBeerRun
3.32/5  rDev -17%
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.

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Photo of bobhits
3.4/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Imperial Java Stout

Doesn’t have the viscous thick cream look of say a ten fidy, but the color in the glass is deep black with small tiny bubbles that quickly fade away. The pour is deep brown and amber colored far darker than many of the lesser stouts, but still pretty dark.

One of the biggest coffee noses I’ve ever smelled. Somewhat more bitter and maybe a touch I dunno sour which I pick up on many of these strong java stouts. I think this odd flavor is a result of hops and coffee and the hops are really making themselves heard as this one warms up a touch.

Tastes like an overly sweet cup of coffee. I’m talking way over the top sweet, whatever happened to black coffee? I kid a bit as this is pretty darn tasty. It’s a bit too sweet as I think this coffee flavor should be showcased a bit more.

Very well carbonated for an 8% beer and surprisingly thin in body. Normally I want a bit more viscous and creamy body, but something about this beer just really works for me.

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Photo of yamar68
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to 4balance for this one!

Poured from can to pint glass:

Certainly pours like java... ominous black body with barely a hint of copper clarity around the edge of the glass, capped off by a healthy dose of mocha colored dense head. Solid lacing and unknown beading.

Massive nose on this one. I worked at Caribou Coffee for a few years and this reminds me of the smell of my uniform after work. Milky, roasty coffee. A dash of oats, some malted grains, very subtle chocolate bits.

Smoooth on the tongue. I can definitely see myself pairing this one up with some pancakes and lingonberries. Fresh coffee notes, soft chocolate... it's hard to even examine the flavor without mentioning the velvet perfection of the mouthfeel. This could be non-alcoholic for all I knew. Bravo.

It's great to see breweries cramming this much flavor into a can. It really is the superior beer vessel. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Benish
4.11/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Great beer from New Mexico. It poured a jet black and presented with a nice beige head. Aromas were slightly weak, mostly aromas of mocha and chocolate. The taste however is superb. There is dominant flavors of coffee, yet it's not overpowering. I find that some beers have added coffee but with no added complexity. However in this beer, the coffee was rich and decadent. Picked of notes of vanilla and chocolate that seems to come more from the coffee rather than the stout itself. It's a dessert in a glass. For a beer that's only 8%, this is a winner.

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Photo of Tafyob41
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Tastes like coffee. As the beer warms hints of vanilla emerge. Very lightly carbonated unlike Schlafly's coffee stout that I'm more familiar with. It's very crisp. At times I feel like I can drink a ton of this in one sitting, but one might be enough. Pours with a tan head that didn't last long. Served at 54 degrees in a snifter. The coffee taste will stick with you and is not too overpowering.

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Photo of scratch69
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I poured a can into a pint glass.

Appearance- Dark brown color with a fingers worth of tan head. Fair amount of lacing.

Smell- Black coffee and dark roasted malt aroma.

Taste- Dark roasted malt and a strong coffee flavor.Light hint of chocolate.

Mouthfeel- Full bodied and smooth. An average amount of carbonation and slightly creamy.

Overall- A good example of a coffee flavored beer.

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Photo of mulder1010
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to my GF for bringing back a can for me from her US trip
12 oz can poured into a Great Divide Tulip (total Mountain Time Zone thing)

A-- Poured a dark brown, near black color. Settled jet black. Just a touch of ruby light penetrating this. One finger of light mocah colored head. Settled to a thin layer of light brown film and decent collar. Slight bit of head retention but more or less a layer of film. Nice spotty lacing with this.

S-- Touches of roast, brown sugar, and chocolate. Otherwise, a lot of fresh roasted coffee. Nice nose. Quite appealing and a nice pick me up nose to it. Something I would want to drink at 7 AM.

T-- Coffee and dark chocolate. Almost equal amounts of chocolate and coffee. Quite fresh tasting. Touches of rolled oats and brown sugar again but really well done on the coffee part.

M-- Solid stuff. Bold, rich and thick. Medium bodied and light medium carbonated. Dry chocolate and coffee finish with just flashes of the acidity and bitterness. Just touches of brown sugar in mid and back again to smooth out the coffee and chocolate. Long lasting roasted coffee and bitter baking chocolate finish. Nice.

O-- Well rounded beer. Well hidden alcohol and easy to drink. Damned tasty beer and better to have at 7 AM than a long black. One good coffee stout.

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Photo of Vdubb86
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter

Thanks to injuredreserve for this beer in the SSWYMO BIF

This interesting New Mexico can pours nice deep dark brown body with a beige foam nicely riding the surface. The aromatics are really hard to place. There is obvious espresso notes and something else. Lack of a better word has led me to toasted smoke...but not char and different from roast. It was minerally in nature, not bad, just weird. The taste is a combination of strong espresso and creamy vanilla and it works for this beer. The body is a lighter medium with a strong acidic flavor. The acidic flavor and the mystery smell make this an odd drinker, it's still a very good beer, but not as good as it could be.

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