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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 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 angelmonster
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an extremely dark brown color with hazelnut highlights. Head is a 1/4 inch and is tan/milk chocolate in color. Head retention is above average and lacing is good.

Smell is of strong, roasted coffee/espresso. Sweet caramel malts come through next followed by more bitter coffee. Hops and alcohol are pretty much non present here, the aromas are all about coffee.

Taste is very similar to smell, dark roasted strong coffee mixed with a typical stout. Chalky, Biscuit malts are also there but the coffee really shines in this beer. Bitterness from coffee paired with the hops does a nice job to contrast the rich dark malts. Alcohol is not really detected.

Mouthfeel is a bit light for an imperial stout and strongly carbonated. Body was very smooth though on the lighter side. Head contributed some cappuccino frothiness for about half the beer.

Overall this beer is a total coffee bomb and I love it. My favorite style is Coffee stout and this brew is definitely on the heavy side of coffee flavoring. Only downsides to this beer were that it was a bit too thin to be classified as a imperial stout and I would have liked to taste some different flavors like chocolate,vanilla, smoke etc to complement the onslaught of java. That being said at 8 bucks for a six pack, this beer is a steal and shall become a staple in my fridge.

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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 czechsaaz
2.95/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Really malty smelling, nice roast and a little bit of coffee. Fruity yeast too.

Deep black. Half inch tan head that lingers as a little layer and leaves a touch of lacing.

Very sweet flavor but with a nice coffee aftertaste. Black and sweet maybe? Overall, it's too sweet for my taste. I have a hard time focusing on anything else. There's a bit of toasty stout and yeast but it doesn't get through unless I'm really trying.

Slightly warming and not as full bodied as most Impy Stout.

Not one I'll be stocking in my fridge.

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Photo of riored4v
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed on 9/7/11

Poured in to a tulip. Dark tan head with good lacing. Seemed to be a thin body when it poured, nothing like motor-oil type of stout. Black body.

Aroma had some strong Java to it. Mild chocolate and sweetness. Mild roastiness and some toffee. Definitely heavy on coffee.

Taste had a milky, coffee, java taste throughout. Really good. Mild chocolate and notes of raisin and bitter burnt malt. Tasty brew but not much complexity. Mild sweetness.

Mouthfeel was medium body with a medium/high carb. Mildly dry finish.

Overall it was a good. Very tasty coffee stout and no signs of abv.

Aged this same batch for 1yr 3mos. Initial thoughts is that it tastes roughly the same. Flavors have blended a bit more and is really smooth with lots of java. Still extremely enjoyable.

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Photo of alaimoa
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Extra tossed in on a trade and I was surprised at how tasty this was
Overall nothing special about the pour with limited head and very aggressive spent coffee grind forward smell with a hint of leather and roastiness Flavor is what surprised positively with a very nice balance of sweet cocoa, roasted coffee packaged in a nice smooth finish with a solid medium heavy mouthfeel. I would buy again as a cold winter night drinker

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Photo of Lerxst
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to chugalug06 for this extra

A-Pours a dark brown with a one and half finger sized coffee colored head that has fair retention and leaves wisps of lace.

S-A nice coffee aroma-not like espresso or anything, more like your regular cup o 'joe- but it is a nice aroma. Some roasted malt/barley and hints of chocolate. Smells good. Not terribly complex, but very pleasant.

T-A nice medium roast coffee flavor dominates, some charred malt notes come through along with hints of bakers chocolate. Not the most complex stout I've ever had, but it is pleasant to drink.

M-For an RIS, this is somewhat on the lighter side with much harsher carbonation than usually found for the style. This feels much more like a porter than a RIS. This is the weak point of this beer, IMO.

O-A nice stout that would benefit greatly from a more viscous and luxurious mouthfeel. With the harsh carbonation it seems more like a coffee soda pop. Overall, I have to give it a 4 because it looks good, smells good, tastes good-the mouthfeel is the only thing lacking here, so overall its still a 4.

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Photo of mdcrouser
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

My first beer from Santa Fe Brewing - I've heard good things and am looking forward to this one. Great design too - ironically, created by a KC-based agency.

Looks outstanding from the can - a finger of a creamy sand-colored head caps this pint of intense darkness.

Some of the biggest coffee on the nose I've come across - very much a "breakfast-like" stout.

Percolating on the tongue, dark, coffee-heavy - much more pervasive and deep than actual coffee ever is. Reminds me of the few times I've had espresso. Wishing there was another layer to this one - vanilla, roasty, something else - just to provide a constrast.

Less creamy than I'd expected and hoped - pops a bit on the tongue instead.

This one's best with just a hint of chill left on it. In truth, room temperature is when coffee has the most flavor to it. That's the rule here as well. Heavy as it is, I could enjoy quite a bit of this - even at 8%, it seems like a big session beer.

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

A - Poured hard it brings up about 1.5 fingers of tan/brown head. Extremely dark brown, though a little lighter than most imperial stouts.

S - Coffee all over. Seriously, first smell lets you know this is a coffee bomb of a beer. Mild notes of chocolate and smoke just below, but predominantly a coffee smell.

T - Did I say coffee? This beer takes the Java aspect to a whole new level. Knowing of this beers existence I'll never need to buy coffee again, it fills that niche so well. 100% Dark coffee with mild malty undertone that comes to a dry but sweet finish. Very satisfying flavor, assuming you bought this with the Java in mind.

M - Not really as thick as a standard imperial stout, but thick enough. Very smooth drinking, hides the 8% extremely well. Creamy when swished, just enough carbonation to compliment the flavor, refreshing and fullbodied.

O - If you like coffee but wanna feel that alkie warmth, keep some of these on hand. Great, standup flavor that embraces the coffee quality and delivers what the name promises

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Photo of blakelive784
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz can served in a snifter, reviewed live:

A - Pours a nearly black color with a light tan, 2.5 finger head. The head is decently creamy, and retention is very good considering the relatively high ABV.

S - Ground coffee, espresso, light roasted barley, yeast, cream and a bit of peppery spice. Surprisingly mild in strength, though.

T - Nice fresh coffee and cream open over the roasted malt, though I wish it had more roast character. Has an almost mocha-esque taste to it. Dark fruit notes come through along with light spice. Subtly complex and well balanced. I dig it. No alcohol comes through at all.

M - Full bodied and silky smooth. Compliments the flavors nicely.

D - It's well built and well balanced. May not be for those who don't like unflavored coffee, but I'll certainly have it again.

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Photo of JoeAmerican77
4.19/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Purs the color of your favorite morning Joe. A fat and beefy beige cream topper of two and a half fingers. Love that head...

Smells of roasted malts, some bean grounds ands cocoa.

Sweet grounds and toffee meet your face straight on. A thick wall of coffee in this one, matched with brown sugar and cream. Almost a hop touch in the back, however definitely a malt monster. This has the best coffee flavor I believe I've ever tasted in a coffee stout.

Mouthfeel is creamy, smooth, and lends a heavy bodied beverage with thick voluptuous small bubble carbonation which carpets the tongue

Overall this is the best coffee beer I have ever put to my lips. Buy some and enjoy it. A dessert, an sweet treat to be enjoyed, and considering six for ten bucks, wow!

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

#BOTG 36!

Poured from can into Brooklyn tulip. Pours a dark brown/black color, off white head that retains decently. Smell- burnt coffee. Thats really about it. Trying to get more out of it, not much more there. Its not espresso, its burnt diner coffee at the bottom of the pot. Taste- iced coffee. Some roast, some chocolate, but man, this is like drinking an iced coffee. Some breadiness here, Maybe biquity in quality. But this beer is monotone. All about the coffee. Good, not great, I wanted more complexity.

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Photo of bcostner1
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Very dark brown/lighter black; definitely not a pitch black stout. Crazy heavy carbonation...too much actually (could be a by-product of transporting it in my checked suitcase on a plane but that was 3 months ago and it's been in the fridge since then).

S: Coffee, chocolate, char. Enticing.

T: Great tasting coffee stout. Very well balanced elements of the bitterness from the coffee and a an underlying smoky char along with the sweetness of chocolate that tastes like semi-sweet chocolate chips.

M: Easy drinker. Very satisfying. No detectable alcohol at all.

Overall, a very solid coffee stout. Not in my top 3 of the style, but definitely top 5-10. Would have again.

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Photo of UrbanCaveman
4.19/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12 oz can, poured into a snifter at approximately 50 degrees F.

Appearance: Pours a slightly clear dark brown,rather light for a coffee stout, and forms a massively thick light tan head that hangs around for a while. It leaves lacing on the glass while it slowly dissipates down to a cap. Eventually, the head vanishes completely, and the beer looks almost exactly like a cup of light roast coffee sans any form of cream.

Smell: Deep roast and rich coffee scents mingle above a sweetness that doesn't seem to be entirely malt-derived. There's a hint of something akin to chicory lurking in there as well - I'd expect that from a New Orleans-based brewery before a Santa Fe brewery, but I'll take it.

Taste: The aroma does not disappoint here, as the beer delivers exactly what was promised by the nose. The flavor profile opens with roasted malt and light coffee in abundance, mingled with a slight touch of bitter baking chocolate. Notes of chicory echo around the edges as the brew moves along the palate, and the coffee bitterness fades as a sugary sort of sweetness begins to manifest. It never quite overtakes the coffee bitter, but balances it out by the finish. I can't find any alcohol taste at all, so well done there, Santa Fe!

Mouthfeel: Aside from temperature, this beer actually feels like drinking black coffee.

Overall: Not a bad go at a coffee stout, with the emphasis on coffee rather than stout. I would drink this again.

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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 OsoRojo
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Santa Fe nails it once again. Such a subtle Stout, perfect balance of all elements. Easy drinker, good introduction to the style as interpreted in the Southwest. Plus it's in a can. Get some!

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

Can to a snifter, best by 12/20/?

Pours black with two fingers of micha colored foam. No light gets through when held up to the window. Moderate carbonation helps this thing keep good retention, good lacing. Not a single thing not to like

Smells of upfront roasted espresso that eclipses dark chocolate notes, a little bit of hoppiness, and finishes with some alcohol

Taste is right with the nose, strong espresso that is pretty dominant over chocolate malts and hop undertones. A little bit of alcohol on the finish, but the coffee is the main flavor. Not necessarily a bad thing

Feel is bitter with a full body and dry sticky finish. Alcohol is concealed well, very drinkable

Overall this has more coffee in it than any other coffee stout I've had. Excellent even two months past it's prime. I saved one out of the six to throw in the cellar to see what happens. Six for $10 is a great deal, must buy for anyone who likes 'em dark

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Photo of bpasquini
4.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours more brown than black, but when sitting in the glass it is pitch black, left a small tan head on a heavy pour, leaves very little lacing around the glass, appropriate look for a stout

S: Huge amount of coffee! It's almost the only thing you can smell. I can notice some chocolate but it is very faint, also very slight booziness to it, the coffee smell is rather pleasing to the nose

T: The taste follows the nose, rich in coffee, some slight chocolate that gives it some sweetness, can't notice the alcohol at all, I made a mistake pouring this into a snifter, drink this out of a coffee mug!

M: Medium to thick bodied, has a nice oily/creamy mouthfeel to it which makes it very drinkable, easily one of the smoothest drinking stouts I have had!

O: Not much diversity to this beer, but with what Santa Fe gives you in this brew it is executed excellently, definitely a must try for every stout lover out there!

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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 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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Photo of brurevu
4.48/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The Sante Fe Java Stout poured pitch black with a thick tan head and the heavy coffee aroma wafted from the glass and perked my senses. The rich coffee aroma lead into an enormous coffee flavor that enhanced the sweet malty stout with a hint of burnt roasty nuttiness on the follow through. The Java Stout had a rich and creamy mouthfeel that made for a fantastic brew that was deceptively drinkable considering its high alcohol content. A perfect breakfast beer and a highly underrated beer IMHO.

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Photo of Kemmerlin
4.19/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a thick creamy tan head and a chocolate body with moderate lacing.
S: The best part of this beer. Has a chocolatey espresso aroma deep in maltiness
T: Creamy, mocha latte like flavor that is really good but doesn't stick long and it leaves an off flavor in the aftertaste
M/D: medium bodied and smooth; I thought it would be thicker and heavier but still works. Relatively easy to drink.

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Photo of bambam2517
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

The most nose-on coffee present beer I've had in a couple years, feels exactly like I'm drinking a cup of Colombian coffee left to cool with a little sugar added in. Appearance could fool people as well, I would like to do a side by side comparison and see if my friends could definitely tell the difference. I'll have it on hand next time I go to a beer brunch.

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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 Trifecta1
4.21/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Can from out west, to the little town of Roscoe, IL. Thanks guys!

A - Pitch black, chocolate head.

S - Coffee and espresso, wow. Sweet malt, coffee coffee coffee.

T - Sweeter than I would have expected. Coffee with a few packets of sugar, and a hint of hot cocoa. Alcohol is invisible. Lingering acidity, pleasant.

M - Creamy, full, medium carbonation, medium-heavy body.

O - Fantastic stout, and very fairly priced (8.99 per 6 pack). Will be looking for this when I go out west. Great job, Santa Fe Brewing Co.

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