Samuel Adams Imperial Pilsner 2005 Harvest | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

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Samuel Adams Imperial Pilsner 2005 HarvestSamuel Adams Imperial Pilsner 2005 Harvest
251 Ratings
Samuel Adams Imperial Pilsner 2005 HarvestSamuel Adams Imperial Pilsner 2005 Harvest

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Pilsner

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed exclusively with an enormous, almost reckless, amount of first harvest noble hops - Hallertau Mittelfrueh from Germany. 110 IBUs. The "murkiness" is from hop particles, which are literally in suspension and create a permanent haze. It's part of the overall experience, and was intended.

Added by kbub6f on 03-29-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 251 |  Reviews: 241
Photo of Wally1912
5/5  rDev +21.4%

Photo of THECPJ
5/5  rDev +21.4%

Photo of russpowell
4.97/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I enjoyed this in a paulaner .33l fluted pils glass. Yum!

Poured a hazy honey color that cleared as I enjoyed it. Head was massive and held up through out, lacing was equally impressive.

Smell:Floaral hops pile on & wiffs maltiness poke through every once in while.

Taste: Crazy hops more floral than piney, but some of those too meet sweet maltiness and leather from hops freshness breaking down??

MF: Chewy & balanced

Don't really care if this is closer to a IIPA (do't think so) or IPILS, just a damn good beer that I will try to find for less than $5 a bottle...

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Photo of badturtle
4.88/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It poured a good dark golden color. Very little head. It has a strong hops smell. Hops overpowers everything in the taste and smell. Good thing I like hops. I generally don't much care for pilsners, but this is more of an IPA in taste and smell than a pils. It was smooth with little alcohol taste. I couldn't tell that it was 8.8% ABV. This is extremely drinkable. I could drink several at once if I wouldn't be smashed by the end of the second one. Very strong, this one. If I didn't know better, I would think this was an ale. Besides being like an IPA, it reminds me of an American strong ale.

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Photo of glyng
4.85/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

oh man, what a triumph. More like a double IPA but one of the best beers I have ever tasted. Rich, robust kick ass flavor. Full bodied, a party for your mouth. To bad the season is over only aa few hard to find bottles around now - but if you can find one by all means - enjoy it.

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Photo of spoots
4.83/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is an exceptional beer, and one which I would dearly like to see produced year-around and in mass quantities. Until that happens, I guess we just need to savor this gem.

A - Cloudy, with a color like hardened amber (without an insect embedded inside). This beer looks like it means business, and I wish more brewers would let nature run its course and leave clarity to the A-Bs of the world. The head is a good two fingers tall, and the lacing is pronounced and long-lasting.

S - Heaven on earth. Smells a lot like a barleywine. Alcohol is very forward in this one, reinforcing the seriousness of what is coming.

T - Hop-city. Enough malt to give it balance, but the hops are definitely front and forward and robust. Again, this reminds me a lot of a barleywine--Old Horzontal, perhaps?--and I like the similarity. As the beer rests and its temperature increases, the flavor begins to explode. This is one of those beers I can let sit in the glass for an hour as I sip it and it just gets better and better AND BETTER. Wow, what a terrific beer!

M - Only very slightly more watery than the appearance might suggest. But that's really splitting hairs. This is a very rich beer and the complexity is impressive. A little astringent in the aftertaste, but that's the alcohol working.

D - One of the best I've had this winter. I have been enjoying this bottle of beer for a good 90 minutes now, and I can honestly say I have not drunk anything more complex nor compelling in a long time.

Bottom line? SAIP05 is powerful, astonishing brew; one that deserves all the praise heaped upon it. I can't wait for the 2006 model to roll into the showroom!

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Photo of SteveO1231
4.82/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed a couple bottles at BevMo! A spicey meatball at $5.99 a pop. Enjoyed the 1st months ago but decided to crack the 2nd and give a review.

Pours a bright copper with a huge frothy, off-white head. Quite a bit of carbonation. Awesome spider web of lacing. Very appetizing.

Very big hoppy nose, awesome floral hop aroma, spicey and citrusy, a sweet malt aroma, smells great.

Very nice malt sweetness followed by a huge complex hop punch, Imperial Pilsner or DIPA? Citrusy hints of grapefruit and a spicey hop bitterness clings to my palate, gets a bit piny as it wamrs up. I need another sip!

Wow! I am impressed by this brew is the hoppiest SA I've tasted yet it is very balanced. Pretty high ABV warms the cheeks. Drinkble but a sipper.


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Photo of Greenlabel
4.8/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I finally located a bottle of this product at Kappys in Fitchburg, MA as I've not seen it available in SW NH. It was definitely worth the hunt. I'm not sure what an Imperial Pilsener should taste like but, if others are like this one, I've become a big fan of the style.

I was impressed when uncapping the bottle by the citrusy hoppy aroma which I hadn't expected. The beer poured a somewhat cloudy orange amber coloring with a full and lasting white head. The taste falls somewhere between an IPA and a strong Pilsener. I didn't find the alcohol to be at all obtrusive. I've never tasted such a hoppy Pilsener but thought it was one of the best and most drinkable beers I've discovered this year - not a session beer but a very enjoyable 24 oz. to be enjoyed when relaxing during the evening.

Now my only concern is whether this is the only bottle I'll enjoy due to the limited production and distribution. Hope BBC makes this an annual seasonal if not a regular in their product line.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.8/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Obtained from the kind folks at Bullock’s in Marietta, Georgia, who were kind enough to hold onto their limited supply of this beer in the back until I showed up. Thank you folks, that is some customer service. Anyway, on to the review.

The 24 oz. bomber packaging, and a label different from the rest of the family line were the first hints that this was a different kind of Sam Adams beer. The pour confirmed the Über status of this Pils. Thick, cloudy, and deep orange, the beer looked much more imposing than its pedestrian non-imperial brethren. The head was relatively small at first, and all but vanished shortly after pouring.

The smell was a showcase of spicy and grassy noble hops. If you are susceptible to hay fever, you better watch yourself, or you might sneeze in this one. The only detriments to the fresh cut hop smell were the occasional alcoholic fumes. But hey, how much ABV can you hide under the pale malts.

The taste was even hoppier than the smell, with a salt and pepper pungent zing that was the primary taste overtaking all others. The malts were difficult to notice under this assault, but they were sweet and unobtrusive with nary a tinge of graininess. There was a bit of an apricot taste detectable as the beer got warmer. I couldn’t help but grin with each gulp as the hoppy waves washed over the tongue and down to my throat. That’s right folks I said gulp, since this has to be one of the most drinkable nearly 9% ABV beers out there.

Mouthfeel was thick and juicy, and aftertaste longingly dry. A minimalist masterpiece, this seemingly simple beer just won me over. The draw here was neither the complexity of flavor, nor the potential of aging. Instead it was like a fresh bread coming out of the oven, aromatic, filling, easy to partake, and flawless.

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Photo of ohmybock
4.72/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 2 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Imperial Pilsner? I think it might be better described as an Imperial/Double Kellerbier instead.

I was blown away by this beer. First of all, I'm not a pilsner fan. Secondly, I'm not much of a fan of Sam Adams beers. However, I would drink this one year-round if it was available. This murky beer isn't much to look at, but it sure tastes great. It definitely doesn't look or taste like a typical pilsner. Actually, this brew seemed to have some similarities to a St. Georgen Brau Kellerbier I once had on draft in Bamberg (ie - the cloudiness, the wonderful German hop bitterness and aroma set against a satisfying malt backbone, and the hint of sourness). No, this is certainly not "crisp" like your typical pilsner.

Whatever you want to call this one, it's a winner. The wonderful German hop character in this one is just outstanding. The muddiness of the malt might be something that could use some improvement. Oh well, this is easily the best Sam Adams beer I've had and is excellent just the way it is.

Sam Adams, PLEASE consider making this one available again. Better yet, how about making it a year-round product?

(Note: This review was based on my thoughts when first trying this beer back in late 2005.)

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Photo of ReDave
4.69/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This may not have been "*the* hoppiest beer in the world." But it is definitely "one of the hoppiest beers in the world.", certainly for a lager!
24 oz bottle. [Man i whish I'd bought a case]
Very orange amberish color. surprisingly white creamy head, with good retention.
I'm not sure what i was expecting, but this was IT! Very IPA grassy / flower nose. Wonderful crisp, hoppy lager [much more crisp than the DFH 'imperial pilsner' I've had] spicy and some malt.
This is exactly what I'd want if i ever thought of an IPA Pilsner.
Can't wait til next year. [don't disappoint me Jim]

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Photo of waughbrew
4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hazy gold with an off-white perfect head - creamy, consistent, clingy. Smells fruitier than I expected from those Mittelfruhs. Spicey and herbal. Heavy cream, altoids, and a hint of caramel candy. Also, a very pleasant intimate aroma is evident here. Flavor is bready and nutty at its start with strong, perfectly melded spicy hops that provide layers and layers of evolving flavors. The flavors do not fight eachother at all, but fit side-by-side with a comfortable little overlapping. Fresh and leafy, peppery but not sharp. Medium body goes down very easy and the finish of the previous sip is still lingering on my tongue when I reach for the next one.

Dear Mr. Koch,
Please make your wonderful Imperial Pilsner a yearly brew. I am very sad to think that it might not be brewed again. But alas, it is, as they say, better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.

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Photo of dreadnatty08
4.67/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a wine glass. I've gotten to appreciate drinking beer out of a wine glass more and find it suitable (if difficult as a whole bottle will not fit). Pours a medium amber, cloudy, with a frothy head that dissapates quickly, gorgeous stuff. Aromas are certainly dominated by the hops, a floral boquet that I find I could smell all day. As these are Bavarian hops, I find them a little different in aroma that American, perhaps less pine like. Mouthfeel is slick and heavy on the tongue. Flavors, again are mostly hops with some sweet malty background. A bit of the alcohol is present. I thoroughly enjoy this beer and am sad I only got to have 3. Also, I wish I was able to have it before their "expiration" date of Jan 06. With the alcohol as high as it is, it must have a longer shelf life, but the "freshness" of the hops would have been nice to experience a few months ago. Overall, a beer to slap you in the face and hypnotize you into its delcious spell.

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Photo of LPorter33
4.66/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Single bomber bottle from Martignetti's. Bought 1/6/2005, has "brewery freshness drink before January 2006" on label

Appearance = Gorgeous looking foggy, peach orange-brown. Decent head and exceptional lacing. This looks like a great double IPA and it's beautiful.

Smell = Fruity, clean freshing scent of citrus hops. Not as powerful and overwhelming as I thought it would be. Still a very nice scent.

Taste = Geezus, this is a hoppy beer. Probably the hoppiest I've ever had. It explodes in your mouth with ridiculous flavor and intensity. It's very well complimented by a syrupy sweetness, which gives a thick, comforting mouthfeel that takes some of the edge off the bitterness. This increases the drinkability and I was able to take many sips without really feeling overwhelmed, even though I should have been given the hops overload. What an exceptional job of creating this beer. I really don't have any complaints.

Overall = A masterful beer by Samuel Adams. Everyone needs to find this and try it ASAP. This is Jim Koch's finest masterpiece.

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Photo of mshallah
4.64/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased Dec. 1st 2005 with a best before Jan 2006 stamp on label. This beer was intended to be enjoyed fresh because hops are the star. Hallertau Mittelfuh hops are used in crazy quantities. Aroma is fresh floral piney and orange citrus. Wow! Taste is of hops and more hops with a malt sweetness in the distant background as support and the alcohol is noticable. An ale-like carbonation makes this a creamy pils as opposed to a crisp one and there is an incredible lingering aftertaste. Swirl this cloudy dark gold brew in a short stem glass and amaze at it's head retention and lace, and marvel at bubbles streaming from points on the bottom of the glass. This is like nothing else out there and commits me to trying every new big bottle one-off that Jim Koch has to offer.

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Photo of jeffjfindley
4.64/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Intentionally cloudy, great amberish-orange color.

Smell: My girlfriend says it smells like beer. I concur. Very good, lively, malty beer. Mmmm.

Taste: Immensely satisfying. It tastes like a very malty pilsner. I don't know what else to say. I'm having a difficult time putting it down.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and refreshing with a hoppy finish. This doesn't feel much like a pilsner, but I like it.

Drinkability: Easy as hell, and equally satisfying. This beer is basically a hopped-up version of Lagunitas' Pils, which I love to death. Predictably I also love this, and I want to be alone with it, so go away.

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Photo of Franchise
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sam Adams does it again, this beer is great! It pours an attractive burnt orange that has laces of blonde highlights and leaves a sick head that froths like the perfect peak on whipped egg whites. The smell of this beer is fantastic malty honey lemon wheat is what comes to the forefront, and finished with an almost candied orange peel. The taste is wonderful it hits your palate up front with a sweet syrup taste but then takes you to a bitter ride to finish you with a grapefruit like blast. This beer is very good and I'm glad I bought two bottles.

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Photo of JISurfer
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is one serious beer. It's so friggin' extreme, it's ridiculous. The head on this beast was super thick and frothy with awesome retention. I've had this one for a little while, but I decided to finally open it up after a few months. The body was a ultra hazey orangey-amber, that let no light through it. I'm not too big into hoppier beers, but this one, for some odd reason, sat well with me. Was it hoppy? Hell yeah! It was easily THE hoppiest beer I've had to date. I thought it had a strong caramel taste to it at first, but then the hops came "bum rushin". If your not careful, this beer will seriously kick your.... tastebuds. I recommend this one to anyone looking to try something strong, but tastey.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Orange hazy body, slight carbonation streams, and a big double scoop size of tight bubbles of off-white froth. Good lacing quickly evident.

BIG nose of fresh, citrusy hops, bursting from beneath the foam.

An inital blast of juicey hops clears the tongue, followed by a pleasantly surprising sturdy sweet malt foundation, which keeps this from becoming a one dimensional exercise in over-hopping. Then, once the malt gets a toe-hold, then comes a tidal wave of hops which envelope the mouth in an explosion of fresh juice.

Solid, medium-plus mouthfeel. Excellent drinkability considering the level of hops and alcohol.

A bold experiment well done. Is it "pilsner-ish"? Not tremendously so, but then, I wasn't there when they started building this monster. All I know, it's damn good. Do it again next year, Jim.

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy (can gold be opaque?) orangey gold with a frothy, very lacy, sandy colored head. Smell is hops, hops hops. Herbal and bitter with some light citrusy aromas as well.

An uber-blast of noble hops to the tongue. A bit of alcohol but that is masked quite well. The most intense German hops I've ever had. Not sure is anyone has made a hop-bomb with these varities. Some sweet malt is evident (eventually). The hops linger forever, the mouth is dry and lightly crisp. Very tasty and very different. I look forward to next year...

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Photo of granger10
4.58/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first Imperial Pilsner so I'm not really sure how it stacks up compared to others.

Pours an extremely hazy golden peach amber color. The head rises from the bottom and it almost looks like it's coming off a nitro tap. Ultimately the head is quite thick and frothy and has a nice tan color to it. Tons of lacing.

Aroma is quite intense with hoppiness. Tons of hop complexity in there. Herbal, earthy hops lead the way. Not really too grassy though. There's a tea like accent in there along with some lemon acidity and peppers and spices. This is a totally different hop intensity than I'm used to experiencing but I like the change.

The flavors in this beer come in waves. At first I get the less intense hops. They're more spicy and herbal. The next wave is the malts which are a bit syruppy in consistency. The malt flavor reminds me of caramel apples. A nutty yeasty base comes through to dry out the malts in the third wave. The final part is a resiny intense and spicy hop character which sticks in my mouth for minutes after the swallow. Amazing complexity and balance.

The mouthfeel is great. The body is so smooth and has lager-like characteristics yet the flavors each come out in full force. Carbonation and liveliness is perfect imo. Alcohol is barely perceptible which is amazing considering how fresh this bottle is.

Overall, this was a great offering from BBC. I am definitely going to have to get many more as well as get some other Imp. Pils. to compare. If they are anywhere near as good as this I may have found a new favorite style.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.57/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Review from notes.

I was very happy to have found this at Carytown Wine and Beer and immediately procured some for myself and for AKSmokedPorter.

Very nice artwork on the bottle...

Rough pour yields a cloudy bright orange beer with a firm layer of off-white head that threatens to boil over the glass and quietly dies down to a modest pinkie-thin layer. Nice lacing with distinct rings of foam on the sides of the glass.

This smells very "fresh". This is a pilsner? Voluminous quantities of hops dance across your nose: Freshly squeezed fruit juices, ground herbs, fresh-cut flowers....all drizzled with pine oils. Only a fleeting waft of any sort of malt sweetness is able to break through.

Flavor is more balanced, but hops dominate. Some caramel sweetness noted but mostly a juicy mouthfeel of hops. Near the end, Mr. ABV pokes his head in to say "hi", and the end dries out with a hoppy burp-inducing aftertaste.

Chewy body with perfect carbonation. Extremely drinkable. My bottle disappeared far too quickly.

Notes: I would LOVE to see this brewed again and again. This was a real treat.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.57/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy amber golden big thicket of off white orangish brown tinted head leaves even speckled lacing down the conical v shaped pilsner glass. Aroma: Hallertau...Hallertau...and more Hallertau very much leaf, citrus, and floral toned blended with a pilsener note biscuit tone with a mineral note finishing with a touch of alcohol and heavy bready sweetness. Taste: Strong bitterness German noble hops earthy, floral, grassy, and citrus rinds mmh mmh good hefty grain bill produces some balance to the even heftier load of hops slightly sugary flavor a touch more sweetness and alcohol come out as it warms but Hallertau hops rain supreme with alot of bitterness. Mouthfeel: Medium to fuller body range carbonation slowly chugs along I'm assuming due to the higher gravity sticky with oils from hops and residual sugars nice. Drinkability: Very nice never experienced Halletau hops in this fashion very aggressive and innovative on a relatively low traveled style, I'm very happy nice from the bigger craft brewer and only $6.50 much better than Sam Adams last "special release" the Chocolate Bock at $15+.

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Photo of Budlum
4.57/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

My first review as a BA!

Poured into a 16oz. pilsner to ensure the hop particles as described in earlier reviews. Pours gently with a wonderfully hazy, amber color. Strong head at approximately one inch, itriguingly similar to Victory HopDevil on a hand pump. Immediate wonderful hop aromas. Slight vanilla smells directly following the pour. A wonderful presentation of hops without becoming overbearing or bitter. Compares in color and texture to HopDevil but surpasses in drinkability and taste. A wonderfully planned beer. I'm generally not a fan of the "super hop" beers but, this one breaks the mold.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
4.54/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After much searching, I finally found this one thanks to the help of some local BA's.

It pours a nice cloudy copper to amber colour with a frothy and somewhat chunky off-white head that is sticky as hell.

The aroma is pure hop goodness. There are pine notes, and sweet floral and fruit notes from the hops, but there's also a healthy share of biscuit and bread from the malt as well. Exceedingly nice stuff here.

As for flavour and mouthfeel, there's a weird thick, oily, chewy feel that's going on here that's not bad by any strecth, just not expected. It certainly fits the bill for this particular brew though. Hop flavour again dominates but is not overly intrusive (and the hop burps are damn tasty). There is a slick caramel sweetness present here as well along with more bread/biscuit malt tones. This one gets swweter as it moves toward the finish then gives a sharp hop kick at the finish.

This is a very nice, somewhat unexpected brew from the BBC, in that they brew quality stuff overall in most of their style offerings, but they don't often attempt anything terribly bold. Well, I really dug the Chocolate Bock and really dig this one too, so methinks they need to do this more often. Find this one soon and drink it as soon as you get your hands on it.

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Samuel Adams Imperial Pilsner 2005 Harvest from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 251 ratings