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 Hellpop65
2.5/5  rDev -39.3%

Photo of aletales
2.63/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

It was with great anticipation that I tried this beer over the holidays. I should have believed the label about a reckless amount of hops, but my definition of reckless is far to conservative. When the brewers of this beer say reckless, they mean it.

In the glass the aroma was hoppy and it was hard for me to distinguish much else. When I sipped the beer the moutfeel was lively, but soon all of the maltiness disappeared into an overwhelming hop fest. I felt like there was no balance to this beer, but then again I am no hophead.

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Photo of warchez
2.64/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearence: Good gold to copper hue. Head was slightly off white, and a little thin with loose bubbles.
Aroma: Not as hoppy as I would expect, but there is some hop presence there, similar in strength to a typical APA.
Taste: Hop flavor is definately there. Similar to DFH90. Not as spicey as the typical hallertaue usage in other products I thought. Doesn't showcase the noble hop well. Mildly grassy. The malt notes are solid. Malty sweetness is detectable.
Mouthfeel: greasy feel to it from the abundance of hops. Its like tasting the hop flower itself rather than the essence of the hop. Resiny quality presists on the tongue.
Overall: lacks a clean finish of pilsner. Not terribly drinkable, it presents itself like a Pale ale rather than a pilsner.

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Photo of auxiliary
2.82/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance - Cloudy light yellow color, nice head, but disaolved pretty quicj. Not mcuh lace either.

Smell - Bitter, grapefruit, flowery smell.

Taste - mailty, flowery, geapefruit taste, bitter.

Mouthfeel - Medium body, bittter.

Drinkability - Not much into bittern beers that taste like grapefruit. Seems others enjoyed it. You can get about 3 glass's out of this.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.06/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a one-fingered cream head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Cloudy amber color. Moderate hoppy/floral nose. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Starts sweet but hops take over in finish. Lingering bitter aftertaste. More like an IPA. $6.79 for a 24oz bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

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Photo of mentor
3.11/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours a gorgeous 1.5 finger frothy light cream colored head over a cloudy dull apricot liquid. Teenie tiny particulates suspended within. Smells potent malt, soured caramel, and alcohol. Tastes rough grassy and dry. An unpleasant alcohol burn steps in late. This beer is sour, rough and blech. Md mouthfeel and moderate carbonation. A bit of sugary slick hangs on the tongue. Not very drinkable, IMO. To style? I guess. But then this is a style that should be discussed, but not made. All examples I've had to date have sucked.

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Photo of beveragecaptain
3.15/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1 pint 9 ounce bottle. This beer pours out a very cloudy amber color with a huge, thick head. Intensely hoppy aroma with some fruit and a strange cloying sweetness. Sweet, cloying, thick flavor. Bready malt. Sweet caramel. Hugely hoppy with very fresh tasting hops. Bitter, hoppy finish. Mouthfeel is too thick. The drinkability really suffers because of this. I enjoyed the fresh hop flavor, but that's about it. Tasted nothing like a pilsner.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.27/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Kind of a hazy goldish brown in color that gets brighter towards the bottom of the glass. Thick and foamy white head resting on top. Loads of carbonation. Nose is all hops with some sweet malts trying to come out towards the back. Flavor is very pine woodsy. Not particular complex, just loads of Hallertau hops throughout. It is surprisingly sweet from the malts--kind of like corn syrup. Medium body with a slight alcohol burn. Make sure to serve cold, as it warms the drinkability decreases. But even cold, I still found this a tough beer to get a whole bottle past the palate.

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Photo of GnomeKing
3.3/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

So, my dilemma: this beer is SUPPOSED to look cloudy and amber, SUPPOSED to be hopped till it drops...but I just don't like the results. Just the facts, ma'am? Hoppy--so hoppy it's dry and grass-like, with just hints of citrus flavors. The hops cling to the side of my pint glass, foam up in a creamy head. Cloudy? You bet. I love that Sammy made this beer, but the results just aren't that enjoyable.

I was hoping for something like Victory's Harvest Pils, which is an imperial pils that still had the crisp flavor of pils malt, and the golden look too, but that had an extra hops kick. Instead, Sammy's imperial pils is like Jackson Pollack making spagetti--lots of ingredients thrown against the wall, and let's see what sticks.

Give this one to the boys at Area 51, and they won't be able to reverse engineer a regular pils. Give 'em Victory's Harvest Pils, however, and they'll have a classic pils faster than they can produce a gravity wave propulsion system.

The lingering aftertaste is killing my pallet. Damn, 'cuz I have some more drinking I want to do tonight.

So, to summarize my five-paragraph-structured essay: I'm glad they made it*, I'm glad I tried it, and now, on to other beers.

*I thought about this again, after finishing the bomber, and I'm not sure I'm impressed that Sammy brewed this. This could be just a gimmick--hops are popular, so let's give the unwashed masses hops! The beer doesn't seem carefully planned or brewed.

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Photo of EStreet20
3.31/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Yes, I know this beer was released over a year ago with a limited shelf life. Yes I know the best by date was over one year ago. Still I loved this beer so much last year that I had to snap up two bottles of it when I saw it in the store this year. I know this isn;t the way Jim Koch intended it to taste but I figure it'll be fun to review with the age on it.

24 ounce bottle poured into a 20 ounce "tulip" shaped pint glass.

A - This beer looks incredible. It glows with an opaque golden orange color and is topped by an excellent finger and a half of white head. The brew is hazy, due tot he hop particles in suspension according tot he bottle. Really just a beautiful looking beer.

S - A hop rush comes at me but more subdued than I remember. Grapefruit smell leades the way mainly.

T - Here you can tell that the brew's flavor has diminished. The hops have subsided to the point where the brew is a little too sweet and funky tasting. It has definitely fallen from what Mr Koch wanted flavorwise, the alcohol stands out too much and the hops don't stand up.

M - Full on the tongue but doesn;t have the pop it did a year ago.

D - Well this proves why Jim Koch is the expert and I'm not. the beer really has fallen on its face from a year of aging. Looks like the "best by Jan of '06" was correct.

Notes: Either way, a great beer, this tasting was mostly experimental. I can;t wait for the next batch of Sam Adams Imperial Pils.

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Photo of DrJay
3.35/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hazy gold with a short-lived, yet fluffy, off-white head that left behind a smattering of lace. The hop aroma is really intense, spicy and floral, and there's a bit of malt in there as well. Nutmeg showed up as it warmed a bit. It had an aggressive, drying bitterness with plenty of noble hop flavour. These characters lingered well into the finish. Sticky malt sweetness attempted to balanced the hops. Medium body and a little syrupy. Decent carbonation. An interesting brew to be sure, but the residual sweetness (needed to balance the high hopping rate) was a little too pronounced without having a depth of malt character. Thanks Zithal!

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Photo of assurbanipaul
3.37/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy orange amber with a half-inch off-white head. Aroma is bright and sharp hops, full of citrus flavor. For all appearances, this is an IPA.

First taste is very sharp and dry, all hops. Malt steps up after a little bit, providing a little bit of a smoother, sweeter base. Lots of citrus flavors (Hallertau Mittelfruh, according to the label) including grapefruit, tangerine, unsweetened orange. The flavor turns darker further in, more malt comes through. Funny, tastes like an IPA.

Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, soft, un-lager-like. No real alcohol presence in the flavors but it is sticky on the lips. Who decided this was a pilsner, Imperialized or not? No clarity, no Saaz, no lighter pils qualities. I'm trying to evaluate this according to a quite vaguely defined style, but it's really no more than a high-end IPA. The flowery hang-tag prose reads like radio copy and really offers no defense or explanation as to why this was designated a "pilsner."

Postscript: Due to state regulations, this beer is required to be labeled as "Malt Liquor" due to the ABV. I clearly know this is *not* a malt liquor (lots of otherwise ordinary beers are labeled such) but minus the hops, it does have a mildly slick, potent, malt-liquor quality to it in the taste and mouthfeel. Just an observation.

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Photo of plaid75
3.43/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a very murky deep copper hue with a one finger pillowy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a robust caramel malt with a mellow but peppery noble hop.

The taste was upfront spicy hop with a grainy middle and definite doughy malt finish. There was an astringent hop aftertaste as well, and a mild warming alcohol.

The mouthfeel was chewy, with a dry finish.

Overall a very interesting beer. Although the hops have seemed to mellow over a year, I still don't believe there is enough of a grain bill to support the hop dosage.

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Photo of Winter
3.43/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy, orangey-amber in color with a thick, white head of foam. Fruity, citrusy hoppy nose dominates the aroma. A deep whiff pulls out the alcohol that's hidden in the aroma. There's a slight hint of malt too. Medium-bodied, carbonated mouthfeel. This Imperial Pilsner is hopped up like an IPA. This is the hoppiest pilsner I've ever tasted. It truly is a celebration of the hop harvest. Bitter hoppiness dominates the flavor profile. Citrus and grapefruit hop flavors with an underlying malt flavor. Long finish has an interesting spiciness to it.

It's kind of unique to see a beer marketed as celebrating the hop harvest. I've heard it compared to the whole wine beaujolais thing. I get that and it's unique from a beer world perspective. This isn't your typical pilsner (thus the Imperial moniker) but more in line with an IPA. If you're a hop lover, you'll appreciate this quite a bit.

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Photo of MrSeth
3.47/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A hearty and vigorous head forms, slowing my pour and rising just slightly over the top of the glass. It settles a bit but some half inch head remains. The body is dark orange and hazy.. I'm fascinated as to what differentiates an Imperial Pilsner from say, a Pilsner Urquel.

The nose is alot like an ale, even an IPA. It's orangey, but beneath that is the straw/dry hay notes of a pilsner.

Tastes like a big mix of styles. Orange peel so bitter that it becomes like licorice at the back of the tongue. It's spicey, fresh gingerbread, very rich. I can't blame any beer labeled "imperial" for being this packed with flavor, what I must say is that I'm a bit overwhelmed. At 8.8% ABV this would make for a short session ale. And with the amount of bitterness I can't imagine what could be paired with it foodwise (I'll have to ask BeerPanther!).

It feels smooth and well carbonated, like before it reminds me much more of an ale, but it's definitely a very good brew regardless. as the label states the finish is long, but it's also clean and doesn't have any overbearing aftertaste.

With the ABV I would say that the drinkability goes down a bit for me. Enjoy in moderation.

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Photo of Fish113d
3.49/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

L- Pouring into an english pint glass, it pours a beautiful apricot color with some dark orange hues, leaving about 2cm of eggshell colored foamy, sticky head. The body is very cloudy but no remnance of hops through the body.

A- For a pilsner, this one has lots of hops on the nose. Hops are rather bright and the maltiness is rather grainy actually. Some citrus tones to it, and some alcohol on the nose, but not all that appealing to me.

T- Lots of hops make my jaw clench and lips pucker right up front. Also some rather bitterness in the malts...grainy and bitter. The hops are huge! One of the hoppiest & bitterest beers I've had. This stacks up with the Hop Wallop in hoppiness, but lacks in flavor a little bit. Some alcohol on my tongue at the finish kills any real sweetness this one had.

F- Overall, the hops make your mouth pucker up tighter than a snare. The body is rather smooth though really. Nice balance. The alcohol hits pretty hard on the finish, but kills some of the bitterness really which isn't a bad idea.

D- I have a 22 oz. bottle, and it'll take me a while to drink it all. I'm kinda split on this one...i like it and I don't...Maybe you just gotta try it for yourself.

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Photo of travolta
3.5/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Apperance: A soft, off-white, pillowy head. Hazy golden apricot in color.

Nose: Pine, sweet malt.

Taste: Cloves, sages, very herbacious, very dry and hoppy, and a little malty at the end.

Mouthfeel: Dry, bitter, foamy at the end.

Notes: A great great beer for hopheads. This brings out the noble hops like crazy.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
3.5/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased at the Beverage Depot in Flushing, NY; poured into a goblet.
This beer loses some points with regard to the style it claims to be in... much more of a double IPA than double pilsner in virtually all aspects.
This one's a hop bomb for sure.
Looks and smells like an IPA. Hops hops and more hops.
Taste is hops with little else; perhaps a slight chiming in of sweet malt and alcohol near the end.
Dry with a loooong oily hop finish. Quite bitter.
Not very balanced but when you're in the mood for something like this it's the lack of balance that's appealing.
The researchers at Sam Adams probably seek to ride a trend of hop juice popularity. Perhaps it will turn out well for them.
However, a pilsner this is not.

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Photo of Citadel82
3.5/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is one heck of a hoppy beer. Not much else in thee as the hops brutally beat down most vestiges of malt and yeast.

Nevertheless I did enjoy my pint. Poured a cloudy apricot orange with heavy sediment and lots of little white floaties. Head was white and quickly faded leaving heavy lacing and a thin everlasting layer on top of the brew. Aroma was citrus and floral hops with some alcohol and little else. Taste was overwhelmingly citrus fading to a grapefruit pith taste that was not unpleasant but lingered. Some alcohol mat fading ina nd out but largely absent. I wonder if laying a bottle or two down might be a good idea??

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Photo of studentofbeer
3.55/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

sam adams imperial pilsner 2005 harvest, 8.8% abv. $5 for 24 oz.

color is deep auburn orange with an creamy-looking white head with a dirty orange tint. quite cloudy and very dark for anything in the pilsner style. good lacing. not sure what to put for appearance b/c i have no idea what's "right" for a double pilsner. if this were going up against regular pilsners it would get a 3 at the most just because it's dark and damn cloudy. but the lacing and nice hue make it inviting nonetheless, so ill give it a 4 for now.

loads of hops, but the noble hops are of a totally different character than something you get in an ipa. flowery, spiced (maybe a bit of nutmeg) and spicy, pine, touch of citrus, earth, a bit of phenol/alcohol in the nose. a bit more subtle than the nose-busting citrus of an american ipa.

definitely bitter on the palatte--tons of hop flavor but again with the noble hops (hallertau) its a bit more refined and less brash than an american iipa, except for the hit of alcohol bite in the end. you get a good resiny feel from the hops--very fresh. body is pretty thick, with a sweet bready malt flavor. i'm tempted to think of this in terms of an IPA, but it really avoids the fruit esters you find in most ales. this beer remains relatively clean and crisp and dry despite it's big body and you get a hint of the straightforward lager taste as you swallow, just before the hops finish up a little rough.

despite the normal desire to drink a pilsner at a colder temp, like other big beers this one benefits from warming up a bit. i think most of the off flavors that might show up in a lager served at warmer temps would be covered up by the massive hop presence here. however once i let it get too warm the alcohol flavor really came out in the body, which isn't so good. there's seems to be a middle range that works.

overall i enjoyed this beer. with most things this hoppy the bitterness can be a bit over-aggressive and harsh, but this is really a different take on extremely hopped beers--although i will say the punishing hops actually detract a bit in the aftertaste from the overall impression of the beer because the bitterness, while delicious and lasting, tastes like almost any excessively hopped ipa. even so, this beer definitely remains something new and different (to me at least, i've never tried rogue's imperail pils nor anyone elses). certainly not a quencher like a normal pils is--not at this abv--but a nice, different hop-head experience.

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Photo of RugbyBeerRepeat
3.55/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Is this really a pilsner? This tastes just like an IPA. Pours medium amber with a medium head. Smells hoppy, but not distinctive. As for the taste, I would put this beer up against the best IPA from any domestic micro brewery. In fact, given the price ($5.95 for a 24 oz bottle in Somerville MA), this might be the best value IPA you can find. I keep calling it an IPA… it’s a pilsner I guess, but it is so hoppy it reminds me more of Stone IPA or Dogfish Head 60 Minute than any pilsner I’ve ever had. Mouthfeel and drinkability are pretty good. Overall, a good value and a solid product.

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Photo of dauss
3.55/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: Its like a giant Sam Adams bottle. This one is 1 pint 8fl.oz. It has the raised Sam Adams text below the neck of the bottle, just like the 12oz. Says to enjoy before January 2006. 8.8% ABV. Says malt liquor on the back(thanks TABC nazis).

Appearance: Golden Amber. Color a little darker than what I thought an imperial pils might look. Very cloudy with a large rocky white head. Great head retention and lacing.

Smell: Really strong malt backbone, grassy noble hops, and loads of alcohol. Even though it says its all noble hops from the 2005 harvest, it really doesn't smell that noble. Has a light citrusy aroma next to the huge hop aroma.

Taste: It really tastes like a IIPA. Alcohol is present and unobtrusive. Gives a nice warming feeling. Sweet thick malt starts with the hop flavors gradually building and letting into a strong yet smooth bitterness. The bitterness lingers especially long in the very back of the tongue. While the thick sweet malt body with intense hop flavor sticks around in the front. Finishes dry and lightly astringent.

Notes: As it warmed up, it just got more bitter. The alcohol also became increasingly noticible too. The body is too thick and sweet. Its pretty cool that Sam Adams had introduced this beer, but the Rogue Imperial Pilsner is better. It just isn't as light bodied.

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Photo of beerinator
3.55/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Cloudy murky caramel colored beer. Lingering rocky head, with great retention.

Aroma: Hops are apparent, caramel sweetness and breadyness show through. The hops smell a bit citrusy, but they blend well with the sweetness of the malt. There seems to be a bit of spicyness present as well.

Taste: There are cherries in the flavor? The hoppy bitterness is definitely present, but the beer still finishes a bit sweet. The mouthfeel is good, if a bit "thick". The bitterness and bready caramel seem to blend pretty well, but it would be nice if the sweetness faded a bit more near the finish. The cherry fruit in the flavor was a bit of a surprise, but it seems to get a bit less shocking after each sip.

Notes: Not really one that I am excited to try again. It's not bad, but it's definately not one of my favorites.

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Photo of Ego
3.55/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I always liked the regular sam... so what the hell, I cant resist a bottle with a cute little booklet on it... plus cook is on certain chef shows all the time promoting beer.. not bad for a semi macro brand imo...

a bit darker than most (any) pils, one finger of good standing head with good lacing, cloudy with orange mud suspension.. definitely fun to look at, you have to remind yourself it is a "pils" really. out of the style? sure. interesting and inviting.. hell yes.

sweet grass hops, bitter honey, a bit of apple, some initial caramel,
the citrus is more underlying than upfront as compared to some other american hop hammers.. nicely balanced and smells tasty!

taste etc...
hop heavy, prickly on the tongue, the alcohol is present in the aftertaste as it dries out the aftermath of the hop wave, the hops seem a bit out of balance for me personally..I cant place my finger on it... the mouthfell is pretty spot on, nothing grand but good, maybe a bit too heavy for a "pils" but not too much so..

ok, is this really a "pils"? eh... a tasty beer but at the same time why not go for other (better) APAs or IPAs etc.. ? I wouldn't go nuts seeking this one out but I wouldn't refuse it if it was being served.

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Photo of ypsifly
3.6/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bomber with a little pamphlet about the beer on its neck. Served in a Pilsener.

Amber with lighter edges, good strong carbonation that supports a thick ivory colored head. Good retention. Thick globbed lace.

The nose is very hoppy, but not as piney as a DIPA. Fruity, but not like a grapefruit, more like an orange. These are distinctly euro hops, but there's a shitload of them. The malts poke out underneath with some gentle earth, but the smell is all hop bomb.

Tastes more like a DIPA than it smells. Damn near all juicy hops. I can taste the leaves. There's a bit of malt upfront that sets the stage, but the leafy buds steal the show. Very dry with lingering leaf aftertaste. I like hops, but this one is way off balance. Once my tastebuds are beaten into submission, its not as intense.

Medium mouth that finishes clean but with mega bitterness. The drinkability suffers from the lack of balance. Worth a try unless you are a hop masochist.

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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