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 cbl2
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

$5.75 24 oz. 8.80% Best by January 2006.


Pours a beautiful hazy orange adorned by an inch of tight creamy white head that has some serious legs.


Hops predominate with citrusy overtones muffling a bready yeastiness in the background.


I'm surprised, but the first sensation is that of sweet malts which is followed by a sickly sweet, yet hoppingly bitter grapefruit tartness that actually had my salivary glands gushing! Finish is delisciously pine-hop bitter and begs you to sip more. One of the most impressive brews from Sam Adams in a long time. A very well balanced brew that nicely masks an impressive 8.8% ABV with loads of hops (not sure on the IBU's), and plenty of sweet malts.

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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 Foxman
4.14/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours a honey-hued golden amber, thickly cloudy and murky. Three fingers of sculpted beige head roil and sustain considerably. Atolls of lacing ring the inside of the glass.

The aroma grants a draft of deep caramel and malt sweetness, carrying light touches of berries and vanilla. Hops are clearly bested here, but they do present a soft citrus and noble layer. Alcohol is just sensed.

Upon tasting, there's a tidal surge of sweet grain with candy sugar, caramel, and earthy berries. Vanilla and lemon appear briefly before a bluster of stridently bitter hops wash in grapefruit, pine, and a coppery noble character. Alcohol clears things out near the close, allowing a crisp, pressing bitterness to linger mightily in the finish. It's quite a blend and progression of some serious elements.

Full bodied, it explodes and fills the mouth as a bitter wild fire lays waste to the palate.

The aroma is about malt, but the flavor, with the brief initial exception, is about a frontal hop assault. The tag boasts of balance, but it's more of a swift trade-off between some dense components. The ABV is solid, but it's the IBU's strafing the palate that limits this most. Still, you don't drink this so much as experience it, and I'm glad I did.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a turbid, cloudy, hazy orange and amber hue with a very large off-white and tan head that has staying power.
Aroma is a powerful amalgamation of hop notes with citrus and a pine resiny bang that really jumps the olfactory nerves. Some caramel and fruity notes appear as the beer opens up a bit.
Flavor is just what is advertised a thick pilsner. Has the crip but big pale malt and caramel underpinings coupled with a sharp but relatively clean hopping dose.
Mouthfeel was thikc and chewy and a hop lovers delight. Really aggressive hopping interplays nicely with the malty backbone and produces a rich and flavorful palate experience.
Drinkability was very high. Definitely got more than expected with this one. A relatively clea, but big Pilsner with a massive does of hops ? Could have been real mess but the folks at SA really pulled of some magic with the formulation. Can only imagine the experimentation that went into this recipe. Very, very good beer.

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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 JayTheFinn
3.99/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The store owner at M&R Liquor in Carpinteria, CA talked me into getting this one even though I'm not a huge pilsner or Sam Adams fan...but I'm coming around.

Pours a deep orangey brown into the glass with one finger off white head. Some sticky lacing.

Superb hops scent! For me, that means present but not overly aggressive. Although if hops are going to be aggressive, I guess I'd prefer it in the smell than in the taste.

The taste is so very hoppy. Quite sharp on the tongue, spreading like a bitter piney wave. Malty sweetness attempts to balance the hops, but to me it's losing the fight.

The hoppiness lingers a good long while in the mouth. Very well carbonated.

Drinkable because of hop flavor, but not an all nighter due to overly strong hops and high alcohol level. Overall this is an excellent beer to sip and admire.

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Photo of Boto
3.91/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

24oz. bomber, 2005 edition: This one pours a cloudy orangish color. There was a fairly decent off white head that lingers and leaves a bit of lacing. Waiting for it to warm a bit and hopefully get more of a nose from it. It is currently a bit thin for a beer of this strength. I smell the hops, but they are faint. Mainly pine and grapefruit aromas. It wins a few more points on taste. Some sweetness poking through a good hop bite. I would classify this as an IPA and not an Imperial Pilsner. Still, a very drinkable brew.

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Photo of kpwill07
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Man. This has to be the hoppiest pilsner I've ever had. By far.

It pours a nice amber color. A decent head. Nothing to write home about.

This beer has got to be Samuel Adams way of saying, yeah, we can do hops, cause that's exactly what this beer is, a hop showcase. It's good. I liked it a lot.

I'm not all that big on beers like this, but I definitely enjoyed it.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I remember when I was a kid and ate all of the Flintstone vitamines and my mom said that too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Now I know what she was talking about. This beer is packed with wholesome a flawed level. The immense barley additions lead to a thick and almost syrupy sweet flavor and texture. The hops add a big burst of spiciness, earthiness, dirtiness, and grassiness. Together, the flavors round out nicely, but in a over-kill presentation. The beer ends up a little too grainy, thick, and vegetable-like. The alcohols hide well for the 8.8%. Full and robust on the palate with an oily / buttery finish. Though it took a while to warm up to the flavors and texture, it never really mellowed to a drinkable level for me.

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Photo of VoodooBrew
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1.5 pint bottle. "Enjoy before January 2006." Well I guess I was a little late...

Pours a luminous semi-hazy orange-copper with a generous white head. The nose is redolent of hops, or course, with floral and spicy notes along with alcohol. On the palate, hop flavor is swiftly followed up by a big bitter character, then some floral and citric notes, with traces of alcohol in the finish. The mouthfeel is marked by a strong lingering bitterness, but it's a sort of "messy" bitterness (in the vein of St. Arnold Elissa IPA and some others) -- in other words, not especially clean or crisp.

As pedestrian as most Boston Beer Co. offerings are, they are clearly capable of brewing up some quality beers from time to time. Imperial Pilsner 2005 is pretty damn solid, and whereas my bottle had some age on it, I'm sure it's noticeably better fresh.

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Photo of NolateM
4.11/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Pours cloudy brownish orange, with a creamy off-white-ish head. Minimal lacing.

Hmm, not much of a smell to it... smells decent, but not very potent. Let's see how it tastes...

Wow! What a delicious IPA!... wait a minute, the bottle says it's a pilsner. This isn't an ale? Interesting. I guess that's where the "imperial" thing comes in. This tastes SUPER hoppy and bitter, with that refreshing acidic tang that an IPA has... hell, it even looks like one. It has this awesome creamy texture, it's like you're practically eating it. The flavors really develop if you let it sit for ten minutes or so, so that it's in between fridge temp and room temp. It definitely tastes strong, the 8.8% makes itself a bit apparent - but not overly apparent, it's still VERY drinkable.

This beer rules, even if I should've had it before 2006. If you can still find it at any local liquor store, BUY IT!

$6 per 750 mL

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Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a cloudy orangey color, some carbonation, nice small head, lots of lacing.

S - The scents are of hops, malts, and kinda citrusy.

T - The taste is hoppy and tangy with a nice bitter finish. There is also a slight alcohol feel/taste.

M - Medium body.

D - Very drinkable. This is my first American Double Pilsner, very tasty and hoppy which was a surprise for me. Another excellent brew from SA.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: The beer is a hazy amber color with a thick white head that fades at a decent rate and leaves a heavy white lace.

S: Very strong hops aroma along with a sweetness smell of malt, citrus and honey.

T: Big hops bite comes out at first, then a bit more sweetness than I had expected, then the pleasant hops bitterness returns and a slight alcohol sting. The hops stick around in the after-taste and get significantly stronger as the beer warms.

M: Crisp, smooth and decently balanced, medium-heavy bodied with medium carbonation and a clean finish.

D: It’s certainly got all of the qualities that make a beer drinkable. Flavorful, smooth, clean finish and not as filling as most beers with a body as full as this one.

I had noticed the release of this beer and thought that it was going to be yet another one of those limited releases that I would never see in this area. To my surprise I actually found it. I like most of the stuff that I’ve had from Boston Beer Co. and although this beer is a bit different from their regular stuff, it’s still a pleasant change-of-pace.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a dark cloudy honey color with a thin and even white head.

Smelled of pasty and doughy honey with a gummy bear sweetness and a little melon and strawberry.

This one started really dry, but picked up some concentrated orange juice that was blended into a sweet oatmeal. The bittering hop character of this one was really upfront and quite enjoyable. There’s a really nice blend of hop and malt going on here.

The mouth feel is medium bodied and a little sticky with a light carbonation.

This one’s nice and smooth. Simple and to the point. The smell is really the highlight.

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Photo of ghostwalker
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I can't believe that I forgot to review this when it first came out last fall. I had two bombers when it was very fresh, loved them both, but never recorded my thoughts. Here we go, at least I can review another bottle from my cellar.

Body is thick, almost chunky reddish-orange. Huge whipped cream, off-yellow head.

Nose is tart and tangy hop overload. Lovely!

Flavor is intense hops with plenty of malt to hold it all together. A rare treat, it's like concentrated hop-juice from heaven.

Mouthfeel is rich and thick. It is sticky from the tremendous amount of hop residue floating around in there.

Drinkability was and is really good. I have been holding on to my last couple of bombers because I know that I will not find more. Sometimes, though, you just have to enjoy it while you can!

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Photo of RedHaze
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very hazy orangey/copper, with a very thick two finger head that fades very slowly to a rocky cap that lasts throughout, and leaves behind a sticky sheeting of lace. I can see quite a bit of hop particles floating around.

Smell; this has a really pronounced floral/herbal profile, with a little bit of pine and citrus thrown in. There's some biscuity mats present as well.

Taste; those powerful floral hops assault you initially, followed by sweet caramel and biscuity malts. A nice juicy citric, and bitter piney hops hit in the finish. I don't really get that much alcohol pesence as I drink this, even as it warms. Much more balanced than I was expecting from this Imperial Pilsener. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, and just a little on the oily side.

I haven't been as big a fan of Sam Adams the last few years like I used to, but if they continue to make beers of this quaity, they just might change my mind.

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Photo of brentk56
3.96/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a murky honey orange body with a prodigious head that leaves tons of lacing

Smell: Stong noble hops aroma (very green) but the malt backbone also comes through

Taste: Starts out with a sweet biscuity flavor from the malt that is subsumed, after the swallow, by a hop blast (110 IBU) that is grassy and slightly fruity and gets increasingly bitter after the finish but there is a residual sweetness that lingers

Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy with plenty of carbonation; significant warming after the swallow

Drinkability: Wow, is this over the top; I think I would like it better if it were a bit dryer and less alcoholic

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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 UncleJimbo
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This double pilsner poured a very hazy, amber/peach color with creamy, pillowy, slightly yellow (manilla colored) foam that clinged to the glass. The smell was a strong, floral hoppy aroma -- very nice noble hops. The taste was nice! Strongly hoppy with a good malt balance. The noble hop flavors really came through. The mouthfeel was dry and almost astringently hoppy with medium body and moderate carbonation. It was warming with a touch of alcohol flavor in the finish. This was a very nice beer, so hoppy, almost like a DIPA, though of course this was a lager. I hope they brew this again.

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Photo of swid
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle receieved as part of BIF Across America, courtesy of WeymouthMike.

Sam Adams Imperial Pilsner pours a dark cold color into my pilsner glass. Atop the hazy liquid sits a 1/2", off-white head that slowly dissipates. Low carbonation; lots of fine lacing. The aroma of this beer is best described as "hop bomb", pure and simple. However, contrary to many American hoppy beers, the hop aroma present is much more floral, thanks to the Barvarian noble hops. There is also a significant sweet breadiness, along with a subtle additional sweetness from the alcohol.

The taste of this beer is precisely what the aroma promises. The initial taste is very bitter and slightly spicy, but not to the point of numbness. After a bit, the big maltiness takes over, imparting a significant sweetness. Finally, an overall bitterness returns. The mouthfeel is rich and full, and full of sticky hop resin and a moderate alcohol-laced dryness. Finish is very crisp, with a lingering dry bitterness.

Overall, this is an scary drinkable beer, and one that out-and-out dares you to revel in its extremes. It's a great example of how Sam Adams continues to lead the craft beer industry in new directions. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.73/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My cousin John-Paul bought this during our beer excursion to Mo's Wine & Spirits. Later that evening he popped it open, took a pull, and his head nearly launched off his neck. Sputtering, he handed the glass and bottle to me, saying "it's all yours!"
So I poured it into my glass and laid eyes on a hazy golden brew packing an immensely thick and durable whitish head. In fact, the head never lost it's nature other than to deposit large chunks of itself on the walls of the glass. Considering how long it took me to consume the entire bottle, it's endurance was pretty remarkable.
I took a sniff and began to realize why my cousin didn't care for it. Hops, lots and lots of hops, rose up and fairly smacked me in the nose. Rich, resinous hops with some tropical fruits and thick bready malt notes made this brew powerfully aromatic.
Taking a pull, my first thought was that this wasn't an imperial pils but a double IPA, so great were the flavors of grapefruit and oily, pine-laden hops. The malt bill seemed to struggle to keep up and finally would roll over and play dead about mid-palate. A heady parting shot of alcohol warmed the throat and chest with each swallow. The feel was full, thick and simply carpeted the tongue with the feel and taste of juicy hops.
Quite honestly, as much as I consider myself a hophead, this was still a tough beer to get through. It's hard to put a reason to it other than to say it seemed to be too much of a pilsner. So hopped-up, so malty, such a high ABV, it all added up to a whole lot to get through. That said, I'd advise you give yourself plenty of time (preferably after dinner) to tackle this one.

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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 ybnorml
3.73/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured half the bottle into a 16 oz pounder no haze?
A clean orange/amber beer with a big foamy off white/beige head and great lace. Has sweet malt aroma up fron with grapefruit and spicey hops in the background. A very sharp chemical astringent flavor at first. Some light sweet malty character hesitates on the middle of your tongue with some grassy notes in the background . Then the hops take over with sharp bitting bitterness dominating and a hint of citrus and spice in the background . Has a very dry finish.
Note: there was a Lot of sediment on the bottom of the bottle. I swirlled it around and poured some out into my glass. Eureaka haze! The new mixture defintely helped balance out the flavor that chemical character dissapeared.

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Photo of mynie
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quite hazy yellow orange with a white head. Hop particles you say? Well I'll be--they sure is purty!

Big hops and yeast. Not as intense as I was planning on, but still nice. More of a solid IPA than what I would expect from an imperial pilsner.

Tastes like very big hops and very dough, bready yeast. The sapid hops kind of obfuscate everything in the front, and while they are very strong they're not strong or complex enough to fully justify not letting anything else get through. They're backed up very nicely by the doughy yeast in the back, though, and the flavor finishes strong.

This is a very good beer, too bad they've ditched it already.

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Photo of BigDaddyWil
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 24oz. bottle into a pilsener glass.
Back label states "For Brewery Fresh Taste Enjoy Before Jan 2006"

Pours a glowing, bright, orange color. Permanent haze, even in the bottle. About a one finger thick, white head forms. A good amount of sticky lacing is left behind. Great citrusy, lemony smell. Some floral hop aromas, very interesting. I love the flavors in this brew, citrusy hops, sweet and intense bitterness. Mouthfeel is quite smooth and super easy too drink. Finishes slightly dry. I think most people would find this beer quite easy too drink, even with the massive amount of hop presence. A very cool brew from Sam Adams, I too would like to see them brew this again. A must try!!

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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