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

241 Reviews
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.

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Reviews: 241 | Ratings: 251
Photo of NolateM
4.11/5  rDev -0.7%
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 -3.4%
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 -1%
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 -0.5%
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 +5.1%
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 +1.4%
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 -4.3%
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 +10.4%
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 +5.1%
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 -1%
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 -9.9%
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 +10.4%
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 -9.9%
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%
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 -1.4%
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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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - This Sammy A offering pours a hazy drak honey/amber, heavy on both sediment and carbonation. a large two and a half finger thick tan bubbly head

S - whew, a sharp hoppy aroma with floral highlights, the nose has a distinct buttery finish

T - mmm...bitterfest, a true hop-splosion, i love a bitter beer like this, a true hoppy beer in every sense, if there are other flaovrs the hops drown them out, perhaps a slight citrus flavor

M - a medium bodied beer with s dry finish

D - very high, a great beer, well done Jim K.

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Photo of horshack7
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This one pours a rich golden color with slight copper hues with a frothy head and good rentention.

Aromas: Slight orange zest corriender slight apple notes dried fruits with allspice notes.

Taste: A unique hop bitterness with spice notes of allspice and a medium bodied smooth mouthfeel.

Notes: I was very impressed with this one other than it's flavor but mostly it's style. I have had few pilsners here and there and thanks to his offering it has opened my mind even more towards pilsners along the many styles of beer. Cheers!

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I am pouring a room temp bottle into a pint glass. the beer pours a bright amber to orange color with fluffy off white head foaming up and resting on the surface effortlessly. The aroma is as expected hops. I get some sour grapefruit and pine with some herbal scents as well. There is a bit of caramel in the back ground too. First sip reveals an average body but fairly sticky texture and very fine gentle carbonation.
Flavor si sweet caramel for a second and then rolls to a bitey resiny hops with bitter rind and astringent flavor on the the finish. No hint of the alcohol anywhere. Very easy to drink and definitely for the hop heads out there. A fun brew that sneaks up on me just a bit by the end of the bottle.

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Photo of PSUDREW
4.19/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this is definately a serious brew. Overall, it seems a bit raw, but odds are I will not be able to sample this beer in the future, so I had to jump at the chance to review it

Pours an great hazy copper color. I know the haze comes from the hops, but I was still surprised to see it.

Nose is so grassy and floral. however, you can detec the maltyness as well. it mixes together for an intersting nose

The taste is an intricate dance of malt and hops. You can taste the maltiness off the bat, as well as the alchohol. The hops then dance in, the don't dominate, per say, but the make themselves right at home, and finish off the flavor. It is a rather crisp, clean flavor at that, surprising given teh abv.

Yeah, it is a little raw, and I wihs I could find more bottle to save, but this is a dman fine beer. get it if you have the chance

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Photo of JISurfer
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
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 MrSeth
3.47/5  rDev -16.2%
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 warchez
2.64/5  rDev -36.2%
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 Jason
4.37/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

24 oz brown bottle with a freshness date on the back label.

A- Amazing head retention even after you take several sips ... the lace pretty much clings all the way down the glass too. Completely orange-amber hazed color, this is most likely from the boat load of hops used in this brew.

S- Very floral, tad orangey with other mild citric tones ... faintly pine-like with an herbal backing, all from the hops. Mild and clean solvent alcohol.

T&M- Creamy smoothness is sublime in the full body, big hop presence of bitterness and flavor. Layers of pungent oil; soft herbal, clean citric, tobacco, dull pine. Maltiness drops in a foundation of sweet and toasted character ... but this is simply overshadowed by the massive hop onslaught.

D- A big two thumbs up to the Boston Beer Co. for brewing this beer ... I'd love to this or similar every year. Sometimes the more hops the better. Paired this with some sharp goat cheddar.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Damn this stuff is good. My friend and I picked some bottles of this up at the Foodery in Philly and let me tell you it did not dissapoint. A murky dark golden orange brew with a huge head of white eggshell foam. Aromas are of insane hops, and a bit of toasty malt in the background. Fresh, free, oily, German hops just explode in the aroma here. The taste is more of the same abrasive, oily, German hop bitterness with layors and layors of flowery flavor and a nice toasted malt background character, that whilst adequate for most beers, doesnt do much to counter the massive hop load that SA dropped into this one. Mouthfeel is abrasive and oily with hop resins, drinkability is good, but this is almost too much. Such a hoppy pils this is....Ridiculous, awesome stuff from Sam Adams of all breweries!

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Photo of dreadnatty08
4.67/5  rDev +12.8%
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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Samuel Adams Imperial Pilsner 2005 Harvest from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
4.14 out of 5 based on 251 ratings.
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