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 tom444
4.14/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving: 25oz bottle, I think - mine doesn't list the volume anywhere, and I assume it's from a case that wasn't meant to be broken up for resale. It also doesn't have the back label I'd seen mentioned in other reviews. Whatever. I've finally gotten my hands on this beer, even if it's allegedly a few months past its prime, and at $4 in NYC, it was a hell of a deal.

Appearance: Pours a hazy orange with a thick tan head. Excellent retention, from all the hops I assume. Massive lacing on the glass.

Aroma: Tons of floral and citrusy hops and some malt sweetness, with some alcohol.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy, with a strange crispness from the carbonation. Taste starts out with a bit of alcohol and hop bitterness, then moves into huge amounts of biscuity malt flavor. Plenty of citrusy and grassy/floral hop taste, with an intresting greenness to it from the massive quantity of low-alpha hops used. Of course, since it wasn't meant to be aged at all, I can only imagine what the hops in this must have tasted like when it was fresh. Finishes cleanly with a good deal of hop bitterness and just a hint of alcohol.

A unique brew, and I commend BBC for having the balls to try something so unconventional. I'm praying for a 2006 edition to come along this fall.

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Photo of nriech
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I just opened my second bottle 3/13/06 even though the sticker read enjoy by Jan 2006 for fresh brewed taste. I have to say that it still tastes as good, maybe better than the first "fresher" bottle.

I would compare this to the DFH 60 min. IPA. This pours cloudy and golden. The initial smell was wonderful, hoppy and citrusy. There wasnt much mouthfeel but there was plenty of warming afterwards. I would suggest drinking this slowly and enjoying the aftertaste. I wouldn't buy this years again as this was more of a weak IPA but do look forwards to next years batch.

I paired this with a bleu cheese burger and was very happy.

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Photo of GreenWBush
4.01/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I finally get the chance to try much as I'm a casual fan and apologist of the brewery and an unabashed hop-head, this seemed like the ticket as soon as I heard of its existence.

I did pick this up a month or so after the "For Brewery Fresh Taste Enjoy By" declaration but I assume it can't matter that much. Further investigation about this assumption is warranted.

This one-of-a-kind beer glugs into the glass a mysterious deep bronze, with amazing and persistent retention. The froth meringues easily an inch above the glass and leaves a camoflage of snow-flaked immaculate lacing.

The nose reminds me of some sort of hop-perfume. It just has a pungent yet flowery thing happening that instantly makes me think cologne or perfume or hop-tincture. Undeniable noble-hop footprint abounds - earthiness and pepper. Much of the typically gummy - and classically BBC - interplay between malts and yeast comes to the forefront after this initial hop-blast has subsided. Not particularly striking as I would have expected, but unique nonetheless.

Zoinks this is hoppy! Tongue punishing bombasts that waver between "too damned bitter" and "give me more!" Tongue drying blend of citrus (lemon and lime) astringency. Very sweet, bready initially then insanely bitter like chewing on a hop-cone. Has a little too much 'pure hop juice' in the devestating finish. For some reason this just doesn't have the insane addictability or drinkability of similarly over-the-top hop-bombs. So acid-bitter this reminds me at times of batteries.

Smooth, silky at first, the mouthfeel of this also suffers from the insane almost annoying bitterness. One bomber is more than enough.

I'm giving this one the benefit of the doubt - it seems like the insane bitterness I experienced here would have been much more 'hoppy' if this were fresh. Well, hopefully they'll do a 2006 harvest too...

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Photo of Raymond69
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before 2006 Jan? With 8.8% and the high hop rate, I'm cellaring one for next year. The appearance is orange, with a protein haze. Smallish head with nice lacing.

Smell has a citrus & sour apple aroma , but not as much as I was expecting.

The taste starts with a sharp hop bite. All the cirtrus fruits come through , I detect the malt balancing the hops , but the hops steal the show. Belching this beer is like tasting it twice...

Thank you Jim, may I have another.

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Photo of SilentSabre
3.96/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow. Not exactly what I was expecting. The appearance was unbelievable. A murky, cloudy orange with a stupid thick off-white / tan foamy head that looked like you could glue stuff together with it. It looked really inviting. You could smell the hop oils in this with out a doubt, but strangely, it wasn't as powerful as I was expecting for the bottle to use the phrase, "almost wreckless" in describing the hoppiness. Great Divide's "Hercules Double IPA" has a more powerful hop smell to it than this thing does IMO. The taste is really fantastic, if you're a hop-head of course. Very pine-like; very bitter. In fact, several minutes later after I had been drinking this, as I belched (several, several times), it manifested a taste that immediately made me think of pine resin. The mouthfeel is really pleasant!! Nice and smooth and easy to drink. It's remarkable that this is an 8.8% brew. They did a pretty good job concealing such strength. If I had a glass of this with the bottle sight-unseen not knowing what the hell I was drinking, I would guess after a sip or two that it was probably 6-ish. Folks, if you like hoppy stuff, and you can find of bottle of this, GRAB IT! Nice one....

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Photo of Gavage
4.34/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a hazy and cloudy orange color with some lighter yellow highlights on the glass edge. Thin 1/2" head falls quickly. Some decent lacing develops through the session.

Smell: strong grapefruit citrus, grass, and a hearty bitterness.

Taste: huge malt backbone, with loads of grapefruit slices and lemon zest, wrapped in a strong earthy bitterness. Alcohol is slightly noticeable. This is one of those beers that can be considered a meal when no food is around.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Crisp throughout. The flavor tones last long on the tastebuds.

Drinkability: nicely drinkable, but I found this to be quite filling. Flavors also expaned as it warmed. Great beer.

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Photo of Loki
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to warriorsoul for the bottle. It was throughly enjoyed.

Appearance: Pours a dense, cloudy, tarnished copper haze with a big, spongy white head. Minimal visible carbonation.

Smell: Hops galore. This is Hallertau? You sure? I have never smelled as powerful of an aroma from any beer that used Hallertau, especially exclusively as the label would indicated. Massive floral overtones with some citrus undertones that truly bewildered me as to what hop variety I was smelling. Almost like a West Coast beer, but less citrus. Like a DFH 90 minute, but less malt aroma. Wild and inviting.

Taste: Sweet, bready malt that is quickly overpowered by the floral and mildly citrusy hop bitterness. Finishes fairly clean, with lingering hop notes. Snappy and thick, malty yet clean. Wild contradictions at play.

Mouthfeel: Sticky, thick, chewy, yet a nearly clean finish.

Drinkability: Very nice, great with food. The ABV can sneak up on you. Can make other beers seem watery, as with most hop bombs.

Hope they make a 2006!

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Photo of mcallister
4.53/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This may be the best beer ever brewed by Mr. Adams. Definitely the hoppiest. Pours a smoky off orange color with subtle citrus and malt aromas. The mouthfeel on the beauty is second to only the best of them. (did that last line make sense)? I wasn't even going to pick this one up but figured what the hell. The store I bought it still has 5 or 6 bottles left. I may have to deplete their inventory.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.89/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - pours a cloudy, dull orange into a pint glass (a Sam Adams pint glass even) - woot! Three fingers of flat-white head form up quickly. Very sticky as it melts, it leaves a thick blanket of lace behind.

Aroma - mostly grain/biscuit on the pour, as it settles I get more citrus. Nothing is over the top, but it smells nice enough despite a little too much fade, IMO.

Taste - Sam Adams' hoppiest offering ever, I believe. You get just a brief, sweet foretaste of chewy malts before the hops knock 'em aside. It's about 85-15 bitter to sweet. Different sip amounts and allowing more time on the finish will alter what you get now and then but but it's pretty much a hop party, a noble one at that. In the aftertaste, on the roof of my mouth, I get an intense pilsner on steroids kind of taste, the only shred of evidence to associate this to a pilsner, but if you didn't know what you were drinking you would likely disregard that as anything other than bitter hop finish. Blindfolded, I'd never put this into a pilsner style, the hops push it well into the PA/IPA genre. The bitterness hides the abv somewhat, but it will come through as the beers warms.

Mouthfeel - very thick and viscous for a pilsner, hefty carbonation, definitely qualifies for 'Imperial' status.

Drinkability - more for the hop heads, I like it but not one I'd hunt for.

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Photo of glyng
4.85/5  rDev +17.1%
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 Hughesed
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was very excited to try this beer after hearing from a friend that it would "wow" me with Hops. I typically do not enjoy Pilsners as much as some other styles, but the extra hops in this beer changed that. I really enjoyed it and the aroma and was great as well. The bottles I bought say "best before January 06" but the one I tried so far was still good. I have another to crack open....

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Photo of Naerhu
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A - Hazy orange body with pure white head.
S - Super citrus hoppy aroma. More potporri than floral, if that makes sense.
T - Very intense hoppyness with deep maltyness. Slightly sweet, well balanced, long lasting bitterness. The spices are fantastic. Which spices I have no idea, but so racy!
M - Very thick body, but small carbonation.
D - Strong but well balanced.

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Photo of nvsblman
3.63/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bright copper color with a thick fluffy head. Earthy hops in the aroma with a little lemon zest and cloves. Sweet malty taste that is quickly overpowered by the long lasting grassy and earthy bitterness. Full bodied and creamy with strong carbonation. As a hophead, this was enjoyable but I thought it could use a touch more malt balance. The hops were getting a little overwhelming by the end of the bottle.

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Photo of dalherring
3.86/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This brew exceeds expectation on many levels. I am not a big pilsner fan, but I found this to be solild all around. The appearance is golden but cloudy, as the yeast is left in similar to the White and Summer Ales. It has a creamy, delicate head, the body of a Belgian trappist ale, and a spicy, citrus, hoppy smell. Like a Belgian it has a sweet entrance from the malt, but it is extremely hoppy (as the tag describes, they used "reckless quantities"). So if you love hops, you will enjoy. This is a limited edition at a very low cost, so it should be snatched on sight.

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Photo of SupaCelt
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer emerged from the bottle with a honey colour. It formed a rather impressive looking head of an off white shade that was nearly dark enough to be considered tan. It left considerable lacing behind as it fell. The beer is well carbonated.

The nose is full of fresh hops character. Green, pine, and citrus heavy notions pour in. It has a somewhat vegetable overtone to it, but it is not to the point of smelling funky. Hay would be another description. The malt is nicely subdued and allows the hop presence to own the nose.

The taste is mildly sweet with a heavy expression of hop power. The bitterness factor is high and a lingering dryness persists after each sip. This Mittelfruh is a nice variety of hops. Unique and perfect for this pilsner style. The neck card speaks of spicy hop qualities and I must say it does carry a small amount of spiciness. But overall this baby is bitter and dry. The malt is again light as the nose suggested, but it does promote the brutal display of hoppiness.

The mouthfeel is around medium. The body has a decent thickness to it, it just seems that the intensity of the hops makes the malt base feel lighter than it is.

The drinkability is good. This is a nice treat. Nice work.

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Photo of SwillinBrew
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hey now Sammy, i think you're on to something. I took a bottle of this up to Big Bear with me for my snowboarding trip and had it for dinner with beef stew.

A-a somewhat hazy burnished copper and orange color, like a sunset during doomsday, and almost two fngers of eggshell white head. Left a nice thick lace like rings in a cut tree.
S- mix of subdued bready goodness carrying some upfront floral hops with a slight edge.
T-Mmmm good. Mexican sweetbread with floral piney hops all over it are what grace my tongue. The hops shout at you, but they're not loud, or are they? Nicely balanced on the hop side.
M&Dr-this is one complex and a bit chewey brew. The alcohol isnt really detectable given it's content. This reminds me more of a very good east coast DIPA.

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Photo of audiojon
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

wow this is one sneaky beer. the first sip, i was entirely unimpressed. a few sips later, however, and it's a whole other story. apparently this mother just needed some airing out, cuz holy shit this is one hoppy brew! the hop particles make it sticky as hell, the rim of my glass is sticky, my lips are sticky, and the mouthfeel is outstanding! as far as double IPAs go (which let's face it this is really comparable to an IPA), i still prefer either pliny or any of the alpine IPAs, but this is a nice change of pace. btw, i finished the bottle a couple of hours ago, and can still taste the hops in my mouth!

picked this up at whole foods at five bucks/24 oz bottle. i'm def going to go back and grab the last two i saw on the shelf! this is a one-off brew, and is not meant for cellaring, so if you see one, grab it and drink immediately! my bottle says "best before january 2006," but it obviously still tastes fine.

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Photo of Gusler
4.39/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer decamps the brown 22-ounce bottle a foggy rust color with a dinosauric creamy light tan head that slowly dissipates leaving a thick blanket of lace to obfuscate the glass, also a lot of dregs at the bottom, upon decanting they become suspended. Nose has a nice hint of hops, sweet malt, some citrus like tartness, quite a nice treat for the schnozzle, start is quite sweet, then a strong bitterness, the grain presence delectable, the top middling to slightly full in feel. Finish is benign in its acidity, the hops dynamic in their spiciness, quite dry and long lasting aftertaste, damn if all pilsners tasted like this, I might learn to lov’em!

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Photo of watermelonman
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured to a nice thick copper and orange with a medium head. Lace is minor.

Hops dominate the smell with slight floral aromas. They take center stage right from the front of the taste as well. Bitterness is huge in flavor but not overwhelming. However, the malt content does not seem provide much character. The mouthfeel is slightly thin, while drinkability is good for the alcohol content.

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Photo of apintofknowledge
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: A hazy cidery-orange color with a thin creamy off-white head.

Aroma: Incredibly strong floral hop aroma with hints of sweetness & spice.

Taste: A true celebration of Hallertau hops. After using them myself recent in a homebrew, they are instantly recognizable. While there's an initial mild honey sweetness to the beer, it is quickly followed by the floral, piney, spicy hops where a dominant peppery finish lingers through the very end. Also, a little grapefruit-like citrus and some serious tea-like tannins come through the more I drink.

Mouthfeel: Slightly slick and oily, a little thick, but balanced by a refreshingly moderate amount of carbonation.

Overall: An interesting experiment, and a great way to truly experience Hallertau hops. However, it's so potent that it's not extrememly drinkable, and while I'm glad I tried it, I wouldn't necessarily pick it up again.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
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 Gruntlumber
4.51/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Overall: Phenomenal! What a great change of pace. Absolutely clouded thick with hops/malt, with deep golden-orange hues swirling after the pour. It's a sight to behold. After my recent leanings toward the unmerciful stylings of double IPAs and the like, this was more pleasantly subdued, although still very hoppy. They did a great job of rounding off the edges with this it really 110 IBUs? Super-thick mouthfeel, as expected; truely a meal in a bottle. Although, if I had two, I would've had 'em both in one sitting. My favorite Sam Adams beer, without a doubt.

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Photo of Domingo
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very unique beer!
I like the fact that they didn't go the typical "hop them to death" route with an IPA.
Instead this brew definitely has the characteristic pilsner flavors and sharpness.
Pours a cloudy dark yellow color. Unusually, the beer stays cloudy even after settling. The head is unsually thick and reminds me a little of a whipped topping. The brew looks almost like a pale Dunkel-Weizen.
I expected a smell akin to an IPA, but it actually doesn't smell anything like one. There's a strong hop smell, but it's a different variety than the kind you might expect. It's very husky, grainy, and even a little citrus...but bitter. This is in contrast to the floral sweetness I was used to and expecting.
Flavor is best described as crisp. Alcohol is present, but only barely. Minimal sweetness, but with a lot of different flavors. Grain and spice dominate.
Mouthfeel is definitely thick, but it goes down very easy.
Drinkability is likely only limited by the availability of the beer, and if you like the style. It's different, but wonderful!

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Photo of jdhilt
3.06/5  rDev -26.1%
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 Hhawk06
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've been hanging onto this one for a while, waiting for the perfect time to crack into it. What better opportunity than a Friday after a long week.

It poured orangey-blonde, kind of copper tinged, with a crystal clear appearance. The head is mountainous, fluffy/creamy, and remarkably consistent. Better yet is the clinging lace, that leaves a coating trail that rivals any other beer. Hence the 5 rating for appearance, I believe its the first I've issued.

The aroma is off fresh hops that is not over-bearing but all-encompassing, if that makes sense. On first contact, I notice the body is medium with a delightfully creamy and slick mouthfeel. Wowzah! The layers of hallertau are clear, complex, and pronounced. Yet there's still some balancing maltiness to boot, albeit small but well served. Lemon, faint spiciness, some orange rind flavors follow. It finishes with hoppy traction, temptatiously bitter, but keeps an incredibly creamy maltiness that lends extensively to the drinkability. A phenomenal brew and instantly into my top ten.

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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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