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 sinstaineddemon
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
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 +7.5%
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 -3.6%
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 +1.7%
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 +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

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Photo of 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 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 Jason
4.37/5  rDev +6.1%
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 +6.8%
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 +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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

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Photo of tom444
4.14/5  rDev +0.5%
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 +1.2%
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 -2.7%
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 +2.7%
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 -3.9%
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 +5.3%
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 +8%
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 +10%
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 -5.6%
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 +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

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Photo of Hughesed
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
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 +6.3%
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 -11.9%
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 -6.3%
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 -2.9%
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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Samuel Adams Imperial Pilsner 2005 Harvest from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 251 ratings