Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial PilsnerSamuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Pilsner - Imperial
Ranked #2
Ranked #4,099
4.09 | pDev: 11.74%
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States
Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial PilsnerSamuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner
Reviews: 653 | Ratings: 790 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Excellent appearance, bright yellow with a full inch of white head and tiny bubbles. Had to use a lot of Hallertaus to get this aroma up, but they did it. Lots of grassiness and some earthy subdued lemon.

Taking the ipa vibe and dropping it into a double pilsner, this one brings the noble hops, and isn't just a jacked up over hopped beer. I mean, it is, but its sum is better than its parts kind of thing. Lots of lemony bitterness.

I definitely enjoyed it, easily one of the top 10 Sam Adams beers ever made.

Mar 22, 2016
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours out as a traditional style pilsner with a yellow colored body. The head is what sets it apart from most pilsners. The retention on this is very good. The smell of the beer is super hoppy and very inviting. The taste is very hoppy as well and really makes this pilsner more enjoyable than just the normal grassy flavor that most have. This brew is more like an IPA in my opinion which really tastes great. The mouthfeel remains light and drinkable. Overall this brew is very good and I'm looking forward to having it again.

May 24, 2011
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan from Nevada

4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Great vibrant yet hazy yellow and orange frothy head. Big grassy hop aroma from this one.

This is a taste for hopheads, built into an imperial pilsner. Sam Adams doesn't make their ipa's usually with that much hops, strange they went big on this one, and I like the results. Quite bitter, but zesty, lemon citrus hop flavors driving the bitterness. Has a little bit of the lager yeast flavor that was complimented by the massive hop burst. Don't know if this is exclusively hallertau, but whatever proportion, it works nicely to create a strong ass beer worthy of spring early summer time.

Apr 26, 2011
Photo of LiquidBread219
LiquidBread219 from Indiana

4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Bright orange color, translucent, very appealing

S: Imagine shoving some hops up your nose, very floral, spicy smell really enjoyed the nose in this one.

T: Initially very citrusy and spicy. Turns into a very bitter and crisp flavor.

M: Smooth, good amount of carbonation

D: It is a good beer I really think this is one of the better Sam Adams beers that is available.

Apr 03, 2011
Photo of Mess
Mess from Massachusetts

4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a review for 2007 Samuel Adams Imperial Hallertau Pilsner. I also poured a 2008 to compare next to it. Both were cellared upright and served in a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

2007: Audible hiss when cap popped. White billowy foam head. Burnished cloudy gold. The '07 surprisingly had a stronger scent of hops. Sharp bitterness, lemony hops. Toffee sweet malt - pineapple? Whiff of alcohol. Great Brussels lacing. Soft mouthfeel. Really tasty.

2008: Barely a hiss when popped. White billowy foam head. Rich orangey glow. Both the '07 and '08 were very similar, however the '08 surprisingly had a fainter scent of hops. Sweet malt nose, grapefruity hops. Smooth mouthfeel - almost like from a cask. Would figure the '07 would have been mellower. Sweetness on finish but minimal aftertaste. Excellent beer. The '07 likely just kept better than the '08.

They ever going to release this again?

Dec 05, 2010
Photo of BeerLover99
BeerLover99 from Illinois

3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: deep amber, orange color, strong lacing, small head size.

S: strong malt with decent hops playing back-up.

T - very intense bitterness, slight citrus in the background.

M: very thick syrupy body. leaves me wanting to drink more but constantly have a thirsty feeling.

D: A MUST HAVE for any hop head! This is not for beginner beer drinkers. Not a session beer, probably best to be shared with others to savor each sip.

Dec 04, 2010
Photo of arboristfish
arboristfish from Wisconsin

4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a copper color with a slighty off color head. The smell is an intense noble hop character. The taste of this beer is extremely bitter. The bitterness lingers a long time! The mouthfeel is thick for a pilsner. This is a sipping beer. Its not bad, but wow it is an imperial!

Nov 15, 2010
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069 from Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an orange-ish color with a light tan head. In the aroma, hallertau hops stand out with a nice dry malt. In the taste, dry hops, dry malt which is quite balanced, with a small hint of alcohol. A smooth and medium to big bodied mouthfeel, with a dry, small hop and small alcohol hint in the aftertaste. Big hops and a small alcohol hint, quite IPA like, but you can tell it is a pilsner. Good nonetheless.

Oct 27, 2010
Photo of 3FaveryRogue
3FaveryRogue from Illinois

3.53/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Courtesy of Archer liquors, I get to open a bottle I haven't seen since the beginning days of my tasting experiences. Can't say I had strong memories of this one +/-; can't say that this will be anything like the 1st time. But glad to give it a shot.

[L] A glowy orange. Very hazy. Head is slightly darker than white but significantly lighter than tan. Just a tilt back on the glass leaves rings of sticky lacing.

[S] Upon first impression, it just smells like an ordinary, citrusy ASA/DIPA. Upon further quaffing, the pilsner malt, and noble hops come through. Though I'm still not sure I dig the Imperial Pilsner label.

[T] THIS is the beer Sam Adams NEEDS. This is the beer that hop heads WANT. Great DIPA qualities. The hops in this beer are amazingly intact. Front and mid body they seem to dominate the palate. Gritty pale, and caramel tastes appear. Finishes a very astringent bitter; like sucking a rind. Me likes that, though. Some dry, crackery pilsner malt wraps things up. You could definitely tell this beer is not fresh.

[F] Feel is very nice. Very soft and mild, with a decent carbonation. Not extremely sweet; but very dry and bitter.

[D] If this were available more often, I could see myself doing 2 in an evening. Hell; 1 lends a decent buzz @ 8%. 2 would definitely push me to move on to something more, though. I imagine a fresh one would be even more enjoyable, and tongue-numbing.

Overall, this probably should be slipped back into rotation at Boston Beer. Can't really say this beer has "peaked", but if you still have one, drink now, or pass it on. Not even sure why Archer hung onto it for so long. It's collecting nothing but novelty and dust. Enjoy!

Oct 12, 2010
Photo of burnerfinger
burnerfinger from Texas

4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

has become VERY hard to find this, but I found it and am promptly reviewing it:
I suspect this 4-pack has been cellared for a year or more - Les at Majestic Liquor tells me it was in the back.

A modest one finger head that settles to a film, with great lacing. Pours thick, orange-amber brew.

S: lite on the nose really I get much more malt than hops.

T - rather sweet brew, nicey balanced with a hoppy bite. really this is great but not as hop heavy as I expected.

M super heavy body. nice carbonation - no ABV bite but the buzz pulls thru well

D: approaching perfect. drink em up!

Aug 15, 2010
Photo of BeerAdvocate
BeerAdvocate from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer review from BA Mag Aug 2007.

Thank the beer gods that Boston Beer Company brought their Imperial Pils back. It received rave reviews from us two years ago, so let's give this year's version a go.

Hazed amberish orange, the haze coming from the insane amount of hops being used here. Not a huge head, but the lace stays for the duration of the drink. Big, pungent, grassy, herbal and alcoholic notes with a biscuity malt aroma, all of which comes forth in a sort of perfume. Smooth and creamy with a full body. Explosive flavor to start, huge hits of juicy hops that go from fruity to bitter and resiny. The malt character is solid enough to hold its own, even though the balance is pushed way off to the hoppy side. Bitterness comes in waves and eventually takes over as the palate dries. Finishes with a seemingly never-ending hop flavor.

Pretty damn amazing and certainly a benchmark for this new American style. A sure pick for any hophead, beer geek or extreme beer lover. Pretty much any funky blue-veined cheese will make a good pairing.

Jul 06, 2010
Photo of htomsirveaux
htomsirveaux from Texas

4.16/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle tried 14 Nov 2007.

Large white-yellow head. Well carbonated. Surprisingly cloudy orange yellow color. Smells resiney, floral, A says like bubblegum. Well hopped, floral, fruity. Lots of malty sweetness too. Some green fruitiness. Alcohol fairly noticeable. Medium body, mouthfeel like 1% milk.

A good deal of gorgeous hop flavor (A).

Jun 28, 2010
Photo of jsh420
jsh420 from Illinois

3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

an extra from Hopstoopid120 - thanks

best before jan. 2009

pours a very cloudy amber orange with a big 2+ finger head with good retention and left notches all down the glass

smell - is malty carmel bready malts with some floral hops in the background

taste - i pick up the hops now - pine and grapefruit very juicy and bitter - the malts are strong - sweet bready carmel - reminds me of some bw's

mouthfeel is medium to heavy body that coats the mouth with hop resin - very smooth

drinkability was good - a very interesting beer that i hope SA brings out of retirement so i can try one fresh

Feb 15, 2010
Photo of Shumista
Shumista from Ohio

3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Time to drink this one, it's been in the cellar for too long and is past its best by date. Given it's high alcohol content I'm sure it will be fine, though the hops may have faded some. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A- Hazy orange, small white head. Lots of lacing.
S- Caramel and biscuity malt, floral hops.
T- Not surprisingly the caramel and biscuit malt background is there. The hops have clearly faded from what they once were but are still there and are pleasantly balanced with the malt.
M and D- Medium bodied, good carbonation. I would drink more of this...but I think this may be one of the last bottles around so that will probably not be a possibility unless SA brews more.

What I like about this is that unlike some other imperial pilseners I have had that end up just tasting like IPAs or DIPAs, this one actually tastes like a double pilsener. Very interesting beer.

Feb 04, 2010
Photo of WCBCFrank
WCBCFrank from Pennsylvania

2.7/5  rDev -34%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

They should rename this imperial to Totalitatian, because this is a "mother" of a pilsner...totally overwhelms my palate with bitter pine and grapefruit hops, it best described as hopjuice. For my palate, this is like the aged very expensive smelly cheese someone brings to your dinner party....

Nov 05, 2009
Photo of pzrhsau
pzrhsau from District of Columbia

3.55/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: This beer had a nice cloudy orange characteristic with a nice head.
Smell: I don't know, hops? There is some malt in there, but you really are getting that hops aroma up front.
Taste: If you don't like herbal intense hop flavor, you will not like this beer. It has some malt but you are just getting a real hops experience. If you breathe through your mouth, that floral aroma stays with you. This beer was a lot of fun.
Mouthfeel: Now this is complicated. I did not like the first sip. It was like chewing the hops. But as my palate got acclimated to the beer, it was actually quite smooth and refreshing.
Drinkability: Be nice to this beer. I can see that some people dont like the style. But I can say i really liked it. Not usually what I go for, but a good beer overall.

Sep 30, 2009
Photo of generallee
generallee from Virginia

3.74/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a pint glass. The label reads best before Jan. 09 and it was sampled on 6-24-09.

Appearance: The body has a deep orange amber color with a few random and tiny bubbles of carbonation here and there. Its clarity is very good as well. The head is very thick and creamy with about a two and a half finger thick ness. It is light tan in color and very long lasting which makes for nice sticky rings of lacing on the glass.

Smell: The aroma is really rich and full of leafy/spicy hops and pale bready malt.

Taste/Mouth: The flavor, like its aroma, has an intense spicy/leafy/herbal hop character. It is in you face with hops and bitterness. Under this heavy layer of hops is a simple and very modest pale bready malt flavor. There is just enough malt presence in there to remind you that this is a beer and not just a bottle of hop extract. It finishes with slowly with a strong hop flavor and bitterness that clings to tongue and feels like it is pulling the enamel off of your teeth. The palate has a full, thick body and slick texture with light carbonation.

Notes: This is a big, full hop bomb and I even sampled it a few months passed its freshness date. I love hops and the flavor was very good but I am not the biggest hop head in the world so for me the drinkability was low on this one. A little bit of this goes a long way.

Sep 18, 2009
Photo of alkemy
alkemy from Ohio

4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I decided to buy another 4 pack of this today as I forgot to review it some months ago when I first had it. Poured a light and bright orange amber. Nice spicy hop aroma, but I remember it being a little more pronounced the first time. As far as the hops, the taste was more of the same...a little less intense than I remembered, but I did notice some malts this time. I don't remember that aspect. It's spicy and floral on the hops and slightly sweet on the malts. Mouthfeel is same as remembered with a very rich and creamy feel. I've never been a fan of pilsners, but I really like this...probably because it's stretching the style a bit.

Sep 12, 2009
Photo of DeathbySexyBT
DeathbySexyBT from Texas

4.59/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is as advertised: Intense.

A: Cloudy enough to render this opaque. Brassy body with a thin white head.

S: You just got clubbed in the nose with a Hallertauer Hop bat. Yeah, so this should be expected but, this is has a big hop aroma. Pithy, pulpy, pine needles, grapefruit, and lemon zest. Very aromatic.

T: The question that immediately runs through your mind as this floods your mouth is "What was the safety word, again?" Then you begin to like it. Yeah you do...You like that immense bitterness and the utter abuse of hops here, don't you? Yeah, you like the explosion of flavor in your mouth with each swallow of this delicious brew, don't you? This review is making you feel dirty, isn't it?

M: Full is an understatement on the body. The carbonation is ridiculously close perfect but just a hair high.

D: If you do not like this beer you are either A) a Zima fan, B) not a Hop fan, or C) dead.

Aug 19, 2009
Photo of Ragingbull
Ragingbull from California

4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ruby-orange and cloudy. Almost a pink hue to the orange color. Nice head retention on a creamy head of foam that has a cream color to it. Some tiny prickle.

Very faint hops in the nose. The nose actually has me braced for some big sweet malt. The hops starts to come alive a little more with repeated sniffing or perhaps with time to aerate. Perhaps this is how Bavaria smells.

Floral hop attack and for sure some malt sweetness. The hops seems to keep the malt in check where many beers the malt controls the hops. Very little aftertaste. There is a definite floral character to the flavor that is almost sweet.

I like the smell.

Its a thickish mouthfeel and actually looks thick while its being poured.

Some residual hops for an aftertaste. The floral sweetness is the only thing I could do without, but it makes "this beer" "this beer" now doesn't it.

Jul 25, 2009
Photo of esv
esv from Virginia

3.73/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A little difficult for me to grade since it's a bit unique and I haven't had any of the small handful of imperial pils on the market.

A) Hazy orange beer. Billowy white head. Tight, tiny bubbles in the head.

S) Malty sweet and hoppy. So this is hallertau.

T) Big, syrupy sweetness. Hugely bitter that washes out most of the syrup. Monstrous. A little medicinal.

M) Medium Mouthfeel, medium carbonation.

D) Higher than expected. The big IBUs keep the malt in line.

Jul 21, 2009
Photo of LyonsHead
LyonsHead from Ohio

4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a cloudy orange with a thick and creamy white head and nice lacing

S: Smells like hallertau hops... in other words, this beer is extremely floral mixed with dried fruit. smells fantastic

T: there is a huge hop flavor here, i surprisingly enough get a slight caramel/toasty note in the deep background (if you let it sit in your mouth for a second).

M: Really thick and smooth, very creamy. finishes dry

D: If you like hops this one has them. Don't know if I could drink a bunch of this but its good.

Jul 16, 2009
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy from Wisconsin

4.37/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Pilsner Glass. Enjoy by January 2009 (a wee late) Special thanks to Sweemzander for this one!

A - Very slightly hazy orange/amber with a stable two finger white head that slowly went down leaving legs, a rocky surface, and spots of sticky lacing.

S - Bursting with aroma! This beer is obviously filled with the Hallertau noble hop variety but it brings with it a bouquet of other aromas like fruits; slight orange citrus, apple sweetness, pear, and a white grape dryness. Also in the aroma is a blob of sweet honey and a strong backbone of sweet malts.

T - Yep. That is an intense hop experience like the bottle says. The bursting-at-the-seams level of Hallertau is delicious if not strong, bitter, dry, and fruity. Pine and citrus are mellow but present as well as the malty backbone to level the extreme hop addition out slightly.

M - Rich and creamy smooth with a dry finish that's got one hell of a bitter kick. Low carbonation on the tongue.

D - Hmm, this is an incredible big beer but I don't really know if I'd want more than one per sitting. That's a wallop. For the age it doesn't show it being "old". I'd love to try a fresh one and see how much more intense the experience is.

Jul 10, 2009
Photo of bheilman
bheilman from Indiana

3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This came in a bottle. It had probably mellowed a little because it sat in my closet for a few months. The beer is a little cloudy somewhere between yellow gold and brown. More on the lighter side but not light like a typical pilsner. The smell is a little too malt/sweet scented. It tastes a lot like a double IPA except with more intense hops if you can beleive that. The sweetness in the scent doesn't come through too much in the taste. The beer has a decent aftertaste with citrus being the dominant flavor. The intense hop taste makes this beer not so drinkable. I couldn't really go past a single. Definitely worth a try.

Jul 06, 2009
Photo of Patrick999
Patrick999 from Florida

4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I normally scoff and roll my eyes when I see things like "an INTENSE hop experience" or "reckless quantities of hops" on a bottle's label. So, as I try this for the first time, I'm doing just that.

Poured into a pint glass, it looks a little DIPA-ish, but kinda cloudy and possibly a bit lighter in color. Nice foamy head, but you'd expect that with the "reckless" hops.

Aromatics do indeed show a big hop blast of the piney sort....

I'll be damned. The bottle wasn't kidding. This comes off as an alternate-universe DIPA, and an intense one at that. Flowery, spicy, honeycombed hops with just a ton of perceived bitterness. Some sweet malt does try to fight through, but is overwhelmed by the hops. Very nice hop character here. I can almost perceive a hint of bitter chocolate as well, which struck me as odd but pleasurable.

Feel is big and resiny, carbonation has a "soft" feel I like.

I haven't had many imperial pilsners, but this one shoots to the top of the list. Quite a beer, and one that lives up to the claims on the bottle. My only complaint is that I have no clue what to pair this with. I tried it with some pretty bold, spicy Mexican food...and the beer overwhelmed the food. Maybe this one is cheese-only for pairing purposes. Other than that, very drinkable, if you're in the mood for a different kind of hop fix. It's nice to try a big bastard of a hoppy beer that doesn't use traditional American hops. As I said, it's like an alternate-universe DIPA.

The BBC really does make some f'ing intensely flavorful beers when it wants to. This is one of them.

Jul 06, 2009
Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 790 ratings