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

788 Ratings
Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial PilsnerSamuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Pilsner

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Flyer on 06-18-2007

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Ratings: 788 |  Reviews: 653
Photo of IgnatiusReilly
4.41/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz. bottle to tall pilsner glass at home.

Brilliant golden honey color, with an excellent, massive head, really thick and rocky, loads of lace down the side of the glass. Aroma is all floral pine and sweet malt, with honey scents. Taste is all hops, yet no where near over-powering. This beer seems to be able to pull off the uncanny trick of being well-balanced while seemingly not having a big, sweet malt counterpart. Don’t get me wrong, the malt sweetness is there with some bready and biscuity undertones, but this beer is all hops from beginning to end, with a nice dry, puckering bitterness all the way. Mouthfeel is medium to full-bodied, and at 8.8% this is extremely drinkable. Great beer.

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Photo of Traquairlover
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into small pilsner glass.

A = Poured out murky orange/golden color. I didn't get much head (perhaps it was too cold) but a lot of lacing in what I got.

S = As you would expect lots of hops in the nose. Hints of citrus/grapefruit. Some hint of the alcohol, but not offensively so. I wonder if it might have showed even better in a brandy snifter or similar shaped glass?

T = Up front punch you in the face hops, but not astringent. Clearly good for hops lovers but well balanced enough that should have broader appeal. Sweetness of the malt hits mid-tongue and blends with the initial bitterness with slight hints of grassy, green tea. I'd like to compare it to an IPA or even a barley wine, but that only helps describe it in the first stages of its taste. After that it clearly reveals itself to be a pilsner, if an unusually IPA-like one.

M = Mouthfeel was very good. Nice meaty texture and good carbonation leave me almost wanting to delay swallowing.

D = I'd like to say I could drink this all day but given the ABV I'd be lying. But I'm definitely good for two of them. Unless someone is just not in the mood for a bitter, hoppy beer, I think this would be a great call. It's too bad it's only available every other year. The bottle says best if drunk by January 2008, but I wonder how long it might be good kept in the right conditions. I may put some away to test next summer.

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Photo of happygnome
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My 200th review, opened midnight on new years! Poured into a Sam Adams BL glass

a: pours a deffinate hazy orange color with about an inch and a half of off white head that dissapears rather slowly leaving alot sticky lacing along the side as it subsides
s: the hops deffinatly hit first, a cour citrusy aroma is the intial aroma that i detect there is a slight alcohol aroma that i can smell. The sweet malts are detectable in the nose
t: wonderful sharp bitterness is the initial flavor, kind of a sweet sour bitterness very nice i really enjoy it. As this warms (i only took it out of the fridge about 10 minutes before opening) I can detect the sweet malts and a mild alcohol flavor, but nothing that burns
m: medium to full bodied beer with a lof of carbonation the alcohol taste present does lead to a slight warming sensation that i can detect

Overall, this was an amazing choice to open at midnight new years, i hadnt had any drinks earlier because i was working so i got the full flavor. I will deffinatly buy this again if i can find it

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Photo of bfields4
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A nice orange to lighter copper haze comes to a tight lacy head.

Juicy hops with some hints of sweetness. Really makes my mouth water.

Piny hoppy flavor with biscuity notes. Light fruitiness comes around too this time a little bit of a caramel is present.

Very full of body for a lager an unfiltered nice mouthfeel.

I admit in the past I have been quick to judge a SA product. Generalizing them as ok, but definitively not stellar for their styles. This guy really proved me they are more than capable brewers.

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Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy honey color with a prodigious head that leaves a few squiggles of lace

Smell: Like a pine forest on a wet spring day; grassy and herbacious

Taste: After a flash of bready malt, the piney hop assault begins on the tongue, with a bit or sweetness appearing at mid-palate; after the swallow, the bitterness settles down but the piney and sweet malt elements blend nicely to the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderately buoyant carbonation

Drinkability: It's a one off beer as the hop assault will wear out your tongue; nevertheless, a fine effort

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Photo of AshevilleSippin
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Short Version:
Spectacular in almost every category. This beer really delivers. Ultra fragrant floral hoppy sweetness on the nose. Well balanced silky smooth full-bodied flavor. Caramel-y malt edges out medium spicy hop flavor. A smidgeon sweet for my taste but maybe OK for the style.

Impressive looking bottle boasting 'almost reckless' quantities of the Noble Hallertau hops and warning casual drinkers of 'an intense hop experience'. I'm hooked already...

Through the brown 12 oz bottle I can see considerable particulate hanging in suspended animation beckoning me to investigate what armonas and flavors they have in store for me inside.

Poured a cloudy fulvous/tawny color with a tall puffy off-white head that clung like a glass of epoxy. The bottom sediment came crashing through the head like a skydiver passing through a cloud layer. The sediment then performed a marvelous swirling ballet for several minutes that tranfixed and reminded me of pouring creamer in a clear glass cup of coffee.

Not being a connesiour of Hallertau (and after all the bottle hype) I was expecting an unprecedented sharp herbal 'hoppy' citrus smell that foreshadowed the big wonderful bitter mouthful I normally associate with something like an IPA. So imagine my surprise when I smelled big sweet malt and exceptionally bright and cheery floral scents. In the future when I want to describe the quintessential "fresh" beer smell I'll refer to this beer. I love it. It's intoxicating (pardon the pun). Glade needs to make a plug-in air freshener like this.

On to the taste... Surprised yet again. Despite the sweet floral aroma there is some bitter hoppy 'bite' to it afterall. Just the right amount though. Obnoxiously smooth and almost creamy. Surprising malt balance. I'd say more malty than bitter. Despite it's name and claim of "reckless" hops this beer is not one dimensional. It's very sweet and smooth with that little hop kick in the mid-palate.

Body is medium-to-full with a buttery mouthfeel. Somehow Sam Adams managed to deftly hide it's 8.8% AVB girth under all that flavor. You'd never guess it was that high. You have to really chew and creatively breathe over it to pull off the alcohol.

The finish is rewarding for sure. Endless and smooth with no bitterness, mild dryness, and not sickening sweet. You come full circle from the first smell. The predominant finish flavor is on the back of the tongue. It tastes exactly like the first whiff smelled. I'm guessing that's what copious Hallertau hops smell/taste like (sweet, fresh, floral). Could be wrong but it's very distinct and pronounced in this beer and I'm pretty sure I'd recognize it again.

This may be the most fragrant "non-fruity" beer I've ever experienced. Perhaps all those hops were poured in as aromatic 'finishing hops' or Hallertau just doesn't have the bitterness of other hops. With all the smell and hop-hype I was expecting crazy bitterness (like a Stone IPA or something).

A bit expensive and flavorful to be a staple in my beer fridge but quite the decadent treat. If you haven't experienced one you are truly missing out.

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Photo of groganb
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- An interesting cloudy amber. Nice thick head that slowly dissapates.
S- Tangy hops and citrus. Built my anticipation for the flavor.
T- Hops hops hops!! Rather bitter with a hint of citrus and caramel. Caught me off guard at first but the flavor grew on me until I really enjoyed each one.
M- Near perfect. Carbonation is just right and it goes down easily.
D- Great. Seems much more like an IPA than a pilsner. But still great.

The bitterness was a suprise, but then again the labeling on the package warns you that it's an INTENSE hop experience. While I was originally not a fan of really hoppy beer, brews like this one and Dale's Pale Ale are starting to turn me into a Hop Head. Great brew! Cheers!

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured hazy amber color with an average frothy white head that was lasting and produced good lacing.

Good heavy citrus and grass aroma.

Medium body with a slick texture.

Moderate spice and hop flavor with a long finish.

Very good brew and a standout for style.

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Photo of timtim
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

hazy beer truly the color of honey with an off white head that reduces itself to a thin film and leaves tons of lacing on the glass. georgeous smell that entails a big, strong hop character and a great malty yeasty backbone. Not an overly sweet malt, just a top notch pilsner malt that really carries those cream of the crop hops. really such a beautiful thing those hallertau hops. taste is dominated by hops and carried by the malt wonderfully. not much else going on. not much else needs to. medium body could be a little velvetier, but good mouthfeel none the less. easy to drink. such a pleasure to the senses. it's great to see sam adams representing proper like.

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Photo of Vengeance526
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice copperish orange color with about a 1 finger tan head that slowly subsides to a nice ring and leaves some great lacing.

As expected, lots of hops in the aroma. Fruity, somewhat earthy but overall very pleasing to say the least.

Taste hits you with the hops immediately as it starts out with a nice earthy bitterness. As you sip through, the hops exhibit a more floral tone with fruity notes of apricot, light citrus and a gradual sweetness like caramel also starts to come in. This was one of the first beers that got me into hops and its still a classic in my book. Amazing taste that just gets better as you go along.

This is a fairly smooth pilsner that goes down pretty easy given the abv and bitterness levels. Easily the best offering I've tried from BBC to date and one that I will probably never get tired of.

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Photo of jwc215
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours hazy gold with a thick foamy white head that descends to a lasting cover.

The smell is of spicy, floral, citric fruity Hallertau hops. Well, if you like the smell of Hallertau, this is your thing! Not one-dimensional, though, as a grainy, slightly grassy, malt backing gives it support. A wonderful aroma!

The taste is followed through with a Hallertau overload...floral, citric, lemongrass - Intense hops with enough malt backing to keep it smooth and with a fair amount of comlexity. Fruity, peppery alcohol quite noticeable lending a hand towards a dry finish. Hop bitterness stays around, but not in a puckering way.

It has a thick, almost syrupy body.

Well, it is intense - and well-crafted. A hop-head's delight! A robust tribute to Hallertau Mittelfruh!

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Photo of WakeandBake
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oct 15, 2008
Bottle.2008. Golden yellow haze color with a huge fluffy white head. Beautiful Floral,citrus,and pine resin hop aromas.Flavor is floral hops at first and some light cereal grain flavors,almost sweet but not quite,verey nice.Sharp crisp mouthfeel and finish.Very hoppy as promised.Very good.

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Photo of bonkers
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured a 12 ounce bottle into my SA pint glass. As i was pouring the first thing that hit me was the smell. A wave of wonderful orange/lemon hops filled the air. The beer pours an apricot color with a 2 finger white head. The head does not stick around long, but leaves lots of lacing. The taste is heavy to hops, as would be expected. The flavor is very strong with citrus and a hint of pine. The finish is dry with a hint of bitterness. The beer is a medium bodied sipper. A great beer.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark yellow almost orange with a head that lasted the whole way down. The first smell from the bottle is an amazing dose of hops. The second smell from the glass is just as glorious. Jim Koch is speaking the truth when he touts the amount of hops because the nose is amazing. Fruity, grassy, floral hops and then the taste is more hops and a nice malty backbone with some caramel flavor. This is unlike any pilsner I have ever had but the smell is so beautiful and the taste is delicious. This beer is hoppier than many IPA’s I have had but doesn’t have much bitterness to speak of which I believe is noted on the carton. This has completely upset what I thought I knew about Sam Adam’s. I have had several of their beers but nothing even comes close to this. The 8.8 ABV is undetectable to the taste at first but a little astringent on my tongue halfway through. Top notch and every bit as hoppy as claimed on the label, hopheads should love this. I will now proceed to give Sam Adams lineup a second look, well done.

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Photo of Mess
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
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?

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Photo of athensbeermaster
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a generous head that last a good while, with a pretty honey golden glow. on the nose you get a spicy leafy aroma. The taste is pure hop heaven!! No huge sweet malts to hide the hop onslaught.
The other bonus in using only two different hops you really get to taste what Hallertau hops is all about. Fresh cut grass and spicy white pepper. The mouthfeel is smooth for a lager with extreme hop profile. The alcohol is hidden very well even when the beer warms up. Great job for a giant beer co.

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Photo of Donnie2112
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

appearance: not what I expect from a pils of any type cloudy almost orange amber color decent head retention and

smell: big grassy hops dominate the nose with backgrounds of light malts raisiny malts

taste: notes of cereal and raisins in the malt that make me think of great old ales and barleywines. Astoundingly unique flavor for a pils the malts are then dominated by a slightly minty, heavily grassy hops finish. Intense hop experience indeed.

mouthfeel: medium bodied and nice carbonation that helps the flavor to pop. very nice

drinkabilty: I don't remember drinking a beer with this much flavor that is this straight up refreshing. Perfect drinkability.

There's go to be a little more

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Photo of popery
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well, I had to clean out a dusty Pilsner glass for this one, so I'm glad it was good. That's actually an understatement; it's damn good. Sam Adams succeeds with this big hoppy pilsner that shows off their ability to compete with smaller, specialty brewers. If all pilsners were this good, my glasses would not have been dusty. This pilsner packs a ton of great hop flavor, although I'm fairly sure that my tongues is not refined enough to identify it as a pilsner without knowing beforehand. It's close to a heavily hopped IPA or DIPA for me. The hops have a flavor that is unlike anything that I've tried thus far. I don't necessarily prefer it to other heavily hopped beers but it's always wonderful to taste such a strong, true hop presence. The beer is a bit dark for a pilsner and has a stronger head than most. The hops are more bitter than American varieties and invoke a different palette of fruit notes. It's less citrus, but there's also a strong balancing malt presence that confuses my ability to taste. Half of the time I think tasting notes like this are nonsense but it does help me remember the taste when I review it. So, know I might be wrong about specific tastes, but I do find it enjoyable. The mouthfeel has a little mroe pucker than I'd like on the aftertaste. I had a Green Flash Le Freak earlier, so it's not so much a reaction to the hops as to some slightly runaway alcohol content. It's still a highly drinkable beer with a huge and delicious hop flavor.

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Photo of JAA
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I believe this was my first imperial beer of any kind about two years ago. I was blown away, naturally. So i figured i would give it a go again.

Funny how a piece of plastic from total wine can turn into all kinds of flavorful beer. Merry Christmas to me.

WOW this smells great, like orange, strawberry, banana juice from tropicana. I also got a little grass or leaves, not sure which.

Tastes much like it smells. A lot of the juice in the aftertaste. Hoppy, of course, but not really bitter. A pleasure to drink.

very nice all around and i'm glad i bought it again. Cheers!

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Photo of trkerrigan
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hop lovers Holla!!!!

From what I have gathered from some this ranks at over 110 IBU’s, others say the IBU of the Imperial Pilsner is un-measurable.

Regardless, I love this beer. This is the only beer that I have had that really lets the glorious ingredient of hops completely take over. Other beers that claim to have bold hop flavor, taste like an everyday IPA after this.

Have you ever eaten a hop pellet? In many ways drinking this beer is just as intense. Except taste is much better, and you feel less like an idiot afterwards.

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Photo of Brew33
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in my new Duvel Tulip glass.

Wow. Pours a nice fizzy orange color. The smell is INCREDIBLE. The best nose on a beer that I can remember.

The taste is pleasantly hoppy. This beer is hoppy but the malt sweetness plays great backup. Crisp, tasty, slight alcohol warmth. Beautiful beer. I am very impressed. I could smell this beer all day long. They need to make this stuff into cologne.

Great beer, pricey but well worth the investment.

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Photo of botham
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pilsner. pours a hazy amber color with a few fingers of tight white head. the head last for a few minutes and leaves moderate lacings on the glass.

smell is of spiced hops above all else, with a lightly fruity base. sweet malts are present, but do not sit above the hops. munich malts are above pale malts, which both give the brew good balance in the nose.

taste is of mild & spicy malts up front, which only intensifies at the back of the palate. the hop flavor is mild, and takes on a unique character. alcohol is detectable, but not harmful to the taste experience. malts are subtle, with the same munich flavors in the background. a floral character moves throughout the profile, giving the brew its wonderful lager character.

mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, with notable amounts of alcohol and spiced hops. this makes for a bold brew, with an extremely seductive hop character. solid.

drinkability is great. this is a big brew with bold flavors that will tickle any palate. definitely one of the top offerings from the guys in Boston. cheers!

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Photo of RoyalT
4.48/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This Pils is a gorgeous, deep, radiant orange in color with a beautiful thick and lingering head. Words cannot explain how beautiful the orange coloring is. It’s like an orange Christmas tree bulb – pure as can be. The head is equally pleasing to look at.

Smell – This smells more like an IPA than a Pils, but the hops are indeed quite easy on the nose. It’s’ a wonderful fruity hop bouquet filled with unsweetened peaches and apricots with some nice grapefruit.

Taste – The hop flavors are truly “imperial” as the name implies. They don’t have that PacNW pine. It’s more like sheer hop fruit, and somehow through all of this the fine malt base comes out.

Mouthfeel – This is a solid medium-bodied and very bitter.

Drinkability – Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a fan of the perverted American “beer styles” born from failed attempts to replicate classic European beers (like American Wheat – blah) but damn this is extremely well done. It is very drinkable yet bitter enough to satisfy hopheads.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
4.48/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Murky orange color with insane initial head and retention. Thick and frothy. Simply amazing

The smell is very hoppy. I smell a similar experience to that of an ipa. The hops smell similar to cascade hops but have a distinction all their own. I now have hallertau hops in my vocab.

Clean pale malts appear on the palate with an intense hoppiness afterwards. Sort of a breadiness from the malts. The hoppiness is not overly bitter as it is hoppy. They managed to balance hoppiness with hoppy bitterness. Very nice. Flavors are clean with no ale fruity undertones. My first imperial pilsner. A damn good style of beer. I taste a slight caramelization as the beer warms.

Decent, slightly low carbonation that is perfect for this beer. It's odd that this beer has a slight creaminess. It sticks to the palate fairly well.

This is just one hell of a beer. I wish I had bought a case rather than a four pack.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.48/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

G: 12-ounce Pilsner Urquell tapered pilsner glass.

A: Pours with a nice head. The carbonation bubbles are readily apparent and stick to the side of the glass without a ton of upward motion. The beer is a pale amber in color. Foam rings galore as this goes down.

S: Straight off of the pour, you can definitely smell the hops.

T: The initial taste is excellent. There is a mild hoppy flavor followed by sweetness. The malt comes through on the back end and through the aftertaste, but the initial taste is definitely mild hops--definitely not DIPA, but on par with your average IPA.

M: Mouthfeel is light without a large amount of carbonation; it goes down very smoothly. Little to no alcohol presence, so it's hard to believe that this punches in at 8.8 ABV.

D: Very drinkable. If this wasn't so difficult for me to find, I could definitely see it turning into a session beer, particularly as the weather warms up.

All in all, an excellent brew. It's my first Imperial Pilsner, and I will definitely be seeking out more. Very much like a mellowed IPA.

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Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
4.06 out of 5 based on 788 ratings.
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