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

Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial PilsnerSamuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner
Liked This Beer
4.06 w/ 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 788 |  Reviews: 653
Photo of rgrholmes168
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- I perfect 2.5 finger head on the beer. The pack described it as an intense hop experience and the appearance measures up. The head remained for an extended period of time. The beer is amber and cloudy which made me look forward to the "hop experience."

S- The smell of the hops comes right through the beer. The smell accomplishes the desired effect of the brewery. After rating the appearance and the smell, I sat back and looked at the beer building anticpation.

T- The hops are there. The hops are intense as promised. They are almost too strong. Probably a little bit more than what I like, but I am rating the beer on what it is supposed to be. The beer is not bitter though. I sat back and enjoyed the aftertaste of this beer. So far so good.

M- The beer has a nice thick mouthfeel. It is a little bit heavy for my taste. I like it though. The mouthfeel test though definitely brings on a serious aftertaste.

D- The beer is drinkable. I have to give it a good. I think this is a beer that "hopheads" will really enjoy. I do not see sitting down and drinking more than a couple in a sitting.

This is a great beer. It lives up to its billing as an intense hop experience. I really enjoyed the taste. There is a slight bitterness to the beer.

Highly recommend.

An update 30 minutes later: I am still working through this beer. I definitely have to take it down a notch on the drinkability scale. It tastes good, but it is rough going. No more than one at a time.

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Photo of TheBlackMallard
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours golden orange with a frothy white head. Leaves plenty of lacing behind.

Smell: Spicy noble hops, grassy, a little citrus.

Taste: Dry and Hoppy. No malt, just hops. Grassy, resiny bitterness. Crisp and very drinkable. I wouldn't guess this was above 5 or 6%.

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Photo of marksto
4.65/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured properly into the terrific new Sam Adams custom designed beer glass. Appears golden and very hazy. The haze comes from the extraordinary levels of hops incorporated into the beer - the resins and acids are so intense they turn the beer cloudy. A white head with large bubbles lasts a long time and leaves lacing on the glass. Aroma displays huge floral hop essences and subtle malt sweetness in the background. Flavor offers a luscious interplay of hop complexity (bitterness and flavor) along with a smooth, firm, biscuity, malt sweetness.

This beer offers a great opportunity to see what a huge hop bomb of a beer can taste like when made with noble hops instead of the typical west coast varieties most of us have had the opportunity to sample. I find the hop character from hallertauer to be more complex and in many ways smoother than what american hops typically contribute.

This beer is not for everyone, but whether you like these hops or not (and I obviously do), this beer is a must-try for any hop enthusiast. Try it now, cause with all the hop shortages we're now starting to experience I expect it will be a long time before you see a beer like this again.

Bravo to BBC for this one.

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Photo of jkdrummer
3.55/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

WoW! Smell dem der hops Bubba! Aroma is hoppy but almost smells like a kitchen cleaner. Pours a lively rocky firm head. The color is orange to tannish but very hazy. The initial taste very hoppy but nothing like an American IPA, the mouthfeel is very creamy with a bitter after taste. I'm not much of a pilsner drinker but this is like Pilsner Urquell on hops steroids. Interesting but I'd go for a good domestic IPA over this one.

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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 dhd1491
4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've never done this before, but for this brew, which I consider superlative and intoxicating (in every sense of the word), I have reproduced word-for-word, below, the review of fellow BA beer lover BuckeyeNation. I could not write a better description of this (or any) beer. I want to read it repeatedly as I partake of SA's HIP. Feast your eyes on it:

"A+ / 4.85
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | drink: 5
rDev: +16.1%

Hugely hazy bruised banana with apricot undertones. It isn't often that one can appreciate a beer's murkiness through a brown glass bottle, but such is the case here. I love 'dirty' looking beer, especially when hop particles are involved. The pale beige crown couldn't be any more beautiful. Scads of sticky lace only add to the magnificence.

I've never crushed fresh Hallertau hops in my hands and then inhaled the residue, but it must smell something like Imperial Pilsner. Actually, that isn't strictly true. The beer also has a sweet pale maltiness that gives depth and breath to the hop resins. I hadn't noticed it before, but this hop's muskiness reminds me, in some respects, of Cascade.

I like this beer just as much as the beer that inspired it, Samuel Adams Imperial Pilsner 2005 Harvest. Maybe more. Pay very close attention to the label if you're ambivalent about hops because phrases such as 'Intense Hop Experience', 'enormous, almost reckless quantities... of hops' is truth in advertising. This stuff will rip the top several layers off your mouth and tongue without breaking a sweat.

The thing that makes this insanely delicious beer, though, is that it isn't *only* about the hops. Somewhere, way down deep, lives a sugar cookie-like pale maltiness that just does manage to take the intensely serrated edges off the alpha acids. Aging this ale should be a crime punishable by death. As fresh as possible is the only way to go.

I never knew that Hallertau Mittelfrueh were this fruity. I'm getting tons of peach and apricot, along with tidal waves of sticky orange marmalade and shards of bitter lemon. Each mouthful is an explosion of hop flavor that lasts and lasts and lasts. I better slow down or there won't be anything left to assess the mouthfeel.

While it doesn't quite deserve a perfect score, this elixir is pure pleasure in the mouth. It's at least medium-full and is as plush as one could ever hope for. It seems that the brewers have struck the perfect balance between luxuriousness and ease of drinkability.

I have no idea if Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner is identical to Imperial Pilsner 2005 Harvest. My guess is that it's pretty damn close and my suspicion is that it's even hoppier. Cheers to Mr. Koch for making this a year-round offering. It's a damn good thing the hop shortage didn't hit Germany. In a word... Wow!

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 11-26-2007 16:46:26."

Bruised banana with apricot, indeed. Excellent and precise; some of the greatest descriptive writing I've had the pleasure to run across. Thank you, Buckeye.

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Photo of 40451
5/5  rDev +23.2%

Photo of remy28
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of mtbbaboon
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Found out about this beer thanks to BA. Pours a light copper color into my pint glass. Moderate head but real creamy and settles down quickly. Leaves some lacing but not a whole lot. The smell is definitely hoppy with some citrus tones. Medium body that swallows nicely. Doesn't leave any stickiness behind. The real hoppy bite. The label isn't kidding when it says "An intense hop experience." A real strong bitterness follows. Not the kind of beer you drink quickly, but a real nice beer to drink. Overall this is a very interesting beer and I like it.

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Photo of Phillyduke
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 4-pack of this in Virginia in March. I realize that it's 2 months past its "best by" date, but I had never seen it before, and I was curious. Besides, I knew it wasn't "bad," but it might taste different than when it was fresh.

A: Poured into a pilsner glass, leaving a yeasty sediment in the bottle. Enormously foamy head nearly crests out of the glass before eventually settling, leaving huge bubbles of sticky lacing down the sides of the glass. Retention is quite nice. Beer is a hazy apricot color, and some wisps of yeast can be seen suspended in the mixture.

S: Hops, hops and more hops. Predominately pine and noble aroma hops. Slight citrusy/grassy undertones, but overall quite clean and fresh.

T: For 8.8% ABV, this beer is surprisingly balanced. Peppery pine and juicy citrus blend well with the sweet, bready malt backbone. Finishes with a long pleasing bitterness and a slight alcohol burn that greets the stomach with a warming sensation.

M: The enthusiastic head beat a good deal of carbonation out of this beer. Mouthfeel is relatively smooth and somewhat creamy, though the aftertaste does have a bit of a hot alcohol sensation.

D: This is really quite enjoyable as long as it remains somewhat chilled, but I'm not used to drinking such a strong pilsner. The ABV will eventually catch up with you, so more than a couple is probably out of the question (I guess there's a reason it's sold in 4-packs). Definitely not one to reach for on a hot day when you need to quench a thirst, but a decidedly unique take on the style. Comparing my thoughts to reviewers when this beer was fresh leads me to believe that the hop character may have been toned down a bit, so I'd look forward to trying this again next fall/winter when it's fresh.

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Photo of davidt
3.54/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a cloudy marmalade-orange color. Thick off-white, long lasting head. Strong hop aroma with some sweetness. The taste is the intense hop presence as promised. There’s a pretty strong malt presence as well. Mouth feel is sticky, slightly oily. There’s a noticeable alcohol sweetness to the taste. Didn’t care for this the first time I tried it, but on a revisit find it’s not bad. A bit unbalanced to me.

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Photo of JimboHD2005
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of BeerTaster
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance copper slight haze and a huge head. Smell tons of hops. Taste hops again play the domenent role jst enough malt to keep the hops in check. This beer taste like a cross between a pilsner and an imperial IPA. Mouthfeel mediem in body and lite oncarbonation. Drinkability was ok this is a good beer but its a once in a while beer.

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Photo of Deus1138
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I went through a phase where I was drinking nothing but really hoppy beers. I'm not really into really hoppy beers anymore, but I figured I'd give this a try.

Appearance is a golden color with maybe just a little orange tint. The smell is no surprise, mostly hops. The taste is somewhat surprising. It's quite bitter and hoppy, but there's not an overwhelming amount of bitterness. It's really hoppy, but it doesn't make your lips pucker. There's also a very subtle malty sweetness hiding in the background, somewhat of a honey flavor. The aftertaste is nice too. I'm not sure how often this is released, but I think it's a great beer for the fall -very earthy and spicy. Probably one of the best from Sam Adams. Very enjoyable and highly drinkable, even for someone who is not a hop-head.

Edit: After reading some other reviews about how well the alcohol is hidden, I decided to look at the ABV.... 8%??? Are you serious?! It's VERY well hidden! Proceed with caution!

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Photo of BurnsTau
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours hazy straw/light orange color, great white head with great lacing. This is a very good looking beer.

Smells are strongly of hops, bitter tastes up front. Although very pleasant the hoppyness is a bit one dimensional and a bit out of balance. There is a bit of a malt backbone there but not much. Alcohol is suprisingly well hidden.

Overall this is a very solid brew, I would say it's the best Sam Adams beer I've had yet and would definitely buy it again.

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Photo of Jerzdevil1116
3.13/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle

Appearance: Cloudy golden color. Small white head, dissipated after a few minutes. Light visible carbonation rising to the top. nice lacing.

Smell: Malty with the fruity essences of the hops coming through.

Taste: All bitter hops with some of the alcohol making its presence known. May be some malt in there, but the strong hops makes it difficult to pick up.

Mouthfeel: A little more body than I was expecting. Slightly velvety

Drinkability: Not a beer I'd drink everyday, but I get the craving every once in a while. It makes sense they only come in 4 packs.

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Photo of eballard
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a hazy yellowish brown with a think foamy head that settled slowly and left a good lacing. There is a strong hop smell that is unmistakable. This beer has all the hop flavor you would ever want from an imperial pilsner. Sam Adams has taken this beer and done just what they set out to do, create “an intense hop experience.” There is the distinct hops taste with a spicy aftertaste that bites at your pallet. The hop is sweet and leaves a nice aftertaste. The feel is smooth and creamy and finishes very clean. If you like your hops heavy and strong I would recommend this beer. It has a great hops taste that is well balanced offering all the flavor of hops without the bitterness that you get from some intensely hopped beers.

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Photo of william5586
3.16/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Very hazy light orange. Small amount of head that quickly faded to a ring that left some sticky lace.

S- Hops. Tons of hops. Citrus and pine hops mostly. No malt anywhere to be found.

T- Again, dominated by hops. The bottle says that the beer is an intense hop experience and I'm going to have to agree with it. Citrus and pine hops open things up. A hint of sweetness slips in towards the middle, but is quickly lost to the punishingly bitter, grassy finish. Did I mention that it was bitter? The bitter after taste hung around for a while after I was finished with this one. I am a fan of hops but this one was just a bit to much for me.

M- Creamy and full bodied.

D- This is definitely a beer that I would only want to have one of in a sitting. Took me awhile to finish one.

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Photo of zymurgy4all
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice cloudy orange with an off-white thick long lasting head. You can smell the hops as you are pouring. Malt characteristics are similar to the Boston Lager, however the hops are way over the top. I would rather have less bittering, because it leaves you with a long lasting bitter flavor, however the first sip is quite refreshing with a citrusy/flower like hops. I'm guessing they only use Hallertau for the flavor and aroma, because I don't think it would be so bitter with a low alpha hop thrown in at the beginning of the boil for bittering. Mine wasn't overly carbonated, but had a nice mouthfeel. I give Boston Beer a big thumbs up for being such a large brewery brewing such an over the top beer.

Highly recommended if you are a hop head, otherwise the bitterness will get you.

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Photo of hellomcfly
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this at the back of my fridge. Says it is best enjoyed by January 2008 and it is early May now. It was extremely hoppy so it should still be tasty.

A - Pretty cloudy dark honey color with a nice tall, fluffy, off white head that leaves great lacing behind.

S - Hop aroma dominates but there's some sweet malt there too. Kind of a grassy hop smell. Alcohol smell in the nose as well.

T - I'm pretty sure it has definitely mellowed out some. This initial hop bite isn't quite there like I remember but it's still very bitter in aftertaste. Seems a little more balanced now actually than I recall.

M - Full bodied and pretty thick mouthfeel in my opinion. Right amount of carbonation.

D - It's a good beer but I wouldn't rank the drinkability really high. It's very hoppy. I like it and think it would match up well with the right food, but I don't think I would want more than one in a sitting. This seems more like a DIPA to me than anything else.

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Photo of atrus138
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle. Very orange color with a two and a half finger head. Lots of lacing that stuck to the glass the entire time.

You can definitely tell that this is a hoppy drink from the smell. Lots of hops and piney smells.

The taste is obviously very hoppy. You can barely tell its alcohol content while drinking. Very powerful and very enjoyable.

I could easily drink a few of these. Very flavorful. Might be a bit overwhelming for some, but this is definitely worth a try.

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Photo of leif86
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drink by: January 2009. Quite different from last year's.

A: Crystal clear. Goldeny copper brew. Head is slightly off-white and composed of smaller bubbles.

S: Caramel and citrus - flowery hop aroma also. Some alcoholic ester notes in the background.

T: Mmmm.. hops. Ever so slight caramel flavor. It's mostly hops here and it brings it all - grapefruit, piney, flowery, and a hint of citrus. This bitterness stays with you... mmm.

M: Slightly creamy, slightly sticky at the end. Pretty perfect carbonation, in my opinion.

D: I liked the previous version better but this one is still on my list of seasonal offerings to pick up. I could put back several of these, but not much more than that since the hops really dominate your taste buds.

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Photo of wardough
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured it into a nice pint glass.

A: It pours a nice amber, cloudy brown. About 2 fingers of head at the top. The head stays, but goes down to 1 finger. In my book, it just looks like a beer should look...beautiful.

S: A faint hint of pears hits...almost sweet smell.

T: Sweet, hint of those pears, then the hops hit. Holy smokes, did the hops hit, and then a hint of alcohol at the end. Normally alcohol ends it up for me, but this one seems to be a little bit more balanced.

M: Perfectly carbonated that enhances the taste. The head at the top coats the mouth as the beer goes down.

D: I would definitely drink another one. It's a school night, so I can't drink too many of them.

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Photo of BravoTwo
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - cloudy golden color, with a thin head of white foam. Little noticable carbonation

S - all hops, and nothing but hops. As promised this smells like an intense hop experience. Nice and spicy floral notes. Smells good and definitely as advertised.

T - Earthy, spicy, hoppy Hallertau. Very crisp and biting, The taste of this beer was definitely as advertised. If you enjoy the hops experience and then this beer is for you.

M - Thicker, creamier mouthfeel. Low levels of carbonation. This beer "sticks" to the roof of your mouth.

D - IMO this is a one per sitting drinker. This is not a session beer, but it is a really good beer for what it is supposed to be. If you are looking for an intense hoppy pilsner that will slap you right in the face with taste, this is th beer for you.

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Photo of HopEnthusiast
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. I love hoppy beers and had to give this one a try. It pours a nice clearish copper color with a nice head and good lacing. Has a nice aroma of spicy hops and sweet malt. Perfectly balanced. Has a nice big hop finish but not to overpowering. Has a medium body and nice carbonation. Great beer to relax to after work.


Aged a bottle for 1 year and was surprised when tasting it. Poured and orangesh amber color with a frothy off white head that left decent sticky lacing. Has a more malty than hoppy flavor this time. Definitely better fresh. The aroma is the same, more malty this time around. Not bad at all but better fresh in my opinion.

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Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 82.1% out of 100 with 788 ratings
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