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

653 Reviews
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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Reviews: 653 | Ratings: 788
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
4.16/5  rDev +2.5%
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).

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Photo of jsh420
3.98/5  rDev -2%
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

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Photo of Shumista
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

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Photo of WCBCFrank
2.7/5  rDev -33.5%
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....

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Photo of pzrhsau
3.55/5  rDev -12.6%
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.

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Photo of generallee
3.74/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

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Photo of alkemy
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of DeathbySexyBT
4.59/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

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Photo of Ragingbull
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

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Photo of esv
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

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Photo of LyonsHead
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

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Photo of bheilman
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

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Photo of Patrick999
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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

I'm not normally one to advocate aging hoppy beers because I tend to think they lose some of their hop character. This one, however, got away from me. I found it in the back of the fridge. It clearly reads "FOR BREWERY-FRESH TASTE, ENJOY BEFORE JANUARY 2009". Whoops! I'm 6 months behind!

As I recall from having this on tap, and in the bottle when fresh, this is a little softer. The maltiness appears a touch sweeter, and the hops are lacking a little bit of the spicy, raspy character they had when fresh. And, to be honest, I perceive it as slightly less bitter. Of course I'm going from memory, so I could be completely wrong.

What I will say for sure is that this is still a great beer, regardless of some age. Its golden-amber body was always a bit hazy, and it still has a creamy off-white head that holds well and leaves a wide ring of lace at the outset of the glass. The aroma is floral, spicy and gently grassy over a caramel-drizzled biscuit-like maltiness. The mouthfeel is medium-full and creamy smooth. The flavor follows the aroma, and the malt and hops balance well, with the hop flavors draping themselves over the velvety maltiness, and a solid bitterness anchoring the maltiness from within. Tasting this I thought, yes, that's the hoppiness of the Boston Lager, the Hallertau Mittelfrue. It's kind of spicy and zesty. Very nice.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I poured into a pint glass to a half inch of white head. I really like the smell. I can smell a nice blending of malt and hops. I taste the malts up front but the more I drink the more the hops come through. It has a thick body, just like my bitch. It is a very nice beer. I enjoyed it. I kind of wish I had the whole four pack. Oh well, there's more beer in the fridge.

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Photo of tgdigital
4.19/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was really surprised by this beer. There have been a few offerings from Sam Adams that I have enjoyed, but this one is really special. Pours a standard golden color with a white head. The nose is where things get interesting, loads and loads of hops. The taste is great with tons of floral hop presence and a smooth crisp finish. Not a lot of overwhelming bitterness either, the malt sweetness balances the beer out nicely. I'd definitely recommend this beer to hop heads or anyone else interested in trying a pilsner of a different color.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. No bottled date, but does say, "For brewery-fresh taste, enjoy before January 2009" . . . . .

(A)- Pours a hazy golden amber. No head retention at all except for a light layer of white bubbles on the surface.

(S)- Honeyed hop aromas. A good malt backbone from what I can tell. A Pine Sol combined with a 7-up kind of smell. Slight spice on the finish.

(T)- An initial, sweet & citrusy honeyed hop blast that settles down to a brown sugar and carraway seed (the seeds you find in Rye bread) maltiness. An interesting deviation in both strengths and tension of bitter and sweet.

(M)- It has a good balance of bitter to sweet. The carbonation level is spot on. Not weak, nor super strong either. Smooth for how hoppy it is.

(D)- Despite its 8.1% abv, it is well balanced all around. A refreshing and different variation from your run of the mill IPA. The alcohol will sneak up on you if u have at least 2 of these. I think that the overall age helped this out alot. This is easily still good even after the suggested drink by month of January 2009.

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

A-Very clean hazel-orange, good head retention but with minimal lacing

S-Big flower-boquet hop aroma with a hint of citrus and a good bit of alcohol kick to follow

T-Strong citrus/pine hoppy kick all the way through, good bitterness as it falls down the throat. A good balance of faint floral sweetness and bitterness.

M-Remarkable hearty chewy mouthfeel, I could almost spread butter on this stuff. Creamy consistency, makes the lips sticky after 1/2 a glass

D-A very refined, well-balanced pilsner. Matter of fact, the best pilsner I've tasted thus far. If you're a hophead, this is an excellent choice. Just be forewarned, more than two of these monsters will turn your lips into flypaper!

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Photo of jwhawkins81
3.69/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Aroma - Sweet citrus like hops but also detectable malt. Not a scary level of hops in the aroma.

Appearance - Cloudy reddish yellow. Quick disappearing head that leaves a nice amount of lacing.

Taste - My first thought was "Wow, this is a way more intense Samuel Adams Boston Lager." A lot of bitter hops notes.

Mouthfeel - Thin to medium

Drinkability - Wow is this beer not for the non hophead, but I knew that coming in. I found this beer a little rough but that's more because of my tastes than the beer's fault.

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

A 12 ounce bottle purchased at the Beer Stop for $2.50. Poured into a nonic pint glass and appears a hazed rich apricot color with about an inch of pillowy off white foam. Smells and tastes of sweet toasted grains, bread, piney hops, citrus such as orange lemon and grapefruit, followed by a healthy dose of caramelized ,alts to pull it all together. This pilsner falls somewhere between medium and full bodied with ample carbonation. Great drinkability even after factoring in the high ABV.

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Photo of JVEyck309
4.26/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle in a pilsner glass
(semi drunk review)
A: Murkey dark gold, looks a lot like the color my iced tea comes out to be with some OJ.. looks to be high carbonation, thin head sticky lacing
S:hmmm.. appetizing
T&M: Chewey mouthfeel, smooth as butter, hops are spicey and brilliant! Loving this (Bias of being a tad drunk) Reminds me of my recent encounter with Southern Tier's "Gemini" as far as the mouthfeel goes, not as creamy and oily/slick but somewhere close.
Definitely a strong focus on the hops but nicely balanced with a chewey biscuity malt character that makes this very special. Pretty complex and well balanced. This is my first "Imperial Pilsner" So it's a bit difficult to call this one so naively... I'll keep it simple and say it surpassed my expectations with high complexity, enjoyable flavors, and a great mouthfeel. If this is a session beer then it is a short session at 8.1% abv. Don't take my word, check it out for yourself.

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

Had the pleasure of splitting this with Brent (Swimsum) yesterday. Thanks again buddy! Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Bright, yet hazy, golden orange body with creamy white head. Good retention, decent lacing.

Smell: Honey, caramelized oranges, sweet leafy hops, and moist vegetation.

Taste: Sweet, citrusy, and very malty. Leafy hops make a pretty huge impact in flavor and bitterness. Finishes dry and alcoholic.

Mouthfeel: Syrupy, kinda sticky, creamy, and nicely carbonated. Very smooth. Finishes warm and dry.

Drinkability: My first ever imperial pilsner, and I liked it. Didn't expect the hop experience to really be as "Intense" as advertised, but it certainly was. Nicely done SA!

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