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

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial PilsnerSamuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 788 |  Reviews: 653
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle> pilsner glass

A deep orange hued golden color pours out, slightly frosted with giant bubbles streaming quickly to the top to form a spacious, clumpy and bubbly white head, one finger deep and dissipates rather fast, the head is simply not tight enough to stick around for too long. There is plenty of sticky lacing left behind but the head is totally gone in no time flat.

The nose is a wonderful balancing act of the Hallertau Mittelfrueh hop complexity, both the fruity, citrus scents like watermelon, starfruit and strawberries comes out and then in equal intensity the very spicey and green-veggie herbalness is big and very pleasing. Way underneath is a subtle herbal, buttery malt that adds a slight bit of balance beyond the hop scent.

The flavor is very much in tune with the overall aroma, this hop's flavor's are in perfect balance with eachother, I'm not sure I've ever tasted a more complex hop, it's got dense red fruits, like strawberry, kiwi and a hint of lemmon zest right along with it's equally as tastey herbal, spicey and green-veggieness, this hop seems to envelope every aspect of the bold flavors you would expect from maybe, two or three hop varieties together. This is one kind that makes a very complex flavor. The high ABV heat and acidic bitterness comes in after and adds a well needed balance to the hop domination. Last and certainly least is the subtle buttery, toffee-like malt that is really there for further balance and feel.

This is a hefty medium bodied brew that feel both crisp and sticky. This stuff is a hop lover's dream, easily the most impressive hop flavor I've had, perhaps if the malt played a slightly bigger role...oh well, certainly not as easy drinking as it's younger brother Pilsner, this 8.8% ABV is no joke, but damn fun.

 1,803 characters

Photo of walshclimb
3.99/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours cloudy pale yellow with minimal white head. Smelled of light malt with moderate sour yeast and light sweetness. The initial flavor was malty with a quick transition to an increasingly bitter aftertaste that had hints of herbs. Medium bodied creamy to oily with lively carbonation and slightly metallic finish. Overall, this was tasty but a little bitter in the aftertaste. Surprisingly not overly alcoholic in the finish considering it is a relatively light beer with 8.8% ABV. I suspec the bitterness helps cover this up a little.

 537 characters

Photo of Floydster
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle from Cooke's Market in El Segundo, gave my dad the rest of my four pack

Poured into my Firestone pint glass with a cloudy golden color and a whopping 3/4 inch soapy white head

Smell was skunky and then nothing but hops, smell was much stronger than most IPAs

Taste was nice, crisp at first but then hops attack the tastebuds and do not stop for minutes at a time, extremely bitter and full of pine hoppiness, nice dry finish to round out the flavor

Could not drink more than two bottles of this at most, but drinkable for what it is at the same time, if that makes sense

Very unique and risky beer from Samuel Adams, really braching out from their usual norm

Highly recommended at least trying even though four packs run about twelve dollars at most places (10 at some BevMos that are carrying it)

Congrats to Sam Adams for finally doing something different and making a complex brew that is like nothing I have ever tasted before

 953 characters

Photo of Raymond69
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

4 pack, poured one into Samuel Adams Glass.

Appearance is cloudy , nice frothy head, good lacing.

Smell has a nice citrus backbone with a funky ripe blue cheese coming through.

Taste is predictably hoppy but that funkiness lingers.I can't say it's brett, but it's different, and I like it. The hops keep this a long bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is thick, lingering, alcohol is well hidden.

Drinkability is about as good as it gets with a 8.8.

 445 characters

Photo of kirok1999
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first pour into the free Sam Adams glass. A very hazy, cloudy meduim gold. Mild white head that leaves some pretty sticky lacing. Smell is lots of grassy/citrusy hops and a spicy/soapy note as well.
Taste is thick, rich and spicy. The hops dominate with herbal, grassy notes, a lingering bitterness in the finish. Nicely carbonated, sticky and full bodied.
This thing goes down really nice, very smooth and creamy. There are some notes of a pilsner but this is more like an IPA. Very tasty and easy to drink.

 512 characters

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

Served out of the bottle, pours a golden, amber color with that famous Sam Adams head that is about two and a half fingers of thick white foam.

You can smell the hop in this right away, but suprisingly it holds a lot of the pilsner qualitys and not that many of a IPA/DIPA. Comes across very fresh.

Tastes incredible. Citruisy hop hit the back of the tounge like a sledge and stay there throughout, but this is very refreshing and not as heavy as a DIPA that I thought this would be like.

Very clean, thick enough to make the flavor stay, but thin enough to want to drink, not sip. Proper CO2, very nice.

Very good beer, Jim Koch does it again. I recommend this to someone in the mood for a IPA, but more thirsty.

 717 characters

Photo of Mitchster
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Unfiltered. 2007. Brewed with 2-row Harrington and Metcalfe malts and 12 lbs of Hallertauer Mittlefrueh per barrel. First brewed in 2005. OG=21d Plato. 300 calories per 12oz. 8.8% ABV.

Pours out to a cloudy, milky medium-light amber, forming a rocky and tenacious off-white head with excellent retention and solid sheets of lace. Carbonation is moderate to mild, milder than other tightly controlled Sammy beers. The nose is wonderful. That classic spicy, citrusy Hallertauer hop character is all there in droves, cleanly fermented, with an amble malt body underneath. Swirling brings out the pleasant leafy hop notes. Mouthfeel is very soft and smooth with a dense body. Gorgeous velvety texture coats the mouth. The taste is all about the hops. This is also potently bittered, and quite out of balance. Pungently grassy and herbal astringency in the finish with remaining fruity notes lingering on the palate.

Well, this is quite interesting. I love the nose and taste, but the bitterness is a bit excessive, limiting it's drinkability. I'd call it a's definitely not a Pils.

 1,089 characters

Photo of dreadnatty08
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I suppose this is listed as a different beer, though I hope it lives up to its previous kin. Pours a gorgeous hazy dark straw color. Tons of billowy head is formed; but it seems to be missing the hop particles I remember in the last one. The aroma is strong in hops, of course noble varieties, but it doesn't have the depth I would expect from fresh hop use. Very little maltiness is detected, mostly just good floral, grassy and a touch of citrus in the nose. On the palate, things open up quite a bit; I get several dimensions from the hops, but I feel there's still a freshness that's lacking. I want to like this a lot, but either I've tasted better beers since the first SA Impy Pils, or this one is just simply not living up to the previous. A good quaff, but nothing to run to the store for.

 798 characters

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.

 498 characters

Photo of ultralarry2006
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves a two finger off-white head that has excellent retention, and leaves excellent lacing. Body is a hazy, if not cloudy gold with orange highlights. Beautiful to behold.

Smell - spicy hops, toasty malt biscuits, unsalted saltine crackers.

Taste - very dry and resiny but spicy hops, and toasty malt biscuits.

Mouthfeel - full bodied, very dry, some hop oil slickness.

Drinkability - this is very good beer. Its high abv obviously limits sessionability, but it will be hard to turn down another serving.

 539 characters

Photo of shadow1961
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Samuel Adam's Hallertau Imperial Pilsner pours a finger of stiff creamy
foam over a cloudy dark gold brew. Carbonation seems fairly sedate but
there's a big nose of bready malts dominated by the sharp herbal Hallertau
hops. If you ever wondered what an IPA made with noble hops might taste
like this is the beer for you. Mind you, this is a lager, but what with the grain
bill and all those hops there's precious little difference. The flavor is rich malts
up front slammed against a stiff wall of sharp herbal hops. Mouthfeel is very
full and round, not really surprising as there was enough malt present for
the yeast to push the alcohol by volume up to 8%. An interesting experiment
for sure. Go try some.

 714 characters

Photo of Manosbeeroffate
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very hard to find beer, OK I lie, found at local Hannaford Supermaket. Pours a hazy golden yellow-orange color. Smells a bit sweet and citrusy. Taste, oh yeah, a very nice strong citrus hop flavor, sweet malt, nice bitterness, not as strong as say SN's Bigfoot, so i think this will appeal to more people. This is a very tasty beer I wish they sold in six packs instead of 4-packs as I have only found so far, but it's worth getting. Sam Adams may be a big beer company but they still make damn good beers.

 508 characters

Photo of BMoney575
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on 10-14-07
Best before January 2008

Pours a completely opaque, cloudy orange. A huge head billows on top and settles to a nice film, leaving huge rings of lacing.

Smell is big-time fruity hops, very sweet, but with a caramel malty quality. A bit of Sam Adams in there too.

Taste is uber-hoppy, with a subtle malt keeping things in check. Tons of grapefruit dominates the flavor, and you can feel the bitterness on the finish. A beast.

Mouthfeel is outstanding. Super thick and creamy, the hops just melt in your mouth.

Drinkability is good, if you like bitter, and the alcohol is extremely well-masked.

Overall, my first double pilsner. I fail to see how this is any different than a double IPA. But, thats not a bad thing.

 738 characters

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

Poured into a Prima Pils Pilsner glass. Beer has a hazy, tupelo honey glow to it with a nice, pillowy head. The smell is, of course, hops, like a good APA or IPA. The taste lacks the hop bitterness that I was expecting....nah, just kidding, this is a very hoppy beer. Uh, It tells you so on the label, "An Intense Hop Experience". This is my first Imperial Pilsner so didn't know what to expect really other than the hops. Reminds me of Double India Pale Ale but not as oily. As the beer warms the alcohol is noticeable but doesn't overpower. Overall, this is a good beer and I will enjoy the rest of the 4-pack. I recommend this beer to anyone who likes a hop whollop.

 669 characters

Photo of jermar
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in 20 oz. draft cup at Uno's in Kenmore Square before Game 2 of the ALCS. I was surprised to find it there. The barmaid asked whether I was sure I wanted it, implying that other patrons had been turned off by the brew. I assured her that I did - and was pleasantly surprised to be charged only $6 for 20oz at such an establishment.

In any case, what can I say? It is a bit shocking to experience such full-blown hop assault from a lager-style brew, but it is simply delicious. And I think the malt held up its end of the bargain, providing just the right level of sweetness. I was not able to savor the drink for long as my party was getting ready to head to our seats at Fenway, but that drink was the least disappointing aspect of that long night. Go Sox!!

 766 characters

Photo of wspscott
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in Sam Adams glass

A: a vigorous pour yields a fluffy white head that lingers a bit, leaves a nice amount of lace. The color is hazy orange, there is a hint of cloudiness that makes me think this is bottle conditioned (not sure?).
S: The hops aroma is huge, very slight citrus (not what I was expecting) and spicy hops.
T: Hops, lots of hops, they are definitely not the american hops). The malts come through as lots of sweetness but the hops are still the story here. No hint of alcohol come through.
M: A little too heavy, I guess that is the "imperial" part.
D: This might as well be a huge double/american IPA (the only thing missing is the citrusy hops), I was hoping for something a little more refined. Good beer, very glad to try it but, I won't be stockpiling this.

 790 characters

Photo of Dukeofearl
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

4 pack of 12 ounce bottles from LaBodega in Riverside, CA., October 2007 for $10.99.

I've not had this style before, and so I can't compare by style- the American Double IPA is the closest I can think of.

Pours a perfect golden orange in my Bath Ales tall glass (closest I have to a Pilsner glass!) with a gorgeous, long-lasting head of tiny white bubbles. As good as it gets.

Aroma is, as Jim K. says, intense hops. Solid malt back base, but this is hops. It's the first time I've seen a one-hop beer (I'm sure I've had one, just never knew it). It's good to know. Flavor is also hops- citrusy goodness, but actually has some level of oily pine as well. Good stuff.

My only quibble comes in mouthfeel. This ABV is powerful- and seems moreso than some 9 and 10% beers I've had. So I drank it slowly, which gave a chance for residual hops to build on my tongue. And the hop aftertaste lost all fruitiness and become nothing but an intense bitter that made me want to brush my teeth in between sips.

But evenso, this is a wonderful beer. Thank you Boston Beer Company. I wish I could go to Germany every hops harvest season!

 1,128 characters

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

This is probably the single most interesting creation from the Sam Adams brewery that they have developed. I've tried their ridiculously expensive Chocolate ale, and most of the seasonals over the years, but this one is genuinely unique. The beer is medium to full bodied, cloudy, orangish yellow, with a nice frothy white head. The smell is all about the hops and yeast. The taste is very good. You'll get your nice piney hops, then some sweeter hop flavors, almost bordering on candy like in their texture, and it winds up with a nice aftertaste that is not all too bitter. This is an interesting beer in all facets and one that barks out complexity. The mouthfeel is creamy and the high alcohol content is well masked over. This is a strong beer nevertheless and for that its drinkability gets a slightly lower rating.L'Chaim.

 829 characters

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

This pours a cloudy orange, with a pretty big head when poured hard. Leaves lots of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell is very piney with just the hint of zesty citrus combined with alcohol.

Tastes almost like it smells to be honest. Malt doesn't seem to have been a really big importance when crafting this brew. Too bad because I love me some malt, but a pretty good beer none the less.

Mouth lingers to a slightly dry side, with just a tad bit of sweetness going down. It's more thin than thick, but it's not as thin as their standard Boston Lager. It's a very drinkable beer for sure.

 597 characters

Photo of etenbus
4.34/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I talked the beer guy at the store to sell me one bottle before I plunked down $10 for the four pack.

When I popped the cap, I took the Hop hit and it was a beautiful thing. What an aroma.

The appearance was definitely not your typical pilsner. It pours a cloudy orange-yellow, resembling an IPA. It poured about an inch of fluffy head before settling out.

The smell was scorching hops. I smell pine, even a hint of turpentine, some citrus, and some grassy malt coming through. While lighter in color than Sam Adams lager, I think it's the same hop profile, just on Barry Bonds-type roids. It smells like the bag of hops I poured into my homebrew pot last night.

With such a strong hop profile, I automatically expect the fruitinesss of an Imperial IPA. But lacking those stylistic flavors, what the Imperial Pilsner offers seems to need a bit more ale-like stuff. It is tasty, but needs more. On the swallow there are some biscuit-like flavors that soon get out of the way for the rush of bitterness that follows and knocks the doors off the hinges. A full five minutes after the last swallow, I still feel the tight drawstring of the intense hops pulling at my tongue.

Mouthfeel is in the middle where it should be. Drinkability is not high because of the high alcohol and the bitterness. It's a very good beer, but it's not a session beer. It's a one and done kind of beer. Try this beer because variety is the reason for beer.

 1,436 characters

Photo of uwmgdman
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I picked up a 4 pack for $9.49 at Woodman's.

This beer pours a cloudy light golden/straw color with a creamy white head that left a decent lace. The aroma is an off the chart spicy, floral hop aroma, it smells like a handful of Hallertau hops! The nose also has a moderate sweetness and a moderate, soft maltyness. The flavor is up front, in your face, highly spicy hop flavor with moderate sweetness and a warm alcohol presence, especially at the swallow. The bitterness is medium-high and the beer finishes with a spicy hop flavor all over the mouth. Carbonation is moderate as was the body. Overall this was very good, but for the price I don't think I would buy it again, but it is worth trying. The aroma was amazing, nothing short. The flavor was good, but the finish was a bit too much for my preference, even for an imperial pils.

 839 characters

Photo of phisig137
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- slight hazy deep gold amber color. 2 finger head. Fantastic retention, and abundant lace. looks quite promising.

S- bursting with soft citrus aromas. Good lord do Hallertau smell fantastic when amped up. Smells like the hop pellets that I add to homebrew. Very nice indeed.

F- Surprisingly complex grain bill up front. Great layers of malt sweetness that are quickly beaten down by a wave of Hallertau. Great resinous hop quality, along with citrus overtones, and a firmly bitter backbone. Well balanced, but definitely hoppy.

M- Thick and chewy, a bit heavy for a pilsner, but you won't hear me complain about that....

D- a little low. alcohol is noticeable, and makes this a bit of a sipper.

Overall, I'm pretty damn impressed. I'd have to say that this is the best imperial pils I've ever had. I look forward to the rest of my 4 pack and will likely be buying a few more. Highly recommended to anyone, and WELL worth seeking out. This beer just goes to show that Boston beer can make great beers to sell to the masses and pay the bills, and they can also make some truly fantastic beers to appeal to the biggest beer geeks of all... all of my fellow Advocates! Thank you Sam!

 1,188 characters

Photo of shererjt
3.74/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a slightly orangish straw color. Was unexpectedly hazy. This was my first foray into the Imperial Pilsner realm so I didn't know if that was normal, but when I see "pilsner" I think crystal clear. Still, had a beautiful, large, rocky, off-white head with great lacing so I went ahead and scored it slightly above average. Wonderful aroma, just an absolutely stellar hop scent. Some malt was in there too but the hops were front and center. About as good a smelling beer as you could find anywhere. Medium-full body. Very malty but lots of hop bitterness to balance. The bitterness lingered in the finish--just a bit too long, in fact, for my taste. Plenty of hop flavor as well. Relatively clean, though the hops were so intense that it was hard to really judge this. Mouthfeel was okay; not as harsh as might be expected given the massive hop presence. Drinkability was slightly above average, which was actually pretty good, considering.

Delivers what it promises. If you let it warm up a bit, the malt is more apparent. Try some of this just so you can smell it.

 1,074 characters

Photo of medic25
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single, served in the Sam Adams glass. Big frothy white head, with a darker color than I'd expect for a pilsener. Strong hoppy aroma. The taste. The great bitterness of the hops overwhelms every other aspect of the taste, but in a delicious way. The alcohol is well masked; very drinkable for something this powerful.

 329 characters

Photo of MiguelMandingo
3.31/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I have read a lot about this brew, and decided to give it a shot. I picked up a single from Grapevine Market.

Poured a 12oz. bottle into a pilsener glass.

Appearance - This beer looks pretty good. It is a golden yellow straw color, very translucent to borderline transparent. Very hazy. It produced an amazing two finger head that slowly dissipated to a thin crown. It leaves a lot of lacing.

Smell - It smells very floral. It get notes of fresh cut grass, and notes of piney, citrusy hops. The hops pretty much dominate the scent. The is a malt scent but it very slight, and very subdued.

Taste - Mostly bitter hops. While lagers and pilseners are not my favorite styles, I can tell that it is missing the malt profile that is characteristic of most lagers/pilseners I have sampled. There was a slight bready flavor, but it was bitchslapped by the aggressive hops. There is a hay-like grassy flavor, as well as lemony-limey citrus notes. Very bitter.

Mouthfeel - Fairly medium bodied (definitely on the lighter side of medium). Very chewy. And extremely oily. It lacks the carbonation level that I feel would adequately cut through the bitterness of the hops, and the oily feel.

Drinkability - This was just okay. I think the bitterness level and relatively high ABV prevent this from being very sessionable - mostly the bitterness. I have had beers that have a higher ABV than 8.8% that are way more sessionable than this. My palate is pretty much ruined for the evening, so you should probably save this beer for the end of the night.

I wasn't very impressed with this beer. It was decent, but it won't be making its way into my beer rotation. I would try it on tap, but I probably won't be buying anymore bottles of this. Worth a try for the experience.

 1,765 characters

Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 4.06 out of 5 with 788 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.