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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 788 |  Reviews: 653
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

Photo of prototypic
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: It's a golden color. Very, very hazy. Head is off-white and about a finger and a half. Retention was very good and a nice, thick coat of lace lined the glass.

Smell: Very sweet citrus aroma up front. Mostly grapefruit, orange, and a bit of lemon. Hops are piney and very strong. Very slight malty presence is notable.

Taste: Citrus flavors provide an initial sweetness. Hallertau hops are fantastic. Once they kick in, it's piney and very bitter. Very, very good. There is a bit of a malty taste on the tail, as well as a yeasty aftertaste.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It leans medium bodied. Carbonation is excellent. At 8.8%, it's strong, but very drinkable. Have to be careful with this one. Very smooth. Overall, this is probably the best Sam Adams I've had. Pick it up while you can.

 799 characters

Photo of marcobrau
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy golden hue with plenty of foam that forms a persistent half-inch thick, bright white head. Aggressive hop aroma with cedar, sea salt notes which evolves into some a grassy, almost woody character. Tastes good, the body is full, which is kind of surprising to me. The hop character is quite robust, especially the bitterness. (There's got to be a TON of Hallertau hops in the beer!) The hops are very spicy towards the finish leading to good slam of bitterness. The long, spicy, bitter finish is pretty intense, and a bit too "rustic" for me. A tasty beer, but one that could be made more enjoyable if it were a little less chewy up front.

 651 characters

Photo of dirtylou
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz single, scooped a 4 pack for 8.99 at sadhanna's

appearance: pours into a bells tulip glass, hazy golden-orange body, foamy beige head with soapy lacing left behind...true to form

smell: nothing too mind blasting in the aroma but a sharp green hop presence, nice citrus blast to the nose with a toasty malt backdrop

taste: pungent blast of orange-citrus hops, dripping green leaf, fairly hot alcohol presence, simple pilsner malt presence...some other fruit flavours present - peach, apricot, white grape. I like it, but not really more or less than any of the other imperial pilsners i have had

mouthfeel: boozy, sharp hop bite

drinkability: ok

 654 characters

Photo of tgbljb
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy golden color with massive white puffy head. Godd retention and lacing.
Smell is all about the hops. Strong notes of piney and grassy hops abound.
Taste is also all anout the hops, but enough sweetness is also present to provide a slight balancing. As the beer warsm the hops become less intense and the malt sweetness becomes stronger.
That being said, The ending is still long ang austerely dry.
A flavorful beer, but one is enough.

 447 characters

Photo of jdhilt
2.78/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a five-finger off-white head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Cloudy light amber color. Piney hoppy nose. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Flavor is a hop-head's delight although there is a faint sweetness midway, finish is bitter with an incredibly long lasting bitter aftertaste. To me not worth the $1.50 for a 12oz bottle (usually $8.99 for a 4pak) from Capitol Convenience Concord, NH.

 423 characters

Photo of jtrockchalk
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours an amber orange color that is reminiscant of many good wheat beers. Head is huge and lingers for several minutes leaving rings of lace all the way down the pint glass

S - I gave this a five for one reason. GRAPEFRUIT! My favorite aroma in beer and life for some strange reason, but enough about me....Once I break from my grapefruit coma, I do notice pine and a little lemon rind in the background

T - There is that damn grapefruit again, I just can't get away from it. Immense hop flavor with a surprising amount of malt that finds its way through the hops. If the malt was just a tad more pronounced, I might have given a 5 to taste also.

M - Pucker up! If you don't like hops forget it. Although it as a medium heavy mouthfeel that is unexpected.

D - Hopheads could drink this all night, but myself as an above average lover of hops could probably only do a couple, but they would definitely be savored before I switched to Two Hearted for the rest of the night.

 980 characters

Photo of 0tt0
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12-oz. bottle poured into a nonic pint glass.

Color is a hazy orange with a bit of amber flashes in the middle of the glass. Head is enormous and fairly dense given the large bubbles. One of the most beautiful looking beers I've seen. Amazing. Big, fat citrus hops greet the nose. Orange, lemon, a bit flowery, and some earthiness as well. Finally, after all the mediocre big pilsners I've tried, one that nails it. Citrusy hops, cracker-like malt, big as hell, and some nice alcohol warmth. Most of these turn out too sweet due to the malt (Terrapin All-American pils, DFH Golden Shower). Sam Adams'? Nails it. Crisp, fairly clean, medium bodied, and oh-so-drinkable. Just a beautiful creation. A new instant classic, in my book.

 732 characters

Photo of shirfan
4.36/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picture perfect appearance, with a 4-finger head that refused to leave for several minutes, and a lightly hazy dark golden liquid below, accented by several bubble streamers from the bottom of the glass. Copious lacing for the duration.

Grassy, lemony aroma doesn't quite do justice to the taste waiting behind it.

Taste: A hops behemoth. Absolutely chock full of hallertau flavor, outshining pretty much all other aspects of the beer. That said, it's not insanely bitter -- there is a light sweetness from the malts, adding at least a small counterweight to the overwhelming hops flavor. Leafy, lemon zest, mildly floral, hints of pepper.

Mouthfeel is on the light, drinkable side, especially since this brew isn't very sweet. Probably the hoppiest non-ale beer I've had yet.

 779 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just a few comments on what I notice about this beer than I did last year. While the hops are outstanding, they take on a much more herbally, rosemary, ginger quality than previously. Also the ester-rich malts give a tobacco-like / fig flavor than also went unnoticed.

I get tickled when I see the Sam Adams commercial that boasts of adding a pound of hops per kettle, as opposed to a few ounces by compeating breweries -- hell, I add a pound of hops to my homebrew starters. At any rate, their scale must have been off when brewing this beer, because there is much more than a pound in this beer. It screams hops in such a way to make Stone and Dogfish wimper. It's all about the Haullertau hops from the removal of the lid, until way past the last sip. An agressive boquet of floral, grassy, piney notes fill the nose while the pilsner character struggles for attention. Flavors of sweet pilsner malt hit up front, but the hop flavor dominates the tast. Pleasantly bitter in the feel, with a hop / alcohol dryness that cannot be overlooked. Hops linger for ever after the beer is finished, even gaining intensity at times. Yea, it's one dimensional, but what a dimension to have!

 1,201 characters

Photo of HoustonTX
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was extremely excited to see this in Texas. Hallertau is one of my favorite hop strains. Let's see how this one stacks up.

This beer pours a lovely murky orange, with highlights of light gold.
Frosty white head sits a top.

The aroma is extravagant. Loads of hoppy goodness with a very nice backing of malt. Malt/Halletau combination makes for one of the best smells in the industry. I just can't get enough of it.

A definitive hop bomb. Loads of juicy dry-hop rinds. Resiny, sticky, undoubtedly fresh hops caress the mouth. Lots of bitterness, with a healthy dose of pale malt backing. Orange peel and grapefruit are focus in the hop flavor. Hops so fresh, they came right off the field.

Sam Adams nailed this one. A wonderful, masterfully crafted Ale.
Definitely recommended.

Cheers to Hallertau!

 805 characters

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

    Founded in Boston 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.