Samuel Adams Imperial White | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

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Samuel Adams Imperial WhiteSamuel Adams Imperial White

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

Style: Witbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jason on 01-16-2009

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Reviews: 643 | Ratings: 1,283
Photo of brian786868968676
5/5  rDev +44.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An Absolutely amazing Imperial! So sad its be discontinued, but luckily I bought out the store for years to come. This beer is great off the shelf, and astonishing in taste years later. I have four year old bottles I open for very special occasions and the taste is similar to a fine port wine. in about 10 years when my stock is empty I will be upset with Sam Adams for their mistakable choice of discontinuing it.

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Photo of mgeraci
4.85/5  rDev +40.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is definitely not for the faint of heart. If your norm is along the lines of Bud Light or if you consider Corona adventurous you may as well hang it up. This beer is fantastic for those of us who appreciate a kick in the ass. A great tasting beer, but definitely catches up to you quick. A bold flavor, but great nonetheless. Fair warning is to drink it cold and finish it while it's cold. It is substantially intolerable when warm in my opinion. Definitely a good beer overall.

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Photo of AlexCuse
4.77/5  rDev +37.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I just tried one of these, and I'm almost speechless. I really didn't know what to expect (a witbier weighing in at over 10% is just insane) but I was very pleasantly surprised. It tastes somewhat like a wit, but there's a heavy dose of banana taste and aroma, making it taste almost like a tripel. But right on the heels of that we find a really strong malt flavor more reminiscent of a dubbel. At the end its' a glorious combination of dubbel, tripel and wit. Tastes strong, alcohol-wise, but I would never peg it at 10%. Maybe 7. The drinkability, coupled with the high alcohol content, make this a very dangerous beer. Mouthfeel is heavy for a wit, but that is to be expected. I thought it was just about right.

If you are a fan of belgian ales, this one is definitely worth a try. I am going to try to track down some more this weekend!

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Photo of BigJune
4.74/5  rDev +37%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer was darker than I expected. Since my color vision is off, I will not attempt to describe the color.

The smell had a large presence of banana overtones. The smell had suggestions of sweetness. Hop aroma was not present. Alcohol smell was not present.

The taste was EXCELLENT. I generally like highly hopped ales, but this had a pleasing sweet, but not overly sweet, finish. I could not taste any alcohol, but after 2 bottles, my head was quickly reminded about the 10.3 ABV.

Head retention was poor and the laced sides receded quickly.

Overall, this is a great brew....I will buy more.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
4.65/5  rDev +34.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured chilled in ale glass, plus I've had it aged (2+ years) served at room temp and poured in large shot glasses (split among friends)

A: billowy dark yellow with pronounced head; great carb action; decent lacing
S: Buoyant orange and honey
T: very complex flavor; sweet and intense; very malty, low on the hops; high ABV shines through; in the young version you'll find the spice and orange other reviewers note. But in the aged version something tremendously wonderful happens -- a heavy currant, prune flavor emerges; complex fig flavors shine through. It's not quite a barleywine at this point, but it nudges the witbier in that direction.

Overall, this is one of my favorite beers. And aging it is an amazing thing.

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Photo of acelin
4.64/5  rDev +34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle purchased in a "Beer Geek" Sixer.

I have to say I am super impressed with the aroma of this beer. Strong scents of dried raisins and spice with hints of alcohol come through to the nose. The beer is a deep orange rusty brown color with a moderate head that dissipates quickly.

Tastes really well - I don't agree with the average rating at all. Very full bodied, not too sweet, and not too hoppy. The yeast plays a fundamental role in this beer. Strong flavors of raisins and bananas permeate this beer, with alcohol spiciness bitting in well at the end.

Overall this is amazing beer.

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Photo of batlash
4.64/5  rDev +34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I'm not really a Witbier fan, so I avoided this beer when first released. Curiosity eventually got the better of me and I had to try it. Pours a nice coppery color from the bottle with very little head. Similar fruity/spicy aroma common to a Witbier, but stronger. First sip and the high ABV is immediately obvious. Goes down with a nice warm burn. The hoppy bitter of a Witbier is almost completely missing. This definitely has more of a rich, malty flavor, sweet and sugary. It may have a Witbier base, but this Imperial White is something unique. Like some others have said, it seems more characteristic of a Belgian Tripel than a Witbier. If you're looking for something true to style, avoid this. If you're looking for an easy-drinking surprise in a high gravity beer, definitely give this one a try. I'll be picking up more of these.

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Photo of mempath
4.63/5  rDev +33.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

very tight-packed head that settles over time and leaves a unique foamy sheet of lacing on this tulip. deep opaque orange-apricot color.

light wispy peachy nose. very light, but delicate as it should be.

what a silky, BOLD palate bomber! getting more of a fermented peach note that is embedded in the seamless mouhtfeel. thick and extremely smooth. not sure if the boldness is the alcohol or the flavor. that's how well crafted this is. very surprising. the carbonation is bristling but in much the same way the appearance is...tightly packed. very much a CRAFT brew.

very very drinkable. which is scary at 10%+abv...

haven't tried the other imperial series offerings, but this one makes me ignore the naysayers and take a gander.

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Photo of dananabanana
4.62/5  rDev +33.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: hazy orange. One-finger white head, pretty good retention. Strong lacing all around.

S: Smells wheaty immediately after opening, even from arms length. Bold citrus notes.

T: Mildly alcoholic tang. Citrus and spices. Bold and hearty. Lots of malt, wheat.

M: Nicely carbonated, slightly slick.

D: Very strong, took me a long time to drink and fully enjoy it. Definitely a big brew.

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Photo of Gump
4.59/5  rDev +32.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My first beer of the Imperial Series.

Pours a medium amber with touch of cloudiness.
Immediate foamy head that doesn't last too long.
The aroma is strong on corriander with a hint of orange.
Medium-full body.
Flavor is biscuit, moderate hops and a peppery back end, with terrific alcohol flavors. Warming.
Clearly a belgian yeast.

Fantastic beer that is very wit-like in the nose, but the flavors scream Imperial.

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Photo of tjd112
4.56/5  rDev +31.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Chimay glass, appearance is opaque, hazy amber colour with decent head and little lacing. Smell is like that of orange and a liqueur. Taste is fresh orange, honey, and coriander with a heavy bite. Very heavy mouthfeel with a wet tasty finish. This is a premo beer that is perfect for after dinner or with a fruit pie.

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Photo of ZAP
4.55/5  rDev +31.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is a little "wheat wine" like with additional floral notes along with citrus notes of oranges, corriander, and bananas.

Body is big and little cloying but the booze and spicing helps keep it in check.

Flavor is rich, sweet maltiness complimented by fresh oranges, bananas, and corriander...this is pretty complex and also has smaller notes of subtle white pepper and some tropical fruits (papaya, pinneaple, mango)

This is a dynamite beer....very "Imperial" and very complex....a sipper but I could handle a couple or more at one sitting as it continues to excite the more you drink it....great stuff...

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Photo of DesMoinesMike
4.55/5  rDev +31.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Holy shit this one of the most flavorful beers I've ever had!

I was a bit reluctant to give this one a try because of the "Imperial" in the title because I've tried a few imperial stouts and have found them disgusting. This, on the other hand, is strong but in a very good way.

This "white" poured a medium red color which I found very interesting. It had a huge amount of off-white head that settled into what looked like a doily floating on top of my beer. The aroma was heavy with citrus and what seemed like flowers. The flavor had those in abundance and a bit of what seemed like red wine in the mix. VERY heavy body. Make sure to drink this cold, as it warmed up the flavors became less tolerable. It didn't have the aftertaste I expected from a 10.3% beer, but it was very much so there.

I was extraordinarily impressed with this beer. With the price tag it will be an occasional re-buy. Great gob SA!

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Photo of FlemingVSKing
4.5/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Simply a good strong and flavorful witbier.

The floral hops, orange, corriander, and potent alcohol content blend perfectly in a very bold taste. It may actually be a bit shocking at first but leaves you wanting more and more.

I have read some complaints about the lack of a thick head. That is true. You can pour this brew like a Pepsi and it won't foam but I can't for the life of me really hold that against it. It's just the least little thing that I'm worried about.

The head that does exist holds well and leaves tantilizing little rings down your glass as you go.

It's a really great brew for pilsner fans looking to find something more.

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Photo of BeerManDan
4.5/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This ale when poured into a glass was the color of a hazy thick deep amber, with little foam and a medium amount of lace retention. The smell of spices like cloves, cinnamon, orange peel, also a hint of wheat and yeast. What a great balance ale that is one of my favorites in the Sam Adams Series!

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Photo of Lauthaha
4.5/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a beer mug.

Appearance: Pours a golden/copper color with perfectly even carbonation. Two finger creamy eggshell white head settles into a thin foam on the surface of the beer after about ten minutes. Simply a beautiful pour.

Smell: A creamsicle-type feel to it. Blood oranges, vanilla ice cream, caramel malt, and a fairly decent dose of alcohol.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Beer comes in without a great deal of fanfare, then the malt flavor begins to expand exceedingly quickly. As the carbonation bubbles up, there's a wintergreen or spearmint flavor that cuts through the citrus-jammed hops. It's certainly imperial. Aftertaste is fairly bitter, with just a touch of sweetness and a great spicy herbal essence.

Overall: Very heavy witbier, awesome job Sam Adams! (Heavy in the Marty McFly way)

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Photo of logg
4.5/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an unusual and wonderful beer. A refined but potent near-dessert brew. Rich, sweet and aromatic, with a good alcohol kick. If Macallan opened a brewery, this is how I imagine their beer would taste.

When it's cooled below fridge temp, it takes on this amazing somewhat viscous, cloudy and sparkling amber texture unlike any other beer I've seen.

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Photo of zassenhausen
4.47/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Marlon, from Boston introduced me to this beer.
Beautiful color, rich amber. Floating wheat malt reminds me of the German Hefe's.
Balanced smell, orange, coriander.
Taste is very good. I am a fan of Belgian style ales and that is what this is. Proper glassware is important. It is not a White/Wit. It is sweet, and as it warms it is boozy (10%). To me it tasted more like a good Belgian Quad. I will add this to the stock of my beer fridge.

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Photo of Drobinator
4.47/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - poured a misty dark gold with very little head

S - Strong aromas of spice, fruit and malt

T - Malty, orange. Fairly balanced with an edge toward the sweet side. Less spice on the palate than the nose.

M - Poured thick, and had a full feel to it. Felt creamy on the finish.

D - Very drinkable. That combined with the high ABV makes it a beer to be careful with.

I was looking forward to checking this out because while I love the Double Bock, I've always been a little underwhelmed by the many of the other offerings. This did not disappoint. Will have again soon.

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Photo of joemeister
4.42/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer has a very attractive amber-copper complexion. The head is somewhat frothy and dissipates in about two minutes. Cloudy, and reminiscent of fall.

The smell is forthright and indicative of a malty sweetness. Almost like a combination of a red and granny smith apple.

This beer's bite is more elusive (and thus more fun) than its bark. Based on the smell, I was expecting something more along the lines of a Double Bock taste. But this is more three dimensional and smacks of a learned finesse. On contact, I feel the slight aggression of hops and carbonation. Once that particular "brightness" has faded, the taste really opens up; it unfolds into a smooth palette of fruit and spices. It has a near syrup-like consistency on its way down that serves to slow the drinking experience just enough such that this beer's message is conveyed in its entirety. The bottle suggests orange as the fruit note, but I am reminded much more of the sweet-and-sour capacity of apples. There is a definite warmth to this drink, I would guess as a result of the spices and relatively healthy alcohol level.

At 10.3% ABV, the Imperial White is not something one should relegate to party duty, but I could easily claim a 4-pack as my own for one evening. This is - thus far - my favorite beer brewed by the great minds of the Boston Beer Company. It is an outstanding execution that offers a pleasant challenge to your sense of taste.

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Photo of Essayons1
4.42/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I was curious to try this beer coming back from Germany, having been hooked on German White (as opposed to non-German versions). Starts off with almost a syrupy like mouth feel but is a very consistent and smooth taste. The higher ABV is felt towards the end but isn't obvious in the taste and results in a very well balanced beer. Not my favorite but definitely one I'll get again. Though maybe not recommended, drinking it with a slice of lemon makes a big difference for the better in that the acidic citrus really does a good job of balancing out the very basic mouthfeel.

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Photo of chilidog
4.42/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My true favorite of the Imperial series.
It pours a well carbonated gold/orange. White head that starts out full, pillow like, tons of lace.

Aroma Of citric hops, vanilla and wheaty yeast.

Taste is hopped up for sure. Citric hops, vanilla ice cream, wheaty earth, yeast, cane sugar and yep, alcohol.

At 10.3% the alcohol hits the mouth while the citric hop oil coats as a glaze of sugar sweetness settles.

The drinkability is there for me, in moderation. This is no lawnmower wheat, this is a sunset, deck sittn wheat. Oh ya!! If its not "true" to style cause its to strong or sweet, it works for me just fine.

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Photo of MrHungryMonkey
4.4/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

10.3 ABV batch.

Nose is full of fruit perfume, soft spice, and an-almost bubblegum sweetness. Smells quite good.

Pours a dark butterscotch color, no clarity, mildest of heads that was creamy while it lasted. Looks pretty good - maybe good, on account of the alcohol.

Mmm. Beautiful manifestation of the fruit perfume from the nose blended with supple fruit sweetness, quenching tartness, and spicy goodness. Good, strong notes of strawberry and banana with perhaps pineapple or orange, some mango, and guava. Nebulous spice tantalizes the olfactory without ever landing solidly on any one aroma receptor. And then there's the smooth, creamy body of a lightly carbonated, heavily-syruped, fruit-based frozen drink that's melted. In fact, I could imagine this as a mixed drink - especially with all the tropical fruit flavors. Banana is the most peculiar, and I love a good bananay wheat ale. What an amazing body - it get's creamier with each sip I tell you! Finishes with a funky tropical vibe. No alcohol noticeable. Tastes great. Feels wonderful.

Hands down the best Witbier style beer I've had. What's wrong with extreme? It's beautiful.

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Photo of OdinMcHaggis
4.4/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Packaging is unimpressive, the slow pour yields a thin head that fades quickly. The beer is orange.
The smell is fruity and obvious, no hint of alcohol.
The beer has a low hops profile, a honey flavor, somewhat dry finish. The finish is long. No alcohol present.
The body is full. The carbonation is lacking.
Overall, this beer is a good offering. It's taste, ABV, relative value, make this beer a must try.

That this beer has a 79 is wrong. The Bros. need to review this.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.4/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Initial Response:

I had this at a beer tasting. It was one of the first times they rolled out a couple of kegs of the imperial series after announcing the release so I was intent on trying each.

From the tap poured into a small tasting cup.

The color was a light yellow. Head was white and quite foamy.

The smell was strong with a fruity overtone and a bit hoppy as well.

The taste was full of great hop flavor. Fruity taste with hint of tangerine in the background (I may have placed that fruit wrong) with a malty wheat taste as well.

This beer was a bit of a surprise. I was second among the friends that tried it and my friends first tasting of it was of dissatisfaction. I greatly liked the beer and i will be picking up a four pack and will update my review when I have more of this good beer.

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Samuel Adams Imperial White from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.46 out of 5 based on 1,283 ratings.
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