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 ghowehattrick
1.06/5  rDev -69.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I admit I am still young to the craft brew scene. I hesitate to post because I recognize my palate is not as experienced and travelled as many posters here, but on the other hand I feel that my inexperience could also bring another perspective to the experience of drinking this beer. I bought this beer a) because it is made by Samuel Adams, b)I like witbiers, c) I am increasingly enjoying the taste and overall experience of higher-alcohol brews, and d) I want to begin brewing my own beer, and I would like to make witbiers, but with a little higher ABV. I thought that this beer would be a good one to see what a high-ABV witbier was like.

A: orange hue, like an IPA. cloudy glass by the end of the pour. quarter-inch head, pale yellow foam. doesn't look or sound very carbonated.

S: cold campbell's tomato soup. literally. the only way to describe this beer. I didn't see any other similar posts regarding this smell, so is it possible I had a bad bottle? not sure, considering the label read that it can be aged to produce deeper flavors. I've never smelled anything close to this in any other beer.

T:alcohol, alcohol, alcohol. the bready taste is in constant tag-team mode with the alcohol. nothing like any witbier I've tasted. I realize it is an imperial, but wow. warms like a red wine after a few swallows.

M: very low carbonation, reminded me of a standard porter, but much less foamy texture. The drink warms up quickly inside the mouth with a few swirls. Any carbonation dissipates quickly.

O: Well, I doubt I will revisit this beer. Two swallows and it was a drain pour. I tried to put myself in someone else's shoes drinking this, wondering how anyone could possibly enjoy drinking this. The smell will be the thing I remember most about this beer. Nothing else in the smell came close to smelling like beer I know of. I can't imagine my palate developing to the point of appreciating this beer one day.

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Photo of grubas
1.06/5  rDev -69.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This was perhaps one of the worst beers I have ever had.

The alcohol was obviously present and tasted like vodka had been added to the beer. The flavours all tasted fake and added, and I literally poured it down the drain before finishing a bottle.

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Photo of Muther
1.16/5  rDev -66.5%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I'm a huge fan of witbiers and this is not a witbier by any stretch of the imagination.

This is just their horrible Boston Lager with a different label.
Taste, smells, and looks exactly like Boston Lager.

Sam Adams Boston Lager has always tasted salty and overpowering to me, it's never been a drinkable beer for me, but if you happen to like it, save your money buying this overpriced version. There's nothing special here.

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Photo of beersteak
1.22/5  rDev -64.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

How anyone can drink this beer en masse is beyond me. There is definitely some interesting stuff going on. It's a heavy beer with some nice soft, woody notes. Vanilla and a little spice. But, the overwhelming aspect of this brew is the alcohol. Like, as in the isopropyl alcohol type. Not good at all. Completely different from the other imperials. The Double Bock is great. Stout is ok too. Steer clear of this one IMO.


Just read LiquidBread's review. Looks like I'm not the only one. Ew!

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Photo of TopperXiChiPsi
1.33/5  rDev -61.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This is the first time that I have ever been disappointed by the Samuel Adams brewery. I bought this beer as a single bottle from an excellent beer shop, thinking I was getting a great taste of a beer I'd come to love over the coming years. I was sorely mistaken.

The color was great. It was darker than I expected, but I assumed that it's status as an "Imperial Witbier" would explain that. Actually drinking it, however, proved to be immensely difficult.

The first sip took me by complete surprise. I nearly spat out the vile concoction upon feeling the oily liquid slide down my throat. It burned a little, likely due to its 10.3% abv content. Simply put, it tasted like poison. I gagged each successive time I tried to drink it, and poured it down the drain after 3 sips.

I'm not someone afraid of strong beers. Frankly, I'll drink Camo, but I won't touch this stuff ever again. Don't buy this, and send the brewery a letter telling them how poorly they've done. Thanks,


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Photo of Beer-Revelry
1.42/5  rDev -59%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Sickeningly sweet. This tastes as if you took one of those gummy orange slice candies, then melted it, mixed it with orange triplesec, carbonated it and put it in a fancy overpriced beer bottle. If you like candy and oranges and lots of alcohol and sugar, then you'll like this.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
1.43/5  rDev -58.7%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

I have an open mind towards beer, but find this one to be repulsive. A witbier is a delicate, light, refreshing thing - this one is none of those. This beer is overpowering, with a sweet rotting graininess in place of the pleasant wheatiness and citrus notes I expected. I get that this is supposed to have all those attributes we like about witbiers just amplified, but this is not that to me...I am not finding those flavors to be louder, I am finding them to also be completely distorted into off-notes I don't care for. Combine that with a lot of booziness (which I'm OK with if the beer is giving me something else to hang in there for), and the flavor of this beer is a miss for me. Other notes: the color is a hazy orange with medium head formation, and the aroma is an isoamyl acetate warning of things to come. This is a drain pour.

I would suggest avoiding this one. Thanks to JaBier for providing this one, even though I did not enjoy it.

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Photo of Agold
1.49/5  rDev -56.9%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

This beer is a burnt orange color (odd for a WHITE, but whatever) with a small dense creamy head with little floaties. It smells of orange peels and liquor. It is cloyingly sweet, and you can definitely taste the spices that they use. There is also a ton of alcohol. It has a bit of a heavy mouthfeel and low carbonation. This is not really a beer that i would like to drink that often, but I am glad i tried it.

Edit: So I had one bottle of this left and tried to drink it again. It was a drainpour about 3 sips into it. There were disgusting floaty things in there which reminded me of diluted vomit, especially since it was thick and uncarbonated. It smelled of rancid candied orange peel. It tasted as one would expect a vomitey rancid sweet orange beer to taste, and is completely undrinkable. Wow. Seriously avoid this one. (Numbers are from first review, thought it was more fair than the bottle I laid down for a bit, hoping it would improve)

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Photo of SirSketch
1.52/5  rDev -56.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

A - Ivory colored head with a soda-pop fizz consistency that dissipates quickly. Ripe orange color and about as murky as beer gets.

S - Quite citrusy and a boatload of tangy white grapefruit character. Lots of alcohol, too, similar to a peach liquor.

T - Tons of malt character, but honestly too much ethanol flavor to concentrate on anything else. Way too sweet for any type of witbier. Hot fermentation combined with spices give this beer a grape Flintstones vitamin flavor.

M - Thick as cough syrup and no carbonation to help.

O - The worst offering from Sam Adams I've had to date. Much too hot and sweet without any complexity and completely overwhelming. Avoid!

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Photo of JayS2629
1.54/5  rDev -55.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Terrible. First beer I've graded this low that wasn't skunky. I love Sam Adams. This beer is an exception. This could be the reason it is the only imperial wheat beer on the market.

A- Pretty enough. Cloudy thick copper, grainy, creamy white head and nice lace.

S- Citrus is strong, bitter grapefruit and lemon, orange, banana, cloves, and metallic tones. Boozy aroma dominant too.

T- Wow! Boozy and medicinal. metallic tinges. Strong bitter citrus. Orange,lemon, grapefruit. Tart, bitter, and full of funk. Strong cloves, and hint of banana in the medicinal boozy aftertaste. Nasty.

M- Thick and grainy

D- Awful, thick and medicinal with a booze burn.

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Photo of nlmartin
1.67/5  rDev -51.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

This beer was served chilled in an Imperial Pint glass.

Appearance: I got to say this is the highlight of this beer. The beer pours a nearly peach coloration. The head is big thick and biege. Good retention is noted. Very nice lacing remains behind on my glass.

Smell: The beers aroma is dominated by bannana. An undertone of cloves and bubble gum is noted. The alcohol is very boozey.

Taste: Dam is this boozey. Dam is this sweet!... The beers flavor is dominated by super cloying sweet bananas.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability: The beer is a booze laden syrup. Honestly this beer is awful!... Sometimes you have to strike out to hit a home run. This was definately an example of swinging for the fences and striking out.

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Photo of bubseymour
1.77/5  rDev -48.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance - Horrible looking beer. I only didn't give it a 1 because it produced a 2 finger head that faded fast. Looks like really murky iced tea without any ice.

Smell - sweet liquor smell. not very pleasing at all

Taste - Got to be one of the most disgusting beers I've ever sampled. Flat, warm & boozy and tastes like cough syrup. Horrendous beer.

Mouthfeel - warm, buttery and flat.

Overall - this is one awful beer. I usually am kind to most beers but this one has to the least pleasant beers I've ever sampled. I guess this would be good if you had a cold and were out of Nyquil..but I tried 4-5 sips (hoping it would get better) but it did not. Drain poured after 5 sips.

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Photo of ShroudofTuring
1.8/5  rDev -48%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

I was rather excited to try this beer, since I'm a fan of the wit style.

I found the color a bit perplexing, since it seemed to be a little dark for the style, but the pour (from a bottle into a glass) left a nice smooth (if fleeting) head, coupled with a nice, spicy aroma.

However, once it finally got into my mouth, I very nearly spit it out, because the flavor came on strong and kept coming. The flavors of orange, coriander, and alcohol pretty much beat everything else into submission, which disappointed me, since I think one of the best things about the wit style is the enormous complexity of flavor that you can get. Also, the beer seemed to be overly sweet, which detracted from the experience and left it tasting rather sickly once the full flavor presented itself. The finish lasted for a long while, which ordinarily would have been nice, but the sweetness kept it from being truly enjoyable.

The mouthfeel was rather oily, which again detracted from the overall experience.

Overall, I'd say it would be best to pass on this beer. The packaging is beautiful, but Samuel Adams needs to go back to the drawing board on this one. With some tweaking, and dialing back some of the flavor elements, particularly the overpowering sweetness, this could probably be a good beer.

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Photo of rontoolsie
1.81/5  rDev -47.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

No need to describe the appearance in detail...this has been done many times above. I was however surprised that it had a dirty brown color instead of a hazy straw-colored one that I typically associate with witbiers.

The smell was that of rotting fruit. Really.

The taste was very sweet and syrupy, sort of like fermented corn syrup- and very reminiscent of (much) cheaper high gravity malt liquors like Steel Reserve or Earthquake.

In spite of paying a premium price of it at the restaurant, I chose to have left 2/3 of it in the glass undrunk.

I had been tempted to try out the Sam Adams Wee Heavy, but now I fear it too may be victim to the same unfortunate tastes.

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Photo of Overlord
1.84/5  rDev -46.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Ugh. Not very good. At all.

Pours a dark amber orange. Small white foam crust. Almost no head, really. A bit murky.

Smells faintly of alcohol, orange/cirtus juice, and ... alcohol. Taste is overly boozy. Really too much alcohol present for a wit. Super sweet. Damn, this is undrinkably, malty/fruit juicy sweet. Maybe a bit of lemon/orange rind, but it's one of the sweetest beers I can recall.

No real carbonation to lighten things up. The syrupiness is unpleasant. This is pretty damn bad. I think its syrupy sugariness may have given me a cavity. On the plus side, it seems to be attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Who unfortunately become insanely drunk from the overwhelming alcohol.

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Photo of vicg12
1.86/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 1

The smell was interesting, I was initially intrigued. Really is a beautiful beer, loved watching it while it filled up my glass, like bubbly golden straw. Really large head. But, right when it enters your mouth you are just struck with a strong pungent burst, it discourages you from taking a large sip, I powered through and was not rewarded. It is really just disgusting. Too many flavors buying for your attention, and they are like steam rollers on your taste buds, they don’t get along. Save your money and don’t buy this beer, it’s only good to look at. I ended up using 75% of the 24 oz bottle for cooking because I couldn’t handle anymore awfulness. I really don't understand how anyone could enjoy this beer.

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Photo of IMincedTheKing
1.9/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pours a murky tea-brown with pathetically thin off-white head.

The nose is holiday spices--cinnamon, clove-- artificial banana, tropical fruits, and yeast. It's a big and bold smell, but my first thought was "Scary!", and I don't think I can reconcile the aroma with the style.

Puckeringly sweet fruits and yeast combined with a big, chewy mouthfeel. I don't like any of it, and the only saving grace is the slight citrus aftertaste.

This reminds me more of a tripel than a witbier, but even looking at it that way, it's still terrible.

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Photo of Crosling
1.9/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Bottled.. Twelve ounce. Dark orange colored ale, with a large, creamy white head. Nose is strange, very sweet, fruity, coconut, ginger-ale like, just awful. Flavor is sweet, strong & fruity, with out a lot of body or finesse. Just awful in every way.

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Photo of TexIndy
1.91/5  rDev -44.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. No dating info but a new release so know it's fresh. Color was a hazy orange amber. Good amount of slow moving carb - almost like it was moving thru watered down syrup. No lacing. It had an average sized fizzy white head that quicky settled into bits of film and a collar.

The aroma was awful. Mega sweet and a ton of alcohol. Got a cavity just sniffing it. Besides the orange there is none of the usual wit aromas. Even the orange was off. Instead of a nice mid level aroma enhancer this was like someone poured a bag of sugar into some OJ. The taste was even worse. Starts out with an overly sweet attack and then progresses into pure alcohol. I don't have anything against high ABV but they have their place and after trying several imperial wits the past month that place is not wits. I'm ready for this fade to die out. Wits are my favorite style but this is just crap.

Overall, a drain pour. Avoid. One and so done. Enough with the imperial wits.

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Photo of jsh420
2/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

bottle is over 1 year old

pours murky burnt orange? i thought this was a wit? with a 1 finger head that left spotted lacing

smells is strong booze and malt

taste is very malty bready with some fruit banana and spice - lots booze

mouthfeel is thick - low carbonation

drinkability - the age hurt this one even though the label reads age for many years - it has turned into i dont know what a strong ale i guess

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Photo of kahjdfh
2.02/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I'm a big fan of Witbiers, but I was greatly disappointed in this beer. The amounts of hops in this overpowered everything about this beer. I could not taste any orange, coriander or any of the others spices associated with witbiers. I would not reccomend this beer.

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Photo of BostonHops
2.03/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12oz bottle served in goblet.

pours a hazy light amber color while yielding a good finger of head; moderate lacing, retention. decent appearance. unfortunately it's all downhill from here.

the nose tends toward the fruity side with notes of lemon and orange - also a hefty dose of booze. big malt presence with some spice evident. taste? simply put, not good. a well-intentioned brew that falls flat. too boozy, too sweet... not layered at all. tried to like it, esp considering its cost, but ended up a drain pour. not for me.

original review on: 07-20-2010 21:35:16

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Photo of perrymarcus
2.04/5  rDev -41%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

12oz bottle served in a goblet. pours a hazy, light amber color with a finger of head and moderate lacing. so far so good. the nose is fruity, boozy, and malty with some spice evident. taste? simply put, not good. a well-intentioned brew that falls flat. too boozy, too sweet. tried to like it, esp considering its cost, but ended up a drain pour. not for me.

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Photo of amtriska
2.1/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

This beer had a cloying maple syrup flavor that was surprising and a bit unpleasant. I found myself wishing that I could have the other flavors that this beer offers without the sweetness. It's not without its merits -- the syrupy flavor I found so overwhelming had woody and brown-sugary notes that tasted good with salty food. It's definitely a beer that you'll want to drink with snacks, though I'm not sure if it would complement a real meal. I quickly got tired of the sheer sweetness, though, and couldn't get through an entire beer.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.11/5  rDev -39%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a N'Ice Chouffe stem beerflute in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I don't think I've had Samuel Adams' imperial series before and I tend to like witbiers.

Served refrigerator cold. Acquired at Ralph's market.

A: Pours a two finger head of fair cream, nice thickness, and great retention for the high ABV. Colour is a hazy nontransparent copper. Strange looking for a witbier, but I'll go with it.

Sm: Heavy malt content, with some orange esters and clove. A bit like a tripel, actually. Some yeasty notes - which I didn't expect. Not like any witbier I've ever had. A moderately strong aroma.

T: Lemon and orange esters over a clean malt foundation. Clove. Quite simple, but pleasant. No layering. A bit heavyhanded, especially for the style. Doesn't feel fully fermented by any means. Some yeast comes through, but no alcohol. Poorly built for the style. Imbalanced. I'm not very fond of it at all.

Mf: Smooth and wet, suiting the style and the flavours generally. A touch too thick for what the flavours require. By no means overcarbonated.

Dr: I find it difficult to consume on account of its rather poor quality. This is built all wrong for the style, even if it's "imperial". The extra malt required to increase the ABV severely damaged the flavour profile. Now I know why I've never seen an imperial witbier before; it's a terrible idea. Not refreshing at all.

What happened to the delicate lemon tinges and refreshing character of the style? This is a disgrace, especially from Sam Adams.


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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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