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 Sammy
3.65/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Better than your average wheat beer. Sweetish aromas. Pours creamy head, and creamy above-average thick mouthfeel. Carbonation greater than average. Satisfying and drinkable. Some orange, spices. Some sweetness, fruitiness, the bias is not too sweet.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.58/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: 2 finger head with decent retention on a murky copper body. some lacing.

S: caramel, orange citrus, caandy sugar, some earthy hops and caramel.

T: honey, candied oranges, mollasses, caramel, brown sugar... all together make this very sweet, too sweet... with lots of booze.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation. a little chewy

Overall: this one is pretty hard to drink. very boozy. its too sweet too. Not really able to finish this one.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.88/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Imperial White Ale was probably my favorite of the three that came out in this series. I thought that the Stout and Bock would have taken the crown but they didn't. This beer pours out much darker orange than I expected it to for being a white ale. The head was pretty thick looking and left behind some good lacing. The smell of the beer has the typical coriander and yeasty citrus aromas along with some spice. The taste translates the aroma into flavor and even gives off some floral flavors as a bonus. The mouthfeel is much thicker than expected as well. The be isn't all that heavy but it had some serious body to it. Overall it's a really nice brew and really worth looking into.

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Photo of metter98
3.58/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The beer is very hazy dark yellowish amber in color and has a moderate amount of carbonation along with some yeast particles visible floating in suspension. It poured with a two finger high off white head that gradually died down and left lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are aromas of candi sugar, orange citrus and wheat in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and is slightly sweet with flavors of alcohol and spices in the finish.
M: It feels a bit higher than medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The sweetness and alcohol flavors can make this beer a bit difficult to drink.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It's exciting to see a ground-roots brewery break out their molds with some daring and energetic beers. Nothing is more a leap of faith than an Imperial Witbier.

The beer begins with a surprisingly copperish-orange-golden hue that has a viscous character to the sight. A thin head forms and then lasts the session. Lacing and legging evident on the sides of the chalice.

Juicy aromas of fresh oranges jump out at the nose. A cotton-candy maltiness then follows along with a heavy dose of soft, spicy corriander. An unexpected ethanol scent burns the nose hairs and warns to take it slowly.

Extremely sweet flavor hit the palate with a sugary, malty, honey-like flavor. Orange juice, pineapples, and a plethera of esters build on one another and continue to develop the flavors deep into the finish. No hop presence to mention, but the peppery phenols give the complexity and a valid attempt to balance the sweetness.

Again, very sweet, heavy, and somewhat oily to the feel because of the extraordinary amount of unresolved sugars. Alcoholic heat pushes the beer further than expected. The beer looses the classic cool, soft, delicate, creamy mouthfeel that original Witbiers showcase well.

Rather than an Imperial Witbier, this could easily be considered a Barleywine with a Witbier influence. Interesting nonetheless.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.88/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Oh look, another hefty American beer dwelling in the back of my fridge, ripe for playing a close second fiddle in my tribute to Repeal Day...

This beer pours a cloudy, sediment-rife orange-brown colour, with two fingers of foamy, creamy off-white head, which leaves a beautiful thin cobweb of lace around the glass as it recedes. It smells of sweet wheat malt, bananas stewed in vodka, and some mild yeast and spice. The taste is sweet fruity wheat malt - banana, principally, some vanilla/caramel adding to the sweetness, slightly astringent warming alcohol, and coriander and pepper spice. The carbonation is the low, unmiddling side, the body medium-full in weight, smooth, slightly addled by the undeniable booze, but still creamy, from caramel, grain, sugar, and phenols alike. It finishes still mostly sweet, from the usual suspects, tempered just enough by the somewhat unknown drying element.

There seems to be an "Imperial" category for many a style, but not witbiers, which you would think makes pretty good sense. That is, until you run head-on into this offering from the BBC (confusion with this acronym only exposes one's non-American upbringing here...)

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Photo of oriolesfan4
2.41/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Finally got around to trying some of the new SA Imperial Series. Bought a 4 pack for $8.99.

Pours a cloudy orange, small head to it with a small amount of patchy lacing. Smell is very spicy, also very boozy. Tastewise, nice body to it.. the spiciness really comes through here. A VERY strong alcohol kick to it as well... this tastes stronger than a DFH 120 minute. Any typical witbier characteristics are just over-matched by the spiciness and mixed-drink type alcohol flavor. Kinda bummed about this one, there is no flavor detectable besides the ethanol... too bad.

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Photo of emerge077
2.66/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark orange copper, odd for a witbier. Thin layer of white foam that dissipates quickly, to be expected considering the abv.

Smells like circus peanuts candy, super sweet with artificial oranges, though there is something still vaguely resembling beer here too. Sharp isopropyl alcohol rears its ugly head as the beer warms.

Very sweet and somewhat boozy, candied orange and crystal malt reminds me more of a faded imperial IPA than Witbier. Extra sweet and caramelly. Dry prickly finish, alcohol is way too forward here, just unapologetically boozy. Slick and syrupy feel, high gravity largesse, it coats the mouth and nearly triggers the gag reflex... that's no good. Yuck. Going to be a drainpour for the last bit of it. Not recommended.

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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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Photo of zeff80
3.99/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a cloudy, orange color with amber highlights near the top of the glass. It had a small, foamy, off-white head that left soapy trails of lace.

S - It smelled of clove and tons of yeast. It had some nice banana aromas mixed with wheat.

T - It tasted spicy with hints of nut. It had nice sweet wheat flavors with yeast and clove taste, too.

M - It was crisp and very sharp. It was medium-bodied with a warm alcohol presence.

D - This is quite possibly the best wheat beer I've ever had. It really is finely crafted with great aroma and flavor.

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.28/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a cloudy moderate golden color with a white head. Nose brings a lot of booze and some stone fruits, peaches, and a bit of banana and spice. The taste is really dominated by booze with some slight peach flavors in the background. Feel is very poor, nearing on awful, with some cloying sugar and booze. Way too thick, even for an imperial wheat beer. Much thicker and more boozy than the typical wheatwine. Not a good beer.

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Photo of mothman
3.47/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into Sam Adams Sensory Glass

Appearance: hazy golden dull brown. 2 finger head. Some thin lace marks. No sediment (as compared to SA white ale).

Smell is of lemons, apples, and cranberries. Very zesty. I am diggin' the smell.

Taste is boozy and fruity. Same fruits as in the smell. I enjoy the taste, but there is just way too much booze for a witbier.

Mouthfeel comes of slightly bitter. Very boozy on the palate, too boozy. Leaves an alcohol flavored aftertaste mixed with apples and fruity flavors. Very dry.

Overall, I actually enjoyed the original white over this (I drank them side-by-side). It was a lot easier to drink and more enjoyable than this. I really was looking forward to trying this beer, but I think SA went in the wrong direction here.

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Photo of jlindros
3.23/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tall white fluffy head fades at a medium pace with a touch of lacing over clear golden copper orange color.

Nose has lots of wheat, sweet malty aromas, a little syrupy, lots of wheats with some light citrus, orange peel, and even hint of banana, light spices, and light booze.

Taste is sweet, syrupy, creamy, lots of wheats again, spices bringing coriander, orange zest, and a few other spices, light fruits, lots of tingly and warming booze, a slight esthery flavor and some weird iffy off flavors even. Finishes sweet and sticky, with a lot more warming and tingly booze, syrupy, and fruits as well as spices.

Mouth is medium to a bit heavier bodied, boozy and decent carbonation.

Drink is meh, quite a bit of booze, sticky and syrupy, weird flavors and spices, meh.

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 6/1/2013. Pours moderately hazy/cloudy golden orange color with a 2 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of lemon zest, orange peel, pear, apple, wheat, bread, honey, caramel, coriander, clove, pepper, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of malt, spice, and yeast ester notes; with decent strength. Taste of lemon zest, orange peel, pear, apple, honey, wheat, bread, caramel, coriander, clove, pepper, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of lemon/orange zest, pear, apple, honey, caramel, wheat, bread, coriander, herbal, light clove, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice balance, robustness, and complexity of malt, spice, and yeast ester flavors; with zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very slick and slightly syrupy mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very good imperial witbier. Good balance and complexity of malt, spice, and yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.17/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow! I'm surprised that with so much malt the spices actually come through with such sharpness. But I'm getting ahead of myself. It pours a cloudy amber with an orange cast and gold and brass highlights beneath a short head of creamy yellowed-white. The head retention is good and it leaves walls of tiny spots and streaks as it goes. However, for a beer with such a healthy dose of glutinous wheat, and so much malty girth it should be better. The nose is fruity, and rind-like. It's citrusy (lemon) and gently spicy. In the mouth it's medium-full and spritzy , or perhaps that's zesty - with so much body I'm not sure it can be 'spritzy', so, yes, zesty. The flavor is as the aroma suggests but much more full. The malt also steps up to the front. It's wheatish and sugary, and it suggests caramel, or at least darkened sugar amidst the fruitiness (apples, lemon, plum). In a way it makes me think of a warm oatmeal breakfast treat. Oats and cinnamon? - not quite, but along the same lines in a way. It's also interestingly more clove-like than coriander-ish. That must be from the yeast. It's interesting, rich, and satisfying. The alcohol never shows, although it probably helps to focus the finish; and the bitterness is balanced to work with the spiciness so that it off-sets the sweetness of the malt just enough, and then lets it finish dry with a swirl of spiciness. Full and rich, and somewhat complex. Worth trying.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.02/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace.

S: The aroma is of bananas, citrus, Belgian yeast, light malts, some spice and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a harsh alcohol bite followed by sweet flavors of caramel, citrus, spices and some Belgian yeast. The malt character is hearty and there's a decent hops presence. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, strong kick, decent representation of style it's a prime example of why certain types of beer shouldn't push the ABV too high. I thought an amped up version of Sam's White Ale would be pretty good but I was proven wrong.

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Photo of mactrail
3.73/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Strong, sweet, and spicy. Pours a bright amber amber in the glass rather than any usual pale Wit color. Very nice head and long-lasting lacing. Lots of citrus, sweet orange especially. Makes me think of marmalade, with an edge to the sugar. The other spices are fairly robust, but in keeping with the head-slap Imperial mega-beerishness. The creamy sudsy mouthfeel is outstanding. Rich but not syrupy.

Definitely an interesting concoction. A different kind of strong ale that is really pleasing if taken in the right attitude. Sip very slowly.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.03/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle - $2.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a hazed, dark orange-amber body with a full, fluffy, off-white head.

Smell: Souped up, heady scent of barley and wheat malt with some tangy accents and notes of fragrant spices and light fruit and honey candy.

Taste: Sugary sweet tastes of malted barley and wheat that's both a tad bready and a tad tangy. Fair pinches of spice and dried orange peel. Thin drizzle of honey. Faintly spicy, floral hops and bitterness. Some warming alcohol qualities arrive late. Neither the hops nor the alcohol can seem to cut the sweet syrup. The sticky, warming finish is reminiscent of the conclusion for the film Return of the King -- it just won't end!

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Mellow, medium-low carbonation. Altogether thick, heavy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: The one bottle will suffice, thank you. Forgoes the refreshment and grace of a standard witbier with its burdensome body and cloying nature. My kingdom for some effervescence! By the end, my trip to the bottom of the bottle had slowed to a mere crawl, even with the much needed aid of some water.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.15/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Blurry apricot with a fine yeasty haze and several streams of slowly rising bubbles whose ultimate destination is a three finger crown of sandstone colored foam that is mousse-like in its airy creaminess. Sheer curtains of lace with Swiss cheese holes decorate the upper portion of the glass.

The nose is more BSAA (Belgian strong amber ale) than witbier. There must be something in here other than coriander and orange peel. Grains of paradise? BBC seems to have a penchant for that particular spice. Assorted fruity esters and alcohol are noted as well. Let's hope the flavor is at least as good and at least as interesting.

I'm not sure why the brewery calls this beer a witbier, other than the fact that it uses 50% wheat malt and is spiced. It sure doesn't taste like a wit, not even an Imperial one. What it tastes like is a sweet and spicy Belgian-style ale that began impressing the hell out me from the word 'go'.

There isn't much flavor contribution from the malt, other than a 'just right' amount of sweet breadiness. Candi sugar is most likely present as well. The Hallertau Mittelfruh hops don't add much, other than keeping things from being cloying. Alcohol adds power and flavor intensity.

The spice bill is still hard to figure. C'mon guys, why not give us the specifics? Coriander is an obvious guess. A background pepperiness brings to mind grains of paradise (alligator pepper). I also wouldn't be a bit surprised to find that a Belgian ale yeast is in the house. Maybe not, but it sure does taste like it.

The mouthfeel is lush, plush, soft, smooth and creamilicious. Nigh on perfect carbonation is the biggest reason why the beer feels both full and voluminous, just like the best Belgians. This attribute is the highlight in a beer that has no lowlights.

Samuel Adams Imperial White is delicious beer that has held up very well in the nearly one year since its release. It isn't as good as Bell's Batch 8000 and Southampton Double White Ale, but it isn't that far behind. A yearly release would be cause for celebration.

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Photo of mikesgroove
2.28/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

reviewed from notes, part of the big sam adams tasting on xams day. we plowed through everyone we could find in the damn state! served cold and poured into a pint glass.

alex grabbed this one from the four pack and it may have been the loser of the night to be honest. the pour was ok, nothing to write home about with a quick and fleeting head that did not stay around long at all. aroma is way boozy, holy crap. hot alcohol dominates the smell and the taste, the flavor to the point of obnoxious. thick light cough syrup with soo much candied malt to cover it up i was just insure of where to even begin, this was just not well done. too much for me and it ended in a drain pour, the only one of the night.

overall this was a bad release i have to say, it is just too hot, unbalanced and just does not work on any level.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.38/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

shared this with tenderbranson69, poured chilled into a sampler
A - A pale/light copper w/ thin white cap, bubbles slowly rise. Gentle haze, thick white coats the glass

S - Like bread, honey and melons w/ celery odor and high alcohol presence in the nose

M - Strong heat, sweet texture -almost viscous w/ mild spice and high carbonation for the strength

T - A bit like cough syrup in strength at first w/ alcohol flavor followed by wheat and mild fruity/tropical flavor which improves as it warms w/ more malty flavor and mild spice

D - A strong tasting beer and bold - I would recommend sampling with food. It seems a bit intense for my taste @ 10.3% to really be considered drinkable. I like it but this doesn't hide the alcohol well. Not an every day beer, perhaps shared or as a nightcap best suits this.

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Photo of russpowell
3.94/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in Liqour World Fayetteville ARK

Pours an effervescent amber with a sliver of beige head. Sheets of lacing & good head retention

S: Juicy fruit & some phenols

T: Follows the nose with banana creme, & vanilla up front, plus some heat. More banana with a kiss of white pepper as this warms, along with some boozey breadyness & some grainyness. Finishes with a flourish of tropical fruit, with bananas leading the way, damn near pulled a 4.5

MF: Smooth, chewy, & subtle carbonation, pretty warming

A bit chewy, but I am really digging this from start to finish! Well played Sam Adams! I accept this as an IMP Wit, not a wit, but even then; I'd take it over watered down offerings, no problem!

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Photo of smcolw
3.52/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy orange-amber color. Very small head, particularly for the style. Light spotty lace on the glass.

Fresh raw wheat aroma with a strong dose of yeast. Notable alcohol in the background.

Starts off smooth and alcohol oily. The flavors of wheat are muted. In fact, the most distinctive aspect is sour, citrus flavor. The aftertaste is all alcohol. Overall, not my cup of tea (or beer that is).

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.44/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Served in a Sam Adams sensory pint glass.

I remember trying this one when it first came out and strongly disliking it. Figured I'd give it another shot after "developing my palate" (I hate using that phrase, as it really sounds kinda wine- (or anything-) snobby, but I can't easily come up with a better one). It pours a hazy Clemson-auburn (why should Auburn be the only tiger-based school with a color, hm?) topped by a short-lived half-finger of white foam. The nose comprises mandarin oranges, lemon zest, light cardamom, and light toffee. Unfortunately for these elements, they're all covered by a thick fog of McCormick's vodka, plastic bottle and all. Sad, really. If it had meshed somewhat nicely, like a strong screwdriver or something, it would've been fine, but this is just too much. The taste is more of the same, with a bit more orange this time 'round (moving closer to a peel, though). It's just an overly boozy mess of a taste, just like the smell, but is somehow less astringent. I can't explain it, either. The body is a hefty medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta sticky feel. Overall, this is just too much for what it might even want to be. The booziness is so omnipresent and malignant that I really don't want to continue drinking this very much, much less get any more bottles.

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Photo of woodychandler
2.92/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I keep hoping that Sam. Adams will finally take the plunge and CANvert to CANs, but in the interim, my curiosity is piqued by their small batch series.

From the bottle: "Wheat Ale brewed with spices"; "Elegant and regal yet deceptively fierce"; "This golden concoction begins with the soft sweetness of its witbier roots with hints of orange and citrus. Yet these familiar flavors are taken to the next level with an exotic blend of spices reminiscent of medieval brewing. From coriander to dried plum and anise[,] the spices combine with a bolder, richer flavor for a warm, spicy brew that's smooth and refreshing."; "At Samuel Adams[,] we love experimenting. This series of limited edition brews represents some of our favorite small batch creations."

My pour produced a massive two-plus fingers of dense, bubbly tawny head that cascaded from the bottom and fell from the top, leaving nice lacing in its wake. Color was a cloudy orangish-amber. I definitely got coriander and anise on the nose along with a soft mixed fruitiness, reminiscent of chewing/bubble gum. Mouthfeel was smooth and creamy but the taste was a bit too riotous and unbalanced for my taste. I found myself unable to distinguish between all of the flavors trying to happen all at once on my tongue. I got vanilla, loads of spice and dried dark fruit, but it was all too much to parse. Finish was kind of hot on top of everything else. Man, this was much too intense for the style! Not everything needs to be "imperialized".

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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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