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

Samuel Adams Imperial WhiteSamuel Adams Imperial White
Liked This Beer
3.45 w/ 1,283 ratings
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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Ratings: 1,283 |  Reviews: 643
Photo of dhd1491
3.95/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours copper-orange, cloudy, with no head. Interesting flowery spice aroma. Taste is BIG. Sweet, oily with nutmeg. Lightly carbonated. Alcohol is huge and medicinal; distracts from everything else going on. This is a great choice to tie one on quickly, but a little too over the top otherwise. That said, there are some interesting flavors and aromas going on in the background, so not a complete bust by any means.

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Photo of TopperXiChiPsi
1.33/5  rDev -61.4%
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 superdedooperboy
3.98/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer represents a style virtually unheard of -- an Imperial Witbier. Being as such, it would be improper to rate this beer based on the Witbier style, and so I shall rate it according to its merits in relation to its base style as well as its special personal traits.

12 oz. brown bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a deep, rich, hazy golden hue verging on amber. Gives rise to a thick, creamy off-white head that holds rather well and settles eventually to a thick crowning ring. A gorgeous stained glass web of lace remains on the walls of the glass behind each swallow.

Nose shows a clear Belgian yeast presence, with the distinctive spicy fermentation character. Coriander and a touch of orange peel appear and are to be expected alongside, and a bit of boozy alcohol belies this brew's hefty 10.3% ABV.

As per the description on the label, the body and mouthfeel are worlds beyond those apparent in traditional Wits. Whereas "standard" Witbiers offer up a light, tingly, slightly slick mouthfeel, this "Imperial" version offers a thick, mildly-carbonated, slick and chewy body. The palate really only hints at a Wit, being likened more to a combination of Belgian Dubbel and Tripel. Sweet, vaguely grain-like malt forms the backbone of the beer, upon which layers of coriander, orange peel, faint clove and grassy, somewhat herbal notes are lain. A spicy-sweet finish mixes with a mild warming alcoholic astringency and lingers for quite sometime afterward.

Alcohol content hinders drinkability, but two of these would satiate, and the mix of flavor and aroma is quite unique and ultimately satisfying, providing a nice escape from the ordinary and providing, yet again, some space to reexamine the notion of what defines a beer and its style.

One of those brews that, along with Utopias, proves that the widely available, often commercially-viewed Boston Beer Co. is truly a craft brewery at heart. A perfect brew for to celebrate the American Craft Beer Week, as it is truly an example of a well-crafted, boundary-breaking beer. It would certainly be interesting to see, as the company suggests on the label, just how this beer stands up to cellaring.

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Photo of allergictomacros
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy amber-copper with a creamy off-white head. Nose is strong and sweet, with abundant alcohol and apple, floral notes. Very boozy smelling. Flavour is similarly big on alcohol and fruity fermentedness. Orange and coriander are background at best, obliterated by the heavy malt. Quite sweet, bordering on cloying and with a touch of acidity up front. Slick, oily mouthfeel with a low carbonation is substantial. The sweet/boozy mix is interestingly complex and somewhat reminiscent of Samichlaus, but drier and with a bit of a wheatiness. Definitely different, although I wouldn't recommend it as a regular brew.

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Photo of coldmeat23
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Pilsener Glass
TEMP: Cellared at approx 45 degrees

Wow, this is much darker than anticipated. It's dark orange with hints of copper. It has a two-finger head of creamy white foam. Retention is quite good and the lacing is very good.

The nose is full of big malt notes and typical witbier spices. Notes of orange and a touch of lemon. Corriander and a light hint of cloves. Caramel toffees and some brown sugar.
Interestingly unique.

Taste follows the nose, completely. There's not much that I could add here. Except to say that this is almost cloyingly sweet and the alcohol is somewhat detectable.

Almost full-bodied, which is a nice surprise. Very smooth and somewhat creamy. Nice low to mid level of carbonation.

While the flavor here is enjoyable, the cloying sweetness, combined with the high ABV would keep you from throwing very many of these back. Just smooth out that sweetness a touch and this would be very nice, though. I may put a couple bottles in the cellar and see what they do.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.17/5  rDev +20.9%
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 paco1029384756
4.15/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy dark orange color with a small creamy white head.

Scent of sugars, fruits, caramel, spices, and some alcohol. The scent is stronger than I expected, and even with the alcohol present this one holds up nicely.

Taste of grain, light fruits, butter, spices and a bit of alcohol. Alcohol isn't as apparent as it is in the scent. This one has a nice flavor to it; a bit lighter than the scent, which I like.

Mouthfeel is medium light bodied with strong carbonation.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear auburn gold body with cloying but quickly dieing tan head. Citric and clove are evident in the smell, but some heavier hops and stick, sweet caramel notes are also prevelant. An interesting beer indeed for a witbier lover, as the high ABV is mostly hidden but slightly noticeable in the hoppy dryness of the beer. Medium-bodied and balanced, goes down smooth w/ orange and spices evident, along w/ sticky, sweet malt. Not a normal witbier by any means but a great beer to relax w/ and a must try.

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Photo of CJfromPhilly
4.37/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours from the 12 oz bottle an orangish-amber with a thick foamy head that settles into a heavy collar. There's an almost macro like fizziness...LOTSA bubbles rising to the top. Aroma is wonderful, a mixture of fruit (orange & banana) and a caramel/toffee note. The flavor is big, bold and wonderful as well. I pick up hints of the aforementioned fruit plus the caramel/toffee, plus a bubblegum like sweetness. The alcohol is present and gets more noticeable as the beer warms, but doesn't take away from the experience. The mouthfeel is quite substansial...this is a thick, almost chewy beer. Overall, a big, bold, BEAUTIFUL beer from Jim Koch & the crew at Boston Beer Company!! This is top notch stuff, and I hope there's more on the shelves when I make my next beer run!!!

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Photo of scottyshades
3.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a hazy, unfiltered golden copper color. The head is small, lacing is decent. Pretty nice looking wit

S: Yeasty, bready nose. Alcohol is definitely present, which masks other notes. No citrus, but other fruit (pineapple?) is present. Strange...not bad, but more like a tripel

T: Yeasty, alcohol filled, bready, not really fruity either. A little too syrupy for a witbier I feel

MF/D: Too much alcohol for me. Too sweet as well. Not my cup, but I can see the appeal.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.1/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle purchased as part of a 4-pack from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" beige head over the cloudy golden amber brew. Head falls gradually, with average lacing. Aroma is sweet, lightly citrus. Taste also is sweet to start, which segues nicely into a lightly tart lemony close, with a lingering warmth. Mouthfeel is WAY smooth, and drinkability is excellent. Very nice brew once you get into it.

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Photo of Vancer
4.08/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Starts off with a opaque amber orange, with a thick and creamy ivory head floating on top. Looking good in the Sammy Adams freebie glass, with the lacing laying a sheet around the glass.

Sweet tangerine and citrus in the aroma and also the quaff. Additionally, the winter spices of clove and nutmeg really add some zest to the brew. No hint of any alcohol, sips like a dream. So much hops to balance it out, it actually has an oily feel to the finish.

Damn fine brew for $2+ a bottle, may sure you grab a 4 pack before they're gone.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.51/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Super cloudy, with a nice sticky head. Great lace. Aromas of spice, not-quite-done-baking bread, and citrus.

The flavor leads with orange, drops in some pine resin, the coriander and other spices are prominent, while the malts take a nap mostly. What's there is awfully sweet, bordering on syrupy, with impressions of Nyquil creeping in. Really not a bad experiment, but this is one witbier that's gone too far.

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Photo of Proteus93
3.29/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: A lot darker than I expected. Deep amber, quite hazy. The head has some trouble forming, potentially due to the higher alcohol content.

S: A robust aroma... lots of wheat, coriander, orange, and other ripe fruits... pear in particular. Pretty decent scent.

T + M: Big, syrupy, and sweet. Lots of sweet malts and wheat... some big fruity flavours... apple, pear, and some orange citrus. Spices add a little touch, but not as heftyas others, and I expected that an "imperial" wit could be too intense. It does well there, but it's still a bit rich in body and can get pretty sweet. Alcohol makes itself known quite quickly and appears more in the flavour as it warms, intensifying the warmth in the body slightly.

D: One big sipper, and maybe a little too sweet even taken slow. There's a lot going on in this beer - unfortunately, most of that is sugary sweetness. A whole lot of sugar sweetness.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single bottle poured into a Flying Fish pint glass. My 3rd in this series.

A- Imperial White pours thicker than your average wit. A cloudy orange color once in the glass, small bubbles are seen rising through the thickness. Not much of a head, more like a dismal cap. Some lacing in spots here and there, not much.

S- Super sweet, malts upon malts and a huge focus on fruit. Smells like a whole banana was used for each 12oz bottle. Fresh orange slices as well. I guess Sam used some hops in this but you not a trace in the smell. Some witbier like spices with warming but it's hard to get past the fruit.

T- Taste like something DFH would brew based on the over the top malt addition and slightly syrupy taste. A huge banana taste as expected with just a hint of clove on the backside. Rich sweet malts giving off a bready vibe. Orange peel, while the alcohol is well hidden.

M- The feel on this is full and sweet. It is above medium bodied with light carb. The aftertaste just lasts forever though which gets old after 4oz's or so. Some more spice factors in this may have rounded out the feel, but for now this is a malt bomb.

D- I was skeptic for good reason, i mean a 10.3% witbier, come on. It is exactly how I thought it would taste like though, A trumped up wit beer focused on sweetness. I'll take a regular wit any day of the week from Sam as a 10% witbier in the summer does not seem like a good look. With that said this is not the worst thing created, just predictable.

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Photo of lonestar4lunch
3.19/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This one starts off with a big, spicy, sweet aroma. Just a bit of lacing hangs around. Taste on this one is huge with bananas, herbs, malt, bitterness and alcohol. It's thicker than I was guessing it would be. It finishes with some hop dryness and spiciness that lingers. Very interesting and is a big beer to finish. 12oz is more than enough.

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Photo of TheBierBand
4.35/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass to produce a big 2-1/2" head of frothy, thick foam. The foam stuck around for quite a while. But as it dissipated, it left big clumps of foam on the side of the glass. The color of the beer is dark yellow/orange and is rather cloudy.

The smell is of orange citrus backed up by spicy coriander and a whif of alcohol.

Taste: WOW! BIG BEER! Quite sweet with a big alcohol ZING. Flavors include orange, spice, big alcohol finish.

MF: Thick/robust.... and smooth.

Drinkability: This is a sipper.... but its quite nice. It should not be considered a "lawn mower" beer. This is for a nice relaxing evening. Rich and hearty texture.

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Photo of weeare138
3.07/5  rDev -11%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to TomDecapolis for sharing the bottle...
Appears a murky amber with a small white head that quickly fades out into a tiny cap. Mild speckles of lacing quickly drop into a small collar.
Smell is of overkill caramel, sugary grain, and light citrus.
Taste is of caramel sweetness that borders on sugary syrup/adjunct, along with a mild spicing.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, viscuous, and sweet. I just wasn't feeling this one.

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Photo of degerbah
4.01/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy yellow-orange with no head. There is a significant hop aroma with a fruity smell as well.

This is a servicable (albeit absurdly strong)white ale. It's tasty and the only alcohol I'm picking up is how warm my face feels as a result of drinking it.

Overall I think this is a tasty but slightly over-priced beer. I think there is way too much alcohol for this to be an everyday beer which is a shame. I might get this again if I wanted to get drunk in a hurry. Otherwise, there are tastier beers out there.

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Photo of mwa423
3.81/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a solid two finger head that dies down to a solid lacing that sticks to the bottom of the glass. Color is a very dark but clear straw color.

S - Sweet and boozy, maybe a bit of honey smell.

T - Very very sweet, with a really sweet aftertaste.

M - Thick and rich, enjoyable for the style.

D - One or two, maybe the third of the four pack, but I doubt I could drink the entire 4 pack at 10.5 percent abv

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Photo of ThaBobfather
4.37/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours nearly opaque orange/copper color with thin rimming white head.
Smells of orange rind, spice, and sweet hops.
WOW. Tastes of sweet malt, almost syrup with some fruit flavor and spice.
Finishes is a bit muddily with a sweet taste left.
Pretty well drinkable.

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Photo of DavidSeanNJ
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark and hazy deep orange color with some amber tint. Extremely cloudy. Nice lacing for a witbier. Some serious head going on, however, did not last long.
S- Caramel, candy, sugar. Candy apple? Nothing but sweetness and alcohol in the nose.
T- This might be the maltiest witbier I have ever had. This reminded me of a sweet barley wine. I'm not kidding. Candied apples and oranges. Spicey kick. Bananas.
M- Thick, creamy, decadent. Sticky and sugary. Smooth but very rich.
D- I drank one and was pretty much finished due to the high alcohol content and cloying flavors. I appreciate this one because I have not had a witbier that pushed the boundaries as much as this one.

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Photo of Kromes
3.85/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber with a thick white head. Smells like sweet caramel malts and alcohol, doesn't really smell like a typical white beer. Tastes is of sweet caramel malts, alcohol, and some orange peel and coriander in the background. The only thing I didn't really like is how thick it felt. It is a bit syrupy. It tastes very good, so the drinkibility is good.

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Photo of cvfish
4.24/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - This beer poured an orange amber color that produced a fluffy white head that had good retention and laced the side of the glass nicely

S - The aromas produced by this beer had very sweet, fruity notes, and some spiciness

T - The taste of this beer was great, a good bit of sweet fruity flavors that went along side the maltiness very well, and a hint of spices

M - The mouthfeel of this beer had a medium body on it that was accompanied by a light amount of carbonation

D - This was a great beer, the style is not done as much and it was a pleasure to see someone take it up to the next level, this was a very tasty beer and great for the originality

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Photo of naterock
3.73/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured into a fluted tasting glass. medium dull copper in color with little to no head.

smell is overwhelming alcohol, with a yeasty nose. some banana and a little bit of clove and possibly some cinnamon.

tastes rich and spicy with a strong malt backbone and a modesthop profile. really suprising.

Mouth is a bit dry but crisp. Drinks slow and is a new style for me. I am excited for more styles like this.

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Samuel Adams Imperial White from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 37.6% out of 100 with 1,283 ratings
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