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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Ratings: 1,283 |  Reviews: 643
Photo of SpecialK088
3.85/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Snifter

Pours a near orange color, very deep amber. Light head never really gets above 1 finger and lingers a nice film over the top.

Very spicy, corander along with some sweet spices and almost a belgian yeast. Very sweet notes as well.

Sweet and spicy, suprising how well the alchol is hidden being that its near 10%. Very sweet flavors with a nice spicy corander finish and a sligh alchol burn.

Light body and very complex the flavors all go together well without one overbearing the rest

Not something I would drink all the time but with the popularity of this style growing I am exited to try some more of them.

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Photo of webmanspidey
2.69/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into a pint glass.. copper orange color, fizzy head at the perfect proportion. Smell mostly reminds me of peaches.. maybe there is some spiciness and other fruits but it is mostly sweet.

Taste is not very pleasant and alcohol comes through very strongly. Sweet peaches again with some slight spices.

I wasn't very impressed with this one and have had many better witbiers. This seemed to be an attempt to take a regular witbier and add a bunch more alcohol than expected without any additional complexity in the flavor.

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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 DIM
3.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The label indicates 10.2% abv this year.

a: This was a somewhat hazy peach color. It pours with a large, slightly sticky, creamy looking white head.

s: Lots of bananas, lots of sweet, fermented bananas. A little flowery alcohol, minimal spices in the nose.

t: Huge, wheaty banana flavors that are over the top and obnoxious, but in a good way. The dry floral heat at the end and the long, lingering spiciness aren't as pleasant.

m: Thick, incredibly viscous with creamy carbonation. Maybe a little too thick.

d: This is just too much of a good thing. If witbier were Coke, this would be straight up syrup. Still, this was oddly appealing.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.32/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I poured into a nonic to an inch of head. It was a cloudy, copper color. It smelled of bananas, alcohol, and sweet malt. I was expecting this beer to taste horrible, but it did not. I was definitely different for me. I tasted of really ripe bananas and seemed syrupy. But at 9%+ ABV, it was not a bad way to start the evening.

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Photo of Tone
3.82/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a cloudy, orange/copper color. 1 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and decent lacing. Smells of banana, alcohol is noticeable, clove, some other citrus aromas, slight hops, and slight sweet malt. Fits the style of a Witbier. Mouth feel is thick and smooth, with a low carbonation level. Tastes of alcohol, sweet malt, slight hop, spices, slight citrus, and a hint of tartness. Hard to define the rating system on this 'Imperial' White. Way too strong to be a good Witbier, but it is meant to be an 'Imperial' and is tasty. Overall, a relatively smooth beer, the blend of flavors is nice and the aroma is pleasant.

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Photo of tdawgydog
3.59/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a four pack of this on a recent trip to my favorite beverage store. I was previously unaware of the "Imperial" line of beers that Sam's has been producing and since Wit is one of my favorite styles I thought I would give it a try.

A - Pours a little darker than your traditional Wit beer. Almost a dark brown
S - You can smell the alcohol in this beer, quite different from most Sam Adams brews.
T - The alcohol taste is a little strong, it tastes as if it had been aged in a barrel. There is a slight hint of whiskey or some other liquor in here.
D - Not overpowering, it was enjoyable, I just wouldn't classify this as a standard Witbier.
M - Very well done. The carbonation is just right and the beer is full bodied.

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Photo of johnnybgood1999
3.71/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is just what many would think it was looking at the Imperial White title: a Witbier on steroids. I picked this up in a mix n match sixer that allowed me to pick up brews at 8.99, that should have been $13-14 a sixer. That is the only reason I picked this up. My preconcieved notion that this beer would suck was way off. I really like this. It is a mix between a barleywine and wit. 10.2% alcohol and I can drink it almost like a regular light beer. This beer is dangerous, yet so good. It's almost like bmc made something massive, but with flavor. Nice job Samuel Adams. My only knock is that alcohol overwhelms the smell. Oh well, it definitely doesn't overwhelm the taste.

Edit: After having more than one bottle the alcohol really starts to become too forward.

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Photo of KarlHungus
2.61/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a cloudy orange color. The head is an inch in height, and recedes slowly into nice lacing. The aroma is completely overpowered with cardamom. I like to detect a hint of cardamom in a wtibir, but this goes way overboard. The taste is the same with a linger aftertaste that leaves me felling like I've just eaten a tablespoon of cardamom. The mouthfeel is full bodied with moderate carbonation. Overall, I do not like this beer. This is the third or forth imperial witbier I have tasted, and thy have all been bad. I think I can understand why too. Witbier is a style that is all about delicacy, and you completely lose that when you try to imperialize it.

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Photo of elniko
2.93/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into Weihenstephan glass, no dates listed on bottle.

A: A little darker than typical wit, half finger head and a small amount of lacing. Decent looking.

S: I get a slight tinge of the witbier spice and coriander but most likely I pick up alcohol. Not the most pleasant smelling brew.

T & M: I have never had nor seen an Imperial White before so I was quite curious how it would taste. The mouthfeel was more full than typical but the hops added to the brew give it an almost medicinal quality.

D: I can't say that I really enjoyed this beer although I am glad I tried it.

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Photo of Traquairlover
3.3/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12-oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A = Hazy orangish brown with small off white head, fairly good retention.

S = Cinnamon, coriander, fresh baked pumpkin bread.

T = Very sweet, which I could live with but there is a saccharine aftertaste that is off putting, tastes reflect the smells, there are various spices including coriander and cinnamon, the light tart notes of citrus peel show through but in an understated way. Long sweet finish.

M = Heavy body almost syrupy, frothy creamy feel, good mouthcoating. Much heavier than I expected, but decent as a mouthfeel on its own accord.

D = I mark this down because I tihnk this would be hard to drink many of in close proximity and for a once in a while beer, there are many I woud put before it. That said, it may just not be my cup of tea, it is not a bad beer at all.

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Photo of JohnL9013
3.57/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Prepare yourself. I was just simply not expecting what came out of the bottle on this one. This beer is one of the most flavorful beers I've ever had. It's so sweet that it's actually too intense for my tastes.

A: Dark golden. A tiny bit hazy.

S: Yikes, malt, bananas, sweetness, etc. The smell definitely gets your attention.

T: The taste literally slaps you in the face with how sweet it is. There's so much malt flavor in this brew that I didn't even know how to drink it. Really, it's just way, way too sweet for my tastes. This beer doesn't have a hint of bitterness. It's all sweet malt with fruit.

M: A bit towards the syrupy side.

D: Very low drinkability on this one. I wasn't able to finish mine.

Overall, this is a ridiculous beer, but you have to be in to this kind of beer in order to enjoy it. Fortunately, I got this as part of a customized 6-pack, so I didn't blow the money on the full 4-pack. I'd recommend the same.

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Photo of ommegoose
4.14/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

$10 for a four pack. Packaging is really quite bland across the whole Imperial line. I guess I see the need to distinguish this line, but they could have done better.

No sediment at the bottom unfortunately, and the appearance is decidedly not hazy. This brewery just does not ever seem to get the appearance of its wheat beers right. Some webby lacing, and frothy cap that remains all the way down. Clear pale orangey with fine, slow-moving carbonation.

At least the smell is spot on. Huge banana and orange aroma. Wheat backbone. Opens up later with peachy and apricot aromas. Vanilla.

Huge witbier flavor, very potent. You can see the work that the 10% did. Lots of banana, more of that than the orange peel or spice, which tends to dominate many wits. Peachy flavor. Has some heat, but fine for a slow sipper like this. Kind of milky sweet. Clove and spice presence is pretty low, or is at least harder to perceive. It mostly shows up on the finish.

This is one of the silkiest beers I've had. It's really impressive. The alcohol stings in just the slightest. This makes me think about reconsidering many of the times I've given such high mouthfeel scores. The heat makes it just less that perfect, but it's damn close.

Well, this is about exactly what you'd expect. No surprises here. It's a good witbier, twice as strong. I think it shows that imperial witbier is a viable beer to make. Unfortunately, I don't think this opens up new avenues the way that big styles like doppelbock, or impy stout, or IIPA or quadrupels do. It's just a big witbier. But it's tasty, and I'm really enjoying it. Good chance I'd buy it again, and I approve of this effort from the brewery.

Side note: I saw someone refer to this as almost being a wheatwine, and I kind of see that, as the beer warms up. It's an interesting perspective that might make you think about this differently. It's not quite as deep as the wheatwines I've had, but I can also get four bottles of this for roughly what a bomber of a wheatwine is.

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

Thanks goes out to jwc215 for this brew.

Pours a nice hazy dark golden brownish color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy head, with some nice sticky lacing to follow. The nose is malty, some yeast notes, banannas, coriander. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, yeasty, a touch of banannas/coriander. Medium body. Drinkable, not to happy with the taste of this brew so far, my bottle sez 10.3% ABV.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.77/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazey sunshine amber tea color. Not a whole lot of foam or head. Only a couple of slow, tiny bubbles. Super heavy, sweet wheat and yeast malt aroma. Sugared fruits with maybe soe fruitcake. Very yeasty sweet smelling beer, especially as it warms. The taste has a juicey-juice fruit flavor upfront. The yeast, malt, and wheat combine to make a great lightly toasted fruit melange. Green apple skins, bubble gum, and some sweet cloves. I wish the palate of this beer was more dry than syrupy sweet. his beer was good sweet, but some typical witbier dryness would round this beer out nicely.

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Photo of meatyard
3.31/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance is a hazy honey/orange with a large, white head that leaves substantial lacing. Well carbonated.

Smell is bananas & cloves plus things too mild to categorize.

The taste is bananas, a little pineapple & citrus, normal witbier spices and it's very sweet, a bit too sweet even for me who likes sweet.

Mouthfeel is thick & syrupy.

Drinkability: This is a slow drinking beer due to the sweetness. This is not something of which I'd sit and have more than one.

Without knowing what it was I would probably guess right by the 2nd guess but I'd immediately wonder what was going on here and why it was so sweet.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.87/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A supercharged white ale....what is Mr. Koch thinking here? I'll find out. On to the beer:

Poured into a chalice, the irony here is this beer isn't even close to white. It is a dark amber orange with a small white head on top. In the aroma, the coriandor is huge. It is mixed with bubblegum and a dash of roange peel. This sounds like a redux of AleSmith's Horny Devil.

The mouthfeel is huge in this one. I still don't what to say about it tastes like a really spiced, chewy, fruity sweet, bigger white ale. There is a little bit of booze to be found, but that comes to no surprise. The spices start to blend in very well with the dominant sweet flavor. A little buttery too, I might add.

Although it's a little hot in some places, this is one pleasing beer. I wonder what aging will do to this? Anyway, approach this beer as a strong golden ale rather than a witbier, or you'll be overwhelmed by the flavor.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.11/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle

A- Pours a slightly hazy copper color with a light tan colored head.

S- The aroma is sweet malt and fruity with some orange and coriander along with some alcohol as well.

T- The first thing that was noticable in the taste was the big boozy alcohol in the flavor. Wow, this one is pretty hot. You can feel the warming all way down. Behind all the alcohol you can pick up on some malt and spices but they really take a back seat to the alcohol.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- This is definitely a sipper. With a beer of this strength, I definitely expect some alcohol in the taste but the alcohol pretty much completely takes this one over.

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Photo of glid02
3.67/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single at the Liquor Loft in Tallahassee, FL.

Pours a hazy orange color with a half-finger white head that dissipates quickly into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of very sweet malt with hints of spices and alcohol.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Syrupy sweet malt flavors up front are backed by mild spices and a warming sensation at the end of the sip. As it warms the alcohol comes out a bit more.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with solid carbonation.

Drinkability is alright. I split a 12 oz. bottle and that was enough for me.

Overall this is an alright beer, but this style just doesn't lend itself to "imperializing". It's bordering on being too sweet, and warming up does nothing to help it's cause. Worth a shot if you're curious.

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Photo of NoLiberty
3.01/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours thick, cloudy and peach-amber colored into half-pint glass. A low but super thick white head bubbles up and settles into a low but persistent cap that remains throughout the beer. Lacing is thick and sticky that covers on swirling.

The aroma is sweet, fruity, peachy, floral and boozy with subtle underlying spiciness of pepper and coriander. A little too sweet on the nose.

Taste starts sweet with nice yeasty-fruity flavors and moves to a bit more cloyingly sweet and boozy. Middle is malty and peachy with more alcohol notes. A strange all around meaty flavor and finishes with alcohol warmth and spice and aftertaste is pretty clean.

Mouthfeel is thick and viscous. A bit heavy for the style even though it's an imperial. Carbonation is soft and persistent, pretty good.

Not something I'd come back to any time soon.

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Photo of BeanBone
3.58/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Far from white, the body is a rich pumpkin-orange and quite hazy. The off-white head pours very tall and leaves good lacing. Not a typical look for the style, but fetching none-the-less.

Aroma: A variety of spices and a fruits over a sweet malt base. Perfumey. As you'd expect for a beer with over ten percent alcohol, there is a lot of booze here.

Taste: It's much the same in the flavor profile. Lots of spice (coriander and pepper) and fruit (pineapple, banana, and citrus). Nothing as far as hops go, but there's a bit of balance from spiciness. This is rather sweet. The booze character is massive, can feel rather out-of-place, and dominates the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy. Despite the massive ABV, there isn't too much burn. Dries slightly in the finish.

Drinkability: With the ABV and syrupy body, this is a sipper, which seems bizarre for a beer with "Witbier" in the style name.

Verdict: Imperial White is not a bad beer, but a baffling one. If given this in a blind taste test without knowing the style, I'd have no idea at all what it was - Wit certainly wouldn't be my first guess. To me, Witbiers have always been light and quenching beers perfect to enjoy on a warm Summer's day. Imperial White is just kind of a syrupy, boozy wildcard that just begs the question "why?" Of all the styles to "imperialize," why Witbier?

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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 belgbeerdrinker
3.85/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: expected slightly darker yellow but pours almost amber color, with a thin head that dissipates quickly; decent lace
s: orange and coriander as advertised plus some sweet fruity vanilla aromas
t: surprisingly sweet caramel flavor upfront; faint orange/coriander, barely noticeable bitter finish
m: smooth, medium to heavy body and decent carbonation
d: easy to drink, not what i envisioned at all but an enjoyable beer with decent balance if you're expecting a sweet, malty beer with high abv

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Photo of rajendra82
4.15/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cloudy orange amber color makes the pour look a lot like honey, and the head atop is small. The smell is that of coriander, orange peel, and banana, and it is quite strongly scented too. The taste is definitely several notches above a typical Wit, and the concentrated phenols rush in rapidly to form a barrage of clove, white pepper, banana puree, and apple skins. Surprising the taste is very short lived as the alcohol immediately dries the palette leaving a warm but vacuous aftertaste with a ghostly spiciness. Needless to say the next sip is necessary due to these parched throat conditions. Definitely different than a typical Wit, and probably closer to a wheat wine than anything else. I am glad Boston brewing company is still experimenting.

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Photo of alpinebryant
2.93/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Light brown copperish color - medium white head

Smell - Meager scent - some herbs, some citrus - nothing too powerful smelling

Taste - Fruity citrus taste - Orange and some spices

Mouthfeel - Thick full beer with very syrupy finish

Drinkability - This is very sweet - too sweet - I am turned off by the sweet syrupy thickness to it. Nothing too over the top flavor wise, but the alchohol is still present even with all of the sweet sugary flavor and spices

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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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