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

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Samuel Adams Imperial WhiteSamuel Adams Imperial White
1,284 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: 1,284 |  Reviews: 643
Photo of yelterdow
3.4/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From a recently purchased 4-pack, this will be served in a classic Belgian witbier glass at just over fridge temperature. Bottled on 1/26/09.

Appearance- This viscous, hefty brew pours a *much* deeper gold than any other wit I've seen... the weight alone in the glass is stupefying. Mostly clear with barely any haze, it supports a stubborn inch-thick bone white crown that sits firmly on top. Creamy lacing that chooses where and where it will not stick.

Smell- Huge coriander and orange popsicle nose... its absolutely massive presence brings with it some of the alcohol as well. The label states a 10.3% ABV.

Taste- While the flavor profile delivers a balanced showing of all ingredients and spices, this particular beer doesn't do all that well "imperialized". The alcohol heat is too far out front, contributing an unpleasant middle and finish to the taste. Samuel Adams' regular seasonal White Ale is so much better on all levels.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Foamy, slick, and just a wee bit aggressive... it works for this beer. The swallow is good, never letting down with regard to the smoother carbonation. This beer makes its presence felt for sure, and it will sock you if you're not careful. Not a winner in BBC's stellar lineup in my opinion.

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

12 ounce bottle, w/o freshness info to be had. 10.3% advertised on the label. Pours cloudy, darker peach amber, off white head, tiny bubble thin head, then film and leaves nice fine and extensive lacing. The nose on this one is of lime, alcohol, sweet malts. I got notes of gin, lime, fruity/yeasty goodness. Unfortunately this one is a bit on the "hot" side, taking away from the taste enjoyability and ultimately drinkability as well. This one needs some work

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.15/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle purchased at The Liquor Shop in Tyngsborro, Mass. Pours a hazy but clear red-amber with a short lived inch of off-white head that leaves some good lacing. Banana, clove, nut, spice all characterize the aroma, more reminiscent of a hefeweizen than a witbier really. Fruity sweet at first, with banana, nut, clove, pith, and a touch of citrus and some alcohol warming at the finish. Rich full body with moderate carbonation. A tasty smooth beer this is - a witbier or any sort of amped-up witbier this is not. Reminds me of a spiced hefeweizen. I like it though, and it's way better than Samuel Adams White, and one of Samuel Adams' better beers IMO. Not reviewing this for the style.

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Photo of NCSUdo
4.15/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

A: Deep, hazy copper under a small but think white head. Good lace and OK retention.

S: Very citus aroma, big orange mixed with some lemon zest. Some coriander mixed in with a sweet wheat character, but citrus is the story here and it's quite nice.

T: Sweet, very sweet, close to being too sweet. Citrus again dominates, but wheat plays a much bigger role than in the aroma. Bitter finish that is slightly off balance and a hint of coriander through out.

M/D: Full bodied, light carbonation. Good drinkability. A very tasty beer. The only real drawback I can find is that the taste is a little off balance from a big sweetness to a little bit too much bitterness in the finish. However, I still really like this beer overall.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.41/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle labeled at 10.3%, poured into a nonic

A: Clear copper orange color, with small amount of steady carbonation. Thick, dense off white head with decent retention and thick, sticky lacing.
S: Powerful smell of alcohol and sweet, fruit aroma. Mild peppery, coriander smell in background but alcohol and fruit dominate.
T: Hard to distinguish much of the flavor from the strong alcohol finish. There seems to be a strong wheat, banana like base hiding behind the alcohol but I'm picking up a very strong, medicinal like sweetness that is making this hard to appreciate for me.
M: Creamy, medium body with strong pinch of carbonation and finish is very warm and boozy.
D: Ehhh. This beer sort of reminds me of a Hoegaarden Grand Cru, trying to turn up everything in a witbier to "11", but the alcohol is just a little too out of control for me. The beer starts off like a nice flavorful wit, but then the alcohol dominates the finish.

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Photo of nicnut45
4.02/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a transparent amber color. Not cloudy like most wheat beers. Big bubble coco cola head thats fades into whispy lacing.

Smell: Bubble gum hits you first followed by a stong liqour scent, carmel sweetness.

Taste: Sweet, almost sherry like. A bit of subdued orange in the background. I wish there were a bit more hops in this one. Hops are a bit hard to recognize maybe Mt. Hood?

Mouthfeel: Its thick you know its there. Carbonation is light. Sweet favors linger on the cheeks and tounge after the swallow.

Drinkability: This is one high alcohol beer I could have a few of. The flavors arent too crazy and the booze is well hidden. I dont think I would ever buy it again though. But I admire Sam Adams for there adventurous spirit. You would never see the bud or miller do something like this even though they could easily afford too. Thumbs up to Sam Adams for serving something only a select few will buy.

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

12oz bottle into a Tulip glass at Flying Saucer, pours a nice crisp dark orange with a decent frothy head that diminishes to a thin layer. Aroma is some sweet malts and spice. The taste is a nice abundance of sweet fruit, coriander and yeast, very true to style. The beer is certainly a heavy sipper, but an enjoyable one. This is certainly a good beer for the style, one I'd certainly try again if the mood hits.

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Photo of pvllbum
4.22/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

So I picked this up the other day expecting the same from sam adams which to me is a very well crafted beer and I wasn't dissapointed. Poured a nice hazy orange and smelled like citrus. Taste was, to me, was in one word balanced. Nothing overtook another but you could taste it all. The malts and citrus and the nice alcohol buzz to it. Only knock I have on it is as it warmed it got a little too sweet but nothing undrinkable. Thumbs up to sam adams on another great beer.

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Photo of CrazyMacHarris99
3.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This one poured beautifully and smelled great but it all went down hill from there.

Pours a deep cloudy orange with a thin whispy white head. Great lacing and small legs around the glass. The smell is wheat and orange with a hint of coriander. Some alcohol present in the smell. The taste is mostly wheat and orange. Not much of a coriander in there but a little. The alcohol is too much for this one. Making a witbier stronger, atleast in this case, does nothing for the beer. The alcohol takes over and the mouthfeel is oily from it. I would say the drinkability is low and this one could use a year or two in the cellar but I think that would only mellow the hotness and would probably not do much to the flavor of the beer.

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Photo of dananabanana
4.62/5  rDev +33.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

M: Nicely carbonated, slightly slick.

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

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.31/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Hazy orange/copper color. Poured a 2 finger frothy white head with fari retention. Lacing sheeted down the glass.

S: Alcohol right up front. Clove spices and semi-sweet banana. Quite the balance between between the two.

T: Nice balance between wheat and malt. Along with big flavors, big alcohol. Orange, citrus zest and banana.

M: Full body. Balanced carbonation. Not a typical wit for sure; smooth, creamy, heavy bodied and big alcohol.0

D: Its an Imperial all right. This is not your summer-fun wit - more like one and done.

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.65/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of and split w/ dkachur - thanks! My portion poured into a tasting glass.

Appearance: Pours a transparent orange body, full of fine-bubbled and slow carbonation, indicative of a very thick beer. The one-finger head fades decently slowly for a witbier (especially one of this alcohol level) and leaves a nice, thick, sticky collar of lace.

Aroma: Dan said it best with "tropical fruit basket." Tons of pineapple, peach, heavier red grape notes, banana, cherry, and pear, mixed in with a light, neutral peppery note and - unfortunately - a slight hint of alcohol burn.

Taste: Thick, syrupy honey notes, cloves, white pepper, banana, pears, and the aforementioned alcohol, which is hot and spicy more than unpleasant. It still does detract from the other flavors, slightly, however. Just a very thick, syrupy, fruity beer.

Mouthfeel: Thick with plenty of fine-bubbled carbonation, making for a big, slightly cloying, milkshake-esque feeling beer. It's even and creamy, but very thick. Plenty of prickly, spicy alcohol, too.

Drinkability: This one's interesting. It's a good stab at a style that's hard to get right - the traditional witbier notes tend not to hide higher abv%s too well, so "imperial" renditions of it often fall flat. This one's even hotter than most, and though the array of flavors and notes it presents are nice, they're a) not very witbier-esque, IMO (more a Belgian Strong Pale) and b) don't do much to cover up the alcohol. That being said, this one's worth trying once. Hopefully, the SA Imperial Series will evolve in time as Koch gets more exposure to higher abv% brews.

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Photo of spointon
3.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured this one from a 12oz brown bottle into my Allagash tulip glass.

A= This ale poured a mildly cloudy orange/amber color. With an aggressive pour at warmer than fridge temp, the snow white head rose just 1/4" then quickly dropped to a very thin broken skim. Some minor lace on the glass.

S= At first sniff, I was surprised to find the aroma almost buried under the huge blanket of alcohol emanating from this brew. Wow. I had to blow across the rim of the glass to remove the alcohol vapor and then I could detect a rich blend of malty and fruity sweetness and a mix of spices. Over time this alcohol vapor thing lessened to reveal more of the beer's quality.

T= The flavor has big alcohol running throughout, but also shows a strong bit of coriander and nutmeg as well as peaches, tangerines, honey, and a generally bready malt sweetness. Finish is on the heavy side and sweet but leaves a pleasant aftertaste.

MF= Bigger medium body with just a moderate carbonation level. Sort of a tongue-coater though.

D= I was really challenged by this beer at first, but as I got to know it I liked it more and more. On the surface, its way darker than one should ever expect a "white" ale to be. It is also a bit sweet and heavier than you would expect, but that is the nature of "Imperial" I guess. Ultimately, this beer needs to sit in the glass for 10-15 minutes before drinking and in my opinion at that time it is an enjoyable sipper. I couldn't do more than two of these in a night though.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.56/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This might be the most visually attractive beer I've ever had. Served in a pilsner glass, the beer was a hazy red/orange color with a thick white head and plenty of lacing. Spicy orange aroma, like those Christmas ornaments stuck with cloves. Mostly citrus (orange) taste, faint spice, and malt. But way too sweet! Cloyingly sweet. One and done.

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.41/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy honey/orange with a large frothy head. The smell is light with spices,bread yeast,and alcohol. The taste has alot of spices with pepper,alcohol,lemon,citrus flavors,bitter hops,and honey. The m/f is heavy with all the flavors mixing OK,but this type of beer is abit tough to drink. Not a bad beer,but just not my type.

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Photo of tmoneyba
3.95/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from S&V, Fort Wayne.

Poured hazy orange color with a medium creamy white head that mostly lasted with good lacing. Moderate yeasty citrus aroma. Medium body with a smooth texture and lively carbonation. Medium to heavy citrus sweet flavor with a medium sweet finish of moderate duration with a small alcohol burn as it warmed.

My expectations where met.

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Photo of dasenebler
4.07/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Hazy dark orange. Pretty creamy and modest head, a thin layer sticks around. Big aroma of first syrupy orange and banana, then spice, and then alcohol.

Flavor is pretty strong, not very subtle. But it's very tasty. The first thing I noticed actually was the incredible mouthfeel. I literally felt my jaw drop under the weight of the beer. The bottle claims this beer has a huge mouthfeel, and that's not a lie. Remarkable. Flavor was citrusy, but not in a hoppy way. Very sweet and syrupy and warming as hell. Almost cloying. Contrary to what's above, my beer was marked at 10.3% abv. You can taste the alcohol, but it's pretty damn easy to drink despite that. I enjoyed this beer, though it needs more yeastiness to balance things out. But maybe subtlety was not what they were going for with this brazen brew.

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Photo of Gavage
3.4/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: pours a clear orange color with some yellow highlights. A 1/2" head falls quickly to a thick surface foam. A few big bubbles hug the rim.

Smell: alcohol and orange citrus are bold, and some softer coriander lingers in tha background.

Taste: a somewhat grainy wheat base with soft banana, coriander, orange slices profile. The alcohol is a bit over the top here and extremely warming, taking away from the flavor.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Crisp throughout. Some dryness arrives late. Aftertaste is long as alcohol dominates.

Drinkability: this is a true slow sipping beer. One in a session is all you will consume. If you want a boozy beer, this will do.

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Photo of Psilo707
2.95/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light colored 10.3% ABV (not 9.0% as the title says) brew pours with a medium head and leaves solid, but thin lacing. Smell is one of fruits and flowers, with a strong alcohol after-scent.

Tastes like bubblegum and candy. I don't much like it at all. The alcohol aftertaste is pretty harsh too since the ABV is so high. Nothing really organic or too pleasing about downing this one. Mouthfeel is a bit better though nothing special. Drinkability is low due too mediocre mouthfeel and taste.

Overall, one of my least favorite Sam Adams. Much disappointed, since I liked the Imperial Series Stout a lot.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.22/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle with the abv being 10.3%, not 9.0%. Emerges a light amber color, slightly hazy, small white head forms on top. Not the large head typical of wits, but I assume that is due to the abv of this one.

Aroma is bubblegum, banana, cloves, sweet candy, and alcohol. Bubblegum leads the charge on this one.

More of the same in the flavors. Big time bubblegum with a small coriander bite and some caramel malts, with a touch of wheatiness.

Not bad I guess. It has a lot of the characters of a wit (some lemon and spice), but this could probably be considered a tripel or something rather than an Imperial White ale. Too sweet and alcoholic for my tastes.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
2.82/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I was looking forward to trying this beer, but unfortunately I wasn't thrilled when I got it.

When poured, a thin layer of head formed, which was quite loud. It died down to a thin film atop a clear yellow body.

Aroma was yeasty/bready, with wheat malt just beneath. An expected banana and spice aspect was present.

The taste was sweet, with wheat and spices to the fore. Unfortunately, there was also a somewhat medicinal flavor as well, and the alcohol aftertaste was too prominent.

Mouthfeel was average... maybe a little thin. Carbonation was noticeable.

Drinkability takes a hit because of the flavor. It's just wierd.

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

12 oz. bottle into a Brooklyn snifter. Again, the ABV is wrong. It's 10.3% on the bottle.

Appearance: Bright and hazy copper with some gold in the middle. Nice soapy lacing with trails of white after a sip and some raindrop lacing also.

Smell: Huge rolling wheat aromas, which I like a lot, backed by some banana cream, citrus, some alcohol, and almost wine wine aromas. Big and balanced.

Taste: What I like most about this beer is the hops that balance out the big wheat and malt flavors, which you can get mostly with the ending citrus finish. Also coming through are big wheat flavors, sweeter vanilla and banana cream, and the burst of orange from the hops. I like this a lot.

Mouthfeel: A huge brew with a huge body, though coating, with good creamy carbonation, and nicely sticky.

Drinkability: For an Imperial White over 10%, I think many people may not realize how hard it is to make something with this much quality. This is an awesome sipper, and I like it for the winter more than summer. For the Hoegaarden fans, you're probably not going to like this. But I give Sam Adams props. I only got one bottle, but I may go back and get 4-pack after all. If you like the style, and like the bigger versions -- and there don't seem to many readily available -- you should definitely try it.

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Photo of JayNH
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a hazy almost copper color with a solid white foamy head. This brew just looks heavy...

S- Alcohol is noticeable upfront. Orange citrus notes hiding behind the alcohol.

T- Very boozy, it doesn't really burn, it's more in your nose. Orange peel and notes of mint.

M- slick, creamy, and heavy bodied.

D- This really is an Imperial. It's very thick and heavy. You can't drink these like a regular witbier. A solid brew but one's enough for me.

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Photo of rowew
3.82/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz longneck, black and blue label. ABV is marked, where I would expect a date it says enjoy this beer now or age it.

Appearance: Dark reddish orange and cloudy, average head, fades quick.

Smell: Some of the typical wit aromas - a bit of orange, some spice (coriander?). There is an interesting aroma that is a rich mix of spice and a bit of alcohol.

Taste: Again, a lot of the same flavors you would expect from a wit, but somehow a bit darker and richer. There is a definite warming note in the finish.

Overall impression: Interesting beer, its got a lot of the traditional flavors but richer and heavier. Drinkable, but the alcohol warming does get a bit much as it goes on.

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Photo of dukedevil0
3.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single 12oz from Archer Liquors in Chicago, IL.

A: Pours a very amber colored with white head and good lacing on the glass.

S: smells of wheat, alcohol...almost a bubble gum smell

T: tastes like a mild wheat flavor, some slight malt flavor and alcohol but not overpowering

M: very smooth with a slight warming as it goes down

D: the flavor makes it easy to drink, but the warming as it goes down could slow you...i think one or two of these is more than enough

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Samuel Adams Imperial White from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.45 out of 5 with 1,284 ratings