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 BeardedBoffin
3.42/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

The beer is handsome solid amber with a large cap of receding foam. The aroma has notes of classic wheat with coriander and just a hint of booze. Chewy on the palate, fruity, and too-boozy--almost vinous. The spice is there at the end, but not enough.

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Photo of lwillitz
3.81/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12-oz bottle into wheat beer glass

A - 4 fingers of cream-colored foam over a cloudy body of golden orange; high amount of visible carbonation, good lace and excellent retention

S - orange, coriander, tropical fruits, caramel sweetness

T - citrus, peppery spice, dark fruits, anise, caramel sweetness, alcohol; alcohol and malt sweetness linger for a warming finish

M - thick and oily full body, medium/high carbonation, boozy warmth

O - Because of the thick body, malty/fruity taste, and conspicuous alcohol, this one drinks like a barleywine. Not your typical wit, but a tasty brew nonetheless.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.2/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Appearance - Pours a hazy rusty orange with an off-white 2 finger head. Fair retention. Suds around the edge. Lacing is small, spotty and with fair stick.

Smell - A creamy aroma, with coriander, citrus and booze.

Taste - Follows the nose; creamy flavor. Sugar sweetness. Touches on coriander spice and a light citrus before a boozy finish.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied, thick and creamy. Sticky. Low carbonation. The bottle touts 'smooth and refreshing'. Yeah, not so much.

Overall - Had potential, but ultimately it's a bit of a boozy, sticky mess. Nothing I'd buy again. In terms of how it drinks, it's probably much closer to Belgian Dubbel than what I would imagine an "Imperial Wit' to be.

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Photo of stella77artois
3.74/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into pilsener glass.

A - Pours a unique lightly-burnt orange. Very cool looking. As with most witbiers, a fair amount of haze to it. Good amount of carbonation and a nice frothy head.

S - The wheat, coriander, orange peel we expect from a witbier, with lot's of spices added. Noticed some hot pepper aromas, very interesting.

T - Pretty solid. Has a lot more oomph at 10.3 ABV, and the alcohol is noticeable. Not in an unpleasant way, though. The hot pepper spices are slightly noticeable too. The taste of the spices is unique and tough to put a finger on. Definitely a unique tasting beer.

F - Again, unique. Without a doubt the thickest witbier I've ever tried. Very thick, almost a porter in terms of thickness. The carbonation evens out the thickness in a slightly refreshing way. Can feel some alcohol warmth, as well as some warmth from the spices.

O - A very unique beer. This beer is not outstanding, but it's very good. One of the more unique beers I've ever sampled in that yes, it's obviously a wheat beer, but has many characteristics not usually (or ever, in my experience) noticed in a witbier. A very good but not outstanding beer that I'd recommend it for any extreme beer fans.

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Photo of artdob
3.61/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a golden apricot honey color. Initial more than modest head subsides far too quickly.

Banana bread on the nose with lasting yeasty notes.

Surprising palate that leans towards a syrupy texture, kind of like drinking a fruit nectar. While somewhat off the beaten path, I think I like it. Taste too is reminiscent of an apricot nectar - not quite as decadent as North Coast's Grand Cru (which is amazing), but almost like a distant cousin from a taste profile perspective.

Mild carbonation on the thicker than usual mouthfeel, with additional pleasant notes that make their way through the crevices in my head.

I would have this again.

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Photo of IchLiebeBier
3.75/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Hazy; orange-amber; small head quickly dissipates, but good lacing

Aroma: Very sweet; syrupy; citrus; Belgian yeast; spices

Taste: Syrupy from the start, all the way through to the finish; lots of warming alcohol with candy sugar the whole way; finishes slightly dry and hoppy

Remarks: Good dessert beer; I would have rated this higher a few years ago, but, while good, doesn't compare to true Belgians

Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

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Photo of Suds
4.04/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From a 12 ounce bottle, this beer is a rich amber color, not exactly witbier in color. It does have some haze, and a brilliant white head. The aroma is enchanting...loads of spice (coriander, pepper) and a caramel, toffee, candy like background. Some candied-fruit is present in the aroma as well, along with yeast, banana, and a hint of clove. Woody and booze-like. The taste is moderately sweeet, but not at all with the crisp, tart-like qualities of a traditional wit. Interesting and very enveloping. The alcohol shows up in a prominent warmth. Full body. This is a cool weather brew. Nice.

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Photo of RyanCave
4.19/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: beautiful amber, well carbonated-approximately quarter inch of head, good lacing
S: a bit boozy, banana, tapioca, carrots, classic belgian, bubblegum, plum and other fruit, little citrus
T: Sweet bread, banana, tapioca, not too much hop character, wheaty, bubblegum, a bit boozy, small spice
M: Well carbonated, complimented the taste
O: I was very surprised with this brew, I'm somewhat skeptical of Sam Adams and picked this up on a whim. Very glad I did, very well put together brew, I would buy this again

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Photo of acevenom
3.7/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Samuel Adams perfect pint glass. The beer pours slightly hazy copper with a thick, off white head that dissipates slowly. The beer appears to be well carbonated due to the presence of lots of tiny bubbles rising in the beer. Not much lacing is left behind on the side of the glass. I pick up the wheat in the aroma as well as the spice notes. It's not a strong aroma overall, but I can pick up hints of coriander with citrus. Also make no mistake about it. The booze is noticeable in the aroma even when this beer is well chilled. Like in the aroma, the spice notes take a back seat to the malt and the booze. The spices notes are there and I do get the coriander, pepper, and citrus in the flavor. The sweetness is almost like honey in many ways. The body is full with enough carbonation to make this beer clean on the finish. The alcohol provides a nice warming feel. This is a good beer for what it is, but I wouldn't necessarily classify this as a witbier. It doesn't quite reach the levels of quality of an excellent wheatwine, which is how I'm judging this beer.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.96/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, no apparent date present, just a code. Poured into a Firestone Walker pint glass.

A - Pours about a quarter inch thin white cap which dissolves instantly. Dark orange amber colored body. Some alcohol legs noticeable. Of the four pack I bought, one of these beers had a very noticeable giant yeast strand / bacterial culture squid looking thing taking form. The one I'm drinking now has the slightest bit, but nothing like the first one I had.

S - Smells strongly of Belgian yeasts and floral spices. Coriander. Light peppercorn. Caramel malts. Alcohol soaked oak barrels. Not a very powerful aroma, but smells boozier than other witbiers. Still, an underwhelming aroma.

T - Taste is of Belgian yeast, bubblegum malts, some faint brettanomyces taste, and alcohol soaked oak wood / bourbon vanilla presence is both surprising and pleasing. Witbiers definitely aren't my thing typically, but this one isn't bad. Warming alcohol presence.

M - Sticky / bitter. Yeasty / bready. Buttery, although I hate using that word as a descriptor, is what comes to mind. Nice aftertaste.

Overall, a job well done from the Boston Beer Company once again, easily the best witbier I've had from them yet, as their others were forgettable at best. Quite possibly one of the better witbiers I've experienced in general, so that is also something. Definitely interested in trying more from their imperial series.

Samuel Adams Imperial White ---4/5.

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Photo of bmwats
3.62/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a footed tulip.

A: Medium amber. Pours about a half finger, bubbly, white head. Settles pretty quickly, leaving a smattering of foam on the surface, and a ring around the rim of the glass. No real lacing.

S: French bread, lemon citrus, a little orange citrus, and a little bubble gum.

T: White bread, a little maple syrup and honey, a little clove and lemon.

M: Thick and syrupy. Dry finish, but little aftertaste except for a little acetone.

D: Sip and enjoy.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Slight head, but no real lacing. Nose is full of character with some fruity and indistinct sweet notes. Bready flavor with lots o' balancing components.... fruit, honey, spice, and citrus. Overall, this is a good quaff.

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Photo of alex_hart
3.24/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

served into my Chimay glass

Appearance is a hazy, rusty brown-orange with an off-white head that dissipates rather quickly. No lacing.

The smell is off-putting. It is so unbelievably sweet in the nose that it makes me a bit nervous. Toffee, caramel, sugar, just sweet sweet sweet with a hint of booze.

Taste is much better than the smell, but still isn't exactly what i was hoping for. still very sweet (not quite my cup o' tea) with caramel, toffee, a bit of bitter hops, some booze, some candied fruit (maybe orange; something citrusy). Not bad, but not great.

It is medium to full bodied with a creamy feel to it in the mouth. Mild carbonation. Leaves a little residue after the swallow.

Overall this was just not my thing. I was excited at the prospect of the style from sam adams, but this just isnt their best work. I'm sure with some tweaks to the amount of sweetening ingredients they used it could become much more enjoyable.

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Photo of BulbousBeer
2.42/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is my first imperial from Sam Adams. This beer looks nice in the glass and pours well ,but both things are soon forgotten as the taste is sickly sweet banana flavor with some strange spice after taste. It's body is syrupy It's like a cross between a cheap malt liquor and a badly made witbier. In fact I'd probably rather just have the malt liquor. Sam Adams is not my favorite brewery but I normally find their beers session-able. They need to withdraw this one. I may have been harsh on this beer but i expect better from them.

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Photo of ChestSplitter
2.51/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2

This is a very attractive beer to look at, and the smell of malt and spices is pleasant. But eventually you have to stop staring and sniffing and actually drink it. Then you are just assaulted. All the fruits and spices and malt and booze just hammer you. The common theme with all these imperial series beers is this syrupy sweet flavor bomb. It works really well in the Imperial Stout. Not here.

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

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

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Photo of LambicPentameter
3.15/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Belgian-style tulip glass. No "best by" date on the bottle, but there is a note that encourages you to age the beer to see what flavors develop. I wish that I had a second bottle to do just that, because I was not particularly impressed with it fresh.

Appearance - Predominantly apricot hue with flashes of polished copper. Head is fairly thin, and compared to other reviews, that causes me to wonder if I had an old batch. A weak flow of carbonation comes to the top, but the lacing on the foam is respectable. Surprising, given how weak the head is.

Smell - Heavy aroma of banana from the yeast, leading into a more banana-bread smell. Perhaps a hint of coconut as well. It's extremely sweet-smelling, almost like a fruit beer or even a flavored liquor, given how boozy it is. Not terribly excited by the promise of the aroma.

Taste - Unlike some fruity-smelling beers which end up having a much more muted and dry taste, this one had just as much banana overkill as the smell did. Hard to detect any bitterness from the hops or toastyness from the malt. Maybe candied malt?. Just sweet, with a feel almost like a flavored brandy or cognac.

Mouthfeel - A tad unpleasant, from the cloying sweetness as well as an almost sour feel, but not sour like a gueuze or lambic. Sour in an unpleasant way.

I can't help but wonder if I had a skunky bottle, given the lack of "best by" date. I would be curious to see how this one tasted after a good year or two of cellaring. Maybe it's just a very unbalanced beer. It's pretty to look at, so I guess there is that.

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

A: Dark amber with a thin head that eventually dissipates to a thin film; lacing is quite good though

S: A lot of booze, apples, vinegar, spices, oranges, burnt/toasted malts; this is sweet, boozy--I'm not sure about this one

T: Thankfully not nearly as sweet as the aromas indicated; toffee, toasted biscuity malts, apples, oranges, and plenty of spices; a bit of an alcohol burn on the finish; this beer ends up okay but the aromas are a bit off putting and contribute negatively to the flavors

F: Decent medium body with not over-powering carbonation

O: Not Sam Adams best offering; a decent beer--but it doesn't quite come together

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Photo of Geegmasta
3.84/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- The beer poured great and formed a very small head of about 1/4''. The head quickly settled to almost nothing. The body is a deep orange. Looks delicious.

Smell- Has a very slight citrus smell but not much else. Nothing hinting at a high alcohol content.

Taste- Comes on as sweet in a citrusy way but not overwhelmingly so. This soon gives way to a very nice honey flavoring and caramel after taste. I can see how it may be too strong for some but I think it's a very nice feeling. Absolutely no sense of the ABV being 10.3%.

Mouthfeel- Thick like molasses and full-bodied. Feels like honey if it was heated up into a runnier state; or thick velvet being washed over the tongue. Fills and coats the mouth and lingers that way for quite a while afterwards. Very little carbonation.

Overall- A nice change up from my usual stout or porter. I was hesitant at first to spend $10 on a 4-pack of this because Sam Adams is usually hit or miss in my opinion. They have produced some very good brews and some not-so-good. I've even tasted differences in batches which disappointed me (after buying a 6-pack of something I enjoy to have it taste flavorless).

I give credit to the brewers at Sam Adams for this beer though! Very thick. If you don't like something sticking in your mouth and full-bodied this beer is not for you. The sweet honey/caramel flavoring is very enjoyable and this 4-pack won't last long in my hands. Just be careful that the masked ABV doesn't catch up to you!


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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 Samuel906
3.41/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Pours a nice deep, but slightly hazy orange, with some nice effervescing. Nice head when poured, leaves some nice lace.


Very sweet aroma, with strong smell of malt, oranges, wheat, vanilla and spices. Not too boozy, especially considering the ABV.


Has a pretty decent mouth feel, medium bodied, but different than other Wits. Sharp carbonation, huge alcohol content, and the significant sweetness make it feel a bit heavier and not as "drinkable". Certainly not something I would want to chug down quickly.


Very sweet (it is an Imperial after all)! Honey, oranges, and wheat are your big flavors here. Some nice spices as well (coriander), other fruits (banana, pineapple) and a little bit of alcohol burn and fumes (not to much, and I personally don't mind a bit of alcohol flavor).


I was keen to try this after having the Sam Adams Imperial Stout which I personally enjoyed. This turned out to be a pretty unique beer, certainly not like other Witbeirs I've had, and I can't recall seeing too many other Imperial Whites. It was a pleasant change from the beers I usually drink, but nothing too outstanding. Very very sweet as I'm sure is expected, with some semi-complex flavors make for a nice, if not extraordinary, white.

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Photo of yamar68
2.98/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a caramel gold with a thick eggshell white head that laces densely.

Thick, syrupy wheat profile that's stuffed with spices. Caramel malts, leather... how old is this? The alcohol character is pretty well contained.

Uhh... I don't know about this. Some butterscotch, vanilla, the wheat is smothered by spice and sweet dark malts. Pretty messy I think.

I appreciate the effort here but it just doesn't amount to anything worth writing home about.

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Photo of brockdidntslide
2.18/5  rDev -37%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

To be blunt, this beer blows. It's sweet and has an over-the-top alco-boozy taste that lingers like you just took a swig of isopropyl from the medicine cabinet. No wait, that might actually taste better. Mouthfeel and appearance are fine so maybe just look at it in the glass and then go get something better to drink.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
2.26/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Eh. This just hits me as too sickly sweet. And the fact of that makes it so that it overpowers anything else that may be trying to show. So, it's a one act show with a strong alcohol and boozy tone stepping in for an intermission. A miss in my book.

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Photo of claspada
3.48/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy dark orange-amber color with a full, fluffy, off-white head.

Aromas begin with sweet barley and slighly sourish wheat maltiness. As it warms you get some tangy accents, notes of fragrant spices, light stone fruit and honey candy.

The tastes begin sugary sweet with toasted/bready barley and tangy malted wheat. As it warms you get pinches of spice, dried orange peel and drizzles of honey. The hops are faintly spicy and floral. Some warming alcohol qualities arrive late.

The mouthfeel is medium-heavy bodied with mellow medium-low carbonation. The finish is thick, sticky and heavy.

Overall the tastes are a bit heavy and sweet for the style. Not really a fan of this Imperial Wit style although this is one of the better ones out there asn the yeast phenols are under control where some are not. Not great by any means but could be worse.

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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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