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 Pjev11
3.65/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got a growler of this limited variety and finished the whole thing so I must have liked it well enough. Labelled as a witbier but was a little darker than most and certainly stronger and bolder than you would expect in that generally lighter style. More like a belgian ale, really. Overall a solid beer that is more of a sipper than a session. I think I liked it more getting it in a growler when I wasn't expecting to get anything on tap. Good and solid, not great.

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

Batch 1

A- Golden/orange in color with a thin white head. Beer is hazy but no so much as most of its style.

S- Very sweet with heavy alcohol finish. Like a lighter (in colour/roast) barleywine. Spice comes to forefront as beer warms.

T- Light malt balanced with some bitterness. Sweetness and alcohol. Really just a hint of a 'white' flavor, but tasty. A little spice and wit yeast flavor. A nice banana flavor as beer warms.

M- Thicker, but rather smooth especially given alcohol content.

O- The back of the bottle describes in aptly- pushes the boundaries of a wit style. Could have been more, but as my first imperial white I like and appreciate it.

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Photo of jsprain1
2.6/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A- A pleasing dark golden with a fair amount of haze. Head is one and a half fingers, buttermilk color. Retention is decent, minimal lacing.
S- The aroma is banana heavy, with a bit of canned peach syrup aroma as well.
T- And here is where the beer goes of the rails. A bit of sweetness up front, that peach syrup flavor again. Very quickly, boozyness comes through and really scrubs the tongue. There is a bit of coriander, but the boozeyness is overwhelming any other flavor.
M- The problem is when a beer gets this boozy, the alcohol gets abrasive. Here there is an abrasive dryness from the booze.
O- This sounds terribly insulting, but the beer was great till I actually tasted it. From there, the booziness of the beer just made it difficult to drink. The problem isn't that the abv was high. It's that the alcohol wasn't balanced or tamed by any other characteristics.

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Photo of chefhatt
3.06/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this one into a perfect pint glass. it has a nice dark golden color body with some head that disappers quickly. The smell is on the sweet side with some citrus coming through. The taste is very bold up front, very sweet and strong of banana taste. I really don't taste any of the spices. The mouth feel is a little thick and it leaves a little bit of a after taste in my mouth. Overall i really didn't enjoy this beer, way to sweet for my likeing bad too boozy.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.26/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Appearance – The beer has a hazy nice orange color with a thin white head. The head fades rather fast to leave only a small amount of lacing.

Smell – The aroma is of sweet bread and some nice orange citrus. There are good aromas of yeast as well as a nice boozy aroma which meld quite well with the rest of the aromas.

Taste – The taste starts out big and bready. There is a nice sweetness upfront which is mainly of orange citrus in nature. As the taste advances the citrus sweetness in enhanced with the bready flavor lightening a bit. The yeast flavor starts to build more toward the middle with some flavor of banana accompanying it. These flavors sweeten even more as the taste advances to the end where they are meet with an alcohol flavor that gives a slight burning/warming flavor on the mouth.

Mouthfeel – The body of this beer is on the creamier side with a carbonation level that is also on the higher side. The thick body suits the bready flavors well, while the carbonation complements the sweeter flavors well, with neither the body nor the carbonation really taking away from the beer.

Overall –While on the sweeter side, this is a nice flavorful imperial white. It is easy to drink and is at a good price. Sam does a wonderful job once again ad I would recommend this brew!!

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Photo of Greywulfken
3.95/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Sam Adams Imperial line served as my intro to craft beers, microbrews, and non-BMC beers. That said, the first three "cool" beers I had were Sam Adams' Imperial White, Imperial Stout, and Double Bock.

So now, three heavy beer-drinkin' years later, I am returning to them (and a new addition since then, a Wee Heavy!) to see how they stand up to all the amazing beers I have had since...

A: pours a dark amber, reasonable head that stuck around as a lid throughout; motes of lace

S: sweet, caramel malt, some spices

T: sweet caramel malt, coriander/clove-ish spices, some dark citrus, but overlaid with a syrupy caramel sweetness; the spices add a dryness that keeps the sweetness in check

M: full-bodied, syrupy but not sticky, full mouthfeel, very soft, creamy

O: it didn't receive overwhelmingly strong reviews here, and I must confess, I still haven't had any other witbiers, but this is an good beer. It is the pale version of an imperial stout - it has richness and delivery. Perhaps true devotees of witbiers take exception to this because they're used to a different product. Totally understandable. Maybe this is average for a witbier, and granted, its not terribly complex or sophisticated, but it is a helluva lot better than the BMC swill out there.

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

Poured into a Duvel Tulip. Tall off white head settling over deep gold/slightly hazy liquid. Aroma of the usual wit spices and a sweet maltiness..probably due to this sitting in the stores cooler a few months but all is good in this case.

Smooth & rich mouthfeel with fruity notes, subtle spicing and alcoholic warmth...goes down easy like a $20 hooker (sorry lol) The finish is spicy with again the alcohol flourish. One of my top Wits.

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Photo of FlemingVSKing
4.5/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Simply a good strong and flavorful witbier.

The floral hops, orange, corriander, and potent alcohol content blend perfectly in a very bold taste. It may actually be a bit shocking at first but leaves you wanting more and more.

I have read some complaints about the lack of a thick head. That is true. You can pour this brew like a Pepsi and it won't foam but I can't for the life of me really hold that against it. It's just the least little thing that I'm worried about.

The head that does exist holds well and leaves tantilizing little rings down your glass as you go.

It's a really great brew for pilsner fans looking to find something more.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.94/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours medium copper with a scant ring of white foam. Middle top stays clean. Orange peel, corriander nose and a touch peppery. Hearty orange bitter taste. Definitely a couped up witbier. Wheaty orange peel mouthfeel.

Not used to a witbier with this much gas.

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Photo of BostonHops
2.03/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12oz bottle served in goblet.

pours a hazy light amber color while yielding a good finger of head; moderate lacing, retention. decent appearance. unfortunately it's all downhill from here.

the nose tends toward the fruity side with notes of lemon and orange - also a hefty dose of booze. big malt presence with some spice evident. taste? simply put, not good. a well-intentioned brew that falls flat. too boozy, too sweet... not layered at all. tried to like it, esp considering its cost, but ended up a drain pour. not for me.

original review on: 07-20-2010 21:35:16

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Photo of Jamesthebrit
2.64/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: When I poured this I was very excited. It seemed smooth and hazy. A nice hazy amber.
S: Doesn't really smell like anything. The minimal head that was on the beer dissipated too quickly to be worth anything.
T: Again poor showing here. The alcohol overpowers all the other flavors of the beer. I get no wheat flavor whatsoever. Very sour.
M: Sits ok. The body is solid but again, the alcohol really comes through and I don't want this beer to linger around.

An overall poor showing. I was excited when I found this at the store because I had never seen it before but the execution here is not very good. Doesn't bring the wheat flavor as promised and turns out to be quite terrible to drink.

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Photo of Cavanaghty
3.8/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a Sam Adams glass.

Appearance: Hazy amber color with a thin white head that lingered. Mild lacing on the glass.

Smell: Banana, mild cloves, wheat, hops.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Very smooth medium bodied. Taste of wheat and hops with mild notes of banana.

Overall: Very good beer. I have enjoyed this on several occasions.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer poured a cloudy hazy amber gold. A creamy light tan head builds about two fingers high, but dissipates fast. It leaves some lacing on the glass.
I smell honey, malty notes as well as some spice and coriander.
Tasting the beer, up front there will be a those spice and coriander notes, followed by honey and sweet malt flavors in the middle. The end is rounded up by some belgian style hops, but the sweet notes are still dominating. The 10.3 ABV are well hidden. An interesting beer, well done for the style.

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

Samuel Adams is the most consistent American brewer. They try so many things and they never seem to disappoint! This beer pours a beautiful light golden color with a hint of spice and a light cream colored head. The beer is perfectly carbonated and is smooth for a beer with ten percent alcohol. It is rather sweet and goes down very smoothly. Easily one of the better white beers I have tried in a long, long time. Props to Sam Adams, the real American king of beers.

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Photo of beerme626
2.27/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Wow, what a disappointment from Sam Adams.

A: Thick, cloudy, with minimal head. Looks like thick, pulpy orange juice.
S: Orange for sure, but also with a massive whiff of alcohol.
T: Here's where it gets nasty. Citrus is too strong, wheat taste is too weak. Alcohol taste (which is very strong) doesn't match either.
M: Makes you pucker up at the beginning from its sourness, and blasts the back of your throat going down.
O: Gross. So much for that $3.50 a bottle.

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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 brewskifan55
4.05/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter

A: amber, opaque; a half finger head that settles quickly; big bubbles; light lacing.

S: Coriander, orange peels, banana, wheat, yeast

T: orange and coriander slide in; sweet caramel; bready malts. Alcohol envelopes and mellows the drinker. Slightly bitter finish that pulls it all together. Yum. I agree with some of the other reviewers: this one borders on a barleywine taste.

M: medium, creamy; full bodied, great carbonation.

O: Blue Moon, meet your big brother on steroids. This is one I'd drink again. A big taste that puts you in a mellow zone. Recommended.

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Photo of Thickfreakness
4.26/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- A cloudy copper/orange pour into my DFH glass. Thicka and creamy tinted head floats atop and leaves lots of foamy, sticky lacing all over the glass.

S- Honey, orange peel, coriander, light brown sugar, homeade caramel, clove, allspice, ginger and green apple. Really complex and well put together.

T- Caramel covered tangerine slices, orange blossom honey, brown sugar, some banana yeastiness and raisin bread. A nice citrus bitterness pulls thru all that sticky goo and balances nicely.

M- Nice and sticky like fruit cake... honey, caramel, dried fruit, oranges, clove, cinnamon and ginger. Really coats the mouth and tongue with oily sweetness but also has a nice citrusy bite.

O- I think this belongs more in the English Barleywine category than the Wit one. I'm really loving this, and wishing I hadn't waited so damn long to try it. I can't wait to age a 4-pack of this each year. I love all of the Sam Adams Imperial line!

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Photo of WastingFreetime
3.97/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Ruddy orange color with some hazing in it and a single finger of collapsing cream colored foam that leaves minimal lacing behind. Smells and tastes most intensely of dried apricots, orange peel, caramel candies, coriander, and booze in descending order of strength. As somebody else has already stated before, this really is effectively the wheat equivalent of a barleywine at this point (wheatwine?) and behaves in the mouth exactly as one would expect such a thing to perform. Texture is lusciously thick, smooth, and creamy... finishes somewhat boozey hot and solvent-y. If only they had hid the ABV a bit better and made a stronger head presentation, but these things are nitpicking compared to everything else about the brew which is done well.

In summary, memorable for a wheatwine power chord of dried apricots!

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Photo of tdm168
4.03/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orange with a quarter of an inch of soft, dense, off white head that has good retention. The nose is very malt forward with wheaty and bready aromas as well as some citrusy, zesty notes. I also get a little banana peel, faint spice, and alcohol phenols. The taste is malty up front with a lightly bready, wheaty, caramelly profile followed by some white grape notes, citrusy, orange zest notes and faint banana and then finishes peppery with some faint spice and some spicy, bitey alcohol. The mouthfeel is med to full bodied, very warm, smooth, and mildly carbonated.

This is a decent beer. It's definitely worth checking out. Most of the flavors are typical to the style but the additional malt and alcohol add depth and character that make this an enjoyable sipper.

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Photo of UTCengOwl
3.94/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Saw a bottle of this as a single at Central Market and I figured why not. I was a bit down when I saw the other reviews, but I'm now thinking that a lot of those people were off in their opinions. A unique and interesting beer. Served in a New Belgium globe.

Nice, dense 1/2" white foamy head. However, the star is the light orange body with a red hue. It's hazy, but still brilliant when held up to the light. Inviting.

The smell is a bit solventy. Sticky, medicinal orange. This is gonna be interesting to drink...

This is... surprisingly good. Very reminiscent of a wheatwine. It has the thickness and body of a lighter barleywine. Much more fruit, too. A bit of spice on the start of the sip, but not an overwhelming amount carrying over to the aftertaste. The creaminess of the body is just heavenly. I think I hit this at the right temperature. Too hot and I bet this gets solventy. Too cold and I bet it's not as fantastically creamy.

I like this quite a bit. It most reminds me of Brooklyn's The Companion, but this has a lot more depth of flavor and better mouthfeel. Good show!

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Photo of src22
3.41/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Murky orange with a 1 finger white head that dissipates after a minute or two.

S: Smells of slight malty breadyness with orange and coriander and a strong alcohol scent.

T: Overpowering alcohol taste with some spices and maltyness.

M: Medium body'd and slightly creamy with good carbonation.

O: Overall, this would be an excellent beer if it weren't for the overpowering alcohol. Maybe aged for a year or more would mellow it out enough for the malt and spices to shine a bit more.

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Photo of socon67
3.46/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours golden, cloudy and with an active white foam. Minimal lacing.

S - Scent is of fresh grain, citrus, and sugary candy.

T - Taste is consistent with the smell. Citrus and sweetn flavor, with a taste of hearty grain. Finish has a slight acidic burn.

M - Smooth, medium bodied, and a tasty beer that feels ligther than its ABV.

O - Interesting take on the style. I found it a potent witbier that pushes the envelope.

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Photo of jzeilinger
2.71/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours an amber color and looks more like an amber ale than a white. Nice thin lacing white head and active carbonation.

S - Candy Belgian caramel, booze, some citrus, and mild spices.

T - Overall, tastes like fusel, cloying cough syrup. Belgian candy caramel & light citrus are added in the background.

M - Thick, full bodied, and lipsmacking sticky.

O - The best thing about this beer is the color. I'm not sure whether to applaud Sam Adams for pushing the boundaries on a witte beer or to totally ding it because it resembles nothing close to the style. I hate to say it, but it's an absolute mess. Give me a Whitewater IPA instead.

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Photo of Gladius270
3.65/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a hazy orage with a thin white head, with persistant lacing.

S- CITRUS. Grapefruit and orange dominate the nose. I also detected some grassy notes in there.

T- Taste follows suit with smell and delivers alot of citrus. I found this beer to be overwhelmingly sweet tasting, and finishing with a bit of an alcohol burn.

M- Creamy, smooth mouthfeel. The highlight of this brew for me.

O- Overall, I enjoyed this beer. I enjoyed the way it felt as I drank. Wish the sweetness were toned down a bit though.

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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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