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 dasenebler
4.07/5  rDev +17.6%
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 -1.7%
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 -14.7%
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 -6.9%
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 -18.5%
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 +15.6%
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 +3.5%
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 +10.4%
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 +9.8%
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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Photo of edchicma
3.88/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an orange yellow with decent initial head..good lacing. This bottle indicates 10.3 abv and it expresses itself in this manner. COuld this be classified as a wheat wine? Smell is barleywine-like with deep elements and a distinct alcohol presence. In the taste area malt, corainder, floral, almost roselike qualityies come through in a thick blend that includes a distinct alcohol presence. Like many strong brews, the subleties become more appaent upon warming. Mouthfeel is warming, slightly viscuous, very substantial. Definitely a sipper, drinkability beacomes better upon warming.

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

Pours a dark golden, orange color that is very cloudy with what looks like some suspended yeast. There is a thin white head at the pour, but it dissipates fairly quickly.
In the nose you are immediately hit with a very strong orange and coriander smell. After that, there is a nice fresh wheat smell also.
The taste is much stronger than the smell. The taste starts with the subtle orange, coriander, and spice taste of the regular Sam Adams White, but then hits with a very strong punch of alcohol taste.
Mouthfeel has a nice amount of thickness to it, especially for a wheat ale. The beer is smooth on the tongue, but after the sip it leaves a harsh alcohol burn in your throat.
Sam Adams Imperial White is a nice beer that is definitely worth trying, as I have never had anything quite like it. It has a nice appearance and aroma and a very interesting taste. The drinkability, however, is not that great. This is a nice beer to buy a 4-pack and split with three buddies because it has a nice taste and is definitely worth trying. Because of the harsh alcohol burn in the beer, though, it would be hard to have more than one or two of these.

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Photo of BMoney575
3.3/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Sampled on 2-22-09
10.3% ABV

Pours a deep golden color with a filmy head. Clingy lacing forms in thin rings.

Smell is very sweet, almost frosting-like. Tons of orange/lemon aroma, with a little spice.

Taste is extremely sweet, with the only relief coming from the alcohol near the end.

Mouthfeel is good, super thick with low carbonation.

Drinkability is poor, sweetness and abv are a deadly combo.

Overall, I'll have to get a couple more and see what some cellar time will do.

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Photo of smcolw
3.52/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy orange-amber color. Very small head, particularly for the style. Light spotty lace on the glass.

Fresh raw wheat aroma with a strong dose of yeast. Notable alcohol in the background.

Starts off smooth and alcohol oily. The flavors of wheat are muted. In fact, the most distinctive aspect is sour, citrus flavor. The aftertaste is all alcohol. Overall, not my cup of tea (or beer that is).

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Photo of Jwale73
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in my Weihenstephaner glass. Poured a hazy orange with gold highlights around the edges when backlit. Quarter inch white head was embedded with tiny bubbles. Some strands of lacing were revealed on the tilt side of the glass. Nose was yeast, corriander, orange peel, bubblegum and bananna esters. Taste consistent with nose, but maltier than anticipated, as well as some booziness. Mouthfeel was medium-bodied and lively with some slickness. In terms of drinkability, I've never had an imperial white. It was a decent brew and flavorful; however, not as refreshing as your typical witbier.

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Photo of erosier
3.63/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

L: Pours a nice amber-orange-yellow color with a medium sized and thin white colored head that laces the glass nicely all the way down.
S: Smells of sweet malts, wheat, orange, coriander, and a big alcohol whiff at the end.
T: Tastes of sweet wheat malts, nice amounts of orange and coriander, then a big alcohol kick at the end. I was not expecting this much alcohol, but it was certainly prevalent.
M: Somewhat smooth, sharp from the alcohol, and the perfect amount of carbonation.
D: Pretty drinkable, if the alcohol was masked more it would be a bit better, but overall this was something I never expected from Sam Adams, and I am glad they did this beer.

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Photo of GilGarp
3.57/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a single to check out this "imperial white" beer not knowing entirely what to expect.

Pours into the curvy Samuel Adams glass. It has a very cloudy, almost murky, orange color. Almost no head develops even though I try to provoke it in the pour. The 1/4" that does form is gone quickly. Some lacing is left behind.

Aroma is sweet with a definate banana smell. Certainly reminds me of a Belgian style ale yeast but not a good one.

Flavor is mostly sweet with a slight spiciness to it. Lots of ripe fruit including bananas, apples and pears.

Mouthfeel is too thick and syrupy for my tastes.

A wit should be more crisp. I understand this is a really big wit but it sort of misses the point. I wanted big flavor, lots of spice and citrus. This comes across too heavy and thick. Not enjoyable and not worth seeking out.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.72/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

4oz pour from a 12oz bottle at Big Z's SA tasting on 2/21/09

L - clear orange color with a white head that fell to a light layer.

S - citrus fruit and wheat aromas, orange, lemon tropical fruits.

T - coriander mixed with a sweet wheat malty flavor, moderate bitterness on the finish.

F - medium bodied with mild carbonation

D - a nice treat, but not for sessioning.

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Photo of Nizinski
3.6/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Grabbed this at the store, not quite knowing what to expect from this. I have had Wheat Ale before, not always a big fan always hit or miss..

Pours cloudy as normal. Very small head, very minor lacing. Served at about 50f. Smell is much like other wheats I have had, I can smell the booze in this one. Also smells like spices, banana other fruits I cant pinpoint.

Taste is good. I wasnt expecting to like this really. Banana flavor is very much in there. This tastes like a banana beer to me, with wheat. I can taste the booze, as expected from the smell. Not a lot of carbonation

This is very easy to drink for being such high ABV, in fact I think I drank it to fast. This is a pretty cool beer I think it was worth the money trying, cant say I will buy more. 4 (pack) is much more then I would ever need.

I'm glad I picked up just one. Samuel Adams I think your great for giving other styles a try, even if each beer dont get rave reviews I respect that. I really wanted one of the other Imperial Series but this is all they had.

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Photo of Liverpool08
3.48/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I definately would not call this a Witbeer. But its a great addition to the Sam Adams collection.

Nice white head that decreases to a thin layer. Plenty of lacing. First sip is quite powerfull! The 10.3 ABV really hits you, but the more you sip the easier it gets. The nose is also a bit alchoholic. A unique dark orange color. Nice feel in the mouth, not like a Witbeer, but pretty clean.

Overall a unique and nice addition to the Sam family.

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Photo of PatrickJR
3.82/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

Sam Adams Imperial White is a little difficult to rate because of it's status as "imperial witbier" but I have tried to review accordingly.

A - Not white at all, more of clear, orangish amber. Two fingers of head rise initially but fade somewhat quickly and settle to nothing, no lacing, likely due to the high ABV.

S - Wow, this smells much more like a wit than I'd expected! Moderately strong overtone of coriander rides on huge fruity wheat aromas. Lots of citrus is packed in here as well (orange and lemon) with an ample tropical fruit-like sweetness. Touchs of chalky aroma are noted as well.

T - Coriander mixes with a very sweet wheat malt flavor that tastes like a combination of orange, banana, vanilla, and pineapple. No tangy or musty/chalky flavor as in some Belgian examples of the style, just a pleasant and complex fruit flavor. Coriander continues after the sweetness fades and mid to late palate there's a briney flavor going making for an interesting contrast against the huge sweetness. Salt and spice quickly spiral into a rather sudden burst of alcohol, contributing a mild to moderate bitterness and finishing things clean.

M - Not something I'm used to in a wit...I can't tell if it works for this brew or not. Solid medium body to be sure, thinning out near the end of the sip. Carbonation is moderate to low, giving this beer a dessert like character.

D - To put "imperial" and "witbier" in the same sentence seems a bit paradoxical, but Sam Adams has managed to make such a thing quite drinkable. The noticable alcohol gets a little annoying after a bit but the rich flavors more than compensate. Probably not the crisp, refreshing beverage one will reach for after a day outside, but definitely a beer worth tasting and exploring.

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Photo of KBoudreau66
3.82/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber colored with some carbonation and two fingers or rough looking white head that will dissipate to a thin layer. Leaves white lacing down the glass. Not a typical look for a witbier.

Smell: sweet malts, alcohol, bananas, copper and undertones of orange.

Taste: up front is sweet malt, bananas and alcohol. There are undertones of orangey citrus and there is a copper taste to it that I couldn't help but notice. It tastes better then the smell.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and carbonated. Nothing like a typical witbier that is light bodied and more fizzy.

It's a drinkable brew. Not your typical belgian wheat by any means. It's better then I was expecting it to be. It's worth trying, and if you don't like it at first you may find yourself enjoying it more and more as you continue to drink it.

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Photo of gordavidson
4.18/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle says 10.3% ABV

A- A fairly cloudy orange liquid with some nice ruby hues and a splotchy white head. Surprisingly dark for the style, but it looks awesome. It doesn't get any better than this.

S- Bubble gum, clove, bananas, candy. Very sweet with just a touch of alcohol. My friend put it best by comparing it to Alpha Kong.

T- Banana, clove, bananas, clove, cotton candy, alcohol. Not nearly as boozy as I was expecting. This is actually pretty sweet and complex. Very nice.

M- A little burning from the alcohol, as well as some dryness. Very clean in the aftertaste.

D- A surprisingly solid beer that doesn't really drink like it's 10.3%. Just as soon as I get used to and bored with Samuel Adams, something like this comes along. Try it.

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Photo of Brad007
3.58/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden amber color with a two-finger head that recedes to leave some lacing on the glass.

Aroma is strong with the hints of coriander and orange peel in the nose. Nice and malty for a change too. Some alcohol detected in the nose.

Taste is strong with a profound alcohol burn at first that's followed by coriander and orange peel. Some sweetness in the middle. A second sip confirms much of the same.

Mouthfeel is quite thick and full of orange peel and has a slight alcohol burn to it. Definitely needs some aging.

I'm not sure what to think of this beer. Witbiers are usually better when they are lower in alcohol but to be honest, this beer isn't that bad. It just needs some aging and it's still a bit tolerable when fresh. There simply aren't that many examples of double whites (I've honestly only had 2 or 3) and again, I'm not sure if it's a style that benefits from higher ABV.

Regardless, this beer is worth a try at least once. I suggest buying 1 bottle instead of a full 4 pack to see if you like it or not.

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Photo of Tarheels4life
2.46/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Orange in appearance with a nice two finger head.
Smell: Like fruit roll-up
Taste: Like a fruit roll-up so not very good.
Mouthfeel: Starts with a taste of fruit roll-up and ends with an alcohol aftertaste.
Drinkability: One is definitely enough it is too sweet and just not that great.

Overall just not that great, sort of feel like i got gypped here.

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Photo of Goliath
3.16/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy, light amber color with a one inch creamy, off white head. Good retention and some nice soapy lace.

The aroma is decent. Some citrus can be found, but I'm not finding any corriander in the nose. It is sort of boozey though with a phenolic bite.

The taste is ok. A good bit of citrus comes through, but again it seems like it's lacking on the corriander. It's phenolic, too boozey.

Mouthfeel is pushing full bodied and it's lightly carbonated.

Drinkability is moderate. The flavor profile isn't as intense as I would have liked, which leads to a bit of difficulty in the ease of consumption because of the strong alcohol presence. It's not bad, but chalk up another disappointment for Boston Beer Co. for me.

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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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