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

BA SCORE
79
okay
1,283 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Samuel Adams Imperial WhiteSamuel Adams Imperial White
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States
samueladams.com

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,283
Reviews:
643
Avg:
3.46
pDev:
19.36%
 
 
Wants:
35
Gots:
70
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,283 |  Reviews: 643
Photo of bnes09
3.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I'll give Sam Adams a hand for brewering something pretty unique but overall, this one doesn't have that much to brag about. Its appearance is good, a deep hazy orange with a white head. The smell is similar to that of weaker witbiers with a little added alcohol spice. This one has your typical orange and coriander flavors come through but I can also taste a hint of caramel as well as a warming sensation from the alcohol. Mouthfeel is very thick, syrupy and intensely sweet, way too sweet for my taste.

I absolutely loved double bock by Sam Adams when I tried it but this just isn't the type of beer that transforms well into an imperial style, IMO. Its not that bad, just something I wont buy again. I am the kind of person who sees a unique kind of beer and must try it simply out of curiosity so if you are like me, by all means give it a shot. However, if I am in the mood for a witbier, I will go with the lighter versions which are more smooth and crisp instead of this thick syrupy version.

 1,003 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
3.23/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bought locally. Hmm..10.3%? Interesting.

It pours a cloudy, more like very hazy, dark orange red with an inch of foam with some generous lacing.

Taking a few whiffs, I'm smelling some big notes of coriander and oranges, nice and spicy and fruity, with a rather small alcohol presence which is good.

Taking my first sips, the oranges and coriander are in my face, so to speak, but the alcohol, which I thought was nicely restrained in the smell, is also in my face. Lots of warming. Set that aside for a moment and I'm now gwtting an earthy flavour. Ha, this is a pretty sweet, as in sugary sweet, brew, overall and that's surprising me for a moment but I'm sure extra sugar was used to bump up the abv. Dang it, this would be nicer if it wasn't so damn strong tasting, ie hot.

The mouthfeel borders on syrupy with a light amount of carbonation.

Drinkability? I'd have to say....not so good. The abv is 10.3% and I can "feel" every percentage point, believe you me. I won't have a problem finishing the other 3 bottles of the 4 pack but that won't be accomplished for some time.

 1,082 characters

Photo of JamesS
2.55/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a quite dark copper color for a wit, not near as light as most white ales, and with hardly any head and lacing (I know the extra malt makes it darker, but then it's still not a white ale). Decent scent, some nice malt with a slight fruity aroma. Malty taste, with the alcohol covering up most of the wit attributes; hardly any pepper, citrus, clove, or any other flavor over the high alcohol and malt flavors. A little rough going down, too.

 447 characters

Photo of berley31
4.05/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured with a small, white, fizzy head that diminished quickly to thin film. Body is a dark orange (almost brown) color, not what I'd expect from a wit, and quite cloudy. Leaves some light lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Great aroma... you can smell the fruit (especially the orange), as well as some light hops. There's also an underlying scent of the alcohol, but it fits perfectly with everything else.

T: Everything you can smell comes out very well in the taste of the beer... orange and coriander flavor, like most wits, but with a slight bitter, hoppy finish. The alcohol also comes through, but is not overpowering at all (hidden quite well, really, for a >10% abv beer) and warms the throat as it goes down.

M: Excellent mouthfeel, as it is quite full-bodied, with a slick and creamy texture. Average to soft carbonation.

D: I really enjoyed this beer, my first imperial white. Deceptive in its strength, the high alcohol doesn't inhibit drinking more than one of these babies, and the taste isn't overly sweet and spicy like some wits can be.

 1,068 characters

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

Pours a nice amber orange, verging on a bit of copper in the middle, and is unfiltered, pretty murky and lovely. The head is sizable, but fades a bit quick, but leaves a lot of lacing.

The aroma is great, full of fruits and lots of malt, full full full, it doesn't lack for interest. A bit of tang, a touch of wheat, very nice. Taste is along the same lines, full of complexity. Citrus in a tangy beat, nice malt, a bit hot. Mouth is medium full, slight carbonation, again the alcohol is a bit hot, and it almost works, but a little too hot. In all, a tasty beer, very interesting, fairly complex.

 598 characters

Photo of dmamiano
3.67/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very hazy orangish gold. Small white head lacing also noticed.
Faint spices in the nose, citrus, coriander and candy sweetness. Heavy wheat malts.
Taste is HUGE in the palate..bordering in cloying. Some orange and spices come through the thick sugary beer.
Moderate burn of alchohol make a little rough finish to this one.

 322 characters

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

This ale when poured into a glass was the color of a hazy thick deep amber, with little foam and a medium amount of lace retention. The smell of spices like cloves, cinnamon, orange peel, also a hint of wheat and yeast. What a great balance ale that is one of my favorites in the Sam Adams Series!

 297 characters

Photo of kingcrowing
3.21/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle in a fancy glass.

Very nice deep dark amber with no head, slight lacing. Aroma is quite boozy for being over 10% abv. Quite spicy and slightly syrupy but not as much as 120min IPA. Pretty solid big beer from Sam Adams. It is really pretty good.

 257 characters

Photo of beerthulhu
3.75/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a translucent sienna orange with a slight thin beige film covering that quickly diminished to a patchy topping. Visible carbonation was strong with a showering display of tightly knitted bubbles.

S: spicy with sweet caramelized grains and oranges. Fresh cinnamon sticks and bananas lingered about as well. A fruitiness of fresh pears with a touch of honey adds sweetness. The overall strength was medium while the aroma closes out with a trailing black peppery nature.

T: The flavor opens with a big caramelized wheat palate that was dry and accompanied by a dry spiciness of cloves and fresh cinnamon. The malting was fresh pancakes with a touch of melon fruitiness atop with some pears and aniseed thrown in for good measure. A dried honey sweetness and a finish that was spicy and dry leaves you with an increasing black peppery fade and alcohol warming making you aware of its 10.0%abv nature.

M: creamy and very lively with a edgy carbonation. A deep medium body consistency and warming dry pepper lacing closes things out.

D: An enjoyable drink, spicy, dry and edgy. Comes off like a cross between a dunkelwiezen with yeasty attributes and the spiciness of a white that worked well together mending the best of both styles. Six pack worthy but take is slow at 10.0%abv it goes down like a 7.0-8.0%. Good enjoyment overall and fairly easy for its high abv.

 1,377 characters

Photo of badesign
2.7/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours clear gold with a tight but hefty head. Aroma of bananas and spices along with a breadiness and some alcohol. This beer hits the tongue with an interesting and complex flavor; typical hefeweisen fruit, clove, and grain, sweet but mostly balanced, but finishes almost unbearably boozy and medicinal. The ten percent ABV does a seriously poor job of integrating with the pleasant flavors of the beer. Mouthfeel is fine with active carbonation, but drinkability is nearly non-existent due to the extreme alcohol flavors- I'd honestly just as soon drink Nyquil, the booze is so overwhelming. I finished a four pack over the course of several days but would absolutely not buy more, and am a little put-off to the rest of Sam's imperial line up as a result.

 758 characters

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

When they said big beer they weren't kidding. This is a big beer. Probably bigger than I expected and maybe bigger than it should be, but then again that's an opinion.
Strong banana with a mild fruit quality. In time wheat malt and alcohol show forth with a slight bite.
Poured with decent head which settles in time with some residual. Somewhat cloudy with amber color with close to copper coloring.
Heavy quality to the flavor. Strong wheat flavor with prominent alcohol. Drink lays heavy on the tongue. Rich sweetness to the drink. Fruit flavors notable (almost like gum type flavors - juicy fruit).
I'll have to admit that this is my 3rd bottle and the more I drink them I'm enjoying them more. I don't ever think this will be great. The alcohol is too dominant, the richness is too intense, one bottle is the max per session and the aroma is only mildly appealing...yet this is okay and I'll enjoy the fourth bottle.

 924 characters

Photo of dmtaylor
3.21/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

First, let me say that on its own, this is not a bad imperial beer, not bad at all. Delicious, in fact.

That said, this is not anywhere even close to being a witbier, so my expectations were shattered. There is absolutely no coriander or orange to speak of. What I get primarily is huge caramelly malt sweetness, with strong suggestions of licorice, and very obvious yet smooth alcoholic strength. In the background, there is spiciness, no doubt coming a little from the alcohol, and possibly grains of paradise and careful use of hops. Balance is anything but bitter -- very chewy sweet. I am very surprised at the wimpy carbonation and head on this beer. My glass is absolutely clean and the head was very low to begin with, and now halfway through it is almost all gone. This is a wheat beer, ain't it??

All complaints aside, I've got to say, I really kind of like this beer. Maybe even a lot. HOWEVER, they need to call it something else, because it's nowhere anywhere close to anything remotely resembling a witbier. A way-too-sweet strong golden ale, perhaps. Or just call it dessert beer. That's really what it is. Something not to drink with food, but just to lie back and sip on contemplatively for awhile on a cool autumn evening.

Yum, but not at all what I thought it was going to be.

 1,298 characters

Photo of kahjdfh
2.02/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I'm a big fan of Witbiers, but I was greatly disappointed in this beer. The amounts of hops in this overpowered everything about this beer. I could not taste any orange, coriander or any of the others spices associated with witbiers. I would not reccomend this beer.

 266 characters

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

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, imperial white is much darker than your average Witbier, more of a cloudy copper-orange color with a glistening off-white head that leaves Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, imperial white is much darker than your average Witbier, more of a cloudy copper-orange color with a glistening off-white head that leaves nice lacing on the glass. The smell is fruity sweet with an orange-banana juice profile; there is also some coriander, slight alcohol and just a touch of spice. The taste follows suit nicely with the sweet fruitiness coming to the forefront, but on the swallow there is a huge alcohol burn. Citrus and coriander definitely present and a touch of peppery spice. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a rich and creamy head and a dry, mouth-coating film finish. Drinkability of this is pretty good considering the 10.3%, probably not one you would want to drink the whole 4 pack of in one sitting. Very interesting take on a Witbeer.

 989 characters

Photo of JDK
4.2/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

* Poured a cloudy dark honey color with a 1/4" foamy head that quickly reduced to a light film

* Very light lacing

* I liked the smell of oranges and allspice. Very light.

* Was very surprized to find out that it's a 10.3%. Alcohol was hidden very well.

* Nice citrus after taste that clings to the tongue until the next sip.

* I normally am not a big fan of this type but this is an exception! So glad I tried it!

* Bought the Imperial series in single bottles at The Andersons in Lima. A little on the pricey side but no different than you'll pay for a premium beer in the local pub

 591 characters

Photo of ditch
3.51/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I like the imperial series beers. They are extremely boozy and quite tastey! They've done a good job trying to mask the booze here. I would imagine it would be hard to make this an everyday type drinker. It's a wheat beer with too much alcohol! But on the other hand, I've never had anything like it before.

Poured a cloudy copper color. Not very "white" at all. Head is buttery and fades pretty fast thanks to the booze. Decent lacing.

Citrus and pepper in the hops, maybe some corriander and clove with a bit of orange and grapefruit. Followed by the booze! Wow! This can be overpowering on some sips. Almost like a rubbing alcohol on the exhale through the nose. Not enough to stay away from it though.

This series has been an adventure, and i thank Boston Brewing for it. I like that they are trying new things. And I would say they are being quite successful at it. This beer is by no means good, but on that note it's really not bad either! I'll be drinking these to kick off nights with the in laws! Boozy but that's not always bad when you need that buzz to relax a bit!

 1,085 characters

Photo of rfgetz
3.25/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - cloudy orange.. frothy white head, decent lacing.

S - Orange, lemon, corriander, biscuity malts, tad boozey

T - Sweet orange and lemon with some corriander and pepper. Biscuity malts and yeast in the middle. Finishes boozy.

M - Heavy bodied, syrupy, boozy burn

D - The Imperial Series has not been my favorite. It seems like its an attempt to just up the power of the flavors of all the ingrediants and amp up the booze. The balance just insnt there for me.

 466 characters

Photo of ahking
3.74/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First off, I like imperial wheat ales, and this one is no exception.

I had expected this to pour white like Hoegarrden, but it actually comes out of the bottle a copper color.

Aroma is perfumey with rich fruit cake and rum. You and smell the alcohol.

Taste is also rich and hot with alcohol. Spices are mild and blend well with the extra malt. Starts soft but finishes tart with acidic citrus.

 399 characters

Photo of IBUnit63
3.07/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours like a very light caramel in body with a rather buttery head that fades with a bit of speed.

There are some fruity tones here...apples? Grapes? As one expects with a 10%+ concoction, there's more than a hint of booze here too. Good to see a tinge of clove to break it all up.

Y'know, it's tasty. But there's not a lot here in style. "The Imperial White is neither imperial nor white. Discuss." OK...the booze makes it imperial. But it's not really Belgian to me.

Palate feel is surprisingly light. Not too light, but lighter than expected...especially for something that's so boozy.

Good experiment. Result? Not sure what they were going for or if they accomplished it. Next...

 687 characters

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

Pours a very nice dark golden color with a one-finger head.

The smell is sweet and slightly flowery with some fruity notes. There is a hint of yeast and another pleasant smell I can't quite identify.

This beer has a nice fruity flavor with a sweet finish. Hints of orange. The alcohol is present, yet not over-bearing.

The beer feels smooth in the mouth with the apropriate bite for its ABV.

Drinkable in the sense that I would have one again in the future. I don't think it would be in my best interest to have too many of these in one sitting.

 549 characters

Photo of Gosox8787
2.9/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Picked up a four pack of this. It was the only one of the Sam Adams Imperial Series that I hadn;t tried yet. The first two were very good. Onto the third...

The appearance is orange and clear with ample carbonation and a white head. Surprisingly colorful for a witbier. Aroma is strong and boozy. Notes of apple, pear, and a bouquet of spices are all present. The taste hits first with fruit notes and a strong sweetness. A boozy rum flavor hits next, followed by a lot of spices. The flavors are certainly amped up, but there is almost zero balance. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and has an oily feel after each sip. Drinkability is low due to the overpowering, unbalanced flavor and the overwhelming booziness.

Overall, by being to boozy, it overshadows the highlights of this beer. Just too much in one beer. More like a Belgian ale than a witbier.

 851 characters

Photo of Wisconsinality
3.42/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: This one poured a cloudy deep orange with a fair amount of head that receded somewhat slow. This was darker than your normal wit.

S: I would have to say this was a fairly complex smelling beer. The main one that stuck out to me was coriander.

T: I picked up the malt and coriander right away with a hint of cinnamon. The alcohol occasionally peaked through.

M: Pretty good mouth feel. A little heavier than a normal wit but that can be expected since it is an imperial.

D: Overall I would compare this more to a tripel than a wit but it was pretty good nonetheless.

 572 characters

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

Samuel Adams Imperial White
12 oz brown bottle
Served in a 20 oz Great Lakes Brewing tulip glass

Pours a burnt and hazy dark orange color. Decent head on top to start that turns to a thin trail of sticky lace around the glass.

Nice aroma with whiffs of sugary sweetness, spices and oranges.

A flavorful beer that is syrupy and rich with a black pepper bite. Main theme of coriander, orange juice and candy sugars. Maybe a tad too sweet overall, but still enjoyable. Minimal hop presence on the finish, but I get a little hint of rubbing alcohol too.

No question that this is an 'imperial' brew ringing in a 10+% ABV. I must admit though, even though there is some alcohol warmth with some sips, its still a smooth and drinkable brew. Personally I find this to be one style that doesn't need a jacked up ABV. I like my witbiers to be as quaffable and refreshing as possible. Just my .02

 892 characters

Photo of Rayek
3.9/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Appropriately cloudy. Pale amber color with a firm white head. The head stays with the beer down the glass and leaves a moderate lacing.

S: Coriander stands out alongside orange, cinnamon, lemon and biscuit aromas. Very complex.

T: Very dry and tart. Lots of flavors going on here. I sensed coriander, all-spice, orange, cinnamon and lemon. The malt and wheat add a sourdough bread quality. Alcohol adds a nice warmth.

M: Just about right. Medium grainy body with the right amount of carbonation.

D: This struck me as Hoegaarden on steroids. Very big and intense. I'm glad I tried it.

 591 characters

Photo of carlborch
3.78/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy, dark, orange, amber pour, with medium viscosity. The off-white-to-tan creamy head settled in at about 2 inches. The nose provides ample evidence of wheat, with citrus, and spicy notes. The nose leans toward power and I expect a hefty brew. There is almost a medicinal note? The palate is rich, enveloping, warm, and lingering. The alcohol is evident. This is not a summer session wheat ale! The Belgian lace is well-developed, leaving clear rings as I sip, although after a few minutes the head is gone. Malty, fruity, less citrus than expected and more coriander with hints of mace and vanilla on the palate. Long, pleasant lingering. I’ll try this again as the weather cools.

 689 characters

Samuel Adams Imperial White from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.46 out of 5 based on 1,283 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe