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 Norfolkbarry
2.14/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Concur with other reviewers about nice appearance and mouthfeel. I drink witbeer routinely but in this case the cardamom completely overwhelms everything else. There is nothing subtle about the flavor, it is just cardamom. I found it nearly undrinkable and returned the unused bottles. Not one of their better efforts.

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Photo of filmguy
2.17/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

No aroma whatsoever. As Gary V would say...Aromatically challenged. The initial attack is promising with some coriander, sugar, hint of orange. Then....nothing....then....what is that god awful finish? What is that nasty aftertaste? What is that 9.3% smacking me upside the head for?

Oh well...I had to try it.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
2.17/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Pours a hazy orange-ish color with yellow hints and an off white head. In the aroma, quite spicy, cinnamon, dry alcohol, kind of like rubbing alcohol. In the taste, orange and or coriander, a cinnamon spice and dry alcohol all the way through. A smooth and medium to big bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dy orange citrus and spice in the aftertaste. Alcohol is too big, kind of smells of rubbing alcohol or like hairspray.

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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 lstokes
2.18/5  rDev -37%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This poured a disconcertingly bright orange with a heady scent of sweet wheat and didn't get much better. I found it overly sweet, kind of like a chocolate orange had been dunked in eggnog and left us with a weirdly cloying mouthfeel and no hop bitterness to mention. Actually became a drain pour in the back half.

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Photo of dashmartino
2.19/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Blech. Had higher hopes for this stuff. Bought a single at Goldstein's in Kingston PA. Poured into a hoegaarden glass (hey, it's a white, right?) First sniff, real boozy and not pleasant. Taste, very sweet but too boozy. Not a chugger. Very disappointed! Who knows though, it may have been skunked sitting in a singles shop.

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Photo of epicness
2.2/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

A: Foggy orange, small head that quickly dissipates. Medium lacing.
I liked the color though but I was surprised that it was so dark. That should have been the first warning to me.

S: Spicy, Citrusy and wheat... lets not forget alcohol. This thing reeks of alcohol.

T: Very alcohol taste to it. I can barely taste anything else. A little bit of citrus but the alcohol is slapping me in the face. Witbiers normally have a nice complex taste but all I can seem to taste is hot hot alcohol and coriander. A big big disappointment for me being a Wit fan.

M: Full and thick. Medium to high carbonation.

D: Not very drinkable due to the high ABV.

I think Sam Adams tried to outdue themselves with the 10.3 ABV. Take it down to the normal Wit % of 5ish and this is probably a good beer.

I drank probably 1/2 to 3/4s of it and then it got a drain pour.
It's just a rough taste that I don't like. The last sip made me gag and then I figured it was time to get rid of it.

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Photo of arboristfish
2.22/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

The beer pours a hazy copper color, had a white head but faded fast. The smell of the beer is of booze and licorice. The taste stars out with a weird sweet taste, but is boozy all the way through. The sweetness tastes like possibly wheat, with some caramel sweetness. The mouthfeel is medium, and the carbonation is low. Overall it is drinkable, but I guess im not overall impressed with this one.

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Photo of WrathsU
2.25/5  rDev -35%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A - Barely any head on a vigorous pour. Copper hazy body. No lacing to speak of.

S - Faint sweet fruit smell mingled with what smells a bit like the fault dms. Very faint smelling in general.

T - Hello alcohol. Very boozy up front. Very sweet tasting. Banana, and other mingled fruits throughout. Not much else going on though.

M - A still beer, not much carbonation bite. A mediocre amount of alcohol burn.

O - Not the best Sam Adams on the market. Way to sweet, and way to boozy for me. Nothing like the complex delicacies found in your standard witbier.

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Photo of malcontent
2.25/5  rDev -35%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

The head, while snowy white, is not the presence that I expect from a witbier. The cloudy deep orange body is pretty but, once again, I expect something a bit lighter in this style.

Not the corriander/lemon combo I usually get but rather a sort of iced tea with orange peel. Weird but nice. The first sniff actually smells like salt water taffy!

First of all, it's not a bad beer, it just isn' all that close to anything witbier-ish. It actually ends up tasting like a fruitier weizenbock. Unlike the Southampton Double White, though, there just isn't enough groundbreaking to make up for the stylistic deviance. No real spice to speak of and the malt body is so huge that it actually borders on cloyingly sweet. As it warms it becomes peach/mango-like at times and there is a bit of spice that desperately wants to break through but it's bludgeoned by the malt. Nice try.

Mouthfeel borders on syrupy before the carbonation has a chance to cut through it. I'm really glad to have tried this but it's going to be difficult finishing just the one bottle. A good idea, there just had to be a better way of going about it.

EDIT: the warming alcohol and the mouthfeel were both so intense that by the time I neared completion this bottle's contents were nearly undrinkable. Strike what I said earlier about this not being "a bad beer." It is.

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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 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 mikesgroove
2.28/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

reviewed from notes, part of the big sam adams tasting on xams day. we plowed through everyone we could find in the damn state! served cold and poured into a pint glass.

alex grabbed this one from the four pack and it may have been the loser of the night to be honest. the pour was ok, nothing to write home about with a quick and fleeting head that did not stay around long at all. aroma is way boozy, holy crap. hot alcohol dominates the smell and the taste, the flavor to the point of obnoxious. thick light cough syrup with soo much candied malt to cover it up i was just insure of where to even begin, this was just not well done. too much for me and it ended in a drain pour, the only one of the night.

overall this was a bad release i have to say, it is just too hot, unbalanced and just does not work on any level.

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.28/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a cloudy moderate golden color with a white head. Nose brings a lot of booze and some stone fruits, peaches, and a bit of banana and spice. The taste is really dominated by booze with some slight peach flavors in the background. Feel is very poor, nearing on awful, with some cloying sugar and booze. Way too thick, even for an imperial wheat beer. Much thicker and more boozy than the typical wheatwine. Not a good beer.

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Photo of leif86
2.29/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

No drink by date found on this 12 oz bottle. I poured it into a SA glass in order to make the beer feel at home.

A: A yellow-orange color, a bit copper, with little head and only a spattering of lacing.

S: First whiff: holy crap, this beer is hot. Second whiff: dear god, it's hot. Third whiff: smells very sugary and... oh god I can't tell anything else it just reeks of alcohol.

T: Exactly like it smells. The finer points of this brew are lost behind a near unpleasant sugary sweetness at the front and then the overwhelming taste of alcohol throughout the rest of each sip.

M: A bit sticky and syrupy. No thanks.

D: I didn't even want to finish this one glass (but I did). Makes me happy I only bought a single and not a 4 pack.

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Photo of MetalandBeer
2.32/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

grabbed this one for lack of anything better at the store...

A-Cloudy,grainy, goldish/copper hue.head is non-existent.

S- Strong & bitter citrus notes. Very strong alcohol/booze like aroma.

T- Bitter citrus. Strong, un-plesant strong alcohol taste on the end, thena lingering, syrupy feel that lingers in the back of your throat.

M- Thick and syrup like

D- very rough to drink, especia;;y as it warms.

Overall: Not my type of beer.Not what I expect a witbier to be.

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Photo of Hoagie1973
2.32/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to kbnooshay for the bottle.
Darker than any Wit I've ever seen. Color is more akin to an APA. 1-finger creamy off-white head.
Smells just a touch wheaty but mostly the barley malt dominates. Alcohol is obvious along with a little fruitiness and some butterscotch.
Mouthfeel is syrupy with little carbonation and the flavor has a boozy sweetness that's just off-putting. Alcohol dominates the finish. Nothing present that one usually enjoys or expects from a Witbier. No orange or coriander to speak of, just a sweet boozy mess.
This one's a failure; doesn't resemble a Witbier in any capacity, "imperial" or otherwise.

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Photo of Jadjunk
2.33/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

#75. A lesser available Samuel Adams selection, I was pleased to find this at only one grocery store in my area. The ABV might be the biggest alerting factor in this beer, as for its style, it is incredibly high. The beer also comes in a pack of 4 which is different for Samuel Adams brews.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a glass mug at room temp.

(Appearance) Beer pours a really fizzy 2.5 finger depth head and recedes gradually, although faster than I would have hoped, the heavily carbonated head would have led to nothing more. Head is all but a light shim on the surface within about 2 minutes. Light lacing pops up every now and then with each sip but has no staying power; the glass stays clean. The color is significantly darker than the average Witbier; it is a very deep copper with some orange and light brown highlights. It is considerably murky, too difficult to see through and it affects the amount of light that can get through this beer which may allude to its darker color. Carbonation is mostly clustered but plentiful, active and medium-paced. Interesting visual characteristics for this Witbier come through mostly in color, but the head was a big disappointment which really kills any superb first impressions this beer may garner otherwise. The high ABV is likely to blame. 3

(Smell) Some bread-like yeasts peek through the surface of this beer and it doesn't smell like any Witbier I have had before. Beyond the characteristic caramel malt character of most Samuel Adams and some even more intense fruity character that doesn't smell much like orange or lemon slice, but in fact some sort of banana or berry. I can't really smell any coriander spice at all in this beer. Unfortunately I really can't smell much of anything in this beer at all; the aroma is underwhelming. This would be far more interesting if it were more potent, but this is one case in where I can detect the alcohol in the scent, a quality that may be over the top and too intense for the beer's own good. 2.5

(Taste) Sharp stinging alcohol is the first thing that hits the mouth in this beer. One of the most alcohol heavy beers up front I have had; pleasant if you like strong alcohol tastes, but it kills almost any other taste qualities this beer might have. Caramel is on the back burner as well as some faint berry banana. Nearly medicinal; the alcohol is far too strong, poorly concealed unlike no other beer I have ever had. It is practically draining this beer of any diverse flavor characteristics it could have. To recap, the flavors I found, in order of dominance: Alcohol, Alcohol, Alcohol, Caramel Malt, Banana. The label claims that the beer has Orange and Coriander in here somewhere? Where?!? My suggestion: this beer is way off balance and needs some serious work. 2

(Mouthfeel) If the taste didn't suggest it already, spicy, stinging crispness from the alcohol and carbonation dominates the brew in taste and mouthfeel. Medium body at best; the alcohol is the biggest character which makes the taste and the feel very intense. It's really all over the place and tastes volatile and spiked. If the drinker is feeling in the mood for something spicy and painfully crisp, this beer is a decent choice for the mouthfeel. I'm just not feeling it. 2.5

(Drinkability) The ABV says it all, this beer may be too dangerous for my own good to have more than one or two of. It's not quite as filling as it gives off but the flavors are only decent if you feel like taking shots of vodka and drinking a beer at the same time. It certainly gets its point across; after even one drink I'm feeling the alcohol... which is predictable as it was pretty much the dominant flavor and feel I got from this beer. For me, it's a definite one-timer brew. I wouldn't dare get it again. 2.5

Verdict: Probably the most disappointing Samuel Adams I have ever had. The obvious marketing tactic in this beer is a high ABV, as the beer both fails to make any sort of connection to the Witbier style and instead goes for power and wow-factor through alcohol. Unfortunately, the appearance, taste and mouthfeel all suffer in regards to the audacity of this move, and the end result seems like a regular old samuel adams plus liquor to create a beer that will intoxicate you faster and with less drinks. If that's your motive for enjoying beer, get it... but be wary; $12 for a 4 pack of any beer even at a high ABV for the sole purpose of drinking to get drunk is really not the most affordable way to go out; there's cheaper beer for people that enjoy that sensation. Case-in-point: I didn't enjoy this beer. Avoid. D+ (2.4)

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Photo of NODAK
2.35/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

The aroma on this beer is a bit lighter than I'd imagined considering the ABV, but it does have coriander and orange notes on it, perhaps with some pepper. Not bad.

Pours a very dark shade of blonde in the glass with some degree of cloudiness. Head isn't much of anything to write about.

The bottle promises that this beer will have the traditional tastes of orange and coriander, only in a "bigger" beer. However, these tastes are fleeting at best and are at the front part of the beer. The coriander is pretty minor. There's also some yeast that comes in immediately after that. What is NOT hidden is a big, cloying fruit sweetness mixed with a decent amount of booziness. So, if I had to sum up this beer in two words, they would be "sweet" and "boozy". If you'd like a third word, I'd throw in "thick", as it's certainly syrupy.

I like wits quite a bit. Noble attempt I guess, but I just don't think this works very well.

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Photo of Aenema
2.36/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Appearance - Cloudy, deep amber with a thick head and nice lacing.
Smell - Boozy, orange peel and sugar.
Taste - Very boozy, alcohol, some malt and lots of sweetness.
Mouthfeel - Thick, full body with a syrupy feel.
Drinkability - Too sweet and boozy, not very drinkable, especially for a white. The alcohol isn't merely unmasked, it's prominent and overpowering.

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Photo of NEhophead
2.38/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12 fl oz brown bottle; served in a goblet. Alcohol by volume is listed on the label as 10.3%.

Pours a murky copper with highlights of hazy camel. Creamy, lightly off-white head that recedes to a thin sheet after a few moments. Delicate patches of lacing with decent strength.

Heavy, artificially sweet malt aroma with an intensely sharp, gaseous alcohol presence. Lemon solvency, but not much more in terms of citrus aromatics.

Very sweet candied sugar over a very delicate toasted malt base. Mild, citrus solvency. As in the aroma, the alcohol presence is overpowering and unforgiving. Once the alcohol presence clears the artificial sweetness, a weak adjunctory base of grains and thin malt appear. A train wreck regarding balance from the start.

Full bodied; bulky, gaseous, and slick. Diverse, intense flavors that have no semblence of textural balance.

At 10.3% abv, this 'witbier' is a bulky mess. Nothing refined, rounded, or drinkable about this offering. A concoction that should be pulled from Sam's lineup.

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Photo of joeland
2.38/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

appearance- a cloudy orange color very inviting with a small amount of head.

smell- i can smell the orange in the beer a very good smell.

taste- a very dull taste with a a after taste of alcohol.

mouthfeel- very light in the mouth.

drinkability- this is a beer i took a while to drink and just sipped on it. and didn't want more.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
2.4/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a pint glass.

3.5 A: I'd like to start out by saying that I had to pour like a crazed lunatic to get my 2 fingers of head. Cloudy medium orange color. Head surprisingly has average retention and a good amount of lacing.

3.5 S: Orange peel. Orange zest. Lots of orange going on. A bit lemony as well and a touch of grassy hops.

3.0 T: The first sip almost knocked me on my ass from the huge alcohol punch. Caramel sticks out like a sore thumb. Didn't expect this from a wit. Banana and orange blend together to form a very tasty fruitiness. Still alcohol runs rampant. Tastes kinda like a homebrew gone unchecked.

3.0 M: Medium body. Good carbonation, but once again the alcohol comes in to crash the party, preventing a smooth finish.

2.0 D: This gives a good argument for why witbiers should not be imperialized. There isn't enough going on to neutralize the alcohol. Simple as that.

This is my second SA Imperial series. The stout had the same ultra alcohol burst problem too. One more to go it appears.

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Photo of tone77
2.41/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a cloudy light brown color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is dominated by alcohol, a touch of spice. Taste is also of alcohol from start to finish, a touch of citrus is present. Feels light in the mouth with a slight alcohol burn and overall this is the 2nd beer from the imperial series that I have tried, and the 2nd epic fail.

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Photo of BeerSox
2.41/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12oz bottle into nonic.

Deep and cloudy burnt orange hue with a one finger light tan head that settles to a razor thin and smooth cap.

Caramel malts, along with a bit of raisin and cinnamon. A bit of orange peel in there as well.

The alcohol is way too noticeable in this beer, especially for the style. More raisin that gives way to some toasty malts toward the end. I could almost say this tastes salty...

Sam Adams should go back to the drawing board on this one, or maybe just leave this style as a crisper refreshing type beer. I'm definitely not impressed with this one, as the drinkability is so low from the alcohol.

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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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