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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 oriolesfan4
2.41/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Finally got around to trying some of the new SA Imperial Series. Bought a 4 pack for $8.99.

Pours a cloudy orange, small head to it with a small amount of patchy lacing. Smell is very spicy, also very boozy. Tastewise, nice body to it.. the spiciness really comes through here. A VERY strong alcohol kick to it as well... this tastes stronger than a DFH 120 minute. Any typical witbier characteristics are just over-matched by the spiciness and mixed-drink type alcohol flavor. Kinda bummed about this one, there is no flavor detectable besides the ethanol... too bad.

 569 characters

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 yossarian14
2.43/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Listed as 10.3% on bottle. Sam Adams Imperial White claims to "push out the boundaries of a witbier" I had trouble finding anything witbier"ish" about it.

There is nothing refreshing about this beer. It is darker, heavier and more syrupy than a witbier, imperial or not, should be. It has the characteristics of a BSPA, but its all muddled. The sweetness is sticky and overwhelming and the astringent alcohol flavor lingers.

I am disappointed, to say the least.

I've had DFH's Red & White and at 10% it is much better.

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Photo of zsk
2.43/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This was a complete disappointment.

It is slick and sickeningly thick. Not good thick like a Russian Imperail Stout. Thick like Karo syrup.
Nothing in this beer says Witbier to me. It's hopefully one of the last "MAKE THIS BITCH AS STRONG AS WE CAN" beers. No wit, no nothing good.

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Photo of CMW
2.43/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Pours a semi-cloudy dark copper color with bright white head. Retention quickly fades and leaves a small ring with light lacing.

S - Smells of vanilla, orange peel, and alcohol.

T - Not great. Can taste malt, orange peel, and coriander but they are all dwarfed by the alcohol.

M - Creamy with medium carbonation, somewhat velvety on the pallate.

D - The alcohol is too strong to make this drinkable.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
2.44/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I recently moved a former employee of BBC and received a case of Imperial White in addition to monetary compensation. Anyone want the other 23?

Muddy caramel colored pour. Not much of a head but it does ease into a thin island skim retention.

A little spice in the aroma but this mainly smells like caramelized orange Fanta. Taste like orange caramel with a mild spice pop at the end. Lots of sweetness with little to nothing to play off of. Thick mouthfeel.

I have a feeling this is a pretty old bottle but at 10.3% it should hold up pretty well.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.44/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Served in a Sam Adams sensory pint glass.

I remember trying this one when it first came out and strongly disliking it. Figured I'd give it another shot after "developing my palate" (I hate using that phrase, as it really sounds kinda wine- (or anything-) snobby, but I can't easily come up with a better one). It pours a hazy Clemson-auburn (why should Auburn be the only tiger-based school with a color, hm?) topped by a short-lived half-finger of white foam. The nose comprises mandarin oranges, lemon zest, light cardamom, and light toffee. Unfortunately for these elements, they're all covered by a thick fog of McCormick's vodka, plastic bottle and all. Sad, really. If it had meshed somewhat nicely, like a strong screwdriver or something, it would've been fine, but this is just too much. The taste is more of the same, with a bit more orange this time 'round (moving closer to a peel, though). It's just an overly boozy mess of a taste, just like the smell, but is somehow less astringent. I can't explain it, either. The body is a hefty medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta sticky feel. Overall, this is just too much for what it might even want to be. The booziness is so omnipresent and malignant that I really don't want to continue drinking this very much, much less get any more bottles.

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Photo of zac16125
2.45/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Serving: bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: A- , pours a dark amber/brown,the color resembling apple cider, with a one a half finger width cream colored head. Very opaque appearance, even for a wheat ale. Decent retention at first that thinned to almost nothing about 1/3 of the way down the glass. Very slight lacing. Appealing look, I was excited to drink this beer.

Smell: C , weak aroma. Neither pleasant nor unpleasant, just lacking, especially for how strong a taste this beer had.

Taste: C , Starts off with a strong, almost overwhelming orange taste. As its drank and begins to warm in the glass, the taste transitions to rather heavy spicey notes, with an occasional smokey flavor. Not what I expected for a witbier. I was generally not a fan of the taste, overwhelming flavors without good balance.

Mouthfeel: B- , good carbonation, but heavy feel for a witbier.

Drinkability: B- , easy to drink despite its strong flavor characters. The high ABV is masked, and I could see how it could be easy for a couple of these to sneak up on you.

Overall I was disappointed with this beer. The amber color with light cream head was very aesthetically pleasing but the taste didn't live up to the appearance. It was too heavy and the flavor characteristics were too strong for a wheat ale. I have one more in my fridge, but don't plan on buying it again. That being said, it was very unique and worth trying if you are a fan of the style and in the mood for something different.

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Photo of WhistlingBird
2.45/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a glass. It was a nice copper color, with a small head that disapates very quickly. Not much lacing on the sides of the glass.

The aroma is kinda strong, definately smell the orange.

First sip I felt like I was taking a shot. It had medicinal like qualities. That quality disapearred as I drank it. But did leave that after taste in my mouth.

I am usually impressed with Sam Adams products, this one leaves me hoping it gets better with age.

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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 malty
2.47/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Inaugural batch from early this year.

Pours a gorgeous glowing amber orange (cloudy) with a blossoming 2" dense & creamy off white head. Nice uniform sheets of almost undisturbed lace all the way down.

Sweet boozy notes of sherry in the nose with a white grape undertone. Some aromatic spices do bob and weave through the thick boozy fog though.

Hot and boozy alcohol hit my tongue from the onset. Some flavors of sweet malts play a minimal part of this high-octane taste profile. The inherent flavor of the basic composition of the beer is severely detached due to the extremely high ABV for this soft style of its 'parent' beer.

Mothfeel is nice. Soft and airy with a velvety smooth feel.

Drinkability is not good for me. I don't think I'll finish this bottle as a matter of fact.

Overall a detached brute of its parental beer style. I'm all for pushing the boundaries (i.e. Devil Dancer, Bell's 'Batch' beers, etc.) but this really doesn't work for me. Wheat malt is probably my favorite malt used for beer. Hopefully the wheat malt allocated for this beer could be used for another prototype. I compare this severe deviation of a traditionally delicate beer to Slayer singing my children a bedtime lullaby.

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Photo of MikeBrandman
2.47/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Not a particularly enjoyable beer. Pours a delicious looking yellow haze that is nearly completely opaque. Great head and lacing too boot. Smell of bananas and...alcohol. Taste is similar too. Almost burns as it goes down. Not something I'd look for in a white. Starts like a good example of the style, fruity and hazy, but then gets a little carried away with the alcohol. Couldn't imagine having another, unless the first got me drunk enough...

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Photo of IceTrey9785
2.48/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip shaped glass...

A: Good pour -- nice head retention (at least two fingers), pours a nice orange-tan color. Very cloudy, and as you swirl the glass, the beer is a little thick like syrup.

S: Citrus all the way. You can tell there is wheat in the beer, but the citrus (tangerines, blood orange, etc) are really overwhelming. I might have thought someone poured a little orange juice in my hefeweizen...

T&M: The taste is really intense. Great concentration, the wheat really gives a nice full taste, followed by layers of candied citrus fruit. Round and supple. However, the finish lingers in the form of a really bad throat lozenge that won't go away. For a beer that high in alcohol, they did a great job covering up the taste in the beer.

Overall, too overdone. This a a beer that has potential to cut into the Blue Moon crowd, but it is way too intense. To me I thought it could have been a Blue Moon with orange vodka floating on the top. Too high in alcohol and too much citrus that overwhelms the nature of the witbier. I couldn't even finish one 12oz bottle. Diabetes in a bottle at best. Hopefully this great brewery will try again and get it right...

 1,196 characters

Photo of apowar
2.48/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Despite a vigorous pour, almost no head develops. The medium amber body is quite surprising for anything that's been brewed with wheat, but is not unappetizing. I am disappointed, though by the lack of any developing head.

Aroma of orange blossom, honey, and more alcohol than i'd like.

Flavor is enormous! Full of wheat bread, honey, syrupy orange juice, orange blossom, ripe apricot, coriander mulling spices and finishes with big alcohol burn and more orange. The alcohol really kills the enjoyment of the beer for me. The orange finish lasts for aaaages. Very sweet throughout--an element that is never particularly well balanced.

Mouthfeel is full and almost chewy with an ever present medium/assertive carbonation.

Overall--I'm not quite sure about this. I'm not shy about alcohol, this is really too much, I think. Too sweet, too much alcohol presence, and just too much orange I think. Could really use some better balance in almost all regards, I think.

 1,010 characters

Photo of Wegbier
2.49/5  rDev -28%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

a- very nice retention, and a light off white head with lacing and an almost clear amber liquid. But really nothing like any witbier that i have ever heard of.

s- fresh crepes, no better way to describe this one, smells like alcohol and orange peel and maybe somewhere in the back there is some wheat in the crepes. boozy.

t- just like the smell strong numbing alcohol with orange and coriander. there is nothing white/wit about this beer.

m- full and light carbonation and the finish is so clean because the alcohol burns the rest of the taste away.

d- this is one to warm the gut in the winter. Take it very slowly.

This beer is Utopias little sister you could have called it a Belgian strong ale, or you could have even tricked me with quadrupel, but never a white ale.
Dont get me wrong this is an intriguing intense beer and after a few years in the cellar she just might grow into something really special, but for now whoa!

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Photo of sarahspat
2.5/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Pours a murky, deep tawny orange. A not particularly thick-looking head falls quickly and leaves nothing to remember it by.

Smells like... candy. Salt water taffy and fruit roll-ups.

Alcohol plays a large role in the taste. This beer summed up in a phrase: boozy fruit roll-ups. Or spicy caramel. Also a tiny hint of vanilla falls in there somewhere. I do taste the typical orange and coriander, but they play only minor roles here. Overall, the taste is anti-climactic. The intensity of flavors declines rapidly once the beer enters your mouth. The aftertaste is obnoxiously sweet and way too long-lived. I have a hard time believing that Samuel Adams didn't add a ton of artificial sweeteners and/or flavors to this beer.

The combination of the syrupy thickness and the cloying/artificial-tasting sweetness made this one incredibly hard to put back. This is definitely not a traditional witbier... nor is it what I would expect an "amped up" witbier to be like. I don't think I would drink it again.

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Photo of kmeves
2.5/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a dark cloudy yellow with a frothy white head. Aroma of lemon, tangerine heavy spice and slight banana. Flavor is overpowering spice and very citrusy. Sticky short finish. Its tough to get past the over use of spices, frankly I didn't finish this one.

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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.

 397 characters

Photo of rjplumer
2.52/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Hazy deep amber with thin off-white head. Noticeable orange-peel coriander aroma. Hoppy fruit bitterness to start. The heavy fruit sourness in the middle is a turn-off. Not terrible but I’m having a hard time wrapping myself around this one. This isn’t what I expected so I’m disappointed. Seems like more an attempt at an IPA.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
2.53/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Samuel Adams Imperial White has a very thick, off-white head and a cloudy, amber appearance with thick lacing left behind. The aroma is of corn husks, alcohol, bread, and turned fruit. Taste is of cough medicine, sweetness, turned fruit, alcohol, white wheat bread, and other unpleasant things. Mouthfeel is thick and globby, and Samuel Adams Imperial White finishes dense, heavy, and gross. For fans of Vicks Formula 44 D, this should be a gold medal winner. I guess I’ll finish the slop.


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Photo of ikats
2.53/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours orange in color with less than average head. Fairly clear. Aroma is sweet and bready. Banana notes. Taste is harder to pinpoint. Seems to be all over the place. Sweet malts, bread notes, a bit of bitterness. Not balanced in my opinion. Alcohol is very apparent. A bit unpleasant mouthfeel. Definitely not easy drinking.

I am a big fan of Boston Beer Co. Sam Adams Lager is my go-to beer in a non-craft-beer bar. However, Imperial White not only doesn't do it for me, but it actually pushes me in reverse. Maybe my expectation is just too different from the result. After all I expect witbiers to be light and refreshing. which hardly goes well with imperial designation.

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Photo of cjacobsen
2.54/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

(A) Pours a hazy, non-clear dark brown color with some ruby and maroon hues in some areas. Almost looks like an outside of a mango. Had a decent head on it but that went away rather quickly to just a slight coating on top of the brew. Not what I expected.

(S) Smell is sweet. Coriander and a bouquet of other spices. Malt, and some alcohol.

(T) Someone went to the spice rack and dumped everything they could find into this beer. Very sweet and very spicy. Almost tastes like an English barleywine. Coriander and citric orange peel is big, followed up by light and pale malts. It gets a bit better after a few sips, but man that's something. You get a bit more of an apricot and lighter berry fruits after it opens up. The alcohol is present and lingers in the aftertaste.

(M) Creamy and surprisingly smooth. Has some over carbonation bite at first but it gives way to almost a chewy, malty mass.

(O) Not what I expected out of a witbier, even an imperialized one. This thing drinks more like a barleywine and doesn't have that nice, cloudy light body to it. Kind of a spicy mess that is either too spiced, too fresh, or too much put into a simple beer. I have two bottles left and I plan to age them and see how they do with some time. I'd like to think it can't get much worse.

 1,284 characters

Photo of Robcson
2.54/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

IMHO... This beer is very out of balance. Way to much sweetness that is not offset by the hop additions. Mouthfeel is chewy and luxurious. Smell was all alcohol and cloying sweetness. Taste was just like the smell to much of both alcohol and malt. Apperance was nice. About a finger of head and good lace on the glass. Overall the overpowering sweetness in both the smell and taste was just too much.

 400 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.

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Photo of tfin07
2.56/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

Honestly I tried this because of a friend. After drinking it with all my buddies I made the statement "It tastes like a stronger version of Boston Lager". After saying it all my friend tried it again and came to the very same conclusion. However thats just me. Tryi it for yourself.

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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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