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 maleman
4.3/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. No freshness date noted on bottle.

A - a very hazy orange/amber. less than one finger, very bubbly head with short retention. thin, clingy lace.

S - high malt notes, some apricot, but the barley is heavily present.

T - much heavier than i anticipated, especially for a white. a good bit of spice, some raisin.

M - highly carbonated, tasted in the back of the mouth. heavy-bodied. fairly strong finish.

D - i can't get over how heavy this beer is. not a session beer, but very worthwhile to sit back and enjoy. out of the imperial series currently for SA i would rank this behind the double bock.

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Photo of rgdgerard
4.3/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not a witbeer, although notes of coriander are present. Not the usual white, a light orange brown with some initial head when poured into a snifter. Tastes more like a dark Belgian ale- think Gulden Draak with some hops. High alcohol, smooth mouthfeel and very drinkable. Major buzz from the 10.3% ABV. I like it a lot even though you are not going to be drinking a lot of these at once- one of the special offerings from Sam Adams that is worthy.

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Photo of Brunite
4.3/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance-Hazy amber/orange. Little head retention or lacing; likely due to ABV.

Smell-Alcohol, corriander, orange, malt.

Taste-Quite a surprise. The taste was excellent. Notes of orange and subtle spice. There is a huge malt backbone despite the wheat content. Sweet and chewy. Alcohol only slightly apparent.

Mouthfeel- Medium heavy. Creamy. Carbonation in good standing.

Overall-Great tasting beer. Quite a surprise. May push the boundries of a wit (the intent) but the results surpass the style IMHO.

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Photo of LiquorLockerVP
4.3/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An imperial white ale? I am intrigued.

A murky copper color that looks less bright than I had expected. Alot of white ales Ive had are pretty orange looking, but this one is darker. Almost a dirty cider color. Very cloudy. Nice thick cup cake head that wouldnt stop growing. It was thick and dense, like frosting. As it receded it left lacing, and never truly cleared the beer's surface.

Almost a mix of papya/mango/spiced rum. There is alot of fruit mated with a strong background of sweet, spicey malts. I was expecting the 10% to burn through but I am not picking up much alcohol sizzle. Well perhaps a bit on the deep nose pulls, but it is rather subtle.

Mmm, really tastey. The sweet/spice is balanced with a thick flabby body so as not to be over the top. A bit of banana ester. The alchohol content is awesome in that it perfectly matches the sweetness and makes the brew both thick but palate cleansing. Sweetness skunk stripes down the tongue, while the back sides pings some bitter. A mild throb remains as the alcohol works the gums. Little to no aftertaste. I am a big fan, not the light fruit flavor I was expecting.

Feels fat in the mouth, carbonation getting pretty foamy during exploration. The bubbles are creamy, and the overall consistency is thick. The beer pulls in allakazam though, the thickness is quick sizzled away by the alcohol leaving a lightness that leaves you ready for more. Really nice.

As I got to know this beer more, I decided it was much more drinkable than I originally thought. It has a ton of flavor, but isn't excess in its impact on the pallate and gut. I've let it sit a bit and open up, and it still retains its initial enjoyment on each pull. I think it would be a knockout with hot chinese orange chicken.

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Photo of xoxirishrose
4.31/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I loved this multidimensional witbier! Sam Adams' Imperial White is delightfully flavorful. This delicious white ale is light yet bold with its wide array of flavorings from citrus to vanilla with floral notes. Along with its complex flavor profile Imperial White delivers a subtle warming sensation with its high alcohol content. Although both strong and flavorful, this remarkable beer manages to remain smooth and refreshing, which also gives it a high drinkability factor from beginning to end. Overall I found this to be an exceptional beer,* perfect for a cool fall evening.

*I do, in full disclosure, tend to favor the witbier style, making my opinion slightly bias in favor of this Imperial White.

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Photo of mralphabet
4.32/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Poured a cloudy burnt orange color with less than a fingers worth of head, that dissipated to a ring... Nice lacing.

S: Bananas right out of the gate !!! Then some caramel,and bubblegum esters, a little bit of spice mixed in with some alcohol notes.

T: Very fruity esters of banana, bubblegum with sweet caramel and a little colander. Very sweet with very little hop bitterness. The alcohol is turned up pretty high, so this is a lot more than your normal Wit.

M: Soft and creamy, rather full body for a Wit.

D: Not your normal drink a lot of these Wits... more of a one and done... Drink slow and enjoy the nice warming sensation.

Not like any other Wit I've had.... very strong on all levels.. Give it a go... Like a Wit on steroids !!!

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Photo of goblue3509
4.32/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

This beer pours with a golden yellow color and is a little bit cloudy. The smell is very floral. The taste is lighter than I expected, there is a lite hoppy taste, but you taste the alcohol. The mouthfeel is carbinated, you can feel the carbination if you leave the drink in your mouth. Overall, however, this is one of my favorite beers. I was very surprised how smooth and light it was based on the higher alcohol content.

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Photo of jxhowell
4.32/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Poured a thin off-white head that stuck around the entire time floating on top of copper liquid

Aromas of oranges, marmalade, clove and coriander

Malty sweetness dominates and finished dry with a slight alcoholic burn similar to some Belgian Tripels and Quadrupels

Rich, full bodied and frothy. A familiar stickiness on the finish typical with most Imperial beers i.e. RIS and IIPAs

Even with the familiar alcoholic note I would say that the drinkability is comparable with any rich imperial style beer.

I'm not much of a fan of witbier's but this one made a believer out of me. I recommend it to anyone.

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Photo of Buebie
4.33/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After trying the new Imperial Stout, I am afraid to try this beer.

Poured from a 12oz tall brown bottle into my Sam Adams Turbulator glass.
Forming a nice looking foamy 2 inch white head. The head is very long lasting, finally settling to a quarter inch of retention, after about 7 minutes.
The lace left behind is a nice even webbing, somwhat thick.
The color is a bit hazy, with an unfiltered appeal. A pale orange with hints of red.

The aroma has orange peel, touches of vanilla, a little bit of grainy smell, and alot of warm alcahol. The traditional spiced witbear aroma with floral wafts of corriander.

The taste on this is actually quite good. Its starts out sweet, with corriander and a really strong grain bill. A bit more orange peel at the swallow, hints at grassy hops, and a nice dry peppery flavor. The beer is spot on for the style, with some creative aspects adding to a nice flavor profile.
The finish is dry and mildly spicie with corriander and orange peel lingering.
For 9% this is super drinkeable. Somwhat creamy with a nice bite of carbonation through the swallow. Things warm a bit into the swallow, but do not heat up beyond the mild warming.
Is it just me, or there a belgin like yeastyness here?

I more then dislike Wits, but this one was very satisfying.
True to the style, not overly hot, or solvent like in some of the other reviews. Trust me, if you think this was hot and solvent like, try the Sam Adams Impy stout.
I'm very interested in what a few years cellering would do to this one.

This is a great beer, thank you Jim Koch.

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Photo of jazer
4.34/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Almost like drinking a shot. The appearance is nothing to write home about. However, the aroma is intoxicating. The most wonderful taste going. I can't quite place it, but it is very good. Just the rite consistency and feel. I could keep drinking these all nite.

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Photo of JasonA
4.35/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a translucent light carmel. Solid finger of sticky thick head with ample lacing. Looks great.

Candy sugar, booze. Belgian yeasty, with a hint of citrus hops. Lots of delicious malt in there.

Hmm, awesome. Lots of malty booze like a Barley Wine. The Belgian Candy sugar hits (kinda a sweet bite). Hops are a faint thought in this beverage. Taint of bitter and smidgen of aroma.

Good thick body. Might be a little syrupy, though not sure you can get away from that at this ABV. Warms the throat, and ends with malt lovers Belgian dreams.

Feels a little over the top. Id be inclined to try this at ~8% ABV. I can only do 2 or so of these before it gets too much.

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Photo of sagefool
4.35/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is actually my favorite offering from Boston Beer Company.

The color is on the orange side of amber.

Head is 2" to none, depending upon how you pour. My offering was from the Small Batch Collection. A 22oz. bottle provided both experiences.

The flavor is candied oranges, with a hint of vanilla and honey. It's sweet, y'all. At 10% ABV, you knew it would be.

Very nice.

The rest of their offerings are mediocre to "Good Lord, this could be so much more. But it's on the good side side of mediocre."

This one is quite good.

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Photo of TheBierBand
4.35/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass to produce a big 2-1/2" head of frothy, thick foam. The foam stuck around for quite a while. But as it dissipated, it left big clumps of foam on the side of the glass. The color of the beer is dark yellow/orange and is rather cloudy.

The smell is of orange citrus backed up by spicy coriander and a whif of alcohol.

Taste: WOW! BIG BEER! Quite sweet with a big alcohol ZING. Flavors include orange, spice, big alcohol finish.

MF: Thick/robust.... and smooth.

Drinkability: This is a sipper.... but its quite nice. It should not be considered a "lawn mower" beer. This is for a nice relaxing evening. Rich and hearty texture.

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Photo of ThaBobfather
4.37/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours nearly opaque orange/copper color with thin rimming white head.
Smells of orange rind, spice, and sweet hops.
WOW. Tastes of sweet malt, almost syrup with some fruit flavor and spice.
Finishes is a bit muddily with a sweet taste left.
Pretty well drinkable.

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Photo of CJfromPhilly
4.37/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours from the 12 oz bottle an orangish-amber with a thick foamy head that settles into a heavy collar. There's an almost macro like fizziness...LOTSA bubbles rising to the top. Aroma is wonderful, a mixture of fruit (orange & banana) and a caramel/toffee note. The flavor is big, bold and wonderful as well. I pick up hints of the aforementioned fruit plus the caramel/toffee, plus a bubblegum like sweetness. The alcohol is present and gets more noticeable as the beer warms, but doesn't take away from the experience. The mouthfeel is quite substansial...this is a thick, almost chewy beer. Overall, a big, bold, BEAUTIFUL beer from Jim Koch & the crew at Boston Beer Company!! This is top notch stuff, and I hope there's more on the shelves when I make my next beer run!!!

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Photo of tnip23
4.38/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I suppose i should not be surprised by some of the more negative reviews as for the most part they are from those who see the SA name and relegate it to the lower echelon of craft brews. This beer however is exactly what it claims to be. When I a imagine a imperial white, I expect all the great characteristcs of the true greats of the style, such as hoeggarden, amplified. That is what SA imperial white is, a fruity spice bomb with high alcohol, a wonderful mouthfeel and a winning finish. There are many SA creations i don't favor, but this one is a winner, if you are being honest in your review.

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Photo of Dangerous
4.38/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Samuel Adams has created yet another fine brew here. This is a heavily malt flavored concoction that is reminiscent of a farmhouse saison that I brewed last year. I definitely get the banana that some of the other reviewers have noted along with some coriander and citrus. Pours nice and packs a big punch. Definitely not a session beer! Way to go Sam Adams!

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Photo of MrHungryMonkey
4.4/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

10.3 ABV batch.

Nose is full of fruit perfume, soft spice, and an-almost bubblegum sweetness. Smells quite good.

Pours a dark butterscotch color, no clarity, mildest of heads that was creamy while it lasted. Looks pretty good - maybe good, on account of the alcohol.

Mmm. Beautiful manifestation of the fruit perfume from the nose blended with supple fruit sweetness, quenching tartness, and spicy goodness. Good, strong notes of strawberry and banana with perhaps pineapple or orange, some mango, and guava. Nebulous spice tantalizes the olfactory without ever landing solidly on any one aroma receptor. And then there's the smooth, creamy body of a lightly carbonated, heavily-syruped, fruit-based frozen drink that's melted. In fact, I could imagine this as a mixed drink - especially with all the tropical fruit flavors. Banana is the most peculiar, and I love a good bananay wheat ale. What an amazing body - it get's creamier with each sip I tell you! Finishes with a funky tropical vibe. No alcohol noticeable. Tastes great. Feels wonderful.

Hands down the best Witbier style beer I've had. What's wrong with extreme? It's beautiful.

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Photo of OdinMcHaggis
4.4/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Packaging is unimpressive, the slow pour yields a thin head that fades quickly. The beer is orange.
The smell is fruity and obvious, no hint of alcohol.
The beer has a low hops profile, a honey flavor, somewhat dry finish. The finish is long. No alcohol present.
The body is full. The carbonation is lacking.
Overall, this beer is a good offering. It's taste, ABV, relative value, make this beer a must try.

That this beer has a 79 is wrong. The Bros. need to review this.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.4/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Initial Response:

I had this at a beer tasting. It was one of the first times they rolled out a couple of kegs of the imperial series after announcing the release so I was intent on trying each.

From the tap poured into a small tasting cup.

The color was a light yellow. Head was white and quite foamy.

The smell was strong with a fruity overtone and a bit hoppy as well.

The taste was full of great hop flavor. Fruity taste with hint of tangerine in the background (I may have placed that fruit wrong) with a malty wheat taste as well.

This beer was a bit of a surprise. I was second among the friends that tried it and my friends first tasting of it was of dissatisfaction. I greatly liked the beer and i will be picking up a four pack and will update my review when I have more of this good beer.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.4/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The ABV listed on the bottle is 10.3%, not 9%.

Rich amber body with a finger of tan head atop it, not what I expected at all from a Witber. The color is almost bock-like, and beautiful. Good, malty nose full of caramel, chocolate, light coffee, and berry--wow. Terrific taste, sweet from the berry with a sour finish, malty and smooth--excellent. With the nice effervescence, honestly, this drinks like a fine Dubbel. It reminds me of a less complex, somewhat toned-down Ommegang. It's outstanding.

The high ABV makes this somewhat of a sipper, but this is more than worthy. Thus far, it just may be my favorite from Sam's Imperial Series, and my favorite Witbier. It's a jacked-up, sensational offering. Very fine.

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Photo of joemeister
4.42/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer has a very attractive amber-copper complexion. The head is somewhat frothy and dissipates in about two minutes. Cloudy, and reminiscent of fall.

The smell is forthright and indicative of a malty sweetness. Almost like a combination of a red and granny smith apple.

This beer's bite is more elusive (and thus more fun) than its bark. Based on the smell, I was expecting something more along the lines of a Double Bock taste. But this is more three dimensional and smacks of a learned finesse. On contact, I feel the slight aggression of hops and carbonation. Once that particular "brightness" has faded, the taste really opens up; it unfolds into a smooth palette of fruit and spices. It has a near syrup-like consistency on its way down that serves to slow the drinking experience just enough such that this beer's message is conveyed in its entirety. The bottle suggests orange as the fruit note, but I am reminded much more of the sweet-and-sour capacity of apples. There is a definite warmth to this drink, I would guess as a result of the spices and relatively healthy alcohol level.

At 10.3% ABV, the Imperial White is not something one should relegate to party duty, but I could easily claim a 4-pack as my own for one evening. This is - thus far - my favorite beer brewed by the great minds of the Boston Beer Company. It is an outstanding execution that offers a pleasant challenge to your sense of taste.

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Photo of Essayons1
4.42/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I was curious to try this beer coming back from Germany, having been hooked on German White (as opposed to non-German versions). Starts off with almost a syrupy like mouth feel but is a very consistent and smooth taste. The higher ABV is felt towards the end but isn't obvious in the taste and results in a very well balanced beer. Not my favorite but definitely one I'll get again. Though maybe not recommended, drinking it with a slice of lemon makes a big difference for the better in that the acidic citrus really does a good job of balancing out the very basic mouthfeel.

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Photo of chilidog
4.42/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My true favorite of the Imperial series.
It pours a well carbonated gold/orange. White head that starts out full, pillow like, tons of lace.

Aroma Of citric hops, vanilla and wheaty yeast.

Taste is hopped up for sure. Citric hops, vanilla ice cream, wheaty earth, yeast, cane sugar and yep, alcohol.

At 10.3% the alcohol hits the mouth while the citric hop oil coats as a glaze of sugar sweetness settles.

The drinkability is there for me, in moderation. This is no lawnmower wheat, this is a sunset, deck sittn wheat. Oh ya!! If its not "true" to style cause its to strong or sweet, it works for me just fine.

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Photo of zassenhausen
4.47/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Marlon, from Boston introduced me to this beer.
Beautiful color, rich amber. Floating wheat malt reminds me of the German Hefe's.
Balanced smell, orange, coriander.
Taste is very good. I am a fan of Belgian style ales and that is what this is. Proper glassware is important. It is not a White/Wit. It is sweet, and as it warms it is boozy (10%). To me it tasted more like a good Belgian Quad. I will add this to the stock of my beer fridge.

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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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