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

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Samuel Adams Imperial StoutSamuel Adams Imperial Stout

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

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Imperial in stature and bigger than your average stout. This colossal stout was inspired by those created by 18th century English brewers for the Russian Imperial Court of Catherine II. The special malts in this intense and massive brew delivers rich flavors of dark chocolate, coffee, and anise.

Added by Duhast500 on 01-18-2009

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Reviews: 805 | Ratings: 1,495
Photo of tone77
3.56/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of dark fruits, roasted malts. Taste is roasted malts, alcohol, light hops, some dark fruits. Feels medium/full bodied in the mouth and overall is a decent beer, but not a great example of this style.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.71/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Stiff black pour on this one. Tan colored head, 3/4". Impressive. Substantial roast and dark fruit notes, alcohol wafting.

Taste is more roast, more dark fruit, but the bitterness is lightly tamed. A bit of anise, chocolate malt, coffee and toffee malt notes.

These are good, the format is nice, better for sharing on a cold night.

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Photo of Marius
4.45/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black pour, visibly thick, with a dark espresso head that is slow to rise to the surface. Smells like roasted malts, dark cherries, walnuts, lactose and scotch whiskey. Promising! The taste doesn't disappoint - dried fruit (figs, raisins) covered in dark chocolate, freshly roasted coffee beans, vanilla, oak. A warm spicy aftertaste with notes of pepper and anise. Super thick mouthfeel, a bit choking at times, but quite pleasant. No carbonation present.

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Photo of WoostaBia
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thick pour with thin lacing, small dark brown foam. Smell: molasses, wet brown sugar, vanilla, roasted barley. Taste: Same as smell with significant lingering sweetness, hop bitterness noted going down mixed with light alcohol heat. Has a thin mouthfeel, was expecting chewy feel as the pour looked thick.

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Photo of Schoeni
4.16/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Cool Design: Flagship and all that.
Poured in, it Looks like a Choco-Milkshake, nice head....
Yeah, its malty, comes with roasted flavours, i cant taste the alcohol, which is a good sign.This is a wholehearted stout with a smooth aftertaste...nice!

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.77/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Kickbacks Gastropub in Jacksonville, FL.

Pours a dark, ashy looking black, with a half inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like dark fruit, anise, blackberry, chocolate, and roasted malt.

This one tastes pretty good, but there's a slightly sour dark fruit twang at the end of each sip. Maybe this is a more traditional interpretation of it? It's not a detriment, it was just unexpected. There are a ton of dark fruit flavors in the malt, with a good roasted malt character, and some roasted coffee as well. There's not as much chocolate flavor as I'd expect.

This is medium bodied, a little thin for an imperial stout, but still hefty enough. The mouthfeel is slightly grainy, but mostly creamy, with a lower level of carbonation.

Excited to finally try this one, but I thought it'd be a little better. It's still pretty tasty, anyway.

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Photo of chinchill
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a Belgian snifter.

Appearance: This beer, rather gently poured, raised only a thin layer of head that soon reduced to a thin ring and small island. It is a pitch black in the glass, and opaque, but with dark brown edges visible in the pour.

Smell: Dark roasted grains, chocolate, molasses, roasted coffee, a hint of sherry and a trace of smoke.

Taste: Black light-roasted coffee, molasses, dark toast, burnt caramel, chocolate, raisins, dried plums, vanilla, and faint smoke. Lingering aftertaste features dark roasted grains and black coffee but is only mildy bitter. Excellent flavor integration.

Feel: Very smooth and full bodied; good, light carbonation.

Overall: Excellent RIS with moderate complexity.

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.85/5  rDev +27%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A - Pours jet black with an extremely dark, burnt caramel head, 1 finger, nice lacing.
S - Very dark malts and high yeast, a very bready, biscuit note.
T - STRONG dark roasted malts, vanilla, caramel and bourbon. Nice alcohol burn.
O - Absolutely amazing.
V - Medium value.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled last night on Christmas 12/25/14. Comes in a 12 ounce bottle in a 4-pack for around $10.00. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a Sam Adam's Imperial pint glass.

Pours a pure pitch black in color with about a one-finger foamy/creamy beige head that hangs along for a while. A good amount of thick lacing is seen with each sip that sticks to the glass. The aroma is mostly of dark roasted malts, toffee and coffee. The taste is bold with lots of flavor of the above ingredients. A slightly dry and very light bitter finish is noted but doesn't take away much from this brew. Medium+ bodied with perfect carbonation for this brew style. The brew actually tasted better when warmed up as this is more of 'sipping brew' than drinking it down in a few minutes. Kick back and enjoy this one during the cooler months. Another tasty brew from the Sam Adam's folks. Cheers!

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Photo of Lemke10
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Finally drinking a bottle I’ve have in the fridge for a few years. This pours a pitch black color with a slight brown head. The aroma is filled with coffee, toffee, and robust tones. The flavor is big, bold, and full of flavors. This is a sweet, robust beer that delivers in the flavor category. This brew has really held up over the years I’ve had it. Maybe a little bourbon aging with help this beer *hint hint Jim Koch*

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Photo of TruePerception
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Samuel Adams' Imperial Stout. 9.2% ABV.

A: Just over a finger of chocolate milk brown head. Lacing forms almost immediately, thin, yet able to form multiple rings. Beer is black, with extremely dark brown in the dimple, and just the thinnest dark golden brown line at the very bottom.

S: Dry, bittersweet, powdery cocoa up front, with a bit of light coffee/dark toffee in the back. Just a faint bit of char and licorice. Fairly sweet aroma. Slight grassy note.

T/MF: Decent smoothness of texture. Grassy coffee dominates. Fairly crisp for a darker beer. A flare up of very dark toffee on the back end. I'm not getting any chocolate notes on the palate. A bit of char. Overall, though it has darker flavors, they are nice and light. A good beer for people newer to stouts, but still wanting a stronger beer. Not overly impressive, though.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.24/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2011 Vintage, poured into a pint glass

A- pours opaque pitch black color with a small creamy dark tan head that eventually reduces to a small layer floating on top, short lasting lace

S- deep, dark chocolate aroma that smells like a fresh fudge brownie, notes or carob & prune with some coffee on the finish

T- dark roasted chocolate up front gives way to a blast of dark fruit with notes of fig, raisin, and even some dark cherry juice, mid-palate continues sweet with brownie flavors and eventually gives a finish of caramel, butterscotch and day old coffee

M- medium-heavy body with moderate carbonation leads to a super creamy mouthfeel and a silky smooth finish, alcohol is hidden very well

O- this bottle was nearly three years old, and it is drinking wonderful. Alcohol is barely detectable and the chocolate and dark fruits have taken over, making it a sweet sipper. If you take the Sam Adams label off of this beer, I guarantee it would be rated higher

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Photo of fitrock2112
3.26/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured Imperial Stout from Samuel Adams into a snifter.

A - Pours a pitch black with one finger of mocha head.

S - The aroma is very light roasted malts, some sweet chocolate.

T - A little acidity on first taste, followed by roasted malts. Light chocolates mid palate with more acidity. On the aftertaste getting slight coffee notes and more roasted malts.

M - Medium mouthfeel, with medium carbonation. A little thin for a RIS.

O - Well, this is a ok RIS. Just too many good ones out there to choose from. Cheers.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.01/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Black with a brown head. Like motor oil.

M: Dark chocolate, roasted malt and dark roast coffee in the nose.

T: Dark bittersweet chocolate, dark roast coffee, roasted malt, a little dark fruit.

M: Full bodied, not smooth enough to my taste.

O: Typical of the style. If you like imperial stouts, I recommend it.

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Photo of NeedBeerHere
3.91/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pour out dark as night with a one finger brown head with good retention and some nice lacing. Smell is of chocolate, dark fruits, coffee, a little toffee, and some burnt malts. The smell is better than expected. Taste is coffee forward with all the attributes I sensed from the nose except I didn't get the chocolate in the taste. Mouthfeel is quite thick which is nice for the style. Overall this is quite a nice beer for the style and a lot better than I expected.

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Photo of DrinkNewport
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

What a great little Imperial Stout! Extremely dark, strong aroma, strong but balanced flavor. Full bodied.

It's a LITTLE too bitter on the back end, but all in all a great standard issue imperial stout.

A great example of what Samuel Adams can do when they put their heart into it!

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Photo of turbotype
3.08/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

I'm not going to type a whole lot on this one. Just want to say that I think it was an attempt at something good that failed. The brew had the appearance. Had the smell even. But the flavor tasted... I don't know, forced. Almost like some sort of artificial flavor was added. It left this starchy aftertaste too that lasted long after it was gone. Also, you can taste the alcohol in this one. Not that its a bad thing. Just that combine with the "forced" flavor made me think I was drinking some sort of flavored malt beverage, rather than a brewed stout. I tried to be fair with the rating best I could.

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Photo of Flounder57
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a two finger head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a pitch black color with no clarity or vision of bubbles coming up through the glass. Nice lacing on the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Chocolate, molasses, roasted coffee, warm boozy alcohol, a little smoke, bready malts, and some toffee.

Taste: Roasted coffee, burnt molasses, chocolate, boozy alcohol, mild hop bitterness, toffee, raisins, vanilla, and tobacco

Mouthfeel: Smooth, full bodied, tingly bitterness, warm alcohol, and medium carbonation.

Overall: Pretty awesome RIS. It has a lot of deep flavors yo go with the traditional ones people would expect from this style.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pours a black color with a small foamy brown head. The head fades rather fast leaving a light level of sticky and streaky lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell- The aroma of the beer is big of dark chocolate with a nice big smell of caramel and vanilla. They are joined by some other aromas of a roasted espresso and some light dark fruit smells. With a mild warming boozy aroma the mix of smells gives a very nice chocolaty and sweet dessert like aroma.

Taste – The taste begins with some milk chocolate and a nice roasted malt taste. Right from the start, there are some sweeter flavors of vanilla and caramel mixed with some lighter dark fruit flavors. As the flavor advances some of the sweeter flavors dwindle, transitioning the milk chocolate flavors to a more dark chocolate nature. Along with these changes, so too comes some coffee flavors to the tongue. They start out more mild in the middle, but as the flavor advances to the end they become more bitter and roasted taking on a more espresso like nature. Some sweetness seems to return to the tongue at the end, and is joined by a light char and boozy taste to leave a nice mix of chocolate, sweet, coffee, dark malts and booze to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is thick and creamy with a carbonation level that is average. While a slightly lower carbonation may have been a bit better for the style, the thick body is quite fantastic for the flavors coating the mouth in all the nice dark and sweet flavors.

Overall –Overall the brew had a nice blend of chocolate, coffee, sweet, roasty and malty. A quite tasty and enjoyable imperial.

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Photo of bmwats
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a footed tulip.

A: Black. Pours a 1 finger, bubbly, brown head. Settles fairly quickly leaving a thick ring of foam around the surface. Spotty lacing.

S: Roasted espresso, dark bitter chocolate, black licorice, molasses.

T: Dark chocolate, licorice, and peat.

M: Thick and a little boozy. Lightly bitter and pungent finish. High alcohol is very apparent.

D: Sip and enjoy.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Dark and intimidating. Fair head, and some slight lacing. Nose is characteristic roasted coffee and malt, dark chocolate, licorice, and molasses. Thick and malty with bitter licorice, pungent peat, and bittersweet chocolate. Well balanced, but a little boozy. Overall, this is a good quaff.

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Photo of bark
3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

The colour is almost black (90 EBC), the liquid is clear. The finger thick brown head slowly sinks down leaving some lacing.

The smell is sweet with notable alcohol. Roasted flavours, coffee. Notes of cookies and clean bitterness.

The taste is bitter with dark chocolate, warming smooth alcohol and sour black malt. Chocolate chip cookies, chocolate mud cake. Hints of black pepper. Medium body. Warming alcohol in the smooth aftertaste. Coffee and chocolate. The finish is rather short with a robust bitterness.

The carbonation is strong; the short-lived bubbles small. The liquid is dry and thick.

A bit too obvious alcohol, and a surprisingly short finish. Otherwise, this is a classic RIS that don’t disappoint. A good introduction to the style.

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Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass; no bottle dating, but is the old label, so it should be a few years old. Pours dense pitch black color with a 1 finger dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of dark chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, toast, toffee, light char, molasses, raisin, dark bread, and roasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt notes; with good strength. Taste of dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, toast, toffee, molasses, light char, raisin, dark bread, and roasted earthiness. Light roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, toast, toffee, molasses, dark bread, raisin, light char, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt flavors; with big flavor robustness and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and full bodied; with a very creamy and moderately slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice imperial stout. All around good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt flavors; with big robustness and very easy sipping. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Omnium
3.72/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle > Pint Glass

A - Pours a totally black color, one of the blackest of all colors I've seen, half a finger of brown head, thick lacing on the sides.
S - Aroma is lacking, but you get some really sweet candied dark fruit, mild toffee, roasted coffee beans, some dark chocolate.
T - There's a lot of acidic fruit kind of sweetness mixed with rich roasted malt, some grainy earthy flavors scattered in the mix, some alcohol, dark chocolate, a hint of coffee.
M - Thick, dense, sweet, mildly tart, and a tad creamy
O - This style really isnt my favorite, but this is done pretty well, though it does have a more tart sour cherry type quality to it than most RIS beers, I'd say put it in a blindfold taste with some others and see if people guess that its Sam's.

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Photo of Gryphon69
3.62/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into the oversized wine glass

A- A wonderful dense black with some brown. Little to no head with slight lacing around the glass.

S- First thing that grabbed me was a chocolate covered cherry, with some coffee and more dark fruits like prunes

T- Light on the malts, more of a dark fruit with chocolate and some coffee, kind of on the sweet side.

M- More on the lighter side of a stout, not overly heavy but smooth.

O- It is ok, more balanced out with nothing really popping out to grab me. But to be fair, I did try this after a Old Rasputin RIS and the SA iS is on the other end of the spectrum. Wonderfull appearance, average nose, alright taste and mouthfeel.

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Photo of Mojo
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12ounce bottle -> snifter

A - pours up as black as my ex-girlfriend's heart with a very nice two finger khaki colored head, fairly poor retention, and bits of lacing left behind.

S - aroma of morning coffee, chocolate, and some alcohol

T - taste is chocolate, caramel, soy sauce, coffee, toffee, molasses, and alcohol. This honestly tastes better and better as it warms.

M - kind of thin with a bit of a coffee aftertaste

O - nice offering, well done with a complex flavor.

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Samuel Adams Imperial Stout from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.82 out of 5 based on 1,495 ratings.
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