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 mrcarterxxl
5/5  rDev +30.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sam Adams imperial stout

P- motor oil black with a slow forming head chocolate milk in color.

S- smells very malty, you can almost taste the ale through

T- chocolate,coffee,barley,fudge.

Mf- full tiny carbonation, full

Tasty indeed reminds me of rouge chocolate stout.


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Photo of ZAP
5/5  rDev +30.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-Black with nice ruby highlights...really impressive looking...if this was a woman I'd have a bon...ahh forget that is fine looking though...

S-Great aroma..smells exactly how I like an Impy stout to smell...burnt molasses,figs, anise, dark chocolate, black coffee, black licorice (Alexander the Great would love the way this smells), and charred raisins.

T-Similar to the nose with a lot of charred, coffee, chocolate, molasses, licorice, and raisins.. Big time flavor....jumps out at you...

M-Creamy, rich, full bodied...abv is hidden but some dark chocolate bitterness on the finish...

D-This is one awesome Impy..I did a blind taster with this and Central Waters Impy which is also very good and this was by far the more impressive beer in body, big flavor, aroma etc...the CW was tasty but seems like a regular stout next to this. This is a great creation by Sam Adams....

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Photo of jondeelee
4.97/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Boasts an aroma so thick you could use it to shore up cracked shipboards. Massive, meaty malt smells dominate, including notes of both chocolate malt and "real" dark chocolate, molasses, marbled rye bread, peat, and a slight hint of tobacco.

The assault on the tongue is no less impressive, the first flavors being sweet, with huge dark fruit esters, black cherries, caramelized brown sugar, toffee, blackstrap molasses, maple syrup. Mere moments later the malts crash in and flood the beaches, bringing waves of deep, smoky chocolate malts, hints of tobacco, peat moss, deeply toasted (almost burnt) grains, coffee. The hops mostly stay in the background, but do add just enough bitterness to remind you that they're there. The aftertaste is dominated by the near-burnt, smoky malts. Mouthfeel is similar to cream, almost extra virgin olive oil-like in viscosity.

Overall, I think this is a stellar Imperial Stout, and I place it right up with Old Rasputin in terms of potential. Because while this is excellent fare now, if you threw a few of these into a cellar for five years, you'd have an unbeatable drink.

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Photo of Wamesit
4.97/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours black with a thick tannish head with hints of almost purple edges. Moderate lacing.

S - Roasted coffee malts. Chocolate malts. Alcohol.

T - Big malts flavors, robust and yet so smooth; chocolate is pronounced as well as roasted coffee and black malt. Touch of bitter hops in the finish. (Centennial?) Alcohol/boozy vapors throughout.

M - Lush, like velvet drapes.

O - Good lord, delicious. This is what an Imperial Stout is.

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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 glamphetamine
4.8/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Dark black with just the slightest trace of brown. Almost entirely opaque, probably the blackest beer I've seen in my life. The head rises to about a finger, maybe a finger and a half, and then shrink backs into a mocha brown ring around the glass and a thin layer on the surface.

S - Raisins, raspberries, chocolate, coffee, and perhaps blueberry. Hints of burgundy.

T - Like cold, carbonated coffee with dark chocolate melted into it. Hints of cognac and fruit, maybe raisins, and vanilla.

M - Very thick, more carbonation than most stouts. The alcohol is well masked. Leaves behind a strong, pleasant aftertaste of chocolate and coffee and is rather warming.

D - Very drinkable for how thick it is, and considering the ABV, but it's a beer to be sipped and savored. Definitely not a beer to slam back or have later in the night if you can't appreciate the flavor.

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Photo of MichaelNickerson
4.79/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - unbelievably dark beer with a dark brown strong, thick, and prestigious head.

Smell - coffee and cocoa aromas with subtle brown sugar, molasses, and raisin notes

Taste - small sweet complexion, followed by a strong coffee flavor that dominates the palate. Not too hoppy, but finished instead with a roasted taste.

Mouthfeel - extremely smooth for an imperial stout. You don't notice the alcohol taste at all.

Overall - Extremely thick and relaxing beer to sip on. Excellent dessert beer, especially if you love coffee and chocolate.

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Photo of minnesotaryan
4.75/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter, pours a deep black, one finger thick khaki head. Nice retention and excellent lacing.

Smells of booze! Malt sweetness, more booze with bitter bitter dark baking chocolate.

Raisins, lots of raisins, bitter baking chocolate, black cherries in the middle, roasted malt, perhaps some light roasted malt, licorice and nice bitter finish.

Bright, thick, lingering carbonation, lively, wonderful. Pretty smooth for the abv.

This is great, you get a lot for the price point. Also nice to find a stellar RIS in a 12 oz bottle.

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Photo of RichieS2
4.74/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I picked this up with a friend while out shopping and at first I balked about spending $10 for a 4-pack. Was I ever wrong! This one from Sam Adams to be put simply is one of the best beers I have ever had, bar none.

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass it looks like a promising stout. It pours dark brown/black to the point of being opaque and has a head that dissipates fairly quickly.

This is where things got interesting, it smelled very sweet and creamy, like a rich dessert, now that got me very curious.

The richest beer I have ever tasted in my life! It was like drinking liquid chocolate with a little bit of cream added.

The taste was not the only winning characteristic, "stout" is a loose term, I have had some that while dark were as watery as any adjunct lager, not so with this one. It was far from watery and just shy of being like syrup. The 9.2% abv also added a pleasant warmth in the mouth and as it went down.

This is something that is meant to be savored to the last drop and bring joy to stout-lovers everywhere. Those used to lager will cringe but those with a fondness for the dark stuff will find this beer very easy and very enjoyable to go down. It is something that as your drinking the first you think you will want to enjoy this beer all night but then the high abv hits you and you realize you won't be able to enjoy the complexities so you wisely decide to give it a rest.

In conclusion this beer is of microbrew quality if not better and is well worth the price tag, enjoy today.

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Photo of gmc234
4.73/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams beer glass.

A: Pours like black syrup with a thick brown head. Completely opaque. Typical appearance for an imperial stout.

S: Roasted coffee notes, hops barely detectable

T: Powerful bitter dark chocolate (think >80% cocoa bar) followed up by a ristretto espresso

M: Thick character, barely carbonated

D: Excellent, but you wouldn't want to drink too many of these (unless you want to end up on the floor)

Overall this is an excellent imperial stout. In a way this seems to me to like a ramped up version of the chocolate bock. As far as food pairings go, this beer would go better either with or as dessert vs. pairing with hearty fare.

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Photo of ronniebruner
4.72/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Absolutely one of the best stouts from the U.S. This is a very heady, dark, but smoothe as can be dark, dark stout. 9.2% ABV with a low ABV taste. When poured from the glass, beer is very foamy, but sttles in quickly and is smoothe to drink. leaves little to no after taste in your mouth after drinking. Well worth the price!

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Photo of datalager
4.68/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Insanely cocoa colored head, sitting atop an oil black body. And to add to the stunning appearance is lacing as frothy as sea foam.

The nose is like a three ring circus! Licorice, espresso, chocolate. Deep, full bodied aroma is immediately apparent cold out of the fridge. As it warms, the coffee scent steps back, and the anise steps far forward. Esters are quite present, to no surprise given the 9.2% demon.

Flavors follow the aromas nicely, with an addition of molasses mid gulp, and some slight caramel in the finish. Alcohol is ever more obvious upon swallow than in sniff alone.

Mouthfeel is where this ale gets a top award, IMO. Resiny, thick, syrup-like draw with a smooth burn upon swallow. Damn, this is a heavenly stout!

If you are looking for a top shelf beer that is strong, sweet and dark, this brew from Boston Brewing is as good as any I've had in the genre.

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Photo of Limberg316
4.63/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was quite a suprise coming from Sam Adams. This is (so far) the darkest beer I've ever had. It was pitch black with no light being able to penetrate the lovely blackness. It pours very well leaving a very dark brown head and simply reeks of heavily roasted barley. To taste, one notes very strong coffee, chocolate and caramel notes. It is incredibly smooth and quite easy to drink. Simply astounding.

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Photo of mempath
4.62/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

black hole dark matter with heavy metal head that can't lace in this binary 00 gravity

pretty nice nose of cocoa, dried dark fruit marinated in port

the above 2D olfactory description takes it to 3D. Sam Adams is big but this stout is bigger.

mouthfeel i would expect after tasting this to be more luscious, but the taste makes everything OK

if it weren't for the high ABV....still it doesn't taste like it's 9.2%

highly recommended!

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Photo of MadeInOregon
4.62/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've been wanting to try this one ever since I first saw it at the local BevMo but like others didn't want to shell out $10 on a 4-pack just yet. Luckily they sell singles at Whole Foods...

Poured into a stemless wine glass, Samuel Adams Imperial Stout has virtually no head and what is there dissipated in less than 30 seconds. It is quite thick and and black like an Imperial Stout ought to be, but not *glug-glug* thick like some I've tried. Once in the cup it is pitch black and completely opaque. Looks pretty standard for this style, but attractive nonetheless.

The smell is a little faint but has nice aromas of bourbon, hops, and yeasty creaminess, however the main smell is roasted barley and bourbon. This smells barrel-aged. Is it?

The taste is great! It starts with sweet bourbon and chocolate then slowly becomes more and more coffee and roasted barley with a little hops bite at the end. This tastes barrel-aged also...are we sure this isn't?

I find this Imperial Stout to be very well balanced. It is very sweet and creamy for such a style but it is certainly less abrasive and yeasty than others that I've tried. It's very delicious and very drinkable. $10 for a 4-pack would definitely not be wasted!

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Photo of Geegmasta
4.6/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance- Black as my soul...which is extremely black haha. But no light penetrates through. A thick, caramel colored head formed after the pour to be about 1.5'' strong. Head remained for multiple minutes while slowly seeping back into the beer leaving a nice coat/lacing.

Smell- A coffee-eque aroma with hints of roasted malt and chocolates. A caramel/sweet undertone is a constant as well.

Taste- Surprisingly, the first taste was a smooth chocolate that remains throughout and then a roasted malt and coffee aftertaste will linger. A very warm taste. The ABV of 9.2% is not felt.

Mouthfeel- Medium to full bodied that coats the entire mouth and tongue in a thin coat of love. Quickly dissolves into you with a nice, warming feeling. Again there is no sting from the high ABV but you feel the warming effects.

Overall- A very well done stout. I have no complaints here. High ABV, check. Chocolate and caramel flavoring, check. Roasted malt taste, check. No overwhelming coffee tones, check. Definitely recommend. Another well done brew in the Imperial Series by Sam Adams.

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Photo of dcook11
4.6/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a pitch black color with a light brown head. Nice lacing. Smells of chocolate and coffe with some hop and malt sweetness. Tastes like the smell with a velvet mouthfeel. Drinkability is high. I have had this beer before and it is a fine example of an imperiel stout. Not harsh but instead a good beer to bring someone into imperiels

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Photo of Tbn2
4.6/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours as black as a cave that has never seen the light of day with a one finger, brown head that retreats to the ring of the glass and lacing slightly down the side.

Smells like you just walked into a bakery that made a fresh batch of fudge or caramel. I get big aromas of caramel, burnt sugar, some coffee, and a hint of alcohol.

Taste like a dream. A silky smooth feel at first that turns a to a bitter chocolate and coffee towards the center. I get a little bit of an earthy raisin flavor that finishes somewhat earthy, perhaps from some late hop addition. Overall this thing taste great.

This is the first I have had from the imperial series and I will certainly be heading back for more of the other styles.


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Photo of Snow81
4.58/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours black as night

Head: Dark Frosty brown head that dissipates quickly

Smell: Big black burnt malts, subtle hops and a hint of heat

Taste: Just like it smells, roosted malts with a subtle bitter hop and the heat is still there

Weight: Heavy to medium body with a low to no carbonation

Finish: Little heat on the back with the roosted to toasty malt

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Photo of trock355
4.56/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Opaque black with a mocha colored tan head. One of the best looking stouts I have ever seen.

S: Molasses and giner. Lots of ginger. Chocolate and coffee as well. Also smelled like olives for some apperant reason.

T: BIG, and i do mean BIG, anise. Black liquorice and chocolate. More molasses.

M: Little to no carbonation. Sweet and syriupy.

D: For a Russian Imperial Stout high in alcohol as this (9.2), I'd say that this is preaty god damn drinkable!

Overall: Wow. Wow. And one more big Wow. By far one of the best Impy Stouts I've had so far. Maybe one of the better beers I've had in a long, long time. A bargin too. Samuel Adams hit it out of the park with this one. It also paired well with the homemade sweet carrot cake I made (not to mention that I added one of the beer into the mix).

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Photo of Pete0714
4.53/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured this expecting less head, and actually got well over an inch and a half of tanish brown head even with a slow pour. Lacing and some head still remains well into drinking this black brew.

S: Not so strong, unlike others reviews I have seen. Some definite coffee roasted notes.
T: Strong yet appealing alcohol flavor in the midst of oak, coffee. Warm on the tongue.

M: Somewhat sticky, but pleasant and drinkable.
O: Not the absolute best Imperial I've known in my taste , but very good overall. I would recommend it.

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Photo of TheFightfan1
4.53/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.
Appearence is black non-transparent with a coffee colored thick heading.Which leaves rings all the way down the glass.

Nose is immediate with heavy chocolate malts also a slight hoppiness. I don't know how to explain it but smells fresh. If that means anything.

Taste is all chocolate malt with a bit of caramel and nice bite of hops in the end.Alcohol is very well hidden until you feel the burn in the belly.

Mouthfeel is very rich, creamy,and thick.Leaves your lips all stickey like (that's what she said)

Drinkability is good.I can't really see myself drinking a bunch but definitely until I get my fill.

Update: Year and 8 months later. Does seem to be a different beer now. Smooth, velvety and all of the flavors blend so smoothly.

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Photo of SPThirtyThree
4.52/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The blackest of black beers, pours ominously into the pint glass, forming a delicate, thin head, a deep, dark chocolate color, murky mocha relaxing atop the black abyss of beer.

S: Malty and roasty, with burnt caramel and raisin flavors, perhaps from Special B malt. The aroma is backed by sweet and tarry notes and graced by a hint of lemon zest. This beer
smells like the turbulence before a storm, dark and mysterious, but exiting and dangerous at the same time.

T: Bitter up front, but very chocolatey and burnt. The burnt biscuit flavors taste like licking a charred piece of cornbread. In a good way. The middle taste is of cappuccino and espresso, with a warm burn bourne of the high gravity. Some
hop bitterness towards the end, although subtle behind the sticky caramel flavors. Well balanced flavor profile.

M: Creamy and heavy, with some blanketing burn from the ethanol.

D: The high alcohol content is a cause for concern in the drinkability department, but i feel that I could demolish a never-ending supply of these.

Overall, delicious and amazing.

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Photo of rodney45
4.51/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer has a beautifully lingering toffee head, and color of the beer is that of the moonless night. The smell is that of fine dark chocolate, heart roasted malt with a hint of alcohol. The alcohol disappears in the taste, and although not very complex, very smooth for an Russian Imperial. Espresso and chocolate malt are present along with a host of other subtle fruit flavors that avoid my pallate. It is very drinkable, which could pose a problem at 9.2 abv. Smooth mouthfeel finalizes this beer as great, and beats out other varieties of Imperials that insist on NOT being classy with their alcohol presence.

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Photo of jjboesen
4.51/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

As every regular to this website should know, "Samuel Adams," or the Boston Beer Company for you purists, is an erstwhile microbrewery that has transcended its own identity. Sam is a major player and continues to produce some major beers; their Russian Imperial Stout is one. I will have no problem standing it up against others of this style: Victory Storm King or Old Rasputin, to name a few. I think it that good.

The initial pour creates a behemoth gusher of beige foam that inundates the glass until settling, slowly, into a pitch black body impervious to light. Crowning this is a thick, sticky head; around the rim is a globby crust of lacing. And this is just the appearance.

As the curious nose sniffs out a subtle miasma of raisin, the eager palate is wrapped in a warm blanket of malty molasses and then left to contemplate the remnants of butterscotch and licorice. There is a candy store in my glass. Surprisingly, it is not an overwhelming beer; one can rationalize a subsequent quaff - so long as you're not driving.

Yet another exemplary beer from Jim Koch! And another must-have Russian Imperial Stout to add to my list.

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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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