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 Manoftyr
1.24/5  rDev -67.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Appearance-Looks decent enough, doesn't quite have that motor oil slick consistency that I like to see in an Imperial Stout though, there's some head but it doesn't leave any lacing...oh dear., I smell alcohol and something that smells reminiscent of banana flavoring, very artificial banana flavoring; this doesn't smell very appealing.

Taste-Bitter, tasteless,; this doesn't taste good. I had to chug the second half of my glass to finish should not be *ABLE* to chug an imperial stout, let alone have to.

Mouthfeel-So thin it practically dissolves in your mouth, yuck.

Drinkability-Sink drain here I come! I can drink no more of this 4pack.

Notes-I'm sorry to say this is going to be my first F and I'm sorry again to say that it's a Sam Adams. Sam, I have absolutely no idea what you were going for with this beer but whatever it was you failed at it. This is nasty.

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Photo of Hunterbrewhaha
1.96/5  rDev -48.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I have never been satisfied with a Sam Adam's beer. I have never been able to finish a Sam Adam's beer. I tried to review with an open mind but this struck me as awful. Does not taste like a beer, more like a burnt malt.

A- Dark, thick, looks pleasing.

S- Rich, burnt chocolate, coffee/toffee.

T- Overbearing toffee and burnt chocolate, first taste and aftertaste reminicent of Malta Goya.

M- Sits on tongue okay, high alcohol content very noticeable, too thick for a beer.

O- Should have bought another Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout instead.

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Photo of Buebie
2.02/5  rDev -47.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Picked up this brew today as a single, not ready to pay $11 for a 4 pack of this yet until I try her out.

Poured from a 12oz tall brown bottle into my Surly Tulip. Forming a 2.5 inch head off a semi-soft pour. The head finally receeds leaving a nice quarter inch retention layer of light khaki color. Lace drapes cover most of the glass, more thin then thick, but coverage area is large.
The beer itself is black with no light penetration.

The aroma is lacking any punch, its faint and almost non-existant. Very very mild chocolate, almost root beer like, some molasses and a touch of charred wood. Thats it for aroma, and its quite dissapointing.

The taste is also dissapointing. The mouthfeel is thin, carbonated and a bit of wet cardboard at the start. Too much alcahol punch with a solvent kick.
This beer is representing the mass produced shit water that really pisses me off in a beer. Yea, your out to make a buck, thats fine, but atleast make a good beer. Makes meangry I bought it, this is not like any other Imperial Stout I've had. I'd say it would be up there with an ok regular stout, but no imperial..
There is alot of toasted grains and charred woodyness, but no chocolate, no oats, just straight bitter.

Glad I only picked up one of these. Not satisfied with it at all. Drainpour.

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Photo of CaseyR22
2.11/5  rDev -44.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Look- black, not a bit of light comes through. Big frothy brown head that eventually settles to a thin saucer. Not much lacing.

Smell- dark chocolate, dark fruit and some overwhelming artificial sweetness. Kinda smells like root beer and prunes. Not very pleasent

Taste-kind of has a cheap wine taste to it. Not much stoutyness to speak of. Mostly sweet dark fruit followed by a bunch of rubbing alcohol like booziness. This is pretty bad, but drinkable.

Mouth- Kinda thin, medium carbonation at first but after 10 minutes itas practically flat. I'm not impressed.

O/A--I'm sorry to say, I'm kinda mad I wasted $11 on a 4 pack of this crap. It must be a really old pack or lightstruck or something because its hard for me to believe this has a decent rating here. This is literally the worst stout I've ever had and I won't be trying it again unless they start putting a discernable date on these things and I get a fresh one.

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Photo of jmerloni
2.12/5  rDev -44.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

A - Dark brown to black. Not very much head on this one. What's there is tan and laces minimally.

S - Decent smell. Roasted barley, malts, coffee, chocolate.

T - Not great. Roasted malts, not much coffee or dark chocolate. Instead, dark fruits like sweet cherry and plum are present here, but they don't taste fresh and Sam Adams' signature metallic taste is obvious here. Tastes like a dead dubbel with a little extra malt. Alcohol really comes through, kind of unnecessarily.

M - Lighter than I would prefer this to be and grossly syrupy as well. Pretty dry. Carbonation is too much. Alcoholic taste is overt and unpleasant. Usually alcoholic tastes in beers are pleasant and warming, but not here. Sam Adams could do much better in this department with this beer.

D - Not a good brew, and unlike the Imperial White in Sam's series, you can tell this one comes from Sam Adams. While that's not a bad thing obviously, this beer tastes predictable and could definitely benefit from being, well, stoutier. It could be thicker and more robust. The fruitiness is fine with me, but the chocolate/coffee flavors should be buffed up. On another level, this is about as long as I've ever taken to finish a beer...this shit's gross and hard to drink. Doesn't taste good, ingredients are cheap, and there's no reason why the alcohol has to be so unpleasant in this. A pretty awful brew.

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Photo of jazer
2.26/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A very dark beer. It looks very inviting, but just doesn't deliver. A overly sweet flavor dominated by a sort of metallic taste. It leaves a lousy aftertaste as well. Kind of hard to pinpoint a dominant scent. It has a nice mouthfeel and I definately wouldn't drink another one.

Definately not recommended.

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Photo of alcstradamus
2.28/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

A--Pours as black as the deepest depths of Charles Manson's soul, with a huge 3 finger dark brown head that leaves behind a thick trail of lacing. This is as good looking as any beer I've ever seen, I don't see how this could be rated lower than a 5 unless purposely trying to lower the overall letter grade.

S--As odd, funky wooden smell. Also some vanilla and molasses, maybe some bakers chocolate and dark fruit hidden in there. This smells bad, I am almost scared to drink it because any stout I've ever had that smelled like this ended up tasting like rotten fruit

T--Unfortunately, I am not surprised. There is a strong initial burst of rotting fruit, like a raisin that someone left on the sidewalk on a sunny day. A bit of imitation vanilla and bourbon notes, but I can't really go further because once I taste the funkiness I can't wade through it. This is not the worst imperial stout I've ever had, but it comes from the same family

M--Nice creaminess that luckily does not coat the mouth and leave an aftertaste

D--Nah, drain pour for me. Joins the ranks of Triple Bock and Cranberry Lambic as the worst Sam Adams beers

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Photo of SeaBrew40
2.32/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours black, totally opaque. Nice creamy head with good retention and lacing. The smell was overpoweringly sweet, more toffee than chocolate. Smooth mouthfeel, perfect carb. I felt like the brew was trying too hard, and was not a well rounded imperial in taste or aroma. Too many things stuck out to make it very enjoyable. It would go from very sweet to bitter with a very bitter, roasted aftertaste that I found undesirable. I would not drink again, and can't really recommend it.

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Photo of mullenite
2.35/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Glassware - Over-sized Brandy Snifter

Appearance - Totally opaque black color, no colored highlights, nothing at all. Initially there was a one finger tan colored head, but it didn't last long at all. Lots of nice lacing left on the glass. Better head retention and this would be the perfect looking RIS.

Nose - Chocolate, alcohol... and prune juice? It really smells like malta, which is nice when I'm drinking malta... but not a beer like this. I want roasted barley, coffee, chocolate, and all the other great flavors I think of when I think of a RIS. I definitely don't want prune juice.

Taste - The taste is a little better than the smell, not as prune-y with more chocolate and some roasted notes in there. Not very complex and not anywhere near the top examples of the style. With each sip the smell bothers me more. The after taste is quite nice but the flavor just isn't there. Huge miss.

Mouthfeel - Nice, thicker medium body and nice carbonation.

Overall - Unfortunately the appearance and the mouthfeel can't make up for the aroma or taste of this beer. I guess I set my hopes too high, but this one is really bad.

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Photo of icheadle90
2.4/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

This beer pours and smells wonderful. Small head and completely black. Very strong aroma. And that's where the good stuff ends.

Three words: Too. Damn. Strong.

You can tell that Boston Beer Company was trying to prove something with this, and they went too hard.

Very disappointing.

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Photo of TLove
2.53/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Not bad up front, but really sour in the body as opposed to smoked and chocolatey. While those flavors were apparent, the body took on a sort of lambic-RIS and was poorly balanced.

Strong ABV at nearly 10%, but very well-hidden. Strong brown head with a deep black pour and decent lacing. Smell and tastes of chocolate, licorice, coffee, coriander, and vanilla.

Very dry and bitter on the back end. Way too sour in the finish. Despite the nice viscous body, the sour mash component to the mouthfeel and finish are very unsavory and really detract a lot from the flavors.

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Photo of DirtyPenny
2.68/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Looks a bit syrupy as it sloshes around in the glass. Poured with no head but a thin layer of foam.

S: Dark chocolatey but with an odd tinny background.

T: Sweet Chocolate and caramel with a very noticeable alcohol burn. A little ashey with a bitter char finish and an increasing odd, plasticky flavor as it warms.

M: Bit of alcy burn. Thick but surprisingly highly carbonated.

O: Maybe I got a bad bottle? There were a lot of off notes in this one that I'd assume others didn't get, judging by the scores. Oh well, plenty of other good stouts out there.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.68/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. Purchased from Whole Foods in Los Altos.

A: Pours a pitch black body with a fairly impenetrable blackness. Has a finger of tan-colored head that recedes quickly into a light donut, leaving a few drabs of lacing down the glass.

S: Lots and lots of brown sugar, with some roasted malt. Dark chocolate is an afterthought.

T: Roasted malt, brown sugar / caramel, and a port-like aftertaste with a slight alcohol burn. Feels kind of rummy at times, but in a thin way. Dark chocolate is there as well, almost no coffee though. A serviceable IS, but seems almost one-dimensionally sweet and underattenuated.

M: Definitely on the thin and watery side of an imperial stout. Hovers around medium-bodied. Carbonation is low, but that's good for the style, to bring out the flavors... Except this doesn't have a lot of depth to showcase. A little warmth from the ABV.

D: I enjoyed drinking it, and don't regret paying $7 for a 4-pack (on sale). But I'll be giving the rest to someone who enjoys sugar bombs.

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Photo of JDFish
2.68/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Bottle poured into a pint glass:

Typical look for a stout, smells of malasses, roasted malt, and something sour. The taste follows the smell, very intense flavor hits you immediately. I didn't care for it at all, like sour molasses and bad coffee mix into a very tough to drink concoction. I've only had a few other Imperial/Double stouts, so maybe its the type. At the end of the beer it was going down a little better. A beer needs to be more than just complex, it needs to taste good. I won't be enjoying this one again.

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Photo of ehammond1
2.69/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottle (2010)

San Marcos, CA

A dark black pour and a big, thick, brown milk chocolate head. Some lacing down the glass, but not as much as I would have expected.

A somewhat chocolatey aroma but there's a touch of spice reminiscent of licorice that is a touch biting, surprising, and unfortunately, a bit unwelcome. Roasted malts and a touch of spicy black pepper round out the nose. Aromas are one of my favorite things about big stouts, and this one definitely falls short.

Flavor follows the nose almost identically, though the licorice and spice is a bit more present and there's not enough chocolate in the flavor to counterbalance the peppery licorice.

Very thin for the style. A bit too highly carbonated and sharp.

Disappointing RIS. I will not have this again.

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Photo of gameface23
2.69/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: The best aspect of this beer is definitely it's appearance. It pours pitch black with a brown head.

S: Malty booze, bitter chocolate, and anise.

T: Mocha, malt, and booze.

M: Average mouthfeel. Wasn't as thick as I thought the appearance would suggest.

D: I wasn't impressed with this one. The alcohol isn't hidden well and the flavor is too strong in the wrong areas.

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Photo of malcontent
2.69/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Exactly as the style should appear; Jet black body incapable of allowing light to pass through it, cocoa-colored head that leaves a generous amount of lacing behind. Pretty much perfect.

Loads of stone fruit on the nose with a healthy amount of milk chocolate. No real coffee or roasted notes, a touch buttery. Smells as though it's on the sweet side.

Yeah, it is. Initial rush of raisin is knocked off-kilter by a diacetyl misstep and then a clumsily bitter, roasted finish that sits all wrong. Cloying and astringent all at once. Alcohol runs a bit hot.

Mouthfeel isn't bad at all with a great degree of creaminess and soft carbonation setting the drinking up for a luxurious beverage...which can only be attained if it tastes good. The Double Bock was great, but the other two entrants into the Imperial series have been total let-downs. BBC should focus on their strength as the best large-scale brewer of lagers in the US.

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Photo of Ruger
2.7/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours a black with a thick one finger head that clings all around the the glass really good lacing.

S - Heavy malts and booze can't really pick up anything else.

T - Malts, coffee, chocolate, followed by a burnt roasted taste, and finishes with bitter booze.

M - Too much carbonation, and a little bit too watery feel for a Russian Imperial Stout.

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Photo of SamN
2.72/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Single twelve ounce bottle from Wilbur's, poured in a pint glass.

A- Blacker than black, with one of the darkest heads I've ever seen on a IS. Dark, gritty brown, but it doesn't last more than a minute, and eventually thinned out to patchy brown clouds.

S- Big time coffee and booze, also wine, bourbon, bitter chocolate, raisins and vanilla. Very creamy and complex, surprisingly great smelling. One of the better smelling imperial stouts, outshining imported bottles costing ten times as much. Amazing nose, wish I had poured this into a snifter for a more intense smell.

T- Wow, this is kind of bland. The coffee becomes awfully bitter, the wonderful chocolate smell does not translate into a wonderful chocolate taste, and it has a bizzare, metal and grass-like flavor. Vinegary, tastes of raisins and plums, but seems unbalanced and kind of "thrown together". The taste is very thin, too; this beer is a big let down from what I was expecting from the smell. Still, the aftertaste is pleasant and not too terribly sticky

M- Medium light body, with well hidden carbonation. Slick and slightly sticky in your mouth.

D- Egh. I don't like this, and this is gonna be hard to finish. Looks good, smells awesome, but fails to deliver on the style. So far, this SA Imperial Series fails.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
2.74/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a dark black/brown with just a hint of raisin sneaking through around the edges. The head is a collar of smokey brown.

Smells of smokey marshmallows, coffee, cough syrup and vomitus. Whoa. The healthy sweet grains are nice, but there's something downright nasty going on here. It clearly isn't spoiled, but rather the way the smoky character blends with the sweetness.

The flavor starts with a bit of smokey malts, coffee, brown sugar and caramel, but quickly collapses into a sickly sweet cough syrup that causes me to gag. Yikes!

Feels dense and present with a pleasing presence to the carbonation that livens things up without being disruptive. Nice.

I'm not quite sure what's going on here, but it triggered a lot of bad reflexes that I would prefer not to get from a beer.

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Photo of SuperSpy
2.74/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Black and opaque. A big rocky, brown sugar colored head that starts to die after a minute but leaves lots of lace. A very nice looking beer.

S - The aroma is a bit weak but there is some dark chocolate and sweet malt. Not too impressive.

T/M - Full-bodied but not as chewy as I expected. Plenty of roast, some dark and sweet chocolate. Some lighter roast coffee in the aftertaste. Nothing too terribly outstanding but overall it's pretty good.

O - A decent beer, but not the best Imperial Stout.

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Photo of falloutsnow
2.81/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a tulip glass, produces a 1.5cm, rich brown, head. Lacing slides down the glass fairly quickly; no real remnants. Beer itself is vaguely transparent dark brown in color, with some active carbonation.

My nose detects alcohol scents alongside cherry cordials.

The dominant themes for the taste are, somewhat surprisingly, alcohol and sweetness (from the malt, I assume). Very much in the background are hints of old coffee, chocolate, and vanilla, but they're practically ghost-like. I agree with others that this has a cheap booze feeling and a real lack of "stout-like" qualities. Taste is really just in the red with the alcohol, which practically obliterates everything else.

On the tongue, this is pretty sweet, sticky stuff. Medium-heavy in body, carbonation moderate, this stays around within the mouth for a while.

I'm wondering if I picked up a bad bottle of this, but seeing as how it's 9.2% in a dark brown bottle with heavy labeling and packaging, it should take a fair amount of light or bacteria to spoil this one. Not a very good representation of the style in my opinion, the taste is way overburdened by the alcohol, such that little else comes through. A disappointing effort from Boston Beer Company.

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Photo of ohmybock
2.83/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hmmm...this beer is a bit of a conundrum.

It claims to be an imperial stout, but tastes like something else. What that "something else" is...I'm not totally sure.

This brew poured a deep, dark, black-ish color with very little head. The aroma is not typical for an imperial stout. (Perhaps it has more in common with a Baltic Porter?) Maybe or maybe not. The aroma is subdued for the style and leads me to believe it's something else other than an impy stout. The flavor is malty and clean. I like it, but it just doesn't taste like an imperial stout. In fact, it's quite smooth and mellow...tasting like some sort of rich, dark, malty lager. Who knows...this might actually be a lager? The strong roasty characteristics I associate with an imperial stout (or regular stout) are not up-front in this brew. This brew has a sweetness that overpowers everthing else. It is a clean-tasting (and enjoyable) sweetness, but this brew seems to be beyond anything I would normally associate with an imperial stout. In the end, I do like this beer quite a lot, but it doesn't taste like an impy stout.

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Photo of Retsinis
2.83/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Grabbed this as part of a mixed six pack at Total Wines.

A: Poured into a Bruery tulip glass, a one quarter of an inch of light tan brown head slowly rose on top of the black, deep brown, colored beer, with a earthy hue, leaving light coating lacing on the glass.

S: I pick up scents of sweet molasses, light roasted coffee, more sweet malt, and milk chocolate.

T: Flavors of strong chocolate extract, overly sweet malt and vanilla. The alcohol comes through in a astringent way as well. Not sipping all that well.

M: Burns a bit, a bit chewy, and lightly carbonated.

O: Average and a bit disappointing, and is not to SA quality, imho. It tasted too sweet, and I had a hard time finishing a 12 oz bottle. I shared some with my wife, and she felt the same. I'm use to strong beers too, but this missed the mark for me in balance, taste, and enjoyment.

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Photo of zeapo
2.84/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Serving type: bottle poured into a pint glass

A: very dark brown color. non-transparent. maybe half a CM head that has a warm brown color. head dissipates quickly.

S: alcohol, chocolate, sort of nutty. in that order.

T: bold bitterness, mellow after bite. i taste a mix of alcohol and chocolate. rich hoppy after taste

M: rich, lite carbonation.

D: heavy, occasional

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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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