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

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Samuel Adams Imperial StoutSamuel Adams Imperial Stout
Very Good
1,498 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,498 |  Reviews: 806
Photo of Sammy
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from annual special pack. Very drak brown and and a disapearing three-eights of an inch head. aste that is integrated chocolate and coffee and that stops short of being astringent in bitterness. Good drinkability and satisfying.Better than average from the style.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful pour. Thick, perfectly black. Dark chocolate brown, three finger head with full lace all the way around.

S: Dark chocolate dominates with roasted malt and coffee notes.

T: Roasted malt dominates. The coffee, chocolate, nut notes. Not as sweet as I see others reporting.

M: thick body, moderate carbonation.

Overall: This is an impressive beer as for the smell and pour. The taste is good but not quite what I hoped after seeing it and smelling it.

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Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thick opaque black with a huge 3 inch dark khaki head that lasts. Random patterns of lace on the glass on the drink down. Smells of plums/raisins, licorice, milk chocolate, and slight soy sauce. Taste is of dark fruits, licorice, chocolate covered fruits, and soy sauce. There is an acidic component to this beer that lingers on the palate after each sip - almost a citrus juice taste/feel. Mouthfeel is a bit flat with a thickness in the mouth that is somewhat hard to take combined with the flavors of the beer. Overall, a pretty good RIS and one of the best from Sam Adams but there are lots of better beers out there.

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Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of Knapp85
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Imperial Stout was the first of the three in the series that I tried. The pour was a dark black that generated a nice brown colored head that lasted for a little while. The smell was heavily burnt and roasted with some dark chocolate in there as well. The taste gave off much of the same flavors as the smell did but with the addition of some fresh wood in there too. The mouthfeel could have been a little thicker I think but overall this brew was pretty good.

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Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally got around to trying this one.. wasn't a huge fan of the Imperial White but I love me some RIS's. Pours like engine oil with a nice tan head.. excellent. Smell is very roasty, but also very boozy... a little too strong in the nose for my liking. Taste wise, this is a pretty hoppy RIS, moreso than most. Nice roastiness to it too along with the complex chocolate, coffee flavor characteristics. Once again, that strong ABV is quite prevalent as you get quite the burn after each sip. Nice sipper beer, makes for a good night cap.. couldn't see having more than one in a sitting. Nice stab at an RIS and I like the sweetness but the alcohol taste needs to be toned down.. until then get me a Storm King, Ten Fidy, or Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout.

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Photo of t0rin0
2.75/5  rDev -27.6%

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of metter98
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a finger high dense and dark tan colored head that took a long time to die down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface, a collar around the edge of the glass and some lacing down the sides.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of licorice in the nose along with some notes of roasted malts.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, except that the flavors of roasted malts are more assertive and there are additional hints of chocolate and dark fruits. A slight amount of bitterness is also present.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. The roasted malts result in some dryness.
O: I found this beer to be an enjoyable and well-rounded Russian Imperial Stout. It packs in a good amount of flavors and also hides its alcohol very well from the taste.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, the very last of my haul from last summer's (it seems so far away) Montana incursion. And today's sudden return of snowy, blustery weather just seals the deal.

This beer pours a dense, viscous black, no highlights, even when held to the snow-refracted light of day, with two fingers of tight creamy Brown Cow head, which settles fairly quickly, rendering but a low rise of lace around the glass. It smells of milky roasted cocoa, and slightly sour dark fruit stewed in booze. The taste is big chocolate malt, more zingy black fruit, a bit of earthy coffee, and a soft drying bitterness. The carbonation is very mild, the body full, smooth, and nice and creamy. It finishes still quite sweet and chocolaty, myriad subtle underlying drying agents keeping things palatable for the long haul.

A pretty tasty RIS, overall - the big ABV is AWOL as far as the flavour is concerned. Given the agreeably restrained chocolate goodness, matching this with a more sugary dessert would work nicely.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It seems that it was only natural for the Boston Beer Company to brew an Imperial Stout.

The beer pours a very dark brown, basically opaque, pour that rouses a 1" head that eventually levels to a trace then holding firm. Lots of lacing on the glass- it's the look that you expect from an Imperial Stout.

Deep aromas of roasted grains bring out scents of dark-roast coffee and cocoa. A nice estery-fruity blend gives notes of grapes, anise, cherries, figs, and dates. A bit more complex than most great Imperial Stouts.

Flavors do much the same. The fruitiness wraps around the caramelized and roasted grains wonderfully. Fruits calm down as the cocoa and coffee flavors gain intensity well into the finish. Light pine hopping comes in the aftertaste.

A nice round texture gives a good deal of creaminess, weight, and fullness. Bitterness from hops compliment the bitterness of cocoa and coffee well. The texture takes of a powdery, chalky feel late and makes me beg for another sip.

Ulitmately the beer fares well. The fruity notes balance out the roasted notes well for variety, complexity, and imagination. The textures are fine but lack the rich smoothness that I have come to love in the top ranked Stouts. Boldness and assertiveness is kept in check respectively speaking.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.96/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

23 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Guinness goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Acquired at a local Ralph's market. Reviewed live. No best before date is listed. Expectations are average; Sam Adams' beers usually hover right around a C+ for me (with a couple exceptions).

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a four finger head of great tan colour, impressive cream, good thickness, and fantastic retention considering the high ABV. Colour is a solid nontransparent opaque black. The appearance is rather impressive all around; I'm excited to try it. No yeast particles are visible (though it is nontransparent) and no bubble show is present. Decent lacing.

Sm: A moderately strong aroma of chocolate, nuts, cream, some roast, dark malts, and milk. Intriguing, but not particularly complex or subtle.

T: Creamy, with overdone milky notes and bland chocolate. Vague unlayered dark malts form the mundane foundation. Not particularly complex nor subtle. No nuts come through; perhaps I was wrong concerning the aroma. Most egregiously, roast is missing - the central element needed to make this good. Balanced decently. Built okay for the style, but lacking true quality.

Mf: Creamy, smooth, and wet. Largely downright wrong for the style; should be coarse and dry yet with pleasant creaminess. Adequately carbonated. A touch too thin for the style.

Dr: A drinkable little imperial stout from Sam Adam's. Enjoyable and pleasant for the price, but largely forgettable. A decent introduction to the style for the masses, but not an ideal choice for true fans of imperial stouts. I like it, but it's in serious need of work. To its credit, it hides its ABV very welll.

A poor candidate for aging.

Would pair decently with cheap chocolate.


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Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of zeff80
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a thick, foamy, brown head. It left sticky, thick rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled very roasty and of coffee notes. Some dark chocolate aromas, too.

T - It tasted of burnt maltiness and black coffee. Nice dark chocolate notes and molasses.

M - It was very soft and smooth. A medium bodied stout with a warming alcohol presence.

D - This is a pretty good imperial stout. I had higher hopes. I hope it is better with some age.

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A fairly hard pour yields two thirds black liquid and one third creamy mocha head that leaves strands of lace

Smell: Raisin and mocha aromas dominate, with burnt toast and vanilla underneath

Taste: A bit more dark chocolate comes through on the palate than in the aroma, with raisin, mocha and smokey elements adding complexity; a touch of hops appears by mid-palate; but the sweeter flavors push it to the back and leave a lingering sense of anise in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A decent example of the style and one, that because of the brand, might attract a new crowd; still, I can easily list many others that I would prefer

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Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

 1,347 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a small dirty brown foamy head with average retention and some lacing. Aroma of black chocolate and dry roasted malt with light bitter notes is not all that bad. Taste is also a nice enough mix between some balanced roasted malt with lingering sweetness and some medium sweet black chocolate. Body is about average for style with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well made with no flaws thought doesn't really stand out from the pack.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a couple of inches above the glass leaves a big light brown head of at least 1/3 the glass, and then it begins to settle, kind of slowly.

The head rests above a clear (I think) black beer.

Aroma consists of light alcohol dark roasted malts with some dark chocolate, licorice, prunes, and very light grains.

Roasted malts, with very light dark chocolate, some alcohol, dark fruits again maybe prunes but very light, and a light licorice again comes through. A lot of things going on in the taste, an enjoyable drink.

A light roasted slightly dry aftertaste.

A worthy stout, kind of reminds me of stouts you get at micro-brews, which is usually a pretty good thing.

 680 characters

Photo of largadeer
3/5  rDev -21.1%

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Samuel Adams Imperial Stout from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 1,498 ratings