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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Ratings: 1,496 |  Reviews: 806
Photo of Pencible
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured opaque black with dark tan head. It smelled like black licorice and bitter dark chocolate, with cooking vanilla and oak. It tasted like semi-sweet chocolate and black licorice, with vanilla oak and alcohol and roasted coffee. Sweetened some as it warmed, to create a bit more balanced flavor. It was fairly thick with a bit of carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste with alcohol warming. Overall this was a surprisingly solid imperial stout, which was easy to see a high level of effort that went into the brew. It had a nice scent and taste, and great body. The alcohol was a bit hot, so this beer was definitely for sipping. But some age might help mellow this out and build a bit more unique character. It's not a terribly complex beer fresh, but it was clean and very enjoyable. Well done.

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Photo of alkemy
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours basically black with a sandy brown hint of a head. There's no light getting through this one. The smell seemed a smokey wood, chocolate, and molasses mixture with alcohol overtones. Very rich and smooth flavor. For me, the chocolate dominated and the smokey flavors that ensued were quite pleasing. I'm typically not much of a stout drinker, but there is something about this beer that just hits my taste buds the right way.

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

It poured a nice dark , thick pour. Leaving a very dark head, leaving some minor lace too.

It smells like roasted chocolate, coffee and mollases. Has a nice smell.

It tastes as good as it looks. With definatle chocolate, coffee and mollasses taste too. A nice thick taste with some hop notes and A nice toasty bready finish.

Just the right amount of carbonation, and its sweetish, not spicy at all.

A very drinkable beer overall and a winner from Sam Adams!

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Photo of paco1029384756
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a small dark tan head.

Scent of roasted malts, dark fruit, molasses. A good scent, but a bit too sweet to be great.

Taste of roasted malts, sugars, chocolate a bit of alcohol and some dark fruits. Finishes with more roasted malts. Good, but kind of strange, a bit of a medicine quality.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with a small amount of carbonation.

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Photo of carlborch
3.04/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured thick, black and dense. Large head of amber-brown foam formed, then settled into about a 1-inch collar. Leaves much lace in the glass. Not as full on the palate as the pour suggested. Lingers nicely. Noticeable forward bitterness. Notes of chocolate and cardamom and dark roast flavors. Reminds me a little of Westphalian dark rye bread. No spicy notes, though. It appears a little short on the palate. Definitely not moreish. Not for sessions! One will be enough.

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Photo of scottyshades
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a rich, syrupy black color that produces a black cherry colored head that retains poorly, but leaves nice lacing along the glass.

S: Roasted and burnt malts, alcohol is present in the nose when the beer warms, and a dominant bitterness followed by some dark fruit

T: Bitter, malty, boldly hopped, chocolate, molasses, caramel, figs, and perhaps plums

MF/D: This is where the beer was lacking in my book. Way over-carbonated for my liking...also, a little too bitter for my personal taste, but I respect that

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

A: Poured into a large goblet that couldn't quite hold everything. Pure black in color. A finger of light brown head formed and then dissipated, leaving a rim of foam. Looks appealing.

S: Dark, roasted aroma of coffee, slightly burnt toast and licorice.

T: The flavor surprised me - a bitter, almost milky taste up front, like dark chocolate, almost baking chocolate - not too many sweet flavors. The alcohol is a little noticeable.

M: Decent - could be a little creamier. Good carbonation.

D: A good brew. It's not Founders KBS by any means, but its a good stout. I enjoyed it. I'm compelled to keep drinking it, but I couldn't pack them in by any means. I could see myself getting more.

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Photo of CMW
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours an opaque jet black color that reminds me of cold black coffee. A small tan whispy head dies quickly and just leaves a tad bit of lacing.

S - Roasted malt, mixed with coffee, chocolate, dark fruit and alcohol.

T - Very sweet upfront with dark fruit that reminds me of raisins, figs, and dates. Roasted malt comes through after and provides smoky and coffee flavors. Almost no hop bitterness in the finish and the alcohol is also well hidden.

M - Carbonation tastes high but the overall mouthfeel is thin.

D - Although I wish the flavor was less sweet and more malty, this is very drinkable with the alcohol well hidden.

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Photo of cokes
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Inky purple-brown-black as it exits the bottle into the glass. Viscous and dense looking with a small mocha head popping up and fading just as fast, but leaving a few island patches of bubbles on the surface.
Not the nose I expected. It's no 'triple espresso and electric evergreen' imperial stout. This is...almost subtle with its anise and grape and vanilla and port and smoked pork and muddled chocolate mints.
Grape mixes in right away, tastewise. Vinous as hell. It mixes immediately with a coagulating fudge. Coffee seeps up and adds bitter grounds. More chocolate not, with trailing caramel and vanilla. Cherry and prune juice squirt in. Cigar smoke wafts across. Meaty too, with impressions of salami and pork shoulder, and possibly barbeque sauce...or at least hickory/mesquite smoke. More grapes towards the end, concord now, bright and purple. Sweet and concentrated, like port, or Ice wine. The finish is grapey, chocolately, semi-smokey, and lasting.
Medium full in body, with the brawny fleecy texture one might expect.
This has all the hallmarks of a fantastic Imperial Stout. It may lack a bit of cohesion. But all in all, it's a good one.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thick cola-like black with two-finger tan head and lace to match. A heavy aroma of roasted and sweet malts, typical of this style.
Taste and mouthfeel more of the same as this medium-to-fullbody goes down smooth and creamy. Taste mostly roasted malts, along w/ some breadiness, balanced w/ coffee and chocolate which gives this beer some sweetness. Possibly some molasses or syrup as there is a decent stickiness to the beer. A textbook stout - nothing superbly amazing but a great sipper that one must try.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle - $2.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours an appropriate black body with a frothy, medium-sized, tan-hued head.

Smell: Malty bouquet of roasted barley, oven-charred bread crusts, chocolate, a dash of anise, and a cup of cafe au lait. Some simple alcohol wafts as well.

Taste: Roasty, toasty maltiness with tastes of caramel, black coffee, powdered milk, anise, and chocolate sauce with a fair degree of sweetness. Earthy, spicy hop flavor with a medium-high bitterness trying to cut its way through the dense maltiness. Black currant fruitiness throughout. The flavor turns a bit more char-based nearing the end. Earthy and warming on the drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Slight creaminess to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: It's good sipper, not great, but certainly worth a try or two. I am willing to get on board with this one.

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Photo of tpd975
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Very deep dark black hue with a small mocha colored head. No real retention with just a touch of spotty lace.

S: Not very bold. Subtle roasted malt with hints of dark chocolate and dark fruit.

T: A bit astringant up front. The kind of flavor you get from over roasted malt or burnt coffee. Toasted goodness comes through in the middle along with a blast of dark fruit. Light notes of licorice and a wave of chocolate round things out.

M: Big and full bodied brew. Rich, with okay carbonation.

D: Okay, take away the astringancy and I would really enjoy it.

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Photo of beerman21
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I am a bif fan of RIS and i hate to compare beers with others but it is hard to live up to Raspution RIS. Will see how this one goes.

Ok so far so good pours a deep expresso black with a cinnomon head which builds and disipates just as it appears.

Smell dark choclate and cheap folgers coffee. Earthy tones come through as well like wet soil. Nothing really pronouced.

Here goes the first sip.... Ok intial thought of this brew very thick and creamy mouthful is impressive. Choclate, coffee and yes what the box describes anise comes through as well. Very intresting.

alright I'll be back got to finish this brew-Ha...Alright Im back the beer all in all was pretty enjoyable. Thought it was a good american version of the RIS. Warming, filling and flavorful. Yet I've had better RIS in the paste. Recomended might buy it again but if i see Rasputin i'll grab that instead.

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Photo of bruningmd
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pitch black, like a barrel of molassas, with a thin head that dissapated quickly---left a sticky residue on the glass

S: Lots of burnt notes, Caramel, Toffee, Charred malts, A touch of maple at the end

T: Tastes of dark chocolate, burnt wood, smoke, coffee, caramel, alcohol aftertaste, bitter at the finish, but in a good way

MF: Full bodied, thick and chewy, filling

D: A really solid interpretation of an Imperial Stout for Sam Adams. I could definitely see myself keeping a few of these in my fridge. It's nothing fancy, not gonna rewrite the history of beer, or even the history of the stout. But, It's a good beer, if a little on the simple side. Could use a little more complexity. That said, I was pleasantly surprised and satisfied.

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Photo of cvfish
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - This beer poured a deep black color that produced a brown fluffy head that good retention and left a good amount of lace on the side of the glass

S - The aromas that were produced were straight forward RIS, roasted malts and coffee

T - The taste of this beer was also straight forward, the roasted malts and bitter chocolate was present with a little bit of coffee

M - The mouthfeel of this beer had a medium to heavy body that was accompanied by a light amount of carbonation

D - This was a very good Imperial Stout, very drinkable and made for sipping, you cannot go wrong with this beer if you like the darks

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Photo of aforbes10
4.21/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Monument in Concord, CA. Pours tar black and thick-looking with a half inch milk chocolate head. Strong lacing. Smells of chocolate covered cherries, dark biscuity malt and fruity ethanol. Big, thick and chocolatey flavor. Cocoa bitterness, strong alcohol mixing with chocolate and a well defined hop bitterness. Maybe just a little hot, but otherwise very nice. Big and thick. Drinks well, S.A. impresses.

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Photo of againes
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Liquid Velvet:

This beer pours a deep, rich black color that is nearly impenetrable to light. Within my pint glass, I held up various lights to it to find a hint of color and could not find anything except black. Wonderful!

The imperial stout smells very sweet, a bit like dried fruits such as prunes or raisins with a slight caramel tone.

Taste starts as sweet with fruity and chocolate tones with a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel on this stout is huge with a very soft, silky feel on the tongue and throat.

Definitely not a session beer but, of course, that is not its purpose. A good sipping imperial stout that warms the stomach and caresses the soul.

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Photo of jkbusman
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - pitch black opaque with a medium sized dark brown head that fades quickly; leaves nice bubbled lacing on the glass

S - a huge roasted malt aroma with some notes of coffee and chocolate; nothing out of the ordinary here

T - a very smooth approach balanced with a nice amount of bitterness; hints of dark fruit, chocolate and espresso all hung on the sturdy malt frame; very little alcohol presence for it being 9.2ABV

M - medium carbonation helps to prop up a very full bodied stout

D - surprisingly easy to drink and an excellent first crack at the imperial stout by BBC

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

12oz bottle purchased as part of a 4-pack from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/4" dark brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head fades at a moderate pace, with lots of legs and average lacing. Aroma is rich deep dark grains and alcohol evident. Taste is syrupy sweet upfront with the dark malts, peeks of fruit in the middle, and a warming alcoholic close. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is good for the style. Kind of cutting edge for Sam, not trying to be a gateway brew like so many of their other styles.

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Photo of DiabolikDUB
4.01/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours jet black into the glass with a nice one inch mocha colored head. Much darker than I was expecting this to turn out. The smell is a bit faint with a little bit of roastiness. This taste is surprisingly nice, roasted malts and caramel with a touch of coffee. The beer is a little watery upfront but comes through in the end with a nice bitter finish

I'm very happy I got to try this beer. For the money its a pretty good deal. I didn't expect too much going into the tasting and left extremely satisfied.

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Photo of Shaw
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours totally black -- of course -- with a chocolate-milk like foamy head.

The smell is all about roasted malt, with coffee, toffee and chocolate aromas and a hint of solvent alcohol.

The taste is chocolately and sweet with a bit of a dry twang and notes of alcohol. Big roasted flavors abound.

The body is super slick and creamy and flows like glass.

This is an excellent imperial stout and one of Samuel Adams' best. Well worth seeking out.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Can a "mega" craft brewer brew a really good imperial stout? Let's find out. Listed at 9.2% ABV, and poured into a chalice, on to the beer:

Pours thick and black. A mocha tanned head forms on top the invincible black body about an inch thick initially. The nose is very charred and smokey, I swore it smelled like a baltic porter. A bit of chocolate is found, but the smokey aroma prevails here. In the mouth, it's a little smoother than other big stouts. It has a rich flavor and feel without going over (apologies to Bob Barker), and the alcohol is hidden well. Rich chocolate flavors hit first, liek drinking Dove chocolate. A little smokiness and wood add complexity. Very warming in the throat and tummy. This is a good imperial stout, but its pricetag may scare away the everyday consumer familiar with the brand (but maybe not beer geeks ;-)

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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 stephens101
3.2/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black with hazy dark brown edges. A thick, very dark brown head sticks for ages, finally leaving a wide stripe of lacing behind. Smells of very sweet caramel malts, black licorice, taffy and pine. Tastes a bit cloying at first. Underneath that exist some toasted malts, nuts, faint dark chocolates, alcohol and grain. Goes down big, somewhat smooth, and a little dry at the end. After a few drinks the sweetness becomes overkill. A decent RIS in all respects except the one that really counts; the one that ends up destroying this beer.

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle listed at 9.2% ABV.

An aggressive pour into my Duvel chalice sluggishly builds a half-inch of muddy brown head. Retention could be better, but a quick swirl of the glass rebuilds the foam. Nice fruity aromas of dark cherry, currant, and plum; a hint of booze lingers in the background. Some sweet chocolate malts lay a sturdy backbone, but to be honest this smells more like a Baltic porter than a Double Stout. Still enjoyable, though.

A tasty initial burst of toffee, earthen hops, and dark chocolate gives way to roasted coffee, mocha, and sweet booze. Notes of raisin rum and hops linger in the finish. Mouthfeel is creamy, full-bodied (but not syrupy), and packs a superb carbonation level. I really dig the flavor profile on this beer; it's complex, yet not so over-powering that I couldn't see myself enjoying more than one in a session. Easily the best beer in the Sam Adam's lineup beside their Hallertau Imperial Pilsener.

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Samuel Adams Imperial Stout from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.82 out of 5 based on 1,496 ratings.
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