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

Samuel Adams Imperial StoutSamuel Adams Imperial Stout
1,497 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: 1,497 |  Reviews: 806
Photo of wagenvolks
4.18/5  rDev +10%
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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Photo of Tone
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black color. One inch head of a dark tan color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of roasted malt, sweet malt, alcohol, and slight hop. Fits the style of an American Double / Imperial Stout. Mouth feel is really smooth and thick with a low carbonation level. Tastes of roasted malt up front, then a good amount of alcohol, some sweet malt, slight hop in the background, and some very slight raisin flavors. Overall, a really easy drinking Imp. Stout. Good body and blend of flavors, and the alcohol is noticeable, but not overpowering.

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Photo of omnigrits
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was planning on cellaring this bottle but temptation got the better of me. I'll just have to buy another one and lay it down.

Pours opaque black - holding it up to the window reveals no light coming through at all. A thinnish dark tan head quickly fades to a film of bubbles that remains throughout and leaves good lace.

A powerful and rich aroma comes from the beer. Plenty of sweet roasted malt in the nose, along with maybe a little aniseed and a hint of the alcoholic content. Cherries are added to the mix once the beer gets into the mouth - not displeasing at all, although there's a sweetness to this stout which isn't much to my taste. It's still a very good beer all the same.

This is the kind of beer I prefer to round the night off with rather than drink all evening, although I have an urge to try a glass of this with a full English breakfast in the morning. I'm pretty sure I'll be spending an hour two flaked out on the sofa afterwards.

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Photo of DIM
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a: This was a completely opaque black and poured with a medium sized dark tan head that quickly faded to a frothy whisp.

s: Interesting nose, and difficult to score. The first word that comes to mind is yeasty. Yeasty aromas earthy grains and something lightly fruity. It might not have been the strongest element, but it jumped out at me because it seemed a bit out of place. There were also notes of cherries, chocolate, anise, and alcohol. This smells good, but it doesn't have the big roasty character that I associate with an imperial stout. It smells a bit like an imperial milk stout actually.

t: This tastes like an imperial milk stout up front as well. Starts off lightly sweet before a finish of cherries and anise. I couldn't put my finger on what was missing here until after I finished it. There was no bitterness at all. No big roasty, burnt bitterness and no hoppy bitterness. I've never tasted anything like this.

m: Full bodied with creamy carbonation. The finish is long, but I can't decide if that's a good thing or not.

d: This was my second from the Sam Adams imperial series. The double bock was outstanding, while just seemed to be a bit strange to me. We live in a beer world inundated with fantastic big stouts. I don't see myself buying any more of these.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle

A- Poured into a snifter. Pours a dark black color with a light tan head.

S- The aroma is dark and roasty with a lot of chocolate malts, coffee and some alcohol. The aroma is very nice, can't wait to get to the taste.

T- The taste like the aroma is dark roasted malt that starts out pretty smooth with some coffee and a nice burnt and bitter finish. The alcohol is present in the finish as well but isn't too overpowering, creating a warming finish.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Not bad, Sam Adams did a great job with this beer. Definitely worth a shot. Recommended!

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Photo of JAA
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black labeled bottle with purple trim. I'm on record stating that i don't care for the design of the new Imperial beer series from the Boston Beer Company. Plain and boring. The trimming colors aren't too appealing to the eye. However, it does pour a beautiful pitch black, with almost no head. The lack of head is a little disappointing.

Doesn't emit a great odor, just a little light coffee and chocolate notes. I am also visualizing red apples.

The taste is an absolute home run. Very well balanced, i was shocked that they nailed the style on their first try(i think). Smooth chocolate malts and lots of coffee. Fairly boozy with an excellent hop bite. Ash lingers in the aftertaste. Some tart cherry does end up sneaking in somewhere in there.

Mouthfeel is chewy and bold. A good alcohol bite makes this brew a little less drinkable, but that should even out with time.

Overall, this is the second bottle i bought, because the first one impressed me greatly. Great beer from The Boston Beer Company, nice job Jim.

By the way, the bottle says 9.2% ABV.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to jwc215 for this brew.

Poured into my SA glass a thick black color, very nice carbonation, very nice two-finger creamy tan head, with lots of sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some nice chocolate/toffee notes. The taste is sweet, malty, some nice chocolate/toffee notes. Medium body, nice creamy brew. Drinkable, the ABV 9.2% is hidden very well, recommended.

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Photo of olmatty
3.76/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Pours an opaque jet black beer with a think dark borwn head that hangs around the edges of the glass with clingy lacing,

Smell- Strong medicinal alcohol aroma, remeniscient of Irish Potcheen. Somewhat unpleasant.

Taste- Lots of bitterness all around, black licorice, roasty black malts, strong burn of alcohol, very dark coffee and some dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel- Middling carbonation, very thick and chewy body.

Drinkability- This brew is heavier than even it's 9.2% ABV denotes. Too big for more than one. Overall, kind of disappointing for what my expectations were. It was brand spaking new and probably needs significant aging to take the edges off.

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

A: From the bottle poured a very dark merlot with a towering 2 finger plus frothy medium cinnamon colored head that was very impressive retention wise. In the glass the coloring was a near pitch coffee black. The lacing was thick and clumpy, smothering the sides of the glass while a thin skim covering lasts atop for the remainder of the drink.

S: dark roasted espresso beans, fresh grounded, though fairly light in nature and strength. Freshly burnt wood ambers add subtle hints giving this a dark, yet smoothing smoky aroma. Once again a little lighter then expected considering the label of imperial stout.

T: The flavor yielded a nice roasted malting with a touch of smokiness. Burnt chocolate with a dark earthy bitterness also is evident here. Some boozy dry whiskey notes, burnt cask wood, and some light freshly grounded charcoal powder and smoked peat blend well together almost seemingly into a smooth transaction of flavor. There is a nice earthy bitterness and smoked amber malting that lingers quite a bit after the swallow. Some coffee grinds that were bitterly roasted rounds things out in an otherwise pretty solid flavor.

M: silky, and good per style, with a nice smoothness and medium fullness for a body. The carbonation was good, providing just the right amount of tingle while maintaining a silky feel on the texture.

D: Nice drinkability with a big flavor that was boozy and dark roasted yet comfortable enough to drink a few of.

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Photo of BeanBone
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A solid black body with a big dark caramel colored head that leaves nice lacing. It certainly looks the part.

Aroma: Rich and complex: bananas, dark fruit, bitter chocolate, sweet roasted malt and alcohol.

Taste: The malt body is massive, bitter, and very roasty (almost burnt at times). Still getting some strong banana and general dark fruit flavors. Definite dark chocolate and coffee notes in the mix too. Plenty of alcohol to compliment everything, but never so much to step on anyone's toes. The aftertaste is big and roasty.

Mouthfeel: Full and velvety body with low carbonation. Dries nicely in the finish.

Drinkability: A sipper, but perhaps a little bit quicker than average for the style.

Verdict: Imperial Stout is another solid beer from the new Samuel Adams Imperial Series. Miles ahead of the Imperial White, and a shade better than the Double Bock, this is my pick from the collection. Well done Jim, this is great stuff.

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Photo of Naugled
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in tulip glass

A: thick brown silky rocky head, very opaque espresso brown color with low carbonation

S: deep bitter roasted malt aroma up front, hops can be detected in the background

T: very rich dark roasted toffee caramel and dark fruits like raisons up front. significant bitterness from roasted malts and hops alike

MF: very rich, silky and thick feel. too much bitter aftertaste, low carbonation

D: delicious beer but hard to drink, but that is typical for this style. It's not a session beer.

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Photo of TommyW
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Black body with a creamy, tan head that fades to a nice lace and sticks well to the glass.

S- Burnt and toasted malts.

T- Burnt and toasted malts dominate the taste. Just enough hops to leave a nice dry finish.

M- Very creamy in nature.

D- Really good beer that I look forward to having again.

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Photo of hardy008
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a bark black color with a dark tan foamy 2 finger head. I can see a little streak of ruby color when held up to the light.

Smell - Roasted malts, molasses, chocolate and coffee.

Taste - Sweet molasses finished by coffee bitterness with dark bitter chocolate.

Mouthfeel - Fullbodied, very creamy, and sweet.

Drinkability - A nice drinkable imperial stout. Has a heavy alcohol presence, quite good.

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Photo of Stunner97
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- dark, dark, black to brown colored beer, nice tan foam head laces the top of the glass, so dark you are not gettin any light through this one

Smell- lots of dark malts and espresso, also some strong bitter dark chocolate mixing in with lots of roasted barley

Taste- Very nice bitter espresso flavor comes at the start, alot of the roasted barley and malts from the nose also break through on the tasting, nice long bitter finish that really stays with you, a very nice finish

Mouthfeel- Heavy and syrupy, a very full bodied brew no doubt about that,

Drinkability- A very well hidden alcohol percentage yet still definitely a sipping stout, very nice example of the style not the best stout in the world but it is a very solid offering no doubt about that and would make a great nite cap to end a long day,

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Photo of malty
4.16/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours black with no edges or highlights. Creamy, dense khaki 2" head. Simply gorgeous. Thick and even sheets of beige lace all the way down.

Smells very similar to the English St. George Stout. A little fruity with gobs of dark chocolate and malted milk.

Very expertly layered flavors starting with bitter dark bakers chocolate. The coffee & cream hits about in the middle with the anise (as stated on the back label) and just a teeny tiny hit of warm alcohol (very well-hidden though). Very malty and creamy sweet (but not overly sweet) chololate and charred elements are very prevalent. There's even a hint of bitter walnut flavor that arises about 30 seconds after the swallow - very interesting.

Mouthfeel id full bodied and uber creamy. Oily and silky with a roasted and somewhat charred long finish. A semi-dry chalky exit that counterbalances the heavy malts quite nicely.

Drinkability is wayyy good. I believe the heavenly mouthfeel has the most to do with this.

Overall a masterfully crafter Imperial Stout that surely hits all the marks. I don't think I've ever felt a brew so creamy straight from the bottle (without nitro widgets). I'd be proud to serve this to my friends on a cold winter's day/night. Good stuff for sure.

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Photo of berserker256
4.16/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I bought a four pack for $10.99. The ABV on my bottle says 9.2%. This is a perfectly beautiful beer. It poured out like dirty motor oil as a rich brown head shot to the top of my glass. Bubbles cascade downward as it settles and a sticky lace is left behind as the head slowly disintegrates. Sweet and burnt malt as well as licorice are the most prodominant aromas my nose picks up. Heavy and thick but not syrupy. It tastes like expresso, burnt Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate, and black licorice. There's a bitter but not too unpleasant aftertaste. The ABV and strong rich flavor limit this beer's drinkabilty but it's a perfect sipper. Strong black coffee drinkers should love this beer. It's pretty damn good.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle > Chimay goblet

A Deep dark brown, not black, substantially thick head, nice patters of lace and an overall old-leather look. 2" high thick brown head, very well-retained as it should be!

A dark brown sugar scented malt roastie oats, vanilla, soft brownies, dark berries and concord grapes. The best part: blueberry pop tarts!

Yep, this one has a huge malt complexity. roatie oats with smooth vanilla, and a brownie sweetness. The heat is well-hidden in this thick malt, roastie but sweet edge. Great balance of slightly spicey herbs underneath. This is a traditional Imperial Stout in every sense. I personally like these more traditional, less-hoppy versions. It's full bodied and the headiest Sam adams' brew next to the double bock. clean and mean with baker's chocolate, chalky, dry finish with a bit of coffee in the back at the end.

two thumbs up for tradition.

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Photo of gameface23
2.69/5  rDev -29.2%
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 BMoney575
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sampled on 4-19-09

Pours completely black and completely opaque, with a decent brown head that settle to a ring. Lacing is thick and brown but short lasting.

Smell is very fresh and sweet, with tons of bitter chocolate and anise. Smoky and a little soy sauce-y at the end. A little bit different.

Taste is extraordinarily malty, almost sour. Very sweet with lots of bitter hops at the end. Huge amounts of flavor, with alot of booze in the finish.

Mouthfeel is good, thick, right for the style.

Drinkability is decent, thick, sweet, and lots of alcohol.

Overall, a gigantic beer that could probably stand a couple more years in the cellar.

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Photo of Strix
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black, some head.

Charred roasted malt in the nose, a bit of sweetness and booze as well.

Big roasty flavor, with charcoal, anise, coffee, and booze. A little sweetness in there that detracts a bit, for me.

Mouthfeel smooth, a bit light.

This was passable, but given how many great stouts are out there, I will probably pass it by if I see it again.

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Photo of jkendrick
3.76/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark black, pours to a nice foamy, but not creamy brown head which doesn't last long. No real lace.

S: Fairly typical(coffee, chocolate, anise) but not very strong. There is some whiff of SOMETHING not right here though. Slightly funky.

MF: It is full-bodied and relatively smooth. The carbonation is not over-bearing, but a tad prickly.

T: The coffee and oatmeal hit immediately with a bit of chocolate in the middle, but not much. The anise comes in next and there is some bitterness in the finish. Whatever the funkiness was I smelled, I don't taste it.

Overall: This is an impressive offering from Sam. I very much enjoyed it. There are imperial stouts I prefer to this, certainly, but it is very good. The price point does not significantly undercut better competitors in my opinion. For example, I can get a 4-pack of Ten Fidy here for about the same price. This is good, but isn't in the same league as Ten Fidy to my palette.

ETA: Unfortunately, that funkiness in the aroma, leaves my review lower than what I genuinely feel this beer deserves, however I don't feel right altering any scores as the smell WAS off. That said, I would put this more in the A- range overall.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with dark brown head. Nose is a delight with 3 muskateers candybar aromas (nougat and chocolate!). Roasty chocolate on the palate, dark chocolate though, with a nod in the direction of black licorice. Dark fruit is present also, like in a black forest dessert cake. Finish isn't too hot with alcohol, and leaves a chocolate powdery sensation on the palate.

Another excellent product from Samuel Adams.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer pours such a black body that it is almost blue with no light escaping at all. There is a thick dark coco colored head that sticks to the glass with each sip and last for a good bit.

S- This beer has a slight sweaty quality to the earthy black charred malt and a caramel malt note underneath. There is a dark but rich nougat note to follow and a soft alcohol heat that is just a bit fusel coming through as the beer warms.

T- This beer has a rich burnt black malt flavor that turns a bit vinous as it warms with notes of dark raisins and a black bitter grain note lingers after each sip. The soft taste of alcohol grows as the beer warms.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with not much alcohol heat until the beer warms a bit.

D- This beer doesn't have a lot of complexity but the charred malt flavors are big while other parts are a bit thin in the finish. As the beer warms a bit more alcohol comes through but not much else in the flavor does. Perhaps age might change this beer if there are more flavors underneath the big bitter black malt.

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

Poured into a Sam Adams sensory glass with a 3/4 finger, tan brown head whch dissipated fairly quickly. Beer is an opaque black color. I see some carbonation comng up the sides of the glass. Lacing is splotchy.

Smells like roasted malts with hints of dark fruits, perhaps raisins, chocolate, and coffee.

Tastes like Roasted malts, raisins and chocolate. Tastes a bit boozey.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, creamy, and thick. Sticky finish.

Fairly easy to drink. Once would be enough for me in a night.

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Photo of aubuc1
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured in to a goblet.

Pours pitch black with a thick tan clingy head.

Smell is boozy. Smooth sweet roasty plummy. Very nice.

Very clean taste for a RIS. Kind of thin, but easier drinking than most. Taste is roasty, coffeeish, plummy.

I am usually below average for Sam Adams, but this impressed me. For the price this should not be passed over. Very easy drinking for the style, perhaps a great gateway for people to try a great style of beer. Kudos Sam Adams.

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Samuel Adams Imperial Stout from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 1,497 ratings
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