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

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Samuel Adams Imperial StoutSamuel Adams Imperial Stout
Very Good
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 GilGarp
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours from a 12oz brown bottle into a high ball. I didn't even realize the bottle had a date stamped on it. Brown ink on brown bottle equals hard-to-read. The code doesn't even read an actual date but rather a series of digits. Ok, enough gripe, on to the beer.

It has nearly black color with a thin ring of dark redish brown around the edge. The 1/4" of brown head settles to a film on top of the beer. No lacing is left behind.

Aroma is sweet and boozy with a hint of what smells like oxidation to me.

Flavor is surprisingly similar to my homebrew RIS. It's sweet and fruity up front with a bit of red wine. The black malts and ample hops come forward bringing a bitter roastiness to the picture. There's some milk chocolate, which is a unusual, and some light roasted coffee.

Mouthfeel seems a little thin but it's smooth and fairly easy drinking.

Overall, I'm surprised this is coming out of Sam Adam's. It's really not any better than my thrid attempt at homebrewing. While I'd like to say this as a compliment to myself, it's really said with a feeling of disappointment in SA. Not a bad beer but it could have been so much more.

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Photo of PhiloPsych
3.49/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark, dark brown with a milk chocolate head. Smell is roasted malt with a bit of molasses--a little funky, though, maybe a bit of steel? The mouthfeel is somewhat thick and syrupy--not as heavy as some imperial stouts, but plenty viscous. The taste is pretty good if not super exciting--some roasty malt, some bready taste, just a touch of brown sugar. The numbers I'm giving suggest that this beer isn't as good as it actually is. Compared to most beers, this is a good brew. But compared to the seasonal release, imperial stouts of other microbreweries, this one is only average.

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Photo of Kallessin
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very black with a thick dark brown/tan head.

Smells of roasted malt, dark bittersweet chocolate, coffee. A slight prune/fig aroma.

Tastes very big and roasty. Again, lots of dark bitter chocolate, coffee. The alcohol is very apparent, but not too overpowering. A fairly bitter aftertaste, but not negatively so.

Very thick and smooth, with some stickiness. Slight warming sensation from the alcohol. Almost a little grittiness, like there some real substance to it.

This one is a sipper if you ask me, but very easy to drink.

I'm happy SA decided to put out an Imperial Stout and I'm very pleased.

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Photo of Mdog
4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Opaque black, big brown head and good lacing.

Smell: Sweetened dark chocolate.

Taste: I'm really impressed with this. Very creamy dark chocolate and some nice sweetness. A little bit of bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel: The creaminess almost reminds me of a chocolate milkshake.

Drinkability: Pretty good value for the taste.

I was really impressed by this big stout from Sam Adams. I do like their Cream Stout, this takes it to another level of creaminess and thickness. I am definitely going to get more of this beer.

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Photo of adamette
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

**Note: My bottle indicates that it is 9.2%ABV**

Live review. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Cooperstown Beverage Trail pint glass. No freshness date as the label suggests to "enjoy this beer now or age it to develop rich and unique flavors." Purchased a few weeks ago at Wines of Bainbridge, Ohio for $9.99 for a four pack of bottles.

A Actually dark brown head which is just a tad lighter than the midnight black body through which no light passes. Great, imposing look.

S The darkest of the dark roast malt with hints of anise and dark chocolate. I believe that I can also smell the alcohol.

T The smooth creaminess actually hit me first followed quickly by an avalanche of deep dark roasted malt, barley but then some nice smooth chocolate and even an espresso. I certainly do get a bite of alcohol in the mid to late taste as well.

M A pleasant smoothness along with the absolute hugeness of this beer with bodacious tastes mentioned above and even a burn of alcohol. This is one of the biggest beers that I have tasted. It is like a meal.

D One only for me but I think that this is intended, a night cap of sorts. It is average for the style IMO.

Notes: Really great Imp. Stout and it makes me want to seek out and try the rest of the Imperial line.

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Photo of beer2day
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark with a slight ochre hue. Thick 1-finger head.

Big nose on this one. Some chocolate, some roasted malt, a tad of oatmeal, and a whiff of berries and a suggestion of the alcohol content as well.

Nice and chewy as it hits the tongue. Appropriately thick. Roasted malt dominates for me, with some faint chocolate there as well. A tad bit of sweetness checking in at the finish (those berries again).

A very nice impy stout.

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

12 oz. bottle. 9.2% abv.

Inky dark brown with a formidable, tall, dark cardboard head. Great lacing. Classic double stout nose of charred malts, roasted coffee, licorice, chocolate, and dark fruity alcohol. Roasted malts and coffee bitterness up front. Dark chocolate, scorched fruits, and caramel sweetness mid-palate. Strong hop bitterness in the finish, along with a warming alcohol bite. Pretty good. Full-bodied, with smooth feel. A nice addition to the Samuel Adams' line up.

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Photo of opwog
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Now listening to: Bon Iver - Creature Fear

NOTE: BA has this listed as an American Double/Imperial Stout, but even their label states that this is based on the traditional Russian Imperial Stout.

12oz bottle into pint glass

A - Almost black in color with strong tan/light brown head. Obviously think from the pour.
S - roasty, almost burnt malt and cocoa. Yet still kind of a mild smell.
T - Roasty, smokey, figgy
M - Surprisingly, this didn't feel as thick as it appeared when poured. I have had thicker imperial porters (Gonzo comes to mind) than this RIS.
D - For an RIS, this was far more drinkable than most, but I am getting use to my RIS' being much heavier, ala Stone's.

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

A - nice pour out of the bottle with a .5 finger head.

S - roasted malts with a lot of chocolate

T - starts off with chocolate, which is quickly followed by a lot of roasted malt.

M - smooth but thin

D - This was a pretty good RIS, good but not great. It is definitely on the chocolate side, which is not a bad thing.

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

A: Sluggish pour, thick brown espresso-like head, some serious viscosity to this beer - 4.50, S: Aromas are evident from a couple of feet away, lots of roasted chocolate malts, reminds me of powdered chocolate milk mix, some sweetness that suggests carob and dates - 4.00, T: High alcohol is evident, nice hop bite, lots of caramelized molasses and roasted grains, some burnt flavors also come through on the palate - 3.75, M: A touch on the side of being gritty - 4.00, D: A nice sipping beer made for a cold winter evening - 4.00

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

appearance - Pour a dark brown color that looks more like black. The last drop was more like a syrup. The head stood about 2 inches in a dark brown color. The beer left some nice lace on the glass.

smell - Coco, roasted malt, nuts, and smoky smell. Hint of alcohol as it goes down.

taste - Mostly a smoky roasted malt taste here and goes down like syrup.

mouthfeel - Medium/Full body.

drinkability - Pretty good I have had better on Imperial Stouts, seemed syrupy, oily when it went down. Worth a try.

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Photo of Magpie14
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On a recommendation from a gentlemen at the Belmont Station

A: whoa! murky black and brown colors, very viscous in the pour. Head is deep frothy mahogany hue with a handful of soap bubbles in the very middle. Layers of filmy brown sugar lace wipe the inside of the glass. This has got me excited, shaping up real nice

S: heavily roasted malts with dark charred whiffs. Roasted smells also pull at coffee, dark chocolates, molasses, and subtle woody earth. Maybe some dark skinned fruits as well: currants and figs

T: complex rich dark flavors. Heavily blackened malts bursting with roasted 'n' smoked goodness. Soft chalky fruit flavors make a stand after the swallow and remind me of currants, prunes, figs, and maybe some spiced cherries. I might venture to say that the dark fruits are paired with some piney hops. In any event, this helps with knocking some of the roasted flavors down from the top of the ladder. Java flavors are light and house a delicate roasted nutty cinnamon flavor with bitter chocolate/bakers chocolate. During this great flavor exploration, I find that this beer holds a faint earthiness astringency throughout

M: very close to chewing this brew, very creamy. Has enough carbonation to make a slight "zing" on the tongue, otherwise very soft. Also, alcohol is not that big of a factor for what it holds, maybe it is getting a little hot as it warms

D: great sipper and a unique tasting brew. A good Imperial Stout

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

A- Black. Light brown head of very finely packed bubbles, great staying power at first, then starts to dwindle after a couple minutes.

S- Roasted character comes through nicely, but not over the top. Caramel and molasses.

T- like the smell the roastiness is there but subdued so that a ton of coffee flavor or bitterness does not come out. The taste is smoother dark malts with some similarities to what you would find in a belgian dark ale, but of course this beer is still definitely in the imperial stout category. The sip starts of quite sweet too but that is washed away with the roastiness, with a lingering low level of bitterness left after the sip. Bitterness starts to really not become detectable as you make your way through the glass.

M- silky smooth, dense, very fine carbonation- but it's there in good quantity.

D- solid brew. The lack of bitterness as you keep drinking it is kinda awkward and reduces the drinkability.

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Photo of rwrk42
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a nice tan head with some cling to the glass
Smell: Roasted malts, coffee and faint spices
Taste: Coffee, chocolate, roasted malts. Finished with bit of spice from the anise and a little bit of a alcohol taste
Over a decent imperial stout. Not my favorite but not a bad Stout for the price

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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 Halcyondays
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours black, with a small mocha coffee coloured head, good lacing.

S: Anise, major blackstrap molasses, cherry, licorice.

T: Sweet dark fruit initially, black currant jelly, fig juice, raisin and dark chocolate. Bitter roast on the finish.

M: Medium/full body, thick, moderate carbonation, viscous and warming as a good RIS should be.

D: A real nice Imperial Stout, the flavours are akin to an Abyss, but at a much cheaper price tag. One of my favourite new stouts.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a single of this to give it a try.
Pours a very dark brown, near black with a very nice inch of brown, mocha colored head forming on top. The head sticks around for the entire duration of the glass. Smell is big roasted malts, some molasses, some coffee and just a hint of dark fruit and alcohol.
The taste is even better than the smell. This is a very well done imperial stout. All the flavors meld well together. The roasted malts and molasses/coffee flavors really work. This is very creamy and velvety smooth to drink. This is a very well done imperial stout that I'll definitely pick more up of if I come across.

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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 theopholis
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Holy crap, this stuff is freaking black. Blacker than Pete Rose's heart. Not even highlights around the edges when held up to a 100 watt bulb. Small, dark brown head that fades quickly.

Smell- Mostly chocolate, coffee, a hint of dark fruits and alcohol.

Taste- Very creamy (I know that's mouthfeel, but that was the 1st thought that jumped into my mind.) Nice, slightly bitter chocolate with an undertone of malt sweetness. Very nice coffee roastiness. Just the tiniest hint of some dark fruits. Not quite as potent as I'd expect from an Imperial Stout.

Mouthfeel- Rich and creamy. Good CO2 level (on the low side, which seems right). Nice and sticky, so you get a nice aftertaste.

Drinkability- Well done!

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Photo of PSUBeerman
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle; tulip glass

Pours in thick and black with a 1 finger head. The head was an oily tan color, a little frothy. It left a slight head throughout.

Has a decent aroma with chocolate tones, malt and some licorice.

The flavor is definitely rich, perhaps too strong. Most pronounced was dark chocolate and coffee. There was some bitterness. I can only describe some after taste as being metallic. The alcohol is rather noticeable as well.

It was a little syrupy with sufficient carbonation. I could not drink more than one of these at a time.

Overall, not bad. I definitely had better RIS.

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

Presentation: 12 oz longneck, purple and black label. Date code is cryptic.

Appearance: Pours completely black and oily, with a thick dark colored head.

Smell: Rather subdued - there is a bit of coffee and some dark chocolate, but both are faint.

Taste: Lots of alcohol up front, there is some roasted flavor that comes on after that.

Overall impression: This one is a little too hot for my tastes, all alcohol and not too many flavors.

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

A: Pours thick and black, with a minimal, milk chocolate colored head. This dissipates quickly, and leaves no lacing.

S: Smells of black coffee with a hint of dark chocolate.

T: Tasted of black coffee and bittersweet chocolate. High alcohol content for a Sam Adams beer is masked well. A little bit of a bitter aftertaste.

M: Thick and smooth.

D: Tastes great to me. I think I have a new favorite Sam Adams brand beer.

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Photo of morimech
3.57/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark black color with a small tan head that quickly fades away. Just a little spotty lacing is left on the glass. I smell roasted malt and alcohol. Has a burnt malt flavor. Mildly smokey with anise and tobacco hints. A little too burnt for my taste. Finishes with fusel alcohol flavor. Has a nice thick, creamy texture. But with the burnt, smokey flavor, it leaves a feeling in my mouth like I just smoked a cigar. It is a big, bold stout. Just not one that suits my tastes.

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Photo of hdofu
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Tastes strong of alcohol and anise. Also there is a taste of chocolate. reminds me a bot of dogfish's chicory stout only without chicory and alot of anise. HAs a bit of an alcohol burn with it Not unpleasant tasting and goes incredibly well with a few pieces of dark chocolate. Certainly one of Sam's better offerings.

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

12oz bottle poured into a goblet.

A: Black. Decent sized head that fades in a hurry.

S: Chocolate, molasses, dark fruits, coffee, and alcohol.

T: Sweetness from chocolate, molasses, and licorice flavors. Balanced out by coffee roastiness. Hardly any hint of hops. Some points off for the alcohol burn, which shouldn't really be an issue in a RIS barely over 9% ABV.

M: Thick enough. No complaints.

D: Very nicely done. There's nothing new here for a seasoned imperial stout drinker, but for someone new to the style, it's a good introduction without being too overwhelming. Thumbs up, Boston Beer Company!

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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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