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Samuel Adams Imperial Series

April 6th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | Filed under Brewer: Boston Beer Company, Country: America, Grade: A-, Grade: B plus, Grade: B regular, Style: Belgian White, Style: Bock, Style: Stout.

Within the last month, Sam Adams released a new series of imperial brews in order to “offer beer lovers’ an intense version of some of their favorite traditional beer styles by boosting the ingredients and testing the limits of each traditional style” said the press release robot employed by the brewery.*

I was excited to try all of these as I can’t help but love Sam.  Sure, they aren’t the most adventurous beermakers in the world–save the brilliant Utopias–but they always make quality stuff and you have to admire the heights they’ve attained in the world of beer while not making watery swill.

Double Bock

9.5% ABV

I don’t particularly love most bocks, but this was a pretty good effort.  Incredibly malty, the bottle actually claims you could make a loaf of bread with it.  I believe that!  So rich, I honestly struggled to finish the bottle and liked it less and less the more I drank it I was so overwhelmed.  Though the initial flavor is admittedly pretty solid.  Robust and syrupy tastes of malts, caramel, and spices.  Worth trying, though I’d recommend splitting a bottle.

B

Imperial Stout

9.5% ABV

Inexplicably, Sam had never had a major release stout before this.  Odd for one of the most common and desired style.  Thus, I was excited to see what they could accomplish with this release.  I found it very boozy and harsh tasting for the not-to-so-high(-for-an-impy-stout-at-least) ABV.  Still, not bad.  High level of roasted coffee notes and malted chocolate but not much else going on.  It actually reminded me of a less polished version of Founders Breakfast Stout with a mouthfeel and a drinkability like a Guinness Extra Stout.  This would be a splendid “starter” imperial stout to give to a friend you are trying to get into craft beer. A worthy effort fo’ sho’.

B+

Imperial White

10.3% ABV

What a shocker!  I was least interested in trying this one of the three.  I mean, what do you think of when you hear American white beer?  You probably think nothing.  Flavorlessness.  The bland faux-micro macro Blue Moon.  Again, nothingness.  No flavor, just nothing.  Imperializing a white seems like an oxymoron.  How can something so bland be made “bigger” and “bolder”?!   Ultimately, what I’m saying is that I hate whites and much like two times zero still equal zero, I figured two “times” white would still equal shit.  It’s like imperializing tap water.  I saw no way this would be good.   Boy was I wrong.  This was incredibly flavorful, complex, interesting, and potent.  Tons of orange with strong coriander notes.  A hyooooge mouthfeel and body.  And the ABV!  Wow.  I will definitely get this again, and, actually, I kinda want one now. Truly one of the bigger beer surprises of the year.  I don’t even feel foolish saying this is one of a kind.  Beer Advocate actually may now have to create an “imperial white” style category.

A-

*He cost $2.5M to design but his brilliant and totally human-sounding statements meant to inspire customer loyalty and create a new fan base has paid off ten-fold!

6 Responses to “Samuel Adams Imperial Series”

  1. nick | 04/6/09

    i was totally amazed by the imperial white as well, and i’ve tried it for the 2nd time and still great. for some reason i think bubble gum when i drink it to, it has a slight sweet/candy after taste.

  2. Aaron Goldfarb | 04/7/09

    Nick: Was it not a shocker for you too? Wow. I feel we found an unexpected treasure.

  3. Dirtyspeed | 04/7/09

    I heard the same thing from my liquor store guy. I kick myself for not getting it now. Of course, now I will.

  4. nick | 04/10/09

    really was a shocker, i mean i’ll drink a sam as my default macrobrew anyday, but besides the utopia, and the triple bock i don’t think i’ve had a sam with high ABV, and then when i saw this imperial series it looks as though i did the same thing you did, got all 3 with a hesistant curiousity. and now a few weeks later, i bought another 4 pack and im sharing it with my brother watching some baseball on a lazy friday…

  5. Aaron Goldfarb | 04/11/09

    Nick, totally agree with your Sam thoughts. And, as we discussed back when, their Imperial Pilsner is worth trying to.

    http://theviceblog.com/2009/01/05/samuel-adams-hallertau-imperial-pilsner/

    I’m also curious about their newest Longshot releases.

    http://beernews.org/2009/04/samuel-adams-longshot-beers-are-here/#more-4869

  6. Tom | 04/24/09

    Hey me too. A few weeks back someone was shouting out the contents of the fridge “Corona, Heineken, Sam Adams…” I said I’d take the sam & they handed me imperial white. How it ended up in that fridge I’ll never know. Was like a 747 emergency landed at a cessna airport.

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