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.
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.
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’.
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.
*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!