Review - Boston Beer Company's Sam Adams Imperial White
"Samuel Adams Imperial White is a new perspective on the classic witbier style. Witbiers are normally light and refreshing with a fruity finish and we wanted to see how these characteristics would stand up when we amped up the recipe. The result? We were totally blown away by the flavors that were created by this beer. This is not just a more intense version of our spring seasonal Samuel Adams White Ale. Imperial White is a new recipe that stands on it own merits. At 10.3% alcohol by volume, it really is more of a wine substitute than just another refreshing witbier.
This is a beer that should be sipped and savored and you’ll be amazed at the flavors you’ll discover as the beer warms and opens up." -- Sam Adams Brewing
Pours a dark golden color with a small white fizzy head and some bubbly lacing. Settled, it has the color of raw honey, the head has completely disappeared, and there is very little activity in the bottle. Clarity is moderate with a slight haze. The nose initially detects a dominant presence of cloves with a hint of banana. The cloves and spices dominate the aroma, leaving the malts a little difficult to detect. The detectable malts were rather sweet and sugary - like caramel and honey. Initial taste is dominated with a licorice flavor that immediately reminded me of Licorice Allsorts, a British candy. The finish flavor has a hint of coconut and some alcohol taste that provides a wonderful combination (Malibu Rum anyone?) With a moderately thick body, the Imperial White not only coats your mouth - it also coats your throat on the way down. The carbonation levels were rather light and not too fizzy. The alcohol presence is warming and dominant - BOOM goes the alcohol. Our palates are left very slick with an oily presence coating our entire mouth -- for a long time.
This is a beer to be enjoyed...in moderation. The four-pack should last you at least three days, figuring by the third day your tolerance should be built up enough to drink two of these. The finish flavor is delicious and leaves a great impression behind, and the mouthfeel is very enjoyable.
Reviewed on August 20th, 2009.