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Beer Review #188 Samuel Adams Imperial White

The Samuel Adams Imperial Series made a big splash when it came out a few years ago, but since then, I haven’t heard much about it. They recently redesigned the packaging and my local go-to beer store finally started carrying the new stuff. Boston Beer Company makes four beers in the series, all of which will be reviewed on this site in time (they are sitting in the fridge). Of the four beers in the series, I thought that the Imperial White would be the most interesting, since it seems to me to be a total conflict of the style.

This beer comes in at a solid 10% ABV and pours much like olive oil; thick and smooth. It hits the glass a nice burnt orange color and has a fair about of haze to it. There is a generous white head that didn’t seem to be significantly cut down by the high alcohol. Some heat immediately comes to the nose followed by some slight caramel sweetness. I also noticed a good helping of oranges with a slight citrus note. Finally there was some coriander, but not as much as I was expecting from this one.

Citrus and orange dominate the front of the beer with the coriander bringing up the rear. The middle was a bit empty. There is plenty of heat all the way through the ale. While this one looked thick on the pour, it doesn’t sit as heavy in the mouth thanks to plenty of carbonation. The overall taste really wasn’t bad, but the unrelenting heat was just too much for me to enjoy this beer fully. I understand this is an imperial beer, but that doesn’t mean that alcohol should be a dominate flavor. If you haven’t tried this one yet and you want to try something different, you might want to look at this beer. (more…)

Beer Review #69 Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale

I recently was in the beer store (OK so I go every week) but I saw Sam Adam’s fall seasonal beer pack. I love variety cases and I saw a new beer in there that I have never had before; Harvest Pumpkin Ale. I had no idea that Sam, a.k.a. Boston Beer Company produced a pumpkin beer. I know pumpkin beers are hot right now, but Sam making one kind of shows how far they have come in such a short time.

Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale pours an amber color with a slightly off white head. It is crystal clear if that matters to you. The nose is slightly sweet with some grassy malt in there. The typical pumpkin pie spices can also be sampled. What I really found interesting about the nose was that there were some roasty notes. Generally pumpkin beers get dominated by a sweet malt and spice smell. It was a nice change to have some roasted malt in there. It reminded me of the smell of the pumpkin that I roasted last year.

You almost should know what to expect with an amber/orange pumpkin beer and Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale delivers on those promises. You have the malty upfront with the spicy finish. A wonderful aftertaste is quick to follow. The roast in the nose also followed through the beer and into the aftertaste. It was a nice addition to the normal flavors and helped balance out the spices.

I think this is a pretty solid pumpkin beer. The spices are not heavy handed like some pumpkin beers out there so I think this beer is much more approachable than other. Sam Adams is great at taking a style of beer and making it appealing to a mass market. This beer comes in at a solid 5.7% ABV and they use real pumpkins in the brewing process. The pumpkin is used in the mashing process and the spices are actually added in the keg or just before the bottling line depending on your serving type. It is a nice fresh tasting beer that I think is a real winner. There are more aggressive pumpkin beers out there and some with a lot more flavor, but Harvest Pumpkin Ale does a good job of balancing delicate flavors. (more…)