Friday, August 28, 2009

Samuel Adams Imperial White

On a recent trip up to the Thousand Islands with my girlfriend, we stopped at a Wegman's near Syracuse (the same store where I picked up a Cascazilla last year). I picked up a four-pack of the second beer from Sam Adams' Imperial Series to be reviewed here. I love that Sam, considered one of the more mainstream brewing companies, is dabbling into imperial brews. They always seem to be ahead of the curve compared to the other big brewers, which is a great testament to Jim Koch and Bob Cannon, head of the R&D department at the brewery.

Appearance: A dark golden copper color with half a finger of head that doesn't stick around long, a little hazy with a moderate amount of carbonation rising from the bottom.

Smell: Starts with a strong fruity apricot and orange smell, a little hint of spice and a tiny bit of banana, overall a good scent.

Taste: It's almost a reversal of the smell as the spiciness really takes the forefront and overpowers any of the fruity flavors, which don't emerge until the final moments of the sip and in the aftertaste, citrus flavors on the finish to try and balance out the huge alcoholic bite.

Mouthfeel: Definitely a full-bodied witbier that begins creamy but ends with a dry coating and the alcoholic bite I mentioned earlier, smooth and not too heavy.

Drinkability: I think the goal of Jim & Co. was to go for a big, bold witbier, with bold being the key word. To me, it seems like they took your generic wheat ale, said damn the torpedos, full fruit/spice/alcohol ahead, and waited to see what they got. Each ingredient made its presence felt, but there was no subtlety, no chemistry and balance between them. On top of this, you definitely know you are drinking a 10.3% abv brew, making it a chore/deathwish if you want to polish off a four pack in an evening. Overall, a noble attempt by our friends in Beantown, but not one of my favorites from the imperial series, let alone from their entire offering. 7/10

Serving type: Bottle
Glass type: Witbier glass

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