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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sam Adams Imperial Pilsner - review

"Mild but hoppy bitter."

That's an actual review of Boston Beer Company's 2007 Imperial Pilsner from an on-line beer review site. I have no idea what was meant.

So I'll offer my own impressions.

This is a lager with a wallop. Over 8% abv. The literature claims in excess of 100-ish bitterness units. I think the numbers become somewhat meaningless as a beer approaches 100 IBUs. It's bitter, get it?

The hops being Hallertau Mittelfrueh, a noble low-alpha variety, the character is not so much the grapefruit of US hops, but spicy, floral, woodsy. Once you reach this level of hopping - and Jim Koch says over 12 pounds per barrel (!) - there's an overweening element of tannic soapiness in the beer.

So ... it's bitter and spicy with some malt sweetness caught in there somewhere, and it delivers an alcoholic wallop. The head retention is phenomenal. Light orange-hue. There's a bit of a haze but why filter out all that flavor? I like the classic look of the label and packaging.

Let no hop head now say Boston Beer Company can't brew a beer with a lot of hops.

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