Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Night Suds - Samuel Adams Imperial White Ale

This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Samuel Adams Imperial White Ale.

As you can see from the picture above, the Imperial White is part of the Samuel Adams Imperial Series which includes Double Bock, Imperial Stout and Imperial White. These beers are known by their premium price ($10 for a four pack) and elevated alcohol content (the Imperial White is above 10% abv).

Although some people are aware of the alcohol content of the products they consume, very few people know how abv is calculated. As explained by the folks at Beer Advocate:

Alcohol by volume (ABV) simply represents what portion of the total volume of liquid is alcohol. Our liquid of choice is, of course, beer. And to determine the ABV of a beer, a brewer typically uses what's called a hydrometer, which is an instrument that aids in measuring the density of liquid in relation to water (it essentially free-floats in a cylinder or liquid). The hydrometer will be calibrated to read 1.000 in water (at 60°F), and the denser the liquid (example: add sugar to the liquid), the higher the hydrometer reading.

Okay, so how does this relate to beer? Well, before yeast cells are introduced to ferment beer, the liquid is called "wort (pronounced wert)," and it's full of all kinds of sugars that were previously extracted from the grain. A brewer will take a hydrometer measurement of the wort (at 60°F) to determine what's called the original gravity (OG). Then yeast is pitched into the wort, and fermentation begins. As the yeast cells eat the sugar in the wort, they create two wonderful by-products: carbonation (CO2) and alcohol. And once the brewer has determined that our hungry yeast have had enough (could be days, weeks or months), s/he'll go ahead and pull another hydrometer reading (at 60°F) and record what's called the final gravity (FG).

Calculating the ABV - Say our brewer crafted a high-alcohol beer. The OG measured at 1.080, and the beer stopped fermentation with a FG measurement of 1.011. Simply subtract the FG from the OG and multiply by 131. 1.080 - 1.011 = 0.069 x 131 = 9.039%

The Samuel Adams Imperial White is not a beer that can be consumed quickly. It has some of the characteristic spice notes of a wheat beer, but the brew is much heavier. My first impression of the beer was that it had the color and consistency of apple juice. My second thought was that no apple juice had the alcohol flavor of this beer.

I consumed this beer as a palate cleanser with my shabbos lunch. (OK, for those with a background, I had it between the fish and the main course). On its own, the beer was quite good. I then made the mistake of trying it with various salads and cholent (a beef, barley and potato stew) and the combination just did not work.

Samuel Adams Imperial White is under the Kosher Supervision of the Star-K. However, this is yet another Samuel Adams brew which does not have the certification mark on the label. If you would like to verify that the Imperial White is on the LOC issued by the Star-K, please click here

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about the Imperial White, please follow this link - .

As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver.

Finally, if you've tried this beer or any others which have been reviewed on the kosher beers site, please feel free to post your comments (anonymous comments are acceptable).

If you have seen this post being carried on another site such as JBlog, please feel free to click here to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

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