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.
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