Well, that’s not fair. Here I am, a longtime fan of Samuel Adams beers (since there were Samuel Adams beers in fact), and I can’t buy the new Samuel Adams Rebel Raw here in Georgia. It’s true! A quick trip the brewery website shows a list of states where the beer is sold as of 11/14/16:
I don’t see Georgia on that list, do you? I didn’t think so. Indeed, even the very New England state of Rhode Island, where I grew up drinking Sam Adams beers, is not on the list. If I still lived there, I’d be mad Michigan and New Jersey get the beer and Rhode Island doesn’t.
Luckily, though, my good buddy and Samuel Adams brother from another mother Scott White lives in Ohio, and was kind enough to get me a can of Rebel Raw. So, here I am to tell you about it, but first let me let Boston Beer tell you a little about it, from the can label:
Hoppiness is happiness. If you don’t like big hop bitterness, this beer isn’t for you. It’s unfiltered so there is all sorts of hoppy goodness in every can-but that also means it’s a little cloudy. The recipe is “raw” because it’s evolving. Turn over the can and make sure it’s brewery fresh. Drink it now! We recklessly shoved hops in here so that you can enjoy a fresh blast of hops from every sip.
Samuel Adams Rebel Raw is a double/imperial IPA, but it’s not the first from Boston Beer. It’s not even the first example of the style in the Rebel line of beers; that distinction goes to Samuel Adams Rebel Rouser. Other Boston Beer DIPA/Imperial IPAs have been Third Voyage Double IPA and a couple under the Longshot brand, Samuel Adams Longshot Magnificent Seven and my favorite, Samuel Adams Longshot Double IPA.
Why another Rebel DIPA then? Samuel Adams Rebel Raw is a hazy, unfiltered “New England” style Imperial IPA ala Heady Topper. Indeed, it seems to me that the limited distribution is a deliberate attempt to promote the beer with scarcity, just as happened with Heady Topper. Everybody wants it, not everybody can get it, so everybody wants it.
Boston Beer exhorts you to drink it fresh, KEEP COLD. DRINK NOW say large letters on the can rim. I’m pretty sure a massive beer like this one can stand a bit of age. One day I’ll age one just to see. That day, however, is not today.
Ingredients from the website:
HOP VARIETIES: Polaris, Galaxy, Amarillo, Zeus, Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe
MALT VARIETIES: Samuel Adams two-row pale malt blend
Samuel Adams Rebel Raw has an alcohol content of 10% by volume with 100 IBUs. It goes for $10.99 a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans at Total Wine in Kentucky, a price I would gladly pay to get it. My can is stamped as best by 12/12/2016, and I drank it on November 25th, the day I got it. Thanks again Scott!
Samuel Adams Rebel Raw pours to a hazy orange amber color with a thick creamy head and a massive resin bomb nose. Taking a sip, the beer isn’t as big malty as I anticipated though it’s not thin malty either, but the hops are the real show and they are truly massive with a huge resiny pine character (and coconut? Yes, coconut!). There’s a massive pine tar resiny aroma and flavor, equally massive citrus grapefruit rind and a very long, very dry bitterness that lingers and lingers after sipping. Did I say bitter? This one is bitter folks.
All in all, this is how I like my Imperial IPAs to display their hops, classically grapefruit resiny and big and bold. Samuel Adams Rebel Raw is a truly fantastic beer, and proof once again Boston Beer can brew with the best of them. It’s a beer you should not pass on. I know I wouldn’t.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.