Imperial stouts date to 18th century Russia when it was brewed for the emperors there. Our version is no less fit for a czar, as we took our original stout recipe and boiled it for six hours, evaporating more than 100 gallons of liquid to condense the flavors and thicken the beer. We then added a silly amount of Peruvian cocoa nibs, because when it comes to chocolate, we believe you can never have enough.
Dark and luscious chocolate, coffee.
2-row pale malt, Munich, Special B, roasted barley, Carafa II, pale chocolate, dark chocolate, flaked oats, malto-dextrine, dextrose.
Roasted maltiness, with notes of coffee and dark chocolate are strong on the nose. An intense, complex, and rich flavor graces the tongue, with malt tones and notes of chocolate, coffee, and dark grains. It has a noticeable alcohol warmth with a sweet finish.
Imperial stout gained its title in the late 18th century as a drink originally brewed by Thrale’s Anchor Brewery in London for the Russian imperial court of Czarina Catherine the Great. In 1781, Robert Barclay and John Perkins bought Thrale’s Anchor Brewery, and it was Barclay Perkins’ Russian imperial stout that became the classic example of the style.
Soon, other London brewers became famous for this powerful beer, including Reid of the Griffin Brewery, which offered nothing but stout and porter until 1877, including the XX Imperial, the strongest imperial stout at the time. Russian desire for this beer fueled the British export market.
However, by World War I, most British brewers abandoned the Russian market, and it wasn’t long until Barclay Perkins was the only British brewery left making imperial stouts. With the disruptions of two world wars, Barclay Perkins switch its focus from Russian exports to supplying English pubs with a warming winter stout matured in bottles for at least one year at the brewery. Barclay Perkins eventually extended the maturation; in 1953, it offered an imperial stout with a 1949 vintage.
In the early 1980s, British beer-maker Samuel Smith brewed an imperial stout for export to the United States, which helped inspire American interest in the style. Today, imperial stout is among the most popular strong beer styles among American craft brewers, and the United States now produces more of it than any other country. Imperial stouts tend to be perfect beers to enjoy in front of a winter fire, and they make fine accompaniments to cheeses and desserts. Good examples, if kept well, can age and improve in the bottle for decades.
Beef stew, beef or lamb steaks, crisp bacon, portobello mushrooms, Gorgonzola cheese, and tiramisu are all excellent pairing choices.
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