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Beer in History: Imperial Stout


A Beer in History: Thank the Czar for Russian Imperial Stout!


It’s cold and windy outside, which means the time for drinking Imperial Stouts is upon us.



In the late 1700s Russia was ruled by a female Czar, Catherine the Great, who not only managed to rule an empire but knew how to enjoy a good brew. The story goes that on a diplomatic trip to England she first encountered the stout beer style and decided she would be bringing stout home to Russia with her. Of course, at this time, she wasn’t privy to such innovations as West Side’s refrigerated beer trucks so securing the beer’s safe passage across the Baltic Sea without its spoilage became an issue. The brewers, when faced with such a dilemma, did what brewers do best; they played around with the beer and got a bit creative until the final result was a stout with a high alcohol content that could withstand the journey.


The beer, which typically clocks in at over 10% ABV, showcases a strong and bitter pour with warming sensations from the alcohol, dark fruit and chocolate flavors. This combination made it popular beyond just Catherine the Great’s personal tastes and soon many breweries were brewing and shipping the brew across the Baltic and beyond. It remains a favorite drink, especially during the bitter cold of winter, for many beer drinkers out there. Here are a few of our brands’ own unique takes on the Russian Imperial Stout style.


Arcadia Ales Imperial Stout 9.5% 82 IBU 

Pours Black with a molasses and roasted malt aroma. Prunes, bittersweet chocolate are balanced with a heavy dose of hops. This stout is the proud winner of the Gold Medal for Bottle Conditioned Ale at the 2002 Real Ale Festival.


Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout 10% 51 IBU 

Imperial Stout that uses three mashes to create a luscious, dark chocolate flavor. Multiple award-winner, including gold medal for the 2011 World Beer Championships.


Perrin Brewing Imperial Stout 8.5% 35 IBU

Coffee, molasses and chocolate flavors combine for a rich black beer that is topped off with a creamy toffee head.


Right Brain Brewing Fat Lat Imperial Stout 9.2% 90 IBU

Brew with a massive body and robust roasty character with a sweet finish, yet not overpowering. 


Stone Brewing Imperial Russian Stout 10.5% 65 IBU 

Intensely aromatic and heavy on the palate, this version of the traditional Russian Stout pours black and heavy.

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