Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Boston Globe Article on Russian Imperial Stouts
No matter how cold and snowy it is around here in February, it's a sure bet that it's colder and snowier in St. Petersburg. The Russian winter has been known to defeat armies. So it would take an awfully strong beer to withstand that landscape. That's what brewers in England figured in the late 1700s when they were formulating a recipe to export to the Baltic. The brew had to be rich and warming and strong enough to compete with the heat of Russian vodka.
The Brits called their creation imperial stout. With a deep brown, almost black color, a complex taste full of roasty, smoky, and dried fruit notes, and alcohol by volume ranging from around 7.5 to 12 percent, it's enough to make a Cossack dance.
Many American brewers have their own interpretations of the style, variously called imperial stout, imperial Russian stout, or Russian imperial stout.