For those of you who aren't afraid of the dark, here is an interesting Imperial Stout that we brought to a party this weekend. It was a Wii (Wee?) St. Patrick's Day party at a friend's house that promised supplies of Guinness Stout and Smithwick's. (DW has posted about it here.) There were good friends, good food and Nintendo Wii which was played by all.
I figured that there would be some stout lovers at the party so I brought this bottle along to share as a tasting.
Imperial Stouts or Russian Imperial Stouts were brewed in London for consumption in the court of Catherine the Great. They have a high alcohol content - typically about 9-10% ABV. The high alcohol content was to keep it from freezing in shipping and to maintain the quality of the brew in the same way that India Pale Ales have large amounts of hops to hold their flavor in shipping.
It wasn't the brew that I was originally looking to bring, but this is what I took:
This was a strongly flavored and relatively highly carbonated, strong ale with coffee and chocolate flavors and a slight bitter tinge to it. It was delicious, but definitely something that I wouldn't want to drink a whole bottle of by myself. I'm pretty sure that it would both age and keep very well if cellared nicely. I think that if you wanted to drink it in small portions over several days, it would keep with a good stopper.
The label was fun too!