The Beer Nut: The Czar of Beers

Written by Norman Miller for and GateHouse News Service

Russian imperial stouts draw big crowds.

Breweries around the country — Portsmouth Brewery in New Hampshire, Three Floyds in Indiana and the Bruery in California, among them — hold special events when interpretations of the style are sold just that one day a year. These events draw hundreds, sometimes thousands, who just want a chance to get a taste and a bottle of these beers.

Russian imperial stouts are big beers — they’re not easy drinking, light beers. They’re robust, flavorful and strong — you’d be hard-pressed to find an imperial stout under 8 percent alcohol by volume, with many well above 10 percent ABV.

What are the origins of the Russian imperial stout style? The following is a conglomeration of several histories of the style found on numerous websites, combined with information I have gleaned from several sources over the years.

Although “Russia” is in the name, Russian imperial stouts were created in England in the 1700s. Porters were popular in those days but somehow the Russian court discovered this beer.

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