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Imperial stouts were originally brewed with a high alcoholic strength to better survive being shipped from England to the Baltic (similar to port). They are by a strong 'burnt currant' flavor and often have the taste of the dark roasted grains that are used in their brewing. One of the BJCP categories.

Commercial examples:

  • Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout - (My personal favorite)
  • John Courage Russian Imperial Stout

I have read from several other sources that Imperial Stout (also called Russian Imperial Stout) gets its name from the popularity of this style of beer with the Czarist nobility of Russia during the 19th century - hence the desire to ship it to the Baltic, as alluded to above.

Many breweries, of various sizes and locations, produce this stuff today. A few of the brands I have encountered include:

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