About Imperial Stout

About Imperial Stout
Imperial stouts are dense, opaque black in color and strong in alcohol, typically ranging from 6.5-12%. These beers usually have a note of sweetness and contain burnt cocoa and dried fruit flavors. They are stronger versions of the original stout style and were first brewed by the British to withstand the rigors of export to Russia and the Baltic states. The style was nearly extinct until its revival by the British brewer Samuel Smiths in the early 1980s. In recent years, imperial stouts have been embraced by US craft brewers and are quickly becoming staples of many brewers’ growing seasonal portfolios. Noteworthy examples of this style include: Rogue Imperial Stout, Thirsty Dog Siberian Night, Deschutes The Abyss and Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout.

Top Picks for Imperial Stout

Lift Bridge Beer Company Silhouette Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
98 points
Rich mahogany color. Aromas of chocolate-covered cherry cordials, walnut confection, cocoa powder, artisan cola, well-aged bourbon, and soy sauce with an oily, vibrant, spritzy, fruity full body and a peppery, delightful, very long smoked toffee, charred nuts, mocha creme cookies, and vanilla truffles finish. A viscous, voluptuous monster of an Imperial stout that conjures memories of Italian Amaro and the finest chocolates.
Lift Bridge Beer Company Silhouette Imperial Stout 2019
94 points
Dark brown color. Aromas and flavors of carob, stewed prunes, roasted pecans, dried cherries in dark chocolate, and toasted fruitcake with a round, vibrant, petillant, dry-yet-fruity full body and a warming, involved, long finish with shades of candied ginger and peppercorns finish. A mature Imperial stout with dark caverns of flavor to explore; boozy, brawny, and worth it.
North Coast Brewing Co. Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
94 points
Ebony color. Hoppy aromas of toasted rice, tangerine, herb butter, and dried mango with a round, vibrant, effervescent, fruity full body and a warming, elegant, long cocoa powder, roasted cherry, whipped cream, lemon pepper, dried fruit, and curry finish. A craveable hoppy Imperial stout that is superbly balanced.
Cervecería Kross Russian Imperial Stout
93 points
Opaque ebony brown color. Meaty, smoky, savory aromas of beef jerky, coffee, and baking chocolate with a round, crisp, effervescent, dryish medium-full body and a warming, delightful, medium-length lime spritz, barbecue beef, smoked nuts, and grilled radicchio finish. A smoky Imperial Ale for carnivorous pairings.
Great Lakes Brewing Co. Blackout Imperial Stout
90 points
Nearly opaque dark brown color. Roasted, boozy aromas of single village dark chocolate drizzled dried fruits, roasted nuts, rum cake with brandy, and sautéed mushroom with peppercorns with a medium-full body and a warming, intricate, long caramelized root vegetables, pepper, and chocolate citrus peels and nuts finish. A big, brawny imperial stout for slow contemplative sipping.
Whole Hog Russian Imperial Stout
90 points
Nearly opaque dark brown color. Interesting aromas of caramelized peas and dried fruits, nut brittle, chocolate muffin and salt water taffy, and coconut vinaigrette with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, appealing, medium-long mocha latte, roasted nuts and dark bread, dried fruits, and radicchio finish. A vibrant and delicious imperial stout with nice drinkability.
Etna Brewing Co. Kappler Imperial Stout
87 points
Dark walnut color. Complex aromas of stewed apricots and prunes, dark chocolate mocha fudge, vanilla-caramel custard, and sweet tea with a round, vibrant, spritzy, fruity full body and an intricate, long toasted crumpet, panettone, black licorice, and roasted almonds finish. A complex, vinous Imperial stout with a plethora of big, bold flavors to unpack; rich and satisfying.
Brickway Brewery Epic Blackout Stout
86 points
Brown black color. Spicy aromas and flavors of hot sauce, pickled peppers, and balsamic vinaigrette on mesclun with mushroom with a chewy, soft, finely carbonated, very sweet medium body and a medium finish conveying accents of pepper jelly on raisin toast, cherry brandy, sugared molasses, and sticky date pudding finish. A chewy, fruity barleywine of a stout.
Rogue Ales Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout
86 points
Dark mahogany color. Spicy aromas and flavors of cinnamon, roasted carrot, pumpkin, bay leaf, black peppercorn, and allspice leaf with a satiny, lively, spritzy, fruity full body and a warming, interesting, medium-length finish revealing notes of chocolate glazed pumpkin pie, pencil eraser, wood glue, and whiskey staves finish. A rich autumnal Imperial Stout for harvest time.
Guinness Antwerpen Stout
85 points
Nearly opaque dark brown color. Aromas and flavors of oily nuts, chocolate cookie batter, and waxy honeycomb with a satiny, crisp, finely carbonated, fruity medium body and a tingling, engaging, medium-length finish that exhibits notes of honeyed peppered kale, chocolate toffee, and sprouts finish. A nice snappy, appetizing stout that wakes the palate, a bit more of a robust export stout than a classic imperial style though.