Imperial Stout

Includes styles: Russian Imperial Stout

Recipes:
17,652
BJCP 2021:
20C
Era:
Craft
Origin:
🇬🇧 Great Britain
Fermentation:
Top
Color:
Dark
Strength:
Very High
Taste:
Bitter

Profile

Imperial Stout, often synonymous with Russian Imperial Stout, is a rich, full-bodied dark beer that stands as one of the heaviest and most robust styles available. Its history is anchored in 18th-century England where it was originally brewed to an elevated strength to prevent spoilage during the long shipment to Russia and the Baltic region, where it was favored by the court of Catherine the Great. More recently, it has seen a rise in popularity, when it became a favourite of the craft beer scene in both America and internationally.

Appearance-wise, Imperial Stouts boast an opaque jet-black color with a moderate to thick creamy tan or brown head. The retention of this foam can vary but is generally quite good due to the high protein content from its substantial grain bill. Legs are often noticeable when swirled due to its typically high alcohol content. Flavor and aroma profiles are complex and intense. Expect strong malt character featuring roasted grains which can produce flavors of coffee, chocolate, charred bread, and dark fruits such as prunes or raisins. Despite this malt complexity, some degree of hop bitterness is necessary for balance but should not overshadow the malt; however, some versions may have higher levels of hop flavor and aroma which can add another layer of complexity. The alcohol content ranges from strong to aggressive – usually around 8-12% ABV – contributing warmth that's often perceived on both the palate and nose without being sharp or solventy.

It shares several similarities with other stout substyles such as American Stout but markedly differs in alcohol strength and intensity of flavors. It also relates closely to barleywines due to its rich profile and higher alcohol content though differing significantly in roast character.

Specifications

Alcohol

Specification
8.0 – 12.0 %

In Database
7.0 < 9.4 < 12.7 %

Bitterness

Specification
50 – 90 IBU

In Database
33 < 60 < 101 IBU

Color

Specification
59 – 79 EBC
30 – 40 SRM

In Database
59 < 98 < 190 EBC
30 < 50 < 96 SRM

Original Extract

Specification
18.1 – 26.7 °P
1.075 – 1.115 OG

In Database
17.2 < 22.4 < 29.5 °P
1.071 < 1.095 < 1.128 OG

Final Gravity

Specification
4.6 – 7.5 °P
1.018 – 1.030 FG

In Database
2.6 < 5.7 < 9.2 °P
1.010 < 1.022 < 1.037 FG

Popularity Over Time

Most Used Yeasts

Most Used Hops

Dosage of Hops

Hop Pairings

Brewing Recipes