(2009) 12 Beers of Christmas, beer 6: Karl Strauss’ Russian Imperial Stout

Celebrate Christmas like royalty with Karl Strauss’ Russian Imperial Stout!

Historically, Russian Imperial Stouts were stronger versions of the classic stout (i.e. Guinness), and with their 8-12 % ABV, they have been great winter warmers since the 18th century. They originated in England, and were exported to the Baltic Lands and Russia for consumption by the Russian Imperial Court, supposedly even Catherine the Great. Like the IPA, the Russian Imperial Stout was highly hopped and concentrated with alcohol to preserve it during the export process and overseas journey. Interestingly, this was also the first beer style to be called “imperial.”

While the name may sound intimidating, Karl Strauss’ Russian Imperial Stout is actually very drinkable, and the perfect complement to our 12 Beers of Christmas lineup. Karl Strauss in Costa Mesa served it on cask a few weeks ago, with many patrons ordering and enjoying it. (For more information on Cask Night, please see my post entitled “Thank goodness it’s (almost) Thursday…”). This full-bodied beer has lots of roasted malts which give it a black-as-night color, and making it an excellent beer to enjoy with grilled meats (think juicy burgers, barbequed ribs, or thick steaks) and savory sauces. It’s also perfect for the dessert lover out there, as it gives off a dark chocolate taste and aroma, with some heavy espresso notes mixed in. And, its 8% ABV is sure to leave every drinker with a warmed and satisfied tummy.

For more info on Karl Strauss’ version of this delicious brew, check out their website.

Na Zdarovye and S Rozhdestvom! (Cheers and Merry Christmas!)

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