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American Double / Imperial Stout


The style behind the American Double/Imperial Stout originated in the Russian Imperial Court, became extremely popular in England, and then virtually vanished. It wasn't until the modern craft brewery movement began that the style resurrected in America and England.

Of all stout styles that exist, the American Imperial Stout is the strongest in alcohol and body. The name of the brew comes from the idea that the American Stout has been doubled or imperialized into a much stronger brew. As a derivative of the Russian Imperial Stout, the American Imperial Stout has the same robust flavors and feels with a few variations.

Virtually black in appearance, full-bodied American Imperial Stouts have a rich and heavy roasted malt character, combined with high hop aromas and flavors, alcohol notes, and dark fruit esters. All elements are exceptionally balanced exhibiting layers of complexity. Some examples even offer additional layers of aroma and flavor after being aged in whiskey or bourbon barrels. The Imperial Stouts can also be cellar-aged allowing the beers character to further evolve.

American Imperial Stouts hop bitterness is more noticeable, than it is in any other stout style. However, the hops are balanced with the sweetness, richness, and roastiness of the malt character. The bitterness might run high from the hops, roast, or booze, but as a whole the brew should have a luscious feel to it. The American Imperial Stout surpasses many Russian Imperial Stouts in strength and intensity, and in fact is more similar in strength to American Barelywine.

American Double Stouts usually have an ABV ranging from 7.5-13% or higher, and most popular examples of this stout style are only available as special releases. This hardy brew is for sipping and savoring out of a snifter glass, and goes well with smoked meats and aged cheeses, such as cheddar and Gouda.

Want to try out this stout style? Luckily our Beer of the Month Club features a variety of American Double/Imperial Stouts!

Breweries Producing American Double / Imperial Stout