Beer photography by Paul Pyne
A Russian Imperial Stout Interrogation
THIS ISSUE'S TASTING COMRADES:
Note: neither What’s Brewing nor Legacy Liquor Store bear responsibility for the opinions expressed within, which are solely those of the individual panelists.
Imperial stout, also knowns as Russian Imperial Stout or RIS, is a strong dark beer originally brewed in the eighteenth century in London for export to the Russian court of Catherine the Great (Empress Catherine II). The beer was brewed extra strong to withstand the long journey to Russia. (Sound familiar? Think IPA and India).
Like many styles, its popularity waned once lagers were introduced. But with the craft resurgence in the 1980s, homebrewers and craft brewers alike began producing imperial stouts again.
– Warren Boyer
HOW JUDGING IS DONE
Our unsanctioned competition uses a Zagat-like 30-point rating with a weighted scale based loosely on the BJCP Scoresheet. One of the great things about this format, as opposed to a simple 5-star blogger rating, is that it forces panellists to put more work into evaluating details of the flavour, balance and overall impression before scoring each category.
Panellists are instructed to give an honest rating, not a sugar-coating. As reflected in their scores, some panelists will love a particular beer and others will truly dislike it. Sometimes that’s influenced by factors that aren’t completely within a brewery’s contrul, such as freshness, or just a bad product sample. This is one of the reasons we have a panel rather than just one reviewer: it helps reduce the impact of factors like packaging flaws and personal tastes.
*Note: Moody/Ridge sample is an export stout, not an Imperial stout.
A general overview of how these beers did as a group.
This category skews towards “one is enough”, although you could have more
BALANCE: MALT VS. HOP
AND THE VICTOR IS:
Bomber Brewing took top prize for their well-regarded Russian Imperial Stout! The only entry that uses the beer style as its literal name. There must be some advantage there somehow.