Our first "beer of the week" showcases a very distinct style of beer.
Ridgeways Russian Imperial Stout is a 10% dark bruiser of a drink, and boy does this cheeky little number have a kick. With powerful notes of toffee and cinder this one will put hairs on your chest. When your drinking this its easy to imagine a stern heavyset Russian man guzzling this in the streets of St. Petersburg wearing nothing but a vest and a hat crafted from animal skin.
This one was a little powerful for our delicate tasting palates but it was smooth and packed a punch.
Sorry Ridgeway, this was a little too specialised for our "Fantasy Beer XV", and has not made the squad.
Imperial Russian Stouts historically tend to be declared in the range of 9 to 10% alcohol by volume, at 10% Ridgeway’s is at the top of that range. What differentiates the style from simply a strong stout or porter is that extended ageing and perhaps a little judicious “infection” before bottling which makes them considerably more vinous and sharp than an export stout so there is MUCH more of a wine character than you normally get in a strong ale. Not soured but just that little nod towards a lambic beer. Very roasty and very bitter. That bitterness mellows over time in the bottle but if you are lucky enough to get an Imperial Russian on draught it will be full on. The style is not intended to be overtly hoppy once settled but obviously with so many hops used the draught experience will have something on the hop front that won’t be there in a bottled version.
Image courtesy of @fplwildcards