I recently introduced a friend to imperial stout–specifically Thornbridge‘s Saint Petersburg Russian Imperial Stout. This event led to a not-unreasonable question:
“Why is the name so long?”
I proceeded to explain what little I know of the history of the style: back in the 18th Century, Catherine the Great was a fan of the then-new porter/stout/entire style from England, and began ordering it in large quantities from English breweries. To better preserve it on its long voyage, the beer was brewed stronger than for the domestic market—something around the 10% mark—and lo, a new style was born. Or something like that, anyway..
This episode reminded me of a thought I’d had, how a beer like this is a history lesson all by itself. At least, it is when there’s someone at your table prepared to give you a long-winded explanation. And why is the name so long? There’s a whole lot of conjecture and misinformation surrounding this, and at the risk of adding to that, I shall now attempt to break it down: Continue reading History in a Glass