Sunday, January 6th, 2019

Fancy Pants Sunday: Stone Fyodor Imperial Russian Stout

Ron Swarner

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You fancy, Stone Fyodor Imperial Russian Stout

Fancy Pants Sunday: Stone Fyodor Imperial Russian Stout

There are tales of Peter the Great, the Russian Tsar who traveled to England in 1689 and said to have fallen in love with strong British porter, which is weird since the style didn’t truly exist for another 30-plus years. Whatever. Peter the Great likely did have some influence on the origination of Russian imperial stouts as his modernization of the Russian economy allowed for the importation of British goods, which included beer. In 1729, Ralph Thrale purchased Anchor Brewery of Southwark, London, and brewed the first Russian imperial stout, exporting the beer to Russia. The stout became significantly more famous, however, after Barclay Perkins & Co. purchased the Anchor Brewery from Thrale’s widow in 1781. The taste of the Russian court and ruler Catherine the Great for the stout was a thing. Barclay Perkins Co. continued manufacturing the beer until 1955, when they merged with the nearby Courage Brewery. After that, production of the “original” stout continued as the classic Courage Imperial Russian Stout until 1993, when it was retired.

That’s all fine and dandy, but it’s not Russian History Sunday. Rather, its Fancy Pants Sunday — a weekly focus on complex, high ABV beers — and Stone Brewing Co.’s Fyodor Imperial Russian Stout fits the bill.

Two years ago, Stone Brewing Co. added Fyodor Imperial Russian Stout to its Small Batch Series. Named after the influential Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, this rich version of the brewery’s Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout marches to 13.9 percent ABV, brewed with warrior hops before being aged in both Kentucky bourbon barrels for seven months. This profoundly complex beer overwhelms all but the most stalwart beer fanatics with its level of intensity. It hits the nose with bourbon, oak, charred malts, dark fruits, figs, and a warming alcohol burn. Rich coffee bean bitterness and milk chocolate characteristics abound, while dark charred oak, rich vanilla, and caramel from the bourbon barrels synergistically elevate and further enhance the ultra-intense taste of the original stout. It hits all the right notes.

You can find Fyodor Imperial Russian Stout is the California section of Peaks and Pints‘ cooler.

You fancy Stone Fyodor Imperial Russian Stout.