It’s not uncommon to see an ‘imperial’ styled beer. You have imperial stout, imperial pale ale and others. If there is one thing I’ve learned from this blog, it is to not underestimate the history hidden in these food terms. ‘Imperial’ comes to us from 1800’s. British beer makers often exported their beers to the royal court in Russia. To assure that the beer would arrive all the way to the “imperials” the brew master would increase the amount of alcohol and hops (both natural preservatives). This strong tasting and higher alcohol beer was labeled ‘Imperial’.
The story goes that Peter the Great enjoyed a stout beer on a trip to England and then requested a shipment of it. But the first shipmen they sent arrived in poor form. The next shipment was sent with the necessary alcohol and hops to keep the beer fresh. This style became popular and was known as Russian Imperial Stout. Other beer styles were soon altered in the same way and took on this same moniker.