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British-Style Imperial Stout

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Location: British
Category: Ale
BJCP Comparable Category: 20C - Imperial Stout

Style Description

This is the description of how the British-Style Imperial Stout style of beer should taste, feel and look. However, there may be perfectly fine beers in this style that fall outside of these ranges and descriptions. This information is just to show the most commonly accepted ranges for the British-Style Imperial Stout beer style.

This style was also originally called “Russian Imperial Stout.”

  • Color: Ranging from dark copper typical of some historic examples, to very dark more typical of contemporary examples
  • Body: Full
  • Malt Flavors & Aromas: Extremely rich malty flavor, often expressed as toffee or caramel, and may be accompanied by very low roasted malt astringency.
  • Hop Flavors & Aromas: Very low to medium, with floral, citrus or herbal qualities.
  • IBUs/Bitterness: Medium and should not overwhelm the overall balance. The bitterness may be higher in darker versions while maintaining balance with sweet malt.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: High alcohol content is evident. Fruity esters if present are medium to high. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Common Ingredients: Well-modified pale malt, with generous quantities of roasted malts and/or grain. May have a complex grain bill using virtually any variety of malt. Any type of hops may be used. American or English ale yeast.
  • Commercial Examples: Courage Imperial Russian Stout, Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout, Samuel Smith Imperial Stout

Brewing Properties of British-Style Imperial Stout

These are the functional brewing properties of British-Style Imperial Stout beers, as descided by the Brewers Association. These guidelines reflect, as accurately as possible, the historical significance, authenticity or a common profile in the current commercial beer market.

The alcohol by volume is shows the amount of alcohol this style of beer should have.
7.0 - 12.0%
The International Bittering Units (IBU) scale is used to approximately quantify the actual (not perceived) bitterness of beer.
45 - 65 IBUs
SRM is a scale for measuring the color intensity of a beer. Low SRM grains impart a pale straw color while higher values mean it will add a darker color to the wort. Learn more »
20 - 35+ SRM
(39 - 69 EBC)
Original Gravity
Original Gravity (OG) is a measure of the sugar content in the wort before alcoholic fermentation has started to produce the beer.
1.080 - 1.100
Final Gravity
The Final Gravity (FG) is how much sugar is left over in the beer when fermentation is complete.
1.020 - 1.030

If you see an error in our data, please let us know!

Based on Brewers Association 2020 Beer Style Guidelines with changes. Used with permission of Brewers Association.