California- American Double/Imperial Stout- 12.5% ABV. This ain't your grandma's hot chocolate! Though the rick, silky smooth flavors of bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon might bring you some familiar comforts, bold notes of spicy peppers kick things into high gear.
American brewers, inclined as they are to experiment with the limits of beer styles, have pushed American Stout to high levels of malt and hop character. Thus, they’ve “doubled,” or “imperialized,” American Stout into a very strong brew. Expect a very robust, full-bodied stout with lots of complexity in aroma and flavor, with many examples surpassing Russian Imperial Stout beers in strength and intensity. Look for a dark, virtually black color displaying the beer’s roasted malt soul. The rich malts combine with generally high hop aromas and flavors along with alcohol notes and esters of dark fruits. All elements are typically balanced, exhibiting a layered complexity, with many examples aged in whiskey or bourbon barrels for additional levels of aroma and flavor. American Imperial Stout and Imperial Stout beers may be cellar-aged, during which the beer’s character will evolve. These are beers for sipping and savoring. Several popular examples are only available on a special-release basis.