First brewed in England during the 1800s to curry favor with Russian czars, the imperial is the alpha stout. Its ox-incapacitating alcohol percentages (10 percent and higher are common) and mammoth chocolate and roasted-malt flavors make this a slow-sipper — a belly-stoker akin to whiskey. And the Rabid Duck is no gentle lamb. The Rabid pours obsidian, a thick abyss with a creamy russet crown. Aroma-wise, intense dark fruits, licorice and fresh-ground coffee dominate, “while the flavors don’t pull any punches,” Philippon warns. There’s a boozy, full-bore blast of dark cherries, bitter chocolate and fire-roasted malts, with the flavors growing more robust and decadent as the beer warms between your palms. It’s a kingly brew, a treat fit for serfs and czars alike.