This bruising stout is “like a cup of very strong coffee made by someone who’s angry with you,”.
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.