Brewed at the request of Russian Emperor Peter the Great after he visited England around 1700, the first batch arrived spoiled from the long voyage. The English brewers added larger amounts of both hops and alcohol, and this beer became a staple in the Imperial court - and started the style of "Imperial-strength" beers.
Ranging in color from a dark reddish copper to an almost-black brown, the flavor is exceedingly deep and complex from the large amounts of malt, hops, and alcohol. Although specific flavor profiles vary, general characteristics are a roasted and burnt malt flavors, dark fruit esters, moderate to high malt bitterness (from both English and American hops), and detectable alcohol flavors. Some can be cellar aged and will age like wine.
Best served at cellar temperature, 55-57 degrees, and in a pint glass, tumbler, or beer snifter.