The Russian Imperial Stout is among the most intense beer styles, originally concocted for the court of Catherine the Great. It's highly alcoholic, black as night, and both supremely malty and surprisingly hoppy. It's a maximalist beer and one that should be imbibed with care. Brooklyn Brewery's Black Chocolate Stout fits all of these descriptors. At 10% ABV, it's the booziest beer on our list and boasts six different varieties of malts. But it's a tremendously appealing beverage to drink, largely because of the strong chocolate character that lends it just enough sweetness to vanquish any Imperial Stout oppressiveness. But be warned: Don't drink it too early in the day (you'll need a long nap), and don't drink it too early in the year (its flavors are best enjoyed when the temperature plunges below 50). If you follow these instructions and drink it slowly and contemplatively, you'll come out the other end deeply satisfied, gloriously buzzed, and desirous of another sip or two before bed.
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