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Supersize me: 10 imperialized brews

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Ten traditionally mild-mannered styles get pumped up.

Lumberyard Big Rapid Red
This country’s demand for hoppy beer styles is unrelenting—thus, the American amber ale’s evolution into the hoppy imperial red ale makes sense: Rich malts and intense hops blend the best from both worlds.

 Tommyknocker Imperial Nut Brown
The U.K.’s Northern English Brown Ale may be a lesson in subtlety and balance, but in the U.S., we’ll just opt for balance—like this 9%-ABV, malty-sweet imperial English brown ale brewed with maple syrup.

DuClaw X-2 Imperial Wit
Witbier fans can’t get enough of the style’s orange and coriander. Buckle up: This big brew packs intense spice and citrus, but still holds true
to a refreshing finish despite its elevated 9% ABV.

Flying Dog Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout
Vanilla, chocolate and toffee underscore this English-style stout, but its extremely loud coffee notes from Black Dog Coffee’s secret roast in West Virginia give it a Stateside attitude.

Lightning Electrostatic Ale
Unlike its ancestor, this imperial French farmhouse ale wasn’t built for working farmhands: It may share the style’s tart, spicy and fruity notes, but its 10% ABV suggests you put down that scythe while imbibing.

Bayhawk Imperial Brown Ale
This hulking 7.2% spin-off of an American brown ale pits roasted malts against smooth vanilla, bound together by woody notes from oak barrel conditioning.

Southern Tier Iniquity Black Ale
The black IPA is essentially a fourth-generation variation of the classic Burton-on-Trent pale ale. The legacy continues with this 9%-ABV, intensely hopped, dark-as-night imperial black IPA.

Gordon Biersch Imperial Pilsner Brau
Gordon Biersch rolls out a series of big beers this year, starting with this amped-up German-style pilsner in May. Fortified with four Old World hop varieties, it’s a pilsner with an IPA bite.

Glacier Imperial Blonde
Alaska’s Glacier Brewhouse breaks all the rules with its Imperial Blonde, a pumped-up version of the light beer style that uses a half pound of honey per gallon to achieve its 9.0% ABV.

Lagunitas Investigation Shut-Down Ale
Even the brewers at Lagunitas admit this one’s an oxymoron: Investigation’s a rare sessionable English-style mild, made even more obscure by almost tripling its ABV to a very un-mild 9.5%.


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