I actually totally agree about the Carnegie, and I'm sure any self respecting Swede would as well. When I first tasted the 2000, I was rather disappointed. The older bottles share a lot of the flavor profile of several imperials, and at least "taste" like they have more alcohol. Importer B. United swears that the recipe hasn't changed - that the beer just needs time to age. Anyway, I included it on that short list because a.)I think someone who likes imperial stouts would enjoy it, b.)for some reason, I think Michael Jackson classifies it as one, and c.)it is available for sale. Plus, it really is a great beer.
I've never been to the baltic and was completely unaware that most examples are bottom-fermented. I know of several that are fermented at lower temps, but still use an ale yeast. I'm quite interested - which ones are actually using a bottom-fermenting strain?
Historically, "baltic porters" and "imperial stouts" actually aren't from the same place, right? Imperial stouts were brewed in England for export to the baltic, whereas baltic porters were brewed in the baltic after the style cought on.
As far as today's imperial stouts being "revivalists," I spent a lot of time talking with Miles Jenner about this - specifically about the hop rates. He did a lot of research before brewing the A. Le Coq's. We often hear about the tremendous hopping rates of these beers so that they could make the journey (similar to IPAs). If you go to a brewers archive or similar resource, you'll find that the old recipes measure hops in "pounds per barrel" or similar weight measurements. Of course, they weren't doing the high-tech biochemical analysis of alpha acids and other hop components back then. Anyway, if you used the same "weight" of hops today, you would indeed have an insanely hoppy beer. However, it is generally accepted that the hops available back then were somewhere around a 4 alpha rating - REAL LOW by today's standards. i.e. with the hops available at the time, the beer might not have been quite so hoppy. Jenner calculated that they were probably between 60-80 IBUs. Its an interesting arguement, and one that I hope to research more when I have some time.
So - in my mind - the imperial stouts today (the ones brewed in N. America) are actually their OWN style, rather than revivalists. This is the great thing about N.American brewers - they take something from history, and make it their own - often with wonderful results!
As for the idea of stouts containing unmalted, roasted barley - ACADEMICALLY, I totally agree with you. At least in modern times, this is certainly the supposed distinction between a stout and a porter. Historically, I'm not so sure.
The real reason that Mr. Jenner and myself were in NYC in the first place was for an Imperial Stout Tasting at the Russian Tea Room, hosted by Ale Street News. ASN does a great job with special beer events - if you ever have a chance to attend one, I HIGHLY recommend it. Supposedly, this was the largest selection of the style ever assembled for one tasting. Plus, we had all the brewers! I think we tasted ~20 different examples - I'll check my notes. Some were called "imperial stout," some "baltic porter," some "imperial porter," etc.
Anyway, at the event I conducted a little informal survey of the brewers. There was no corellation between the use of roasted barley and whether the beer was called a "stout" or "porter" whatsoever. Truthfully, I was rather disappointed with this. One brewery actually brought two beers - one called "baltic porter" and the other called "imperial stout." Both had roasted barley.
I guess the main point again is that brewers call their beers whatever they like. Personally, I would divide the style into three categories (albeit with substantial overlap):
1. Beers made in the baltic. Tend to be fruitier and a little less roasty (at least the one's I've had). Almost a Belgian character. examples - Okocim/Zywiec. You have much more experience with this.
2. North American interpretations. Most are quite hoppy. Maybe we should call them American "India Dark Ales?" There are, however, some notable examples that have huge malt and very little hops.
3. Versions that tend toward the tobacco, roasty, dark fruit (prunes, figs, raisins), bitter espresso, and chocolate flavors. In these beers, hop AROMA and FLAVOR are basically absent, although there is often SUBSTANTIAL hop BITTERNESS. I consider Sinebrychoff the benchmark of this group. (Sinebrychoff actually has pretty huge bitterness on the finish).
I guess I just don't feel that the words themselves - "baltic porter" vs. "imperial stout" really mean much right now as far as distinguishing the styles. What'dya think?
3465 Delaware Avenue
Kenmore, NY 14217
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Lyle on 2001-08-16 13:43 ]</font>
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Lyle on 2001-08-16 14:03 ]</font>
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Lyle on 2001-08-16 14:15 ]</font>