It isn't true, as some have claimed, that "Imperial" was only used to describe Stout. As with much Victorian beer terminology, it was erratically and inconsistently applied.
I stumbled across this wonderful example today in an 1868 price list: Imperial Table Beer. Let's see, Imperial means really strong and Table Beer means something safe to give to the kiddies. So how on earth can a Table Beer be Imperial? The price, 2s 6d for a dozen pint bottles, implies a gravity of 1060-1065º.
Funnily enough, Imperial Table Beer isn't one of the more than 140 styles officially approved by the Brewers Association. Though "Session Beer" is. Soon there will be more styles than exhibitors at the GABF. Or mybe that's the point: having enough medals so that everyone can win one.
If you're in need of amusement, take a look at the style definitions. They gave me a few good laughs. The Porter and Stout definitions are particularly hilarious. The german ones, too. Where do they get this shit from?
Beer is Art Advent Beer Calendar 2013 – Dec 13 (and 12….) - Lucia – all light and happiness – meets Friday the 13th. Will Evil win the day? Photo: BeerSweden Darren
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