OK, let's see what this beer from Břevnovský Klášterní Pivovar has to tell us.
The aroma is also dark. I mean that it reminds you of dark things, tasty dark things, or dark things that aren't tasty, but smell good. I guess you know what I mean, so I won't enumerate.
If you close your eyes, the whole aromatic package almost takes you on a spiritual journey into a deep cave where a black man is roasting meat; not because it smells like meet being roasted – that's not so dark, unless you burn it, and that wouldn't be that nice – or because it has a deep cave smell – the two or three deep caves I've been to were actually dark, but smelled by the most part damp, and this beer doesn't smell damp. It's just the feeling I get when I close my eyes and inhale the aromas of this beer. I should confess, though, that I've never attended a barbecue in a deep cave, but I imagine it to be a very cool experience.
And down it goes. Lovely! Hmmm? Wait a second! Is 'lovely' an appropriate descriptor for an imperial thing? I'm not sure. Perhaps 'majestic', 'imposing' or 'august' are better. That's the one, 'august'! It's an august beer with a subtle hint of imposing that adds complexity.
Now that I think of the 'Imperial' denomination thing, though, something else comes to mind, something about the character of the beer. 'Imperial', 'empire', 'emperor' are often associated with historical figures like Vespasian, Charlemagne, Frederick Barbarossa, Peter the Great and other men whose surname to posterity was 'The Great', just to mention a few. Men for whom kicking ass and conquering was almost like a hobby (and with depraved maniacs like Caligula, too, but I'd rather stay away from those). The imperialness of this beer is slightly different; it's more akin that of those countless emperors most of us know nothing about, but not because they were necessarily bad at empirying stuff; they were men who did what they had to do to keep the job, no more, nor less – if asses needed to be kicked, they were duly kicked, but not with a lot of enthusiasm put into the task.
It's not my intention to belittle the beer, quite the opposite, in fact. Imagine you are at a pub and suddenly Frederick Barbarossa walked in. Everyone would shit their pants! And not because they've seen a ghost, no, but because Frederick motherfucking Barbarossa is in the house! And he certainly wouldn't be alone, he'd be with a retinue of similarly predisposed badasses. I'm sure most patrons would finish their pints and quietly slip away, lest His Imperial Majesty decides to have some skulls crushed in order to make the evening more interesting.
In contrast, if one of those other largely forgotten emperors walked in, after everyone in the pub had stood up to show their respect, he would wave his hand to signal them to keep on doing whatever they were doing, he would then tell his guards, no more than four, to wait for him outside and would take an empty seat somewhere to mind his own business and have a couple of pints to ponder over a thing that's been upsetting him lately, nothing serious, but he's in a bit of a gloomy mood and doesn't really want to talk to anyone. That's the imperialness of this beer!
In short words, this is a beer you'd like to hang out with. Just like that for most people anonymous emperor, it will likely not make a big splash in the history books, but will surely have a few interesting things to tell anyone willing to listen, and that's much cooler.
PS: The bottle spent one year or so in my cellar. I had bought two at the time. The first one I drunk tasted impulsive, immature and therefore, not yet willing to assume its responsibilities. So I decided to leave its sibling meditating for a year on how things should be properly done.