Espresso Russian Imperial Stout is a thick, black, flavorful ale. What makes it Russian? Well, in the 1700s, Thrale's Brewery in London made a particular type of stout that it exported to Russia's Catherine II. So, a modern Russian Imperial Stout is brewed in that tradition. Usually, this sort of ale is brewed from dark-roasted, malted grains, & is dark in color, & sweetish in flavor. The roasted grains impart a coffee-like flavor, & actual espresso beans are used in the brewing process.