Imperial Beer Club review: Not a subscription box for the faint hearted

It seems like a new beer subscription service is launching every month, but rarely do they cater for such a specific requirement. The Imperial Beer Club aims to satisfy those with a taste for stronger beer and here’s my review.

The first subscription box I reviewed was Honest Brew and although a lot of these services are pretty similar, the Imperial Beer Club is not like any other I’ve seen. Standing out in a crowded market is important and that’s certainly the case here.

Imperial Beer Club: Price

As with most beer subscription services, delivery is included in the price here. So you get 10 beers for £42. You can also sign up to free membership to be sent deals on boxes.

That might seem like a lot compared to the likes of sub-£30 HonestBrew which includes two more beers. However, the Imperial Beer Club gets you stronger and therefore more expensive beers.

There’s some debate as to what ABV is required for a beer to be considered ‘imperial’, but the site clearly states that you’ll get beers between 7- and 13%. The average will be around 8- or 9%.

So £4.20 per beer including delivery is pretty good if you ask me – some of these beers will set you back £5/6 each from a beer shop before delivery.

Update July 2017:

The Imperial Beer Club has now expanded it’s options and opened a bottle shop so you can buy individual bottles. There are now four subscriptions to choose from as follow:

  • 6 hoppy & fruity beers – £29pm
  • 6 rich & complex beers – £29pm
  • 10 mixed beers – £42pm
  • 12 mixed beers – £49pm

You can get up to £9 off your first box by clicking here.

Imperial Beer Club: What’s in the box

Although this beer subscription service is focused on strong beers, that doesn’t mean you’re always going to get the same styles. In fact, the rise of craft beer means that almost any style of beer can be strong enough to be included – you won’t find any Session IPAs here, though!

Something worth pointing out is that each box tends to include multiple beers from the same brewery. For example, the latest box has three each from Five Points and Saltaire. You won’t get the same beer twice, though.

On the whole, you’re likely to get imperial strength Stouts, Porters, Barleywines and Double IPAs. It’s nice to see a well put together booklet inside with information about each beer along with handy food pairings.

Imperial Beer Club booklet

You can’t customise the box to suit your taste, nor can you opt to get it delivered less frequently (I’m not sure I could consistently drink 10 imperial strength beers every month). However, you can email in to suggest beers or breweries and skip a month or two by simply cancelling and subscribing again.

I won’t list all the beers in the box I was sent – see the photos – but it’s a nice selection and a mixture of bottles and cans. The contents is protected well and unlike some, has handles at either end.

The Imperial Beer Club won’t suit everyone, but it’s not supposed to. If you’re looking for a regular supply of strong beers then this is the beer subscription for you – sign up here and get up to £9 off your first box.

It’s a solid offering, although the option to customise and ability to get the box less frequently would be nice additions – it’s not surprising they’re not available from such a new club, though.

Look out for more beer subscription reviews soon! Until then let me know what you think of Imperial Beer Club or other services in the comments below or on Twitter.

Read next: Craft Beer events 2017.


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