In Ultimate, (p. 118), MJ calls porters and stouts "winter warmers" and "the most wintry beers of all." Describing them as "extra-strong, almost tarlike." In Companion, (p. 189), he defines stouts as "strong porters," "brewed strong to travel." Much of this style when to North Sea ports, where it was popular among Scandinavians and Czarist Russian court, and this is why the variety became known "as Russian Stout and Imperial Stout," Ultimate, (p. 118).
"Tar" was the first word that came to my mind when it hit the back of my throat. Its blackness coated my mouth with a warmness that lingered in my mouth. As for flavor, I agree with MJ, "tar-like notes with 'burnt' fruitiness and alcoholic warmth," (Companion, p.189). I like his description, "the fruitiness is reminiscent of the burnt currants on the edge of a cake that has just been removed from the oven." In my head it was somewhere between cherry and raisin, and I think currant fits the bill. There is a hint of sweetness, but I wouldn't call it sweet.
When it comes to the alcoholic part of the equation, MJ describes one variety as "whiskey-ish," another as "rummy" and yet another as "sherry-ish." I fear I don't have enough experience with these beverages to classify Sprecher's variety. Its alcohol content is high; 7.9% abv, but it is lower that that of the two imperials that MJ spotlights in Ultimate; one being 8.9, and the other 10.0 abv.
Yes, I'd gladly have another (3) on a cold winter's day (or night.)
Jim from Milwaukee