Friday, October 19, 2012

North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - Gus #6

Today's brew review is one of my favorite beers.  It's the benchmark for which I judge all big stouts.  If it's better than this then it's going to be fantastic.  If it's right there at it it's a really good stout.  It's readily available almost anywhere.  We can even get it pretty much everywhere here in the still young to craft beer state of Mississippi.  I'm talking about the North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout.

How it rates with others:

ratebeer review:

Information from North Coast's website:
Vital Statistics
Style:  Russian Imperial Stout
Color:  Black
ABV:  9%
Bitterness:  75 IBUs

"Produced in the tradition of 18th Century English brewers who supplied the court of Russia's Catherine the Great, Old Rasputin seems to develop a cult following wherever it goes.  It's a rich, intense brew with big complex flavors and a warming finish.
The Old Rasputin brand image is a drawing of Rasputin with a phrase in Russian encircling it - A sincere friend is not born instantly."

I poured this brew into a snifter glass.

Appearance:  Poured oily, jet black.  No light coming through anywhere at all.  Not even on the edges of the glass.  I mean this thing is tar black.  Thick, multi-sized bubble head.  The head was actually two different colors at first.  Almost two different heads.  A darker, tighter bubbled head under a tan, larger bubbled head.  Mild carbonation streaming up the glass.  The classic appearance of a Russian Imperial Stout.

Aroma:  Huge roasted notes coming off this brew.  Sweet malts and lots of chocolate undertones.  Milk chocolate aromas but also a little bit of the bitter dark chocolate too.  Hints of spicy hop aromas are in there as well.  It is relatively high in  IBUs for a stout so I can see that.  It's nice to have a hop aroma in a stout like that.  Ever so slight coffee notes as well.  

Taste:  Again, huge roasted , almost smoky flavors.  The sweet milk chocolate hints are second to the roasted coffee taste.  A sweet alcohol hint as well.  Slightly warms the back of the throat.  That's ok when the brew is 9% ABV.  Definitely not off putting at all.  Such a creamy smooth mouthfeel as well.  Definitely a very easy drinker too.  

Verdict:  Simply one of the best Russian Imperial Stouts out there.  So many good reviews to back it up as well.  All of the amazing qualities in a beer almost anyone can get.  All those things put together make it hard not to give this brew an A+.  Like I said it's my benchmark for imperial stouts.  Anything as good as or better than this is an amazing, amazing stout.

As far as pairings.  This would go great as an after dinner brew.  Something to sip like after dinner coffee.  I think it would pair well with cheesecake, brownies or a German chocolate cake.  Anything dessert related really.  Let me know what you think of this beer.  If someone is wanting to get into craft beers and see what a quality brew is like, they should definitely try Old Rasputin.  I love to keep this on hand.  I have some cellaring now to see if it will change over time.  I'm sure it will when the hops die off and the sweetness comes out.

Thanks for reading!