Rasputin Imperial Stout

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Clint Yeastwood

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Here is the latest in a series of beer reviews that annoy people.

Today, I tried Rasputin Imperial Stout. Let me say up front that, to my tastes, this is a tremendous beer. Just perfect.

The maker is North Coast something or other. I went to their site, where I proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was over 21 by clicking button that said "Yes." They really run a tight ship over there. No chance of any minors getting past THAT security. Anyway, I didn't see anything about their hops or yeast.

When I got it home, I put it in the freezer for a few minutes because I had been driving around running errands with it. I was afraid it was too warm. As it turns out, it was actually too cold, so I blew that. I didn't measure the temperature, but I would say it was at a good temperature for a plain old lager.

I should also admit I drank it from a Ball jar. My dad had dementia, so I have Ball jars. They are cheap and hard to break, and we are Southerners, so we are allowed to drink from them. I only have one real beer glass, and I am tired of washing it over and over.

I should also add that I have virtually no experience with imperial stout. I believe I drank something similar to one at a party in LA in 2003. I was so drunk I could barely see, and a college friend was opening weird beers he had brought. I recall the names Arrogant Bastard and Ommegang, but which beer was what kind, I could not tell you. I was so drunk, I misunderstood a conversation, put my hand on a Navy SEAL's shoulder, and told him it must have been hard, being a gay Navy SEAL. Then he told me he was not gay, and I saw my life and several other people's lives flash before my eyes.

But I was spared.

Anyway, the head on this beer is gigantic and fairly persistent. Bubbles not too fine.

When I smelled it at first, it wasn't that complex, probably because it was too cold and I had overfilled the glass. As it warmed up and the level sank, I got strong aromas like fruity expensive dark chocolate and burned coffee. If that sounds bad, it's because I didn't describe things well. It's very nice. It smells exactly the way my dim drunken memories led me to want it to smell. Maybe if you took a Chunky bar and burned it a little you would get a similar smell.

At first, the beer was very bland. That miserable freezer. It was very pleasant, though. Strong and yet extremely drinkable. Too drinkable, I guess. If you cool this stuff too much, and your liver is big enough, you can drink it like Gatorade on a hot day. Until you die unexpectedly from the 9% ABV.

As things warmed up, the chocolate, burned coffee, and fruit increased, and that was really nice.

I saw some Youtube guy giving this beer a lukewarm review, but I think his mistake was that he didn't drink the whole beer. I now have a rule: no reviewing beers I don't finish. The best part of this beer is in the bottom half of the glass.

I cook, and I make a few things that are mind-blowing. The thing that proves a recipe is good is that I can't stop thinking about it after I eat the food. The aftertaste and the afterglow are almost better than the food itself. Sometimes after making something as simple as biscuits and gravy, I just sit and stare at the wall, thinking about it and reliving it. That's how this beer is. I actually enjoyed it more during the long pauses while I wasn't drinking.

Aromas and flavors kept rising up in my mouth and nose. They kept changing. It was like elves were tapping me on the shoulder, saying, "Yo, wide load. This is a great beer."

I wonder if the brewers know this. Maybe they deliberately sacrificed up-front pizzazz for a beer that comes through in spades on the back end, knowing it might cost them when the beer was reviewed by impatient people.

I almost wish they would throw some water in this stuff and make a regular stout to sell next to it.

The cost was not terrible by post-hipster inflation-storm standards. I forgot what I paid, because I didn't pay any attention, but it was somewhere in the general area of $10 for 4 beers. A lot of money by some standards, but two of these things can get you through an evening. Well, they can get ME through an evening. I can get an hour out of one beer, and because I drink so little these days, I have the alcohol tolerance of a gerbil.

I don't know if other imperial stouts are better, but this one will definitely do.

I think I may continue serving this too cold, because it's wonderful to see how it changes as it warms up in the glass.

Hey, I think I just tasted licorice.
 
This is my favorite (affordable) beer. It's the only beer I always have in the house.
Thanks for the the chuckle, for a beer that is dear to my heart.
 
I've been looking for this one after seeing it described on a flight tray in a photo of an online review of a beer joint.

If you like that style of beer, see if you can find this one. I've been sampling every stout I can find and this has been one of the best.

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Wow, I just stumbled on this relatively old thread.

Since my posts, I've tried a TON of stouts, including Old Rasputin and Dragon's Milk. I've tried so many that I don't remember what I thought of Dragon's Milk, but I did not like Old Rasputin. I'm a newbie to all of the beer varieties but I'm quickly finding that any beer that has an American and and English version, I'm likely to strongly prefer the English version. I love hops (Hazy IPA's are actually my favorite style of beer) but I hate bitterness, so Old Rasputin doesn't suit my tastes, which is unfortunate, because I really like their other beers that I've tried, so I'm sure OR is good stuff. Just not to my taste.
 

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