A day that looks like this:
Deserves a beer like this:
Name: Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
Origin: North Coast Brewing Co., California
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
I drank this: poured from a bottle at home on a snowy evening
North Coast’s Old Rasputin is pretty much my favorite Imperial Stout ever (so far, anyway). It’s everything an Imperial Stout should be – thick, warming, strong as Arnold Schwarzenegger, glorious as the sky on a moonless, cloudless night.
It’s apparently strong enough to throw me into random fits of poesy (er, I’m still feeling the effects of it). For those of you who know my general dislike of poetry, this should tell you everything you need to know.
This beer is black, with the slightest hint of ruby showing through at the bottom of the glass. There’s a thin rim of tan head that leaves lacing all the way down the glass.
Scent-wise, it’s a very bitter, very roasty, very strong and comforting mocha. This isn’t a coffee stout – what my nose is reading as mocha is actually dark-roasted malts, chocolate and otherwise. It’s that the malts are *so* darkly roasted that it comes across as very dark roast coffee – coffee snobs, think a French or Italian roast. The chocolate is baking chocolate-bitter (i.e., the kind that smells amazing but tastes, as my unsuspecting brother told me after I’d managed to make him try some when he was roughly 11 and I was roughly 13, “like rat poison”).
Drinking this beer begins with the sharp bite of hops and the tingle of carbonation, all of which is quickly erased by the bitterness of dark roast coffee and chocolate. The mouthfeel quickly goes creamy. The overall effect is like having the inside of a chocolate-espresso truffle melt slowly over your tongue. The roasty taste is so strong as to be almost burnt, but not quite – again, think the darkest roast of coffee you’ve ever had.
Basically, this stuff is fantastic. The roasted flavors manage to hide the super-high alcohol content, so that any sort of expected alcohol burn is lost in the glories of deep, dark chocolate and coffee beans and cream. Until you stand up, anyway. That’s when the alcohol hits.
Me, I go slightly giggly (and fairly poetic) after just one. It’s warm and comforting and exactly the type of beer that does wonders during the type of snowstorm that left my brother’s car at the bottom of the unplowed hill. I may have to have another one tomorrow night when the temperature plummets into the sub-zero Fahrenheit range.
If this is the type of beer that sounds good to you, I suggest you find one and do the same. This beer is clearly meant for cold weather – I wouldn’t go near it once Spring hits.