Archive for the tag “Russian Imperial Stout”

Moscow – Midnight Sun Brewing Company

moscow_bttl

11% ABV; 45 IBUs
Purchased at Davis Beer Shoppe ($9.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into globe glasses.

This Russian Imperial Stout brewed with rye from Anchorage-based brewers Midnight Sun pours an olive black with a quickly departing caramel-brown head and a body thick as motor oil.  The nose of booze-soaked dark chocolate practically leaps out of the glass, although black licorice, lumber, and molasses aromas are present when you drill down further.  Moscow offers velvety and decadent dark roasted malts on first swallow, with flavors ranging from rich chocolate to boozy barrel wood to fresh-roasted espresso beans.  It could have been an overwhelming beer, but it’s all given balance and texture on the aftertaste by the presence of peppery rye grains, and a coffee bitterness that lingers pleasurably on the palette.

 

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

Moscow_MidnightSun

 

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

Old Rasputin XV Bourbon Barrel-Aged – North Coast Brewing

Old-Rasputin-XV

11.9% ABV

Purchased at Pangaea Two Brews ($10/6 oz. pour) and served in mini-snifter glasses.

This barrel-aged version of North Coast’s venerable Russian Imperial Stout pours black piano key ebony with a thick and billowy almond-colored head.  It offers a strong but welcoming nose of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and a very prominent booze-drenched oak aroma.  Old Rasputin XV is velvety on the tongue, putting forth some amazing bourbon, chocolate, and vanilla flavors, with the expected barrel wood entering the profile on the long, warm finish.  This is a beer that takes it’s time on your palette, offering some fascinating touches of coffee, banana, nuts, alcohol burn, and even some scorched caramel.  And yet for all of its bigness, Old Rasputin XV is actually an incredibly subtle brew.

 toasts-5-small   5 Toasts

NorthCoast_OldRas15

 toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

 

Russian Imperial Stout Faceoff – Narwhal vs. Old Rasputin

Narwhal – Sierra Nevada

10.2% ABV
Purchased at Taylor’s Market and poured into taster glasses.

Narwhal pours an opaque mahogany with a slight, soda-style head, and offers a complex and inviting nose rich with roasted coffee beans, alongside some dark chocolate and sarsaparilla root notes.  This beer is aggressive out of the box, with all of the wonderful dark and roast-y flavors of a classic Russian Imperial Stout.  Sierra Nevada’s twist is to add a much more pronounced hop presence to the coffee, muted dark chocolate, and blackstrap molasses tastes.  The result is a long-lingering and absolutely delicious slow sipper, and a definite triumph for Sierra Nevada.  (4 ½ toasts)

    4.5 Toasts

    4.5 Toasts

 

Old Rasputin – North Coast

9% ABV
Purchased at Taylor’s Market and poured into taster glasses.

 

North Coast’s Old Rasputin is the beer that re-ignited the Russian Imperial Stout craze for the modern era, and it pours an espresso black with a decently sized, light brown head.  It has a subtle aroma of doctored espresso and some black licorice, along with a slightly sweeter, almost cola-like smell.  Old Rasputin is much more subtle and insinuating on the tongue than Narwhal, combining coffee, very bitter chocolate, and licorice.  The big difference between these two Russian Imperial Stouts is that North Coast’s take leans on British-style malts and watery texture, as opposed to Sierra Nevada’s West Coast super-hopping.

    4 Toasts

    3.5 Toasts

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