Tag Archives: Review

Indiana Beer Group Tests Five Top Rated Russian Imperial Stouts: And the Winner is…Old Rasputin

We don’t mean to brag…well, maybe we do. So we’re sharing a recent blog from the Indiana Beer group. You are welcome to read the entire article, but what follows is a summary, paraphrase and direct quotes of some of the text. You can also read about this particular tasting panel on the Indiana Beer Group.

Old-Rasputin-Brand-Image-(w)2012We didn’t mess around with the lineup for this tasting – each of these beers rates at least a 92 on Beer Advocate and they come from highly respected breweries: Bell’s Expedition Stout, North Coast Brewing Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout, Sierra Nevada Narwhal, and Three Floyds Dark Lord. With this lineup of heavy hitters, a blind tasting was administered by our lovely hostess Poppi Rocketts. The beers were served in a random order to our tasting panel, and the identity of each was not revealed until after the panelists had finalized their individual rankings. Joining me, Nathan Compton, on the panel were IndianaBeer reporters Dave Allen and Jason Wilkerson and guest reviewer Tim Palmer.

And the results are in…….To determine the overall results, we used a model where the lowest number of points would win (a 1st place vote = 1 point, a 2nd place vote = 2 points, etc.). After tallying up the scores, our collective rankings determined the final order:

Fifth Place: Three Floyds Dark Lord (19 points)
Fourth Place: Sierra Nevada Narwhal (16 points)
Third Place: Bell’s Expedition Stout (11 points)
Second Place: Oskar Blues Ten Fidy (10 points)
First Place: North Coast Old Rasputin (4 points)

Russian-Imperial-Stouts(w)

What follows are direct quotes from the Tasting Panel about Old Rasputin:

Dave: “Our tasting panel all came to the same conclusion that this one was, hands down, the best beer on the table. To my palate it was complex, balanced, with flavors of both chocolate and roasted malt, hints of coffee and apparent (but not dominating) alcohol. When I conjure up what RIS should be in my imagination: this is it – delicious without being overpowering in any of the handful of typical flavor profiles one might expect. Great beer. And readily available locally all year round at a competitive price point. What’s not to like? Would I Drink Another: Absolutely.”
Dave’s Rank: 1st

Jason: “The aroma of chocolate was a welcome sign as it reminds me of this category of beer. Thicker than Beer #1 (Narwhal) but still not the texture I’ve come to expect, which is not a bad thing. Great flavor. This beer throws a knockout punch on your tongue from the start to announce its presence. Rich in color, flavor and texture, the bold taste follows from the front of your mouth to the back. A great Russian Imperial with good balance of bitter and sweet.”
Jason’s Rank: 1st

Nathan: “Less head retention than the first beer (Narwhal), but the level of roasted malt character has increased and nicely balances the chocolate notes. Wonderful flavor complexity: chocolate, coffee, raisins, figs, and hints of citrus hop character. Thick mouthfeel with a fairly dry finish and lingering bitterness the complements the intense malt character. Moderate alcohol warming in the aftertaste, but never harsh or distracting from the other flavors. This beer almost perfectly embodies the best qualities I associate with Russian Imperial Stouts. Outstanding!”
Nathan’s Rank: 1st

Tim: “Let’s just say that I can’t see through the beer as it is dark as night with a small dark tan head. The first hints of the aroma immediately hit me as this wonderful blend of rich malt (bready, hint of fruit), roast and chocolate character followed by a low earthy hop nose. The first taste filled my mouth with this full bodied, rich, more roast (not acrid) than chocolate, complex delicious beer that finished dry leaving me asking for more. Even with the low head, it had plenty of carbonation to support this big beer. The alcohol was pleasantly warming and not hot at all. This was solid all the way through! Can I have another? This is what I was expecting from a Russian Imperial Stout.”
Tim’s Rank: 1st

Near the end of the blog, Nathan wrote about rediscovering Old Rasputin:
“There was a stage in my craft beer drinking evolution where Old Rasputin was a beer I commonly sought out, and an Old Rasputin sign proudly hangs next to the pool table in our basement. But as the number of craft beer options has exploded, it’s very easy to get caught up in constantly trying new things and taking some of these old favorites for granted. I can’t remember the last time I purchased this beer off the shelf, but it certainly won’t take that long again. Along with the straight tasting results we always try to include cost analysis at the end of these because the highest ranking beers are often the most expensive. But at the relatively low price (for a Russian Imperial Stout anyway) of $10.99 for a 4-pack, this aspect only bolsters the case for Old Rasputin in this lineup…But if you’re looking for a great Russian Imperial Stout to enjoy in the near future, we can’t recommend Old Rasputin strongly enough. Buy up a good portion of that beer and horde it for yourself.”

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Old Rasputin Imperial Stout: “This beer is really something."

(We enjoy finding unsolicited reviews of our award-winning ales. The following tribute to Old Rasputin was posted on March 27, 2013.)

From the blog of Michael A. Jazayeri, M.D., board certified plastic surgeon

Old-Rasputin-Pour(wpng)As many of my regular blog readers know, I am passionate about wine. But recently, I have been exploring beers as well. Once or twice a month, when we have casual get together with friends or family and casual food is eaten (pizza, etc.), beer just seems to hit the spot. Recently I came across Old Rasputin Imperial Stout Beer by accident. I have to be honest, most beers just don’t “do it” for me. Perhaps it is because I am used to the complexity and sophistication of wine. But this beer is really something. It is made in Fort Bragg, California and is NOT where Fort Bragg Army base is (it is located in North Carolina). Fort Bragg is located in Mendocino County, north of Napa and Sonoma.

This beer is complex, with aromas and flavor of coffee, chocolate and brown sugar, with a warm finish. Most imperial stouts have a bitter finish, but this beer is balanced. I describe it as a pleasant bitterness, almost earthy. It has 9% alcohol by volume, which is almost twice most pale beers, but still less than the 12-14% alcohol content of most wines. I also like the cover: very dark and mysterious. I have not been able to find a translation of the Russian writing on the bottle. Even Google search failed! So if anyone speaks Russian, please let me know.
After doing some research, I found this beer has been consistently rated 95 or higher (out of a 100 point scale) and has been rated as one of the best beers ever made. The great thing about beer is its quality to price ratio (QPR). One can purchase a four, 12 OZ pack of this beer at Total Wine and More for less than 8 dollars. In other words, 24 OZ (equivalent to a bottle of wine) of this beer will set you back only 4 dollars. I challenge anyone to find me a 4 dollar bottle of wine which has rated 95 points or higher. If you do, please deliver it to me riding a unicorn!
Stout beer should be served much warmer than pale beer, around 58-65 degrees Fahrenheit, otherwise the flavors will be muted and the beer will taste bitter.
So next time you desire a beer, pass up the insipid, commercially made Coors and Budweiser, and purchase some Old Rasputin.

 

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An Appreciation of Old No. 38 Stout

Old-No-38-Pour-webWe always feel gratified when people like our beer and let us know about it. William Bostwick sent us a link to a review he wrote about Old No. 38 Stout in GQ.com, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. He calls  Old No. 38  “..a perfect take on the underrated Irish Dry style.” We think so too! Click here to read the review.

William Bostwick is a journalist and beer critic. He’s written for Architectural Record, Metropolis, GQ, NPR, and the Wall Street Journal. He keeps bees, bakes, gardens, and is an aspiring biathlete. He brews beer in his kitchen and his book, Beer Craft, will show you how.

 

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North Coast Grand Cru

“[Like] VincNorth Coast Brewing Grand Cruent Price reading you a bedtime story.”

From Richard Bolster at Private Tap: “This ale is truly the champagne of bottle beers (Miller take note).” “[An] exquisite creation.”

Brewer Cameron: “North Coast does it again! …This beer floored me. …Everything about this beer is strong in a sophisticated way.”

Read the full reviews here:
Private Tap
| Brewer Cameron

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