Before I cracked this bottle open, I had heard and read nothing but great things. Nothing but 95/100’s and 4.75 Stars out of 5’s. So I came into this with really high expectations. After I took the first sip, I felt crazy! This was the most bitter thing I had ever put in my mouth! (Silence your dirty minds, jeesh.) But for all of you who have any interest in ever writing a beer review, this is why it is important to drink the whole thing before making judgements. There is a bit more to this beer than just the bitterness. Appearance: Just like the Thirsty Dog Imperial Stout that I reviewed just a couple weeks ago, this is a rich, opaque black beer. The head on this beer is a full and frothy sort of coffee color. Unfortunately (and this is pure opinion) I feel that really dark stouts like this have to be some sort of something extra special for me to find them exceptionally pretty to look at. At a certain point, they tend to all be just dark, nondescript liquid.
Smell: I was surprised at how little scent was let off by this thing. I expected a strong alcohol burn in my nose, and maybe a slight malt accompaniment. Yet, the slight aroma that does come out from the top of the glass is a rather inviting and warm coffee smell. Not unpleasant at all. Although, it is still a bit of a let down to not have it be a bit more fragrant.
Taste: So here is difficult part. Again, I came into this with fantastically high expectations since all I read were raving reviews and ratings. (This too, is a bad idea for those of you wanting to write a beer review: form your own opinions before considering others.) The bitterness is overwhelming: it is seriously the first thing that my brain was able to process before any other possible flavor. Those were my initial thoughts…But as I continued to drink the beer, I really began to appreciate the bitterness – not to mention I got used to it, and sort of stopped noticing it as much. The malt and chocolate flavor in this is so lovely, though. It really is a beer that makes you feel warm inside (which again, beer review tip – MAYBE TAKE SOMETHING LIKE THAT INTO CONSIDERATION WHEN DOING A BEER REVIEW IN JUNE. I’M DUMB).
Overall: So, I definitely do not belong to the common belief that this beer is the elixir of life. It really is enjoyable and rather unique, but it is an Imperial Stout with the safety turned off and for some, that may not be the most welcoming. As a beer review site for the ‘average beer drinker,’ this is something I must consider. My advice to you, average drinker of beer, is to try this! You may like Old Rasputin! But some of you, will not be quite ready for this kind of beer. Something to aim for.
3.999999999 Stars out of 5
2.0 (Party) Star(ters) out of 5