A History Lesson with Old Rasputin's Russian Imperial Stout
Someone online recently made a joke about delicious beers being named after ugly dudes. Well, Rasputin does not seem to be much of a looker, but who was he, anyways? He was known as the "Mad Monk" and earned a reputation as a holy healer. He worked with the Czar Nicholas 2 and advised him to pull the Russian troops out of WWI. He also was an advocate of mass orgies and flagellation. The religious and political elite were pissed at his power and influence so they killed him in 1916.
Then this CA Brewery, North Coast Brewing Company, made a stout named after him. Russian Imperial Stouts were developed in the 1800s, made to win over the Czar's affection. Lots of malts and alcohol. This particular stout is pitch black with a tan head that disappears quickly. It smells of nuts and grapes, but tastes strongly of coffee and a little bit of bittersweet chocolate. I make the mistake of drinking my brews too cold sometimes. Imperial Stouts should be served at 50-55 degrees so I let it warm up for a while longer. This is supposed to be a REALLY excellent beer, but I cannot really enjoy it. It's the "roasted malts" thing again - to me it tastes like meat. And it's a little too bitter for my taste.
I've always enjoyed a beverage or two. But beer is something I have never really understood. Oh, I have drunk it. And I have enjoyed it. But to understand it...that is something else all together. See my "intro" entry from 10/17/08 for details.
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