Saturday, March 30, 2013

Russian Imperial Stout Comparison

I like North Coast's 'Old Rasputin' Russian imperial stout. It's a good representation of the style that isn't crazy alcoholic and allows for easy consumption. So, when I developed the recipe for my RIS I kept Old Rasputin in mind and focused on big roastiness with balanced drinkability.

I use 85% domestic 2-row and a mix of roasted and Munich malt for the remainder of the grist. I don't use any caramel malt in this brew but shoot for straight forward roasted flavor. The bittering is about a 1 to .75 ratio with a 60, 15 and 1 minute additions that imparts a small amount of citrus/pine from a charge of centennial hops.

Russian Imperial Stouts
Although this beer is extremely young (8 weeks) I couldn't wait to sit down with friend and The Beer Company owner Antonio to do a taste comparison with Old Rasputin. Our focus was to evaluate the differences between the two beers and come to a consensus on improvements needed for future batches.

In the pictures attached, my stout is in the plain glass and Rasputin is in the Delirium glass. As you can see the beers are remarkably similar in head color and retention as both dropped down to a dense and viscous layer that remained that way until the end of the sample.
The mouthfeel was slightly different in that my beer was full and round and the Rasputin felt more resinous and thin but with more carbonation.

My beer has a predominant chocolate presence along with the typical roastiness and some earthy qualities compared to Rasputins up front coffee, caramel and even though both beers come in at 9% abv the Rasputin's alcohol presence is evident, very different from mine in this way. It is also more bitter by I would guess 6-8 ibu's.

Overall I'm pleased with my RIS with it's robust chocolate and coffee qualities but there are a couple small changes I will make on the next batch beginning with higher ibu's and just a touch of crystal #60 for some caramel taste as a minor player.

1 comment:

Orion Homebrewing said...

Ris is one style i have yet to brew. I have been thinking about a long term ageable beer to brew and this one may be the ticket! What time frame would you suggest for ageing
a beer like this?

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