GAManiac (1944) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - SEP 9, 2009
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: SEP 10, 2009 X Anny bottle enjoyed on 9/9/09. Big, big thanks to Terry (tmc) for this rarity, poured into a snifter.
The cork opens with a pretty impressive pop and pours with very good carbonation, leaving a one-inch creamy tan head. The body is a dark, dark brown that has some mahogany showing through the edges. Itís lighter than I expected but the carbonation is really impressive give the barrel aging and age of the bottle.
The aroma is dominated by bourbon at the outset with very little from the underlying beer coming through. There are hints of dark chocolate malts along with some vanilla from the wood. Pretty one dimensional (bourbon) nose and honestly, the aroma is a bit of a let down...
...but the taste erases any doubts about the quality of this beer. The bourbon is still there and doesnít hide in the background. But the taste brings out the underlying beer in a way the aroma doesnít. The dark roasted malts are present and accounted for as well as some espresso and dark fruits. The finish is slightly dry from the barrel aging but retains a smooth vanilla and bourbon taste.
The mouthfeel is medium bodied and fairly slick with good carbonation. It goes down very easy and leaves a very boozy feel on the way down.
Iím pretty surprised at the big bourbon presence in the one. In fact, as others have said, this one might could use a couple more years to tone that down a bit. Itís an excellent beer, but Iím not 100% sure this is an improvement over the base Rasputin...but thatís a pretty high hurdle honestly. 7/3/8/3/16
XI bottle, sampled on 9/10/09.
Big thanks to htomsirveaux and BrewerB for this bottle.
Pours darker than the X, an opaque black in the glass with a huge creamy tan head that shows good retention and excellent retention.
The aroma is wonderful on this one - I can definitely get plenty of the base Rasputin with lots of dark roasted malts, chocolate and dark fruit. The bourbon is present as well as some vanilla, but they are much more well-integrated than the X.
The taste is excellent as well, and doesnít stray much from the aroma - lots of dark roasted malts, chocolate, espresso and plenty of bourbon.
The mouthfeel is slightly fuller than the X, very dessert-like with good carbonation and the bourbon burn in much less prevalent.
At the end of the day, I prefer this to the X as it seems to maintain a much more of the base Rasputin and the bourbon does seem to add to the flavors instead of completely dominating. Excellent stuff. 8/4/9/4/17
MoDog (927) - Griffith, Indiana, USA - SEP 9, 2009
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
12th Anniversary 500ml bottle, served in a snifter. Near black pour with a few dark brown edges and a one-finger thick head of spongey, dark tan foam. Decent retention and some nice lace. The aroma had strong notes of bourbon, wet oak, chocolate, caramelized sugar, ripened dark fruit, and some moderate roast. The flavor consisted of upfront bourbon, dark fruit (a hint of green apple), bakerís chocolate, and also some rich caramel. I was a little surprised at how much barrel character this had. A touch strong on the bourbon. Full-bodied, silky mouthfeel, complimented by a light dose of tingly carbonation. It was good, but Iíll take the regular Rasputin over this.
LooseCannon (938) - Norfolk, Virginia, USA - SEP 9, 2009
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
500ml bottle, 12th Anniversary. Pours pitch black in color with brown head. Aroma coffee and dark chocolate. Taste roasted coffee, dark chocolate and bourbon when it warms up, at room temp brings out alot of more flavors with bitter finish.
fidelis83 (2270) - Clinton, Iowa, USA - SEP 8, 2009
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours pitch black with a tall mocha head that fades to a a thick skim within a few minutes and holds there. Aroma is toasty oak and bourbon right away, then a lot of rich vanilla, roast, burnt sugar and boozy rum. As it warms, stale dark fruits, anise cookies, and a ton more ethanol come out in the nose. Flavor is roast, burnt sugar, dark chocolate, lots of toasted oak (not much boubon at first) vanilla and some light licorice. Warming brings out slightly sweeter chocolate notes, a little more bourbon flavor and lots more burny booziness. Toward the finish the roast becomes a bit more char and the bourbon pokes itís head out for a slightly over boozy oak heavy bourbon finish. The aftertaste is odd, bourbon, char and pencil-you know-if you chew on a pencil it kind of has itís own taste, well thats it, not sure what kind of wood that is maybe some kind of cedar or something, weird. Palate is pretty thick, though not as thick as it looks in the glass creamy entry, slightly oily middle and dry, but almost greasy feeling at the same time for the finish, with a light, but acceptable carbonation level, probably would be better with slightly higher carbonation though. Fantastic brew for sure, but a little to boozy and a little lacking on depth compared to some other impy stouts.
bdigital (658) - Ft Wayne, Indiana, USA - SEP 7, 2009
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle: XII Anniversary...dark black pour with a medium tan head. Nose is heavy on the bourbon with some dry, oak notes apparent along with a boat-load of vanilla bean, dark chocolate and some ashy, roasted malts. Medium carbonation...silky finish. Flavor starts with the sweet vanilla and bourbon notes and melds into a very dry, oaky finish. Some additional chocolate and brown sugar touches are present as well.
Cornfield (5570) - Oak Forest, Illinois, USA - SEP 7, 2009
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Thanks to frankenkitty for sharing this (and to BrideOfFrankenkitty for not liking big stouts, so there was more to be had). This poured a thick, blackish brown body with a tall and sustained brown head. The first whiff of the beer was strong with anise followed by dark roasted malt, Bourbon, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, and oak. It had a very smooth, creamy mouthfeel, slightly hot with alcohol. The flavor was reflective of the aroma and saw the addition of alcohol and burnt barley, all merging together very nicely. Very nice sipper.
Ibrew2or3 (8074) - Tempe, Arizona, USA - SEP 5, 2009
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Half liter 12th Anniv. courtesy of tpd975. Pours deep dark with creamy mocha head. The aroma is fresh oak and fudge brownie notes moving into some alcohol heat. The taste seems a bit bright with oak and then blending into creamy moist chocolate brownie, some caramel and then dark to burnt malts.
SphinxTX (2875) - Mata Gorda, Texas, USA - SEP 5, 2009
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: FEB 15, 2012 Bottle thanks to cavie. Pours a dark brown/black with tan head. Aroma of alcohol, wood, dark roast and some chocolate. Flavor of strong dark roast, coffee, malt and wood. Mouth feel is heavy body with low carbonation. Overall, a very tasty, nice sipping brew.
petematte46 (330) - Dallas, Texas, USA - SEP 3, 2009
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Nearly opaque brown-black with a large light brown head. Heavy bourbon note in the aroma, with dark chocolate, vanilla, and toast. Caramel, vanilla, dark alefruit flavors. Very smooth.
jrehmert (7) - Ellicott City, Maryland, USA - SEP 3, 2009 does not count
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
PACKAGE: 500 mL corked/caged bottle
AROMA: Substantial chocolate and bourbon with a slight note of roasty sweetness.
APPEARANCE: Pours opaque black with a persistent brown head (about 1/4") and dissipates to a thin brown, frothy film that leaves light lacing with each sip.
FLAVOR: Initial flavor is purely imperial stout - chocolate, coffee, and a light sweetness, but the bourbon takes over quickly and entirely, leaving a very distinct bourbon after.
MOUTHFEEL: A full bodied RIS (as expected) with a moderate carbonation level.
OVERALL: Exactly as advertised and a very enjoyable sipper. What more would one expect when starting with such a phenomenal beer and ending in a bourbon barrel for some complexity. The alcohol dominance was a bit out of balance, but that did not take away from my impression in the least.