Glass Experiment: Old Rasputin

For this experiment, I took the lessons from the previous one and only poured two glasses at a time. This let us slow down and appreciate what was going on, which was as relief from the pressure of the last experiment. In addition: Old Rasputin is an imperial stout, which means it’s strong and benefits from warming up. Time would be on our side, if you will.

Now take a look at the head on the mug! I can’t explain that to save my life. I poured the beers at the same time but it’s clear that the brandy glass wasn’t allowing any head on this beer at all. Why was there such a different? No idea. But the nose is quite potent at first hit from the mug, moreso than with any other glass.

The girlfriend said the mouthfeel changes with foam. She preferred the foam here, even suggesting the pint over the schooner glass, because the head retention is better. The drink seemed smoother and she enjoyed it more.

The drinks from the brandy glass were warmer. This would happen in the mug eventually, but it took more time and that seemed to matter; the mouthfeel played a bigger role in the enjoyment of the beer and for some reason, the insulation provided by the mug was working in favor of the stout. The beer also would become too warm too quickly in the sniffer, which offered flavors that were less optimal and more roasted.

The pint and schooner glasses didn’t seem to change at all on initial pour, with the head being thicker in pint glass. Nose detection was minimal in these glasses but I expected that, given the style.

As it warmed up, the pint really made a difference. The end of the schooner glass still offered a carbonated bite, the pint didn’t and I thought the pint is better for that and she agreed. The stout became less pleasurable with a concentrated dose of carbonation at the end.

What was most interesting was that unlike the previous test, the mug glass fared the best for this style. The beer was kept a bit colder, so it didn’t suffer as much when you got to the end of the drink. The bountiful head gave a great first whiff but when it died down there was still a very drinkable beer.

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8 thoughts on “Glass Experiment: Old Rasputin”

  1. So after two experiments, no love for the snifter? That surprises me quite a bit.

    Also, I’m a little confused about it being a positive to keep the beer cold longer, if anything I’m usually wishing for beer to warm up more quickly so I can get more flavors before I have already gulped it down.

    Anyway, I love this experiment, and I applaud the beer choices so far, stars in their categories. Could you sum up the rankings? In this one it sounds like you’re rating them 1. mug, 2. pint, 3. schooner, 4. snifter?

    Is the workhorse conical pint glass going to take the prize here? So far it always finishes 1st or 2nd.

    1. I’ll admit, I was pretty surprised myself but I think that drinking a whole bottle from the snifter meant that the beer would get too warm, by the time we were done with it. The mug kept the integrity of the beer a bit longer and so the beer always tasted good.

      I hadn’t thought about summing the rankings because I had thought that each glass would accentuate a particular style. However, I could rank them for that particular style: would that be of interest?

  2. Have you tried that “new IPA Glass” that’s been the buzz lately? I just read a blog post last night from a guy who, like me, thought it was a marketing ploy, but after testing there was actually a difference between his regular pint beer glass and that new IPA glass. Taste and smell of a beer will vary greatly from person to person, but his first test dealt with the head buildup and that is a bit harder to argue. This glass actually kept the head going strong all the way to the very last sip. Wonder how that glass would fare with other beer types.

    I don’t think its cool to post a link to his blog on your’s so send me an email or something and I’ll get you that web address of his review, if you’d like.

    Thanks for your comparo and write up!

    1. Feel free to link that post. Information is good and I don’t mind in the least.

      I haven’t heard anything about a new IPA glass though: I generally consider this sort of thing to be more about the hype. Because what this experiment is showing me is that while there are some subtle changes to the quaffablility of a beer, it isn’t ‘taking a beer to the next level’ if you will. A good ale will still be good, and a bad one will still suck no matter what container it’s in. Enhancements/impediments to enjoyment are worth considering but overall I haven’t had an experience where something is transformed via glassware.

    2. That seems really cool. I stand by my statements of: you can’t make a good beer great with special glassware but I am coming around to the idea that you can make a good beer better (or worse) depending on the container.

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