Rain Check
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Rain CheckRain Check
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #2,064
Ranked #14,994
3.89 | pDev: 9.51%
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
Very Good
Rain CheckRain Check
Notes: Rain Check Spiced Stout is our answer to the merciless wet weather that plagued and slowed the construction of our new brewery in Mills River, NC. This dark, rich, and roasty beer helps us forget the delays—a Rain Check we’ll take anytime.
Reviews: 56 | Ratings: 341 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of brentk56
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours pitch black and capped by an inch or two of tan foam; squiggles of lacing linger

Smell: Roast, chocolate, ginger and lime

Taste: Roast and chocolate forward with ginger and lime building through the middle; the spices linger into the finish though the malts diminish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A really interesting concept and I very much like the idea; I can't help but think a bigger malt bill would have served this beer better as the mouthfeel lacked body (for the style) and the malts were overwhelmed by the spices in the finish

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.96/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a good looking black, tan head almost a full inch. Aroma was a little bit of roast, spice rack, good proportion.

Taste was a little bit of everything, bitter roast, sweet honey, spice rack, ginger, lime. High carbonation kept the beer lively and never heavy. Hides the alcohol quite well. Some chocolate. Its like one of those unique and complex DFH beers, but this one actually tastes good and you'd like to try it again someday.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 label date. 12oz bottle poured into snifter.

A: Pours very dark brown, near black, with finger of dark brown head that fizzed away into a thin but lasting collar. A few streaks of sticky lace were left down the glass.
S: Ginger is very fragrant along with chocolate syrup, lime juice, and cinnamon.
T: Chocolate fudge up front, fresh ginger next, with hints of lime and cinnamon in the finish. Hints of vanilla in the aftertaste.
M: Bright carbonation, full body, clean and crisp mouth with a crisp finish. Solid bitterness, but spice and semi-sweet flavors add balance. Drinks creamy and smooth.
O: I had a half of the 4-pack fresh and it was a bit too rich and sharp, but these last two bottles are now drinking super smooth with well integrated flavors. The odd combinatin of flavors work really well together. I didn't really like this beer at first, but this has now turned into an excellent stout.

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Photo of TX-Badger
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours an opaque dark brown almost black color with khaki colored head. Spice, roasted malt, and some raw cocoa notes on the nose; follows onto the palate. Medium bodied, a little thin for the style. Finishes with spice and roast.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.59/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark, as expected, with a dark tan head. It's short lived but the film lasts.
Smell is roasted malts, spices and toffee.
Taste is spices and heavily roasted malts with some toffee and dark fruits floating in the background.
Starts medium bodied but ends heavier. Starts a bit fizzy but finishes creamier and slides toward the throat. Balance is skewed towards the spice, as expected, but is pretty even keel otherwise.

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Photo of M_C_Hampton
3.87/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: poured from a 12 oz bottle (bottled 5/28/14) into a pint glass, dark brown almost black with a short tan head that dissipates leaving a little lacing, clear

S: lots of malt, spice, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, cinnamon

T: heavy on malt, licorice, cocoa, vanilla, ginger, leather

M: surprisingly light, spice evident, alcohol present

O: Drinks like a winter warmer

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Photo of GreatStoutman
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled 05/28/14, bought it last night. Thanks for the aging!

This is a really interesting stout, and I can't say I've tried anything similar. Pretty light bodied - might be the age, but seems to be in line with earlier reviews. Tan 1 finger head on dark brown body. Smells chocolate, and a little ginger that I wouldn't have guessed if I didn't know it was in there... then the flavor, wow, spices and lots of ginger. I'm shocked some people aren't getting it, but maybe its a different vintage.

Lime comes through at the end, and provides yet another layer to this complex beer. Drinks much more like a cocktail than a beer, and I don't mean that in a bad way. No signs of the 8.9% abv, smooth sipper.

I don't know that I would buy this again, but I'm pretty happy I gave it a shot and credit SN with taking a risk with this.

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Photo of JayQue
3.94/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting take on a stout. Pretty close to Imperial with big flavor and high abv. Pours a dense brown color with no light coming through. Khaki colored big frothy head with good retention and frothy patches of lacing. Aroma is fairly mild, with toasted malt the primary smell. Picks up with the taste. Toasted malt and a little chocolate up front, Then the ginger kicks in with some lime juice in the finish. This is well done, just not expected in a stout. The choice of ginger and lime almost make this seem like it originated in the Caribbean, like Jamaica or somewhere, where they enjoy their Guinness. Mouthfeel is rich and smooth with the lime adding a little extra kick. The 8.9 abv is not noticeable. In all, a very worthwhile take on an American Stout.

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Photo of Marraybay
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: Black in color: 1 finger of head. Some residual lacing.

Smell: Roasty and sweet coffee; Perhaps a touch of spice.

Taste: Nice choco sweetness upfront, with roasted coffee in the finish. A little spice there perhaps as well: Never got the lime, but that's not a prob.

Feel: silky; Almost like a nitro beer.

Overall: Nice pour, with leanings toward an imperial. Pretty decent kick of course @ nearly 9%. Well done.

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Photo of ordybill
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. A black colored brew with a tan head. The aroma is full of cocoa, coffee bean and chocolate. The taste packs a big malt wallop that also follows the aroma. Overall, this is an excellent beer with a full bodied flavor that has a creamy texture.

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Photo of jhartley
4.21/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle in to a Chimay chalice, bottled on 03/04/15.
Pours a dark brown to black body with a thin khaki tan head no lacing left in the glass.
Dark chocolate, roasted malts,vanilla, and lime.
Tastes of chocolate, vanilla, leather, ginger and spice, lime on the finish.
Nice full medium mouth feel with that lime lingering. Not a hint of the 8.9% abv.
Overall, a really tasty stout, one I would love to have again and so easy to drink I could drink a whole bomber; which would be dangerous.

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Photo of gopens44
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Looks pretty run of the mill, decent creamy off white head, opaque beer, minimal lacing if any at all. Nose offers a great amount of spice, with nutmeg dominating before dark chocolate peaks through. Great spice taste as well. Picking up nutmeg, cinnamon, molasses (I know, Not a spice. Just listing tastes.). Journey past that initial tastiness and it smooths out to a nice well balanced medium bodied beer with a touch of spice heat on the exit.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.94/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Black, medium toffee colored lacing.

S - Chocolate, ginger bread, and lime - makes for an interesting combination.

T - Faint ginger and lime throughout with a roasted chocolate malt base underneath and a lingering chocolate finish.

M - Medium body that coats the mouth with roasted chocolate with some residual lime on the back of the tongue.

O - An interesting stout and the ABV is completely hidden making this a dangerously drinkable beer.

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Photo of James_Michaud91
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I liked this beer a lot more than I thought I would. The use of the spices is conservative which I appreciate. Acting more as a support than the main flavor. The lime/ginger help cut the slightly sticky finish- very drinkable for 9%

Would definitely recommend trying this one if you come across it. Purchased at the Sierra Nevada brewery in Chico.

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Photo of ConradKenney
3/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Don't think the lime really went well with the malt flavor of the beer, or maybe my tastebuds are off. Mouthfeel was thinner than I look for in stouts.

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Photo of Beejay
3.69/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Deep black with a dark tan head on the top. Looks nice.

S: Very interesting there is a lot of smells in here that are heard to distinguish, sweet aroma comes out with caramel, as well as a hint of spice flavor. Something bright in the finish, after reading the bottle I could assume it was lime.

T: Interesting as all hell. Who would have thought that ginger and lime would work in a stout. The brightness of the lime works with the roasted malts, and caramel sweetness. Interesting, but the oddities of it make it a little bit of a one off, rather than something I would buy a lot of.

M: Medium heavy in body, smooth and thick with a moderate amount of carbonation.

O: Overall it's hella interesting, but the melding of flavors can only take it so far. I think this is good, but not something I would pick up again.

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Photo of ZBowden
4.06/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a tan head, smells of lime malts and spiciness or spicy hops, tastes of lime and spices slight coffee and malt. Mouthfeel is smooth and average with slight carbonation.

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Photo of AndrewMichael
3.81/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle packaged on 03/04/15, poured into a stemmed glass. Very smooth stout at almost 9%, and can definitely taste the ginger finish. I'm not getting as much of the lime. I see this as a great winter warmer style.

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Photo of startreker
4.84/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L = Poured up into my brand new stout glass by Spiegelau!! Beautiful dark rich body, and a nice white head. Nice head retention all the way throughout the beer.

S = The aroma, is a wonderful blend of dark roasted coffee, chocolate, and spices. The more it warms up, aroma is more pronounced.

T = The taste, is a wonderful display of roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee flavors that echo the aroma of this stout. The more it warms up, the flavors really shine through.

F = The mouth feel of this Stout, is like liquid velvet. It is so smooth and creamy!

O = This is an exceptional stout! Such an outstanding display of the aromatics, and flavors coming together beautifully! Highly recommend this amazing tasty stout for all to enjoy!! The brewery is only 20 min. from home here in N.C. Cant wait to pay it a visit!

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Photo of Smakawhat
4.26/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass, sure why not.

A creamy one finger light tan top presented, with a little bit of thin bubbles, but also some thick bubbled puck as well. Body color is a dark walnut brown, and very opaque.

Spicy aroma, woody, like nutmeg and sweeter brown spices, maybe allspice? In the mix. Hints of mild brown sugar and clove round out as well, with a bit of hinting cream in the mix. Mild roast character, but a dominant spicy sweetness that comes off real nicely. Very inviting.

Palate hits real nicely. Creamy body and nice and rich hinting from the nose brings the goods on the mid palate. Coffee and wood, sweet and almost like cedar, with a wonderful winter warmer-"ish" spicy quality. Roast and char bring a piping brewed coffee like flavor and finish on the aftertaste, mixing in with a great milky creamy body to match.

Real fun take on a stout with a really nice richness to it as well. Comes out like really great spiced coffee, and malt rich roasty thick.

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Photo of teromous
3.04/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pitch black with no head. There is a light tan ring around the top of the glass, but that's it.

Aroma: I get a plum aroma right off the bat. It's a very pervasive fruity plum smell. I also get a bit of an oak scent. It has a very nice aroma but it is very different from other American Stouts that I've had. It has an aroma that, I find, shares some similarities to a Belgian Dubbel.

Taste: I get a light watered down coffee flavor, with a hint of that plum flavor I picked up in the aroma. The alcohol flavor really rears its head in this beer though.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is just too thin for this beer. It is watery and leaves no coating at all.

Overall: I wasn't a fan of this beer. In the flavor department it was average at best, and only because it does have some flavor complexity. It is not visually appealing, the beer has no texture, and it just falls flat.

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Photo of Griffin2
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L - Pours dark black, with a tan head.
S - Smells like a chocolatey stout.
T- Roasty chocolate with a slight lime & ginger at the end.
F - slight carbonation, with a nice slight warmth.
O - A little different but in a good way. I would drink it again if I had more.

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Photo of qchic
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Surprise, new Sierra Nevada brew *snatch!* Spiced stout commemorating the NC place? Worth a shot, at least. Ginger, lime, wha!?

Pours darkest brown with tan head that settles. Initially, the aroma reminded me of a Belgian stout, prob due to the added flavors. The lime brightens up the nose, and ginger gives a bit of spice cake aroma. A lil smoke. Am I crazy for smelling ripe banana?

On the front end, it tastes more like a dubbel with spice and ripe stone fruits, and then it evolves into a dry, roasty stout with a chalky mouthfeel. There's the banana, again! The lime and ginger never really assert themselves in the flavor, but still play a definite part overall. Finishes moderately bitter. Lively carbonation and unique flavors distract from any sign of the 9%.

Can't say that I've had anything like it, but it's fun. I look forward to hearing others' opinions, because I see folks being divided on this one.

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Photo of gibgink
4.24/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Pours black with 1-2 finger head
Smell: Has a pleasantly sweet smell. Can pickup some of the sweet malts as well as the ginger.
Taste: Like the smell, this has some sweeter notes, coming from the malts and ginger. It is a good diversion from the darker fruit notes that one can taste from a typical stout. I did not pickup any of the lime stated on the bottle
Feel: Not full bodied, the sweetness lingers for a little bit in the aftertaste.
Overall: I really liked this one. Offers some tastes that you don't get in a stout, so I think Sierra Nevada did a good job. I would drink again and get more if it was available in my area.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to dogdoc for sending this one. Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Cigar City teku glass.

A: Very dark brown, bordering on black, and opaque. Forms a half-finger's worth of tan head that fades fairly quickly, and despite the opacity has a fair amount of bubbles crawling up the sides of the glass.

S: Roasted malts, chicory, old leathery books, and a touch of coffee in the malts.

T: Thick roasted malts, spices (chicory, clove, ginger) and bit of coffee roast. Perhaps it's just label-derived suggestion, but there is some lime citrus on the exhale. Residual ginger and chicory spices in the hang with malt sugary and mild ethanol sweetness. There's some dry hop bitterness as well near the end.

M: Medium body for style, keeping in mind this is NOT an imperial stout. Minimal alcohol presence and medium carbonation sensation.

O: This was a decently imagined beer, and reasonably well-executed. I just don't think the spices plus the lime zest is doing anything to excite me particularly. Still, drinkable and worth a try if you happen across one.

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Rain Check from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 341 ratings