Review: Old Rasputin, North Coast Brewing

Old Rasputin
North Coast Brewing Co. — Fort Bragg, CA

  • Style:  Russian Imperial Stout
  • Bitterness:  75 IBU
  • ABV: 9.0%
  • Malts:  Not provided
  • Hops:  Not provided
  • Sampled: 12 oz. bottle

Description:  "Produced in the tradition of 18th Century English brewers who supplied the court of Russia's Catherine the Great, Old Rasputin seems to develop a cult following wherever it goes. It's a rich, intense brew with big complex flavors and a warming finish." — North Coast Brewing Co.

The tasting:   Near black in color.  When I held it up to the light, nothing passed through.  The tan head had very fine bubbles, dissipated very slowly, and left lacing all over the glass.  When the head subsided, it made an interesting cloud-like formation in my glass.  Aroma of roasted malt, alcohol, and licorice.  Deep roasted malts, alcohol, and a piney hop bitterness were dominant in flavor.  Notes of dark chocolate, vanilla, and espresso played nicely in the background.  At first, the taste of alcohol was "in your face".  But after a few more sips, it seemed to mellow out.  Medium bodied, with a creamy mouth feel, it finished with roasted malt and hop bitterness—and of course, the warming alcohol.  This is one that you'll want to take some time with and slowly savor.

Rating:  4 star.  Really Good!  I want this again!   I'd love to cellar Old Rasputin for a year or two and see what happens.  I expect the alcohol and hops would round out nicely and loose a bit of their edge.  I really enjoyed sampling this and other Imperial Stouts.  North Coast has released special barrel-aged versions of Old Rasputin.  I'd love to taste one of those...

Have you tried Old Rasputin or any other North Coast brews?

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  1. Always on tap at Horse Brass! Great review. Would love to try the barrel aged. And yes..cellaring this would only make it better.

  2. Thanks Gordon. I'd like to try this on tap and see how it differs. I'll cellar a bottle and see what happens. The problem is, I don't know if I can wait that long...

  3. This is a nice beer. I'm still loving the RIS style.

  4. I've really taken a liking to this style as well and am thinking about making a RIS homebrew. I may make it soon so that it's drinkable by Christmas. I'm patient.

  5. I bought the Old Stock Ale to try over the weekend. 11.7 ABV. I'd better sit down for that. Not sure I've tried the style before. Do you know much about it?

  6. No, first I heard of Old Stock. I just looked it up and it seems like a great beer to cellar. I tasted quite a few Olde Ales at the Holiday Ale Fest. Thanks for the tip Mark! I'll pick up a few bottles, one for now and one for later.

  7. I really enjoyed the Old Stock. Very smooth without the alcohol taste that you might expect with the 11.7%. I'll have to look out for this style with other breweries.

  8. This is good stout beer.


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