Date: Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Brewery: North Coast
Beer: Old Rasputin
Category: Russian Imperial Stout
Brewed in: United States
Old Rasputin pours an extremely deep and dark brown. One finger of brown, frothy head was produced from the pour that has moderate to long retention. Substantial lacing occurred on the glass as the head slowly eased back into the beer.
The aroma is very robust and almost screams with a sharp and bitter chocolate mixed with dark roasted coffee beans. I can detect coffee in this brew but I wouldn’t call it a coffee beer. They are subtle given the strength of the other layers. I can smell the slightest hint of hops and of alcohol.
The taste of this beer really shines. In order of prominence I am getting astringent roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee, hops, some dark fruits, and molasses. The aftertaste lingers for minutes after and is dominated by dark roasted bitterness. The flavors both balance each other out and conceal the alcohol. It is clear to see why this beer has such a cult following (either that or everyone are just fans of the lover of the Russian queen).
The mouthfeel is smooth and full. It almost feels thick and coats your mouth as it goes down. The beer isn’t “sticky” and finishes quite dry.
I had purchased and drank this beer on the recommendation of Jim Pettinger (Purchasing Manager at Sherbrooke Liquor in Edmonton) when I went in for some Guinness for Halloween a few years back. So I already knew it was good. The interesting thing about giving it a real in depth look this long after is how much my beer tastes have changed. Back then, when I had not sampled many world class brews, this beauty almost seemed just overly alocoholic. I remember being shocked by the 9% and flavor but feeling tipsy after a bottle.
Ahh, how times change. Memories aside – if you consider yourself a fan of Stout or Russian Imperial Stout and you haven’t tried this brew, go get in touch with your Russian mystic as soon as possible. It may even kick start your love of Russian Imperial Stouts as it did for me.