North Coast is a brewery located in Fort Bragg, California and I picked up a 4-pack of Old Rasputin (9.0% ABV and 75 IBU) Russian Imperial Stout during a family vacation in Phoenix over the Thanksgiving Holiday. I had heard and read good things about North Coast and about Old Rasputin. I picked it up at Total Wine in Glibert, AZ, which has an amazing selection of beer, wine and spirits. I am a big fan of stouts and Russian Imperial Stouts are one of the best selections for a winter evening.
Russian Imperial Stouts – “Inspired by brewers back in the 1800's to win over the Russian Czar, this is the king of stouts, boasting high alcohol by volumes and plenty of malt character. Low to moderate levels of carbonation with huge roasted, chocolate and burnt malt flavours. Often dry. Suggestions of dark fruit and flavors of higher alcohols are quite evident. Hop character can vary from none, to balanced to aggressive.” Beeradvocate
Appearance – Black with a large tan head that takes some time to recede.
Aroma – Rich smell of malt with undertones of coffee and chocolate, maybe some vanilla and alcohol.
Taste – Wow – this is a big beer – Coffee, chocolate, slight alcohol, earthy and bready with a nice medium bitter finish. Let this warm up to let the tastes come out. These should be tasted at ~50-55 degrees.
Overall – A+ - This is a very good Russian Imperial Stout and is one of the best I have tasted.
Website 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.”