The View from the Center

North Coast Brewing's Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

9% ABV, 75 IBU's

2/3/2011

When I gave the missus a mission: “Pick me up a nice stout on the way home” (she was foolish enough to ask if I needed anything on my day off), she did the smart thing: she stopped by Kahn’s on Keystone and asked for a good brew. She came home with two: a workingman’s expression of the style from Australia (Sheaf – more on that in the future) and a big bombing Russian Imperial style from North Coast Brewing, a monster of a beer called Old Rasputin.
 
Damn.
 
No, wait a second…damn.
 
This stout is flat-out lovely. Brewed with the copious amounts of alcohol that would’ve preserved this variety for its trip from the British Isles to the lips of Catherine the Great in years past, this oil-black brew immediately sets up a head built to last. And last – the creamy top never fades through the consumption of the entire glass; a glass whose body is as opaque as the best espresso. The nose is a bit understated – dark chocolate notes are better expressed in the drinking, a wonderful malty mouthful of cocoa, coffee, a trace perhaps of smoke and roasted chestnuts and a finish that lingers with just a smattering of licorice. Undeniably delicious and dangerous as hell, the brew ends with a warmth in the belly that belies the liquor within. Just one, barkeep, just one.
 
Ed's score: 9.5 out of 10 - lack of depth in the nose kept ol' Raspy from perfection.
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Ed Wenck

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