An American classic. Old Rasputin is a Russian Imperial Stout from the master brewers of California’s North Coast Brewing Co. Widely recognized as a world class beer, this was one of the first craft beers I was introduced to, and it was instrumental in building my interest in the wide world of beers outside of the macros. The head is a heavy, sticky dark brown that reminds me of frothing motor oil. The beer is not quite pitch black, but close. Hold it up to a white light and you can see the tiniest hint of dark red luminescence. The nose is bready with coffee and chocolate. The middle is quite bitter and dry, with burnt coffee and cocoa in the fore. That transitions quickly into a sweet finish with chocolate syrup dominating. The body is medium to heavy, and the alcohol is a substantial presence at 9% ABV, though it doesn’t materially affect the flavor, perhaps just adding a bit of effervescence right at the tail end of the finish. This beer is a universally recognized timeless classic, and even if it isn’t your style, is a beer that every craft beer aficionado should try at least once so as to understand what makes up a truly exceptional Russian Imperial Stout.
I give it a 4.8 out of 5.