Basic Beer Info:
- Brewery: North Coast Brewing
- Beer: 2013 Old Rasputin
- Batch: 2013
- Beer type: Imperial Russian Stout
- ABV: 9%
- Imbibition date: 10-25-13
- Temperature: 42° F
- Serving type: Poured from 12oz bottle into a large tulip glass
- Price: $8.99/4 12oz (Binny’s Beverage Depot, Chicago)
North Coast Brewing, relative to the craft beer industry, is one of the older and more celebrated breweries. Founded in 1988, the brewery has been lauded with various awards for their beers; most recently, a Gold Medal at the 2012 Stockholm Beer Festival. My first experience with North Coast Brewing and Old Rasputin was sometime in graduate school when my beer palate began to expand. I remember that I could only see it as a thick, boozy insanity. Full review below.
Old Rasputin came out of the bottle a dark brown, nearly black, color. There was a half a finger’s worth of head, roughly the color of overly creamed coffee. The head stayed around briefly but fizzled off shortly, becoming a thin ring at the edges of the glass with an island or two of small bubbles floating around on the top of the beer. I think (I know) that I had the beer too cold when I poured it and I think that is why the head was so small. Russian Imperials should best be poured and consumed in the 50-55° F range. When I’ve enjoyed Old Rasputin in the past, at a more reasonable temperature, I remember a much more robust head that stuck around more. As I began to drink I noticed that the beer actually appeared almost red at the edges. When beer spread out on the way out of the glass with each sip I noticed a deep red or crimson to it, quite nice.
I got a big, dark, roasty, bready aroma out of my glass. Perhaps a bit of hop spiciness on the back-end. As it warmed up a bit I began to notice a lot of tobacco flavors, really near to that earthy sweetness of freshly dried and cut tobacco leaves.
This beer truly tastes wonderful. I get a lot of hop up front, not quite as sharp as a big IPA, followed by dark, roasted malt, a little boozy heat, something akin to sugar just as it starts to caramelize/burn, and finally a finish of alcohol soak chocolate covered raisins. Yeah, I’m specific.
The mouthfeel felt pretty spot on for a Russian Imperial, it was smooth with a faint carbonation tickle with a slight amount of body.
Great label. I love the slightly religious symbolism with the hand raised, almost as if Rev. Rasputin is about to anoint us with his delicious beer.
It’s a classic. One of the best Russian Imperials out there, and maybe one of the first to receive widespread acclaim and distribution in the North American beer market.
Final Rating1: 4.11/5
To see a list of all my beer reviews and ratings, check out the Summary of Beers Reviewed page.
The aFR (adjusted Final Rating) is my attempt at standardizing beer ratings across the increasingly vast pricing and container volume differences. It ranges from near 0 to near 25, the higher the number is the better the beer is in terms of quality and value. See the Beer Review Methodology Page. ↩