An oldie but a goodie
Posted on 4/21/2011 (1279 days ago, 18 of 262 reviews)
9/10 Appearance | 10/10 Aroma | 9/10 Mouthfeel | 10/10 Flavor
You know that feeling you get when you are around an old friend? That relaxed, calm atmosphere where you can just be yourself and enjoy the company? Well ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to an old friend. North Coast Brewings Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. Whenever I see this old friend, I know that even if everything else goes wrong, the beer is going to go right.
Since this beer is an imperial, it takes all things associated with your normal stout, and kicks them all up to another level. More taste. More aromas. More, more, more. Being the stout lover that I am, it always excites me when I can get my hands on a good Russian Imperial. The reason I say a ''good'' Russian Imperial is because some breweries have yet to get it through their heads that just because you put MORE of everything in the bottle, doesn't mean you've made a ''good'' imperial anything. Thank goodness North Coast is not one of those breweries.
The bottle has one of the better labels on it that you will see, but that's not what we are here for. Take time to examine it after you have poured this liquid treat into a glass. It pours almost pitch black, with a nice thick and creamy head. The typical aromas start to fill the air. Chocolate and coffee. You pick up more of a powdered chocolate scent as opposed to the typical bitter chocolate. Its almost like a powered cocoa smell now that I think about it. The coffee aroma is there and in full force. Just a good roasted coffee scent. There's a slight tinge of alcohol coming through, but not enough to intimidate in the least bit. After you take in all the initial bold aromas, you can pick up some sweetness off the malts, and some soft hop undertones.
I know your mouth is watering by now. Don't lie. You want to get this beer in your mouth as soon as possible. I always do. That first sip is pure stout heaven. Its just a flavor explosion. The chocolate is the first thing that comes out. Its bold and delicious. It works perfectly with the malt flavors that are also coming through on the front end. The feel in your mouth is just right. Its not overly thick, or too watered down. Its exactly what you would want from a high end stout. You start to notice the slightly higher than usual amount of carbonation though. Normally if you don't have bold flavors to be carried by all these little bubbles, it could be distracting. No worries here. The flavors have no problem holding their own. On the back end, you pick up the coffee in all its roasted glory and bitterness, along with just the slightest hint of hops. Nothing too overpowering. Just right. And the fact that this beer clocks in at 9%, you keep expecting to get that burn that normally comes with a higher ABV such as this. Its just not there. The alcohol flavor in this one just adds to the fun. This beer is big. This beer is bold. This beer is what all beer should aspire to be.
I could go on and on about this one, but as with any old friend, its not necessary. You love them for simply being who they are. Old Rasputin shines at doing just that. It is what it is. Its an amazingly delicious Russian Imperial Stout. This beer has been one of my top 5 Russian Imperials from the first time I ever had it. Ive recommended it countless times before, and I have no problems recommending it again right here. Find it. Buy it. Drink it. Make yourself a life long friend like I did.