The beer equivalent of a Vietnam flashback
A Review of Old Rasputin by North Coast Brewing Co.
Posted on 8/14/2011 by Chops
When I drink an Old Rasputin Imperial Stout, I get the beer equivalent of a Vietnam flashback. A long time ago in a pub far, far away, this beer was my introduction into aggressive stouts. It's one thing to find an imperial IPA with a strong bite, but it's a whole other experience with a thick, hostile imperial stout. As if the intense flavors weren't enough to capture your undivided attention, the pungent hops and charred smokiness seem to team up and form a taste bud steamroller. In other words, respect it or you don't deserve to drink it.

In the glass, this beer is stark black. It's one of the few strong stouts that actually look like smoke, i.e. significantly thick and charred. Holding it up to a light source will only yield a slight brown twinge around the edges. The head is thick and spongy with that signature copper coloration. Old Rasputin's aroma demands attention. Whenever you come across big stouts, there is almost always a roasted quality to the smell and taste. Usually it's no more than a character trait, but this beer actually smells like it was roasted. I can't help but imagine dumping a barrel of beer onto an open fire and then scooping up the beer-soaked ashes into bottles. That's what Old Rasputin smells like to me. There are also a few chocolate notes, some hop bitterness and the expected alcohol burn. It's quite an interesting aromatic study.

Luckily the first sip is properly foreshadowed, otherwise your brain might have exploded. Everything about this beer is huge. Massive roasted flavors right up front, massive dark chocolate notes on the up swing, massive hop bitterness, all wrapped up inside a pungent alcohol burn. Old Rasputin takes several sips to get used to, so just let all the flavors duke it out for a while. I'd recommend just focusing on the mouthfeel to start, which you would think would be pretty coarse like black coffee, but it's actually a bit grittier. I can't really think of an appropriate comparison, maybe a muddy quality. It's quite unique and actually works well with the intense, complex flavor train.

Overall, Old Rasputin Imperial Stout is a monstrous delight. North Coast Brewery is well known for their unique and flavorful selection. In my opinion, Old Rasputin is their best beer. It's by far the most memorable. Anyone who has experienced this brew can't help but intimately recall the experience. Any fan of bigger brews owes it to themselves to try this beer. But on the flip side, this beer should be completely avoided by novices. I even go so far as to say that Old Rasputin is one of the top 10 beers that should never be attempted by an amateur. It's unflinching worthiness in a bottle and you'll definitely find out when you open it.

Share This Page:  The beer equivalent of a Vietnam flashback, A Review of Old Rasputin by North Coast Brewing Co.
Old Rasputin by North Coast Brewing Co.
About  |  Terms  |  Privacy  |  Contact  |  Login
© Copyright 2011-2019  |  |  All Rights Reserved