North Coast – Old Rasputin

Tasting: December 17, 2011
Style: Stout (Russian Imperial)

North Coast Old Rasputin

Grigori Rasputin is a very interesting and legendary Russian character. He lived from 1870 – 1916 and by accounts; he was a peasant and self-made holy man. He was known as the “mad monk” for his wild-eyed look and he served in the court of Czar Nicholas II of Russia. He was an unkempt but charismatic womanizer who was also a heavy drinker. Apparently, he laid his hands on the Czar’s son Alexis and “cured” him of hemophilia. As a result, Rasputin grew in favor with the Czar and Empress. Russian high society and political foes feared his influence over the royal family and plotted his assassination. Assassins poisoned his wine — but he didn’t die. They shot him and beat him – but he didn’t die. Ultimately, they bound him and tossed him in the river – where he drowned. He died on what was then December 17th (Julian Calendar). So, on at least the date that would be the 95th anniversary of his demise – I’ll toast his namesake stout.

This Russian Imperial Stout is from California brewer – North Coast. Pours opaque black and has a sweet and slightly boozy aroma. Flavor is big roasted malts – I might even call them burnt malts. Espresso, dark chocolate then a very interesting middle — a nice earthy hop peaks its head in before being over run by some smoky, boozy burn. Quick ABV check – 9.0%, so not really a surprise. Nice mouthfeel. I can’ t help but to think back to the Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout of the other night. Everywhere I said that one lacked (mouthfeel and flavor) – this overpowers. My only criticisms – booziness and burnt flavors muscle their way in a little too much. But, still a nice russian imperial stout – 88 points.

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