Thursday, 13 April 2017

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

"Never Say Die" reads the tag line on 651mL bottles of Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, the extra strong beer from Ft. Bragg, California's North Coast Brewing Co. And at a solid 9% alcohol, I'd say the "extra" in "extra strong" is probably well earned. The black as tar ale poured with a thick and loose tan head that was built to last.

To my nose, the scent of Ol' Raspy was dominated by bitterness, set off slightly by molasses sweetness. Rich and malty were the initial flavour notes, before swerving into the bitter lane toward the finish. The mouthfeel was creamy and lush, but not such as would disguise the big booze count.

Drinking a bottle of Ol' Raspy was a substantial Sunday afternoon undertaking. It was hearty, with the hoppy grit that I love in a strong dark ale. Plus the glowering image of the man himself on the label gave the beer a spectral or haunted vibe. My only note of critique on this very good beer is that it could use a better developed front end.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

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