North Coast Brewing Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin XIV (2011)
By: Daniel Marcoux
The 14th, or as the Romans would say, the XIV. Not a lot of families make it that far. The only one I can think of was a French guy named Louie who expanded his crib at the expense of the tax payers. It kind of worked out for him, but his grandson got the brunt of it. Poor guy. Who knows, maybe Louie would be up to IVC had North Coast Brewing been around…
First Impression: I paid 20 dollars for this brew – Andrew Jackson and I really hope it delivers; being Russian themed, I hope it doesn’t disappoint like Sochi hotel rooms.
Pour: Jet black with a dark khaki head, very similar to the regular Old Rasputin. The head dissipates quickly but leaves a nice lacing on the glass as you drink Bourbon, molasses, roasted grain, slight chocolate, alcohol. Of all of those smells, the alcohol and molasses are by far the most dominant.
Taste: Absolutely incredible. At first you get a pretty big punch of the bourbon, but then the grains from the stout overtake the brew. It goes from big bourbon kick to mild-sweetness to toasty goodness. More chocolate and coffee notes are found when tasting the brew, however I didn’t really get much of them in the smell. The alcohol/molasses smell really overwhelms the brew, but the taste is much more balanced than the nose. For being 23 proof, this brew is incredibly drinkable and comforting. It does linger a bit in the back of the throat like a good bourbon should, but it’s nice. It also finishes with a slightly bitter, vegital taste, however that might be the tannins from the wood.
The mouthfeel on this beer is really nice and what you would expect from an imperial stout. Carbonation was also on point for this style, especially considering that it’s been resting for two years. The 500 mL bottle is more than enough even if you are splitting this with somebody else as you’ll feel the 11.5% ABV after one glass.
Final Impression: It’s a really nice offering for an imperial stout that’s bourboned, but the death stare from Rasputin himself is quite terrifying as you empty the bottle. It’s a limited release, so if you see it check it out! It also ages well.