Old Rasputin XI - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Rasputin XIOld Rasputin XI

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

142 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 142
Hads: 212
rAvg: 4.27
pDev: 7.26%
Wants: 107
Gots: 53 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.60% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: stumac on 12-05-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

This brew is to commemorate 11 years of brewing Old Rasputin. This is Old Rasputin aged in 12 year-old oak bourbon barrels for nine months.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 142 | Hads: 212
Photo of schwaeh
4.17/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle sent my way by verecund

A: Pours pitch black with a massive light brown head. This looks like a memory foam mattress on top of the beer. Decent lacing.

S: This is easy to smell from feet away. Chocolate, bourbon, and rum soaked raisins are all vibrant in the aroma. This must have picked up some dark fruit notes along the way. Very light hints of molasses and some coffee roast.

T: Wow this is a beast of a beer. Dark chocolate and strong alcohol hit you hard at first. Roasted grainy malt and some coffee/hop bitterness still seem to be here, this had to be really roasty years ago because its still there. I don't get the fruit I sensed in the aroma, maybe the fusel alcohol covers that aspect up. Sweetness is present but it is squashed by all of the flavor and roast. A little oxidation here, I'm surprised it isn't much worse.

M: Medium carbonation, really smooth and creamy. This seems to have a bigger body than last time I sampled some. Slight alcohol burn, nicely warming in the belly.

O: This did not disappoint at all. Great barrel aged stout with no hype behind it to get your hopes up. This could have used some more time to get the booze down a tad if needed. I'm going after more of this for sure. (1,231 characters)

Photo of Spider889
3.95/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared at a little tasting we did at From the Vine by boatshoes. Thanks for all the sweet beers you brought!

This is a black beer, dark with a very deep brown sugar colored head.

Smells of really strong bourbon. It is still fusel and packs a wallop. Raisins are the dominating marriage of the bourbon and stout.

Tastes quite dark and sweet. Boozy, bourbon soaked raisins again trample the diminished dark malt flavors so closely related to the regular Old Rasputin. Fresh oak flavors are also nicely integrated.

The mouthfeel is quite boozy, and thinner than the beer appears. Very warming, in a very pleasant (and rare tick) kind of way.

I was very surprised how strong the bourbon and alcohol were given the age on this bottle. If you have one in the cellar, I'd say keep it there another few years to give it more time to mellow and develop. (856 characters)

Photo of LethalChickens
3.21/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a large snifter. Half way through the pour I'm asking myself if this is a RIS or a Brown ale? It poured thin and the head was barely off white in color. I do not know if this did not age well or not but it tasted nothing like I expected. It was completely different from the XII. It had a decent aroma but the body was lacking. The Bourbon flavor was pretty decent but for a RIS I was hoping for more body and flavor.
This was consumed in August of 2011. (466 characters)

Photo of jsanford
4.65/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml C&C bottle poured into a North Coast Snifter.

A - Oh boy. Inky, viscous black with a dense, creamy, mocha-colored head that settles to a thick cap, leaving craggy bubbles and sticky lacing clinging to the glass. Beautiful RIS, picture-perfect!
S - Huge aromas of chocolate fudge and sweet roasted coffee, with amazing Bourbon notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak. Everything a big, Barrel-Aged RIS should be. Pretty good so far.
T - Pretty close to the nose, and that's a good thing. Lots of dark chocolate, coffee beans, and sugar. The Bourbon character is so well integrated in here (granted, it's had a couple of years to settle down), and leaves just the slightest of warming sensations in the belly.
M - Smooth and creamy, with a full mouthfeel and lowish carbonation.
O - Easily one of the best Barrel-Aged Stouts I've had in some time. Just when I was getting bored with the style this comes along and reminds be what a well-done BA Stout can be! (959 characters)

Photo of claspada
4.03/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Plenum in our first of hopefully many trades.
Pours a pitch black with a perfect head of light tan capping it off. Slow faded, leaving sublime tan sticky lacing.

Aromas begin with rich bourbon and multiple kinds of chocolate. Nice vanilla notes emerge more as it warms with a sweeter chocolate smell also becoming more dominant.

The tastes begin with roasted malts and dark chocolate. There is a slight bourbon present in the initial finish but it is not boozy or off-putting by any means. As it warms a tad you get more of the bourbon flavors. There are some notes of molasses, leather and a little tobacco-like flavor coming through very nicely in the finish and then a long drawn out oaked vanilla and dark chocolate flavor to seal the deal. A smooth, wonderful sipper indeed.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly medium bodied with medium to low carbonation; perfect for the style. Not cloying or flat or syrupy at all. Drinks much easier than the Chocolate Yeti I had last night. (That beer really killed your palate with the roasty and sticky finish what was way too thick.) This finishes almost "crisp" for a Russian Imperial Stout but obviously far from it, if that makes any sense.

Overall this is one of the better examples of a Bourbon barrel-aged RIS I have had to date. Flavors are all balanced and well integrated. The bourbon doesn't dominate or make this beer seem like bourbon with stout added, as some do. Really good and definitely recommended. Probably not the easiest to find at this point, but give it a go. (1,548 characters)

Photo of maniacal82
3.17/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I think this beer is past its prime. I picked a bottle up at a store in MD about 4.5 months ago. I later read on North Coast's website that this was only sold at the brewery. How it ended up on a shelf in MD I have no idea. I knew that this beer already had some age on it, but for a BA RIS I didn't think that would be much of an issue.

A: Pours a transparent dark brown with a thin off white head. Not a good sign already. I was hoping for opaque black.

S: I didn't really get much in the nose. Maybe a little bit of bourbon.

T: Pretty good taste. Can definitely taste the bourbon. I didn't get a lot of the normal roasty, chocolatey flavors you come to expect from a RIS. While I did rate taste the highest, this beer was definitely lacking. Good taste but below par for the style.

M: Not a whole lot of body here. I didn't really expect there to be given the appearance. At least it was carbonated.

D: I split the 500mL bottle with a friend. One glass was enough. At $25 retail, this was way overpriced. There are much better BA stouts out there.

Old Rasputin XII was much better. (1,090 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.96/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Did a little mini vertical of this and that XII at March Madness, thanks jh1982 for bringing this gem (at least compared to my XII, ugh). Very dark brown, minimal tan head to it. Big alcohol aroma, chocolate, heavy bourbon. Damn, I can't believe adding such a massive beer to bourbon, but shit, they're doing it with barleywines these days.

Fears were put to rest of a massive alcohol heat wave upon sipping, nice chocolate and bourbon integration. Yes, it is huge, and there is definite alcohol awareness and heat, but not so much that it is not enjoyable. More vanilla in this mouthfeel. More chocolate, brown sugar arrives.

I still prefer the non barrel aged version of this beer, but its far from bad. (709 characters)

Photo of peacebone116
4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from the North Coast Brewery in April 2010. Enjoyed on 5/8/2011. 500-mL bottle poured into Delirium snifter.

A: Black with full brown head. Lots of bubbles and lace stay for a while.

N: Chocolate fudge and coffee.

T/M: Follows the nose perfectly! chocolate fudge brownie with liquor on top. A bit of coffee and a touch of bourbon, which lends a bit of heat to the beer. Very thick and creamy body.

This beer is very smooth. The flavors seem to be a bit muddled, but the beer remains very rich and delightful, with only a touch of heat.

I wish that i had been lucky enough to try this beer fresh as well, but without that background knowledge, I can say that the beer has progressed nicely and I believe that I opened this one up at a good time. All the flavors blended together well, and the heat was only present in the background, taking a back seat to the the rest of the beer's great characteristics! (923 characters)

Photo of Ryan011235
3.98/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter on 5/20/11

Thanks to boatshoes for sharing the bottle.

Dark brown that doesn't entirely approach black. Quick flash of a head. Collar tapers to a swirling skim. In spite of that, there is impressive lace for the style.

The nose surrenders modest roast notes and smells fairly sugary. Molasses, hints of coffee and mild dark chocolate. Earthy; notes of wood. Sweet with bourbon. The barrel is more grabbing on the palate. Sweet, hot and lots of oak. Roasted espresso notes. Some sugary tones. Definitely bourbon-forward. Full body with a rolling, fizzy, effervescent carbonation. Quite hot. Finishes with lingering barrels.

Overall impression: pretty tasty but a little goes a long way. (711 characters)

Photo of Devi0us
4.27/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Im trying this for the first time after a long day at the beach at the North Shore in Hawaii.

A- This pours a dark black with some slight mahogany accents when held to light. Had a thick 1 finger headed that morphed into a ring rather quickly leaving beautiful lacing on the glass. 

S- Slight coffee and bourbon scents as well as caramel and vanilla.

T- The first flavor to hit the palate is coffee, wait for it...Dark Chocolate then proceeds to dominate. The alcohol has definitely given way to these two flavors over time.

M- Medium bodied and smooth. Decent amount of carbonation for a beer thats 2 years old. Not the thickest Imperial Stout I've had but no complaints here.

O- Time has absolutely helped this beers flavor. This beer is creeping up on me as I review it. Definitely worth the price I paid and I'm glad I grabbed a few. (845 characters)

Photo of CrellMoset
4.06/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle picked up in Greensboro, NC - a very nice and random surprise. Poured in to a tulip, and split w/ my bro, jadumler.

Appearance: Pours a very dark charcoal cocoa, entirely opaque, and a moderate pour yields a very nice and incredibly creamy finger of moderately tanned head. The retention is excellent for a barrel aged beer clocking in at 11.6%, though as with all things it ultimately fades to a thin sheen and a thicker ring, replenished consistently by gentle but plentiful carbonation. The lacing on the sides of the tulip is what elevates this beer from a good looking beer to a great looking one, however - huge sticky, creamy swaths of delicate and thin on the one hand but also glittery and runny lacing dominates the glass landscape, proving that just because a beer's spent nine months in a barrel and weighs in at supra 10% doesn't mean it can't also have very attractive and clingy lacing.

Aroma: Fruity and bright, with hints of currants and raising mingling with toast, husky malts, and a slew of oak. Cocoa emerges as it warms, as do hints of cherry, but the bourbon remains sweet, roasty, and smooth throughout.

Taste: Incredibly dry. Age has been good to this one, and all of the sweetness one can find in a regular Old Raspy - which, to be fair, isn't entirely a lot to begin with, but does take on flashes of dark, sweet toffee, caramel, and sweeter chocolate - is pretty much run out here. Instead, the tongue is greeted by dark, dry, bitter cocoa, toasty, earthy coffee, a slew of toast notes, and bountiful wood and bourbon overtones. Vanilla is strong, as is beautiful split oak, cinnamon, and a few (dried out, of course) wood sugars. The bourbon contributes a mature spice, warming but not abrasive.

Mouthfeel: Perhaps this beer's weakest aspect. The carbonation is a little amped up initially and for a little too long, though allowing it to sit for a while helps. The body itself is thicker but not cloying or saccharine at all, given how dry it is. All in all good, but a little erratic given the heightened carbonation.

Drinkability: Pretty darn good, if not great. Process wise, it's pretty solid, even though the end result is a little too dry for my tastes. I can see some thinking this to be a near-perfect stout, however - not too hot, nice and dry, and eminently toasty. It reminds me, perhaps, of what Southampton's RIS would taste like if it spent a little while in a fourth or fifth-generation barrel. Regardless, the 11.6% is steep, so be careful if you can lay hands on this one. (2,540 characters)

Photo of MbpBugeye
4.03/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by boatshoes. Awesome!

Appearance
This stuff has great head retention. The fluffy, dark khaki head leaves lots of lacing. The beer is a pretty deep black with some red highlights.

Aroma
Lots of sweet, dark fruits. Some smoke and a big aroma of licorice.

Taste
With the first few sips the initial taste is straight bourbon. It carries the strong bourbon flavors throughout but other things meet it and add complexity. Chocolate comes in along with rich, dark fruits. This beer is fairly hot and really big on bourbon.

Mouthfeel
Full with a decent level of fluffy carbonation. Alcohol heat is on the high side, but doesn't carry many fussel/boozy flavors.

Overall
A really good, complex beer. Its still quite hot and the bourbon is very pronounced. (769 characters)

Photo of alexhahn82
3.98/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. Dark, rich, almost black cola brown in color, plenty of head, almost 2 fingers, plenty of almond brown lace!

S. Smells of chocolate, light hints of vanilla and bourbon.

T. Incredibly light in body, No creamy/syrupy/thick viscosity here, just ass kicking chocolate rich flavor, a slight hint of coffee, no boozy flavors just excellent flavor on the end of taste that is all bourbon.

O. Its no wonder why this beer was only sold at the brewery, bought 3 bottles @ $20 a pop, wish I had bought a case for $280 while I was up there. A must try, best Russian Imperial Stout I have ever had! Gonna cellar one of the bottles for a minimum of 5 years!! (650 characters)

Photo of ShogoKawada
4.71/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My third and last bottle of rasputin XI. Goodbye, old friend, you will be missed. Thank you to all who sent me bottles of this.

500ml into pint glass.

A- Satisfying 'pop' on opening. Big brown sugar head, 3-fingers and lively, nice legs on this one.

S- Mellow, almost nutty aroma, some vanilla, and brown sugar.

T- Immense dark roast malt, robust, extremely dark chocolate. Like an expensive swiss chocolate. Roasty and bitter in the finish. Bourbon has mellowed since the last time I had a bottle (about 6 months ago) and is in my opinion better integrated into the overall flavor profile.

M- Alcohol is here, and it's warming, but it's oh-so tasty and goes down with ease. Fantastic. Moderately heavy but good carbonation.

O- Have I had a better -bal aged stout? I'm not sure I have. This beer fuckin' rocks.

642 (825 characters)

Photo of azdback
4.82/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into on tulip glass. As absent of light, as the dark reaches of the universe, with a frothy, cafe latte colored head. The lace is laying down in a solid sheet. Beautiful beer.

The nose is bourbon barrel aged booziness. Roasty undertones, but even the undertones are soaked in bourbon. After a big nose full, I felt the strong urge to sit back in my recliner, and light a big cigar, just as my grand father would after dinner, in his study, with his snifter of single malt scotch.

Mmmm!!! This is phenomenal!! Vanilla covered coffee hard candy, dripping with bourbon. Slight tartness as it warms. A very pleasant alcohol warming of the throat.

The mouthfeel is spot on, but perhaps not quite as huge as it could be. I think something like the Abyss is the bench mark that I would use to score a 5 on mouthfeel for this style.

Overall, this is a fantastic Russian Imperial Stout. Thanks to BaltimoreBeerGuy for this rare treat. I hope all the RIS beers I have traded for recently are as good as this one. (1,014 characters)

Photo of megahurts4
4.64/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

North Coast Old Rasputin XI

Appearance: dark brown, medium-small head, and good lacing.

Smell: like a bourbon laced chocolate cake.

Taste: chocolate, cocoa, bourbon-vanilla, and a faint hint of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: silky smooth and medium.

Overall:
This is a great stout with a nice balance of boubon flavor. This particular one has been aged. (351 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
3.95/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Thirstybird for bringing this one back from North Carolina on one of his trips. 500ml corked and caged bottle served at 53 degrees in my Duck Rabbit snifter. Pours two shades shy of black with a frothy, half inch tan-colored cap embedded with bubbles and ringlets. Head dissipates into a fairly consistent thin slick. A parabola of spots and strands of lacing are exposed on the tilt side of the glass with each sip. Nose suggests bourbon, ethanol and chocolate. Aromas of burnt sugar (molasses or brown sugar) are also present. Taste follows nose with the addition of vanilla notes towards the middle (and perhaps a trace of coconut in the mix). Finish expresses a lingering and slightly caustic ethanol quality between quaffs. Moutfeel is medium-light with a carbonation that falls just short of lively. Alcohol heat immediately hits the tongue and continues to remain between quaffs. Quite enjoyable - I enjoyed this one much more than XII. That being said, there's quite a bit of heat to this beer and it could stand to cellar a bit longer in my opinion to help soften the edges. (1,093 characters)

Photo of kk73
4.18/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500ml bottle into my glass.

A - Pours a dark black with some dark brown mahogany around the edges with a big three finger mocha colored head. Some lacing down the sides.

S - Smells of wood, bourbon, brunt malts, chocolate and some coffee in that order. Not overwhelmingly bourbon, but nicely integrated into the nose.

T - Taste follows the nose with a slight alcohol warming and detection. Some dried fruit with a slightlly smokey finish.

M - Full bodied, smooth and soft mouthfeel for such a big beer. Not thick and syrupy but the mouthfeel is creamy and coats the tongue well. Carbonation is well done.

D - Devastating Dangerous! (650 characters)

Photo of JohnnyS17
4.32/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted from a snifter.

A - A very, very thick and dark head, about a finger thick. The beer's color can only be described as midnight. It appears warm and embracing.

S - The smell is hard to describe precisely, but it is intoxicating. It smells like a very fine wood dipped in chocolate. That probably makes no sense, but it is what I detect. It is also smoky and roasty smelling. There is a faint smell of bourbon.

T - Light carbonation with a very sweet chocolaty roast finishing. It leaves a nice roasty, malt taste in my mouth.

M - Full bodied with light tingling. Very creamy and coats your mouth.

D - Although beer is cold, this beer leaves me feeling very warm, which is perfect for a cold Maryland day. I would definitely welcome another. (752 characters)

Photo of metter98
4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger high tan colored head that has good retention properties and never completely faded away; a thin layer of bubbles consistently covered the surface.
S: There is a strong smell of bourbon in the nose along with aromas of chocolate, oak and vanilla. The smell is so strong that it was noticeable as soon as the bottle was opened.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and has strong flavors of bourbon.
M: It feels full-bodied and smooth on the palate. There are lots of warming sensations from the alcohol in the finish.
D: The beer is definitely a sipper given its strength although a good portion of the alcohol is masked from the taste. (700 characters)

Photo of Chico1985
4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with cbutova alongside Rasputin XII and a 1-year aged regular Rasputin. Fun to compare them all.

Pours black, super creamy tan head is surprisingly big for a while. Retains at about a half finger leaving some lacing.

Pure cocoa, dark chocolate and oak in the nose along with some vanilla. Not much bourbon noticeable.

Like the smell, the bourbon has mellowed out big time. There is dark chocolate, roasted malts, oak, bourbon and alcohol come through alot more as it warms.

Booze is very well-hidden but starts to become hot and more bourbony as it warms. Carbonation is low.

At this point (2 years old) it tastes very similar to regular Old Rasputin. I wish their was a bit more bourbon flavor, it just winds up coming through as alcohol heat. Very good but lacks the complexity I was hoping for. (816 characters)

Photo of cbutova
3.98/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Generously shared by Chico1985 for our Rasputin themed tasting. Notes from last night.

A- Pitch black with a dark tan head that has good retention for a 2 year old high alcohol barrel aged ale. Creamy pillow atop the beer with a ring leaving a nice lace trail behind.

S- Sort of laid back for the style. Mellowed out oak and bourbon with a heavy presence of cocoa. Caramel and vanilla. Opens up more with warmth.

T- Cocoa is huge here with a backdrop of nice oak, mellow bourbon, vanilla and caramel. Not as in your face as other Bourbon barrel stouts but it works nicely.

MF- Oily moderate body with smooth silky midway carbonation. Cocoa bitterness and slight alcohol warmth. A tad light.

DB- Definitely reminds me of BA Imperial Stout Trooper before it became infected, on the lighter side of Bourbon stouts. It is a nice blend but feels like something is missing. (872 characters)

Photo of corby112
4.2/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes:

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a massive three finger frothy, pillowy mocha colored head. Excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap that coats the glass with rings and large chunks of soapy lacing.

As soon as the cork popped you could smell this beer across the room. Huge bourbon presence with a lot of roasted malt, silky chocolate, oak, vanilla, roasted coffee and toffee. This is one if the best smelling bourbon beers I've had.

While this beer is complex and flavorful it doesn't live up to the potential of the aroma. A pretty big bourbon bomb with a lots of alcohol heat up front that lingers throughout into a chest warming finish. The barrel aging adds touches of oak and vanilla nad underneath all ofthe bourbon there is some roasted malt, burnt toast, coffee bean, toffee, chocolate and slight lactic creaminess. Overall this is very hot with lots of bourbon but it has mellowed out as I've opened them in intervals of three months. (989 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
3.61/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received from ROBORB in a recent trade. Cheers buddy.

A - Big, black beer with only a little bit of brown on the edges when you tilt the glass. Three fingers of tan head that had decent retention and left a ton of beatutiful sheets and lacing on the sides as I drank it.

S - Chocolate, burnt malts, little coffee, hints of bourbon. Some alcohol comes through here that I don't care for a ton, but this smells alright.

T - Chocolate, burnt malts, little molasses, alcohol. The bourbon is greatly diminished, really have to look for traces of it. Alcohol is noticable, although not super hot, just somewhat unpleasant, and gives the flavor a thinning effect. Above average.

M - Lighter side of full or heavier side of medium. Very smooth, carbonation is appropriate and this is a very smooth beer.

D - Didn't have a problem drinking this. It's a solid beer that was quite enjoyable, although not sure if it is a big improvement over the non-BA version. (955 characters)

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.67/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle, grabbed at Bruisin' Ales in Asheville, into The Bruery tulip glass. Poured cold, allowed to warm to room temp before samping.

Pours pitch black with a thinnish, creamy brown head. That thin brown head, however, then turns into a permanent, half-inch, creamy brown cap that looks fantastic. Amazing lacing as well. Honestly, a 4.7, but rounded to 4.5.

Nose brings out dark baker's chocolate and bourbon, rich vanilla, brown sugar, and coconut; hints of oak. Alcohol is there, adding measurably to the flavor, a bit boozy but well under control.

Taste begins with deep, fudgey dark chocolate notes, complemented by rich vanilla, both of which are quickly overtaken by the deep, dry oaky barrel presence to follow. Finish brings a lingering espresso roastiness out alongside the dark chocolate richness and bourbon, along with the dry, woody oak. Exceptionally balanced, delicious.

Mouthfeel is excellent - the creaminess of the head provides a silky richness, while the slightly lighter-than-expected body keeps it beautifully drinkable. Carbonation is a bit crisp at first, easily taken care of with a few swirls, and the alcohol is very reserved for the size, providing only a little heat and almost no bite.

I'm unsure at this point how long this one has aged, but it is a superb beer. (1,309 characters)

Old Rasputin XI from North Coast Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 142 ratings.