Old Rasputin XII - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Rasputin XIIOld Rasputin XII

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

533 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 533
Reviews: 367
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 129
Gots: 141 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.20% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Tdizzle on 06-28-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 533 | Reviews: 367
Reviews by clvand0:
Photo of clvand0
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very dark brown with a tall head that hangs around and leaves some nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is superb - the dark chocolate malt notes that I'm used to from the standard Rasputin, but it also has this underlying bourbon sweetness in the background. The flavor is much the same as the aroma. Lots of chocolate and nutty notes along with a touch of coffee, but everything has a nice hint of bourbon that follows - not too much, but just enough to know it's there. There is also a woodiness in there from barrel aging. Alcohol is definitely there, but doesn't detract. The mouthfeel isn't super thick, as would be expected, but it's on the heavy end of medium. The drinkability is pretty good, but it would take me some time to finish a bottle alone.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Roger at Bestway for holding a few bottles for me,he sold out over last weekend.Poured into a snifter a jet black with a mocha colored froth atop,aromas were dominated by the boubon barrell with vanilla and wood really standing out,there was a tinge of spiced rum and roasted nut as well.Flavors are again dominated by the barrell not saying its a bad thing it is just the dominant force of the beer,big vanilla oak flavors mixed with some rummy tones,its gotta nice sweetish vanilla-like finish.I like this beer alot and its damn good but maybe the barrell aging thing might becoming a bit much...maybe Iam wrong?

Photo of RoyalT
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This looks pretty much like previous anniversary editions which is a hefty complement. The purity of the black color is amazing and the head has that rich, brown sugar color although it's not as retentive as the X year.

Smell - The complexity of the nose is in keeping with the history of the North Coast anniversary ales. The woody barrel aroma is a bit bigger than I remember but otherwise you have a light vanilla and teasing brown sugar propping up the luscious malt base.

Taste - I didn't catch much bourbon at the nose but it is unmistakable at the taste. If you know the difference between bourbon and whiskey this has that wonderful smooth flavor of a bourbon county masterpiece.

I really enjoyed the fact that the big woody flavor from the nose was subdued at the taste because this is a major fault of many wood-aged beers. I mentioned this in my X Anniversary review as well. The woody notes here compliment the rich bourbon flavor and this sits rightly on the malt base and other smaller flavors.

Mouthfeel - This is full-bodied with a subtle alcohol charge. It's not highly-carbonated of course but there's enough liveliness on the tongue to keep the mouthfeel light and playful. It also has a strong bitter finish without being excessively dry.

Drinkability - This certainly met my expectations based upon my experiences with the other Rasputin offerings. I'm typically not a big fan of the wood=aged beers just because the wood flavor takes over, but here again North Coast did a brilliant job balancing the complexities of their world-class RIP with the rich, authentic bourbon and wood flavors.

Photo of brownbeer
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- pours jet black with a thick, creamy brown head.

S- Burnt cookies, dark chocolate, oaky vanilla, black olives.

T- Incredibly complex. Dark milk chocolate, cappucino, somewhat salty, nutty, malted milk balls, tobacco, bourbon. Gets even better as it warms.

M- Full bodied and creamy in texture.

D- A sheer joy to drink. Alcohol's noted but not overpowering.

Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Old Rasputin 12 Bourbon barrel aged with 11.2% alcohol that only makes you wonder what the 9% "OPld Rasputin is missing out on". I'll find out here soon.

A- Pours a black fluid that does not show any light through it even in sunlight. Dark half inch head drops to a black and tan froth with light but thick tan lacing.

S- Massive doses of heavy cocao and boozy bourbon upfront. If the alcohol bites me in the nose I wouldn't be surprised ohh wait it does. Dark scents of porter beer with shitloads of alcohol malts.

T-M- Taste is very strong stout cream, expresso, coffee grinds, chocolate, alcohol burn and dank malty goodness. Strong and balanced beer yes! Mouthfeel is expresso creamy and very mildly carbonated with alcohol driving freshness.

D- I'd kill a couple of these bad boys and go on great drink buy comes with price and session drinkablity.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In a tulip glass, this beer was a very dark brown, almost black, color. A thick cocoa head that quickly dissipated. Great aroma of coffee and bourbon, along with a little chocolate. Strong coffee/espresso taste, some bourbon, a little bit of chocolate. Alcohol noticeable, but was not oppressive. A very rich, filling RIS. I would like to drink some more of this, but the price of $22.50 for a 500ml bottle is a little daunting.

Photo of tjthresh
4.36/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours opaque black with a soda like fizzy brown head. The nose is a good blend of the beer and the barrel. There's that oak/vanilla/bourbon combo that we all love, but some roast and raisin actually make it through. Nice boozy bourbon flavors, and it keeps the integrity of the beer. The body is a bit thinner than I remember the original being, but its still substantial. Seems kind of fizzy though. Still, this is a BA beer worth bragging about.

Photo of Mora2000
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a thick black color with a tan head. The aroma is amazing. I get some roasted malt, chocolate and vanilla. One of the best smelling stouts I have smelled. The flavor is chocolate, oak, whiskey, vanilla and roasted malt. Thick mouthfeel and low to medium carbonation.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.7/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A terrific brew for my 300th review! Cheers everyone!!

This was an absolutely fantastic contribution to a recent beer tasting. Fortunately for me, the donor couldn't stand it (not a stout fan, so I'm not sure why he bought it - his loss!), so I got to savor the goodness more or less on my own. I have yet to have the pleasure of trying the original recipe, but if their barrel-aged XII edition is any indication, I can't wait.

Poured into a wine glass. Pitch black, perhaps a touch of chocolate around the edges. Thick mocha head that won't quit. Fantastic lacing and retention.

A rich, savoury nose with powerful ntoes of caramel, vanilla, milk chocolate, whisky, mild alcohol.

Simply sublime, one of the finest stouts I've encountered thus far. A superb blend of coffee, vanilla, bourbon, roasted malt, bread and cocoa. Barrel provides a lovely smoky oak backing. A mild alcohol burn to the finish. All this put together in a thick, creamy texture meant for some seriously awesome drinking.

One of the most hyped beers on BA (at the liquor store in San Diego, this was the highest rated brew available), and it did not disappoint. A thick, rich, flavorful and satisfying stout, something that initially beats you up with flavor, then cuddles you with a big warm hug afterwards. My only criticism of this beer is that I dont have more of it. NOW!

Photo of magictrokini
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a thick pillow of brown foam that just doesn't go away. Laced the top portion of the goblet. Vanilla, oak, and of course, bourbon in the nose; all very sweet. Dark chocolate and roasted coffee compliments it well. Velvety mouthfeel (as it warmed) that hangs low and settles nicely. Long finish. Bourbon and oak hit you first, but not as sour as some other bourbon-aged brews. Followed nicely by a sweet vanilla cream. This meshes well with the combination of bitter dark chocolate and milk chocolate flavors. Teh bitterness ramps up towards the back. Coffee, tannins, and smoke really pop and stay with you. Good alcohol warmth that is masked until about 1/3 is left in the bottle. Kind of cognac and more bourbon at that point, but still complimentary instead of the primary taste. Awesome beer worth every penny.

Photo of kingcrowing
4.67/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the 2010 Stout tasting in a Orval Chalice

2009 limited release in a 500ml corked & caged bottle.

Pours a very amber dark brown head with a small very light brown thin head that stays. Bourbon and sweet malt on the nose.

Taste is mostly bourbon and a bit of woody/oaky crispness. Mouthfeel is fairly full, warm and pleasant. aged 6-9 months this is much better than it was fresh.

Photo of ehammond1
4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle

Pour It Black
Stone Brew Co.
Escondido, CA

(Aged for 2 years)

Black as can be with a surprisingly sized, even persistent brown head. The beer eventually leaves spiderwebs of sticky lace all over the glass. Perfect.

A rich, earthy aroma with lots of bourbon upfront: vanilla, earth, wood, a bit of stinging alcohol; along with a thorough and complete balance of roasted malt, dark espresso coffee, along with some sweeter chocolate notes. Very nice.

The flavor is just as complete and enjoyable as the aroma. The sweet and bitter chocolate and coffee elements play a larger role, with the bourbon as more of an accent or accompanying role. Very little alcohol harshness. Incredibly drinkable.

Medium mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. This wasn't quite as thick and luscious as I hoped for.

All in all, an absolutely terrific barrel-aged stout.

Photo of boatshoes
4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Recently had the good luck to find some of these (mis-?)priced at $9.99 a bottle. Methinks a bargain at that price.

Appearance- Pours a deep, rich motoroil black on par with the style. However, a surprisingly large amount of brown head with fat bubbles rises off the body of the beer. About a finger and a half of head in total sticks around for a fews minutes before dying back and moderate amounts of lacing left as I drink.

Smell- Woowee, very bourbon forward here. Lots of big notes of vanilla, bourbon, and wood dominate a base beer that gives off notes of bitter chocolate and burnt malt.

Taste- Very similar to the nose, being primarily bourbon forward, though in a nicer more balanced way than the nose initially suggested. Lots of rich vanilla and wood come through straight away; however, elements of the base beer that I picked up on in the nose are also noticeable. Particularly, the bitter chocolate comes through strong with a bit of burnt malt char flavor as well. The bourbon and wood balance themselves nicely with the original flavor.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- The one place I found this beer to be somewhat lacking was in mouthfeel. Keeping in mind the beer spent time in a barrel, I still found it to be rather thin unfortunately. However, it doesn't hurt the drinkability too much, which is pretty good for the style given the rich, well melded flavors.

Overall, a very good barrel-aged RIS. That being said, I do feel that there are better beers and better bargains in the style with a general price tag of around 20 dollars a bottle. I'll be buying more of this at the discounted price if it is still on the shelf for my next beer run.

Photo of chickenm
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black with a small but lasting tan head. Aroma of wood, bourbon, and chocolate. Flavor is heavy on vanilla sweetness, bourbon, and rich chocolate. Very smooth mouthfeel, but the body is a little on the thin side for a Russian Imperial Stout. A bit hot as well, although the alcohol isn't completely overpowering. This probably could still benefit from some further aging. A good sipper; I like regular Old Rasputin better but I'm glad I got to try this!

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.27/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Black pour, not much beyond a thin tan ring of head, although it did make an interesting clumpiness alongside the edge of the glass. Big huge bourbon, chocolate and alcohol aroma oozing and burning the nose. Damn, this guy is hot.

Sure enough, damn hot on the tase. This is such a great beer by itself, putting it into a bourbon barrel undercuts the chocolatelyness I love so much in regular old rasputin. Alcohol permeates this thing. Astringent alcohol feel. Everything else is secondary, be it coffee, chocolate, or even the bourbon. Instead of bourbon or imperial stout, you just taste hot hot heat.

If I get more bottles of these bourbon rasputins, I will definitely not open them for at least a few years. The XI was much better, but even then, I still like just normal always available regular rasputin more.

Drank @ March Madness 2011 party.

Photo of rudylaw
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle courtesy of eyebrews. Jack, you are truly the king of kings!

A very dark brown beer with ruby red highlights and a frothy off-white to caramel brown head.

Lost of roasted malts in my nose accompanied by chocolate, vanilla and oakiness.

The taste is an explosion. Chocolate brownie batter, watered down with chocolate milk. There's a good whiskey burn here but doesn't distract from the sweetness. The vanilla is present on the back end. Really nice stuff!

It's a thin RIS, a Cali RIS. It also hides it's near 12% very well as I'm just about kaput with this 500ml and ready for the next 500!

Photo of OStrungT
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a jet black color, with a fluffy brown head. The head fades slowly, leaving a thick lacing.

This beer smells pleasently of bourbon. I can detect some vanilla, and some oaky aroma as well. Also present is some sweet caramel malt. Some dark fruit aroma is also present. The alcohol content is noticable in the aroma.

This beer tastes exactly like it smells. Borubon, mixed in with some vanilla and oak. Dark figs are also present. As with the aroma, the alcohol content is notable.

This beer is very full bodied. It goes down smooth, leaving a bourbon like aftertaste. The alcohol warms on the way down. Carbonation is low, good for the style.

This beer wouldnt be a good session beer. It is too high in alcohol. Also, the good, but aggressive flavor would be to much to drink all night long.

Overall: This beer is pretty damn good. One of the better BA Stouts I have tasted.

Photo of glid02
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased from Naja's in Redondo Beach, CA.

Pours black with a one-finger brown head. The head sticks around for a while before receding into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of roasted malts, bourbon, vanilla, and dark chocolate, in that order. The bourbon doesn't overtake the aroma, instead giving the others plenty of room to breath.

Tastes similar to how it smells. The vanilla flavor is a bit more intense than the smell would have led me to believe, however it still melds nicely with roasted malt and bourbon flavors. Midway through the sip unsweetened chocolate flavors come out before a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It has a silky thickness with light carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I split the bottle but could have taken care of the whole thing myself.

Overall, the bourbon flavors don't overpower everything else as in other BBA stouts (not that I don't like the ones that do) and it makes for easy drinking. Worth a shot, and I wish I'd picked up more bottles when I saw them.

Photo of pwoods
4.02/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml corked and caged brown bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours pitch black, pretty thick. Moderate head on the pour with decent retention. Decent lacing.

S: Lots of bourbon and heat. Plenty of danky barrel and sweet vanilla. Good roastiness with lots of hops still in the back, aged a bit, though.

T/M: Still got some heat going on. More of the complex bourbon and alcohol line. Woody barrel with light vanilla undertones. More of the hops coming through but a bit more aged in the taste. Body is medium full to full with mellow carbonation.

D: Very tasty brew but high ABV and very very expensive.

Photo of jbphoto88
3.93/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 500ml corked and caged bottle. It pours a black brown and very smooth. A beige head fluffs above the beer with a thick combination of microscopic and large oily bubble domes. There is a smell of oak wafting up as soon as the cork is popped.

The nose is very rich, deep and roasty with thick scents of earthy vanilla and oak. So big are the bourbon scents that much of the other RIS characteristics are muted.

Taste is smooth and sweet. It's like drinking molasses that has ben thinned with vanilla extract. The earthy barrel flavors really work well with this beer and cut through the thick mouthfeel. Weak in the background are notes of coffee and chocolate.

Mouthfeel is thick, almost chewy. A solid bitterness that I can't discern if from deep roasts or hops puckers the tongue. The oak flavors and the ABV dry out the finish which by the way is where the chocolate really shines.

I have to say, this beer is not as good as the regular Rasputin. I find the bourbon barrel aging to be a little aggressive and distracting from an already fan-freaking-tastic brew. It's worth trying out but I don't think I will break down and try another bottle unless I find one for a great price. Perhaps aging this one for a few years will mellow the barrel flavors and let the awesomeness of the beer come back.

Photo of caddybuyer
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a cellar temperature corked and caged 500 ML bottle into a tulip glass. This may be one of the most expensive beers ounce for ounce that I have purchased lately. $19.00...yikes, I hope it is good.

A-As black as used motor oil with a thick creamy dark tan head. Looks amazing.

S-Roasted coffee, caramel, toffee, vanilla and chocolate. A lot going on here. Minor bourbon notes, but not as boozy as would think.

T-The oaked bourbon aging really comes through in the first sip, which opens on a boozy note, and plays across the palate with sweet vanilla, roast coffee, bakers chocolate, and burned candied cherries followed by a bittersweet mocha finish with a very mild hop and alcohol buzz on the tongue.

M-Full, soft, chewy and rich mouthfeel, with balanced carbonation and perfect for the brew.

D-Immensely drinkable. I can only imagine what this will be like in a year or so. It killed me to open it up knowing that when put down for awhile this will be amazing, but I just had to taste it knowing that they are still sitting on the shelves at the local store.

Guess where I am going tomorrow....with some age, this has the potential to be the best RIS I have ever tasted.

Photo of r0nyn
4.7/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter from a pretty uncorked bottle, split with fellow BA infi for my 26th birthday.

Pours the typical murky darkness of stouts, with a good sized head that recedes slowly and leaves a lot of sticky lacing. Really quite pretty. Smell is just... wow. Dark chocolate with a definite mocha component and a subtle sweetness that is very, very nice. I likes.

Taste is complex and absolutely, utterly delicious. The initial sip is full of a lightly sweet chocolate flavor, with some mocha as well. Not a lot of astringency at all. It finishes with a slightly bitter feel, from the coffee and the cocoa, not the hops, which aren't detectable at all. Aftertaste is dry, with just a tinge of bitter chocolate and coffee sweetness. Really, really tasty. As the brew warms, the 11.2% ABV asserts itself, as the alcohol is easy to pick out, but still just as easy to swallow. It couples with the cocoa and coffee to create an absolutely delectable flavor experience. Mouthfeel is creamy and well-balanced. Not big and heavy on the tongue, but not ephemeral either. Goes down silky smooth from the first tentative sip to the last greedy gulp. Phenomenal.

This is a very dangerous brew, as you don't really detect the weighty ABV until it warms, which, given how damn tasty it is, could be quite a few ounces into your drinking. It is very, very drinkable and you should definitely pace yourself as you partake in this remarkably savory brew. This is one of the absolute best beers I've ever had the pleasure of drinking. Definitely the best RIS I've experienced. If you have the opportunity to try this, seize it. You'll be well rewarded.

Photo of asabreed
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml. bottle -- a heavy, heavy bottle -- into a Brooklyn tulip, between four friends on my balcony. One of the "Last Hurrah" bottles of the night, as my wife and I are moving to New York in exactly one week from Virginia.

Appearance: Jet blackness. Mocha head. Retention floating to the sides. Expected. Good.

Smell: OR is good as is, at least I think so, so let's see what's going on nose-wise. Not a ton of bourbon. Some big coffee, caramel, and toffee when it warms. Black coffee. Big roasted malts, of course. Marshmallow and sweet chocolate too. The OR and nothing more, most of it, which is cool with me, but I was looking for more.

Taste: Big big coffee flavors, mostly in acrid black bitterness, along with some baker's chocolate, both bitter and sweet, bourbon vanilla woodiness, light caramel, some sticky marshmallowness, and an earthy sloppily soppy woodiness with the finish. Brings it.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy and big and viscous and luscious. But somehow I can't go beyond the good here.

Drinkability: Delicious, yes. A head-scratcher as far as the price, however, considering the price of a 4-pack these days of regular OR. Considering we split the bottle, it was worth it. But anywhere from 19-23 dollars or so, by yourself, would maybe be a bit much. Bourbon is not the cure-all for stouts. I know they weren't thinking that, and yes, it added to this, but it's not some transformation that wouldn't make another good stout better. Sometimes the brewery and limited nature can do things to folks' palates. I expected a lot more from this. If it wasn't so damn expensive I'd get another bottle. Split it with friends and see for yourself, unless you have the cash to spring, of course, for yourself.

Photo of Stigs
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle, picked this up at Vintage Estate in December...served in a Dogfish oversized snifter

A - poured a huge inch or so of tightly packed and frothy khaki foam...taking a few minutes to fall to a thin layer with a floating island. the beer is pitch black, absolutely no light getting through. spotty but adequate lacing through the entire drink.

S - big bold roasted malts, lots of bourbon, dark bitter chocolate, vanilla throughout...oak and wood scents near the end, very faint fruitiness like bourbon soaked cherries finish before some earthy hops and then alcohol. complex and quite inviting. as it warmed to room temperature, the alcohol and bourbon pretty much take over and mask everything else.

T - initial flash of sweetness before turning into a bourbon bomb. rivals only KBS as far as the straight forwardness of the bourbon. other flavors only really come out until the very end, milk chocolate, oak, burnt toast, and very strong espresso. finishes with a kiss of alcohol and earthy hops. aftertaste is pretty much just bourbon (surprise) and cocoa.

M - was concerned about this coming in, through reading previous reviews and also feeling that regular Rasputin is overcarb'ed and thin. this is slightly thicker than i was anticipating...carbonation though still a touch overdone. not really distracting, but would be better served with a bit more body as a transport for the more subtle flavors. after warming to room temp, much better feel though the alcohol burn becomes more apparent.

D - outstanding imperial stout from front to back. can get a little one dimensional at times and it might serve well with a little more age to soothe out the alcohol. pretty pricey at $20/bottle, but worth every penny.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.58/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Creamy, viscous liquid burbles out of the bottle, it's a gorgeous thing right from the get-go. Once in the glass the head is a dazzling toasty dark gold. It doesn't stick around long at all, but who would expect it to at 11.2%? The liquid itself is as dark a black as you'll see in a beer glass, that's for sure.

Charred wood and alcohol-soaked dark fruits (plum, fig, raisin) dominate the nose. Definitely a strong bourbon presence, and though it's not a favorite smell/flavor of mine, it's not overbearing, even has the kind of restraint that makes it worth bringing to the nose often during the sipping.

I'm impressed with the flavor overall, as char, husky nuttiness, chocolate, coffee, lotsa vanilla and dark fruits all flash by in measured tones and various combination. Big fat slabs of dark chocolate in the finish. But the alcohol is dominant, and with the whiskey-etched woodiness pairing up with the alcohol, it's just too much like whiskey in general for me to be wild about. Just a matter of taste, and since we review to style here (or try to) and there's not a separate category for "bourbon barrel-aged" Russian Imperial Stouts, I'll go out on a limb and risk losing beer geek cred by saying that I like an RIS without the bourbon messing it up. Usually. There are some excellent exceptions to that rule, no freaking doubt about it...this just doesn't happen to be one I'm crazy about.

As big and bold as this is, it lacks the kind of thickness you'd expect from such a beer. It's springy on the tongue, achieving a fine balance between carbonation liveliness and slick creamy stoutness. I hoped for something thicker and chewier, which would be more appropriate for what's happening here.

It's good, but a little overrated--and that's all in the eye of the beer-holder. I'd rather not taint a great beer with whiskey flavor, something I cannot and probably will never acquire a taste for. To some, that probably makes me a lesser drinker. But I like what I like, and I prefer the regular Rasputin. Even of the bourbon barrel-aged beers I've tasted, there are others that exhibit much better balance. It's just too bourbon-y. Is this a bad beer? No way. Is it pricey? Without a doubt. Would I buy it again? Doubtful.

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Old Rasputin XII from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 533 ratings.