Old Rasputin XI | North Coast Brewing Co.

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Old Rasputin XIOld Rasputin XI

Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.60%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by stumac on 12-05-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 146 | Ratings: 219
Photo of Sammy
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A tasty treat, from Bruisn' Ales. This is despite the bourbon, which gave gave the chocolate and coffee aromas an added whiskey kick. Pours and tastes like a chocolate milkshake, very dark brown and bubbly white head. Full mouthfeel.The bourbon dimension is secondary and coconut mainly. Smooth.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.41/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful deep brown/black with the best thick, foamy "marshmellow" looking head. Best looking thick head I've ever seen.

Great coffee, roasted malt espresso/chocolate nose.

Creamy, thick and heavy mouthfeel with a rich, bold character and rich bold flavors of black coffee, espresso, dark bitter chocolate with a back palate of hops and a bitter dark chocolate/coffee finish.

The mouthfeel was the most desireable part of this stout. Thick, creamy and luscious. It tasted of genuine quality. This stout is classy, big, full and rich. Unfortunately, while I am a big fan of this beer from the bottle, tasting it from a nitro tap was a real treat!

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle pour courtesy of AndrewK at Woodshop 7 held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, vanilla, wood, and bourbon and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with a woody aftertaste on the finish. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that smells better than it tastes but is still holding up quite well.

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Photo of metter98
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of brentk56
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a really dark brown with a massive tan cap that retains beautifully and leaves squiggles of lace all around the chalice

Smell: No mistaking the barrel here, as there is plenty of bourbon, alcohol and vanilla mixed in with the underlying dark chocolate and coffee aromas

Taste: A nice dark chocolate flavor presents itself before being joined, mid-palate, by the boozy bourbon; subtle hints of vanilla make an appearance before the swallow; bold and brassy as the warming fluid makes its way down the gullet, with a bourbon and chocolate finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A real achievement and it would be interesting, if I had another bottle, to see how this matures - Oh well

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Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle shared by bifrostguard, thanks a bunch man.

Appearance: A near opaque black pour produces two fingers of rich frothy tan head. The head is sticky and lasting while the body is pitch black; pretty ideal for the style.

Smell: Big whiskey aroma, loaded with caramel, vanilla and boozy fusels. Chocolate cake and espresso.

Taste & mouthfeel: Chocolate-covered espresso beans lead to a big bourbony finish of vanilla and caramel. Bitterness is mild to moderate, very balanced against the malt. Medium-bodied, neither excessively rich nor sweet. Fairly hot but in a good way, like drinking a well-aged whiskey.

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Photo of emerge077
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ Bavarian Lodge. 6 oz. pour +/- served in a 10 oz. North Coast snifter.

Black obviously, with a thin cap of tannish foam. It left flecks of lace and "legs" seemingly as the lace sort of drained itself back into the glass. A brisk swirl brought back the half finger of foam. Aroma was very nice, big vanilla and oak traces, with a sweet fruity ester in there from the bourbon. Flavor was dominant on the vanilla, with dry unsweetened chocolate in the back, and dry woody notes in the finish. Bourbon element was soft and balanced. It wasn't heavy at all, instead it sort of lightly dissipated to creamy foam when held on the palate. Very roasty, with the creamy feel of a latte, and the density of an RIS. Perfect nightcap for a rainy spring night...

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.4/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black stout with a large dirty brown foamy head with good retention and some really good lacing. Aroma of bourbon is really dominating with some light notes of black chocolate coming through. Taste is totally dominated by bourbon with some warming alcohol notes and light black chocolate notes. Body is full with some creamy notes and good carbonation but alcohol is too apparent. Not bad overall though you might as well drink bourbon since it is so overpowering.

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Photo of oline73
4.89/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I picked up a bottle at Max's during Baltimore Beer Week. Poured into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours black with some light coming through at the edges. There is a finger of thick tan head that fades to a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Smooth bourbon with lots of roast, caramel, vanilla, and dark fruit.

Taste: Just as smooth as the smell. There are hints of bourbon, vanilla, maple, roast, and caramel. The bourbon and roast hold on through the finish. Just wonderful.

Mouthfeel: Thick body with tingly carbonation and a touch of dryness in the finish.

Overall: One of the best beers I have ever had. I opened this up just after having BA Yeti and there was no contest. I picked up a bottle to trade initially, but I'm going to hold onto it for myself.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at Dark Lord Day 2009.

A: Very dark with a tan head and very nice lacing.

S: Strong notes of bourbon as well as roasted malts, coffee, and chocolate.

T: Quite a bit of bourbon to go with the coffee and chocolate that are layered atop the roasted malts.

M: Thick, creamy, and ever-so-smooth.

D: Pretty drinkable, although a little full to be truly outstanding here.

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Photo of mothman
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Bruery snifter.

Pours a finger and a half of creamy tan head. Great retention with some thick lacing. Color is pretty much black.

Aroma: Chocolate, roasted malts, bourbon, oak, vanilla, light coffee. Fairly sweet, but warming. The bourbon is subtle, but enough to let you know it is there.

Taste: Very oaky with a light bourbon in the background. A bit of alcohol shows here. Lots of creamy chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts. Some vanilla here. Oak is still dominate.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, warming, and roasted. Fairly full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. It is a little bit dry. Ends with some alcohol and dryness.

Overall, a really nice stout. Some great flavors all around. I wish the taste was a bit more like the nose, but I won't complain. Great drinkability. Glad to have had this one.

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Photo of jlindros
3.41/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this for a while, shared with rudzud

Pours a faint head disappears, incredible legs, pitch black thick oily beer

Nose big chocolate, dark choc cocoa, a little cardboard oxidation, background plenty of toasted oak and raw sawdust, little bourbon, little cookie dough and caramel, little metallic note, fluffy nougat

Taste big cocoa, biscuity toffee cookie dough, fluffy nougat, a little char roast, bitter acrid black malt, oily inky and minerality almost metallic, bitter roasted malts and little hop, little weird oxidation thing, touch wood dust.

Mouth is med bod, thinner and waterier than expected, decent carb, little booze.

Overall huge let down, I knew there is age but this really went south.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Eightball black with the slightest hint of umber at the edges. The crown looks like a big scoop of coffee milkshake melting atop the liquid. It's incredibly persistent and is also sticky, which is rare in barrel-aged ale with such a stratospheric ABV. This is the best looking Old Raspy yet.

Anyone who loves Imperial stouts and bourbon whiskey will love the nose. It's chock full of chocolate and the burnt sugar and vanilla notes that characterize my favorite spirit (along with single-malt Scotch). It looks like 9 months was the correct length of time to allow beer and wood to get to know one another.

North Coast Old Rasputin is like Great Divide Yeti. No matter what the brewers do to the base beer, the result is going to be fantastic. XI keeps the anniversary tradition alive by being an outfreakingstanding version of the sub-style. Make sure you're on the bourbon bandwagon before acquiring a bottle (if it's even possible at this late date), because the whiskey is kicking ass and taking names.

Who knows how long these RISs age, but this vintage is drinking incredibly well right now. The flavors mesh like the gears on a Swiss watch, and the alcohol is still powerful without being hot or harsh. Methinks it has another year on it at least. Then again, the mouthfeel will continue to degrade, so keep that in mind.

Specifics include prodigious amounts of bourbon (caramelizied sugar, oak, vanilla), as well as bittersweet chocolate, a small splash of coffee and a larger splash of Sambuca. Flavor depth and breadth are not an issue. Nor is complexity.

The second pour might be even more beautiful than the first. With respect to mouthfeel, there are no chinks in the armor. It's solidly medium for the style, with a luscious and silky creaminess that creeps in as the beer approaches room temperature.

XI is my favorite version of Old Rasputin to date. Plenty of special release beers get more hype, but few can match the awesomeness of this bourbon-soaked beast of a Russian Imperial stout. Thanks (once again) to Talisker, who has provided me with some truly outstanding beer over the years.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.58/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Finally able to knock yet another one offs the list this week. It has been a very amazing run over the last couple of weeks, nailing down some of the things I have looked forever for. This one falls tight in there as well. Served at cellar temp and decanted into a goblet, this one was consumed on 04/30/2009.
The pour was exquisite and easily one of the best I have ever seen. Pitch black with a perfect head of light tan capping it off. Slow faded, literally no fade on this as the mushroom of foam stood on top throughout the entire session and really just looked sublime sitting up there, I was in awe, and the I went in for the smell. Rich bourbon and booze, mixed with wonderful notes of vanilla. Really well done here. Nothing really overpowering here at all as everything was pretty well balanced I have to say. As it warmed though the bourbon and vanilla were mingling with a deep chocolate and almost tobacco like smell that really gave it tremendous depth. I was a touch let down though as I went in for the rest. It was smooth, very well carbonated, but a little thin for me. I was expecting it to come off as a huge, thick monster, but it was just a wee bit thin, but still very nice. Rich vanilla and bourbon on the flavor, almost hot, but too much complexity for it to be anything less then stellar. Molasses and again that tobacco like flavor coming through very nicely in the finish and then a long drawn out oaked vanilla like flavor to seal the deal. A smooth, wonderful sipper indeed.
Overall this was very, very solid. I have to say I liked thee X better, but this one was remarkable in that it was well balanced and very well defined.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The pour is almost black with a sturdy tan colored foam on top.

S: Lots of vanilla and chocolate in the nose provide a pleasant sweetness. The bourbon, oak, and roast balance things out.

T: A bit more bitter than I would have expected, with an emphasis on the roast and dark chocolate flavors. A very smooth vanilla, bourbon, and oak flavor combination.

M: Quite full in terms of body with a moderate carbonation and a really silky feel overall on the tongue.

D: Much better (read: balanced) than the Old Rasputin XII, so I'm hoping that beer will be to that point in another year's time.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 11/23/11 notes. Poured from a 16.9 oz. bottle into a tulip, split with my brother on Thanksgiving eve.

a - Pours a very dark brown color with two fingers of dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Light lacing left on the glass and a few minutes of retention; looks like a great RIS.

s - Smells of light bourbon, oak, vanilla, roasted notes, and chocolate. Nose is great, though the nose has noticeably less bourbon than the XII last time I had it (about 4 months ago). Still very good and complex, and more chocolate and vanilla, which I really like.

t - Tastes of oak, vanilla, sweett chocolate, bourbon, sweet dark fruits, and light cream. Taste seems like the bourbon has faded a bit, and is much sweeter than I remember the XII being. A step down from the nose and a step down from the XII.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation, smooth and creamy. For 11.6% ABV it's very easy to drink, had no problem drinking a 9 oz. glass of it. Great mouthfeel for a RIS.

o - Overall this is still a very good beer, but I think it may have peaked. I opened a bottle of XII last Thanksgiving and again four months ago and both times it was much better than this XI was, as was the BA Yeti I had last weekend. The nose is still great, but the bourbon has definitely faded in the taste, and it's gotten a little sweeter. As a bourbon fan, I liked the XII better and plan on opening my last bottle of XII before it fades too much like this one had. Sounds like a lot of complaining for a beer I'm giving a high review to, but that's how much I enjoyed the XII. Would certainly like to have it again and would buy it again if I could.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shared at my tasting on May 29, 2010. Thanks Paul! Review from notes.

This beer appears a near black color with a beige head and a fair amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is heavy bourbon and alcohol. The taste is delicious and rich, with heavy bourbon flavors being the showcase here. It's a great beer if you're into a bold barrel-aged stout, and I am. It's slightly sweet, with the roasted malt aspect coming through nicely once you can look beyond the bourbon. Not surprisingly, there is a warming alcohol finish. The high abv % isn't disguised, but overall, the beer is well done and the heat doesn't bother me the way it sometimes does with other beers. This one is a sipper, and great for sharing with a few folks.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black with a tan head. Nose is bourbon wood. Boozy and vanilla tones. Flavor is hearty. Bourbon tones again with strong wood on a thick malt base. Pretty thick, but not out of line. Feel is smooth on liquid and the carbonation is lower. Pretty nice to drink.

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Photo of jwc215
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to JWD for this gem!

500 ml cage-corked bottle:

Pours black with a rich light-brown head. Incredible retention with very nice lacing.

The smell is of a wonderful bourbon that is prominent, yet allows chocolate and coffee to come through, adding depth, complexity and a wonderful aroma.

The taste is of vanilla/bourbon with chocolate and coffee. A great bourbon taste that pushes the vanilla, but doesn't completely mask the solid stout character. Sweet, but finishes dry.

The feel is rich, creamy and smooth.

It's strong, but very drinkable. A bourbon-barreled aged lover's "must"!

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Photo of MasterSki
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at the Maproom. Served in a goblet.

A - Two fingers of mocha foam with great retention and beautiful complex lacing. Pitch black - with no hint of lightness at the edges.

S - Huge bourbon and vanilla flavors, with some burnt malts and woodiness. Also some hints of bittersweet chocolate and roast coffee bitterness that comes out a fair bit as the brew warms up. The nose gets super potent at room temperature, and I might have even got a whiff of dark fruits by the end.

T - Starts with vanilla at the tip of the tongue, but then morphs into bourbon bite and roast bitterness as it hits mid-palate. There's still quite a bit of burnt malt, but the other flavors hinted at in the smell don't really show up in the taste. The bitterness in the aftertaste starts to mount as the brew warms up. Definitely less complex that the smell, but still quite excellent.

M - Thinner than I expected, with moderate carbonation and mild residual stickiness. Good, but not as hearty as I'd expect from a RIS.

D - The high ABV, strong bourbon flavor, and residual bitterness make this one a slow sipper. However, the medium-bodied texture actually helps the drinkability in the way, as I don't feel like I've been drinking caramel. Still, I ended up giving a good chunk of my second glass to my wife. The 500ml bottles definitely make sense for this one.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

06/07/09- Donated by RKhaze to a recent tasting.

Presentation- 500ml bottle, caged and corked. Not sure of the issue date, but think it's a 2008 edition. Poured into my Orval chalice.

Appearance- Deep black in color. Nice creamy and large one inch plus head. Leaves some quality lace markings.

Smell- Barrel scents, coffee, dark bittersweet chocolate and mid roasted malts.

Taste- Nice and hoppy, but then again my taste bud may have been ruined by this time. Lots of bitter dark chocolate and a good deal of fresh coffee flavor. A bit of a barrel taste with a touch of alcohol as well.

Mouthfeel- Smooth, but also has a nice carbonation level. Leaves some hops in the aftertaste with a fuller mouthfeel.

Drinkability- Wish I had tried this earlier in the tasting. As is, it was still very good though...better than very good actually.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.98/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared at a recent tasting. Beer is thick and black with small brown bubbles that try to form a head but ultimately fail in that task. Carbonation is moderate to low. Lacing is a plus.

Aroma is strongy bourbonized. Some much bourbon in beers these days, does anyone drink bourbon in any other form? Pretty roasty and sweet as well.

Beer is medium to full bodied and quite strong, still hot from the alcohol on the front end but really sweet overall. There is some nice bitterness on the back end. The beer lingers in your mouth for a whlie after and has a slight aftertaste. Overall its OK, not as good as I had hoped.

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Photo of aasher
3.65/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This bottle was courtesy of BrewerB months ago and shared with the Charlotte crew for Charlotte Tasting 2012. Thanks Brian!

This one pours a medium bodied black chocolate brown in color with a slight beige lacing around the glass. The nose is smooth and well integrated. It is dark and roasty with some oak, light bitterness, light astringency, and vanilla bean. The flavors are light and malty. There is a lot of smooth roasted malt, light oak, and light vanilla. I really can't pickup too much more. The bourbon is gone. It drinks lighter than I assumed it would. It drinks like it should've been consumed a year.ago. This just hasn't held up really well. I'm grateful for the review and the try but this beer is on its last legs.

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Photo of John_M
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark black color with very good head retention and lacing. The head retention is very interesting in this beer; initially there was very little head, but with prolonged air contact and a bit of warming, it became increasingly pronounced as I drank it. So in fact, there was excellent creamy head retention and lacing with this fine beer. As for the nose, one whiff and you can tell this beer was aged for a while in bourbon barrels. There is a huge aroma of bourbon/booze, coffee, chocolate and milk duds (the latter aroma is something I typically notice in imperial stouts that have been aged for a while in bourbon barrels). The beer is moderately sweet, with a dry, boozy finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, with a slight hoppy, licorice finish. Alcohol is fairly well disguised, but you can tell it's up there. So ultimately this beer is just a bit heavy and tiring on the palate, with the high alcohol a warning to drink this beer slowly and avoid over indulging. Nevertheless, this is a very fine beer from North Coast, one I'm happy to have tried.

As the beer warms up it smooths out and softens a bit, though there continued to be some noticeable bourbon on the finish. Good stuff!

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Photo of yourefragile
4.66/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Max's in Baltimore for Baltimore Beer Week (yes, XI not XII). Served in a 10 oz goblet.

Appearance is opaque chocolate black, viscous and thick with a large fluffy mocha colored head that fades to film and leaves thick epic sheets of lacing. Aroma is not quite as overpowering as I hoped but still rich balanced blend of barrel alcohol, bourbon, roasted malt, chocolate, toffee. Very little hop presence. Body is extremely thick, chewy, and full. Finish has slight hop bite and sharp carbonation with a blend of sweet and boost flavors that linger indefinitely. Flavor starts with similar to regular Rasputin then (pardon the cliche) turns everything to 11. Sweet dark chocolate, bourbon, dark fruit, etc all ped up but nicely balanced and smoothed out by the mild hop bitterness and carbonation. This was pretty amazing, I might have to reluctantly cave in and buy a bottle of this years release.

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Old Rasputin XI from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.26 out of 5 based on 219 ratings.
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