Total Score: 100.0
Staying in California, but surprisingly moving north from yesterday’s brew from Anchor in San Francisco, today I’m trying out a legend from North Coast Brewing Company. Since opening shop in 1988, North Coast has experienced tremendous success. In addition to taking home over 70 awards in various beer competitions, they also distribute to most of the United States (47 of them) as well as Europe and the Pacific Rim. They also purchased the rights to the legendary Acme brand of beers in 1996, and are still brewing, selling, and winning awards with them under the vintage Acme labels.
Tonight, for the first time ever, I’m drinking North Coast’s most acclaimed concoction: Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. At 9% ABV and 75 IBUs, this is some serious stuff. North Coast’s website doesn’t provide much else worth mentioning about this one, but fortunately they’ve named it after quite an interesting fellow. He might best be called a religious mystic, at once being revered as a prophet and a scoundrel. He was eventually murdered, although many of the details surrounding it are murky at best. Different accounts suggest that he may have been poisoned, shot, drowned, or clubbed to death. Legend also has it that his, err, member, which was supposedly 13 inches long, was severed in the process and has been in the possession of various parties over the years. There are even pictures out there, and although I’m not posting them, you can find your way to them by starting here.
Well, if that doesn’t put you in the mood for a beer…
Poured from an ironically stubby bottle into standard pint glass. You can literally see the massive body this one is going to have as you pour it. Visibly thick. Enormous chocolate milkshake colored uber-creamy head that you want to take a bite out of. Head lasts forever, leaving a coating too thick to be called “lace” all over the glass…easily the thickest I’ve ever seen, and I worry that it may never come off the glass. Looks simultaneously heavenly and satanic. I literally just sat and gazed at it for at least 30 seconds. Words, and even pictures, don’t do it justice. (I have to interject that when I wrote this description I didn’t know the penis story. Sorry.) When I finally disturbed this masterpiece for a smell I was pummeled with a captivating fusion of intense chocolate (both bitter and milk) and floral hops. Soft bitter coffee is also there, but not as prominent. Taste…is mesmerizing. Astoundingly complex. Something of an epic collision between a barleywine and imperial stout. Sinfully sweet and smooth chocolate shows first before deliciously spicy hops boorishly take over. As the hops finally fade a bittersweet coffee finishes things up, leaving a dryness on the tongue more so than the cheeks. Full-bodied is an understatement. High carbonation helps lighten it up just enough. Wow.
I tried to come up with a reason to give this less than a 10 in some aspect, but I couldn’t find one. This is disturbingly good, and truly deserves this 100. Why oh why have I never had this before? Perfect.
Look: 10/10 Smell: 10/10 Taste: 10/10 All-Around: 10/10