- Style: Russian Imperial Stout
- Serving: Bottle
- Volume: 500 ml
- ABV: 11.50%
Back during the early days of Passion Beer, I reviewed the Old Rasputin from North Coast Brewing Company, giving it a 9.5/10 (on our old rating scale). I love that beer, and it has always been one of my go-to stouts for almost any situation. How do you make a great beer like the Old Rasputin hopefully better? Easy, age it in some bourbon barrels. That is what North Coast did when creating the Old Rasputin XIV Anniversary beer.
From the corked 500 ml bottle, which is about as dark as the beer itself, the Old Rasputin XIV has the same great color as the standard version, black as night with a burnt caramel colored head. The head goes away faster than expected and leaves almost no lacing on the glass. Chocolate, dark fruit, roasted malt, vanilla and a great bourbon aroma come through nicely. It has a really clean nose, and there is just the right amount of bourbon aroma.
The flavor profile of the Old Rasputin XIV is very similar to the original, just turned up to over 11% ABV…and with bourbon added. Roasted malt elements intermingle with dark chocolate, light vanilla, and a little coffee. Hints of dark fruit and brown sugar add a some sweetness. Then there is the bourbon element, present in the beginning and end with a decent burn towards the finish (in addition to some alcohol booziness), it also adds a hint of oak from the barrel. The bourbon is great, a little overwhelming at first, but things equalize as your palate adjusts. A medium body with high carbonation is here to keep things from getting sticky and assist in elevating the flavors.
I love it when a beer that I consider to be one of the best is improved upon, and that is what the Old Rasputin XIV does. While I did enjoy the bourbon, I think some aging could do this beer some good, and make it even better. I recommend picking up two bottles, one for now to get all the bourbon, and one for late for when the flavors meld a bit more. Either way this is a delicious beer.
out of 100
Mike Hoff is a Senior Writer for Passion Beer.
He is always seeking out the new, weird and wonderful in the world of beer. When he is not writing for the site, you can normally find him with a camera around his neck and a beer in hand.