Jan 2, 2020

North Coast Rye Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin

One of my favorite beers of all time (and it’s barrel-aged variant) has been North Coast’s Old Rasputin, an imperial Russian stout that is robust and full flavored. I’ve been lucky enough to snag a few bottles of the Bourbon barrel aged version of this big stout throughout the years. It’s always high on the annual list of bottles to purchase, but I have never had the opportunity to experience the Rye Whiskey barrel variant – until now.

I’m a big fan of how rye and rye barrel aging affect a beer. That spicy, peppery tingle it imparts is always enjoyable to cross paths with, whether it be in an IPA or a big, thick stout like Old Rasputin.

And upon making it a couple of swallows through this bottle from North Coast, I may have finally met a beer that rivals my unbridled love for the Bourbon barrel Old Rasputin. This particular release is damn tasty. The robust nature of the base stout pairs wonderfully with the gentle barrel influence as a smooth blend of espresso, campfire, whiskey, rye, wood and cocoa notes glided effortlessly across the tongue.

For such a bit beer (11.9% ABV), the alcohol is masked deceptively well, only arising gently in the lasting finish with a soft warmth. If you’ve got the opportunity to check out this barrel variant of a personal favorite, snag a bottle or two. The rye barrel Old Rasputin doesn’t come around too often so enjoy it while you can… or don’t – I wouldn’t mind buying more of this incredible treat.

This is a review of a promotional sample.