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I am officially kicking off this stout season with one of the beers that got it all started for me.  I was really into big stouts when I first began exploring the world of beer and this was among the first to really blow me away.

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Beer Name: Old Rasputin

Brewer: North Coast Brewing Company

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

ABV: 9.0%

Description: The description offered by the brewery is short and to the point: It’s a rich, intense brew with big complex flavors and a warming finish.  The going rate for this beer in my area $10.99 for a 4-pack of 12 oz. bottles.

Appearance: Poured a deep black body topped off by about a finger’s worth of tan foam.  The head slowly faded down to lacing across the top as the beer went on.

Smell: An inviting combination of lightly sweet and roasty malts.

Taste: Intense and dark.  The aforementioned malts really stood out, as did hints of dark fruit and a big helping bittersweet dark chocolate.  The finish had a healthy bitterness to it, once again showcasing bittersweet dark chocolate in conjunction with roasted coffee.  As the beer sat for a bit, a warm alcohol presence built up towards the end; just enough to become noticed without taking over the beer.

Mouthfeel: On the thicker side and smooth despite some tiny bubbles on the edges of each sip.

Hype: Hype is the wrong word for this beer.  Although widely respected and held in high regard, it may get taken for granted a bit on account of being so readily available.

Overall: Just as good as I recall.  It still has a place among my all time favorites and I definitely recommend trying this out if you haven’t before.  Don’t pass this one up.

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