It’s been a long time coming to have my good friend Tim on camera at The Hopry. So I pulled out the stops this night and went directly for a beer I’ve wanted to try for a very long time. This AMAZING bourbon barrel anniversary edition of the North Coast Old Rasputin is one of the best I’ve had this year. I think Tim and I both agree, too, that this is one of the most subtle imperial stouts out there, even though it brings in a whopping 11.2% ABV. There is tons of vanilla coming out of the barrel aging (think Southern Tier Creme Brulee), and the alcohol burn typically associated with this type of beer is virtually non-existent. But I think what makes this beer the most magical is how very well-balanced it is all around. Not one component outshines the other. Upon every sip, you almost seem to sink deeper into the couch while just marveling over how they could make such a big beer go down this easily. Well…the good news is that I have seen plenty of these on the shelves around town, so I think I may have to add another one or two to the collection to let them hang out for a little while. Though I will tell you right now, these bottles do not need age to be greatly appreciated by just about anyone. And that my friends is the sign of a 98 point beer for me.
Brewery: North Coast
Beer: Old Rasputin XII Anniversary
Style: Imperial Stout
Location: Fort Bragg, California