North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
Photo: North Coast
Photo: North Coast

Warm up with this imperial stout on a cold winter night

Beer Pick: North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

During the month of February, beer writers Jay R. Brooks and Stephen Beaumont are pulling together a a global listing of “Flagship February” events to celebrate flagship beers. Each day throughout the month they will reveal a new essay by one writer expounding upon a single flagship beer.

Although North Coast Brewing may not consider it a flagship beer, one of my all-time favorites, Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, is today’s Beer Pick.

Beer Pick 

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

North Coast Brewing Co., Fort Bragg, Calif.

Available on draft and in 4-pack/12-ounce bottles 


One of my favorite beers, period, Old Rasputin is a stellar example of an American craft brewery taking on a traditional old world style in a big way. In this case, it’s an 18th Century English-made strong stout that became a favorite of the court of Russia’s Catherine the Great. 

Billed as an “intense brew with big complex flavors and a warming finish,” it’s at once malty, roasty, and bittersweet, with notes of dark fruit, dark chocolate, and black coffee. And at 9-percent alcohol, and 75 International Bitterness Units, it’s quite strong but delightfully delicious. 

Served on draft with nitrogen, like Guinness, Old Rasputin takes on a softer character. And at 12-percent, the bourbon barrel-aged version displays even more intensity and complexity.  

Pair with 

A great beer to warm up to on a cold winter evening, Old Rasputin makes a natural after dinner or dessert drink. Try it with Stilton, Gouda or Camembert cheese, or dark chocolate. 


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