Saturday, July 12, 2014

North Coast Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin XIV

This is an 11.5% ABV Russian imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels from the North Coast Brewing Company of Fort Bragg, California. There is one batch each year, the number indicating the number of years since the first batch was done.

The beer pours jet black, just a rim of dark brown on top when held to the light. The head is of brown foam. The aroma is sweet, prunes, raisins, sherry, port, and old wood. The taste is also sweet, but mocha, dark chocolate, dark cocoa, in every combination, like a coffee, chocolate, and liqueur ice cream drink, except not so thick. However, there is a rich smoothness to the mouthfeel. For all its sweet notes, it ends more dry than sweet, with the wood of the barrel playing this role. The bourbon is not out front in the taste, but adds a vaporous cocktail attribute that finds its way up into the sinuses, and suddenly the bourbon is up front, from the back, seemingly contradictory, but oh so tasty and true. The aroma oddly doesn’t match the taste much at all. The taste? By god it is glorious, rapturous, and time-bending. 

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