Total Score: 8.95/10
Can North Coast be my beer messiah when Founders Breakfast Stout is out of stock at Plonk? I ask myself, seemingly knowing the answer is “no” but wanting nonetheless for there to be another Stout as good as FBS. For starters Rasputin, apart from being a wily-old/long dead Russian monk is a Russian Imperial Stout (the beer not the person), and RIS’s are a bold adventurous lot brewed by the English to sate the wild palates of bold Slavic Czars… who knows, Rasputin may have it.
Poured from a 355ml bottle into a nonic pint.
A: Rasputin was a dark, scraggily-haired and slightly menacing monk. This beer has personified old-raspy well with its jet-deep chocolate body and a tan head that leaves Sanskrit writing, in the form of lace, inside the glass… I’m a Buddhist and I’m freaking out right now wondering if this is some sort of Beer-Dharma. 10/10.
S: Dusty chalk upfront, with roasted coffee bean, more chalk, notes of bitter herbal hops with hop resin notes and a hint of bitter cacao nibs. The aroma is heady and luscious, like some malevolent lover who will bring you to the peak of beer ecstasy only to abandon in their own nefarious plot like some pawn… only: you want to be a pawn to this brew. 10/10.
T: Finally! A cacao master to FBS’s Kona coffee awesomality… and yes I invented that word specifically to piss off OED. Where FBS rules the coffee Stout roost, Rasputin puts a dark chocolate boot in your throat and says “drink me bastard, you know you want to!” (and “yes” I do). There are some bold chocolate notes with a bitter herbal finish, much more bitter than FBS. That said there’s quite a bit of finesse and complexity with this Rasputin (although the original Rasputin was also quite bitter and complex as well). 9/10.
M: Mid to heavy bodied with a chewy, dense carbonation, close to Founders body but lacking that Overall Oatmeal Creaminess (that OOC). 8/10.
D: Like a big Stout blanket this brew coats your tongue and makes you feel that you have made an excellent choice in Stouts, like all great Stouts should do. Is it enough to de-perch FBS? The question burning on all the lips of the people who’ve tried FBS but not Rasputin… it is a great brew, almost worthy of de-throning FBS but it is missing a slight “Ce n’est pas la vache qui crie le plus fort qui donne le plus de lait.” (I secretly hope someone translates that). 8/10.
Food match: Hens eggs, the large ones. Also cigars, the smoky ones, would match well.