Fancy Pants Sunday: North Coast Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Rasputin XXI Russian Imperial Stout
According to legend, it took copious amounts of poison, three gunshots, a beating and a drowning to take down Grigori Rasputin, the Russian mystic and self-proclaimed holy man who befriended the family of Tsar Nicholas II, the last monarch of Russia, and gained considerable influence in late imperial Russia. Rasputin was murdered in the home of Prince Felix Yusupov, the nephew-in-law of Tsar Nicholas. Here’s the thing: Yusupov attended Oxford University with Oswald Rayner, a British secret service agent stationed in Russia during World War I. This fact, coupled with Rasputin’s well-documented antipathy to the war and the Tsarina’s German ancestry, have led some writers to theorize that the British were afraid that Rasputin’s influence would lead the Tsar to make peace with Germany. To avoid this disastrous turn of events, British intelligence agents plotted and carried out Rasputin’s murder. However, most historians find this theory implausible and no record of such a plot has ever been found in MI6 files.
That’s all fine and dandy, but this is the latest installment of Fancy Pants Sunday, a column that champions high ABV, complex and delicious craft beers — and North Coast Brewing’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Rasputin XXI Russian Imperial Stout fits the bill. Imperial stouts (read: extra strong stouts) were first brewed in Britain in the 18th century and were exported along the shipping routes of the Baltic Sea. Strong porters, also brewed for export at that time, were favored in Poland, Finland, and Sweden, while Russians took a liking to the even darker, high gravity stouts. It is known that Catherine the Great, empress of Russia herself favored the imperial stout, placing repeat orders back to London. Legend suggests that it may have become preferred beer of Grigori Rasputin himself, when he befriended the Russian Royal family over a century later.
That’s all fine and dandy, but this is the latest installment of Fancy Pants Sunday, a column that champions high ABV, complex and delicious craft beers — and let’s get to drinking the fancy North Coast Brewing’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Rasputin XXI Russian Imperial Stout. Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin XXI (11.1%) is a take on the classic North Coast Brewing beer, Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. Old Rasputin XXI was aged in bourbon barrels, giving it an aroma of dry chocolate, wood sugar and sea umami. This medium body, chewy smooth Russian imperial stout has pleasant bourbon vanilla barrel taste with dark roast, wood sugar, chocolate syrup and toffee flavors.
Five hundred milliliters bottles of this delicious stout waits in Peaks and Pints’ cooler.
Indeed, you fancy North Coast Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Rasputin XXI Russian Imperial Stout.