I haven't had this in a while and since I recommeded it to Mike Veach, I though it was time to give it another go. It is brewed by North Coast Brewing in Fort Bragg CA. I am drinking it out of a large volume glass set on a stem. The glass is a bit like a snifter but wider at the top. If you haven't ever had beer from a glass like this, try it. You do get more of the aromas.
Now, back to the Old Rasputin. This being a RIS, it is high alcohol at 9%. While it is almost in the Barley Wine category, the roasted barley tips it delightfully toward the stout. It is a damn good beer, I say again, it is a damn good beer!! It is rich and satisfying, I almost think I have to chew this beer.
If my memory ain't too faulty, it is not quite as estery and sweet as Samuel Smith's RIS, or Bert Grant's RIS. I like both those beers, but this one is a tad more to my taste. I like that smokey, slightly bitter after taste characteristic of a good stout. I happen to have had steak for lunch and even though I didn't have this Old Rasputin at the same time, it still complements the meat even after the fact.
Now, I don't smoke cigars. When I have tried them they always cause a fight all the way from my head through to me a _ _ h _ le. And they generally beat me up bad. Still, methinks this might be a good cigar beer.
So, I can reinforce my recommendation, Mr Veach. With a thick, juicy, and tender steak, and this here Old Rasputin, you gone be in high cotton while eating high on the hog (er, ah, cow) too. All both at the self same time!! (Always was bad about mixing my metaphors!)
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas