The North Coast Brewing Company ages Old Rasputin in bourbon barrels. Some prefer to pour it into a snifter or fancy after dinner drink glass but we're old school and pour everything into a pint. Old Rasputin pours black - not just dark. The head is rather thick but while it comes down your reminded of a light chocolate mousse. Long term, the head stays thin and chocolate looking - a nice offset against the black of the brew.
This is a somewhat complex beer. We've mentioned chocolate a couple of times for a reason. You will find it in the aroma and in the flavor. However, that's far from the beginning and end of the story. You get a hint of the bourbon in the aroma but it really comes across in the finish of the taste. You might also stumble upon a faint coffee flavor.
Old Rasputin is surprisingly smooth. The carbonation is medium and there is not a lot of bitterness; which is not to say there is no bitterness but there is just enough to offset the sweetness. This is a stout with strong flavor so you would expect it to be heavier but you will go through the 500 ml with surprising ease. At 11.2 percent alcohol it's best served when you're not driving home.
Needless to say we will snap up XIII if our paths cross. We tasted XII after it "aged" at home for about a month. We use the term "aged" loosely but it inspires us to purchase a couple of bottles of XIII - one for immediate consumption and a couple for long-term aging.