I used to live in Virginia and could
always purchase North Coast Brewing’s Old Rasputin. Since then I
have moved to southwest Florida and I cannot get this beer. I am an
all-grain brewer and would love to try your all-grain recipe for this
George Hutton • via email
Old Rasputin, which is brewed by the North Coast Brewing Company in Fort Bragg, California, is a Russian Imperial Stout. This award-winning beer was the Gold Medal winner at the World Beer Championships from 1996 to 1998. Old Rasputin will keep you warm on the coldest winter nights, with an alcohol content of nine percent by volume. A beer this big is difficult to brew, so I went directly to the source at North Coast and talked to the founder and head brewer, Mark Ruedrich, about making this high-gravity beer.
Mark started North Coast Brewing Company in 1988. Old Rasputin was added to the lineup in 1995 and has been a big hit ever since.
Old Rasputin is a giant beer, true to style, with a beginning specific gravity of 1.090 and a huge hop bitterness of about 85 to 95 IBUs. Old Rasputin also has a big, aromatic hop profile. Mark has developed Old Rasputin to have a balanced malt profile, minimizing the harsh flavors by limiting the black malts to only 0.25 pounds per 5 gallons, and using other medium-dark malts, such as chocolate and brown malt, to obtain the dark color. As with any high-gravity beer, it is critical that you pitch enough yeast, so make a yeast starter.
You can get more information about North Coast Brewing on the Web at http://www.ncoast-brewing.com, or call them at (707) 964-2739.
Old Rasputin Imperial Stout
(5 gallons, extract with grains)
OG = 1.090 FG = 1.022 IBUs = 85–95 ABV = 9%
9.9 lbs. Coopers Light malt
1.0 lb. Hugh Baird Carastan malt
0.5 lb. Hugh Baird Brown malt
0.5 lb. chocolate malt
1.0 lb. crystal malt (120° L)
0.25 lb. roasted black barley
22.7 AAU Cluster hops (bittering) (3.25 oz. of 7% alpha acid)
9.0 AAU Northern Brewer hops (aroma hops) (1 oz. of 9% alpha acid)
8.8 AAU Centennial hops (aroma) (1 oz. of 8.8% alpha acid)
1 tsp Irish moss White Labs WLP001 (California Ale) yeast
or Wyeast 1056 (American Ale) yeast
O.75 cup of corn sugar for priming
Step by Step
Steep the crushed malts in three gallons of water at 150º F for 30 minutes. Remove the grains from the wort, add malt syrup and bring to a boil. Add the Cluster (bittering) hops and Irish moss and boil for 60 minutes. Add the aroma hops (Northern Brewer and Centennial) for the last two minutes of the boil.
When you are done boiling, strain out the hops and add the wort to two gallons cool water in a sanitary fermenter. Top the fermenter off with cool water to 5.5 gallons. Cool the wort to 80º F, aerate the beer and pitch your yeast. Allow the beer to cool over the next few hours to 68–70º F, and ferment for 10 to 14 days.
Bottle your beer, age for two to three weeks and enjoy! (Yes, that’s right, this beer so well- balanced that North Coast releases it to the public in less than a month.) All-grain option Replace the light syrup with 14 lbs. of pale malt. Mash all your grains at 152º for 45 minutes. Collect enough wort to boil for 90 minutes and have a 5.5 gallon yield. Decrease the amount of bittering hops to 2.75 oz. of Cluster to account for the increased hop extraction efficiency in a full boil. The rest of the directions are the same.