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BREW CLUB Style of the Month: Imperial Stout

North Coast Ale Old Rasputin Russian Imperial StoutDescription:
Inspired by brewers back in the 1800s to win over the Russian Czar, this is the king of stouts, boasting high alcohol by volumes and plenty of malt character.

Imperial stouts are packed with lots of intense flavors and aromas such as coffee, fruit, dark chocolate, burnt grain and currant.

It has low to moderate levels of carbonation, and hop character can vary. Many Imperial Stouts are barrel-aged, mostly in bourbon or whiskey barrels, while some are infused with coffee or chocolate.

Alcohol ranges vary, but they tend to be quite big. Most tend to have cleaner alcohol flavors, higher hop levels and more residual sweetness: very full-bodied with rich roasted flavors far surpassing normal stouts.

Featured Beer:
North Coast Ale Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout: Produced in the tradition of 18th Century English brewers who supplied the court of Russia’s Catherine the Great, Old Rasputin seems to develop a cult following wherever it goes. It’s a rich, intense brew with big complex flavors and a warming finish.

The Old Rasputin brand image is a drawing of Rasputin with a phrase in Russian encircling it — A sincere friend is not born instantly.

Reviewers have commented that Old Rasputin is filled with a special dark chocolate-coffee flavor, with hints of brown sugar and chocolate-covered coffee bean mingled with a pop of fresh berries. The body is robust, and it is best served not-quite-cold. As it warms up, you’ll start to taste rich espresso, black pepper and burnt caramel.

Color: Black, ABV: 9%, Bitterness: 75 IBUs

Imperial Stout Food Pairings
While it is an intense beer, the smooth texture helps it match, not overpower, foods, and the big bitter finish does a great job at cutting sweetness. It pairs well with red meat, smoked meats, chocolate desserts, and aged Cheddar or Gouda.

Steak Au Poivre for Two

2 (6 to 8 oz) Certified Angus Beef ® tenderloin steaks
2 Tbs whole peppercorn blend (black, white, red, green)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbs vegetable oil
3 Tbs butter (dice 2 Tbs into small cubes and keep refrigerated)
1 Tbs shallot, minced
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup beef stock
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbs sour cream

Crack peppercorns with the back of a skillet. Cut strip steak in half. Press cracked pepper firmly into both sides of each steak. Season with salt.

Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. When butter foams, place steaks in pan, pressing firmly. Lower heat to medium and sear about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer steaks to a clean plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Add shallots to the pan, and add brandy while holding the pan away from the heat. Return pan to medium-high heat. Expect a flame while the alcohol burns off. Cook 1 minute until brandy thickens. Add stock. Bring sauce back to a boil, and reduce until thickened to a sauce consistency.

Whisk in Dijon, sour cream and cold butter. Taste sauce and add salt to taste; remove from heat. Spoon sauce on plates and place steaks on top.

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