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The imperial stout is one of the most popular and respected styles among hardcore beer geeks, a robust style that makes no compromise when it comes to flavor. In America, one of the best known examples is Old Rasputin, by California’s North Coast Brewing Company. For many, it’s the beer by which other imperial stouts are measured: Inky black but with a body that surprisingly manages to avoid being too heavy, aromas of smoky chocolate, bitter coffee and cocoa fill the glass. Taste it, and you'll find notes of molasses and liquorice suffused with undertones of milk chocolate. Smooth, almost bordering on creamy, Old Rasputin would drink easy if it weren’t for the faint alcohol warmth in each sip. Try this living legend at Bar 31, Fountain Porter, Iron Abbey and Capone’s.