I really liked Rasputin, so I figured I'd give another one of North Coast's stout's a try. Old number 38 is a little bit milder than its Russian-inspired cousin. The predominant taste is dry smoky malt flavors, giving it a sweet-yet-dry flavor. The hops don't come through very strong at first, but as the malt flavors begin to fade, they become quite pronounced, leaving an almost leafy aftertaste. The beer is medium bodied and lightly carbonated, but despite the bold malt flavors, it's not at all overpowering.
I rarely go for Irish-style dry stouts, but I founds this one quite enjoyable. It wasn't so great that it's going to displace my preference for oatmeal and Russian stouts, but it's good enough that I might be tempted to pick it up again sometime. North Coast once again proves its mettle as a first-rate brewery.