Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial StoutOld Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

3,496 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,496
Hads: 11,172
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 468
Gots: 2,212 | FT: 56
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 01-18-2001

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 3,496 | Hads: 11,172
Photo of filabrazilia
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a "midnight without a moon" black with a gorgeous brown head that settles into excellent lacing. A very nice looking beer.

I am struck by how much chocolate exists in the nose. This is like opening a box of fine imported chocolates and allowing the smells to embrace you as you anticipate the first taste. Toffe and carmel are present as well.

The taste, unfortunately does not match the aroma and is nowhere near as complex or as smooth as I anticipated. It is a tad bitter--I suppose from the roasted malts. There were some pronounced alcohol flavors as well. While not bad, I'm a little disappointed with it.

This is a medium bodied beer that is mildly carbonated and pleasant on the palate.

This is not nearly as drinkable as I'd like it to be. I think I will let the remaining beers age for a while before I try it again. The taste just didn't quite match the smell or the appearance. Hopefully time will give it some more character. (966 characters)

Photo of kajerm
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours black, totally opaque with a thin, intriguingly asymmetric ring of tan foam; good lacing.

Huge coffee nose, with dark-roasted malt and a little bit of semisweet chocolate. Some yeasty/alcoholic spiciness.

Coffee is definitely evident from beginning to end, with some hops and even more black malt bitterness. There is a strong background flavor of dark chocolate. The alcohol is clearly evident, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

The mouthfeel was initially disapointing; the palate was thin and overcarbonated, but it inexplicably settled down and turned into a proper imperial stout-- super creamy and chewy. Nice.

Drinkability is about what you'd expect for an imp, no surprises here. (711 characters)

Photo of Matty1918
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to deepsouth for this sample.

Pours from a bottle into a chalice.

Pours a nice dark color....no light shining through this bad boy. Not much head maybe I poured it a little colder than it should of been. The thin head that is there is dark and creamy looking. Good amount of lacing.

Aroma is of slight coffee with a big chocolate back bone. Nice roasted malts come through in the end. You can smell the alcohol too.

That first sip and you can taste the alcohol. Once that settles down it's a strong toasted malt flavor that gives way to coffee. There's a hint of molases there for a second then it gets overtaken by the alcohol and roasted malts. This is a sipper for sure. The 9% ABV doesn't hide itself.

Mouthfeel is very nice, creamy with good carbonation.

Glad I got the chance to try this. The alcohol was a little bit overpowering as it needed more of a balance. I'd buy this again. Let it age a bit and share with friends. (943 characters)

Photo of ommegangpbr
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rasputin stares at you through the depths of a goblet. An opaque black stare with deep tan fringes bores into your brain.
This will not be an idle encounter.
A sweet yet bitter perfume floats along the air permeating your nostrils.
::Achoo::
Distinctive. Not something you'd imagine to be appealing but convinces you otherwise.
The encounter is not meek by any standard. Charming yet repelling, both pulling you in and pushing you away.
The struggle is exhausting yet you can't help but thinking that you'll choose to cross paths again. (542 characters)

Photo of confer
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Black as oil with a two finger head of caramel color. it leaves a massive trail of lace.
S- Sweet and smokey. It is your typical stout smell but a with a hint of sweetness in the smell.
T- I like this a lot better than most stouts, it has more flavor than just roasty malts.
M- The fell is exceptionally thick and cramy.
D- As stouts go I would have not trouble drinking this one again. (389 characters)

Photo of pennsybrau
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into 20oz pint glass.

A-Deep dark brown, nearly black color. The head was caramel colored about one inch thick which quickly dissipated into a thin layer which remained for the duration. Nice dark lacing.

S-Hearty malty aroma, smelled of coffee with hints of chocolate. Very nice but not enough to hide Rasputin's high alcohol content.

T-There is a lot going on here. Strong coffee flavor, very malty with a bitter finish which dissipated as quickly as the head did. Then left with a pleasant malty aftertaste.

M-Carb balance is nice. Has a bitter coating that eventually turns into a warming sensation.

D-Goes down smooth but the alcohol is apparent. A very nice nightcap or a bedtime sipper.

I would not recommend this for a session. It would be very long night. (781 characters)

Photo of drewbage
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled fresh bottles and poured into a Belgian tulip.

Opaque, black and very little brown head.

Aroma of pine, chocolate and dark fruit.

Big roasty coffeesque beer with a strong bright bitterness that rides through the thick body of the beer and leaves briskly finished that lingers with a bite (298 characters)

Photo of DeltaGolfSierra
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The menacing picture of Rasputin on the bottle is an appropriate start to this intimidating beer. Appearance is completely black; totally opaque with a big dark tan head. Chocolate scents are strong, with a slight alcohol smell on the nose as well. The chocolate carries into the taste, but is really overpowered by the hops - perhaps a bit too much. There is a grape or fig taste lingering in the background, with a surge of bitterness in the finish. Not quite what I was expecting. Mouthfeel is full-bodied. A good beer overall, but a very bold and heavy one that I'd not drink on a regular basis. (599 characters)

Photo of onmyslide
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: DARK! Seriously, it pours like motor oil, which is pretty awesome. Solid amount of head as well.

S: Malt and liquor.

T: Solid.

M: Very good. Good balance of carbonation.

D: Just dove in, but it really seems like something you could have two of for sure. Wouldn't suggest drinking more than probably two since the alcohol level is pretty high (9 or 10%). (362 characters)

Photo of silverblaze540
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Very dark and poured with a fairly large head. Nothing is really visible through the beer. Head dissipates very quickly.

S - Very strong (and delicious) smell at first, but dissipates pretty quickly. Sweet, with strong smell of chocolate and hints of coffee.

T - Sweet when it first touches the tongue. Light carbonation and light alcohol taste. Very smooth, with good balance of flavors. Coffee and bitter aftertaste.

M - Very very thick and heavy. Not much carbonation or alcohol taste, especially for a 9%.

O - Best stout I have had. I like the initial sweetness, and the smell was very delicious when I first poured, and, with the thick head, it made my mouth water. The bitter aftertaste lingers for a bit, but it is not that strong. The head and smell dissipate quickly. Still, an enjoyable beer. (812 characters)

Photo of kylehayworth
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this beer about 8 months ago, without any real knowledge, I decided to try it again, and see if I liked it better...

A: The apperance is dark black, with hues of deep brown and chocolate. The head forms nice and quick with a darker brown/tan tone.

S: It smells of faint alcohol but more so chocolate with mild coffee/vanilla/caramel.

T: I pick up a lingering alochol taste on the finish. Before it gets there though, lots of caramel and vanilla. Robust coffee and chocolate. It got a lot smoother once it warmed up a bit, but still a lot boozy, the notes did get more noticable.

M/D: The carbonation was moderate, but I didn't find it very thick and creamy. It seemed thin and watery. I didn't hate this beer, the texture just seemed a little strange. (762 characters)

Photo of noduckla
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - nice dark color, did not pour with a great head, but was pouring from a really cold bottle.

S - not inky black, but nice and chocolaty with a hint of coffee

T - tasted great, not too bitter, lingering chocolaty aftertaste

M - good carbonation, well balanced without a strong aftertaste

D - I could drink a couple of these back to back to back easily. It is a good stout that does not overpower the palate with a nice chocolaty taste. (443 characters)

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 8/5/08. Bottle. Pours black with a small light tan head. Aroma of chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, cookie dough, caramel, nougat, and truffles. Wow. Flavor of roast, coffee, and bitter hops. Sweet roasted malt emerges as the beer warms. A bit heavy (alcohol-wise). Good impy!
8/4/8/4/15 (3.9/5) (306 characters)

Photo of cjgiant
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I have had this before without rating, and recall enjoying it. I had the nitro for this review, so ratings are adjusted accordingly.

A: probably thanks to the nitro in part, this beer almost epitomized what I expect a stout to look like. Dark brown-to-black with great head, tan in color and sustaining, with decent lacing
S: I am missing what I expect, instead of roastiness, I am getting a wet cardboard, but it's not very strong
T: smooth, as I expect a nitro. Roasted malt has cocoa taste to begin, with some light bitterness turning it towards coffee, kinda like mocha.
M: there is a coating mild bitterness, not strong but pretty on point to me.
O: I probably have to try the regular bottle or tap to see for certain. Given some of the Imperial Stouts I've had, this is missing some bite. However, in my experience one can question how the nitro affected it. That said, I could probably get in trouble drinking a few of these down quickly and smoothly. (959 characters)

Photo of BuccoFan
3.84/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perfect head and lacing. Medium bodied with medium flavor. Slight hint of carbonation. Very enjoyable. Frustrating that it is relatively unusual that a solid RIS is available year-round. Might not grab this when certain other ones are in season, but a good one this is. (269 characters)

Photo of TheLastEngineer
3.84/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle purchased from Shangy's. Poured into a regular pint glass.

A: Dark as all get-out. Something to behold... made the glass look like it had been painted black on the inside. 2 fingers of tan head, persistent lacing.

S: Quite boozy (imagine that!) with lots of roasted coffee and some dark chocolate. As it warmed, got too complex for my nose to properly analyze. Lots going on under that alcohol smell.

T: Surprisingly good, especially given the assaulting nature of Russian Imperials. Not as much hops as others I've tried. Was expecting more of a boozy taste, but found lots of sweet, bitter, and even creamy flavors.

M: Not too heavy, with enough carbonation to keep things clean. Not easy to do with so much power.

D: About as good as you can get for this style. I've finished other imperials out of principal... leave no respectable beer unfinished. I can drink 2-3 of these and not regret it too much, although the avalanche of dark flavors might render my tastebuds useless for the next week.

Impressive beer. I applaud North Coast for not dumbing this one down one bit. I'm still not a big fan of the style, but this is my favorite Russian Imperial Stout by a solid margin. (1,197 characters)

Photo of bark
3.84/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The colour is pitch dark; the beige-brown foam forms a thin compact head.

The smell is dry and robust with flavours of coffee, lemons, liquorice, roasted malt, white bread, and porridge rolled oats.

The carbonation is fresh and surprisingly strong, but it suits the beer fine.

The first taste is a creamy one with a touch of cocoa. It develops into a dry, very bitter flavour with some citric notes. The body is rather weak, or is it just hiding below all that bitterness? The aftertaste is long and generous with a touch of alcohol, a sourish, burned bitterness and some black coffee.

A fine (very American) stout, but I could wish for some more body. (667 characters)

Photo of punkrkr27
3.84/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark black pour, ruby highlight, thick frothy tan head. Strong chocolate aroma. Quite a bit of alcohol on the nose and a fair amount of dark roasted coffee with some smoky hops. Very chocolaty flavor with a fair amount of burnt coffee beans. The alcohol is very noticeable. Body is full and creamy with more notable alcohol warming. As this one warmed up more I'm finding the body and the malts a tad bit thin for an Imperial Stout. I would almost compare this more to a good Baltic Porter. I know I'm nitpicking on that issue, but I couldn't think of any other way to make note of my observation. (597 characters)

Photo of rajendra82
3.84/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a stubby bottle with a picture of the Russian mystic on the label (I am assuming this is Rasputin, as I have never seen other pictures of him). When poured into my trusty goblet, the dark brown body is nearly completely opaque, but displays red highlights at the edges when held up against the light. The head is brown in color, massive in size (at least three inches), and has the consistency to stand up on its own above the rim of the glassware. This is one impressive looking beer indeed. The aroma is a mixture of medicinal alcohol, and powdered cocoa, and is relatively mild. The taste is like roasted cracked grain, bitter coffee, unsweetened dark chocolate, dark skinned dried fruits, and charred wood. Very pronounced hop bitterness and a very dry aftertaste are also present, as is the noticeable warming effect of the significant alcohol content. Mouthfeel is soft and soothing, but a bit thinner than what I anticipated. Very good representation of the style, but a bit less in your face than others like Victory Storm King Stout. (1,056 characters)

Photo of caddybuyer
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter

A-Black as night. Faint ruby highlights when held to the light but other than that, utter blackness. Thick creamy brown head that laces nicely.

S-Have you ever been to Hershey? It smells like Old Rasputin. Coccoa nubs, roasted chicory, a hint of anise and licorice. A bit of alcohol in the background

T-The palate begins with bitterness, the roasted cocoa and chickory so present in the nose explodes onto the palate, yet, unexpectedly, here come some citrus hops, slighly out of place, yet keeping things a bit interesting. The hops follow out to the finish in a tingling and astringent manner. This is a nice and bitter RIS, but I would rate it much higher if it had a bit of sweetness to even it all out.

M-Full bodied with even carbonation. Well done.

D-I adored the anniversary stout, and like this, but it feels a bit off balance, like it needs some age to mellow out. Decent beer, but I'll steer straight for the Ten Fidy before buying another pack of this. (1,012 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black with blonde head. Roasty, salt and bitter and high acid. In sip: Cinammon, rye bread, bittersweet chocolate, fruit,licorice. Could be less hoppy. Medium plus texture.

Had 4.5 years later and certainly stands up over time. There are more "big" RIS but for a bitter coffee one, this is the classic. (303 characters)

Photo of AxesandAnchors
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A fingers worth of a creamy coffee colored head, good head retention. Jet black, no light seepage. A light syrupy pour.

S: First wave is coffee and vanilla. Slight burn in the nose from the alcohol. Rich toasted malty smell, with a hint of dark chocolate. Nice mellow floral undertone from the hops.

T: Espresso, burnt toast, vanilla, more bitter than sweet, tobacco character.

M: Carbonation is average-to-high. Mouth-feel is creamy but not thick.

O: Not my favorite Russian Imperial, but a solid example of the style for sure. (535 characters)

Photo of ommegoose
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Whole Foods Market in Evanston for $6.99 a four pack.

Pours out pitch black. Leaves a head of about a quarter inch of large tan bubbles. Chunky, almost like a root beer float. Leaves sticky lacing around the glass. Giving the glass a little swirl restores some of the head. Very slight amber when some light peeks through at the end of the glass. Looks good, but does not distinguish itself from other RIS's in any way.

Smells like it will be pretty potent at first. I can catch a whiff of the dark malts from about two feet away after I open the bottle. Upon closer examination, the aroma is not as big as I expected. There are the usual culprits; dark malts, chocolate, caramel and some coffee. I do get the feeling that I'm only finding all those because I expect them here. Some alcohol is present too.

Thankfully, there's more complexity to the flavor than the aroma. Big espresso bitterness dominates. Too burnt to even say that it's chocolate or coffee here. This, plus generous hopping seem a bit much. There's also a surprising citrus hop fruitiness buried in here. This score would be higher, but I'm getting an off metallic note on the finish to go with espresso. I'm glad I like espresso a lot. But even espresso has that initial hit of sweetness that I'm not really getting here. The alcohol is not a secret here.

Mouthfeel is fine. A little hot from the alcohol. Carbonation is maybe a little too much. These issues sort of go away about halfway through as the beer sits, or the effects of the alcohol kick in a bit. Pretty solid.

One of these is fine for me. I probably won't rush out to buy this again soon, although it is a pretty good value compared to trying to track down the elusive RIS's. I could see myself picking this up if I happened to have a craving for espresso in beer. I would give the nitro-tap a try though. I suspect it would improve a bit. (1,893 characters)

Photo of plaid75
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a 12 ounce bottle into an imperial pint glass. A beautiful dark brown hue with a thick two finger caramel head. Poor head retention but superior lacing.

The smell is a robust toasted barley aroma. Strong hints of coffee and subtle hints of cocoa.

The taste mirrors the aroma. A very rich roasted coffee flavor with significant lingering coffee and cocoa flavors. Pleasant flavor lasts minutes after the sip. A suprisingly slight alcohol taste considering the ABV. The balance is very good in this stout - just enough hop to moderate the roasted flavor.

The mouthfeel is rich and long lasting. The lingering flavors produce a prolonged mouthfeel.

A very drinkable 9.00% ABV beer. (698 characters)

Photo of Tyler08
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark pour from a bottle into a wide-mouth bubble glass. Light brown head and smooth look. Copper lacing.

S: Chocolate and coffee aroma with a hint of dark fruit. delightful.

T: Again, chocolate and coffee taste with a nice dark fruit flavor. There is a bit if heat on the back end of a sip, which complements this beer nicely.

M: Decent mouthful, but not as overpowering as I thought it would be.

D: As any Russian Imperial Stout, one or two bottles may be enough. Delightful and enjoyable to the palate. (512 characters)

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 3,496 ratings.