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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - North Coast Brewing Co.

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

3,507 Reviews
THE BROS
97
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,507
Hads: 11,224
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 4.91%
Wants: 477
Gots: 2,269 | 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.
View: Beers (25) | Events
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: 3,507 | Hads: 11,224
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)

Photo of jeff1973
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Hair of the Dog tulip.

A - Nice dark pitch black w/ a light tan head. Lots of lacing.

S - Dark roasty, bitter malts and a little burnt sugar.

T - Roasty, leathery, then a touch of sweet dark chocolate and dark fruits. Really dries out at the end with a little alcohol warmth.

M - Medium to low carbonation. Not quote silky. Enough carbonation to still tickle.

D - Medium. Richness of the malt and warming of the alcohol doesn't let you chug this one. It begs you to enjoy it.

Solid beer. Good taste and satisfies that imperial stout urge on a budget. (589 characters)

Photo of bskrtz
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 ounce bottle to large, open challice.

A) Very dark --black. No light passes through. Good head with decent carbonation. May have more to do with the skill of the pourer

S) Burnt coffee, spices, brown sugar

T) Very complex. The burnt coffee dominates but distinct taste of dark chocolate, raisons & caramel

M) Thick, effervescent with little alcohol on the tongue

D) A very good interpretation of Russian Imperial Stout (438 characters)

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

A: Pours a very dark black with a finger of foam that sits arouund for a bit. Mild carbonation and bubbles are sitting on top of the beer. This is a very dark beer, I could swear light is bending around the glass.

S: Plesant smell with a slightly toasted malt on it, almost smells like a barrel aged Alcohol smell comes through just a bit, but the toasted malt is the strongest here.

T: Very bitter and nearly a burned malt taste to it. That type of taste stays with you after you take the sip. Its not entirely a bad thing, but seems to be overwhelming the rest of the beer.

M: Carbonation is there and strong flavor of the toasted malts in there. This is a heavy feeling beer.

O: I had some high hopes for this one, but I believe I'm glad I only picked up a single of this one rather than a 4 pack. The beer itself is pretty good, the smell, and look of it are good, but I dont like the fact that it hangs with you after the fact. It reminds me of a black licorice type taste hanging around. (997 characters)

Photo of dar482
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The beer comes in a black color, but pours out dark brown. The head is fluffy and stays up leaving remnants on the side of the glass.

The aroma is licorice, lots of mocha with this milk chocolate and light roasted coffee. Roasted malt. Almost a peanut butter chocolate from toasted malt.

The beer has a medium light mouthfeel for the style. There's lots of dark fruit with dried dates and plum. Onto bittersweet chocolate and coffee grounds and espresso. With a combination of light bitterness and alcohol on the back.

Consistently disappointed by the light mouthfeel as it drinks like a 7% beer and lack of roasted malt flavor. (632 characters)

Photo of SWMeyer4141
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Let the stout sit out for 20 minutes then poured into my Great Divide Tulip.

Appearance-Black, like any other good RIS. Thick tan head that fades into thick lacing. Carbonation bubbles floating up the side.

Smell-Can really smell the booze. Chocolate, Malt, and alot of Espresson. I think I get some raisons in there too.

Taste-Sweet at the beginning, bitter finish. Lots of espresso and alcohol.

Mouthfeel-Thick and Creamy. Lots of carbonation.

Overall-Very drinkable beer. What makes this beer taste even better is b/c your getting a bargain, 799 a 4pk. Great beer to keep in your fridge without breaking the bank. (621 characters)

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

Rasputin was one of the first good bers I ever had... this was a long time ago, however, before I knew anything about good beers and so back then the only thing I thought about it was "wow, this is really thick...".. So all these years later and I finally tried it again...
it pours nicely and is like any other good RIS, dark black and with a tan head, etc... the aroma is chocolatey with a bit of espresso..
The main thing I have to say about it now is that it is very smokey. Its got a very smokey, burnt bread taste and aftertaste to it. It has a bitterness that is really similar to black coffee.. I wished it was a bit sweeter.
It's definitely a fine stout and I can understand why it has such a high rating, but I think it could stand to be just a tad bit sweeter to give more balance to the smoke/burnt bread taste and mouth feel.
This may be jsut due to personal taste and all, I wouldn't go out of my way to pick it over say Founders breakfast or a Yeti or a stout such as those, however... (1,002 characters)

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

A good, but not grrreat! winter beer, and a pleasant way to finish off a we-got-a-babysitter-and-went-to-see-"The King's Speech" date with my wife. Dark as a moonless night, and a decent aroma of coffee (albeit somewhat old coffee) and chocolate with a peculiar scent of lavender, which seems totally out of place but added a nice tilt to the beer. The bitterness is, relatively speaking, rather low but still elbows the malt and chocolate to the side. And then there's the ginormous head that never really goes away and is so puffy and thick that it made me want to lay my head into it and take a nap. With a dry finish and a come-from-behind alcohol smack, this is a good winter beer but somehow comes up short-- it lacks the complexity I prefer at this ABV. Good for the price. (780 characters)

Photo of redwolf1
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured four 12-ounce bottles of Old Rasputin over the course of a week to give me some time to properly judge the contents. Dark black charcoal in color with a rich frothy light mocha head, which was thicker than I had anticipated. Moderate lacing around the glass. There was a subtle smokiness in the aroma after pouring; however, the smell of dark roasted malts and coffee abound afterwards. As for taste, a little bitter at first, which mellowed with time. A very good beer to sink your teeth into, real chewy. Didn't get that warm alcohol feeling while drinking this one like you do with some others, so I would say that the alcohol is pretty well hidden until you finish the bottle. For overall drinkability though, I would think some people would stop with one or two. At 9%ABV, it will hit you. Good thing, it comes only in 4-packs in my area. (850 characters)

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

A: Pours black as night. One-finger, chocolate milk colored head. Great lacing throughout the beer.

S: Initially boozy. Dark chocolate and intense roasted coffee as it warms. I think that I also picked up some molassas.

T: Strong dark coffee dominates the flavor, but it doesn't mask the alcohol. A little bitter.

M: Tighter carbonation than expected. Warming on the back of the throat. A little thinner than I expected.

D: Stong and intense flavors mean that you will spend a little bit of time finishing this one. Very good. (531 characters)

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

Had on tap at world of beer, poured into a pint glass

A- Dark dark brown, bordering on black, with huge head that lasts, a menacing Rasputin looks as though he is either about to karate chop me or make the sign of the cross on the glass.

S- Heavy chocolate presence, malts and coffee as well

T- Chocolate, coffee, very bitter, overall a good taste with a stingy finish.

M- Bites and stings the tongue in a good way, carbonation and the bitterness come into play heavily here.

D- With a high ABV this is definitely not a session beer, but overall it makes for a beer that everyone should try at least once. (613 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle that I've been sitting on for about six months. The color was dark black with a decent tan head. Smell was a little roasty. The taste was good with some roastiness also. The mouth-feel was not great as the beer seemed a little thin. I was planning on aging some of this but I am not sure it is worth it. Good RIS but not my favorite. (346 characters)

Photo of TrevorGW
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at Deep Ellum in Allston, MA. Was very thankful they had it available, since I had been meaning to try it out.

Looks wonderful in the glass. Deep, deep brown with the thick tan head.

Up front is a lovely rich and creamy experience. Perfectly carbonated and with all the fantastic stout flavor that you can imagine. The creaminess swims around your mouth. The finish is quite abrupt and bitter. This is where the hops come in. At first it was very pleasant, but I then found myself desiring more malt flavor left in my mouth.

All in all, an amazing beer experience. (583 characters)

Photo of Satchboogie
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From notes reviewed on 12/6/10 (re-reviewed 3/23/11):
12oz bottle poured into a Duvel glass

A: Pours pitch black and completely opaque. Huge 2-finger foamy mocha head on a fairly aggressive pour. Sticks around for a while. Has a little lacing. Picture perfect looking stout.

S: A TON of dark chocolate and dark roasted coffee. Molasses/burnt sugar, bitter hops. A lot of bitterness coming out of the nose

T: Tastes very similar to the nose. Dark, bitter chocolate, coffee, and molasses are strong. There's a ton of robust dark roasted malt, almost on the verge of char. The hops are quite strong, mainly floral and leafy. The alcohol is definitely evident and makes it just a little boozy. The finish is dry and has that bitter leafy hop astringency. There's just a ton of bitterness in this, a bit too much for my taste (for a stout).

M: Medium carbonation, body seems a little thin, it is chewy, but overall, not that smooth or viscous.

O: Not a bad RIS, certainly a great value, but a bit too bitter for my taste with too much leafy hop presence. A couple years on this could really do wonders. (1,104 characters)

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

A very hoppy American take on an Imperial Stout.

A: Deep brown, bordering on black. Thick, dense and rocky carmel colored head. Leaves a heavy lace.

S: Powerful cirus hop aromas. Lots of grapefruit with some lemon along for the ride. Faint burnt malt, chocolate and coffee scents.

T: Hops hit right away. Grapefruit bitterness up front and continuing through to the end. Charcoal and coffee flavors come on late. Nice warmth going down. Finishes bitter and dry.

M: Medium body that belies the beers strength. Right amount of carbonation. Feels a little slick.

D: If you like heavily hopped Imperials, this is your beer. I like them a little more balanced. Still a very nice representation of the style. After drinking this, I had one of the worst headaches I've ever experienced. And I only drank one. (806 characters)

Photo of bluetravlr
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Walked home from work at 1am in the pouring rain with this beer in hand. Ah . . . it is good to be home.

A: Nice two full fingers of initial tan/rootbeer colored head. Almost completely black. This beer hardly lets any light through at all but upon further inspection a slight rich-brown coloration can be observed. The head stays with you till the end leaving rich, if not abundant, lacing.

S: Note of anise and sweetbread and coffeee are what first come to mind. Also, some roasted oats and chestnuts and maybe a bit of freshly cut grass?

T: Very similar to the nose. Initially a little sweet with flavors of both toffee and caramel. This sweetness rides to the finish but is enhanced by overlapping layers of coffee, dried leaves, burnt brush, but mostly a grassy bitterness that is most notable in the finish . . . with a hint of lemon rind. Overall, kind of like a nutty cinnamon roll, yet, obviously much more complex.

M: Thick bodied, though average for a stout, mostly due to the sweetness. A little heavy on the carbonation for a stout. A lingering dryness due to the grassy bitterness of the hops

D: The alcohol is pretty well masked. However, perhaps ironically, the sweetness and bitterness detract from this beers sessionability. Instead of blending together in harmony the sweet and bitter qualities of this beer seem to be at odds with one another.

This review, as shown in the ratings, is not meant to dismiss in any way the quality of this beer. It is extremely interesting . . . and in more ways than one delicious. Just not as balanced as some of my favorite stouts. (1,592 characters)

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 3,507 ratings.