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

3,494 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,494
Hads: 11,143
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 464
Gots: 2,197 | 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
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Reviews: 3,494 | Hads: 11,143
Photo of danielharper
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from Woody's Smokes and Brews, Franklin, TN.

My first Imperial Russian Stout, and I only wish I'd bought a whole four-pack of these instead of sticking to the single.

Pours dark, dark, black with a thick brown head. The head was very foamy and dissipated only after letting the beer set for a few minutes. I also love the bottle on this one, the picture of Rasputin and the Russian writing around the bottle are pretty nifty, thus giving it a highly impressive presentation.

The aroma is very much as I expected from a stout, with a heavy coffee nose combined with subdued alcoholic notes. The alcohol was present, but worked well with the overall aroma -- I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Taste is really nice, very much like the smell, strong coffee and "stoutish" notes combined with some bitterness. As the beer warms, though, the alcohol becomes more pronounced and gives the beer an overall astringent quality, the only thing keeping this beer from getting a higher score on taste.

Mouthfeel is really fantastic, thick and full-bodied, like a velvety texture that slides around the mouth and into the throat. Quite enjoyable, and the fairly mild carbonation helps to keep this beer interesting and pleasant, but not overwhelming on the mouthfeel department.

Overall drinkability is low only because of the aforementioned astringent quality to the taste as the beer warms, and the high alcohol. I drank this one over the course of about an hour and a half, and while I enjoyed it quite a bit, I don't think I could have easily drunk two. Very nice, highly enjoyable, but not a session beer at all. (1,623 characters)

Photo of mntlover
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black but lots of redish highlights around edges so not the darkest RIS but a nice 3 finger coco colored head that falls to ringed bubbles and laces like crazy give this baby great looks even if its not the darkest.

Aroma is sweet roasted malts lots of chocolate some light coffee underneath the sweetness. Under lying citrus hops coming thru the roasted malt also some of the usual fruitiness in RIS's.

Taste is roasted malt lots good chocolate flavors coming thru fairly smooth but touches of gritiness. Coffee flavors come out after the sweet chocolate peaks and mingle with the fairly large amount of hops citrus grapefruit and pine resin mixed for the finish, some light alcohol apears in the finish also. Overall a pretty decent tasting RIS somewhere in the middle of the pack.

Mouthfeel is good going on full but not quite smooth but decent.

Drinkability is good definitely worth trying, but it wouldn't replace my favorites I try to keep on hand for the winter. (987 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is THE staple of Russian Imperial Stouts that paved the way for unreal American stout brewers of this depth, boldness, and aggression.

The beer pours with a deep onyx black color, a 1" froathy tan head that rises to the top of the tulip and proves to be steadfast til the end. A fair amount of lacing, soft legging, and retention.

Strong aromas of roasted malts, burnt toast, deeply roasted coffee, and waves of burnt cocoa. Truely aggressive, attacking the nose.

Equally strong flavors favor the espresso character, while the burnt toast and cocoa provide complex flavor to the highly roasted grains. Milder fruity flavors of plumbs, dates, licorcie, and raisons round out the roughter grain-related tastes very well. Not to be outdone, the hops also provide a piney, light resin tone to the finsihing flavors. Lightly acidic flavors later remind me of bitter coffee once more.

Sweet, smooth, creamy textures conjure up a full and round body with a billowing and expansive initial mouthfeel. The beer settles and allows the hops, acid, and light sourness to cause a lightening in the body to allow for ease in drinking. Hop bitterness begins to gain dominance over the astringent coffee, toasty bite. The light warmth of 9% abv. kinda gets lost in the complex flavors and textures.

Very well attenuated and controlled yeast character made this beer a Godfather of Stouts and continues to outlast newer Stouts with its restraint and boldness. Always a pleasure to see this beer in my glass. (1,500 characters)

Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.1/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance - Black ichor completely opaque. Transmission depth of only a few millimeters. This beer is dark. A thick dark tan head dissappeared slowly leaving no lacing behind.

Smell - Molasses, dates and malt. Delicious odor, but not very strong.

Taste - An upfront sweet flavor. The date flavor hits first then a molasses, cocoa and espresso tone joins. A mossy bitterness lets you down after the more dominant flavors. I think the beer would be better with a less potent bitter aftertaste - of at least a different flavor than moss. The espresso flavor and the bitterness dominant at higher temperature.

Mouthfeel - The alcohol stings the tongue. Stouts should be viscous or creamy, this one was a little thin for my taste. Not terrible though.

Drinkability - Would pair well with many foods, but the bitterness starts to accumulate making a full 12 oz a tad difficult to finish (although still very nice). (913 characters)

Photo of Shultzerdugen
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. brown bottle.

Inky black in color with a clingy dark tan head. Moving the glass is a catalyst for carbon dioxide production, (it makes bubbles).

Fruity esters, dark roasted malts bordering on burnt smelling, and espresso in the nose.

Full bodied and creamy with almost no graininess to speak of. A fruity sweetness quickly falls out into a bold roasted malt flavor. The finish is long lasting and reminiscent of burnt toast and dark unsweetened chocolate. Hops are subdued and add a musty note in back. Very slick and oily mouth coating with this dude.

I haven't had this beer in five years. Last time it was almost too much, and it still is, but in an enjoyable way-- just like five years ago. It bludgeons you with roasted malts. (742 characters)

Photo of bigdeuce
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is Outstanding!! The only other beer that I enjoyed of this similarity so much was Mendocino's Winter Ale.

The smell is rich, taste also rich. High is chocolate and coffee and is hard to describe except it does look like liquid charcoal with terrific head retention and traces all the way down the glass. Huge alcohol, undetectable and comes on late. The only drawback is, and I don't like this at all, is it comes in 4 packs, which is the only reason I never buy Sam Smith's beer, although it is excellent as well. (529 characters)

Photo of Px2GrafX
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

presentation: 12oz bottle with a black and white image of rasputin on the front. there is what i assume to be russian text or symbols around a ring on the label. the abv is displayed at 9%.

appearance: pours extremely black with slightly lighter dark brown edges. forms a caramely-tan colored 2-finger pancake batter-like head. lacey and stickey all the way down the glass. head sticks around 'til the very end.

smell: very dessert-like aroma of roasted barley, chocolate and espresso. very sweet with light alcohol undertones.

taste: more dark chocolate and coffee. sweet, but very balanced with a lightly bitter finish. very complex. i couldn't possibly accurately translate all the flavors. alcohol is well masked.

mouthfeel: very smooth and moderately thick. lightly carbonated. swallows smooth with a little clunk.

drinkability: very tasty, but you have to savor this beer. i could drink it all night, but you wouldn't want to drink too much or too fast due to the abv.

overall: this is an excellent russian imperial stout, and probably my favorite right now. i'll need to explore this beer again when my palate is more developed. i may be able to rate it even higher. (1,191 characters)

Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a single at Riley's here in Madison

Pours black with a nice 3/4" tan frothy head which has decent retention and minimal lacing. Smell is quite fruity actually, berries or cherries with an alcoholic bite. Very rich smelling bouquet. Taste follows suit and is quite fruity, in a deep roasted kind of way, with some sweet maltiness, some hop bitterness, and alcohol at the end. You can tell this is 9%, but it's not to the point of being hard to drink by any means. I could easily put back another, but would definitely start to feel it by then. Mouthfeel is nice for an RIS, smooth and creamy, yet refreshing. A very rich smelling and tasting imperial stout here, much fruitier than I was expecting, but a pleasant surprise. My favorite RIS to date. (760 characters)

Photo of DrJay
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Totally black with clear, ruby highlights topped by a lace of medium brown head. Looks nice all the way down due to moderate lacing and good head retention for what's there. Vinous alcohol aroma, lots of roast coffee, dark chocolate and overall maltiness with a moderate hoppiness. The flavour starts malty sweet, bitterness appears at the mid-point along with chocolate and alcohol warmth. The finish is very roasted and dry, with bitterness contributed by the dark malts. Creamy, viscous texture, full bodied. The alcohol flavour melds well with the malt character, leaving you with a very drinkable stout. (608 characters)

Photo of Viggo
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a super opaque black, little bit of red on the edges, creamy dark brown head and lots of lace. Smells like dark roasted malt, hops, coffee and chocolate. Taste is sublime, lots of roasted coffee, hops, dark chocolate finish. Very thick and full, perfect mouthfeel and carbonation, amazing beer. Reminded me of Rogue Imperial Stout a lot but smoother. Thanks for the taste DrJay. (384 characters)

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque dark brown with tiny hints of ruby. Dense tan head. No real lacing to speak of. Smells rich and malty. Creamy chocolate, milky, rich alcohol and vanilla.

Taste is just amazing. It's rich with lightly roasty malt flavors. Bittersweet chocolate. Some roasted coffee bean in the finish that becomes more pronounced as it warms. It's lightly sticky in the mouth and very full bodied. a lingering coffee bitterness. The balance of sweetness and bitterness is just fantastic. I love it. An old favorite I can't believe I hadn't reviewed yet. (554 characters)

Photo of NEhophead
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

20 oz on tap at Mahar's.

Thin, creamy brown head that lingers for a moment. Beautiful tan, ringed lacing throughout the glass. Opaque engine oil black in color.

The aroma is a roasted chocolate malt character with bits of dark fruit and nuts; cherry, coffee, almond.

Big roasted malt character at first. Dark chocolate, almond, hazlenut. Met by a high hop profile creating an espresso and light cream flavor. Dark bitterness followed by an aftertaste of cherries, dates, and hazlenut.

Full bodied; slick and mellow on the palate. Syrup-like with almost no carbonation: exactly what I look for in an imperial stout.

An automatic choice when you can find it on tap, but very filling. The 20 oz pint glass was perfect to enjoy this one, but having another was out of the question. (793 characters)

Photo of blackthistle
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Old Rasputin has a wonderful, thick, brown head and a rich, deep, black color. It has a strong, thick and creamy malt flavor that is both sweet and bitter, with a mild roasted/burnt aftertaste and a roasty aroma. This imperial stout has a full-bodied consistency with an alcoholic warmth that will bring a smile to your face and a nice warm glow to your cheeks on a cold winter night. It finishes with a big hop bitterness that lingers. Brussels lace stays on the sides of the glass right to the bottom. Old Rasputin is an excellent example of the imperial stout style. (569 characters)

Photo of Opethsprite
3.27/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Beautiful brown that glistens with supple red highlights, but alas, the head is nonexistent. There is a scent of tart berries (blueberries and cranberries, I believe) and quite an array of hops on the nose. The alcohol is strong, but under it lies a serious chocolate scent with a twinge of licorice. The taste is LOADED with alcohol. Too much for my little tastebuds. The sweetness is still there under all of that alcohol and hops. But still. It's definitely not terribly offensive. Just....it tastes best at nearly room temp where the alcohol is more subdued. (562 characters)

Photo of KarlHungus
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a solid opaque black color, with a nice dark tan head. Good lacing through out the pint. Smells of caramel, chocolate, cream, and alcohol. The taste is of chocolate and roasted malt. The alcohol warms the throat as it passes into the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is full bodied and dry. Overall, this is a very nice brew. (324 characters)

Photo of bobbyc881
4.78/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Adventures of South Carolina Guy at Brickskeller in DC:

Wow. My first Imperial Stout. This was goal #1 on my journey of better beer. Being such a stout fan, I was really looking forward to this.

Appearance was decieving at first. A small, unassuming little bottle. Maybe I was expecting Beer Angels to sing... Rasputin then told me to pour, so I did. Black, black, black. A nice brown head that settled down thin. Very little carbonation.

Smell was incredible. Big roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, dark fruits, and a bit of alcohol...oh, 9%, we don't get that in SC.

Perfect taste. Best beer I've ever tasted. Period. Insansely complex. Chocolates, fruits, coffee, hops bitterness, and a faint reminder that there's a wad of alcohol in there.

This felt great going down, with a very pleasant sweet taste hanging around, inviting me back for more. Nice and thick.

I think these are meant to be had one at a time. So, I came back 2 days later for my second. (974 characters)

Photo of Shiredave
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I just shared this beer with a friend - because his fave beer is Youngs Dbl Choc. Stout. He now has a new fave.
I wont waste time waxing poetic - Im sure it has all been posted before. This is THE Imperial stout - at least from the USofA.
Full of roasty/ toasty burnt chocolate flavor - immensley complex and drinkable with a reasonable alcohol content.
If you like robust stouts and Porters, and havent tried and Old Raspy, do yourself ( and a friend maybe) a favor and find it.
Absolutely Outstanding!!! (517 characters)

Photo of joecast
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

hmmm, my first RIS review. looking forward to it. this is actually my third bottle of this, not that im counting. the first two having been shared with a cousin who so kindly brought me four bottles.

great loking label with Mr. Rasputin seemingly giving last rights to whomever may unleash the spirits from within. listed as 9%abv, no dating obvious to me. maybe its what is written in what i am guessing is russian. makes learning spanish in high school seem even less useful.

pours deep black forming a thin, dark tan head which disipates to a lace. ends up with small groupings (islands) of small bubbles. only the slightest carbonation.

aroma is a delightful, no offence to raspy as he seems rather grumpy, mix of all things stout. strong roasted and burnt malt. some coffee. finishing with a bit of astringent alcohol which is the only thing keeping the aroma from a 5.

taste is phenomenal. espresso, roasted malt, bitter chocolate, strong hop bitterness, alcohol heat. all of it in truck-loads.

mouthfeel is like no other i have tried. smooth and filling. just the way i imagine it should be.

although this point is obvious, ill point it out. this stuff is intoxicating.
tough call for me on how to score this as i doubt it could really improve. the only area for improvement i could see would be hiding the alcohol a bit better, but that may not be a good thing. its like a 20 year old mike tyson punching you in the head. if you didnt feel the hurt, he'd probably kill you (then eat your children or something). but if you could feel the hurt, you'd call the fight after the first round.
ok, maybe not the best analogy, but i just finished an old rasputin, and i know ive had enough.

8/4/05-
just enjoying the last of my bottles. a sad day, but one i knew was coming eventually. i am enjoying reviewing my review almost as much as drinking the fabulous brew. the only adjustment to my previous score is to up the taste from 4.5 to 5.0. cheers to north coast for producing this fine ale, and please do continue. i will have to seek this out next time i am in the states. (2,104 characters)

Photo of Vancer
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Good ol’ Ratty – an outstanding RIS. From the moment that black tar poured, and the foamy, dense tan head appeared – I knew this would be bliss. Rich, malty, dark chocolate aroma. Not quite as strong as anticipated.
EXcellENT heavy hitter taste – oh the burnt toast, malty, balanced well with hops. Slight anise finish. Upon warming, raspberry and plums tickled the tonsils. Thick and creamy, I spilled a smidgen on my arm – looked like black blood as it trickled down. Slurped up what I could.
And pay attention, Mr. 9% will sneak up and kick ya in the sack. (568 characters)

Photo of neonbrown82
4.46/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

I love me an Imperial Stout. Unfortunately I only have access to about 3 examples of the variety even despite having such a massive selection of beers available. This beer was acquired from BIF20 thanks to axisjones. This is exactly what I have been craving.

The appearance was awesome. I poured it into my paper thin John's Grocery tulip. I could feel the sludginess of the liquid through the thin glass as it poured. I never would have imagined I would be able to say something about the appearance and presentation of a beer based on a tactile sense, but I could tell how viscous this beer was just by watching it fill the glass. It was very oily and delicious despite what my witnessing friend thought about it.

The smell was a bit lacking, but improved as it warmed obviously. Smells of chocalatey malt, only slightly roasty. It even SMELLS thick and oily.

The taste is quite sweet and chocolatey. Once again, only slightly roasty. Has a hint of a soy sauce taste in the background, but this is not discouraging. Very good, and only improves in the aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is very smooth and oily. Has a bit of a dry finish in which the roastiness finally shines through with a coffee hint. Quite exceptional.

Drinkability could be higher, but at almost 9%, this is a delicious and highly drinkable beer. I wish I had it readily available here. Thanks again, axisjones (I was secretly hoping from the start that I'd recieve my BIF package from CA). (1,470 characters)

Photo of mentor
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle picked up during travels sometime in 2004, cellared for about a year, and consumed in June 2005. Pours a half-finger brown head over a nearly clear dark brown/ruby red liquid. Smells or alcohol, cofee, chocolate and licorice. Not in my face alcohol, it's a gentle stingy alcohol that supports the other scents. Tastes thick dark sweet. Chocolate is strong and over the nice rich roasty. Like a chocolate coffee desert. The potent chocolate is almost like a syrupy chocolate, like you would pour over vanilla ice cream, but it's not a cheap chocolate. It's a really rich chocolate, like you would get from a reputable foreign producer The alcohol plays with it nicely to make a rummy taste that has raisin and plum characteristics. In later sips, as the beer warmed, a strong toffee made itself evident. The creamy thick mouthfeel really adds to the character of this beer. Carbonation is mild, but forms an interesting acrid sting that negotiates with the rich sweet and reinforces the tinge of alcohol burn. (1,021 characters)

Photo of Buildscharacter
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What's not to love about this beer. I would have to say that this and Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout are two of my favorite brews.

The brew is black as night with a nice brownish head that just screams for you to throw it back. The bottle is quite with old Rasp just pointing his two fingers at you.

The taste of this beer is just amazing. And not to mention that of the 100 times or so that I've had this great beer, it's never failed to impress, so you know that quiality and consistnecy go together.

Very malty and thick in your mouth with great chocolate and coffee undertones. It's just so mellow and well balanced that you really can't find anything to complain about. Also, while hovering in the high alcohol region it makes you feel great after a single bottle. Love this beer. Not for the faint of pallet. (828 characters)

Photo of AlexJ
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to my new friend Mickey aka Michelle for sending me a duo of these bad boys.

A vigorous pour unleashes a tarry black brew wearing a tightly knit cap of oatmeal colored foam which lingers for a while, eventually settling down to a light ring, leaving only a notion of lace.

A big, bold aroma of sticky sweet dark fruits layered with bittersweet chocolate and fresh, damp coffee grounds. A harmonious marriage of bitter and sweet.

Initially bittersweet, filled with dark jammy fruit and dark, rich chocolate. Freshly ground and wet coffee with bitter baker's chocolate washes over, leading to a hoppy exit filled with notes of pine sap and crushed citrus peels. There is a mellow campfire smokiness throughout the tasting that lends itself well to the bittersweet nuances. This beer ends with an oaky, earthy dryness that trails off to a lasting finish that leaves my mouth tasting like I just ate a dark chocolate covered pinecone.

Body is medium, yet dense and slick, lending to full and creamysmooth mouthfeel. Very coating and filled with oily resins. There are few beers that posess a finish this long. "Never say die", indeed!

note: Old Rasputin goes exceptionally well with the chocolate almond pistaccio biscotti's we had for desert. (1,261 characters)

Photo of warriorsoul
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I have been craving an Imperial Stout, so I figured I'd finally try this bad boy...a carry over from New Beer Sunday if you will.
Cloudy dark w/ dark brown edges only in the pour. A nice full finger of creamy light brown head...lacing clings to the side of my snifter and goes nowhere.
A bit too carbonated in the nose, taking away from the olfactory experience at this point...sweet carmelized malts, cocoa, butter rum and just a touch of alcohol.
The taste is much sweeter than I was expecting, but also has a deep, dark smoked flavor within a robust coffee blend. The finish is a bit dry, but not bitter. Refreshing in its finish for the viscousity of this bad boy...it's still a few steps below Founder's Breakfast Stout, but IMHO, it is a nice substitution if you can't obtain the aforementioned.
Mouthfeel is thick, but not syrupy. The alcohol is very well hidden..only makes its way to the surface at the last few sips.
I would enjoy a couple of these, but since I am a true hophead at heart, I would not pick this for a session brew. (1,046 characters)

Photo of sinistermadman
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brew pours a deep black with a nice nut colored head that lingers for a good time.
Smell: Toffee, burnt malt, expresso, faint chocolate aroma.

Taste is classic stout. Delicious roasted malt coupled with bitter expresso/chocolate. Hops are warm up front, but then the brew tapers into an almost sweet finish. Bitter chocolate rides out until the end. The taste lingers after the drink. Nice. This brew is medium bodied, creamy, and very much at home on the palate. A must try for all stout lovers. Cheers. (513 characters)

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 3,494 ratings.