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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.

3,540 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,540
Hads: 11,416
Avg: 4.27
pDev: 18.5%
Wants: 513
Gots: 2,435 | FT: 55
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 (28) | 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: 3,540 | Hads: 11,416
Photo of Dubblebock
2.84/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Old Rasputin was certainly a beer that I have been looking forward to trying for quite some time now. I have seen it quite often but never had the chance to pick up a bottle to sample until recently. I have to say, this was definitely a case of expectations exceeding reality. The bottle looks good, the drawn face of Rasputin himself cocking a wary eye towards the drinker.

The pour was excellent as well. The beer was nothing but inky blackness, with a chocolate head of foam. I began to get the idea that something was amiss, however, when the nose came at me with alcohol stringency and bitterness.

The taste was less than impressive to me. There were notes of dark chocolate and burnt coffee, but all of the complexity in this beer was totally masked by the alcohol. Granted, it's a bruiser of a beer at 9% ABV, but there was clearly no attempt to hide the potency behind the flavor. The beer just got bitter and uninviting as I made my way through the mug. I did get a few notes of hops and dry grains, but all was lost in the end.

Mouthfeel was ok, the aftertaste bitter. Not drinkable at all, IMO. I won't be reaching for Rasputin's face any time soon. Disappointing, as this is always considered a classic beer by most. It's definitelty too over the top for my tastes.

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Photo of MrBen
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an excellent beer that pours dark and kicks up a lovely tan head. The flavor is fantastic, and I could really taste the darker malts -- but without the overwhelming bitterness and over-the-top burnt coffee profile that haunts other Russian Imperials.

There is some sweetness to found here, as well as some bittersweet chocolate and roasty/toasty elements. This full, rich beer is complemented by a very good mouthfeel. The nearly 9% ABV is expertly concealed by serious depth of flavor. Old Rasputin is a great brew at a great price. I will pay this one a visit again soon.

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Photo of amicar
4.42/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice toffee brown/ black with a bit of seriously brown head. The smell is a bit of a surprise- almost floral in addition to the usual caramel/ roast/ soy stuff. The taste is heavy on the acrid/ roasty/ burnt side with a hint of chocolate and italian roast coffee- flirts with being too much, but never really goes too far. Mouthfeel really stands out in this one- less body than some other impy stouts that lean towards the thick syrupy side- but that's perfect in this beer; nice to have one that doesn't feel immensley sticky. Alcohol's nicely balanced, too. The intense roastiness limits the drinkability somewhat, but I could certainly have at least one more...

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Photo of canucklehead
4.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is really the best imperial stout value around. Available in six packs for a reasonable price, this beer constantly amazes me with its complexity and bigness. The real treat is the sinful chocolate notes packed with hops and burnt malt. Cellar age only increases the smoothness of all the flavours. A real contender for my favourite beer.

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Photo of kgotcher
4.3/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours Black as night with a hint of ruby if held up to light. Thick brown head. Smell is complex with all sorts of roasted goodness, mouthfeel is a bit slick and warm, there is definately some alchohol going on in there. Dry finish. Taste is strong flavors of roasted coffee, smokey roasted malts and some powerful hops busting through.

For a strong brew this one goes down pretty nice considering that it has an almost liquor like feel to it. Stouts are not my favorite but are definately moving up because of brews like this one. A coupel of these will do you in good, thank God they only come in a 4 pack.

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Photo of cooter
3.7/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hark, and hear an Ode to Ol' Rasputin:
With ye heavy roasted barley, that tastes just like rye
and clumpy, wispy, whipped-looping froth that I've never seen die,

Your bitter citrus hops are locked in battle for
flavor supremacy in an escalating war.

Chocolate! Coffee! Citrus and bitter and pungent and sour!

Tastes towering higher than Soviet nuclear stock
to show how much stonger they are than a bock!

I am kicked in the teeth
by the intensity you bequeath

So to ye I sing this ode,
for with the brew that you are,
warmth and hops and malt are never far,
and I have no fear of getting cold.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque black with a nice tan head, very imposing looking. Aroma is expresso, coffee, chocolate, blackstrap molasses, citrusy and floral hops. Flavor is very complex and imposing; big coffee and chocolate flavors upfront followed by a blackstrap molasses sweetness that is balanced by a floral and citrus hops bitterness. Mouthfeel is huge with a big body and moderate carbonation and a bitter, slightly astringent finish. Alcohol notes are present, but balanced and drinkability is near the top for an imperial stout.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.18/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My first Russian Imperal Stout. Poured out to a black coffee color with a nice, full brown foamy head that was well lived. Notes of lace were all about inside the glass. Aromas similar to whisky were first noted, as were indications of chocolate and coffee. Flavor was full and rich, with notes of molassas, cocoa and coffee, with some smokey elements to it as well. The big drawback for me with this beer was the alcohol. Way too present, as it almost overpowered the other flavors. Very hard to ignore. Full and thick mouthfeel was similar to what I would imagine having motor oil in your mouth being like. I guess i'd have another, but certainly not right after having one. Worth a try.

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Photo of jaluria
4.42/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Summary: A very tasty and enjoyable beer with relative complexity and smoothness

Appearance - It poured a very dark brown, almost black in color and seemed somewhat viscous. It had a very nice medium-brown colored head that stayed intact for more than a minute.
Smell - Hint of nutmeg, but first impression was of chocholate and Ethiopian coffee. Very pleasing because it was subtle & slightly unexpected.
Taste - Smooth and full-bodied, and yet crisp with a dry semi-sweet chocholate taste.
Mouthfeel - Lingering dryness that just doesn't seem to go away. My mouth felt like I was continuously tasting the beer.
Drinkability - Very good; can easily have a few of these. I'm not sure what it can be paired with because of it's accented texture, but I think a fruit-based dessert would be good.

Additional comments - I think this beer is well-balanced because no one ingredient is over-powering, but that also causes it to not be distinct and memorable.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.37/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, stored and served near cellar temp

appearance: dark rich brown, almost black, bubbly chocolate tan head with decent lacing

smell: heavy malts, alcohol present with a lingering bourbon like aroma, potent dark fruit, mild chocolate (cocoa powder). The smell is darn near perfect

taste: rich, smooth, light chocolate, alcohol (bourbon), slight licorice and slight coffee, nice roasted malt.

mouthfeel: a little thin for my taste but smooth and creamy at the same time

drinkability: good thing this stuff is available everywhere so there is no hope of running out

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Photo of battlekow
4.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really, really, really like this beer. I shot it, stabbed it, poisoned it, and drowned it, and it just won't go away; its flavor lingers on my tongue like a passionate kiss. The Mad Monk is a deep and evil black that's basically headless--something the Romanovs probably should have considered. It smells like roasted malts, caramel, and chocolate. Taste is deliciously bitter, like coffee grounds, with some chocolate and toastedness. The kind of big beer I like, lacking in the grossly sweet prune/raisin character that I dislike. Nice full mouthfeel. This is my second one, and I'm pretty sure a third would render me incapable of operating the grill, so I'm stopping here.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.53/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours a nearly opaque dark brown with a creamy tan head that quickly subsides to a thin layer that laces the glass some.

The aroma is roasted chocolate, dark fruits and some anise and alcohol and hops.

The flavor is roasted chocolate and some milkiness with some almost metallic alcohol (that subsides) followed by a big and dry coffee bitterness tinged with licorice. The mouthfeel is medium to full and nice and creamy.

Overall, a nice imperial. It's a little unbalanced in the flavor with alcohol and bitterness - all the elements don't come together well and play nicely. It's good, but I've had better.

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Photo of egajdzis
4.42/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark brown color with a medium sized light tan head. This was not opaque and significantly lighter than the Sammy Smiths IS I just had. It did, however, leave nice lacing on the glass. It had a fruity aroma of chocolate, hints of caramel and whiskey. It had a taste of chocolate and malt, alcohol and a bitter chocolate and coffee aftertaste with some whiskey as well, some carbonation was noted. It had a full finish that coated the mouth.

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Photo of quasimoto
3.13/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I love RIS's so my review might be biased, but I'll do my best to go by the guide lines. The appreance of this is black with a tan head, large frothy head and laces as I drink it. There is aromas of cherries, chocolate, molasses, bubble gum, wine and nail polish. The taste is of roasted nuts, oak, chocolate mocha and the bitterness of hops with whipped cream. The mouthfeel is light and smooth but warms up at the end because of the alcohol. Drinkability of this in comparison to other RIS's is that it's not the best, but it's still very tasty.

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Photo of waldowin
4.18/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wow. This is the grand-daddy of the Imperial Stouts. Very dark, fairly bitter, and definitely a harsh, smokey taste to it. Other reviews have listed raisins in the taste, and for the initial hit, this is pretty spot on. However it gives way to a very smokey, burnt-coffee-grinds taste that fans of Imperial Stouts will like. However, know what you're getting into when you drink this beer...my first try of it a year ago resulted in instant revulsion ("Tastes like a barbecue grill" I think my words were). It's just now that I'm getting around to the masochistic appeal this beer has. I still have a hard time getting around just how much this beer tastes like it's been burned in the aftertaste. I like to think it gives me an excuse to keep drinking more (no aftertaste if you don't stop drinking).
Also, be warned, this beer is a heavy hitter. After a few bottles, you won't be contributing much to the conversation around you.

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Photo of macpapi
4.29/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Old Rasuptin Imperial Stout is quite an interesting brew. It pours a chocolaty black color with a thin, purplish-tan head. It is deep, dark and mysterious--perhaps much like the ellusive Rasputin himself. I love the smell of this beer. It mixes roasted coffee aromas, with the sweeter remnants of chocolate, caramel and toffee. Sweetness epitomized! There is also a nice, bold noticeable tinge of hops to the overall inhalation. It tastes like carmalized coffee with malt and a slight hops kick at the end of each swallow. Alcohol is noticeable, but barely. In the mouth, this beer is amazingly bold and full. It holds well, with low carbonation. There is also a nice biting aftertaste, allowing its overall substance to be reckoned with. On the whole this well documented Russian Imperial Stout does not disappoint. Not normally my favorite style, but this one is a keeper. It is a candied/coffied delight for the palate. Surprisingly easy to enjoy despite its nine percent abv.

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Photo of ReebShorts
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with off white purple hued head. fades after a bit to a bubbly island effect.

Best I could tell the aroma was coffee, lime, caramel, malt and molasses.

tasty burnt coffee flavor, some caramel but not sweet, and nice bitter hop finish. very good

Alcohol was noticeable but not overwhelming.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.98/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark Brown.
Thin, minimal dark tan head.
Nice carbonation. Crisp, not smooth.
Strong bite, probably from high abs but it’s not a lingering bite, more like a quick snap.
It tastes like an Imp. Stout should with a nutty coffee with a few raisons tossed in for good measure.
Good Body.
Nothing particularly impressive but all in all solid.
Very drinkable for such a high ABV.

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Photo of DrunkMcDermott
4.36/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

So, Papa Grigori, we meet at last. A seductive deep roast flavor rises from that first sip. I detect a not unexpected raisiny note to you, and then something that whispers in my ear, "cherries." For something in such a tiny bottle, your taste is big and strong, deep and dark, deep and dark. Am I aware of your stoutish bitterness, that cuts through the smoothness of your malts? Yes, I am, Papa Perhaps it is from the time the Romanov partisans tried to drown you in the Neva.

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Photo of Troyone
4.85/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This one has slipped through my normal change up of beers. I'm surprised I have not reviewed this before.

The appearance is black with an amber hue, to difficult to see carbonation, and the slightly tan head is minimal to nothing.

Roasted molasses and caramel malt smell, with some chocolate and coffee, and possibly lime and pine hops.

Moderately sweet and bitter, lightly acidic, roasted molasses, chocolate, and coffee malt with some pine and lime hops.

Full bodied, slightly creamy and syrupy texture, lively and soft carbonation, and has a smooth slightly metallic and alcoholic finish (hate when that happens).

The drinkablility is excellent for the 8.9 abv. and especially for a R.I. Stout.

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Photo of danielharper
4.15/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of mntlover
4.03/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.1/5  rDev -27.4%
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).

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Photo of Shultzerdugen
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 3,540 ratings.