Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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: 11,421
Avg: 4.27
pDev: 18.5%
Wants: 513
Gots: 2,445 | 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 (29) | 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: 11,421
Photo of GeoffM
4.37/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pretty standard stout coloring and head; beautiful opaque, inky black, impossible to see through, head is tan and rocky, moderately sized. Head diminishes a little faster than I'd like or would have expected, but the lacing is good.

Smell - Malty. Very very malty. Chocolate, coffee, something remotely chalky (for lack of a better word) but not unpleasantly so.

Taste - Wow. Seductively smooth. Moderately bitter with an excellent, and I mean excellent, finish. This is such a pleasant beer, wonderful mouthfeel. I sip it because I want to savor it, not because it's too bitter; in other words, quite drinkable. Malts are apparent, to say the least. Just awesome.

Overall - The only other Imperial Stout I've had was Yeti's Imperial Stout from Great Divide Brewing Company (another favorite around here, apparently), and this one is so much more approachable and drinkable. The alcohol is hidden well, and it sneaks up on you, so be careful. Awesoime brew.

 974 characters

Photo of jfdean
4.62/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I'm fortunate enough that my local bar has been keeping Old Ras on nitro-tap for some time now. Whenever the mood strikes for something rich, dark, creamy, and with enough alcohol in it to relax for the night, I head over.

The beer arrives with a body that is pitch black topped with a immaculate tan head. The smell is more roasty than anything with a subtle malty sweetness you can pick up. You are unlikly to make it through the head on the first sip, but don't let that dissuade you... The head itself is a treat being insanely smooth with a much lighter feel to it while keeping the notes of chocolate, roast and malt that await in the beer proper. Savor the sips of Old Ras because on tap it is candy. You will finish a glass without thinking about it, and with everybody else doing the same it might not be long before the keg kicks.

If you see Old Ras on tap, get it. No ifs ands or buts.

 900 characters

Photo of shir0043
4.33/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a great RIS. Smell is roasted grains, biscuit, coffee, and hops in the background.

Flavor is much like the smell (only much stronger) with the roasted grains, biscuit flavors, and strong dark chocolate. The bitterness of this beer almost perfectly balances the malt.
One thing that sets this RIS apart from the rest is that it's much dryer than others that I have tried in the past. Don't get me wrong, I love a big malty RIS but this is really a nice change for the style. Also, the 9%+ ABV is very well hidden which makes this a very drinkable beer.

The mouthfeel for this beer is on the medium side most likely due to the dryness of the beer.

One final note, I love it when big beers come in 12oz bottles instead of exclusively coming in bombers. It makes it much easiest to enjoy a beer when I at home without my beer drinking buddies. Plus it almost always a better value. I'll be buying this beer again.

 922 characters

Photo of kifn2
4.46/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a - some brownish tints on the edges but opaque in the middle. It has a surprisingly large tan head that sustains well. This is not common in the style, but not unpleasant at all. The labelling is beautiful in my humble opinion.

s - it smells just as an RIS should. Toasty with hints of dark fruits. The scents volatize quickly.

t - Most RIS's lack a nutty quality. This beer is exceptional in that it captures it. The roasted flavor is wonderful with all of the requisite coffee and chocolate flavors. Another exceptional quality is that they've managed to eliminate any burnt flavor and still keep all of the good dark malt character. There is some slight bitterness from the roasted malt, but it is there as a complement to the overall taste. It's not a "bad" bitterness, for what it's worth.

m - tongue coating and full bodied. Mild carbonation, yet it's not "sticky"

d - appropriate for style.

Overall, an exceptional beer and an outstanding example of the style. Technically, this beer is brewed with the utmost tender loving care.

 1,042 characters

Photo of huguey
3.75/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into Rare Vos glass.

Small, quickly dissapating head.

A: Black Black Black. It's a stout.

S: Call me crazy, but I smell pepperoni. Slight oilyness, saltyness, alcohol. None of this in a bad way.

T: Malt leads to smoke leads to hops. Bitterness charcteristically hoppy

M: No lingering oil, makes the bitter mouthfeel at the back of the drink go away soon.

D: Good beer, not exceptional. I had one and it certainly didn't stand on it's own.

 464 characters

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

Poured into chalice after dinner. Ordered this with a cheese plate for dessert. The brew pours pitch black with a thin chocolate milk-colored head. The nose is subdued with caramel malt, cocoa, and faint hops.

The aromas carry straight through to the palate with strong roasty flavors like sweet coffee and dark chocolate flavors, there is a caramel and toffee sweetness up front also with resounding hop finish. Mouthfeel is heavy, full, silky, and lingering.

 462 characters

Photo of nickfromsacto
4.53/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The only decent beer on tap this night, unfortunately this place doesn't clean out their lines very often.

A whole pint for just five bucks, though.

Poured about two fingers of dark golden head that lingered and lined the walls of my glass until the second round. Unable to see through this dark-dark beer. The smell makes a lot of sense for this particular style: the essence of dark chocolate, roasted almonds and the strong scent of ethanol. It feels a little spicey coming in and warm going down. Not sure about the hops, are there any? Should there be any? Who knows. I don't care because overall this is an awesome beer for the high alcohol and dark chocolate lovers a staple for the cooler holidays and beer float nights.

I have missed my chance to have this on nitro ... Twice.

Cheers and enjoy

 808 characters

Photo of MuddyMcGinny
4.61/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle angry pour to a English nonic.

Motor oil Black Sabbath black with a HUGE 2+ finger head that almost flowed over, didn't mean to pour too hard - oops!, but a firm hearty insane mocha colored froth with a hint of commie reddish ruby overtone... ha!... comes back strong on a good swirl o' the glass when halfway thru with really good lacing as well.

Nose of bitter coffee and sweetness of malt. Medium-firm body with robust flavors throughout... a little smoke and fire, obvious coffee bitter, malts and dark fruit earthiness. Alcohol hidden very well. A good bite on the tongue at first sip but mellows to malty awesomeness as the pint dwindles.

Had a bottle at Downtown Bar & Grill Brooklyn for the first time in a while and just had to pick up a four pack today. One of my all time favorites. Would give 5's across the board but only the beer gods can create a perfect beer! Well done.

 905 characters

Photo of CanonJohn
4.73/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip.

A: Wow. Black as night with a thin, dark caramel, half finger head that dissipated quickly leaving almost no lace to speak of. I tried to shine a 9 led super bright flash light through it and saw nothing. How awesome is that?

S: The smell is of roasted coffee, dark fruits, and dark bitter chocolate, with a punch of alcohol. In a word, fantastic!

T: Explosive roasted coffee, and dark fruits on the start, leading almost immediately into dark bitter chocolate. Followed by a nice hoppy bitterness and warm alcohol. The alcohol is accompanied by the taste of burbon and then coffe on the finish. I was then left with a lingering bitter chocolate and coffe after that is just wonderful. There are hints of spicy flavors throughout. I picked up some clove, star anise, and an almost hot black peper somewhere in the middle, that lingered just under the coffe after. There really is far too much here for a novice like me.

M: Nice and heavy. Coats the mouth well, and gives a lovely warming sensation.

D: Highly drinkable, in small quantities. This may be the best beer I have yet to put in my mouth, but I will struggle to finish 12oz. It is no session beer; at 9% ABV, but it is a very very special drink. I just really love this beer!

 1,261 characters

Photo of moosemoose
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle into a pint glass in my house.

A: Very dark. A beautiful tan head about one finger thick.

S: Very malty. Smell of burnt chocolate and coffee with hints of caramel.

T: Bitter dark chocolate. Great taste, but has a very strong aftertaste that isn't much to my liking. This isn't a beer to pound or to drink more than two or three.

M: Just heavy enough. A bit creamy, coats your mouth. Leaves too much bitterness.

O: Very good beer. If you love imperial stouts, they don't get much better.

 507 characters

Photo of Nostradrunkus
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%

The quintessential beginners stout, Old Rasputin manages to be an incredibly complex and refreshing drink while simultaneously disguising its high alcohol content.

This one pours a distinct blackness that reassures you that you are drinking a legitimate stout. There is a faint tan head that thins to a lacing on top of the beer within a short amount of time after the pour.

The aroma is complex, but is best categorized by a chocolatey espresso smell that serves as a great prelude to the flavor.

Taste is fantastic. I often find myself recommending this to those that think of guinness first when they hear the word stout. Upon drinking, you're immediately confronted with the chocolate and espresso flavors that dominate the aroma of this stout. This fades into a complex mix of flavor with a faint underlying soy sauce taste to round out the many other flavors at play. Alcohol is barely noticeable, but it contributes a subtle herbal heat that amplifies the other flavors.

I really believe this beer is one of the best hybrids of availability, cost, and flavor in the stout class. It tends to be easy to find, and it is also usually one of the cheaper options among the legitimate stouts. I often find myself reaching for a pack of Old Rasputin to pair with traditional meat and potatoes type meals, and I will continue to do so as long as they keep brewing this excellent Russian Imperial Stout.

 1,406 characters

Photo of Ninjaworm
3.61/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Blood black with a large creamy head that finally subsided leaving a 1/16” head with amazing lacing.

Smell: Faintly sweet vanilla blends into a linear alcohol nose.

Taste: Silky vanilla alcohol flavor with hints of oak.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy.

Drinkability: Smooth alcohol flavor that melds into a vanilla profile making one dream for another.

 374 characters

Photo of mcfisty
4.04/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance=Opaque, full beige head at first simmering down to a very thin ring.

Aroma= Blasts out cocoa, coffee, well roasted malts, very pleasant and soothing. No alcohols showing themselves yet. Some hops just letting you know their there.

Flavor= coffee and rich roasted malts at first with the dark bittersweet chocolate flavor coming in behind. A faint hint of raisins in the finish. More and more coming out as it warms.

Mouthfeel = A bit thin and prickly in my opinion. Not as viscous as I like my big boys to be.

Drinkability= First one going down really smooth, alcohol already warming half way through...Ill let you know later tonight ;)

 651 characters

Photo of ragekage23
3.89/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a- deep brown with a nice light brown fluffy head

s- toasted malts, coffee

t/m- very unexpectedly bitter, light hops, plum is apparent, fueled by the toasted malts and strong coffee, paired with a not-too-strong carbonation

d- great example of what makes a RIS so tasty

 278 characters

Photo of CMiller683
4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up at the store without realizing what I had. Bought it as part of a build-a-six-pack. No freshness date listed. Served from a 12oz bottle into a standard glass. Creepy looking bottle with a shot of Rasputin on the front, circled by some Russian wording. Gold colored detail.

A - Pours a very thick, smooth, motor-oil black. Follows with a thick, creamy espresso head with a lace that crawls down the glass. Completely opaque and a threatening looking beer.

S - A deep, roasty, burnt maltiness that smacks you in the face. Scents of espresso and a little bit of chocolate and nuts. Tends to fade a bit as you drink it

T - A very intense flavor. Carries a burnt/smoked maltiness to it. Brings a bite of alcohol that is almost too much to make a good balance. Has a level of bitterness that really makes this beer. Without it, I don't think it would be nearly as good.

M - An almost foamy feel to it. Very thick and heavy. A good balance of carbonation and an explosion of flavor in the back of your mouth that is simply great. Leaves a chocolately mocha aftertaste with a sweet finish, but tends to be a little thick and sticky. The alcohol brings out the nutty/espresso flavors.

D - An outstanding Imperial Stout, and definitely not an all day beer. Something to kick back and relax on a special occasion, like thanksgiving or christmas! A great beer for those that love chocolate/espresso and don't mind a beer that bites back.

 1,447 characters

Photo of Llewellyn9
4.6/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm an old hat when it comes to imperial stouts, and this is a trusty stand by.

poors beautifully, impenetrably dark brown, nearly black with hits of red. head is a pillow of tan goodness. nice lace, but not as much as i would like.

the smell is a testament to the power of malt. Dark, roasted and beguiling, with a hint of hops; coffee and chocolate to boot.

see smell above, and add the fact that that i'm weeping as i type this...

like carbonated molasses, and i mean that in the in the best possible way.

here we reach a dilemma, do i love imperial stouts, F*CK YES!!! could i drink them all night?? probably not, even if they are god... uh, i mean, good.

epilogue: i made a black and tan with this and pliny the elder. needless to say, i've put in an order for a new set of taste buds...

 800 characters

Photo of realbama
4.57/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This and "Celebrator" are the two finest beers known to man. Rasputin is pitch black. You would think you're about to down pure oil if the smell didn't hit your nose just before the liquid gold hits your mouth. It smells of smokey chocolate, hops and alcohol. This beer tastes very creamy, very complex. If my kid is ever diagnosed with a terminal disease and we get to go somewhere via the "make a wish" foundation, I'm gonna demand to see what the heck they're doing at Lost Coast with this brew. ....not really, of course. I'll let my kid go to Disney World or something. But I'll always wonder.

 598 characters

Photo of mikegreen138
4.4/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark coffee color, with a pleasant aroma with nice but slight hints of chocolate, and roasted malts.

the flavors are very complex and hit ever tone, with sweet at first taste and then ends with a intense but not overwhelming bitter follow up. as the flavors swirl around in your mouth you can taste the richness and roasted complexity.

the beer is very drinkable, and smooth on the palate. although a few of these might put you in the drunk tank for the night.

 476 characters

Photo of y2j2280
4.18/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Black, motor-oil like. Very nice lace upon a good swirl.

S - Chocolate and coffe aromas. Slight alcohol on the nose.

T - Decadent chocolate flavor interlaced with strong underlying coffee currents. Slightly bitter finish.

M - Thick on the palate like a true RIS should be. Mouth-coating.

D - This is a one (or at most 2) serving experience. Too heavy for an extended session.

 383 characters

Photo of turnblom79
4.82/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great Russian Imperial Stout flavor. I really enjoyed this one compared to other RIS because the alcohol taste was barely there unlike some others. This was very dark and thick, but I was still able to put a nice head on it when pouring. The taste was very chocolaty with nice coffee tones, and a nice smooth finish.

 316 characters

Photo of 1santore
4.85/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one exceptional beer. Being a newcomer to "better beer" I'm just now finding Russian Imperial Stouts. Of the stouts I've tried this has to be the best. It pours thick and black. The taste is incredible. The mouth feel is very light and smooth, but this is one drinkable beer.

 283 characters

Photo of bmillen22
4.08/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a 4 pack about 4 months ago and I am on the third one and am finally around to reviewing it. This is a really good beer for the price and it can be found pretty much anywhere.

A- Poured into my Stone Russian Imp St. glass. Poured it hard to give it a 2" head. It hung around for a bit and then turned into a thick lacing for the rest of the drink.

s- smell is decent. Roasted malts and a pinch of coffee.

T- In my mind it tastes just like a good imp stout should. Strong taste of dark roasted malts. Somewhat bitter finish, but like a smooth coffee. Can't taste the Alcohol, which at 9% that is pretty good.

M- thick and creamy, but not too thick. Real nice.

D- Very good for the style. I could have 2 of these in a sitting. I would have a fat buzz though becuase I am feeling it a little after one.

Well done North Coast. Keep the price right and I will make this one of my go to RIS's.

 901 characters

Photo of HuppMJH
4.08/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

When I poured it into a typical pint mug, this beer instantly excited my eyes. Beautiful dark liquid with a thick tan head. The first taste packs a punch and dares you to take a second. I find a taste reminiscent of a smooth espresso drink. I have to admit, the alcohol taste is quite strong in this drink for me. I would really approve of the taste more if I couldn't taste the alcohol so much.

As I drank, the head stuck to the sides of the glass, which, in my opinion, shows character in a beer. Even as I finish the beer, I see where the head started at the top of the glass.

I have to admit, I'm still lacking in the smell department. I don't get the subtle hints that everyone else mentions. I'll continue to work on this ability.

I'm relatively new to the world of beer, but I've been keeping a ranking list for each new beer I try. I would definitely put this beer in my top 10 beers, and absolutely above all American beers I've tried thus far.

 958 characters

Photo of puertobrewing
4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Very dark pour on a snifter. Nice 1.25 finger of half and half coffee-colored head that settled down quite fast leaving lacing behind.

S - Smells malty, toasted coffee, with a bit of hops but not overwhelming. You can also smell some caramel and pure love.

T - Great balance between the malty sweetness and the hop bitterness. Tastes like black coffee, some caramel, notes of honey, prunes, and a big punch of aftertaste bitterness probably from Columbus hops.

M - Perfectly balanced carbonation for a full body beer like this. It feels like you're swallowing a healing potion... that's how good it is.

Overall this is one of my favorite beers. My favorite style is quadrupel but I definitely love a Russian Imperial Stout like this one. Lets see if the Dogfish Head World Wide Stout that I have chilling in my fridge for next weekend can impress me as well.

 866 characters

Photo of bdo894
4.26/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a super dark chocolate color, almost like black coffee. Really cool looking. Very little head.
Smelled chocolatey and grainy, like whole wheat bread.
Tastes delish, chocolate and coke with a touch of hops. Can barely taste the high APV.
Smooth mouthfeel with a clean finish. Goes down real easy.
Overall an awesome beer, especially for something with such high alcohol. I'm loving the darker beers in general nowadays.

 427 characters

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