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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - North Coast Brewing Co.

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

9,201 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,201
Reviews: 3,325
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 10.23%
Wants: 252
Gots: 1,012 | FT: 32
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 01-18-2001)
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Ratings: 9,201 | Reviews: 3,325 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of optimistictour


4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was probably my first RIS and I never knew it. At a place called Barcade in Brooklyn, I perused an immaculately populated rotating menu of brews and chose the one which sounded heaviest. Along with the description of the many ways it took to kill the titular Russian, the menu mentioned dark chocolate and coffee bitterness, and a snifter glass. I was intrigued enough to order two.

But this isn't a review of that beer. This is me, a year later, experiencing my now-favorite style via a 4 pack purchased at the highly dependable Ladd's & Co. in Norton Shores, MI.

I've got to say, it stands up to almost any beer out there with the visuals. Midnight black with a serious dark tan head, the kind of oily pouring action that excites my taste buds, it's a looker. Maybe not the very best but it's up there.

Smell is beyond solid. But it's a sort of monolithic goodness, with a lack of distinctive signature - just a huge awesome coffee chocolate bitter smoky olfactory massage. It's a treat but not so interesting, you know?

Taste is like some sort of pirate spokesman for the RIS world. It says, here lay vast treasures, arggghhh, that welcome you in with the rich aroma of fresh brewed coffee and a healthy dollop of semi-sweet chocolate, roasting atop golden boughs of majestic maltiness.

Mouthfeel is, to put it lightly, superb. This thing seems to have a perfect balance of carbonation and heaviness. It's thick but washes away quickly. Basically, yeah, combined with the taste it's a winner here too.

Drinkability is off the charts for something resting around 9% abv. This thing could easily pass for a porter in the 6% range. That is, until you've had a few...

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2010 06:46:16 | More by optimistictour
Photo of mattgreger


4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had this brew at Capone's on Nitro

This brew poured as black as it gets. There is absolutely no light coming through on this brew. This brew had a huge mocha color head that mushroomed over the top of the glass. Throughout the drink, the lacing walled the sides of the glass, even remaining when the brew was gone.

Wow, malts. The aroma hits you at the start. It has a nice sweet flavor with a nice hearty alcohol backbone. There is a caramel, chocolate and coffee malts present, maybe more. There is also a touch of some dark fruits as well, especially prunes.

As expected, the malt character shined through in the taste, as they did in the aroma. The chocolate malts dominate the brew. There is a bit of the dark fruits present in the taste, but the malts push them to teh back of the brew. This brew is very sweet for a stout, especially with one with such a high ABV. There is not really alcohol burn. So this brew has a nice bold flavor.

The mouthful on this one is very creamy. It coats very well, and goes done very easily. The chocolate taste stays for quite a while. It has a nice bold brew, with a nice sweet/chocolate finish.

This brew is a pretty good drink, especially for the ABV. Its not overly think, but creamy and goes down super easy. Its not a chugger by any means, but a great brew to take a gulps of. An amazing stout.

Serving type: nitro-tap

12-11-2010 04:12:05 | More by mattgreger
Photo of MuddyMcGinny

New Jersey

4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2010 02:41:20 | More by MuddyMcGinny
Photo of GarrettMD

New York

4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - As black as it gets. I don't even see any light coming through the edges of the glass. Half finger mocha colored head, falls to a layer of similarly colored bubbles. Lots of visible carbonation rising up on the sides of the glass.

S - Malts malts and more malts. Smells sweet with a good alcohol backbone. Coffee chocolate and caramel are the main malt aromas. Some dark fruits come through as well.

T - Those malt characters are definitely carried through the taste. Chocolate dominates this time though. Dark fruits are pushed way to the back to make room for the malts. Still tastes very sweet for a stout this high in ABV. No noticeable alcohol burn though this is a rather old bottle so that could have faded with time.

M - Creamy, coats the mouth and slides down the throat very easily. Chocolate taste lingers for a long time. Finish, like the rest of the beer, is sweet and chocolate-y.

D - Very good drinkability for the ABV. Not too thick, not too hot to take larger gulps, though not a beer I would want to go through too quickly. Fantastic overall beer, one of my favorite stouts.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2010 01:09:37 | More by GarrettMD
Photo of ryan1788a5


4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a New Belgium globe.

A: Midnight black with a two-finger tan head. Great retention, patchy lacing.

S: Roasted coffee, dark chocolate, hints of vanilla, earthy and herbal hops with suggestions of pine and mint. Subtle hints of plums and dark berries. Woody and smokey aromas too.

T: Roasted malts, dark chocolate, plum, black raspberries, earthy and herbal hops with a touch of pine. Long finish is nutty, woody, and very smokey with some roasted coffee thrown in for good measure. Warming alcohol sensation soothes the palate and the soul.

M: Moderately thick, very smooth and creamy.

D: This is a sipper, as befits the style.

Notes: Excellent. This was one of my first favorites, and that still holds true. This beer has been around for a long time, and it still holds up to the competition.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2010 19:24:55 | More by ryan1788a5
Photo of ixodus

New Jersey

3.93/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pitch black with a small tan head that disappears rather quick. Leaves little lacing.

S: Very aromatic. Chocolate, Coffee, Roasted Malts. Your typical RIS.

T: Loads of dark chocolate, deep roasted malts and coffee. I also got some notes of anise.

M: Full bodied, creamy and smooth.

D: Very drinkable

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2010 03:43:52 | More by ixodus
Photo of mbusster88

New York

4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip from 12oz bottle.

A: Jet black body with no apparent carbonation. Tan head is very thick and holds up for a while. Lacing is forming very well on the glass as well.

S: Definitely get the typical RIS smells, chocolate and coffee dominate this. Nice roasted aroma is not overpowering, but really gives extra character to the beer. Actually get some astringent aromas from the hops in the back.

T/M: Very malty up front with tons of chocolate. Then get some coffee bitterness and some dark chocolate notes. Very smooth body, and some hop characters hiding in the background of this one.

D: Great RIS that has wonderful flavor, and a great aroma profile. This one is a must have if you have not had it before.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2010 02:00:51 | More by mbusster88
Photo of chicagoabbot


4.68/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well they finally made a beer as black as the devil's soul and it's quite simply tops. It's 6 degrees outside tonight and the floor of my basement keeps Old Rasputin at the perfect drinking temperature. You can usually find a few of these in my fridge even in the summer, really wonderful. I love Samuel Smith's RIS and other examples of the style, but Old Rasp is the one I always seem to grab off the shelf.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2010 04:34:32 | More by chicagoabbot
Photo of bucklemyshoe


4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I'm finally getting around to reviewing this even though I've enjoyed it many times.

12 oz. bottle at 45* into a snifter.

A: This obviously pours pitch black with a finger and a half of small-bubbled, khaki-colored head. It actually looks similar to FBS but the lacing doesn't quite match up.

S: The nose is of chocolate, espresso, dark fruits, perhaps some licorice; the typical repertoire of the style.

T: The taste shows the notes of coffee and chocolate, but the sweet and sour dark fruits that take over set it apart from most imperial stouts.

M: This is surprisingly light on the palate which is definitely a negative aspect. On the plus side, it does not show any boozy heat or stickiness.

D: This is a solid RIS that retails at a better price than most, and it pairs very well with chocolate.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2010 04:10:36 | More by bucklemyshoe
Photo of bluecoat


4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As far as stouts go, this is pretty good. Hopped up but not too much for my taste. Hops are mild and spicy, but not overpowering. As for the malt, it has notes of anise, espresso, and mollases. Very well balanced as far as stouts go. Very drinkable, even if it's not my favorite.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2010 07:00:10 | More by bluecoat
Photo of SIRIUS2

North Carolina

4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Pours dark brown, with a relatively dense layer of foam - perhaps a quarter-inch or so. Fantastic lacing all the way down the glass.

Aromas are a bit boozy, heavy on coffee and chocolate.

Flavors are strong with roasted coffee and bitter chocolate. There is some balancing bitterness that has a bit of a grassy note to it, but there is a lingering bitter cocoa taste in the linger. Mouthfeel is not as heavy as I expected, and it was rather smooth.

Easy to drink and very enjoyable. Definitely recommended.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2010 00:15:30 | More by SIRIUS2
Photo of garuda


4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours black, voluminous brown head that has decent retention and good lacing down the glass.

S - Pine hops, roasted coffee, touch of booze.

T - Bold roasted malt, a touch of dark chocolate, finishes with an assertive pine hop finish with an alcoholic bite. Notes of roasted coffee linger through the aftertaste.

M - Full body, low carbonation, smooth across the palate, finishes clean with a nice touch of warming booze.

D - Bold, assertive RIS that's well balanced and drinks nicely. Especially good considering the price and availability.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2010 23:00:13 | More by garuda
Photo of Brewmeist


4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Old rasputin...a legendary beer, and not without good cause. Beer poured to one of the most wonderfully plump heads i've seen in a good while. A staple RIS, with history to boot. Hints of cocoa, smooth, with a somewhat bitter afterbite. Strongly recommend this strong stout to anyone that is lucky enough to find it!

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2010 22:24:47 | More by Brewmeist
Photo of BillHaverchuck


4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a deep dark brown, almost pitch black
nice big tan wooden colored head
smells of chocolate and coffee, the slightest hint of earthy hops, mostly roasty scents
surprising smooth and drinkable for such a rich scent
again, roasty espresso flavors paired with dark rich cocoa
this is a deliciously rich, drinkable beer

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2010 01:51:09 | More by BillHaverchuck
Photo of Lucklys


4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It poured a dark, deep mahogany black, and allowed hints of what I can only describe as a russet-chestnut color to peek through just under the head when placed in the light. It quickly built a finger thick toasted tan head of creamy froth with fairly good retention right out of the bottle, which gradually dissipated to a medium collar and a large, thin patch of foam blanketing the middle. It left nice thin sheets of beige lace that lasted through the drink, as well.

I was initially confronted with lots of lightly sweet oats, burnt rye, and bittersweet dark chocolate - nothing really out of the ordinary from what I understand. But beneath those, I had to dig a little to find hints of espresso hanging on heavily roasted caramel malts, toffee, and something dark and ripe, reminiscent of grapes/raisins or plums/prunes. I didn't find the smell to be vinous, as it hardly resembles wine in my book, but the fruits I found can definitely be associated with wine. To finish, there was one last thing hiding way in the back that I was just barely able to get a grasp of, something bitter and hoppy. A warning, perhaps, of what I was really going to put in my mouth.

It took all of half a second; the first half of that half a second was me rolling the tip of my tongue in a roast coffee, the second half was me reeling at the ridiculous bitterness pinching the inside of my cheeks, back of my tongue, and roof of my mouth. It was way more bitter than I expected with some sort of super hop that added a tart lemony bitterness, minus the sweetness, that pummeled my taste buds nearly to an exhilarating death. I say exhilarating because I am a huge fan of Imperial IPAs and the more bitter, the better, but I was not ready for a drink that was supposed to taste like chocolate and coffee to be that KAPOW. So as I revitalized my mouth with each electrocuting sip, I was able to focus more on what was really behind all of the things going on in this complex stout. Other than the immediate roast coffee, there was the bittersweet chocolate, burnt caramel, dark sweet malts, and a faint yeast mixed with the ripe plums/prunes I found in the nose.

Holding that crazy punchy bitterness helped to give the beer a medium to full body mouthfeel and it felt like a heavy cream on my tongue. Even with a hopped up spicy carbonation, it managed to stay smooth throughout the drink and made plenty of room for a very dry finish. There was a lasting aftertaste, but it was a warm aftertaste filled by a 9%ABV. Quite a hearty beer and thus not for the faint of heart.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2010 16:59:30 | More by Lucklys
Photo of weizenbob


4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce pour into a pint glass. An fluffy three-finger-tall tan head enthusiastically sets up and refuses to go away. It does slowly settle a bit leaving a lot of sticky lacing on the glass. The beer itself is a black hole; even light cannot escape! In short, it's one of the most impressive looking beers I've ever poured.

The nose is bursting with sweet earthy aromas. Caramelized malt is up front but only slightly trailed by a very noticeable alcohol content. Sweet chocolate scents also feature in this nose hair tickling whiff.

The flavor profile follows the scent only magnified twice over. Roasted malt provides a nice smokey flavor that is overtaken almost immediately by the alcohol bum rush. It's not boozy per se, but you definitely notice the presence of the high alcohol content, with a small amount of alcohol burn and a nice warmth in the back of the mouth and throat. Intensity seems to be the name of the game here, and though the alcohol is quite apparent, it never overtakes the rest of the brew, which seems to have been cranked to 11. Next there is a brief but intense sweetness, which is finished by a fantastic earthy character. It's impressive for sure.

The mouthfeel is nice, if a little light for a brew of this intensity. The maltiness of this stout provides a nice weight and the minimal carbonation helps the cause. I could wish that this were a little thicker, bur there are really no complaints here. It finishes incredibly clean, which is baffling considering the flavor assault on my mouth.

For a brew of such high alcohol and so much flavor, this drinks surprisingly well. Obviously you couldn't session this without getting seriously crunk. It's drinkable enough that you could put one of these away dangerously fast, but you'd be doing yourself a disservice. This is a stout to be sipped and savored. Drinkability points are docked for the very noticeable high ABV but that is splitting hairs. I'd drink these all night if I were Superman.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2010 01:05:57 | More by weizenbob
Photo of tehawful


4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On a recent trip to a new liquor store, the picture of Rasputin directed my attention to this Imperial Stout. Being such a sucker for marketing...I couldn't resist. Rasputin pours pitch black with a dense tan head. There is a strong aroma of malt, dark fruit, chocolate and oak.

Wow, this is quite a stout. Malts are heavily roasted with hints of bitter coffee and a bit of dark chocolate, the subtle dark fruit flavor is also there. Rasputin finishes dry as the high ABV presents itself and lingers. The mouthfeel is decent, but maybe just a slight bit thinner than what I usually hope for in a stout (though still closer than a lot of the stouts out there).

Overall this is a bold but enjoyable Russian Imperial. The ABV is present, but does not ruin the experience...though I wouldn't have more than two at a time (probably a great desert beer).

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2010 01:27:08 | More by tehawful
Photo of NeutroMan


4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a viscous jet black with a huge brown head that cascades down the glass (at least initially) and leaves sticky rings of lace.

Smell: Extremely rich, complex roasted malts of dark chocolate, and slightly burnt coffee.

Taste: Huge hit of roasted malts on the first sip with some slightly higher bitterness than the nose would have you believe. Malt character is cocoa and espresso with some toasted grain. Some very faint prune fruity esters. Alcohol warmth is present but not overpowering.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and chewy with a velvety texture. Some smoothing warmth from the alcohol.

Drinkability: Definitely a sipper, but I know I'll be having more than one tonight.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2010 22:01:55 | More by NeutroMan
Photo of airheadmtrcycle


4.18/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint. Wow! What a beautiful pour. Two fingers of caramel head and BLACK, and I mean black. The head begins to fade as it warms and leaves behind thick, egg-white lacing. Thicker than I've experienced before. The foam left behind looks like crema on an espresso.

The smell is smokey with roasted malts but it's hard to make out any of the other aromas. Taste's smokey also, but there's chocolate and some balanced to light hops as well. The roasted malts dominate. I like that there's no burnt flavors. This is really a great tasting stout. As it warms the flavors increase, but this is not an intense beer. It's low key in a very good way. I'll be darned if I can pick up any alcohol taste at all. How did they hide 9% ABV?

The mouthfeel is luscious with low carbonation, and may be the ale's best quality. It would be easy to drink 2 or 3 of these, but I had not had anything to eat. I could feel the alcohol kicking my arse, so I settled for only one. That makes the drinkability hard to rate.

If you like stouts you have to try Old Rasputin. It may be the best stout I've ever had. Keep in mind that I'm a newbie, but this seems more like an American RIS than an English version. The hops are definitely present and play a role in the flavor.

Too bad they named this great stout after an infamous fellow like Rasputin. They even put his ugly mug on the label.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2010 00:57:26 | More by airheadmtrcycle
Photo of Samp01

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark mahogany almost black with a small brown head. Aroma of dark malts, cacao, caramel, burnt espresso. Taste is similar to aroma. Palate si full bodied with good carbonation, creamy and thick. Finish is dark malts, chocolate, caramel with just enough bitter hops to add balanace. Flavors become more pronounced as it warms up. Very rich and creamy. Very well done IS.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2010 15:17:05 | More by Samp01
Photo of Ninjabrew


4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Poured in to a DFH snifter produced 1/2" dark tan head on top of a dark chocolate brown beer.

Smell: Awesome! Smells of chocolate covered raisons with a hint of choclate covered cherries.

Taste: Very Good, starts malty with super-sweet choclate finish.

Mouthfeel: Velvety smooth! With the perfect amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: While I really love this beer, I'am not likely to drink more than one of these. This is like dessert not only because of the sweet taste but because you are so full by time you finish the first one. A very filling beer!

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2010 02:37:44 | More by Ninjabrew
Photo of pmoore311


3.98/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Suprisingly had my first Old Raspy ever on 10/9/10.

Appearance, Love a good stout, deep, dark, and not transparent. Nice and black with a tan mocha head.

Smell, great, very balanced smell, coffee, chocolate, and nice dark malts.

Taste, great RIS, very balanced with nice complexity and not overly sweet or cloying.

Mouthfeel, medium bodied but not a full as I would like, a touch thin, still a very good RIS.

Drinakbility, yes, I could definately drink a few of these easily in a sitting, however at 9.5% I dont recommend it.

A classic widely available RIS, a must try!

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2010 18:31:11 | More by pmoore311
Photo of bigsassyster


4.78/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: very thick and heavy.
Smell: gave off almost chocolately smell
taste: has abit of a coffee aftertaste to it.
mouthfeel: heavy, very heavy
drinkability: Excellent beer to drink. Can't drink more then maybe 2 or you wont be able to drive home.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2010 09:27:08 | More by bigsassyster
Photo of CASK1


4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle into a tulip glass. Essentially black. Tall, fluffy tan head, fades to a thin layer on the top of the beer. Slight metallic aroma. Coffee roast aroma, some low chocolate notes. Hop aroma is hidden by the roast malt. Incredible flavor. Complex mix of roast coffee, chocolate, and burnt malt. Slightly sweet up front, with a long, slow, build of hop bitterness. Low alcohol flavor belies the strength. Medium body makes this beer dangerously drinkable. One of my favorite "go to" high ABV beers.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2010 03:22:13 | More by CASK1
Photo of TheKingofWichita

North Carolina

4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep pitch black color with a mocha colored head and tons of residual lacing. Smells of malts, dark fruits, and roasted goodness. Tastes much the same with prunes, plums, roasted malts, a little smokiness, strong hops and some hints of coffee. Mouthfeel is very nice and drinkability is high.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2010 23:37:33 | More by TheKingofWichita
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 9,201 ratings.