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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - North Coast Brewing Co.

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

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10,551 Ratings

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Ratings: 10,551
Reviews: 3,449
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 10.23%
Wants: 381
Gots: 1,731 | FT: 47
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 (22) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 10,551 | Reviews: 3,449 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nhindian
4.36/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. This specific bottle provided by 603BeerMe, thanks Clark!

A - Pours into the glass and as it fills it extinguishes all light through it, and despite my trying, I can't seem to find any highlights here. Even the head of this beer is magical as a relatively normal pour unleashes a 3-fingered, tan head, comprised of tightly condensed bubbles giving it a nice, creamy look. Retention is great as well as it lasts for several minutes and when it finally settles it still leaves about a half-finger ring around the edge. Additionally, this beer leaves sheer curtains of lace, covering almost the entire circumference. I haven't seen such great lacing since Pretty Thing's Babayaga, which was extremely impressive. This is just a fantastic looking beer.

S - The nose is full of roasted malts, bittersweet baker's chocolate, and a bitterness that could be attributed to either the chocolate or some slight hops. It's a bit acrid, almost similar to smelling a pot of coffee that is a few hours old. Some alcohol also comes into play near the back.

T - The taste really lives up to the smell. A lot of coffee comes into play at first before getting tamed by the malts. Tons of dark chocolate follow and I'm getting a nice roast as well. I am also getting some hops, but not to the extent of something like Great Divide's Yeti or Victory's Storm King, just a slight hop bitterness to complement the bitterness in the chocolate and alcohol, which again makes an appearance at the end. The finish is long and bitter with a lot of chocolate still lingering. This beer is extremely solid; it's not going to blow your mind with delicate, exotic intricacies, but if you want a tasty beer that does the style justice at an excellent price point, look no further.

M - Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Actually a bit lighter and less chewy than I would've expected, but it still does feel great in the mouth and it leaves a coating and long finish to remember it by.

D - Drinkability is high. For anyone looking to get into Russian Imperial Stouts, I wouldn't recommend anything else besides this. It scores high for me on all facets, and for the price point it can't be beat. This will be a regular staple for me when looking for a solid representation in the style.

Photo of cyraxx
3.86/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pitch black with a light brown creamy head that is very inviting. I have to be a little lenient on the aroma because some is lost when a beer is served via nitrogen. All I can discern is roasted malts with a slight licorice edge. The flavor is somewhat muted with burnt malt, chocolate, and a slight metallic flavor. The nitrogen thins out what would normally be a substantial body. I usually feel that what is lost in putting a beer on nitro is made up for with the creaminess that is imparted. In the case of Old Rasputin, I really would stick to drinking it with normal CO2. While tasty, not as good as the original.

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

This stout is definitely on the complex side. A subtle but noticeably floral hop character is one of the sneakier characteristics that contribute to the stout's unique qualities. The mouthfeel is substantial, due to residual sugars that also leave some sexy, sticky lace.

I like the intense dried fruit aroma that blends well with hints of cocoa and fruitier Ethiopian coffee beans. Somewhere along the line, there is a kind of smokiness in the back of the throat deal, and while it is pleasant, I found there was a strange, faint chalkiness or musty property in the mouth. Not texturally, but from a flavor perspective.

On the whole, this beer is a warming, strong ale that I am happy to say protects me from the Ithaca cold!

Photo of bamadog
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Went to Friday Night Flights at Party Town in Florence, KY and met one of the brewmasters from North Coast -- super cool guy. They had several NC offerings offered at the growler station, couldn't really pass this one up (plus they were giving away free NC pint glass -- friggin' sweet!). Review is from notes taken on 2/25/2011 and poured from the growler to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is darkest brown/near black and it starts with a thin 1/2 finger dark tan head that fades quickly to nothing other than an incomplete skim floating on the surface; body is, of course, entirely opaque and seems to engulf the light around it; big swaths and spots of lacing are left on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Definitely a California beer -- lots of hops abound from this RIS and it's definitely hoppier than I remember from the bottle (I'd like to add that on the second night from the growler, the hops seemed more subdued and the roasty malts really came out more) followed by the burnt roasty and bittersweet bakers-like chocolate with a bit of a cocoa powder scent to it as well; interestingly enough there is also a bit of a metallic and earthy presence.

Taste: I'm going to say it... I think I prefer this one from the bottle. It's still good overall, but just a personal preference. The first night, the bitter metallic earthiness is really up front and the roastiness is thin with a bit of a faint bittersweet chocolate aspect to it. Fortunately, it seems to have settled down a bit over night (not sure what accounted for the change, perhaps my palate was just cleaner the second night?) and while the hops were still present and providing a nice grassy bitterness, the malts showed up and provided a robust earthy nuttiness with some burnt coffee/espresso roast and bittersweet chocolate and a bit of dry cocoa powder.

Mouthfeel: Body is of medium weight and fairly smooth and creamy; the strong metallic bite the first kind of distracts me and takes away from this, but the second night is very enjoyable as I remember it being; a thick sticky coating is left all over the mouth and a bit of a grittiness is left on the teeth; belly is just a little warm from the 9% ABV.

Drinkability: Definitely good, but like most RISs, the weight and ABV pull it down a bit. Definitely a great beer for a cold night and ultimately, it's kind of one of the defining beers of the style.

Photo of CanonJohn
4.73/5  rDev +10%
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!

Photo of radioscooter
3.89/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Blacker than the blackest night in the glass. A semi-soft pour garners an astounding 4 finger head that isn't going anywhere 3 minutes later. You could float a toy boat on top.

Aroma is less present, I smell the coffee and the Earth, and a few bitter hops. A little musty actually. Not much else. And not strongly even when snuffling big.

Taste is subdued, like the aroma. Good, not my favorite taste but very good. Coffee for sure, some dark roasty chocolate, there's a malt squeezing in there somewhere but very subtly blended. No overthrows of flavor on either end, which I assume is a good thing. Me, I'm looking for sweeter, but with this RIPA - I understand.

Booze is well hidden, but creeps up on you.

The mouthfeel is great, but dry and leaves a bit of a secondary hops taste as it departs. Good for some, not for me. Still - I understand.

Very respectable. It would get higher marks form me but the mustiness is a little off-putting.

Photo of teromous
3.71/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pitch black like looking through a piece of coal. It is accompanied with a creamy tan head that goes away pretty fast.

S: It smells very toasty with a slight musty scent and a little earthy. There's something in the smell that puts me off. I wasn't completely sold on the scent. I could pick up hops but the aromatics were much to bland.

T: Very very robust toasted flavor with a very distinct hop flavor. The hop flavor can really punch through the bold roasted flavor. I keep taking a sip to get that surprise hop-pop. What I like is that the hop flavor really finds its place and stays in it. It's not too subtle or overpowering.

M: I get a "sticky" malty aftertaste which isn't a bad thing it's just something I noticed. It coats the mouth well and is carbonated just right. It's very smooth with a little bite at the end from the grain and hop bitterness.

D: I could drink more of this, but it's not something I would drink one after another. It's very strong and would go well by itself as a sipper or with something with a robust flavor like smoked cheese and sausage.

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

A: pitch black with a big creamy/fluffy coffee hued head. i can see carbonation sitting on the bottom with fine bubbles rising on the sides.

S: vanilla, toffee, chocolate, and french roast.

T: rich and hearty. slightly metallic. black cherries. bitter, acidic roasted coffee. im sure some cellaring would assist in both the metallic and acidic components.

M: nice and mild. well-suited for the style.

D: overall a very good RIS that is pretty easy to find at most bottle shops. ive read that this is a good one to put away for some time and it will really enhance some nuances in the flavor so get some and do just that, i know i will.

Photo of beerman207
4.26/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Ok...so north coast brewing came to Party town this past Friday. They put Old Rasputin on tap!

A: This thing pours like motor oil into my glass - nice 1 finger tan head that leaves skim as it leaves the glass

S: Smoke, malt, mollases, coffee

T: Chocolate, malt, smoke, raisin, and some burnt sugar

M: Mild - could be a little thicker - seems thin to me considering it being from draft

D: Ok....regardless of the mouthfeel this beer is fantastic. I have a growler full tonight and it's going to be polished off. Great offering.

Photo of foogerd
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pitch black body with a one inch head caramel colored head.

S- Roasted malts and lactose notes.

T- Dark roasted coffee some chocolate, hops are present in the middle and at the finish turns the chocolate flavor into a dark bitter flavor.

M- Proves that you dont have to brew an engine oil of a beer to taste and feel great.

D- Great for the style, one of the most drinkable RIS out there.

Photo of Digimaika2
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Beautiful one finger thick foam head. Pitch black!

S: Dark roasted coffee, chocolate, and picking up some faint dark fruits. Lingering alcohol aroma. Very pleasing.

T: Dark chocolate and coffee up front, with some smokiness, and finishing with an appealing bitterness. Picking up a unique sour/sweet tartness. Very well balanced. Overall a complex and delicious tasting imperial stout.

M: Thick and viscous. Full bodied with medium carbonation. Great mouthfeel.

D: Very drinkable. Alcohol is present, but not overpowering. Would definitely purchase again.

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into Sam Adams lager glass. Long overdue.

Pours pitch black, light brown head of about two fingers, nice lacing. Fantastic retention, nice lingering brown cap.

Nose is sharply roasty right from the beginning, almost a bit burnt, with the hops adding a bit of a dry, leafy bitterness. Wee bit of burnt sugar also. Just a bit of a piney note underneath. Nice.

Taste is big right off the bat, hoppy, piney and a bit minty over a big, robustly sharp roast. Again, almost burnt, fairly robust bitterness with a densely dark espresso roast. Mintiness from the hops is still there. Just a tiny bit of alcohol in there, almost no heat. Burnt sugar with a deep, dark fruit presence lingers on the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, hops cut it a bit, long, lingering bitterness. Fantastic drinkability, alcohol just disappears. Big, brash hop presence is just a bit dominant, but overall, a hard one not to like. Doesn't have the smooth, rich body I'd look for, but this one is aggressive and brash.

Photo of zrab11
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a dark blackish purple color with a small head!

S- HAs a pine,molasses and boozy smell

T-Hits you witha bitter licorious taste upfront andthen ends with some nice cocoa flavor

M-Think bodied with good carbonation

D-Very good beer. Has a stong boozy taste but the other flavors come through so it balences quite nicely. Would get this again

Photo of secondtooth
4.37/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This review is of a fresh bottle, will follow up in 2012 with cellared tastings.

Pitch black upon pouring, with a large head of fine tan foam.
Almost no lacing to speak of, and my bottle was a little under room temp.

Nose is boozy, bourbon/whiskeylike, with definite hints of chocolate malts.

Taste is a bomb of dark chocolate, with a rich, robust and boozy finish.

Just delicious!

Photo of Landfill21
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my trusted guinness pint glass. Poured into a nice dark black color with a fingernail head that stays throughout the session.

Has a smell of malt, roasted nuts and chocolate. Has a taste of malts, mild berries, chocolate and malt.

Has a medium mouthfeel and a nice drinkibility. This is a nice stout that I would recommend.

Photo of HattedClassic
4.8/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Beautiful. I managed to get a nice multicolored head with bright white on the top and the more brownish head on the bottom. I have some constant foam on the top. I see some medium lacing on the glass, which is good. The dark black color reminds of what dark chocolate looks like. I got a nice dark dark brown almost dark chocolate when I poured it.

Smell:I get a nice light whiff of roasted malts. For me, the dominant flavor appears to be the dark chocolate mixed with malts.

Taste: ORGASM!!! I get roasted malts mixed with dark chocolate . I can taste the alcohol a little bit but enough that it balances the other flavors. Frankly, I like the balance.

Mouthfeel: Wonderful light carbonation when you first drink it followed by a silky finish.

Drinkability: Definitely drinkable. I wish I had tried this earlier in the winter. The wonderful smell with the beautiful presentation, not to mention the price makes this beer a winner. To be honest, I think this stout is definitely an improvement over an espresso with bourbon poured in it.

Photo of Brianjames16
5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Gorgeous pitch black body with a creamy light tan head. A lot of bubbles rise to the top from the pour and settle at top. Nice lacing on the glass sticks around.

S - Huge roasty ,malty ,chocolate aroma here. The aroma alone from this beer will warm you up on a cold night. I can also smell some of the alcohol coming through but its not overwhelming.

T - WOW! A beautiful balance of roasted malts, chocolate, and warmth (not so much a taste but that's what I get). The alcohol gives it the strength while the other components add elegance to this complex brew.

M- Velvety and silky mouthfeel. Goes down super smooth with some carbonation on the tongue.

D- This beer must be enjoyed slowly and consciously in order to get the full experience. Maybe one or two on a lazy cold night . Wonderful experience !

Photo of harrymel
4.42/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured to NB globe, as usual.
I've had this beer countless time, figure it's time to review.

A: Pours black. No light. 3 finger head retires to nearly confluent tan foam cap. Lacing is affluent, but consistent.

S: Resin, pine, dark malts, molasses, anise, alcohol. All well balanced. I have never aged this beer, now is the time.

T: More of the above. Plenty bitter with additions of cocoa, coffee, earthy hops, licorice. Very nice.

M: Thick, viscous, excellent mouthfeel with moderate carbonation.

D: Fantastic beer. Not surprised in it's level of appreciation on this site. Fantastic.

Photo of JC5886
3.94/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black, small lacing. Smell is minimal, a little smoky. Taste is syrupy, malty, smoky, a little chocolate. Feels very heavy, and heavy on the alcohol making it not very drinkable. This is one of those beers you can only have a few of. Overall a good IPA, a little overrated IMO.

Photo of bbb099
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Jet black with a little brown hue. Coke-like upon pouring. Relatively small amount of mocha colored head that created a nice lacing.

S - Good amount of roasted malt odor but still smells a little sweet (root beer-ish). Also a little alcohol on the side, but not too much.

T - Mostly roasted, dark malt coming through with some vanilla sweetness on the side. Finishes clean and crisp with smoky aftertaste. Very mild booziness but you can feel the alcohol warmth going down.

M - Full bodied. Moderate carbonation.

D - Solid stout. Stays true to the style. As drinkable as it gets for 9% abv.

Photo of xnicknj
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into snifter glass

Pours a deep, inky black with a buoyant coffee brown head. Slowly dissolves into a thin layer of tanned film with plenty of spots and streaks of lacing around the glass.

Plenty of roasted malt with some hop bitterness in the nose, assorted scents of baker's chocolate and toffee.

A surprising amount of hops up front with a decent dose of bitterness. Roasted malt flavors hold down the base with a thick serving of caramel. Some bittersweet dark chocolate and a touch of syrupy molasses. More hop bitterness with a flair of boozy warmth in the finish.

Fuller body, decent carbonation, fairly creamy and a bit dry on the palate. Nice, pleasant drinking, the alcohol is warm but not over the top. I definitely prefer this beer with some age on it, but fresh is still pretty tasty as well.

Photo of MarcatGSB
4.57/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into St. Bernardus goblet. Purchased from Hy-Vee Wine and Spirits Waterfront in Iowa City, Iowa for $9.99/4 pack. No bottled on dating.

Apperance: Pours deep black, with a thin head of dark cream. Nice lacing..

Smell: Sweet malty nose, with a good amount of roasted coffee.
Sticky hop backbone.

Taste: The dry roasted malt forward is balanced nicely by a crisp hop finish. This is a great RIS. Great expression. This has some real complexity to it. Gets better and better as it warms up.

Mouth: Great mouthfeel. The roasted malt have a nice drying affect, and the hop finish makes my taste buds snap.

Drink and overall: Wonderful RIS. Highly recommend to others. Especially for the price. The 9% ABV doesn't show itself, rather plays a little hide and seek.

Photo of camp0474
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from 2/4/11

A: Pours a pitch black with a nice frothy tan coffee colored head. Decent head retention and good sticky lacing.

S: Toasty alts with a sweet backbone. Smells of bitter coffee, molasses, slight dark fruits, and faint alcohol detectable.

T: Coffee, sweet dark fruits. Faint chocolate. Hop bitterness near the finish. Slight alcohol burn. Solid balance of all of the flavors. Hides the abv well.

M: Medium to thick body. Good fine carbonation.

D: A well balanced RIS and goes down easy. A welcomed slight alcohol warmth. Great cold weather stout.

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

#100. The first of many grand milestones, and well celebrated with one of the best-known Russian Imperial Stouts. Surprisingly well available in most stores that carry a decent beer selection around here, I got this in a single 12 oz. bottle at Five Points in Athens.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a snifter at room temp.

(Appearance) Almost an explosive pour! 3 finger depth creamy thick foamy head that nearly crowns the glass. Retention is quite nice; it will take quite a while for this head to die down. Head thickens and crowns in the center as the sides die down, leaving thin stringy lacing everywhere. Color is a solid black; no light penetration anywhere. I also can't see any carbonation, but it would be hard to make out anyways. A thoroughly satisfying appearance. 4.5

(Smell) Subtle coffee tones, cocoa, caramel, toffee and dark fruits and nuts in no particular order mesh beautifully to create some wonderfully balanced culmination. Smoky and roasted textures encompass the brew. There may also be some bitterness from some earthy hops. I figured that being in this snifter would have boosted the intensity of the brew, but it is still lacking a bit in potency. What I smell however is intriguing and pleasing. 4

(Taste) A nice roasted nutty coffee bitter beginning follows to a hazy smoky finish. Quite intensely pleasing. Good deal of bitter and sweet characteristics. The balance is great. I like it. 4.5

(Mouthfeel) A bit heavy creamy mouthfeel with some slightly prickly texture possibly from the alcohol which is otherwise well hidden from taste. Complements the style well. 4.5

(Drinkability) Warming and quite heavy on the palate, I couldn't imagine having more than two or three in a single session. ABV is on the higher end and this is quite filling. Otherwise, there are no factors that would keep me from wanting another of these. 4

Verdict: I enjoyed this. It was very complex and flavorful. It's worth getting. Here's to the next 100. A (4.35)

Photo of gfreed
3.83/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 10,551 ratings.