Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - North Coast Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 9,484 | Reviews: 3,337 | Display Reviews Only:
4.43/5 rDev +3%
Well named beer for a Russian Imperial Stout. By far the most impressive beer I have had from the North Coast Brewing Co. There other beers lack the power of this black brewdoo.
A: Coal-black, a dense cloud of oil, with a mocha whipped 5 cm head.
S: Dark Coffee chocolate like roast, the person next to you could smell it. The smell alone indicated a serious beer, a whisper of alcohol.
T: Instant taste bud erections, the taste lives up to the smell, a dark roasted coffee in front, with a dry roasted door prize in the back. You get a glimpse of the alcohol in the back of your throat, but is never astringent or harsh, nice warming effect.
M: Medium-Heavy, still born , negligible carbonation.
D: Minnesota winters beckon you to buy this thing. Very affordable, one big beer that appears to have lots of distribution. Will purchase another 4-pack sometime.
01-19-2009 20:41:45 | More by MPLS
3.98/5 rDev -7.4%
Serving date: 2009-01-16. Served in snifter.
Presentation: 355 ml bottle with nice, and quite freaky, artwork on the label: A picture of one of history's most enigmatic and mythical persons, Grigorij Rasputin, surrounded by a quote in Russian (haven't been able to figure out what it says, though).
Appearance: The pour is jet-black with a 2 cm brown head that settles rather quickly, leaving a brown coat over the beer. Small but thick lacings sticks to the glass. I love how the beer reacts when I swirl the glass, it just keeps reproducing a small but dense coat of brown foam.
Smell: A very prominent character of roasted barley. Aromas of coffee and dark chocolate are there as well. The smell is slightly bitter as well. Overall, this one has a rather sharp and robust profile, regarding smell.
Taste: A big and bold taste of roasted barley is coupled with bitter chocolate and notes of coffee. Some sweet flavors are present to. It has a significant hop character, with a nice and sweet malty background. The finish is a nice mixture of bitter hops and sweet chocolate. It hides the alcohol very well, considering its strength.
Mouthfeel: Smooth, full-bodied and medium carbonation.
Drinkability: This is one big imperial stout. A very good beer with a powerful and aggressive profile, pleasant aromas and nicely balanced flavors. Highly recommended.
01-19-2009 01:12:24 | More by ricke
4.43/5 rDev +3%
Rasputin has been my 'go-to' imperial stout for quite some time now. With regard to the style, it is probably the best deal I've ever found.
This bottle comes from yet another 4-pack purchased at the Davis Co-op for $6.49, however other merchants have begun pricing it at $6.99 to $7.99.
Rasputin fills its namesake nonic glass nearly perfectly, an inch-thick head settling close to the brim. Pouring it, you can see that it isn't quite as opaque as many other 'big' stouts. After several minutes the head recedes to perhaps a 1mm thick coating, with heavy lacing now filling the head's place.
Imagine opening a package of gourmet dark chocolate and taking a good sniff of the wrapper. That's probably the best way I can describe Rasputin's strongest olfactory contribution. Heavy notes of dark chocolate, dark berries, plums, roasted grains, and a just a hint of anise. [EDIT: Since the minor label change that took place around November '08, the amount of anise on the nose seems to have increased significantly.] I'm in awe that such an inexpensive beer can smell so damn good.
My handy little thermometer (in true beer-geek style) is showing 56°F (286° K). Right where I like it. The first sip sends tons of adjectives flying at me, and I find myself torn between typing what I'm experiencing or taking another sip.
Be with you in a moment.
Alright, I'm back. Can you say hops? I think this may be what sets Rasputin apart... few other examples of the style allow for such a perfect marriage of hops with traditional imperial stout characteristics. It is the IPA drinker's Imperial Stout.
Chocolate and mouthfuls of hops are the order of the day here, but the finish is filled with coffee and cola syrup. Malt backbone is right where it should be: just enough to remind you that it's there.
Carbonation is just about perfect, and the velvety smoothness leaves the tongue with just the right amount of residual bitterness and fizz.
While a favorite, Old Rasputin is not the best imperial stout I've ever had. That said, its drinkability is unmatched. I could drink this one all night (and have, on many occasions).
With that, it looks like it's time for me to refill my glass.
01-18-2009 07:16:03 | More by ThirdLap
District of Columbia
4.45/5 rDev +3.5%
10 month old cellared bottle poured into a snifter.
A: Dark chocolate, mahogany color that seems relatively clear despite the darkness. Dark brown still, thick head that has great retention and slowly receding streaks of brown lacing.
S: Sharp, slightly medicinal bitter chocolate aroma with light coffee and strong hop aroma.
T: Rich, bitter coffee and chocolate flavors with a heavy helping of dark fruits (plum, etc). Strong hop flavor still persists in the finish. A dry, sweeter chocolaty flavor persists long into the finish.
M: Full, lightly carbonated body, fills the mouth and is very light and smooth.
D: Exceptional, no hint of alcohol anywhere in this beer. One of my favorite RISs, especially at price and availability. Comparable to Storm King, but I think I prefer this.
01-15-2009 21:02:43 | More by yourefragile
3.95/5 rDev -8.1%
Appearance: As dark as used motor oil, when poured into a glass a golden brown head erupts but receeds to a nice wispy cap of the surface. In line with the head, the lacing was minimal (would have rated higher if the head held up, possibly my glass???).
Smell: I thought the nose was dominated by roasted nuts with hints of coffee. There is a little bitterness that is pleasing to the nose. The alcohol is masked, but can be found with deep breaths.
Taste: Bitter, but contained. Slights flavors of coffee accompany the hoppy bitterness. Creamy malts create a nice backbone. The finish is characterized by biscuity flavors and coffee. The alcohol goes surprisingly undetected.
Mouthfeel: It is lighter bodied than I had expected, but still nice. It has moderately high carbonation, and stays lively in the mouth. Nice and smooth with a coating effect throughout the mouth.
Drinkability: I would have to say this isn't the most enjoyable nor tastiest RIS I have had. But I will point out that it is a very drinkable beer that I could solely enjoy for the evening, albeit it would be a short evening at 9%.
01-15-2009 19:26:02 | More by ncstateplaya
4.33/5 rDev +0.7%
At another board this beer was talked about and raved up and down for some time. I just thought it was awesome that it pays tribute to Rasputin.
Served a little bit over 50 degrees F in pint glass listening to The Best of Mountain.
Pours like motor oil, and looks like motor oil in the glass. Seriously, this thing is as black as 4-chan's humor and opaque even when held right beside a light bulb. Beautiful. A 2 cm bubbly (but very creamy) very tan head sprung up, and briefly continued to rise after the pour. After a good 5 minutes, it had shrunk to just a thin layer, and stayed that way for a good while down the glass. The lacing was pretty steady, and clung on for dear life, not going anywhere for quite some time. For as much as this beer was hyped up, I was honestly expecting a little bit more impressive head, so at this point I'm wondering what I did wrong.
The smell was modest, yet what was there was robust. I had the Thelonious Monk beer by this same brewery, and they both had the same "barbecue" smell to it. I'm assuming now that it is roasted malt. There is also some cappuccino right behind it.
The taste, unsurprisingly, is a very roasted, charred one. It progresses towards the finish, along with some dark fruit flavors. Throughout the entirety of each sip, that creamy coffee is slightly present, as well as alcohol. The alcohol actually blends with the flavors nicely though, so it is hidden quite nicely. At most, it puts up a slight sting in the back of your throat at the swallow, but it mostly just translates to a pleasantly warming feeling. If nothing else, it comes off as a very dark chocolate (at least in the after-taste).
The mouth-feel is pretty darn smooth, considering how upfront and robust this beer is in general. It's also fairly full-bodied, and I enjoy the low carbonation levels and yet there is a very slight tingly feeling to accent this nicely. This is pretty damn syrupy as well, at least for a stout... though I understand that this particular style is supposed to be quite sticky from the addition of much more malt.
In all, I guess this is quite drinkable if you enjoy a beer of this style on this caliber. I'm in my second and determining that this would be best accompanied with a rich dinner, but I am having no trouble sipping through this.
01-15-2009 03:38:27 | More by Bootscraper
4.35/5 rDev +1.2%
A - Incredibly dark brown to black with a fluffy mocha head. Head lasts quite a while and simmers to a nice 1/8-inch lace on top. Great sticky lacing on the sides of the glass as drank.
S - Espresso, dark chocolate, and roasted malt all at once like a slap in the face. Boozy alcohol when I really stick my nose in and take a good long whiff.
T&M - I taste the espresso off the bat and then chased by the roasted malt and finally with a nice twinge of dark chocolate in the aftertaste. Nicely balanced in these flavors and none of these overpowers the other, rather compliments each other. A bit of a thick brew with a sticky mouthfeel. The alcohol is warming and not as noticable as I expected. The alcohol seems to meld into the flavors as the beer warms.
D - Such a great sipping beer and nice to drink. It would be hard to drink more than two of these in one night as you have to sip and savor this or the alcohol will knock you out.
01-14-2009 14:47:38 | More by MrIncognito
4.28/5 rDev -0.5%
I am new to imperial stouts.
Poured into my spielgelau snifter from 12 oz. bottle.
A - A quarter shade above black. Garnet hues on the edges. Thin head that retains a ring, and decent lacing.
S - Coffee, Chocolate, lime, Cherries, Tire store rubber.
T - Coffee. Coffee. Espresso. Mocha. Also other flavors of fruit like lime. Chocolate. Coffee. More coffee.
M - Yum and soft.
D - This is the kind of beer that makes me feel like a beer virgin, all over again.
01-14-2009 06:23:17 | More by Beernoisseur
4.3/5 rDev 0%
A - Very dark Brown, almost black appearance. Head poured well, faded fairly fast but held a faint head throughout. Slight redness in the appearance. Lacing was minimal.
S - Very sweet aroma and roasted malts. Alcohol presence is forewarned in the aroma also.
T - Very sweet, with BIG roasted malts. Alcohol is very present but not unpleasant. Slight coffee and chocolate comes off also.
M - Thick full bodied and creamy texture. Flavors hang on the tongue for a while. Carbonation is a perfect medium to low, goes very nicely.
D - For a 9% imperial stout it is very drinkable. A little sweet for more than one or two. That said this beer is probably not meant for too many more in one go.
01-13-2009 23:53:48 | More by Baileyuk
4.4/5 rDev +2.3%
Poured a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Dark, dark brown with very nice, light tan head that had great retention for it's style.
Sweet malty smell with beautiful roasted coffee hints.
Full, rich flavor of roasted malts. Lots of coffee and chocolate with a little fruitiness. Almost wish there was just a little more bitterness, but this really is almost perfect.
Not really thick, just a great creamy mouthfeel.
I don't know if I could find a more "drinkable" RIS. I really want to find this on draught now.
01-13-2009 16:16:07 | More by reallyhoppie
4.93/5 rDev +14.7%
A- beautifully dark black with a brown head that lace nicely on the glass
S- malty & sweet coffee notes
T- GREAT flavor- very full and rich with a nice maly character and a coffee taste that lingers wonderfully on the palate. reaaalllyy good
M- Nice and full
D- favorite Imperial Stout, hands down. Certainly a beer for any dark beer lover or any beer drinker alike!
01-12-2009 03:21:59 | More by sgraham4
4.75/5 rDev +10.5%
This is one of the best imperial stouts I have had.
A - Black except in edges of glass where it is dark brown. Foam is brown - not a lot of it.
S - Malty hoppy and coffee-like
T - Very good flavor - RICH and pleasing flavor roasted barley and hops - Roasted nuts and coffee. Balanced maltiness with bitter from both hops and roasted barley
M - Wooly and full bodied
D - A pleasant robust experience that makes me appreciate the potential of this style. If possible I will want to keep this one on hand.
01-12-2009 01:18:55 | More by WickedSluggy
4.33/5 rDev +0.7%
on tap @ stuff yer face (from notes i remember taking on a phone that died)
a full pour into a standard pint glass revealed a black as night body. a dark brown 1 finger head crowned the glass, which eventually crept down. some sticky brown lace was hanging on the sides of the glass throughout.
smells like RIS... nice deep roasty barley, chocolates, some coffee (although not as much as others), and a whiff of alcohol. no noticable hop aroma.
the taste was soooo nice. rich and chocolatey. slight coffee and perhaps sweetness of a ripe fruit. bitter balanced well with the noticable malt character of the beer. the alcohol is really well hidden and only peaks out from under the covers when i rolled it around my mouth for a while. delicious.
not super thick, but a thick and creamy mouthfeel that is of course expected for the style. it does suit the flavors of the beer really well.
dangerous. that is the drinkability of this crazy old man. after one i started to feel it in my head and promptly got something to eat. the second one told me "you ain't gettin' away that easy" and made me feel quite relaxed.
overall, highly recommended! a great RIS that i overlooked for a long time... and do i regret that? yes.
01-12-2009 00:55:19 | More by beerorRIP
4.58/5 rDev +6.5%
I had the privilege of drinking this beer on nitro, so my opinions are a little skewed by the benefits of serving this kind of beer in that manner. First off, it looks fantastic. The head is full, looks sort of like chocolaty whipped cream with a sheen across its surface. Dark as night. Smells quite good, with a little bit of alcohol coming through roasty notes. Tastes even better than it smells: excellent maltiness, nice bitter finish, notes of anise, chocolate, and coffee.
The mouthfeel is really what did it for me, again, probably due to nitrogen. Exceptionally creamy, perfect level of carbonation. Avoided swallowing as long as I could bear...
Overall: great RIS, I highly recommend it. If you live in the Boston area, get over to Deep Ellum, where they have it on nitro consistently.
01-10-2009 22:07:53 | More by schroederm
4.63/5 rDev +7.7%
Wow, I have never seen a more beautiful, more appetizing beer then Old Rasputin on tap. Darkness with a perfect creamy head that resembles whip cream on hot chocolate.
Roasted aromas, chocolate and coffee.
I can tell this beer is on nitro, its almost like drinking an extremely flavorful Guiness, with all aspects enhanced. Very roasted, coffee, a little chocolate with a lingering creamy roasted aftertaste.
Absolutely amazing. Old Rasputin on Nitro is pretty much as good as it gets.
01-10-2009 07:48:23 | More by alovesupreme
4.15/5 rDev -3.5%
Pours a dark brownish black color with a 1 finger creamy, dark tan head that settles quickly and leaves beautiful tan lacing along the glass.
Smells of licorice, roasted malt, with some alcohol noticeable. Also some notes of coffee and bitter chocolate and a slight spiciness all come through in the nose.
Hops really come through in the taste. Also present are hints of coffee, vanilla, cinnamon, licorice and a roasted nut profile. Alcohol can be detected on the way down but does not overpower the flavor.
Exceptionally smooth with a medium amount of carbonation. Highly drinkable but the alcohol can sneak up on you fast if you're not careful with this one. Overall this is a nicely balanced RIS and a great interpretation of the style.
01-10-2009 03:04:45 | More by Vengeance526
4.93/5 rDev +14.7%
Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Tulip glass.
Brew came out of the bottle jet black, not too thick, not too thin. Dark cookie head starts at about 2 fingers, and settles down to a voluptuous half finger. Spotty, sticky lacing that really clings to the glass. The aroma on this out of the bottle was huge, and now as the glass settles about a yard away, butterscotch is just flowing under my nose. Upon further inspection I detect some sttrrronnggg vanilla and a dark roast.
This elixir is incredibly creamy, bringing immense sweetness to the front of the mouth. Big sweet malts like I've never tasted before in a stout/RIS - tons of oaked vanilla. As this bubbly brew begins to settle on the tongue, bitter coffee nibs take control of the palate. A slight smokiness to the brew as well. Alcohol is apparent, but masked incredibly.
Certainly the best RIS I've ever had, and according to others, it perhaps is the best out there. Just incredible balance, and enjoyment with every stage of that balance for me. Honestly, I'm not a huge stout guy - but this one is just making me drool. I dislike the finish of most stouts - but this one just hits it on the head. Give me more!
Pretty sure the ratings I'm giving this will make it my top rated beer. You know, maybe not my favorite ever, but as far as RIS and Stouts go - this is just leagues above anything else I've had.
01-09-2009 01:46:59 | More by bigkahunas4
4.58/5 rDev +6.5%
A - Poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark, almost black brown that has brown highlights in extreme light. A very tightly foamy brown head forms 2 fingers deep and slowly dissipates.
S - Roasted malt, burnt black coffee beans, brown sugar, dark chocolate.
T - Tastes of dark chocolate, with a dampened syrupy quality like burnt brown sugar, dark coffee beans.
M - Thick, full bodied, with lots of tongue tickling carbonation.
Drinkability - This beer is gonna take my taste buds round back of the middle school and get 'em pregnant.
01-08-2009 02:20:44 | More by HeyItsChili
4.6/5 rDev +7%
Appearance - 4.5
So dark. The head is perfect cocoa in color. Lacing is great.
Smell - 5.0
The scent did exactly as I want a beer smell to do... make me long for the first sip. Smelled like a perfect RIS.
Taste - 4.5
Why is it not a 5.0? I wanted more bite. But damn if they didn't nail the flavor profile of a RIS that I was looking to for.
Mouthfeel - 5.0
Killer. The carbonation and bite on my tongue is great. I love this style of beer and North Coast nailed it.
Drinkability - 5.0
My rating here makes up for my 4.5 on taste. I could drink all 4 of these in one sitting. Granted, the 9.0% would leave me hungover the next day...
I saw this beer mention time and time again on the forums here at BA. When at my local Bevmo, I'd always bypass it for other selections. But, this recent experience will force me to always keep one or two at least in my cellar. I plan to share this beer with others that have not tasted it yet.
01-07-2009 05:48:30 | More by dqderrick
4.28/5 rDev -0.5%
A - pours a solid black, no light or anything other radiation is getting through this brew. the head is large and is around a medium champagne colour.
S - one can most certainly smell the alcohol right up front, that is what is most noticeable; strong smelling but more subtle roasted malts trail behind the booze
T - A good and complex taste for this one. the hops add a great bitterness to the initial taste on the sides of the tongue, while there is a different type of bitter on the back of the tongue, reminiscent to that of strong coffee The alcohol only becomes prominent for the aftertaste, remaining very manageable on the palate.
MF&D - very smooth, and thick. Not as thick as it could be, but then again, who wants to drink syrup. nothing extraordinary to really note here.
01-07-2009 00:16:55 | More by erz316
3.8/5 rDev -11.6%
Rasputin was one of the first good bers I ever had... this was a long time ago, however, before I knew anything about good beers and so back then the only thing I thought about it was "wow, this is really thick...".. So all these years later and I finally tried it again...
it pours nicely and is like any other good RIS, dark black and with a tan head, etc... the aroma is chocolatey with a bit of espresso..
The main thing I have to say about it now is that it is very smokey. Its got a very smokey, burnt bread taste and aftertaste to it. It has a bitterness that is really similar to black coffee.. I wished it was a bit sweeter.
It's definitely a fine stout and I can understand why it has such a high rating, but I think it could stand to be just a tad bit sweeter to give more balance to the smoke/burnt bread taste and mouth feel.
This may be jsut due to personal taste and all, I wouldn't go out of my way to pick it over say Founders breakfast or a Yeti or a stout such as those, however...
01-06-2009 06:42:18 | More by BirdFlu
4.45/5 rDev +3.5%
Had this one on tap at Old Chicago in Olathe, KS.
Poured into a small brandy snifter/tulip style glass. Came to me completely opaque black and a decent sized creamy head that lasted the entire way to the bottom.
The smell on this one is fantastic. It's full of dark fruits, roasted grains, a bit of pleasant hop aroma... it's everything you can really ask for from the aroma of an Imperial Stout. Extremely appetizing, and enough to make your mouth water.
The taste doesn't let you down, either. Up front you get hit with a healthy dose of roasted malt flavor, followed by the sweetness of the base malts. That sweetness stays throughout the sip, but it balanced nicely by the deceptively high level of bitterness, both from the hops and from the more astringent character of the darker malts. The darker fruit aromas also make their presence known in the flavor, giving the beer a plum/currant note that is very nice on the tongue. And to top it all off, there's really no hint of the 9% ABV in the taste. It's way too easy to drink, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, now is it?
The mouthfeel was a tad lighter than I had expected. Not light, by any means, but lighter than one might think an Imperial Stout would be. This both aids the drinkability of the beer, and disappoints in some odd way. Overall, though, it isn't a big hindrance to the enjoyment.
This one is really, really well made. Sweet without being cloying, well balanced, not trying to be grabbing you by the throat and screaming "Imperial Stout Here! Bet you can't drink me!". It's very well put together, easy to drink, satisfying, and just generally a very, very good beer. Highly recommended.
01-05-2009 20:33:22 | More by jokelahoma
4.45/5 rDev +3.5%
Grabbed a 4-pack in Sept 2007 and sat on two bottles for a while. This is one of them.
A: A very black Old Rasputin under an inch thick cap of brown head that leaves a nice pattern of foam along the side of my 22oz snifter.
S: On the nose, there is some rich chocolate, absolutely gorgeous. Not very dark, there's some creaminess and a hint of coffee to back it up. Some sherry-like oxidation is present, adding to the complexity. Mellow and wonderfully well-balanced, this beer's a charm.
T: After drinking as many BA imperials as I've had in the past week, it's remarkable how wonderful a straight up imperial stout is! Smooth, soft medium dark chocolate with a hint of sweetness, a little bit of cream and a wonderfully bitter finish. Oxidation isn't as noticeable as it was on the nose. There is some licorice that's noticeable as it warms up, though. All told, wonderfully mellow.
M: Moderate in body with carbonation that's solid (maybe a little bit too much) and an excellent finish
D: Wow. This is one dangerously drinkable beer. Definitely stocking up on this.
**Edit 03 August 2012**
This is my final bottle from that 4-pack from Sept 2007.
The nose has taken on a decidedly roasty, ashy and unsweetened cocoa tinge. Mildly fruity, not particularly oxidized, but it is mellow. The palate opens fruity with mild raisins along with heavily roasted grains, a little char and a little ash. Pretty intense. The mid-palate has fallen off, it's too mellow and lacking in character. Medium in body with a roasty, mildly ashy and moderately fruity finish that's also got some cocoa and caramel, this feels nice on the palate. Solid stuff, I need to revisit this fresh.
01-05-2009 03:44:16 | More by DefenCorps
1.98/5 rDev -54%
WOW! I got this beer as gift at Christmas. I really looked forward to trying this. It poured a beautiful dark color with lovely long lasting foam. I smelled it and it just had a wonderful dark chocolate bready smell. But then I tasted it! YIKES.
This had a horrible bitter taste. The aftertaste was just terrible. I could not drink this and enjoy it at all! I was greatly disappointed. Apparently I just do not have the same taste buds as others who reviewed this but It was just awful tasting to me and I have tried many stouts.
01-05-2009 02:18:32 | More by likethetaste
4.5/5 rDev +4.7%
Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into pint glass
A - Poured a nice deep black with a caramel colored head with good retention and quite a bit of lacing.
S - Intense chocolate and coffee notes in the nose. Some minor scents of caramel and molasses.
T - I really enjoyed this beer. It burst of chocolate and roasted malts up front with a sweet feel and lingering bitterness as it goes down. Kept me sipping trying to put my finger on the taste.
M - Phenomenal all around. Full bodied, smooth and creamy.
D - It has a moderately high drinkability. The higher ABV is quite welcome on a cold winter day.
01-04-2009 07:14:53 | More by Foxtrot
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 9,484 ratings.