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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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10,518 Ratings

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Ratings: 10,518
Reviews: 3,438
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 382
Gots: 1,700 | 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: 10,518 | Reviews: 3,438 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mightyheadbrew
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Old Rasputin should, as probably does, serve as a benchmark for all RIS on the market. It is one of the most drinkable stouts I have enjoyed and has all of the positive markers we beer enthusiasts enjoy. It pours dark, with a head to match. The aroma is of dark roast coffee, chocolate, hint of anise, smoke. It is smooth and rich in the mouth. The taste is sublime, without being overwhelming, and although it's a stout, care was taken to preserve a hop finish. I know most Americans enjoy their beer cold, but PLEASE, drink Old Rasputin as close to room temperature as you can tolerate. It's the only way to experience all of the complexity this beer truely has to offer.

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

I've had this on tap and bottled. This review based on a bottle I just enjoyed. The bottle appears as black as the heart of the infamous Russian whose image is proudly displayed on the label.

The beer pours black with a dark chocolate colored top that fits perfectly with any renowned RIS. The two-three finger head disappeared slowly, leaving more than enough lacing behind to let you know this stout is for real.

The smell is very, very nice with hints of sweet heavily roasted malts with delicate hints of molasses, coffee, sugar, and a touch of alcohol. An excellent bouquet.

Taste is even thicker with all of the above plus a sweet hint of raisins, prunes, charcoal, and some other bits and pieces (is that a touch of black licorice?) that you'll just have to experience for yourself to appreciate. Just delicious. I expected that this would be just a touch more mellow but will perhaps require another year - although the alcohol isn't so strong that I'd want to muddy up and risk losing the delicate flavors. I have yet to appreciate a stout more.

Mouthfeel is a non-issue. It's just great. Not overly carbonated like some and not watery or thin. Chewy, tasty, warm and sessionable. Which brings me to drinkability and you can't overscore here because although I did a 4.5, I only did to reserve one step in the rare chance that I find something that improves on Old Ras which I doubt.

If you appreciate complex stouts that still retain some semblance of a beer and are not so thick, winey, and boozy as some, you'll keep a share of this on hand year round just like I do. Props to NC for a great and enjoyable potable. Great work!

Photo of abc3
4.6/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

See how I rated drinkability as "exceptional"? That's a problem...here's why:

I recently had my 44th birthday party (37 per my fake ID). Anyway, I served old Rasputin on tap for my beer-minded friends and a lager for the rest of the crowd. Now keep in mind, my friends know me a one who serves big, bitter, high alcohol "sipping beer".

And when they drank ORIRS, they noticed how smoooth this beer is. Yes, it is not for the faint-hearted, but compared to a west coast barleywine or a double IPA, it tastes quite innocent. Chocolate and espresso flavors, medium mouthfeel and the look of Guiness...this stuff is like everclear & punch is to frat boys hitting on little sisters.

By the time they drank 3, my sister started motor-boating my nieghbor, and my best friend (a professional bartender) blacked out. (yes he had whiskey too). The next morning...he was seriously pissed at me..claiming I should have warned him how desceptively strong this delicious brew is. Guilty as charged.

For BA readers, be warned. There are stronger brews out there. But none that hide the alcohol behind so much flavor. To those who enjoy a very stout stout..this is one of my favorites.

Photo of Rick187
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours thick and black with a tiny tan head.

Sweet. Chocolate, coffee and maybe some kind of dark fruit.

Well all the smells are in the beer. Chocolate, coffee and some kind of sweet dark fruit.

Medium to full bodied, good carbonation. Goes down easier then I was expecting giving how thick it poured.

I don't think I could drink more then 2 of these on a very ambitious night. But definitely a good tasting beer.

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

A: Pours with the usual Nitro flare, with khaki froth falling to the bottom of the glass. Head retention is top notch, lasting over 20min. The body is jet black, and opaque, no matter the lighting.

S: Bouquet is well presented, with notes of chocolate, coffee, and demerara sugar.

T: Ol' Raspy is semi-sweet with notes of dark chocolate, cream, and demerara.

M: Full bodied and creamy without being sticky or sloppy. Rich, yet delicate.

D: I have always loved the Old Rasputin, but the nitro offering is a great improvement. The bottled version is slightly hoppier than it should be, and the nitro both mutes this, and enhances the mouthfeel. Overall, this is a must have if you ever see it at your local pub.

Photo of The3rdbeer
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured into a Bruery tulip a nice 1 1/2 fingers of head with nice lacing that lasts for a while. very dark brown or black.

S- Malt, toffee, dark chocolate, not as revealing as I wished

T- For me the flavors in this are a lot like a more mellow Mikkeller geek beer breakfast coffee oatmeal stout minus the great mouth feel. very well rounded here. Rolls in nicely with light coffee, little spice and dried fruits, even maybe a little anise in the after taste.

M- I hear from a lot of people(working at bevmo) that this is like the cough syrup of beers, but to me this is wonderful, not as awesome as the before mentioned Mikkeller but still really good, Medium mouth feel but nice carbonation that makes it all roll around my mouth in good fashion.

D- This is one of the better Russian Imperial Stouts that I've had this being one of my favorite styles I can say that this isn't my favorite but I could drink a 4 pack any weekend and be happy.
9% ABV makes it even better, nicely masked and fun to drink.

Photo of TheHungryHiker
4.8/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A= Poured near-black into a Guiness pint glass. A solid inch of rich brown foam lasted a good 5 minutes. Plenty of lacing.

S= Coffee, malt, a touch of chocolate. Overall, lighter in aroma than I was expecting.

T= Exceptional. Very well balanced- the coffee is there, but not overpowering. Some dried fruit in the form of figs and prunes, but without the sweetness often associated with them. A little spice and mild hop bitterness keep the malts in check.

M= Med-full with a surprising, pleasant, and much welcome amount of carbonation that makes for a lighter mouthfeel than is usually associated with this style.

D= This is one of the best stouts I have ever had. The higher carbonation keeps it refreshing and the 9%ABV is well masked, making this a dangerous stout that went down remarkably fast. Now if I only had a platter of raw oysters...

Photo of TCMike
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into glass, and it produced a quarter inch beige head. The color is a very dark brown, leaning towards black.
The aroma is woody, with dark fruits, and spices.
Low carbonation, and a thick mouth feel.
Taste is a mix of coffee, oak, plums?, raisins?, and is moderately hopped. The bitterness is well balance with the light sweetness. Their is a short lived bitter after taste.
Fairly easy drinking for a RIS, but at 9% ABV, one should use caution.

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

A - Pours dark black with a surprisingly solid head for a stout. Head lasts for quite a while with a bit of retention throughout.

S - To start, it has a good oak, coffee, chocolate smell. As it warms, though, I can't get a whole lot other than alcohol. The smell for sure gets a bit boozy with time.

T - Great taste. The first time I had it, I thought it was a bit watery, but I can't see that in this bottle. Coffee and hints of dark chocolate are the forefront of the flavors.

M - Flavor sticks around for a while. The hearty carbonation shines through in the mouthfeel, too.

D - For the style this is pretty drinkable. Compared to most other styles, though, this is a doozie.

Photo of MattyV
4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thick inky dark-brown/black, creamy khaki head, good spotty lacing.
Smell is a mixture of roasted malt, nuts, coffee, and herbal/fruitiness.
Taste doesn't hold back, lots of bitter roasted malt, dark chocolate, and dark roasted coffee. Fair bit of hoppy bitterness is also apparent. Alcohol's hardly noticeable at first, but gets more boozy as it warms. The booziness doesn't detract from the experience, it fits with the huge flavours going on. There's a nice nutty flavour that lingers for a long time on the tongue.
Substantial rich body, good carbonation.

This is a fantastic powerful RIS. Nice big flavours, perfect for sipping on cold winter nights. The hops play a prominent role and mesh nicely with the malt profile to create many layers of complexity. It's going to be hard to age the rest of these for very long!

Photo of whatthehull
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a New Belgium snifter

A - The darkest brown you have ever seen, tan decent head and minimul lacing

S - Nuts, coffee, toffee, oak, dirt , toasted malt and molasses

T - Wow. Explosion of coffee, nuts, oak and toasty toastedness

M - Medium heavy, carbonation and fluffy

D - Goes down like butta. One of the best and easiest drinking stouts ever

Final thought - I love this beer. Can't say anything bad about it

Photo of rlee1390
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12oz bottle poured into a snifter in celebration of signing a lease on an apartment my friends (one of them's a BA) are living in next year.

A-Deep dark black has about a one and a half finger dark brown foam head that lingers and leaves behind a decent lacing.

S-Coffee, roasted malts, chocolate. A sweet smelling brew.

T-Smells sweet, tastes sweet. Exact same flavors come through. Well balanced and mouth watering.

M-Medium bodied, creamy.

D-Alcohol is masked well, makes for easy drinking.

Photo of mjn5036
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Top popped and poured into my Piraat snifter. Rasputin pours jet black with a large, three finger mocha/tan, frothy head which lingers for a few minutes before receding, leaving a decent amount of lacing on the glass.

The nose is primarily of chocolate, coffee and roasted malts. Simple and elegant.

The taste is of chocolate, coffee and espresso on the forefront. A nice, delicate hop bitterness that gives way to a sweet finish which helps balance this one very well on the palate. A chocolaty finish.

Incredibly smooth and delicious. The alcohol content gives the beer a faintly hot finish but it does not take away from the beer in any imaginable way. Carbonation is very low and this one is viscous on the tongue. This one is about a year old so the hops have faded quite a bit which I find is quite beneficial to this beer.

Photo of DannyDan
4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours out a nice blackish brown that has a thick tan head with very good lacing and retention. The lacing clings nicely to my beer mug.
The Smell is a pleasant chocolate aroma with some alcohol.
The taste is dark chocolate, some hops mixed in and as it warms the alcohol comes out more. Also some bitter malts in the back and a slight dark fruity taste when it warms up a bit.
The mouthfeel is a nice creamy texture that leaves the mouth slightly dry.
This is a very drinkable beer for stout lovers. If you love chocolate and you are a stout fan than this is a must for you. One of the Allstrom brothers also said barley wine drinkers would like this, but can't make my own opinion on that since I only tasted one barley wine.

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

Pulled a cellared bottle that was purchased 06/09

Poured into IRS snifter

A- medium pour produced a fluffy 3 finger creamy coffee colored head that sat on top of the dark dark ruby colored brew. The head faded slowly, hung around as a thin patch, and laced like a champ

S- semi sweet chocolate, coffee, liquorice, and roasted dark fruit. Aging appears to muddle the scent of this amazing beer a bit, but still nice

T- heavy dark plum dipped in chocolate followed by coffee bitterness, heavy roasted malt, and a slight boozy burn

M- carbonation is still present, and the full bodied roasty goodness is still kickin'

D- If I didn't want to age the others longer, I'd keep 'em coming!!!

Photo of TallPaul07
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: very dark and oil like. A nice thick and foamy head on this one with a cream/ tan color. Really nice lacing

Smell: smoky/roasted malt definitely comes out

Taste: pretty strong roasted malt on the front end with a pretty bitter/chocolately finish - a bit of a tongue punisher with a bitter finish. Complex flavors really mask the ABV.

Mouthfeel: a nice and thick stout with pretty solid carbonation per the style

Drinkability: very good, but drinking more than one or two could be quite the task due to how big this stout is and the fact that the bitter finish wrecks your pallette.

Photo of mindlucent2007
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Rasputin pours black with some dark brown visible around the edges of my chalice and a quarter-inch tan head that quickly breaks up. This looks very developed with strong retention. There are roasty and sweet smells of coffee and chocolate. I'm impressed by the extremely well-balanced and complex taste due to the kick of the hops blending in so nicely with the roasty profile. Medium carbonation and an easy sipper for 9% abv. so look out. This is no joke of a Russian Imperial Stout and it is the perfect winter night brew.

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

Pours a black as night with a fluffy two inch tan head that resembles whipped cream, lots of lacing.
Exactly what an RIS should look like.
The aroma is outstanding, dark chocolate, roasted malt
Taste, Oh ya! chocolate, charcoal, bitter chocolate and is that a hint of hops? I think so!
Alcohol is subdued to the point of nonexistence.
Creamy and tight carbonation make every sip a pleasure, what a nice stout.

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

Saw this on the shelf of my local grocery for the first time so grabbed the only two 4 packs they had.

Duvel tulip glass

Pours like used motor oil. Very little head

Swirling the beer, it virtually sticks to the side with small bubbles slowly rolling down the side the glass

This is no summer sipper. Complex and loaded with layers of flavor; roasted malt, dark coffee and bittersweet chocolate.

I poured this one a little on the cold side so as it warmed up, the flavors intensified. Deeply satisfying brew.

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

A- Pours a very dark black with a thin head. Decent carbonation. A little bit of lace.

S- Chocolate and dark malt character as well as a large amount of hops for the style. A hint of booze and coffee.

T- Good amounts of chocolate and coffee, with a surprising amount of hop bitterness. One of the hoppiest IRS's I've tried. Leaves a nice bitter finish that works really well next to the cocoa.

M- Smooth full character. Slightly sticky. Carbonation seems just right.

D- Fairly drinkable considering the bitterness. Leaves a really solid aftertaste as well. Possibly a bit too full to be entirely drinkable, but at the same time it's one of the best things it has going for it. More of a sipper. Has some residual alcohol heat.

Photo of BB1313
4.24/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a pitch black, w/ a nice fluffy head and sticky lacing. Lots of chocolate malt aromas up front. Slight hop aroma as well. Tastes great! More chocolate, which has nice roasty characteristics; slightly smokey. Expresso is in the mix as well. There's a nice bitterness, but remains sweet. Mouthfeel is smooth but somewhat light for such a big beer, but I like it and it works with this beer.. carbonated and slightly chewy. Drinkability is good.. easy to drink. The flavors are more than enough to have you coming back.

Old Rasputin is definitely one of the top Imperial Stouts. Well crafted, tasty, highly recommended!

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

Nitro tap pour at Barleyhouse poured into a snifter.

(A)- Poured fairly thick and cascaded beautifully into a pitch black color with a milky - white foamy head that stuck around for quite some time. Tons of lacing left behind as it was consumed.

(S)- Rich aromas of roasted malts, coffee, molasses, and mocha. Smooth and sweet smelling.

(T)- A combination of a creamy smooth maltiness and a dry roasted background. Molasses, cocoa, and raisin all over the place.

(M)- A great carbonation level and balance. So smooth and creamy going down. The Nitro-tapping really created a nice smooth creamy feel to go along with the rich and roasted maltiness of the beer.

(D)- Dangerously drinkable for the style in this form. I could have had this all day during the game. Rich and malty with a creamy smooth center. I love this beer out of the bottle, but Nitro tap might be even better.

Photo of PaulfromNoVa
4.88/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Caught my eye on a visit to Cape Fear Wine and Beer, picked up a few bottles, and returned to the B&B.

I'm with Todd: a freakin' evil looking bottle, with the iconic image of the Mad Monk conferring a blessing - perhaps casting out the young Prince Alexander's hemophilia but just as likely laying a Holy Whammy upon any who deign to imbibe this magical elixir...but the Cyrillic inscription (and, frankly, Cyrillic looks ominous to Westerners, like vestigial Klingon) is heartwarming: "One does not become an intimate friend in single evening."

Poured into a pub pint, but in increments - partially a straight pour, letting the head froth up, inches high, which subsided rather quickly to a persistent lacing. Body is black as pitch: held up to light, nothing penetrates. A liquid black hole: what secrets does it conceal? Awesome.

Nose is a first high, sweetish, hoppy-fruity. The dark toasted malt comes through in second place. Surprising.

Taste is of a magnificently balanced imperial stout, thickly sweetishly bitter, broken down into flavors easily associated with the word "black" - molasses, licorice, dark, dark, chocolate, roasted tree nuts, burnt toast with a thin coat of current jam, oatmeal with raisins (?)... The 9 percent ABV is hidden somewhere but has an unctuous invigorating taste of a wonderful health beverage, the kind of specialist marvel for which one has to visit exclusive spas to enjoy the privilege of drinking.

I finished the bottle 10 minutes ago and its finish lingers on my palate. I kid you not. The mouthfeel is characterized by implicit carbonation, sufficient to give the profound weight of the stout a wisp of airy lightness.

Compared to this, Guiness Stout is club soda...

It is sub-freezing in Wilmington, our room is like a meat locker, I half-expect to see a side of beef in the wardrobe, but this remarkable brew is cosseting in its warmth. I'd very much like another. My glass cries out for renewal, but the cupboard is bare, the bottle empty, Old Rasputin vanquished, no more. A pity. But the delight lingers, as will the memory. And thanks to the wonderful North Coast Brewing Company, a memory that may be renewed.

Photo of jizdepski
4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

what a great stout. ive been wanting to review ole raspy for some time. poured into a brooklyn pint. served at somewhere around 50-55 degrees. the body is black as jet. held to light not much shines through; i tried. somewhat bourbony, ruby edges. really appealing and one of the better looking imperial stouts out there. nice coffee tan head. smells are aggressive. sweet and smokey, with a roasted coffee aroma; also some burnt toffee and caramel. hops are definitely in the mix as well. the taste is outstanding for the style. its hoppy, but it plays nicely with a heavy dose of roasty caramel malts. nice bitterness on different planes. very rich. the sweetness is there but certainly termpered; im getting some raisin and caramel. the finish is bittersweet and has a lingering alcohol burning warmth with some reassuring hop accompaniment. does taste more aggressive up front than on the back end, where it tames out, as if the word tame could accurately apply here. mouthfeel on this one is dynamite. perfectly carbonated, delicately smooth yet still sharp as a tack. the drinkability scores quite high, for the style of course its wonderful, and at 9% abv its not that tasking.

Photo of Dominicvampire
4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

COLOR: Obscuro (Característico de el estilo Stout) una cabeza café que desaparease de inmediato
AROMA: Chocolate, Toffe. Excelente y marcado aroma
SABOR:Es muy marcado el sabor a caramelo y chocolate, el LARGO se persive una sensación muy peculiar a caffe la cual también es muy típico del estilo Stout, la malta tostado chocolate le da un sabor muy agradable y el Lupulo y la fermentación un excelente amargor y cuerpo

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 10,518 ratings.