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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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10,713 Ratings

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Ratings: 10,713
Reviews: 3,490
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 10.23%
Wants: 402
Gots: 1,859 | FT: 50
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 (21) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 10,713 | Reviews: 3,490 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of chilly460
3.9/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Opaque black with red/brown highlights at the edge of the glass. Nice medium brown head dissipates to a thick film, leaves a nice lace.

N- Very heavy dark chocolate, espresso, cocoa powder, some deep raisin or licorice, and heavy bread yeast notes.

T- Similar to the aroma, lots of dark chocolate and sharp coffee. Heavy molasses and malts. Liked this quite a bit, it's right on the edge of bitterness I like in an RIS, but not over the edge. Gets very warm with alcohol as it warms up, a complex beer.

M- This is a smooth thick beer, tight fluffy head, very nice feel to it.

D- Love the fact that you can get this beer anywhere, and at an affordable price. I'm a little wimpy when it comes to heavy roasted malts, this is on the border but was very easy drinking for me.

Photo of BeerCon5
4.78/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black color with a thick very creamy dark brown head, very sticky lacing.

The scent is of roasted malt, sweet dark chocolate, dark fruit, and notes of coffee.

The taste is first of sweet dark chocolate, followed by pronounced alcohol, roasted malt, coffee notes, finishes with a dry cocoa taste.

Full bodied, chewy and thick, very low carbonation.

Probably one of the best RIS I've had, great complex flavor, lots to taste with every sip. I will definitely look for this again.

Photo of mweso2000
4.97/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Old Rasputin is one of my favorite beers. It pours a dark black with a one finger tan head that settles into a ring of lace. Aromas of chocolate, coffee malt a slight hint of licorice, and a little bit of fruitiness. This beer is a full frontal assault on the taste buds and successfully accomplishes the mission. The taste is full of roasted malt, a bit of mocha sweetness with a slight amount of hop bitterness at the end. Full bodied flavor with medium carbonation. Watch out the 9% abv will sneak up and hit you in the ass! This beer is not for everyone. It has very strong and bold flavors. If you are a stout fan, I have yet to find a better example of a beer in this class and this is a MUST try.

Photo of Gushue3
3.94/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- deep black looks medium/thick body with enormous brown/caramel head. isnt leaving.

S- lots of roasted malt, black licorice, light hop scent.

T- big boozy taste up front with bitterness hiding in there that shows up on the finish and lingers.

M- feels really smooth, tiny carbonation. almost chalky like a red wine on the tongue after the finish.

D- oh yea. as long as i dont comatose from the ABV i can drink this all night

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

A- Nitro tap can make any beer look extremely enticing. Great dark color with a carmel colored head.

S- A little fruity for a stout but still exceptional.

T- Bold flavor, some chocolate and fruit notes.

M- Absolutely perfect- very smooth and creamy.

D- Usually stouts are filling after 1 or 2, but I had 3 and could have enjoyed more if I had more time.

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

Unknown date, probably from last 6 months. Drank from a big snifter. After a vigorous pour, there was a towering three fingers of cola-colored head that stuck around for awhile. The liquid was piano black.

Taking a big whiff from the glass left my nose full of roasty toasty malts, coffee, chocolate and caramel aromas. The taste was fairly sweet - brown sugar, caramel maltiness and some dark fruitiness. There was also a little bit of vanilla and an overall chewy roastiness to it.

There was a creamy and highly carbonated feel in the mouth after taking a swig of this, with a dry finish. This was a solid and highly drinkable RIS.

Photo of Dhren1979
4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage: 2010

Serving Type: 12 oz bottle poured into a Tulip glass.

A: Pours an inky, black w/only the slightest hints of mahagony red at the edges.

S: Coffee. Roasted coffee malts. A hint of bitter hops present irself and is quite welcomed and a surprise.

T: The dry taste of coffe makes itself known right away. Dry roasted malts. A slight bitterness presents itself but quickly disappears.

M: A wonderful coating of my mouth. So smooth and silky...a great sipper.

D: Oh why is this my last one??!! This needs to be in the fridge at all times!!

Photo of bnes09
4.18/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Awesone ink black color. Huge, frothy tan head which will not quit. Layers the glass in copious lacing.

Huge aroma of coffee, bourbon, and delicate balance of herbal hop. Very intriguing.

Hops are incredibly high in this one. Lots of citric and herbal flavors. Massive roasted coffee flavor fights with the hops for dominance. Hint of bourbon whiskey flavor hits the tongue. Alcohol is highly disguised.

Medium, somewhat full body. Fairly low carbonation, yet fitting for the style. Smooth.

This is an excellent example of a well crafted Russian imperial. Extremely tasty and complex. Hoppier than most others I have tried.

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

A- Very opaque and dark root beer brown with a little red coming through near the edges of the glass on the bottom. head pours two fingers thick and is a tan/caramel color, it dissipates to a thick film, but leaves a nice lace.

N- Caramel, and chocolate malts, some raisin/prune/date esters, and some dark bread yeast notes.

T- Much like the nose, but there is a bit of piney hops in the taste that I wasn't expecting, but it's mild presence is rather nice. it gets a little tart/bitter toward the end, but in a good way.

M- Pretty damn smooth. Just coarse enough to let you know that there are a few hops in there. it's a little on the thin side for it's style but not so much so that it's off putting, actually if anything makes it easier to down the brew.

D- a pretty good RIS, and it's availability make it nice also. I enjoy drinking this, and I'm sure I'll be into more of it before I leave this wretched island in this awful backward state that I'm currently stuck in (big island of hawaii if you were wondering)

Photo of Prospero
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass, the color is a dark black body with a tan brown head, great lacing. It has a great roasted malt & earthy aroma. The taste is a pretty strong coffee & roasted malt blend. But what really makes this a refined beer is that this RIS has only a hint of alcohol in the smell. A full-bodied, smooth imperial stout. Definitely another classic, I simply love this beer.

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

I wouldn't session this beer. I couldn't .
I do love this beer. I do.
Color: Deep Black dirty white head
Taste: Coffee, chocolate, nutty, bitter
Aroma: Caramel, coffee, nutty malt

A beautiful rendition of an Imperial Stout. Much appreciated for the winter time. This has been a exceptionally cold one.

Photo of Fenris244
4.09/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Jet black with 2 finger tan head, ther retention is monsterous, the head will not subside, over halfway through the head is still every bit as thick as if it had just been poured

Chocolate, coffee and bitter roasted malt, that's all I could smell, I was expecting a more complex aroma from old raspy

Coffee and bitter malt flavors come through quite strongly, chocolate flavors come through as well, also the finish leaves a mineral taste and I got a toffee flavor as the beer warmed. The alcohol makes itself known but is nicely restrained by the other flavors in the beer.

Clings to my mouth buy keeps from being overly viscous, good sipping beer

Drinkability for an imperial stout is pretty good, I'll be getting this again.

Photo of BEERMILER12
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a pitch black with a half finger of tan head

S: Nice and roasty, malty, chocolate notes, and hints of coffee

T: Same as the smell but amped up a bit. Big, malty, and roasty. Dark chocolate and burnt coffee notes with a pleasant malt bitterness near the finish. Alcohol is nowhere to be seen

M: Heavy with a pretty high amount of carbonation. Smooth despite the level of carbonation

D: I love my share of RIS, and this one does not disappoint. Lower end of the abv spectrum in terms of the style, plus it tastes great

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

The beer is black, has a light brown head, curtains and little lacing.

The smell has a hint of smoked grain and spicy hops.

The taste has upfront sweetness, brown sugar and dried fruits, lightly smoked sausages and some good bitter hops.

Medium low carbonation, a medium body, a dry finish.

A nice texture and a refreshingly and surprisingly light RIS.

Photo of Sudsy89
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle, slightly chilled.

Pours a very dark brown, almost black but with a ruby tint. Massive, foamy brown head that leaves lots of sticky lacing on the glass. A very elegant yet supple-looking beer. Aroma is rich with roasted malts, dark fruits and chocolate. Taste is similar, but also with a slight burnt or smoky taste to it, but not too bitter. Good balance of hops and malt, has a nice sweetness that isn't overpowering. Has an average level of carbonation and healthy medium-thick mouthfeel. The 9% abv is more noticeable to me as the beer warms, leaving a lingering alcohol warmth in the aftertaste. Still despite being a sipping beer for me, I think other BA's could go through two or three with no problem, it's a delicious beer that would go well with a dessert or hearty meat dish. This is better than Storm King, IMO because it isn't too bitter or burnt-tasting, focusing on rich malt flavor. I would like to try this again, perhaps with a fresher bottle or on-tap. Highly recommended!

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

12oz poured into a snifter. Recent bottle, presumably from a late 2010 batch.

A: Perfect stout look: dark brown turning to black as it pours, a foamy finger or so of tan/brown head- thick and foamy enough that it began suspending drops of beer on top of it, a great sight to see. Good head retention and lacing that coats the whole glass.

S: Roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate, dark fruits, coffee, and just a hint of smoke. Textbook RIS.

T/M: Taste combines all elements of smell into one great, sweet concoction. Creamy, roasty, and sticky- you really feel this one creep down your throat, even with a lighter body than many Russian imperial stouts. Lots of charred and bittersweet flavors provide great balance to the strong sweetness. Lightly carbonated- just enough to add to the beer's creamy body.

D: While still a great beer, the beginning of the glass is more enjoyable than the end as sweetness begins to overpower the palate, making me interested in changing things up when this glass is done. Nonetheless, a beer to return to again and again.

Photo of salvo
4.02/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Old Rasputin Russia Imperial Stout is greatly improved with tap serving. Pitch black; opaque. Darker than Guinness and three times its density, ten times the flavor.

The head retains its shape and tan color for a long time, and I see why this is beloved: complex, roasty, warming, but is just a bit too thin on the palate . Perhaps it's a psychological thing, but I expect a big Russian imperial to coat the tongue like motor oil; like Dark Lord. This is drier and spicier than DL. Spicy and peppery finish, this stout stays on the palate a long time. And for stout lovers, I see the appeal. It's just not my favorite style.

Enjoyed this on tap at the Black Dog in Urbana, IL, which is highly recommended: see my Beerfly review.

Photo of bbeane
3.91/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- On tap at Trooper Thorns... starts with a huge creamy head with great retention. Beer is black in color

S- Not overly aromatic... mostly coffee and chocolate

T- Not much sweet maltyness to this one,has a burnt bitter taste and like the nose it's mostly coffee and chocolate in the finish

M- Creamy, full bodied with light carbonation

D- Well, being that the last time I was here I drank this stuff all night, I'd say it's relatively drinkable... but it definitely gets you f'd up


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

This black concoction had a decent amount of dark brown head on top that retained quite well. Opaque and dark as night, very good looking RIS.

Smells immediately of chocolate and then coffee in the background, with some caramel in there too.

The chocolate is very dark, the coffee hits at the end after a brief hop hit. Awesome espresso bean aftertaste that makes me want to drink more. Some vague fruit/nut sweetness somewhere that makes it tastes like dessert, and I honestly would rather have a bottle of this than some fancy coffee cake thing in a restaurant.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy like a milkshake, and never gets too sticky or anything like that. Drinkability is phenomenal for being 9% abv, as the alcohol is only slightly evident as part of that coffee kick at the end. This measures up to just about any other stout out there.

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

A - Pours dark as night with a flat-lined half-inch tan head.

S- The first smell is all bittersweet chocolate. The second is of hops, and fresh roasted espresso beans.

T - First sip is chocolate, chocolate, and then more chocolate....giving way to a roasted bitterness followed by a huge hop bite, especially for a Russian Imperial Stout. Second sip is still more bitter, from both hops and roasted malt. It really lingers for a big stout.

M - Huge chewy and silky smooth mouthfeel to start then it thins out as the bitterness kicks in.

D - There's so much going on with each sip that it hides the alcohol very well, and makes it such a drinkable beer. The chocolate makes it such a sweet beer, like a dessert. And the creamy mouthfeel makes it even more inviting. I bet this beer wouldn't be bad on nitro.

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.

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 10,713 ratings.