Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - North Coast Brewing Co.

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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial StoutOld Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

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10,395 Ratings

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Ratings: 10,395
Reviews: 3,406
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 357
Gots: 1,596 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 01-18-2001)
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Ratings: 10,395 | Reviews: 3,406 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kiddynamite920
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For as many of these that I've had, I figured it was time to wind down and review one.

A: Pitch black with signs of brown, the head is a tan color. Head receded a bit from about a fingers worth to a thin ring around the glass. RIS in a glass, perfect.

S: Picking up strong roasted malts, vanilla, and a woody aroma on the nose. Slight alcohol burn, but hidden behind some cherry like aromas. Big chocolate nose, reminiscent of the Brooklyn BCS.

T: A bit dry and bitter, full of roast. Chocolate and dark roast coffee come through. Some dark fruits, mostly raisins and dark cherries. Hops are quite bittering, a nice touch to this big and roasty brew. Cocoa powder seems to lend its flavor and its presence on the mouthfeel.

M: Dry, roasty, bitter and super dark and creamy. This is a Russian Imperial Stout. Great body and carbonation, just a bit of fizz that is left around the palate after swallowing. Slight heat from the alcohol.

D: As far as RIS's go, this is one of my favorites. It never disappoints on the classic flavor of what a RIS should be. Absolutely delicious and more breweries should take some notes on this one. Alcohol hidden well, ridiculously huge roasty flavor, perfect RIS.

Photo of korguy123
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Awesome 10th review. Super mini milestone!
12oz bottle poured into my favorite goblet.

A- Thick, black, beautiful pour. Zero light can survive the blackness of this brew. 1 finger dark tan head crowns the top of the beer. Lacing is wonderful.

S- Coffee, and chocolate with a hint of vanilla and brown sugar makes my mouth water with every sniff.

T- Hello flavor town! Population, ME! This is a flavor power house. Burnt coffee up front, followed by semi-sweet chocolate, vanilla, molasses and brown suger.

M- Smooth and creamy just the way a stout should feel. Very sticky on the lips. Carbonation is there but it is faint enough to make a lasting impression on the tastebuds without being off putting.

D- This beer is exciting and exquisite and one is definately not enough!

This is one hell of a beer. I'm really glad I got another 3 waiting for me! Definately won't be sharing this one with my friends haha!

Photo of cdkrenz
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Black as night and gives no light when held to a source. His head is thick at more than an inch and a heavy tan color.

S - Chocolate and coffee aromas abound.

T - Thick dark coffee flavor on top of a deep chocolate that comes through each pull at different stages.

M - The feel is slightly coarse and light in my opimion. Especially for a high gravity stout such as this one. I really like a good chewy stout, especially when the flavors here are so exceptional. There is a stickiness in the finish on my lips which I do enjoy.

~ Overall this is a very good beer. There are few stouts that can brag such a robust palate. If you haven't tried this stout, you need to.

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

Pours black with three fingers worth of head. Head recedes slowly leaving thick lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell is of roasted malts, a bit hoppy, with some chocolate and vanilla.

Taste has the roasted malts with some chocolate, vanilla, dark fruit. A tiny bit boozy. A nice blend with some hops up front.

Mouthfeel is medium/heavy bodied, lower carbonation. Slick and leaves the mouth and tongue coated. A slight tongue bite up front from the hops.

Drinkability is high based on the taste, but medium based on ABV. I could have a couple of these, but at 9%, I might prefer to stop after one.

Overall this is a tasty stout, very refreshing, and has a nice amount of hops present. I can definitely see why this is so well regarded, and will be drinking this again in the future.

Photo of jeffthecheff
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Black color with an impressively dark head. It's a dark brown in color and leaves great, brown sugar lacing down the sides. The head keeps great for the whole glass.

I think I've had fresher bottles of this beer before, because I remember it being more hoppy. It smells great now, too. It has the typical coffee and chocolate aromas, but leans more towards a burnt, coffee like roast. The hops are in the background, adding a slight grassy element that makes it refreshing.

The flavor has a strong, bitter roast to it. The finish is bitter from both coffee flavored black malts and a lot of hops. The sweetness lies behind all the dry, bitter notes and adds just a touch of chocolate. A tiny bit of citrus hops are found on the finish, but don't add too much to it.

The mouthfeel is heavy and thick all the way through, with the heavy roast notes playing a nice contrast. It's smooth all the way, with carbonation just a bit on the high side. This beer is on the low end abv-wise for Imperial Stouts, but it feels a bit higher. This beer paired well with a chocolate cake. The dry aspects made it a refreshing pairing while at the same time being very rich.

Photo of ahatch551
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass, opaque and black with nice lacing beautiful beer.

Sweet malt and caramel aroma. Aroma is very subtle.

nice roasted almost coffee flavor, good flavor balance.

Good mouthfeel soft on the tongue with a nice dry finish.

Very drinkable beer only the high gravity limits the number I can drink.

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

Ahhh... a perennial favourite! The colour is mahogany brown with no head. The aroma is sharply malty with anise , coffee ground and hops. On the palate, a creamy mouth feel with loads of dark chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, chewy licorice, strong coffee, biting hops, some phenolic notes and a helluva long finish!

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

Had on nitro-tap at Apex bar in Portland, OR. Poured into a stemmed glass.

appearance - pours a thick and viscous black with a nice tan, head, lacing spans the entire length of the glass

smell - chocolate brownie, lightly roasted malts

taste - chocolate, coffee, earthy hops

mouthfeel - chewy, medium bodied, incredibly smooth

drinkability - very complex, amazing mouthfeel on nitro, really smooths out the flavors

Photo of TrippnFiasco
4.63/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Jet black, absolutely gorgeous. Dark brown head, pours with about 3-finger head that slowly dissipates. BEAUTIFUL lacing that sticks to the glass throughout the entire drink.

S: Smells like a nice espresso, with a fairly strong smokiness. Slight alcohol bite comes through, surprising for the (relatively) low ABV for this Imperial.

T: Delicious woody, smoked maltiness. Slight hop bite coming through, separate from alcohol. Very dark, very tasty.

M: Very creamy, full-bodied. Nice smoothness

D: One glass per sitting is perfect. Very drinkable for an Imperial Stout.

Photo of Arbitrator
3.85/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Chilled bottle into a glass, warmed up to room temp.

A: Pours a pitch black body with a light tan head that rises to a pinky finger in height. Retention is short, as expected for an impy stout, leaving a thin collar around the edges.

S: Even when cold, it's pretty pungent. The hops are quite prominent, lending an earthy citrus presence that blends beautifully with roasted coffee and bitter dark chocolate. Hints of anise tease the nose.

T: Chocolate-dominated, by far. Silky, delicious dark chocolate that complements both the roasted coffee and earthy hop bitterness. I pick up citrus as well; it's unusual to me that I've grown to enjoy citrus and chocolate flavors in the past couple of months. I used to hate that clash, before. There is a light anise note in the finish, where the chocolate makes a resurgence. Coffee bitterness in the aftertaste.

M: Light-medium bodied. Not exactly viscous, but full in flavor. Silky feel owing to low carbonation.

D: A fantastic deal; I often find 4-packs under $8 and this most recent one cost $6. Great quality, fantastic pricing. It's great to revisit it and enjoy a staple for once. These days, it is outclassed by bigger, heavier interpretations of the style. But those beers also tend to be significantly more expensive, and not so much more enjoyable that this ceases to be a good deal.

Photo of ludachris
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an inky black with chestnut edges. Two fingers of mocha coloured head top this beer, displaying excellent retention, especially when considering the style, and leaving thick lines of sticky lace.

Sweet dark chocolate, oats, roasted malts, hints of coffee grains, raisons, plums, and a semi-hot ethanol character make up the nose. An assertive smell but not overpowering and very, very inviting.

A big roasted malt character greets the palate first, coating the subtle dark fruits that quickly follow and matching the dark chocolate character. The finish is quite dry with notes of coffee and cocoa powder, all of which occur over a smooth oaty taste and feel. Even as the beer warms, the alcohol is still very well hidden.

Mouthfeel is full but leans towards a more creamy and smooth feel rather than a thick and oily one, with the latter being the seemingly most common one for the style. It could be a bit richer, but it just adds to its drinkability which is ridiculously good considering both the style and ABV.

I can see why this sits on the top 5 of the most reviewed beers on this site and still retains such a high rating. Complex, very flavourful, and oh so easy to drink. I'd say this is my favourite RIS to date with Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout close behind. Worth EVERY penny.

Photo of Cmack15
3.93/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am just starting to get into the RIS style and thought this would be a good beer to start with. The darkness of this beer is impressive being black hole like. When you take a deep inhale of this elixir you get a breath of roasted malts that is very inviting and intriguing. The mouthfeel of this beer is thick and chewy making it a slow slipper. The taste starts out witha lsoght sweet note then the roated malts take over which is a good thing(thats what these beers are all about). Enjoy this in the winter by a fireplace at the end of the evening and you will get the full enjoyment of this brew.

Photo of pootz
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Pours black, light will not penetrate through the glass, Rich mocha colored cap that lasts and laces.

Aroma is ambrosia: dark cocoa, coffee, plumbs, burnt toffee and a deep grassy tone over some sweetness.

The flavor has all the tastes expected in an imperial stout but in spades, and this makes for a very complex amalgam of flavor mid palate and this changes as it warms with every warming sip giving a new set of tastes impressions... here are just some of the notable tastes: dark chocolate, mocha, cherry pipe tobacco, burnt toffee, licorice, anise, figs, prunes, toasted bundt cake, smoked cherry wood...wonderful complexity.

JUst when I think the market is flooded with too many micro Impys, along comes a big full bodied version with a viscous mouth feel hugely complex. One if the better American Imperial Russian stouts.

Photo of eat
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been hoping for a chance to try this one out for a while. Thanks to ritzkiss for opening this one up after cellaring for a year and a half or so.

Old Rasputin is black and opaque. The head fades to a ring around the glass and a patchy covering with bits of lacing. Head retention could be better, but I guess that's fairly typical for a strong, old beer.

The nose is of wheaty cracker, dark chocolate, caramel, light coffee, earthy hops and tons of smoky roast. Delicious. The alcohol comes off a little hot, surprisingly. I would have thought the aging would have smoothed that away. Definitely smells imperial anyway.

Heaps of roastiness follow in the mouth. High-quality dark chocolate, light coffee, bready and wheaty. The alcohol found in the smell seems to have disapeared here. Coffee on the finish.

I'd like the body to be fuller to match the malty flavour. The feel would be fine for a less-intense stout, but this one is just so big. Not bad though; smooth medium body and moderate carbonation.

For a RIS, the drinkability is as crazy as old Rasputin himself. So smooth. If I didn't know its ABV, I would say it was sessionable but obviously this one would kick your ass if you tried.

Photo of PintOHops
3.75/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Glass - Snifter

A - Black color with a bit of brown when held to light. Produced a 1-finger head that quickly dissipated to a thin tan ring. No lacing here, a spot & a splash is about it.

S - Raisins, dates, grape & plum fruity notes when swirled. A bit of licorice with some mild charcoal and roasted notes. Dark chocolate as well with a touch of alcohol as well.

T - Lots of charcoal & a bit alcohol burn upfront, rich dark chocolate flavors follow, not as complex as I expected. This beer finishes with pronounced alcoholic flavor & burn, from the tongue all the way down the throat! A bit more roasted & chocolaty flavors are there when it warmed, big dark chocolate flavors are dominate.

M - A bit slick and almost full bodied, allot thinner than I expected. Mild mild crispness on the tongue.

D - Well I might have a snifter or 2 after a long day. I did expect a bit more complexity for sure, I don't recommend drinking this straight out of the fridge because there's more flavors to enjoy when it's around room temp. Pretty good, not sure if I'd buy it again but I definitely recommend it. Cheers!

Photo of JosiahS
3.7/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a small snifter glass. Pitch black in appearance with a thin brown ring at the top. The aroma has chocolate, espresso, black licorice, a bit of hops as well as a tang. The alcohol is noticeable.

The first thing i notice when tasting this is a bit of bitterness right up front followed quickly by alcohol which seems to merry with a very roasted malt character that i can describe only as black licorice and dark chocolate. There is a charcoal-like bitterness that carries through the beer and lingers at the end along with some dark chocolate. Mouth-feel is smooth in texture, full bodied with low carbonation.

Drinkability is low on this one. This beer is alcoholic on first impression but as the temperature rises, the dark chocolate and alcohol seem to mix rather nicely making for a smooth, enjoyable stout.

Photo of crossovert
3.85/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. No apparent bottled on date.

Pours into my snifter a pitch black. It has a shiny, foamy tan head that sticks for a while and leaves some lacing.

The nose is filled with thick dark malt flavors such as cocoa, coffee, and roasted malt. There is also subtle fruit and caramel. It is a clean, basic RIS scent.

The taste follows, lots of cocoa and coffee. The alcohol is more pronounced on the palate than it is in the nose. It is just quintessential ris flavors. It isn't overly exciting but it is authentic and well crafted.

This is a damn good RIS though not my favorite.

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

Poured from a stubby bottle with no freshness date, into a pint glass. Poured very dark brown with tan head that stayed around for a while. Strong scents of over cooked barley, dark chocolate and coffee. Strong coffee flavors some cocoa. Nice roasted after taste. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth. Alcohol is well hidden. Drinkable nature would be limited to one for me because of the strong flavor. Very nice sipper.

Photo of gafferjohn
4.63/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a large brown head that sticks around for ever.
Not alot in the aroma; dark roasted malt with some floral hop undertone. A Little chocolate.
Taste is awesome. Dark chocolate perfectly balanced with dark roast malt and bitter hops. finishes with a little heat. Overall a beautiful brew !
Washes over my tongue leaving a lasting bitterness that is very pleasing.
Could have 2 or 3 before switching to something else. Will definitely have this again.

Photo of AJacob81
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ah, Ol' Raspy. My mix-a-six stalwart at Trader Joe's. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A - Looks like a Russian imperial stout. Dark, the darkest brown possible before black. A cappucino-colored head of 1.5 fingers forms and is retained for quite awhile.

S - Cocoa and coffee grounds in the nose, some roasted malt as well, but little else.

T - Bittersweet chocolate chips and roasted coffee are brought out by the toasty warmth of the alcohol. The malt becomes more prominent and is joined by raisins and dates as the beer warms.

M - Deceptively rich and full-bodied, almost milk-like in consistency. Adequate carbonation and the alcohol again leave a nice burn in the back of the throat.

D - Something between a sipper and a swigger. Compelling and warmly inviting, this is an easy brew to enjoy.

Photo of scottfrie
4.18/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours an almost black dark brown with a finger width of dense espresso colored head that reduced into a thin film.
S: Dark roasted malt and faint dark chocolate. Not particularly smelly.
T: A lot sweeter than I was expecting. Roasted malt dominates leading into a sweet sugary finish with hints of bitter hops and chocolate-espresso ice-cream. Aftertaste is sweet and creamy with a touch of alcohol warmth. I pick up notes of vanilla, caramel and licorice as well.
M: Velvety and smooth. Carbonation is gentle with a medium body. The aftertaste is bitter but balanced by the sweet malt. This reminds me of a milkshake or melted ice cream for some reason.
D: Amazing beer that is highly drinkable. Despite its rich flavors and high alcohol content you could easier polish off a few in an evening. Highly recommended.

Photo of djhowell
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A Pours black, completely opaque. Surprisingly thick milk chocolate colored head that retains pretty well.

S Roasted malts dominate the smell, mixed with a little chocolate and coffee.

T Has a great balance of roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, and a little bit of the hops. A little alcohol warmth.

M Medium bodied, I expected something a little thicker. Well carbonated.

D Very drinkable despite the high alcohol content. I could see myself sipping on 2-3 of these on a quiet night at home with a movie.

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

At Jameson Tavern in Freeport, ME this famous brew is near pitch black with a modest light brown head and similar lacing. The aroma says chocolatey herbal hop and some alcohol. The flavor offers charcoal raisin and prune hop bite. There's brown bread molasses and wine-like qualities that hint at a barleywine. Near full bodied but for a fairly intense beer it's drinkable.

Photo of Bfarr
4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Old Rasputin is as dark as you would expect with a deep umber foam that dissipates fairly quickly. Big chocolate aroma with a little molasses and floral undertones. As with the aroma, it has a big chocolate malt taste upfront with a significant and surprising hop presence. A nice coffee and slightly sweet alcohol taste with fuzzy carbonation finishes it off. This doesn't have the thick mouth coating feel I've typically gotten from this style. Instead it's kind of tacky and a little dirty but in a good way.

In short, I think this beer has something for everyone. Whatever you have a preference for you'll find a litlle bit in here combined with other good flavors and aromas and feels all relatively balanced and smooth drinking. I think this accounts for it's overall crowd pleasing nature. And I say that with the utmost respect.

Photo of ThreeDimesDown
3.35/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours deep black with no light shining through and a dark brown thin head that doesn't fade away, but clings to the glass until the last sip.

Aroma has dark fruit and dark cocoa. Roasted malts is the main attraction with a slight pine that smells more like the alcohol coming through.

The taste has some nice components working: espresso, dark chocolate, dark fruit, roasted malts. These flavors are well balanced but I'm thrown off by an astringent aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is oily, slightly creamy and full. Low carbonation is very pleasant.

I've been waiting to try this brew for a while and have to say I'm disappointed. Maybe my expectations were too high, or the bottle needed to mellow a bit. Overall, the unbalanced alcohol taste and smell left me wishing I cellared the bottle. But will give this another chance.

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 10,395 ratings.