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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10,377 Ratings

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Ratings: 10,377
Reviews: 3,401
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 358
Gots: 1,571 | 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: 10,377 | Reviews: 3,401 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jeffjeff1
4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up at Whole Foods along with a bunch of other beers.

Appearance- black color, thin tan head

Smell- chocolate, caramel

Taste- chocolate, caramel, tiny bit of fruit

Mouthfeel- full bodied

Drinkability- very nice, I will definitely drink more of it.

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.6/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 fl oz bottle, poured into a Westmalle chalice.

Coal black in colour, with a thin covering of a tanned head, this turned into a couple of wisps and half a collar before very long.

The aromas and taste were very simular, dark chocolate and burnt malts, some raisins and Victoria plums were detected in the taste however, which gave it a less agressive flavour.

The body was rich and heavy, which hid the alcohol very well.

Easy to drink and interesting, not a style I have on a regular basis, but most enjoyable.

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

Appearance - Pours pitch black with a tan head and minimal lacing.
Smell - Roasted malts, coffee and alcohol.
Taste - Roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, vanilla. Deep and rich.
Mouthfeel - Full-bodied with a smooth, creamy feel and light to moderate carbonation. Fine bubbles.
Drinkability - Very rich, filling.
Overall - Delicious, intensely flavored beer with an incredibly smooth mouthfeel.

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

A - pours pitch black brew with a dark tan head into my Duvel glass. leaves tracer lacing the whole way down. looks AMAZING!

S - smells of chocolate, espresso, raisins, prunes, roasted malt and barley. makes me wanna sip!

T - WOW! this is a BIG brew. solid chocolate, Coffee, espresso, with bark, barley, malt and mild cooked fruit presence. perfect taste that is so well rounded and smooth.

M - full mouthfeel. thick and bold. kinda creamy with a bite. very interesting and hard to put your finger on. keeps things interesting.

D - this a a wonderful brew! very satisfying and very well rounded. it's not too sweet, and not to bitter. thick enough and strong enough. it's a great, great beer and worthy of it's reputation. Cheers!

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

12 oz bottle poured in a snifter.

A - vigorous pour leaves a 2" med. tan head that falls to a 1/8" foam leaving light lace to bottom of glass. dark black core with some dark mahogany around edges.

S - Reviewing with a cold so bear with me. ..aromas of devil's food cake, coffee, and a bit of bread dough, no perceivable hop aroma but that could be the cold limiting my sense of smell.

T - Dark chocolate mousse, coffee, malty sweetness, finishing with a slight fruit tartness and roasted malt bitterness.

M - For a 9% ABV beer the mouthfeel is surprisingly light, not that this is a shrieking violet, but it doesn't cloy and overwhelm the taste buds, the overall feel is velvety with a light carbonation but weight from the sweetness and roasted malt, alcohol presence is there but nicely hidden.

D - Despite this being a mouthful of beer, it leaves you wanting another drink then another bottle. This beer could be dangerous.

All in all an excellent benchmark RIS and will continue to find its way into my fridge.

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

Pours pitch black with a decent tan head with some lacing. Nice big warm cocoa smell. It's taste has quite a bit of cocoa flavor to it with bittersweet malty taste and a slightly smokey finish. It has a nice big body and goes down smoothly. Enjoying this beer very much.

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

Got this at a local grocery, in a 4pk of 12-oz. bottles. Not cheap.

This beer? This is the bad-ass that Rasputin was. It completely lives up to its name. Poisoned, shot multiple times and stuffed down an ice-hole into a freezing river... that's what it took to kill Rasputin, the mad monk.

This sucker pours black as night and thickish, not a lot of carbonation that I could see or taste. Tan rocky head for days, and lasting; some lace. Smells like dark chocolate and coffee and dark roasty malt, strong and black. Black like the pit of Hades that Rasputin probably occupies now...

Taste? This sucker is not hiding the fact that it's strong on the alky. Oh no. No Belgian deception for Rasputin. It's bad and strong and dark.. this is Mike Tyson in a bottle. Chocolate and coffee and the usual stout suspects, only magnified and amped. Only sessionable if you're over 6 feet tall and about 200+ pounds. Otherwise? Do so at your own risk. It'll go down, because it's stoutily-smooth, but BEWARE.

(I did like this, but am in awe of its strength. This is one to respect, for sure. And enjoy, AND bless the beer-gods for.)

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

A: deep dark brown, a half finger head eventually presents itself after a stiff pour. The head quickly subsides and no lacing is present.

S: sweet toffee, chocalate and beautiful roasted malts dominate the nose. Alcohol finishes off with a kick.

T: big cocoa start, followed by coffee, malty goodness.

M: full bodied low carbonation. Sweet finish with a definite alcohol overtone.

D: just an awesome pour. Very drinkable for all this beer packs.

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

Pours out into the glass with a rich, foamy head. It has a strong, potent smell with the essence of vanilla and bourbon. The color is jet black.

Go for a taste. The beer has a heavy, thick body, packed with flavors. The alcohol is not subtle here. It smacks you pretty hard, but at the same time there is a smooth drinkability in each sip.

A very mild hoppy tingle lingers on my tongue.

Excellent beer. Strong. As I noted, the 9% ABV is not well hidden, but it never takes away from the flavor. This is really good, quality beer.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Super deep black with a thin, tan head.

S: Roast and malt on the nose with a hint of licorice.

T: Deep roasty goodness with more licorice and some chocolate. Very well balanced with some alcohol warming as well.

M: Silky

D: Very drinkable for the style. Most folks would be pretty goofy if they finished the entire four pack.

Really enjoyed this beer, just a very good way to wind down a work week. A nice treat.

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

Black with a mocha colored two finger head. Retention is up high and there is a good amount of lace as well. Looking in the bottle, it appears this is not bottle conditioned, and the head reflects this in terms of density.

Nose is full of cocoa, roasted malts, wine grapes, pear, and a dash of pepper. The smell is quite fruity and sweet, though the flavor is quite balanced in comparison. The initial taste is a mixture of chocolate and grape--not too sweet because the roast kicks in quickly on the midpalate to balance and neutralize the sweet qualities. Somewhat spicy as well, maybe a bit of leather in there, or perhaps shoe polish toward the end. Bitter roast on the finish with a chlorophyll tang and a final cookielike residual affect. Pretty good job of balanced sweet and roast flavors, though a few notes that were not completely harmonious in my book. Full bodied with a medium, slightly higher than average carbonation. Awkwardly sticky.

Given the fact I paid something like two bucks for a bottle of this instead of $6-10 for most other imperial stouts it is hard to find a leg to genuinely criticize the beer. It is good product for a more "every day" imperial stout. If I absolutely crave an imperial stout I could go for one of these, but it is not something I reach for much.

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

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout pours a deep black with a tiny bit of red light coming through. the mocha head starts out thick and frothy and thins to a collar and leaves pretty little brown sheets of lacing. smell is of sour milk, alcohol, and chocolate-like burnt malts.

what to say about the taste? WOW! chocolate and burnt toast dominate, with notes of licorice, molasses, black coffee, dark fruits- everything a RIS should be. some hops in the taste, but they take a backseat to the other rich complex tastes. alcohol is not as present as it is in the smell, but after a few sips you can tell it's definitely hiding in there.

mouthfeel is thick and chewy like it should be. slick on the palate, but ending slightly dry. highly drinkable. highly enjoyable. one of my favorite RISs

+ loads of complex flavors here. everything you would want from a RIS, and it even has a great head on it.

= one thing i've always loved about Old Raspy is the creamy sour milk and chocolate taste, without the soy sauce taste ubiquitous in many RIS. sometimes i love the soy sauce taste (see Sam Adams Imperial) and sometimes i don't. Old Raspy has a great blend of flavors without overdoing it.

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

Pours pitch black oil colored with a nice dark tan, creamy two fingered head. Head starts to fizz out right away but not extremely quickly. I would say it has medium retention and creaminess. Leaves nice thick lacing on my glass. Smells of nice dark roasted malts, coffee and chocolate with a nice sweetness (oatmeal?) overlapping it all. The alcohol bite to the nose only adds to this great balance of smell, a nice strong one too. Tastes mainly of dark roasted malts, sweets and chocolate. There is an alcohol bite here that grows enormously as the beer warms up. It started out balanced in but becomes a tiny bit off-balance over time. This does not ruin the taste at all, still a great dose of roasted malts in here. Mouthfeel here is nice and thick, creamy with perfect carbonation for the taste. The alcohol warming does not really take over this beer. Very nice mouthfeel. Drinkability is great here, good taste, great price for an RIS, the alcohol might get to be a bit too much after a while but I will continue to buy this and it is so worth it for the quality of this beer.

Photo of GrittyMug345
4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on nitro at Novare Res in Portland, ME, poured into a 16oz shaker pint. A very tight one finger head the color of coffee ice cream on top of a pitch black body, the head dies verry slowly down to a half finger and remains, the lacing left behind throughout is more like sheeting. The nose is of sweet toffee, roasty malt, and cocoa powder. The flavor is more fo the same, with a nice touch of espresso, a raisiny sweetness, followed by a bitter cocoa/espresso finish, there is also a hint of earth in there somewhere. The mouthfeel is superb, very creamy, nice and thick but not syrupy, very smooth. Drinkability is great for what this is, by no means a session beer but it is not intended to be, a perfect dessert beer.

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

This beer is a real powder keg, a cascade of flavour. Tasting it is a bit like being punched in the face, without the pain of course. There are many lovely roasted tones, and a great deal of strong coffee and dark chocolate in the flavour. I feel that this is really the way an excellent Imperial Stout should taste like. Despite the flavour, it is rather easy to quaff this brew, and it is really the quintessential beer to kick back and relax with, especially during a cold winter day when the darkness outside reflects the colour in your glass.

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

Poured into a snifter.

Pours a translucent blood-red color into the glass, but completely opaque and dark once sitting in there. Very viscous and heavy looking. A straight pour in the middle of the glass creates a beautiful creamy light-brown head that rises up to almost two-fingers in depth. And after a few seconds it'll settle to a nice cap. Nice rings of fine-bubbled lacing appear on the perimeter as you sip. Aromas are heavy with roasted barley and malt, burnt dark coffee, chocolate and vanilla tones, earthy oak and alcohol. Complete package in regards to the template RIS - nothing lacking in scent here.

Excellent balance in the malt and hop profiles of this RIS. Starts off with some nice creamy chocolate/cocoa and caramel flavors and then enters into a great malt backbone. Very, very roasted in quality. In the finish is a nice hop bitterness, that of which is not too overpowering, and the 9% ABV. Actually giving me quite a nice buzz.

Mouthfeel is creamy and medium-bodied which is very noticable on the tongue. Not much of a palpable carbonation feel as there is visually, but it adds to the smoothness of its drinkability, which is moderate. Definitely don't want to be indulging too fast; the 9% ABV catches on nicely.

Old Rasputin is definitely Ol' Reliable for the RIS style. Covers all aspects of the style and very tasty. I'm pretty anxious to try the XII and see how much more can be added to an already great stout.

Photo of mulder1010
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 ML bottle

A-- Poured black and excellent. Was a bit warm when I poured it and got a 3 finger head that made me think I was drinking a mocha. Had some excellent lacing with it

S-- Chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and brown sugar (possibly dark fruits)

T-- Chocolate and coffee mainly. Really thought I was drinking a strong mocha.

M-- Not a lot of carbonation. Very flavorful and at the end a bit of the ABV came out.

D-- Very bueno. One of the best RIS's I have ever had. Very drinkable and 2 is easily drinkable.

Photo of MrStark
4.83/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter glass.

Appearance is a thick dark black with a nice light grown head. It recedes after a little while leaving a little stick lacing.

Smell is quite rich. A wonderful blend of roasted malts, coffee, chocolate and some dark fruits as well.

Taste is wonderful! Just like the aroma, a sweet blend of roasted coffee and malts, chocolate and a nice bitter bite from the hops. A nice feel from the alcohol on the end, especially as it warms.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and creamy with a small amount of carbonation. Very pleasent on the tongue.

Drinkability is very good! It goes down quite smooth and has a wonderful taste. I could have several of these but I think it be better enjoyed one at a time. This is the best RIS I have had so far. Just wonderful!

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

My roommate whiteweasel brought back this delicious beer one afternoon. I'm a history major and I must say I became attached to this beer after hearing it's name and spotting the "Never Say Die" slogan on the box.

Appearance- Black! I could be pouring oil into a glass and wouldn't know the difference if it wasn't for the nice, thick, tantalizingly frothy head.

Smell- Incredibly complex. Cacao, coffee, and some sweetness balances everything nicely.

Taste- Delicious and full bodied. I'd describe the overall flavor as "Extra Bold". Has a bitter, roasted flavor to it. Hints of the beer's high alcohol content can be detected, as well.

Mouthfeel- excellent carbonation, goes down smooth!

Drinkability- Looses points in this category because of its heaviness. Good news: high abv means you wouldn't want to be knocking these back all night.

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

This has so many reviews by now that I can't make any descriptions that haven't been repeated a hundred times already. So I'll just give my overall thoughts.

The first time I tried Old Rasputin I was in love with it. I was still very new in the craft beer world, and hadn't had many (or maybe any) of the top rated stouts in the world. Rasputin was an afforable, roasty, flavorful monster that I latched onto. Since then, I have had the pleasure of trying many gigantic imperial stouts and I no longer feel the same love for the Rasputin.

However, I still find it to be a very nice beer. Nice roastiness without tasting too burnt...not enough body to really make me happy but at least its not thin....awesome drinkability for a 9% beer. This is a beer that is perfect for beginners and still very good for veterans.

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

I can't believe I've yet to write a few for Ol' Raspy. Here it goes...

A: I poured the bottle into my Cigar City snifter to reveal the beautiful and familiar jet black, viscous liquid that is Old Rasputin. A small mocha colored head sits atop the darkness.

S: Great aromas of chocolate, coffee, a roasted nuttiness, and hints of vanilla. A wonderful combination of sweet and bitter aromas.

T: The taste very much follows the nose, and I'm quite glad it does. Once again, a great balance between sweet coffee and vanilla flavors melds well with bitter coffee and a roasted, bordering on burnt, taste.

M: Now this is a full bodied beer. Very little in the way of carbonation, the way it should be, and this gives the beer that thick, creamy mouthfeel you are looking for in an RIS.

D: I personally find this to be one of the more drinkable beers in the RIS style, but that doesn't make it a beer you're going to drink 6 of. A great beer and I've decided to finally put some away to age, even though I love it fresh.

Photo of kurp001
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque black with about one finger of light brown head that holds up for a while, then recedes, leaving minimal lacing.

The aroma is very rich; burnt coffee, vanilla, and mild chocolate hints all come through.

Like the aroma, a great deal of flavor notes come through. Roasted coffee is most apparent upfront, along with chocolate and mild vanilla notes midway. A slight bitterness is also notable on the finish.

Mouthfeel is rich and smooth; full-bodied with subtle carbonation.

Old Rasputin is about as drinkable as a Russian Imperial Stout gets; its bold flavors are always enjoyable, particularly on colder days.

Photo of Duhast500
4.88/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a stemmed glass.

The color is a completely opaque black with two fingers of brown head and some nice thick lacing.

The smell is pretty sweet for an Imperial Stout. Has some hints of raisins and grapes. It also has a bit of a sugary flavor as well.

The taste is pretty malty with a sweet chocolate and toffee flavor. Some nice bitter coffee flavor mixed in as well which makes for a very satisfying

The first sip was so good it was almost overwhelming. It is packed with so much malts and yet a nice pack of hop and coffee bitterness. There are chocolates, toffees, molasses, and some alcohol.

The feel of this beer is pretty light for a heavy dark beer. A good drinking beer that goes down really well.

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

This is it, the beer that started it all. Old Rasputin has such a personal appeal to me, we have shared many a night together and I can't help but feel in the presence of an old friend when I pour that 12 ouncer into its appropriate Old Rasputin North Coast nonic pint glass. This isn't so much a review as it is a love letter.

First, there's the color. My dad used to drink Guinness and say it was as black as Hitler's soul. If that was the case, whose soul is as pitch black as the opaque liquid before me? This is void of space dark crowned with an impressive three fingers of fluffy light brown celestial foam that gently dissipates to leave a thin corona of light atop this black beast.

Old Raspy's nose really shines. There are the requisite notes of black coffee and cocoa that one would expect but it is in the complexity of sweet notes that this brew asserts its dominance. I can't describe all the elements but I'll try to do it justice by stating that there is a warm toffee ambiance that radiates from my glass.

A quaff of this stout is best described as velvety smooth. If Barry White made beer, this is what it would taste like. Viscous enough to have body but liquid enough to avoid adjectives like jammy, Old Raspy disappears with a satisfactory level of bubbleage and harmony.

The flavor of this beer is a little old fashioned as compared to some of its more hyped up cousins. While it lacks in the dark fruits category it shines in the area of malt. Biscuity, bready, and toasted are words that quickly come to mind. The sweetness is also evident with touches of vanilla and candied sugar. There is some bittering, as the hops play their hand at the beers finish, though they remain merely character actors in this beers screenplay.

This is not a sipping beer for experienced RIS drinkers. Its relative light body and minimal bitterness make for a remarkably sessionable Imperial Stout. There is an associated danger with this brew however, that 9% ABV is not a joke.

Photo of About2Crash
4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Holy Crap. This is black as night. I am no expert on finding the little nuances, so I can only tell you my first instincts. But it is big and smoky. Dark chocolate hits the pallat. Very smooth taste in the middle, but the surrounding flavor is very thick and rocky if that makes any sense. The picture of Rasputin on the bottle seems to be laughing at me, daring me to take another sip. I like it.

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 10,377 ratings.