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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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10,802 Ratings

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Ratings: 10,802
Reviews: 3,513
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 10.23%
Wants: 418
Gots: 1,933 | FT: 53
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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 10,802 | Reviews: 3,513
Photo of SuperNova777
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz/ bottle into snifter

A:Pours a Jet Black color with a small tan head that resides leaving a decent lacing on the glass

S:Sweet chocolate, coffee, and a slight hint of hops

T:Chocolate up front with a slight tingle, followed up with some coffee and roasted malts as it leaves a nice coat of all the above on the palate

M:Solid body with mediate carbonation

D:Very easy to drink for a RIS and a good example of the style. Could defitinly take down more than one of these. If you are looking for a real treat try to pick up the 11th or 12th anniversary editions of this brew

Photo of bagpiper2005
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour: Jet black with just a hint of red on the very edges when held up to the light. A huge three fingers of brown head that retained very well and left several spots of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Big, bold aroma with lots of rich chocolate malty goodness, coffee, dark fruit, molasses, floral hops, and a little bit of alcohol.

Taste: The front end starts off with a rich dark chocolate taste, some milky sweetness, coffee, dark fruit, and plenty of hops to go around. Alcohol is very well disguised for the ABV. An incredibly complex, balanced taste.

Mouthfeel: Heavy/full bodied, creamy, smooth as silk. Low carbonation.

Drinkability: Not quaffable, definitely a sipping experience. Pretty filling as well.

Final Notes: A simply amazing beer that would make for a great winter's night out by the campfire or the fireplace. Will stand up to the heartiest foods. Not for the faint of heart.

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

Poured out of a 12 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A - Deep coffee color with nice creamy tan head with just a small bit of lacing.

S - Nice malty smell with hints of chocolate and coffee. Has a good solid roasted smell as well.

T - Immediately get that nice roasted malt. It follows with a nice coffee taste along with subtle but good chocolate hints.

M - Creamy full bodied beer. Very little carbonation. Chewy.

D - Solid. Definitely a drinkable stout.

Photo of oglmcdgl
4.46/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A pint on the nitro at capones. Oh boy a fing pint.

A- comes to me with three huge fingers of super dense creamy tan head that takes forever to settles leaving big sticky ring of suds. Black as all get out and not a speck of light making its way through the brew.

S- malty and sweet. Nutty and roasty. Chocolate, oatmeal, coffee, a hint of molasses and dark brown sugar.

T- deep roasted malts, espresso, and slightly burnt oatmeal. Tons of bakers chocolate and molasses. Some dark fruits and brown sugar. Hints of anise and pumpernickle bread in the back.

M- thick, chewy, viscous and syrupy. Super creamy and full bodied with that smooth nitro that just works so well with this stellar brew.

D- this is a monster of a stout yet its always super drinkable, on nitro this is a revelation. One of the best brew I've ever had on nitro.

Photo of caddybuyer
3.83/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter

A-Black as night. Faint ruby highlights when held to the light but other than that, utter blackness. Thick creamy brown head that laces nicely.

S-Have you ever been to Hershey? It smells like Old Rasputin. Coccoa nubs, roasted chicory, a hint of anise and licorice. A bit of alcohol in the background

T-The palate begins with bitterness, the roasted cocoa and chickory so present in the nose explodes onto the palate, yet, unexpectedly, here come some citrus hops, slighly out of place, yet keeping things a bit interesting. The hops follow out to the finish in a tingling and astringent manner. This is a nice and bitter RIS, but I would rate it much higher if it had a bit of sweetness to even it all out.

M-Full bodied with even carbonation. Well done.

D-I adored the anniversary stout, and like this, but it feels a bit off balance, like it needs some age to mellow out. Decent beer, but I'll steer straight for the Ten Fidy before buying another pack of this.

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

A: Rich and thick chocolate colored head with fair retention. Lacing slowly flows down the edge of the glass. The beer itself is jet black.

S: Dark roasted malt with hints of coffee and alcohol. Certainly a pleasant smell, but subtle when compared with the rich taste of this brew.

T: Just as in the aroma the dark malt dominates. Tones of chocolate and coffee with a sweet tinge that prevents an extreme bitterness that these taste comparisons would suggest. A lingering hoppy finish that reminds you of its complexity.

M: Full bodied and with just the right amount of carbonation to lend it a smooth mellow presence. Surprisingly smooth for how thick it pours.

D: Not a beer you are going to want to drink all night, nor is it intended to be. If you could only have one beer however or are looking for one to start or end a session you can't go wrong with this one.

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

A - Dark black with deep mahogany and ruby hues on the edges. Huge, thick, creamy, sticky, full, sandy colored head. Great retention that finally settles into a nice, full, creamy layer of lace.

S - Rich roasted malt with lots of coffee and chocolate aroma. Some dark fruit, specifically raisin. Chocolate and espresso dominate the nose though.

T - Rich roasted malt taste come out strong. Chocolate is very strong with a good amount of coffee as well. Mid sip, a good amount of hops come out as well with a nice grassy and slight citrus taste to it. Some burnt brown sugar is present. Nice earthy bitterness to it. Slight alcohol burn toward the end along with a good amount of roasted and burnt malt.

M - Full body with a good level of carbonation. Very silky and smooth feel. Very rich feel.

D - Easy to drink although it is definitely a sipper. A bit bitter, but balanced out pretty well with some of the sweeter taste (although the bitter flavors win out). Alcohol heat is a little strong though.

Notes: Very enjoyable stout. A surprising amount of hops come out. Very strong roasted and burnt malt taste. A great stout, especially given the price.

Photo of brianjay
4.41/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a syrupy body, pitch black in color and the head (which was light brown and thin) all but disappears quickly. There is a reminiscence of it in the form of a ring around the glass.

A baker's chocolate and [toasted grain or baked pie crust] smell. Overall, the aroma provides little insight into that this brew has to offer.

The taste, the most important part, is out of this world. Chocolate cake mixed with roasted dark meat. The high alcohol presence comes off as an afterthought, a nice wake up from the dessert-like nature of the beer.

Can't recommend this one enough for someone who wants a late night treat.

Photo of joeland
3.71/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: a thick looking black color almost a hint of purple. it has a tan one finger head that leaves a thick lacing

S: a vert sweet smell you get a choclate and hints of alchol

T: it starts with a bitter sweet taste and ends with a very dry sweet choclate taste.

M: a very thick body that sticks around for awhile with medium carbnation.

D: a very thick filling beer that i'm set with just one or two of these.

Photo of H1N1
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a little forcefully into a pint glass.

A- It poured black with 3 fingers of chocolate milk coloured head. Its really dark. Light doesn't get through.

S- Really malty. Coffee is most apparent. Chocolate is there too. A little fruity undertone. Kind of like black cherry. Smells dark and sweet.

T- The first thing that hits my taste buds is coffee. Very malty and full tasting. The coffee taste subsides, leaving the chocolate and some vanilla. Then comes a little hop back, which is the only trace of hops I get while drinking this. Very faint, but it balances the taste very well.

M- Thick and full. A little carbonation, but not much. I could stand to have it a bit thicker, but I still love the mouth feel.

D- very drinkable. Currently my favourite russian imperial stout. Very solid drink. Big fan.

Photo of Ryan011235
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter on 1/4/10

Pours dark brown, almost a dull crimson, settling near black. Two fingers of medium brown head that thins quite rapidly to a skim on top. Decent streaks of lace are left. Swirling revives a little foam. Lacing is ok but gets sporadic.

Moderately potent malt aromas that tend to be on the sweeter side of things. It kind of brings to mind chocolate milk & a creaminess reminiscent of hot chocolate. While the sweet aspect of the chocolate are most notable, there are subtle roasted undertones.

Tastes very similar to the nose; the only big difference being a slight hop twinge leading off. Roasted dark malts abound. Sweet throughout with creamy milk chocolate in the middle & on the finish. Hints of coffee bitterness in the back. Smooth all around.

Full bodied offering low carbonation that is smooth, allowing the flavors to take precedent. Faint lingering notes of roasted malts. Lacking is any appreciable alcohol heat.

Very good; not particularly complex but the whole seems greater than the sum of its parts, as it were. I imagine this ages well. Recommended.

Photo of lou50rp
4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Has a very dark, almost black color with a nice head of khaki, which lasts.
Smell is of dark chocolate and black cherries.
Taste is as promised by the smell. No alcohol taste and little bitterness.
Feels really good in the mouth, thick and creamy.
Very drinkable beer even with the 9.0 ABV. One of my favorite beers at any time.

Photo of dnolan36
4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well tonight I decided to try my first Old Rasputin. I just started getting back into stouts and I am almost sad I have started with this one since it was so good. Well, anyways, here it goes.

When I opened the bottle, it poured black into my glass with about a finger of dark, rich brown head. The sight was quite lovely.

When I first brought the glass to my nose there was a nice chocolatety, nutty aroma. I sat the glass back down for about 20 minutes for it to warm up some and then smelled it again. The second time there was a faint vanilla/mocha smell, with a hint of malts and coffee.

The taste matched the smell almost. It had a dark chocolate, mocha, malty feel to it.

This was overall an excellent beer from opening it to drinking it. I could definitely enjoy several of these. However, I am still sipping on the one that I am using to write this review.

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

Review from notes taken 6/23/10.

On tap at Als served in a nonic. Appears black in color with a thick creamy tan head that retains very well and sticks in thick patches about the glass. Nose is full of dark grains smelling of coffee and dark chocolate with a blend of hops and dark skinned fruity sweetness. The alcohol becomes a bit more noticeable as it warms. Taste includes a mixture of alcohol, roasty grain and slightly citrusy hop bitterness upfront that blends through a medium creamy smooth body with more flavors of dark grainy sweetness. The roasted grains suggest black coffee, dark chocolate and dark skinned fruits much like the aroma indicated. There is a pleasant lingering bitterness from the darkly roasted grain coupled with the flavor and warmth of alcohol. This is a brew I enjoy regularly from a bottle and on nitro it is even more drinkable and creamy in the feel.

Photo of jmeador85
4.9/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance - Definitely a stout. One thing that never fails to impress me about Old Rasputin is the lingering head. It's still there when I finish drinking a 22 oz weizen glass, and I drink Old Rasputin slowly.

Smell - Many nuances that I'm at a loss to describe. You can tell, with certitude, that this beer is going to have some bite from the smell, but it's masking a complex flavor beneath.

Taste - This, too, could be described many ways. An amateur would say it's bitter, but beyond the bitterness is a bouquet of flavors that most people will appreciate.

Mouthfeel - Old Rasputin definitely has an aftertaste. The bitterness of the beer seems accentuated when you swallow, but I don't find it overwhelming. The mouthfeel makes you want another sip/gulp.

Drinkability - Definitely drinkable. Very good. Very strong, too.

Verdict - This is one of my favorite stouts. I tried this beer in December I believe, and a group of guys I know were drinking it so I thought I'd do the same. Well, the guys had a few more, and these Flying Saucer regulars staggered over to Barnes and Noble across the street where they sat in comfort and sobered up before driving home. This beer is strong. Drink with caution.

Photo of SluggerOToole
4.36/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into chalice after dinner. Ordered this with a cheese plate for dessert. The brew pours pitch black with a thin chocolate milk-colored head. The nose is subdued with caramel malt, cocoa, and faint hops.

The aromas carry straight through to the palate with strong roasty flavors like sweet coffee and dark chocolate flavors, there is a caramel and toffee sweetness up front also with resounding hop finish. Mouthfeel is heavy, full, silky, and lingering.

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

Poured into a Bells Oberon pint glass.

A: Pours pitch black with a nice tan head, about two fingers worth, that stays around for about 10 minutes before settling to a small cap. Decent lace sticks and doesn't let go. Nice start.

S: The quintessential RIS, coffee, chocolate, dark brown sugar, molasses, a little fig, and a nicely roasted malt. Nice aroma.

T: This tastes like a clone of Blackout from GLBC. Either that, or Blackout is a clone of this. Chocolate, coffee, dark fruit, a little bitterness from the black malt and hops. This is tough for me, as I love Blackout. I guess since Raspy seems to be year round, it should fill in nicely for Blackout.

M: Big, thick, creamy, almost chewy. Very nice.

D: Easier to drink the warmer it gets. Fantastic beer.

If I have to drink a Russian Imperial, and Blackout isn't on the shelves, this will be my go to. Well done.

Photo of axeman9182
3.99/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, allowed to warm a bit from the fridge, poured into my Duvel tulip.

The beer pours absolute black, with an absolutely massive tan head that paints the glass with lacing. Stunning beer. The nose is a little weak, bitter coffee with just a hint of chocolate that only becomes apparent as the beer warms some more. As I sip my opinion of the beer improves, the dark coffee flavor is still most prevalent while dark chocolate makes a little more noise than in the nose and there's also a slight warming sensation from the alcohol. Great mouthfeel on this beer as the body is nice and big and chewy, while the carbonation is suitably low. Old Rasputin is a very good beer, phenomenal in some aspects, but where it really matters most it falls just a little bit short of world class.

Photo of zhanson88
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pitch black in the glass. When poured there was one finger of tan head. Most of it dissolved in a short amount of time, but some lacing remained around the edges of my glass.

Smell: Dark and chocolate malts along with coffee are very prevalent. Not a lot else, but a great smell nonetheless.

Taste: Very much along the same lines as the smell. Tastes very strongly of cocoa and coffee.

Mouthfeel: Very full body, as I expected from an imperial stout. Surprisingly smooth going down despite the relatively high alcohol content.

Drinkability: I had 1 of these, and I definitely would have been open to having 1 or 2 more. Not a beer that I could or would drink all night long.

Overall: A great imperial stout. A beer that I will be buying again.

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

What you read is what you get from this classic RIS. I could imagine this beer being served at a round table in the mid century. Nothing unusual out of the beer or pretentious. This just nails what an RIS originally was.

A - A dark black with a small lacing hits the glass. Not much lacing. This has a minimal head.

S - Immediately the smell of cocoa and coffee beans hit you.

T - This has a very smooth texture with strong flavoring of dark chocolate. I think I just drank a Hershey Dark Chocolate candy bar.

M - Smooth, Creamy and a great mix of carbonation. This beer is right on.

D - I prefer this on a cold winters night, but this beer satisfies my craving every time.

I love this simplistic approach to an old style beer. I guess that's what makes it so popular and the first RIS for most people to venture into.

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

12oz into Imperial Pint

A: Pitch black, light brown head.

S: Heavy roasted coffee beans and cocoa.

T: Intense molasses and bitter coffee beans, followed by a significant alcohol burn.

M: Heavy but not too viscous.

D: I could put away a 4-pack of these in a night...

This is easily the best stout-for-your-buck on the market.

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

Pours jet black with a thick n creamy mocha colored head. No light can be seen through this beer whatsoever. It's a beautiful sight in my tulip glass.

In the nose I get thick scents of chocolate malt immediately. That's the main thing that I can smell.

The taste is amazing. A thick texture of chocolate malty goodness. It finishes more bitter than sweet, but not quite dry. Some smokey components are there. The alcohol is very well hidden, buried under the layers of silky smooth malts.

Full bodied, light carbonation.. very viscous, thick, and chewy. Melts in the mouth.

While the Rasputin has a fairly high ABV of 9%, It's delicious enough to drink a lot of. So you gotta be careful not to guzzle too many of these down. This is a great imperial stout, definitely one of my favorites so far.

Photo of callmeclemens
1.15/5  rDev -73.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Upon pouring this beer looked like cola, maybe a little darker. Smelled like licorse. Tasted like Licorse and Alcohal. I found this beer difficult to sip, sallow, and even gulp. Had no head, and no lacing whatsoever which leads me to believe I may have gotten a bad bottle, so perhaps I'll try again.

However, judging from what I know about Rasputin, this seems like the kind of thing he would drink by the barrelful atleast ten times a day. So I suppose mission accomplished, Comrades.

Photo of Tron67
4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Completely black in the glass with a creamy tan head that dissappears. Overall good appearance.

S: You can definitely smell the alcohol in this beer. It's hidden with strong coffee and roasted malt aroma. Smells wonderful.

T: The initial taste is creamy in the front of the palate with hints of dark chocolate. The flavor then turns to mocha and finishes with a bitter coffee and herbal taste. The aftertaste is surprisingly smooth and long lasting. You can tell there is high alcohol, but it is lost in the sweet, stong coffee flavors.

M: Full-bodied, creamy and smooth, and medium carbonation.

D: Definitely enjoyable. Great for sipping for extended periods of time. Not good in the hot summer heat, great for winter.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of AgentMunky
4.42/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet.

A: Looks like a typical Russian Imperial Stout. Dark dark-brown with thin nutty-coloured head. Implacable and imposing; I look forward to drinking this beer.

S: So nice. Lightly-roasted, gently-sweet malts. There is a definitely fruity tone to the alcoholic sweetness. Some hints of chocolate and even less of coffee.

T: Deliciously tasty. A smooth, sweet beer, with surprising spicy notes appearing at the end of the taste (cinnamon and something akin to paprika spring to mind). The main taste is mildly bitter, a roasted flavour with a hint of hops. The aftertaste is slightly sticky with savoury chocolate notes opening up amidst the aforementioned spices.

M: Carbonation lightens the taste considerably, but cannot stem a creeping sticky sweetness in the aftertaste. Not unpleasant, but not a point in its favour either.

D: With the notable exception of Bell's Expedition Stout, Old Rasputin is the best Russian Imperial Stout I've ever consumed. While by no means a light fare, it is more accessible and consumable than other beers of the same style. Very drinkable and highly recommended.

EDIT: The following review is of a bottle aged in a friend's wine cellar for 14 months (and an additional month and a half sitting in my refrigerator.

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a St Bernardus goblet. Reviewed 25 December 2011. I can't find a best by date, but the neck label has almost completely peeled itself off.

4.5A: An excellent cocoa-coloured head forms an impressive crown to a coal-black beer. Utterly dark and completely opaque, this is what I like an Imperial Stout to look like. Great lacing.

5S: Mmmm, yes. Huge and boozy. Less dry than I remember, but much more fruity and alcoholic. Very similar to Bell's Expedition Stout which, in my book, is a very good thing indeed. Richer and more rewarding than I initially thought, ten minutes later I still haven't taken a sip. I'm simply letting my nose revel in these sensations. Superlative smell. Blueberries?

4T: This is more what I expected from an aged Rasputin. Moderate chocolatey bitterness with virtually no hop presence and a sweetish fruit/alcohol maintaste which trails off slowly leaving very little aftertate. Disappointing after such a monumental smell, but still quite nice.

3.75M: Thick and almost sticky. Little carbonation. Nice enough.

4.25O: A very good beer, but I'm not sure the changes in flavour advocate ageing. Most of the spice and bitterness has absented itself in favour of slow, mellow sweetness. I probably prefer a fresh bottling, but I might age another one because it changed character significantly more than the Expedition Stout after cellaring.

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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 10,802 ratings.