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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial StoutOld Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

9,903 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,903
Reviews: 3,362
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 10.23%
Wants: 302
Gots: 1,326 | FT: 43
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 9,903 | Reviews: 3,362 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Old rasputin pours an impenetrable black with a good one finger light tan head. The nose is very hoppy, but clearly has some java tones. When tasted I am suprised at the strong hop presence. Uniquely hoppy, but still a good malt and dark background. A little bit of coffee flavors but mostly hops on the finish. Does leave a slight sugar coating on the lips. Mouthfeel is slightly thin but still quite good. Drinkability is lowered a bit but for hopheads it should be no problem. Great brew, I am leary to put this in the cellar but I will give a few of them a shot.

AKBelgianBeast, Jan 06, 2008
Photo of atrus138
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ahhh...One of my all-time favorites. Haven't had one of these in a while.

Looks amazing. Straight up black, though turns brown at the edges when held up to a light. One and a half inch khaki head. Impressive lacing. Smell is overwhelmingly sweet chocolate. Amazing. There are also hints of coffee, caramel, and toffee, but they are a bit more subdued. There is also a strong hop presence. Taste - it's like there's a party in my mouth and everyone's rich and tasty. Huge flavor. Chocolate mostly, as the smell made quite clear. A meal in itself. Great, thick beer with enough carbonation to keep it lively. A great beer to sip and contemplate, read, or enjoy a chat with a close friend. Don't have too many of these. I did a double-take when I saw the ABV - it's very well hidden here. One of my favorites that I will keep coming back to often.

atrus138, Jan 05, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark color that very little light comes through, giving an almost purplish hue. Nose is malty and slightly sweet with a roasted coffee edge. Taste is thick with barely a touch of sweetness. Mouthfeel is thick, but smooth. Even at 9%, it's very drinkable. Another smooth brew by North Coast.

RblWthACoz, Dec 30, 2007
Photo of sjohansen
3.75/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this in a mixed pack from a holiday beer club event. And I don’t know who picked it, but I should write them a thank you card.

To start off, good Ole’ Raspy on the front scares the crap out of me. Once I build the courage to open the bottle, it pours black… black as night in Norway during the winter. Got a nice dark tan three-finger head that sticks around for a while, gets rocky and then dissipates with lots of lacing, sticking to glass thick.

This one obviously clocks in high. I get a little rubbing alcohol in the nose. Even as it warms, that alcohol smell sticks around. I think this one would be interesting to age to see if that mellows out a little bit. As far as complaints go, the fact that I can’t pick up anything else in the nose is the only one I have.

The alcohol is in the taste, but not as strong as it is in the nose. As it warms it is even less apparent. This stout is good. You get a little sweet on the tongue (I assume from the chocolate malts,) a little bitter in the finish, a great balance from the malts all the way through. Very slight carbonation to tickle the tongue and create a great mouthfeel. It warmed me right up on a cold December day as I watched a Flyers game. Definitely something that should be sought after by stout lovers.

sjohansen, Dec 29, 2007
Photo of Monsone
4.18/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes

A- Very dark with a big, three finger head.

S- Dark roased coffee with burnt malt. Alcohol is present.

T- Strong coffee taste. Alcohol is there, but not over powering.

M- Thick and creamy, great mouthfeel.

D- You can't drink a lot of them at 9%, but that is standard for the style.

A classic example of a RIS IMO

Monsone, Dec 28, 2007
Photo of illidurit
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep black with brown highlights. Great cascading head that leaves nice lacing. Intense roastiness on the nose as well as some coffee. This has everything a good imperial stout should have: chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, subtle alcohol warmth. A decent hop kick in the finish but it melds into a syrupy sweet chocolate note. Very full bodied, substantial carbonation, no alcohol taste. I'd say this is definitely a tier below the Stone IRSs and Storm Kings of the world, but it's still excellent and widely available to boot.

illidurit, Dec 25, 2007
Photo of rye726
4.18/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz poured at 50F into a snifter

Midnight black with some woody brown hues. Thick and active mocha head with good retention and lace.

Nice structure o froasty chocolate, caramel and black malts. Lots of coffee with hints of vanilla, molasses and sweet fruits. An earthy hop aroma as well.

Delicous blend of sweet chocolate malts and bitter floral hops. These flavors are surrounded by a complex soup of coffee, molasses, caramel and some pitted fruits.

Full body with smooth and chewy feel., Good carbonation keeps it crisp.

Near perfect example of the style. Rich, thick and complex yet balanced and very downable.

rye726, Dec 23, 2007
Photo of TheodorHerzl
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a very deep mahogany. It poured with two fingers of brown head on it, but it quickly collapsed on itself, but it did leave decent lacing on the walls of my glass. Chocolate, espresso, and hops make their appearance in the nose as well as a nice earthy scent. The taste follows the nose quite well with big flavors of chocolate, smokey peat, toffee, roasted malt, and some dark fruit (mostly plums and raisins). The mouthfeel is full bodied with a fantastic silky smoothness coming through. You can tell the warming alcohol is in this beer, but is very subtle and well done. I could drink this beer again and again.

Well done on this beer.

TheodorHerzl, Dec 23, 2007
Photo of paskinsj
4.85/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Like Guinness with a kick, a must try. This has all the smooth taste of a creamy stout with the after kick of bitterness like from arrogant bastards ale. Dark rich coffee flavor with a smokey chocolate hints. This is something to drink very slow and savor.

paskinsj, Dec 22, 2007
Photo of Slynger
4.7/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black with a thick tan head which dissipates quickly.
The nose is strong of unsweetened chocolate first and foremost. Dark fruits and espresso follow closely behind. Piney hops fill this one out.
The taste follows the nose flawlessly. Bitter chocolate, roasted coffee, fig and prune, with a pine / citrus hop finish. Glorious.
The mouthfeel is slick and bordering on creamy.
This is an old classic and the first RIS that I ever tasted. Rock solid, one of my absolute favorites.

Slynger, Dec 21, 2007
Photo of ksbrainard
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Black, of course, with a thin head that covers the beer, if only for a moment, leaving a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Roasted barley. An interesting combination of prunes, licorice whips, and chocolate...dark chocolate. No hint of the fruity esters or alcohol presence I've gotten used to with Imperial Stouts. Well, maybe a hint, but not much at all. No hops to be found. My mouth is watering in anticipation.

Taste: Dark and roasty with just a dab of alcohol. There is a sort of bitter flavor in there, like a really dark chocolate, but it is also round and mildly fruity. It just tastes really good and stout, if somewhat hard to put into words for some strange reason. This beer is big, but not an alcohol monster, and I even think of the word "subtle". Not to say that it isn't full of flavor, because it is highly tasty. I wish I could find the right words. Mmmm is the best I have.

Mouthfeel: It coats the mouth, but has a bit of water, just in the center, which serves it well to keep it honest. It lingers for a while.

Drinkability: This is divine. My new favorite for the season. I wish I had a dark chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, laced with vanilla highlights and a few black cherries to go along with this marvel of brewing science and technology. Even alone, each sip is so damn good it beckons you to take another soon. It's time to go back to the packy to buy their entire stock of this beer!

ksbrainard, Dec 19, 2007
Photo of Gouldsby
3.53/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a dogfish head snifter out of a 12 oz bottle. one of the best cali bang for the bucks out there at $6.99 for a 4 pack...

refrigerator cold...too cold.
A: pours dark, not inky black dark but dark brown black opaque, like the coat of a wombat. small bubbles thicken but recede to ring the brown black, leaving a modest lace of mocha.

S: immediately briny hops and slight molasses hiding behind a strong co2 release. [poured very cold] as it warms, espresso and herbally bitter notes, fernet and echinacea with a suggestion of prune, and faint molasses edging in shyly.

T: immediately bitter in the mouth, receding to strong roast burnt espresso, astringent charcoal bitterness, barely a suggestion of the fruits hinted at in the nose. this is an overwhelmingly dry and earthy, bitter herbal stout. slight acidity strikes in a flash as the bitterness subsides, finishing dry fading into alcohol warmth late suggestive of melted bitter chocolate.

M: medium full mouthfeel, balanced with a medium carbonation, high for a stout of this gravity, leaves with bitter astringent dryness that mellows.

D: this is one of my go-to's, good punch and hits the hop craving in the back of my toungue. for a stout, it's lacking the robustness and dynamic layers of malt fruits that balance a beer this intensely hoppy, roasted and alcoholic. it's not inherently drinkable, but does play an enjoyable foil to a night of IPA.

Gouldsby, Dec 18, 2007
Photo of MiScusi
4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap and poured into a tulip at The Library Bar in downtown Los Angeles. Poured jet black with a brown head. Smell was all that imperial stout stuff- roasted barley and chocolate are the main things. The taste was very rich with a pretty big roastiness. Had a nice slick mouthfeel but didn't overwhelm with thickness or syrupyness. A very good tasting stout, much different than what I experienced from the bottle I tried a few months ago. Ratings have been updated.

Bottled version 12.16.07

A- Poured into a pint glass, a nice dark brown to black, can be seen through at the bottom of the glass and had a fluffy light-tan head.

S- The smell was pretty faint but definitely roasty and slightly acidic. This was much more tilted toward the roast then other RIS's which tend to be sweeter to me (ie Stone)

T- Roasty with a deep bitter chocolate second half. There is just a bit of alcohol at the very end. On about my 8th sip, something happened and the taste just became unbearable. At first it was an average, maybe even slightly above average beer to me, but at that point it turned to something that was making me sick having in my mouth. The taste just became a big alcohol and astringent mess. I don't know what it was but I couldn't finish half this glass.

M- Exceptionally smooth, the carbonation you know is there, it wasn't flat by any means, but in the mouth you don't get one hint of carbonation as it is all hidden under a blanket of malts.

D- I had to pour it out. Didn't even get through half of the beer. I would not seek this out again. This specific RIS may be for some people, but it isn't for me.


MiScusi, Dec 16, 2007
Photo of Spidey13
3.6/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. Very black beer with a nice, dark brown head that left nice lacing on the sides of the glass. Smelled mostly of coffee and dark malts. Taste started with strong coffee with a bit of alcohol, followed by lots of hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy. This is a very good, strong, sipping beer.

Spidey13, Dec 15, 2007
Photo of Monkeyknife
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle a blackest black color with a mocha meringue head and tons of sticky lacing.

Nice aroma of coffee, toffee, roasted malts, and caramel.

The first sip was a thick chewy blast very similar to a mocha latte, but with a hoppy presence. The coffee taste then lingers for quite some time.

Mouthfeel is rich and wonderful with moderate carbonation.

A very, very nice Russian Imperial Stout. I'm glad it wasn't one of those over-sweetened stouts that I've had before. Perfect for the upcoming winter season.

Monkeyknife, Dec 13, 2007
Photo of jeffmonarch
3.38/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - Dark dark brown with a really thick caramel colored head that stays forever.

S - Strong chocolate smell. A lot of hops.

T - Rich chocolate taste followed by hops, hops and some more hops. Strong finish.

M - Good carbonation, good flavor, the finish is a little to much hops. It stays in your mouth long after.

D - Not impressed. It has good flavor but i don't like the finish.

jeffmonarch, Dec 13, 2007
Photo of jbphoto88
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Yum! A jet black beer, thick looking with a nice creamy head. Smells like love. There's hints of malt and hops in the scent but its light and not overpowering. The taste is amazing for those who like dark beers. You have layers of flavor, malt and hops, even some chocolate hints. Very complex flavor and surprisingly lighter then it looks. The most interesting thing to me is that the flavor out weighs the bitterness in your mouth. All that dark goodness coats your mouth and blends very well. A big, complex beer with a lot going on. Excellent!! Just a little side note, if you do something dumb (like me) and spill some, clean it up quick because its very dark and is hard to get out of the carpet.

jbphoto88, Dec 06, 2007
Photo of rxdrewthejew
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pitch black and thick appearing. About a two finger tan head with significant retention. A big, heavy looking beer.

S: Huge smell that spreads around the room. Tons of chocolate and coffee, plenty of sweet/syrupy molasses, and a rich burnt finish.

T: Not as sweet as the smell, but a big rich beginning, mostly coffee and malt. A bit of the chocolate in the middle, along with some bitterness, and then a huge toasted finish.

MF: A bit bubbly for a stout. Huge, thick and chewy, but maybe not quite as smooth as others in this style. The alcohol makes its presence known, but doesn't take over.

D: Not my favorite of this style, but a solid brew. The flavor has a nice balance with the slight bitterness which in some ways makes it easier to drink. A bit overcarbonated for my taste. This may be more drinkable than other Imperials because the alcohol isn't as big and the flavor isn't as over the top. For me, though, if I'm gonna drink an RIS, I'd just as soon have the huge alcohol and huge flavor.

rxdrewthejew, Dec 06, 2007
Photo of BACTAdam
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I went with this brew totally blindly, not having read any reviews and not having any expectations. Here is what I found...

A- Dark as night. Charcoal black with only the slightest hints of brown with a dark copper head. Head was medium but faded fairly quickly to thin.

S- Smells of dark coffee with hints of dark chocolate.

T- Old Rasputin is a whirlwind of flavor. Honestly, at the start, I was puzzled by it. Quite bitter for a stout with sort of a burnt taste. Made me pucker a bit from the bitterness and I wasn't crazy about it. By mid-glass and as the beer warmed, the true amazing flavors come out and I was sold. The alcohol burn becomes more apparent but I also get notes of espresso, dark and milk chocolate and a nice sweetness I love in imperial stouts. By the end, I was begging for more.

M- A very solid mouthfeel- heavy, makes you feel like you're drinking a beer and not water.

D- What to say about drinkability. It's certainly not a session beer but it's very drinkable for an imperial stout. The alcohol doesn't start to kick in til mid-glass so it's deceiving. Still, one or two of these per session is more than enough.

Overall, this is a high quality Imperial Stout. Not my ultimate favorite but still excellent.

BACTAdam, Dec 04, 2007
Photo of mountdew1
3.95/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a very dark almost opaque brown with a chocolate 1 finger head. The head only lasted a few minutes. Smell had hints of oakiness, along with very slight raspberry aromas hiding in the milk chocolate mocha scent. Taste was both dark wheat bread, and burnt chocolate at the same time. Slightly bitter in the mouth with a little acidity on the toungue that detracted from the mouthfeel. Overall was fairly drinkable, but the alcohol content did hit a little stronger than would have been expected.

mountdew1, Dec 04, 2007
Photo of Thanby
4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

"Black as night" really is the best way to describe it. Thick, rocky, dark tan head, some active carbonation visible. Head dies very slowly and leaves a thick coating on the glass.

Smells of rich roasted malts and chocolate. Very smoky, but not ashy like some Imperial Stouts. Hint of caramel in the background.

I think I'm in love. First taste is bold, roasted malt, followed closely by the chocolate and caramel. The perfect amount of bitterness (in my opinion) for a strong stout, coming from the roast and smokiness.

Creamy, thick body, more carbonation than I would expect but it's not unpleasant. The three main flavors just roll around on the tongue in perfect harmony. There's something about how they roasted the malt that strikes me as very pleasing, but unfortunately I don't have enough experience with stout production to know what it is.

Overall this is a stout-lover's dream. Not for a weak stomach, because it has a hefty bitterness and high ABV that shamelessly displays itself in the taste, but it is just one hell of an enjoyable drink. I was planning to follow it up with a pint of Guinness but now I'm thinking it simply won't do my taste buds justice after this.

Thanby, Dec 03, 2007
Photo of MarkSCCOT
4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A. Dark oil black, hardly opaque despite my best efforts. Little to no head despite best efforts.

S. Rich deep coffee, cocoa, dark chocolate and the sweet burnt caramel smell. Some hops in the background.

T. Starts with a blast of bitter hops but evolves to chocolate, coffee, caramel and malt.

M. I think they nailed the proper level of carbonation. Creamy finish but still clean.

D. Pretty strong, otherwise more drinkable.

MarkSCCOT, Dec 03, 2007
Photo of starflyer58
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

So, there are few out there that might dare pair a beer with a song... but as this is my first review on BeerAdvocate, I'm going in a different direction and begin this review with just such a suggestion.

There's a group called Justice. and they have a song entitled Waters Of Nazareth. If there were a soundtrack to drinking a North Coast Old Rasputin, this would be it.

Pours a chunky darkness as if from the veins of some evil entity that, on the day it was created, refused to ever meet it's maker again.

The aroma hits you with heavy melodies of coffee-infused chocolate, possibly alcohol-soaked raisins.

The taste comes at you with burnt maltiness, burnt coffee, bitter hops, caramelized sugar, oaky finish?

Jesus, God... Don't mess with this beer.

starflyer58, Dec 02, 2007
Photo of albern
3.5/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'm just not a fan of Imperial stouts so I'm just not inclined to rave about this beer. It pours about as black as mud, not much carbonation, some retention, some lacing. The head is dirty brown. The smell is thick, oily, molasses, cherry overtones, dark roasted coffee, and sweet malts. This beer is full bodied, strong, bitter, and not for the faint at heart. Perhaps I'm the faint at heart because I couldn't imagine drinking more than one. I can appreciate the style to a point, but then it is just a strong espresso, molasses, bitter and biting roasted malt brew that just stings in the mid section. On the very tail end, some sweet malts and cherry like flavors emerge, but not until I've been hit over the head by the mid section and beyond of just bitter and strong flavors. As the beer settles a bit, the more warming alcohol notes and the sweeter malts present themselves sooner. The aftertaste is a bit over the top for me as well. The mouthfeel is pronounced and thick, but what do you expect from a beer that pours like dirty oil.

albern, Dec 01, 2007
Photo of djeffbee
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, served in a Chimay chalice.

A - Pours a dark, dark black with a deep ruby hue when put to the light. Huge 2-3 finger head of deep beige colored foam that leaves a great lacing.

S - Chocolate espresso, with hints of nuts - no hop aroma to note of.

T - Sweet chocolate and espresso like coffee notes. Nice hop presence with a great lingering bitterness that makes this beer very enjoyable.

M - Thick on viscosity and low on carbonation - perfect for this style.

D - While this one is 9%, you can actually drink more than a couple in a sitting, but be careful!

An excellent representation of this style. FKro.

djeffbee, Dec 01, 2007
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 9,903 ratings.