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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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10,804 Ratings

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Ratings: 10,804
Reviews: 3,514
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 10.23%
Wants: 419
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: 10,804 | Reviews: 3,514
Photo of augustgarage
4.01/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I normally steer clear of nitro taps, but curiosity got the better of me last night at the Library Ale House. Served in an Old Rasputin nonic, which was a nice touch.

Thoroughly opaque black hole of a body crowned by two fat fingers of light tan, thick mocha fizz. Perpetual retention, cake-batter-like lacing, though no real legs to speak of.

Almost sour roast malt, lightly burnt bread, subtle esters from the alcohol, and a touch of weeds and citrus from the hops.

Over-roasted coffee, bread crusts, and a pungent mineral note that seems to be emphasized with this serving type. Unsweetened baker's chocolate and scalded milk lead into the surprisingly dry, almost dusty finish (vaguely brings to mind river stones, cheap hotel ice, old carpets, and other assorted phantoms). While strongly bitter, the hops don't jump out at you - a very carefully balanced beer.

Thick, soft, uniform body though a bit "artificial" in its presentation especially considering the purity of ingredients and skill in craftsmanship - I'd much prefer to see this on-cask. If I'm going to abandon my (perhaps idealized) notions of product integrity, why not go all the way and head down to The Golden State for one of their Old Rasputin beer floats?

A clean, rich, strong, yet subtle brew - highly drinkable especially considering the robust ABV and IBU.

Photo of wknight167
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Apearance - Pours near black with just a hint of red when held up to the light. A one finger, fine bubble light brown head lasts longer than the beer does. Lacing is more like a wall than anything else.

Nose- Solid roast malt, coffee, chocolate with some nuttiness and sweetness showing through.

Palate- Slightly sweeter than expected, but not in a bad way. Tastes as you would expect from the nose, but with toffee, and licorice notes.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, FULL bodied, medium carbonation.

Drinkability- Finishing one makes me want another.

Photo of dciBA
4.85/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

pours a nice and black with a fingers worth of light brown head that holds on for a while. Smells of smooth milk chocolate and burnt malt. Just a hint of hops.

Taste is simply perfect for the style. Lots of chocolate, coffee and plenty of earthy hops. Just the right amount of hop balance really. Very creamy and smooth in the mouth and not a hint of the high ABV. This beer always sneaks up on me when I have it on tap. So easy to toss back a pint and not even realize how much alcohol it has. I'm glad to be enjoying this one at home, but I think the draft version is slightly better. I can't help but think if I had never had this on tap then I would probably rate the bottle version perfect.

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

Poured into my new Sam Adam's perfect pint glass.

A- Big rocky reddish tan head sits atop a black as night body. The head has excellent retention especially for this style, it leaves pretty decent lacing.

S- Raisiny and fruity on top of bourbony alcohol. It is off set by some smokey roastiness and chocolate.

T- Rich, creamy chocolate, wood, smoke, licorice, and some hop bitterness on the back end

M- Pretty nice body. Smooth, creamy and a bit sticky.

D- One of the most drinkable RIS's out there.

This was my first RIS I ever tasted. Since then the style has become one of my most favorites and this beer has become one of my staples. You should try it on nitro tap!

Photo of hoplover82
5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First of all, I barely ever give a beer a perfect score, but I can't find anything wrong with this beer. It is truly oustanding.

A-Pours pitch black with a mdium to small, creamy espresso crema colored head that has excellent retention and strong thick lacing. Very enticing appearance indeed.

S-The aroma is so beautiful with sweet roasted barely, toffee and notes of caramel. Maybe also some faint earthy hops in the back. No alcohol detected.

T-And the flavor is nothing short of awesome. Roasted barely, and toffee and sweet caramel and noticable bitterness from some slightly earthy hops to balance everything. No alcohol detected. There seems to be some licorice in the flavor that I did not get in the aroma. hmmm

M-This beer has a huge body and is oh so creamy and smooth. There is no harshness at all.

D-If this beer was 5% abv, I could drink this all day and night. But low and behold, it's 9% abv, so I might be able to have 2 in a night. But I love just sippin this sniffer glass full of OR RIS. Perfect RIS indeed. WOW....

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

Poured into a tulip.

When the weather gets cold, there are few beers I enjoy more than Old Rasputin. Big, bold, & intense, but drinkable and balanced. Chocolate & coffee are the dominant flavors - notes of vanilla & black licorice are present as well. A perfect after dinner beer & with 9% ABV the warming qualities make it an ideal winter libation. Highest recommendation.

Photo of cbarrett4
3.87/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from tap at Horse Brass Pub in Portland:

Pours with a disappointing head fading into a lackluster lace, but with a good, rich, dark hue. Smells richly of licorice, molasses, espresso, and some dark chocolate. A little funky on the nose and that carries through the palate, possibly from the kind of hops they used. Decent texture but abrasive on the finish.

Overall good, but probably better out of the bottle with some conditioning.

Photo of wordemupg
4.54/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle poured into pint glass dec17 2009

A black with a thumbs worth of mocha head that falls to a 1/4inch film fairly quickly and leaves only a patch or two of lace

S smoke, chocolate, coffee and some booze

T not far off the smell but a little licorice perhaps and the alcohol is hidden a little better then on the nose

M thick creamy goodness, oh dear that sounds wrong yet feels quite right

D for the strength it's a little dangerous with out doubt, sinks like a ship and oh so worth trying.

I'm wondering if my glass was dirty, cause if so this may have been a rare A+ looks average but well ahead in all other departments. doesn't cost a fortune either here in Alberta making it just that much better, drink, think, repeat

Photo of fropones
4.51/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours nearly black with just the slightest hint of red around the edges. 2.5 fingers of mocha head with great retention. Beautiful lacing.

S - Loads of roasted roasted malt. Chocolate and coffee. Surprising amount of citrus aromas from the hops.

T - More bittersweet chocolate and burnt malt, and coffee, and delicious. Some hop bitterness as well. Very balanced, neither the bitterness nor the burnt-ness from the malt is too overpowering.

M - Damn this is creamy and smooth. Low carbonation.

D - Dangerously drinkable for 9%. A bit warming from the alcohol. Keeps me warm on these cold winter nights.

Photo of TommyW
4.26/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Black body with a tall tan head that clings to the glass.

S- Roasted and burnt malts with some light notes of alcohol.

T- roasted and burnt bread crusts with a slightly noticeable hop profile. The hops and burnt flavor create a dry but still sweeter finish.

M- Creamy and smooth feel with a nice carbonation.

D- An awesome RIS; a great sipper on a cold day.

Photo of parkeak0
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Most certainly one of the best known and most loved RIS, as evidenced by the 2000+ reviews before this one. One of the beers that got me into the craft scene. Dark as night, rich, immensely complex, it doesn't get much better than this for the style. Chances are, you've had it before, but if you haven't, I highly recommend it.

Photo of cnjohn19
4.57/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

got this beer over great conversation at dain's place in durham...pours a dark opaque with little to no head...looks thick and bold...smells of nutty sweetness, a tad of coffee beans, and def. get the alcohol...

and DAMN this beer is delicious...consistent, sweet, and very bold...malty with a smooth aftertaste...both me and my company commented how good this stout is...good work

again, smooth, bold, and full bodied all the way down...very surprised i drank this brew, considering i usually savor russian imperials...

overall, get this beer in the cold months anytime you can...you'll thank me and the others on here...

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

A: Opaque black body with dark tan, thick, huge head with excellent retention, lacing, and cap.

S/T: Vanilla, toasted grain over chocolate, smoke, a dose of dark fruit. Smell gets a bit boozy and nutty as it opens up. On the taste, the booze doesn't dominate quite as well, but the nuts and fruit dominate the finish.

M: Full, sticky body, with an incredibly long finish.

D: Rasputin delivers a huge collection of flavors, all in great balance with each other, and still somehow never overwhelms. If I had one, I could probably enjoy a full 4-pack, assuming it wouldn't knock me out first. Brilliant.

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a thick, dense black, no discernible highlights, with a large and sustaining foamy and creamy tan head.

Smells like a good imperial stout should, packed with deeply roasted grain, black coffee, and bitter dark chocolate, all on top of a bed of sweet malt with a touch of fruitiness.

More of the same on the palate, with an intense roasted character that strongly suggests a cup of seriously black coffee, accompanied by earthy, bitter dark chocolate. Turns sweet mid-palate, showing creamy, milky caramel, before finishing with a quite large earthy hop bitterness. Finishes firm and dry, with a lingering roasty and hoppy bitterness.

Full bodied and firm, but shows hints of softness. Alcohol is well hidden at 9%. A well-made beer, and while far enough down my list of top imperial stouts, this proves to be a great value.

Photo of earthboundagain
4.37/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From Notes:

A. Deep brown almost black. Deep brown head was not huge, but the lacing crawled across the glass and stuck like glue.

S. Big roasted malts, with some dark cocoa. The promise of hidden dark fruits is there as well.

T. Huge maltiness, roasted style. A great mix of bitter chocolate and some dark fruits. This beer has a simple but complex flavor.

M. A full bodied creaminess, with some stickiness. You can taste the nice warming alcohol. Some graininess to this puppy as well.

D. Well I am not going to say that this is a session beer because it is not, it's big and boozy and it taste as good as it warms up. This is a night cap special.

Notes: It has Rasputin on the bottle what more do you need. This great beer and is a corner stone in the world of Russian Imperial Stouts.

Photo of Mosstrooper
4.21/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into Macado's "Halloween 2009" branded American pint glass.

Appearance: Jet black with a light brown 2-finger head that stays a long time and leaves lots of lacing.

Smell: Roasted malts, chocolate notes, and tart alcohol.

Taste: Sweet, roasted malts throughout. Finishes with sweet coffee flavors and bitterness that isn't apparent until after the finish, lingering in the back of the throat.

Mouthfeel: Thick bodied and very smooth. Chewy, with a sticky finish.

Drinkability: Definitely a beer brewed for sipping. This is full of flavor and is delightful to drink.

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Pours an inky black color with a thick frothy tan head. The head dissipates very slowly and leaves remarkable lacing.

Smell: Strong smells of coffee, chocolate, and roasted malts. The chocolate smells are bittersweet, almost like dark chocolate.

Taste: Subdued up front, it gains intensity as it moves to the back of your mouth. Chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and a hint of fruit (plum maybe?) come out towards the end. The result is a pleasing chocolaty aftertaste and coffee-ish burps.

Mouthfeel: Thick, creamy, and full-bodied. Goes down smooth.

Drinkability: A great stout!! As tasty and complex as you could expect. The high alcohol content makes this potent stuff, so I'd probably only have one at a time. Nevertheless, this is one of the best beers I've had.

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

12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

A: Pitch black. 2 finger khaki/cream head. Sticky lacy down the glass.

S: Chocolate, molasses, vanilla.

T: Roasted malts, espresso, dark chocolate bitterness up front. Vanilla, molasses and caramel sweetness midway. Some hop/smokey bitterness on the back end.

M: Full bodied. Medium-high carbonation. Warm alcohol on the throat. Very good.

D: Very drinkable.

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

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass. This beer pours black in color, only slight highlights of dark brown while pouring it. There is a tan colored head, similar to a cola head just less fizzy. It goes away only after a few minutes. I didn't expect to see much lacing to it, but it has a different sort of stick to it. It's almost like a syrupy consistency that every so slowly slides back down to the liquid on each sip you take. The aroma has quite a bit going on and in my opinion is much better from the bottle than on tap. As most RIS's there is a great deal of chocolate in the smell as well as the roasted malts and some roasted coffee too. The hops really stand out in the smell however, and are probably the most dominant feature. It took me several sips before I noticed how strong the hop taste was. Initially you taste the dark chocolate and roasted coffee. It's well malted too, but overpowered by the coffee and chocolate. After the 3rd sip or so, the hops again become a more dominant feature of the flavor. It's still a very tasty beer, a great combination of all the ingredients. The mouthfeel was good, but after awhile, the hops leave your moth just the slightest bit too dry. Its still full bodied while at the same time being a little silky, but it's still certainly more dry than it needs to be. This is still a very drinkable RIS, or beer in general. Consensus...I think I like it a little better from the bottle, but I'd never turn either down!

Photo of argock
4.12/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear glass snifter. No freshness date. Purchased as 4-pack from Harris Teeter (Charlottesville, VA) for $9.99.

A: Nearly black with ruby edges with 1/2-finger tan head that dissipates quickly and leaves a few spots of lace.

S: Strong aromas of bitter dark chocolate and cold coffee mingle with black bread with light berry alcohol and leafy hops notes

T: A big, traditional RIS with medicinal, bourbon dark malt notes taking charge but coated with heavy bittersweet chocolate and black coffee with some leafy hops thrown in. Alcohol contributes a berry-cherry note as well.

M: Thick and viscous but not as chewy as you might imagine. A little oatmeal in the mix might cut the light astringency and give this a little more smoothness.

D: A classic stout which I like better in the bottle for temperature control purposes. It has a heavy medicinal quality with a pretty boozy profile overall, but the bitter chocolate and coffee notes are artfully woven in. I'm going to leave a few of these for a few months and try them serially every 3-4 months to see if there is much evolution.

12/5/2009: Consumed after a Founders Breakfast Stout, and the contrast is substantial. Much sweeter and boozier with a more traditional dark malt sweetness with a more bitter chocolate component with a light bourbon note. Not much different than the fresh OR.

Photo of chickenm
4.6/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a decent tan color head. Aromas of roasted malt, dark chocolate, and bitter espresso. Great taste, the bitterness is perfectly balanced in this. Very warming from the alcohol but not too overwelming. Very chewy mouthfeel. An extremely tasty Imperial Stout, highly recommended!

Photo of nas5755
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

'09 in my Sam Adams perfect pint

As soon as this brew hits my glass I can smell the chocolate syrup aroma wafting towards my nose and I'm loving it. The head is impressive. The color is a deep, deep brown, bordering on black. The taste is fantastic, very smooth, light carbonation a little alcohol hotness that would have dissipated with age, lots of coffee and chocolate flavors blended together, a faint nutty hazelnut flavor. This beer has a wonderful thickness fades as the flavors melt away on the mouth.

I love this brew. I prefer it with some age on it, but wanted to review it fresh.

Photo of CMiller683
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up at the store without realizing what I had. Bought it as part of a build-a-six-pack. No freshness date listed. Served from a 12oz bottle into a standard glass. Creepy looking bottle with a shot of Rasputin on the front, circled by some Russian wording. Gold colored detail.

A - Pours a very thick, smooth, motor-oil black. Follows with a thick, creamy espresso head with a lace that crawls down the glass. Completely opaque and a threatening looking beer.

S - A deep, roasty, burnt maltiness that smacks you in the face. Scents of espresso and a little bit of chocolate and nuts. Tends to fade a bit as you drink it

T - A very intense flavor. Carries a burnt/smoked maltiness to it. Brings a bite of alcohol that is almost too much to make a good balance. Has a level of bitterness that really makes this beer. Without it, I don't think it would be nearly as good.

M - An almost foamy feel to it. Very thick and heavy. A good balance of carbonation and an explosion of flavor in the back of your mouth that is simply great. Leaves a chocolately mocha aftertaste with a sweet finish, but tends to be a little thick and sticky. The alcohol brings out the nutty/espresso flavors.

D - An outstanding Imperial Stout, and definitely not an all day beer. Something to kick back and relax on a special occasion, like thanksgiving or christmas! A great beer for those that love chocolate/espresso and don't mind a beer that bites back.

Photo of californiakulak
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I poured a bottle of this beer into a Firestone pint glass.

A. Beautiful dark brown in color, almost black. The head was a light brown color. It looked creamy and lasted a good amount of time.

S. It had a strong roasted malt aroma. It also had some coffee scents. Perhaps some dark chocolate as well.

T. Roasted malts and alcohol. Very good tasting beer. Some sweetness and a little dark chocolate as well.

M. Warming alcohol and a little bitterness. A full bodied creamy like feeling comes with this beer.

D. Average drinkability. It is pretty heavy and I couldn't see myself having many more than one at a sitting. Also the abv would get you if you had too many.

Photo of portia99
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a Bruery tulip.

A - Pours an opaque black with a finger of mocha colored head. Head is a touch on the loose side and dies down after about a minute to a nice collar and some islands of bubbles in the middle.

S - Some coffee, creamy and roasty. Some fruityness and touch of sugar and brown sugar in the aroma too.

T - Full of coffee, a good amount of alcohol, a bit of prunes. Lots of dark roasted malts, bakers chocolate, bitterness from the malt and alsosome hoppy bitterness too. Overall, a a slightly sweet impression left behind, caramelly, brown sugary and refined sugar. Very well balanced.

M - Good mouthfeel, medium bodied and a little bit thick on the tongue. A touch oily and slippery on the tongue. Not as thick as some other RIS's out there. Carbonation is medium - gives a creamy impression and a lingering tingle in the center of the tongue after the swallow.

D - Very well balanced RIS. Plenty of dark roasted flavors and dark fruits and lots of hops to balance. Not hoppy at all, but enough there to offset the sweetness from the malts. 9.0% alcohol is hidden quite well...makes this one a bit dangerous.

Very, very good RIS...challenging the Stone RIS as my favorite "everyday" RIS..

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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 10,804 ratings.