1. Extreme Beer Fest tickets go on sale Sat, Sep 27 @ Noon EDT.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

9,692 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,692
Reviews: 3,351
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 10.23%
Wants: 292
Gots: 1,233 | FT: 38
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 9,692 | Reviews: 3,351 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dancinwillie
4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first review, so here goes:

appearance: dark black, with an off white head that drops to 1/8 inch, and stays put.

smell: chocolate, roasted grains, maybe a hint of alcohol, but not overwhelming.

taste: pretty much as in the nose, without much of the alcohol coming through. Nice and chewy, maybe some oatmeal, or other head grains. Good balance between bitter, and sweet. I could drink a few of these, and not feel like I'd overdone it.

Overall, a fine example of the style, and another fine beer from North Coast.

dancinwillie, Jul 12, 2006
Photo of tfp4268
1.55/5  rDev -64%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I know this beer gets rave reviews, however...

I have enjoyed other RIS's but this one is just plain ugh.

It looks good enough, very dark brown, almost black, ruby around the edge against a light. Nice brown two finger head, goes down to a pretty lace after a while.

Smell is a little strange, very fruity, but not much else.

Taste...ARRRGH! Fruit and alcohol, kinda like Boone's Farm or something. Yuck!

Mouthfeel is as it should be, kinda thick, but not really thick.

Drinkability Well...I bought four of these, and have managed to choke down two, but the other two are probobly destined for the trash hopper.

Like I said, I have enjoyed other RIS's before, Sam Smith's is my fave, but I think Old Rasp is a little high on the ABV at 9%. It makes it too heavy more my taste buds to handle.

tfp4268, Jul 11, 2006
Photo of TheBeerWolf
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Between this and Stone Russian Stout I am now a fan of the this style. The beer pours like black crude. Thick and dark with creamy tan head. Smelling immeditely after opening the bottle I definately get a smell of smoke, chocolate, and malt. The taste is slightly bitter at first but then goes on to sweet smokiness. Hints of smoked almonds and a bit of coco. You can definately taste the alcohol in the background. Moutfeel is not bad at all either. I prefer Stone Russian Stout by just a hair because the Russian Stout has just a tiny but more alcohol bite which I prefer. But don't get me wrong I would drink either happily. The drinkability is a tiny bit better with Old Rasputin but some of that might be because it comes in smaller bottles so its a little more cold then having a 22 of Stone sitting there getting warm.

TheBeerWolf, Jul 10, 2006
Photo of andrewm190
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is quite the beer. The Abv is one of the most intense experiences one will have with this beer. The benefit (besides the obvious) is that having such a high abv encourages the drinker to drink at a moderate pace and thus enjoy the taste that the beer has to offer. I am a big fan of the darker beers and this one is one of my new favorites.
The smell is unique and powerful.
The taste is strong and more complex than simply a high abv content. there are two distinct tastes with an underlying chocolaty taste.
The mouthfeel is very nice. the alcohol does tend to make its presence felt a little bit, but the beer leaves a nice coating in the aftertaste.
Its a drinkable beer; its a little intense.

andrewm190, Jul 08, 2006
Photo of Poser
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked this one up in Atlanta.

Appearance: Darkest beer I've seen so far. I held it up to a 100W bulb and couldn't see anything. Has a good, dark head.

Smell: Very chocalate-like with strong aromas of expresso and malts.

Taste: The malts hit you like a brick. It tastes a lot like a chocolate expresso. The aftertaste stays with you for a very long time.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied

Drinkability: It's hard to drink more than one in a single sitting. High ABV and full body makes you want a glass of water.

Overall, I was very impressed with this stout. I would recommend it to anyone. It's is probably the best RIS I've had so far for taste and smell.

Poser, Jul 06, 2006
Photo of fank2788
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I would like to start by saying that this is my first russian imperial stout so I don't have anything to compare this beer to but I'll do my best.
I poured this from the bottle into a glass and was really impressed with the deep black color, it has only a hint of ruby hues if you hold it up to a light. The head is a dark khaki tan that laces the glass nicely. The smell is really complex roasted and chocolate malts dominate. The first couple of sips present a bitterness that seems almost overwhelming but this soon mellows out once you become used to it and then you can really taste the chocolate malt flavors. Despite the high alcohol content the alcohol isn't that noticable but the beer does have a nice warming quality. I don't know if I would want to try drinking more than one in a sitting just because of the really powerful flavor but it is definitely one i'll buy again.

fank2788, Jul 01, 2006
Photo of Orrshow
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This Stout is as black as they come with a plentiful amount of tan head. It stays reasonably well on the top and leaves some lacing.

Smell – Strong roasted malts on the nose to begin. There is some chocolate, toasted coffee bean, alcohol, and earthiness as well. A good effect which makes me anxious to sip.

Taste – Very roasted malt and burnt wood flavors kick you right in the ass when you take a sip of this. There is more coffee flavor than I expected from the smell which is pretty nice. I can taste slight amounts of chocolate as well along with a pleasant bitterness. A very slight hint of prunes arises as well. On top of it all alcohol makes itself known in a nice warm way. This beer tastes excellent.

Mouthfeel – A decent mouthfeel. Carbonation was slightly high but I could get over that because this one was nice and creamy.

Drinkability – Great. I had an easy time here.

This is a robust and balanced ale which I’m glad to have acquired. Makes me want to try more of this style in a huge way.

Orrshow, Jun 29, 2006
Photo of MSchae1017
4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was tasted in a imperial pint glass from a bottle.

This beer pours jet black with a creamy tan head that holds amazingly well the whole way down the glass and leaves some impressive lace. The smell is sweet roasted and dark chocolate malts. A very nice very strong flavor. The taste is also great. Fully of dark roasted malts and chocolate malts. There is a great sweetness to this beer which is immediately balanced by some huge bitterness. The mouthfeel is exceptional. This can be described as chewey and creamy. Just fantastic. Overally Highly drinkable. A fantastic RIS.

And as I close I wanted to give you this quote from Seinfeld "The Suicide"

If you named a kid Rasputin do you think that would have a negative effect on his life?

...not in this case

MSchae1017, Jun 26, 2006
Photo of 51mmz0rz
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Totally black, nice foamy tan head. Some lacing.

S: Complex malt roastyness, sweetness, and some alcohol.

T: Malts up front, real bitter hoppy aftertaste, followed by roasty malts (coffee and chocolate are defiantly there) that linger.

M: Moderate carbonation and pretty full mouthfeel.

D: The bitterness seems to build here, and the high abv makes it tough to drink more than one.

Not a big fan of the hoppy bitterness, but the coffee and chocolate flavors that jump out are delicious.

51mmz0rz, Jun 24, 2006
Photo of msubulldog25
4.68/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer twice today, once on-tap at a restaurant (too cold, served in a pint glass), once at home (warmer 12 oz. bottle poured to pint glass). Reviews would be similar, tho at home was the better version: warmer = more taste & aroma.

A: Almost perfectly black, with the faintest hints of copper red at the edges. One finger light tan-colored head. A beautiful stout.

S: Rich coffee and chocolate, grows more intense the warmer the beer gets.

T: The chocolate and coffee are here with a definite lingering sweetness. Heavy bittering hops initially which evolve into the sweeter flavors. Alcohol warming and fruit flavors come out with warming. A decadent group of well-balanced flavors.

M: Medium/full body. Slightly thick & heavy for a stout. Lingering bittersweetness. Mild carbonation.

D: So delicious, worthy of more than one. A sipping beer due to higher abv, but a beer I could (and did) have more than one of.

msubulldog25, Jun 23, 2006
Photo of Erdinger2003
4.8/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Westmalle trappist piece of stemware.

It pours out a small fluffy head that has a wonderfull lacing. Also a jet black color that is traditional of Russian Imperial Stouts.

It smells like coffee and dark cocoa and a little sweet. A sweet licorice and fruitiness that are just great. I believe I smell black currants which were described in the Dark Lord, but I have not had any before.

The taste is sweet and bitter at the same time with spiciness. Coffee (expresso), licorice, dark fruit, and flowery hops are all flavors that hit me very nicely.

Mouthfeel is very nice and smooth, smooth and a little creamy feel is in it.

I am glad this is now in Roots, because I will wish to have it at least once a month, very nice.

Erdinger2003, Jun 22, 2006
Photo of instrumentality
4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a thick brown-black with three fingers of creamy brown head that settled into a thin pool of lace of various shades of white and brown.

The odor conjured images of chocolate malt with a shot of espresso.

The smells translated well to my palate, somewhat bitter with the added flavor of red wine.

Initial mouthfeel seemed a bit chalky, oddly enough, but intensity-wise, it was pretty mellow with only a slight burn of alcohol and minimal carbonation. The aftertaste was just a bit too strong and coating, a bitter mix of espresso and red wine.

I was disappointed to find that this brew smelled better than it tasted--not that the taste was bad, but I expected more. To take a more positive spin on this, for an RIS, it's well balanced and fairly easy to drink.

I'll probably save the last couple bottles of my four-pack and let them age a bit. I have a feeling a little time will make this one a real treat.

instrumentality, Jun 22, 2006
Photo of gbarron
4.6/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a squatty 12 oz. bottle, no dating.

A - very, very dark and black but not quite opaque. When held up to direct light, deep ruby and amber hues emerge. Head is very thick and tight, lightly tan and creamy like froth on coffee.

S - rich smell of roasted grains, nuts, coffee beans. Backed up by firm earthy hop aroma, English hops. Hints of alcohol. Smells like a stout.

T - I have rarely given out 5's, but this one deserves it in the taste category. Rich and very complex. Initial malt sweetness like bitter, dark chocolate mixed with licorice, espresso, dark fruits, followed by assertive hop bitterness and earthy hop flavor. Extremely well balanced beer. Warming aftertaste of alcohol. Lots of different flavors bouncing around in my mouth on this one.

M - very, very smooth and silky despite alcohol content. Very full bodied mouthfeel, but not overwhelming. Alcohol is slightly warming. Carbonation is moderate to low. Slightly sweet finish.

D - amazing brew, give it a try. Despite higher alcohol and full body, I could drink several of these in an evening and not tire of it.

gbarron, Jun 20, 2006
Photo of Liquids
3.9/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks delicious, dark black with a red-brown hue peeking out from the bottom of the glass, with a massive, bubly and creamy head that is comparable to the color of, say, wheat bread, for lack of a better comparative. Smells like an american variation on the grassy english ale aroma--more piney and resinous--but the aroma is rather gentle for an imperial stout. Hmm. More like a straght ahead stout. The taste is malty and focused, with a charred finish that tastes, again, mostly like a standard stout. This may have some time on it, in which case, considering style, this is how it would taste after reaching Russia. The expectedly intense hops have mellowed out I think, comparing it to when I had it fresh on tap months prior. The hops again are american, piney, and slightly floral even. Mouthfeel is medium and well- or possibly over- carbonated. Stout like in feel, not as heavy as anticipated, but not light either. Overall, I am not a fan of the hop profile here. Nor do I love the less than smooth, charred malts that acompany it in the finish. This is a very good beer, but it is not the best of style. Tastes more like an american stout than an imperial stout, but it somehow hides the 8% well. I love the label and russian phrases. North Coast is consistently good, despite brewing beers that don't personally appeal to my palate enough to be my pick as favorites given their style. Drinking this left me dreaming of Storm King, which I find delicious both on tap and in the bottle, while this was absolutely better on tap.

Liquids, Jun 16, 2006
Photo of JBStith
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Rasputin. I've had it in both bottle and draft, but bottle most recently. As I remember, it wass slightly better on draft. However, this is an exceptional beer regardless of serving type.

A: Dark like crude oil with nice tan head. Initial head is about 1/4 inch with slight retention and lacing.

S: Acrid smell of dark roasted coffe and black patent malts.

T: Similar to smell. Great roasted, coffee and acrid flavors supported by slight malt and good bitterness. Alcohol was not readily noticeable, but became more apparent as the beer warmed up. Became slightly sweeter as well.

M: Mouthfeel was not too heavy, though heavier than most regular stouts.

D: Due to high alchol content, I don't recommend drink more than 1-2 of these per session. However, very drinkable from a flavor and body point of view.

Overall, a very nice example of Russian Imperial Stout. I will have this again and recommend it to others, esopecially stout fans. Great beer!

JBStith, Jun 15, 2006
Photo of DuqTroops
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - very dark beer. could not see through it at all.

Smell - lots of coffee, chocolate and hops/malt complexities.

Taste - great tasting stout! perfect balance with all of the previous complexities.

Mouthfeel - good night cap.

Drinkability - night cap beer!

DuqTroops, Jun 12, 2006
Photo of rtratzlaff
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

06/07/06
A: 1/2" tan head composed of very tiny bubbles dissipates and leaves an island of head that floats in the glass for a good while. Black body with miniscule amounts of ruby light slivers coming through the edges.

S: Sweet ripe fruit, banana, raisin

T: Dark chocolate and coffee grinds, raisin-like sweetness, finishes with the bitterness of dark/espresso roasted coffee

M: Thick barleywine-like mouthfeel

D: This is a slow drinking beer. Slowly sip and enjoy.

Wish I had this a few months back during the cold weather. I'll have to revisit this next winter.

rtratzlaff, Jun 08, 2006
Photo of moklett
3.95/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark black with an almost purple tinge and 3 fingers of caramel-colored head. Smells of coffee, caramel, and grapes (reminds me of something like a shiraz from the wine world). Tastes unlike it smells. I taste wood and oak, although the coffee and caramel is still present. High marks for mouthfeel - it is creamy and lingers nicely. The alcohol is masked nicely - especially at first - but it becomes more present as the beer warms. Overall, a nice representation of the style but not astounding.

moklett, Jun 08, 2006
Photo of Lupin
4.88/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My third tasting of this brew. 12oz bottle kept at standard fridge temperature. Rasputin's hypnotic techniques have reined me in. I love this brew, but I can only take one in at a time.

Pours an utterly opaque black coffee. I violently throw the last 5 ounces or so in to coax out a 1"+ roasted sandy head. Minor lacing at the top of the glass. Easily the best smelling brew I have ever sampled.

The taste is utterly dominated by a raw, dark chocolate. There is no other way to describe it. It even leaves the same dry feeling on your tongue that a bar of any dark chocolate will provide. Bitter bitter bittersweet.

I wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who likes beer and coffee or beer and chocolate of any type. I warned my dad, who loves dark chocolate, that he'd better drink the bottle I offered him that night or else it was liable to disappear from the fridge. My willpower is such that the same bottle has just been reviewed.

Lupin, Jun 08, 2006
Photo of Bitterbill
4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle a pitch black(with reddish tones) having a fairly large head of foam that dissipated slowly leaving just a fine layer.

The smell is of roasted barley with some malty sweetness and notes of coffee.

The taste is huge! Lots of roasted barley, chocolate, and coffee with some grain and a bit of anise. Very very complex and very rewarding to my taste buds. I've had this one a few times in the past and it never fails to impress me with its flavour and how well it hides the rather substantial 9%abv.

Bottom line: This is a world class sample of the style that is a *must* to try.

Bitterbill, Jun 07, 2006
Photo of nectarkeeper
3.63/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Old Rasputin on tap at the Brickstore on a lazy tuesday afternoon.
this beast of a beer poured out velvety, greasy, dark and mysterious, with a tannish head that held up all the way down to the last sip.

i found marshmallows and smoke in the front, with burnt dark chocolate and dried dark fruits going down. halfway in, the dark-fruit character really took over, still laced with that nice bitter-burnt tingle. overall, really nicely balanced and totally enjoyable, but slow drinking with that thick-as-night mouthfeel...and one was plenty!

nectarkeeper, Jun 04, 2006
Photo of mmmbeer
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally reviewing this beer. This was one of my first better beers (before I was a BA) and I have tried it since both in the bottle and on-tap, and even have one aging, but somehow haven't reviewed it. 12 oz. stubby with no freshness date. It pours almost black with a quarter-inch of light brown head that reduces to a collar and doesn't leave much lacing. It smells of big, dark roasted malts, cocoa, chocolate, blackberry, and chocolate-covered cherries. It tastes like coffee, dark, unsweet chocolate, and lots of hops (green, piney, leafy, oily, maybe citric) that contribute a big bitterness. The beer has a good balance, with lots of malts and hops, on top of a medium to thick body that leaves a very long finish. A great beer that I will always come back to revisit.

mmmbeer, Jun 01, 2006
Photo of elricorico
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours quite dark with a strong redness to it. In the glass it appears black, and keeps up a creamy tan head. More head retention than I expect from a high alcohol beer of this style. Lacing left everywhere.

My nose detects alcohol and an almost burnt malt aroma. Bitter chocolate and charcoal. Coffee bean becomes more and more prevelant the warmer the beer gets.

Smooth into the mouth, this is fairly sweet overall. Dark roasted coffee flavour with a hint of vanilla. Finishes with a bit of charcoal and alcohol, warming the throat all the way to the belly. Alcohol is not overdone though, it feels very appropriate.

This beer is relatively thick and carbonation is low. Both good for the style, but nothing extraordinary here.

Quite nice, perhaps my favourite of the Imperial Stouts I've had. One more thank you to orrshow for giving me the bottle.

elricorico, May 29, 2006
Photo of Fish113d
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pouring into a tulip glass from a bottle a bit chilled, it pours a black color with a brown, dense 1/4" surface layer that sat on top of the brew for most of the tasting.

Aroma leads on a bit of black liquorice (sp.); roasty chocolate aromas also are prominent. A decent amount of alcohol hits my sinuses as well. A slight oak aroma also.

Sipping, it reveals a lot of roasty nuttiness (almonds) w/ dark baker's chocolate. Lots of coffee w/ a dry oak barrel flavor also seems to come across my palate. On the finish, I sense a bit of the black liquorice flavor i was smelling just a few minutes earlier.

Mouthfeel is overall, nicely balanced. Carbonation is nice; very drying finish. A bit of alcohol on my palate; huge body!

Overall, the hype around this one is well deserved. At 9%, I know I can't drink as much as I'd like to, but this is a great sipping brew!

Fish113d, May 28, 2006
Photo of jetfanzee
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Liquid Midnight in the glass. No light gets through this dark black pour. About half an inch of foamy tan head that slowly melts into a ring around the glass, nice lacing as you drink.

S: Strong coffee, dark chocolate, and a slight licorice smell on first sniff. Maybe some toffee but just a hint.

T: Sweetness as this beauty first hits the tongue, but the bitterness of the hops stops it from being overwhelming. Slight alcohol burn in the back of the throat along with the hops leaves your mouth calling for the next sip.

M: A little thinner than I would have thought from the color and head. Also a little more carbonation than I usually like, but it helps cut through the sweet start.

D: This beer definitely wants to travel in groups! One just won't do it. I don't know if I want this all night, but 2 after a hard day will definitely take the edge off. Overall Highly enjoyable, and a great way to end a tough day or a great meal.

jetfanzee, May 26, 2006
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 9,692 ratings.