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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - North Coast Brewing Co.

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

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10,794 Ratings

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Ratings: 10,794
Reviews: 3,511
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 10.23%
Wants: 416
Gots: 1,927 | FT: 52
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: 10,794 | Reviews: 3,511
Photo of erikm25
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a straight dense darkness like liquefied licorice. Head is a ravened almond and dark caramel brown complexion. Solid one and a half fingers. As thick as it is creamy. First rate retention. Charred speckled mahogany bubbles wrap around the glass. Sits in the glass like hell and heaven.

S: Roasted chocolates, nuts, and toffee candy. Dizzying caramel nose with hints of vanilla and molasses. Toasted and blistered quality with each smell. Delicious aromas do justice to the impressive appearance. Dark cherries dipped in melted dark chocolate and topped on to honey biscuits.

T: Immediately what stands out about this beer and makes me an instant fan is the hops component. I found this to be tilted more on the hops side than other offerings from this style. Mocha and figs with huge blasts of cocoa powder. Strong malt backbone with delicious chocolate and roasted coffee tastes. Everything is smoked intensity. At 9% this drinks very easily which can either be a good thing or a bad thing. The only minor drawback is a metallic tinge which is hardly noteworthy.

M: Moderate body with decent carbonation. Enjoyed the bitter hops finish.

D: Picked up a four pack for about nine dollars and considering bombers of other RIS's go for upwards of seven bucks I found this to be a very solid deal (especially for the quality). This was one of the first, non macro, beers I tried and it was nice to see it hold up so amazingly. For the price and availability (being in the PNW) this is highly recommended and beyond drinkable. Rasputin was a trip, his beard was a trip, and this beer is a trip.

Photo of raoulduke37
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

You can find this at almost any decent liquor store in Southern CA, but not so much on tap, so this was a treat.

A - Dark, thick, stout, with creamy tan head that stays and stays.

S - Nice roasted malt, coffee, some chocolate.

T - Very nice ripe fruit coming through, with hints of Mexican hot chocolate (chocolate and cinnamon)

M - Smooth, creamy, definitely falls right in line for stout lovers such as myself.

D - Not a session beer, by any means. Sit back by the fire on a cold night with a couple of buddies.

Photo of bonkers
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a standard pint glass. It pours jet black with a thin tan head and lots of lacing. A very fragrant brew, with hints of licorice, chocolate and a hint of alcohol. The flavor is slightly bitter with hints of chocolate and booze. The finish is bitter and even a bit acidic. It is a full bodied sipper and damn enjoyable.

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

Old Rasputin is a dark beer that brought me to a bright appreciation of beer. When my friend first shared an old Rasputin with me a few months ago, I wasn't prepared for its complex notes of chocolate, oregano, coffee, and cherry. At first, I couldn't taste these flavors at all. However, I quickly came to appreciate them in a way that brought me closer to beer. I have long been able to describe the wines that I drink, but it took a very challenging beer to force me to see beer in the same way.

I'm glad that I did. On top of its complex flavor, this beer has a great aroma. Considerably lighter than its taste, its scent smoothly compliments its balanced taste. Its mouthfeel is silky and smooth without feeling particularly heavy for a stout beer.

This beer tastes great with intense fruit, bread, red meat, sweet and spicy foods (but not just sweet or just spicy), and creamy saucy food. Don't try it with anything that isn't as balanced as this drink though.

Photo of trbergman
3.61/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A - Deep coffee brown body with a one-finger tan head.

S - Milk chocolate, figs, hints of coffee with cream.

T - Roasted grain, coffee, chocolate, moderate bitterness. Some unfortunate metallic taste that lessens as it warms.

M - Round and full-bodied with moderate carbonation.

D - It's not a bad beer, but there are better Imperial stouts out there.

Photo of Rchap1
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the bottle to a straight-sided pint glass.

A: Black, black black. Almost oily. Not too thick of a head (think the color of those brown Carhartt pants), but it laced wonderfully and stuck around to the last sip.

S: You can definitely smell the alcohol in this one. I'd say that's the dominant smell, but there's coffee and malt there too. Maybe a tiny hint of orange too.

T: This is pretty much what I rate the flavor of other RIS's from. My standard, if you will. Pretty boozy, and the kind of flavor that makes you shudder a little bit. I love it! The finish is full of coffee and bitter chocolate.

M: Very, very full mouthfeel. Pretty light on the carbonation, but it's very full.

D: Be careful with this one, 'cause it'll knock you on your ass. I can handle maybe two of these in a sitting, but it's almost a challenge. It's such a powerful beer that it can be tough to hve more than one sometimes.

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

Pours none more black with a thick and creamy tan head. Leaves a ton of lacing. Simply beautiful.

Smells strongly of coffee and chocolate. Hop presence found in the taste doesn't have much place here.

Tastes of..coffee, chocolate, and a nice bitter hoppy finish. This is definitely a hop-forward stout.

Thick bodied and medium carbonation with a warming sensation.

Very good, very easy to find, but as it warms the hops tend to overtake the other flavors making it more difficult to drink as I prefer hops take a backseat if any seat in my stouts.

Photo of mgmvh
4.57/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

smell: one word- amazing. no beer has invited me more to try its bubbly goodness than this. cocoa, caramel, espresso, and hints of its alcohol. So its the best beer ever....good times! Definatly good times.
Appearance: very nice and dark color, very attractive.
Taste: yummy...period. very intence, brings out a lot of espresso flavors. Can't even describe in words. Recommend to just try it for yourself!
Drinkability: like I said above...very yummy! Try, definatly try this one..you'll be amased!

Photo of FirstMan
3.9/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

I've had this beer in lots of different ways - on tap, in bottle, and most recently, on nitro tap. This is a very different beer in those three modes, I think. Bottle I would rate the worst, then normal tap, then nitro-tap. Thus, I'm reviewing the nitro-tap version here:

A: Black like black. Black black black. Like black, blackly. Blackiest blackity black. Head is light cocoa. Very distinct difference between the head the liquid once the nitro pour settles given the color of said liquid, which is, how to say... black.

S: Distinct hop presence in the nose, but not nearly as prevalent in the nitro pour as in the normal tap version. Non-nitro, I remember being a little scared of this one upon smelling because there were wicked strong hop and roasted chocolate notes. Almost cindery notes. These are there in the nitro pour, but not nearly as ... loudly.

T: This beer does not mess around. It will hunt you down in the dead cold of winter, shoot you, and dump you in the river, standing there while you slip under the ice. It will then go and make love to your sister. It will remain unshaven through all that. That said, on nitro, it will shave. It will also perhaps give you a nice fur hat to wear before all that. Huge biting hop bitterness and full roasted, smokey malt with big coffee and chocolate tongue anvils.

M: On nitro, surprisingly creamy and full given my experience with this being a dryer, more abrupt beer when on tap normally.

D: It's probably just me, but I can't really drink more than one of these at a sitting. I could, but it's just a bit much.

Overall a delicious beer and one of the better Imperial Stouts out there, imho, but the style is not of great drinkability to me.

Photo of gpogo
4.29/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Black body with a dark cream colored head. Large head after pour dissipates to a small foamy covering and leaves a small lacing.

A- Very complex aroma. Fruity esters along with a perfume like aroma mixing the fruitiness and hops. Malt aroma behind this fruitiness brings forward a roasty chocolate aroma. I get almost a slight mintiness.

T- Quite a bitter monster of a beer. Incredible spicy bitterness that is definitely felt in my mouth. Lots of roasted malt flavors and chocolate coffee flavors that stick around into the aftertaste.

M- Full bodied beer, but it's incredibly smooth despite the bitterness. Moderate carbonation.

D- This is quite an aggressive stout, almost a meal in a bottle. I highly recommend trying this beer out.

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

Well named beer for a Russian Imperial Stout. By far the most impressive beer I have had from the North Coast Brewing Co. There other beers lack the power of this black brewdoo.

A: Coal-black, a dense cloud of oil, with a mocha whipped 5 cm head.

S: Dark Coffee chocolate like roast, the person next to you could smell it. The smell alone indicated a serious beer, a whisper of alcohol.

T: Instant taste bud erections, the taste lives up to the smell, a dark roasted coffee in front, with a dry roasted door prize in the back. You get a glimpse of the alcohol in the back of your throat, but is never astringent or harsh, nice warming effect.

M: Medium-Heavy, still born , negligible carbonation.

D: Minnesota winters beckon you to buy this thing. Very affordable, one big beer that appears to have lots of distribution. Will purchase another 4-pack sometime.

Photo of ricke
3.96/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving date: 2009-01-16. Served in snifter.

Presentation: 355 ml bottle with nice, and quite freaky, artwork on the label: A picture of one of history's most enigmatic and mythical persons, Grigorij Rasputin, surrounded by a quote in Russian (haven't been able to figure out what it says, though).

Appearance: The pour is jet-black with a 2 cm brown head that settles rather quickly, leaving a brown coat over the beer. Small but thick lacings sticks to the glass. I love how the beer reacts when I swirl the glass, it just keeps reproducing a small but dense coat of brown foam.

Smell: A very prominent character of roasted barley. Aromas of coffee and dark chocolate are there as well. The smell is slightly bitter as well. Overall, this one has a rather sharp and robust profile, regarding smell.

Taste: A big and bold taste of roasted barley is coupled with bitter chocolate and notes of coffee. Some sweet flavors are present to. It has a significant hop character, with a nice and sweet malty background. The finish is a nice mixture of bitter hops and sweet chocolate. It hides the alcohol very well, considering its strength.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, full-bodied and medium carbonation.

Drinkability: This is one big imperial stout. A very good beer with a powerful and aggressive profile, pleasant aromas and nicely balanced flavors. Highly recommended.

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

Rasputin has been my 'go-to' imperial stout for quite some time now. With regard to the style, it is probably the best deal I've ever found.

This bottle comes from yet another 4-pack purchased at the Davis Co-op for $6.49, however other merchants have begun pricing it at $6.99 to $7.99.

Rasputin fills its namesake nonic glass nearly perfectly, an inch-thick head settling close to the brim. Pouring it, you can see that it isn't quite as opaque as many other 'big' stouts. After several minutes the head recedes to perhaps a 1mm thick coating, with heavy lacing now filling the head's place.

Imagine opening a package of gourmet dark chocolate and taking a good sniff of the wrapper. That's probably the best way I can describe Rasputin's strongest olfactory contribution. Heavy notes of dark chocolate, dark berries, plums, roasted grains, and a just a hint of anise. [EDIT: Since the minor label change that took place around November '08, the amount of anise on the nose seems to have increased significantly.] I'm in awe that such an inexpensive beer can smell so damn good.

My handy little thermometer (in true beer-geek style) is showing 56°F (286° K). Right where I like it. The first sip sends tons of adjectives flying at me, and I find myself torn between typing what I'm experiencing or taking another sip.

Be with you in a moment.

Alright, I'm back. Can you say hops? I think this may be what sets Rasputin apart... few other examples of the style allow for such a perfect marriage of hops with traditional imperial stout characteristics. It is the IPA drinker's Imperial Stout.

Chocolate and mouthfuls of hops are the order of the day here, but the finish is filled with coffee and cola syrup. Malt backbone is right where it should be: just enough to remind you that it's there.

Carbonation is just about perfect, and the velvety smoothness leaves the tongue with just the right amount of residual bitterness and fizz.

While a favorite, Old Rasputin is not the best imperial stout I've ever had. That said, its drinkability is unmatched. I could drink this one all night (and have, on many occasions).

With that, it looks like it's time for me to refill my glass.

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

10 month old cellared bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Dark chocolate, mahogany color that seems relatively clear despite the darkness. Dark brown still, thick head that has great retention and slowly receding streaks of brown lacing.
S: Sharp, slightly medicinal bitter chocolate aroma with light coffee and strong hop aroma.
T: Rich, bitter coffee and chocolate flavors with a heavy helping of dark fruits (plum, etc). Strong hop flavor still persists in the finish. A dry, sweeter chocolaty flavor persists long into the finish.
M: Full, lightly carbonated body, fills the mouth and is very light and smooth.
D: Exceptional, no hint of alcohol anywhere in this beer. One of my favorite RISs, especially at price and availability. Comparable to Storm King, but I think I prefer this.

Photo of ncstateplaya
3.95/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: As dark as used motor oil, when poured into a glass a golden brown head erupts but receeds to a nice wispy cap of the surface. In line with the head, the lacing was minimal (would have rated higher if the head held up, possibly my glass???).

Smell: I thought the nose was dominated by roasted nuts with hints of coffee. There is a little bitterness that is pleasing to the nose. The alcohol is masked, but can be found with deep breaths.

Taste: Bitter, but contained. Slights flavors of coffee accompany the hoppy bitterness. Creamy malts create a nice backbone. The finish is characterized by biscuity flavors and coffee. The alcohol goes surprisingly undetected.

Mouthfeel: It is lighter bodied than I had expected, but still nice. It has moderately high carbonation, and stays lively in the mouth. Nice and smooth with a coating effect throughout the mouth.

Drinkability: I would have to say this isn't the most enjoyable nor tastiest RIS I have had. But I will point out that it is a very drinkable beer that I could solely enjoy for the evening, albeit it would be a short evening at 9%.

Photo of Bootscraper
4.31/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

At another board this beer was talked about and raved up and down for some time. I just thought it was awesome that it pays tribute to Rasputin.
Served a little bit over 50 degrees F in pint glass listening to The Best of Mountain.
Pours like motor oil, and looks like motor oil in the glass. Seriously, this thing is as black as 4-chan's humor and opaque even when held right beside a light bulb. Beautiful. A 2 cm bubbly (but very creamy) very tan head sprung up, and briefly continued to rise after the pour. After a good 5 minutes, it had shrunk to just a thin layer, and stayed that way for a good while down the glass. The lacing was pretty steady, and clung on for dear life, not going anywhere for quite some time. For as much as this beer was hyped up, I was honestly expecting a little bit more impressive head, so at this point I'm wondering what I did wrong.
The smell was modest, yet what was there was robust. I had the Thelonious Monk beer by this same brewery, and they both had the same "barbecue" smell to it. I'm assuming now that it is roasted malt. There is also some cappuccino right behind it.
The taste, unsurprisingly, is a very roasted, charred one. It progresses towards the finish, along with some dark fruit flavors. Throughout the entirety of each sip, that creamy coffee is slightly present, as well as alcohol. The alcohol actually blends with the flavors nicely though, so it is hidden quite nicely. At most, it puts up a slight sting in the back of your throat at the swallow, but it mostly just translates to a pleasantly warming feeling. If nothing else, it comes off as a very dark chocolate (at least in the after-taste).
The mouth-feel is pretty darn smooth, considering how upfront and robust this beer is in general. It's also fairly full-bodied, and I enjoy the low carbonation levels and yet there is a very slight tingly feeling to accent this nicely. This is pretty damn syrupy as well, at least for a stout... though I understand that this particular style is supposed to be quite sticky from the addition of much more malt.
In all, I guess this is quite drinkable if you enjoy a beer of this style on this caliber. I'm in my second and determining that this would be best accompanied with a rich dinner, but I am having no trouble sipping through this.

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

A - Incredibly dark brown to black with a fluffy mocha head. Head lasts quite a while and simmers to a nice 1/8-inch lace on top. Great sticky lacing on the sides of the glass as drank.

S - Espresso, dark chocolate, and roasted malt all at once like a slap in the face. Boozy alcohol when I really stick my nose in and take a good long whiff.

T&M - I taste the espresso off the bat and then chased by the roasted malt and finally with a nice twinge of dark chocolate in the aftertaste. Nicely balanced in these flavors and none of these overpowers the other, rather compliments each other. A bit of a thick brew with a sticky mouthfeel. The alcohol is warming and not as noticable as I expected. The alcohol seems to meld into the flavors as the beer warms.

D - Such a great sipping beer and nice to drink. It would be hard to drink more than two of these in one night as you have to sip and savor this or the alcohol will knock you out.

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

I am new to imperial stouts.

Poured into my spielgelau snifter from 12 oz. bottle.

A - A quarter shade above black. Garnet hues on the edges. Thin head that retains a ring, and decent lacing.

S - Coffee, Chocolate, lime, Cherries, Tire store rubber.

T - Coffee. Coffee. Espresso. Mocha. Also other flavors of fruit like lime. Chocolate. Coffee. More coffee.

M - Yum and soft.

D - This is the kind of beer that makes me feel like a beer virgin, all over again.

Photo of Baileyuk
4.34/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Very dark Brown, almost black appearance. Head poured well, faded fairly fast but held a faint head throughout. Slight redness in the appearance. Lacing was minimal.

S - Very sweet aroma and roasted malts. Alcohol presence is forewarned in the aroma also.

T - Very sweet, with BIG roasted malts. Alcohol is very present but not unpleasant. Slight coffee and chocolate comes off also.

M - Thick full bodied and creamy texture. Flavors hang on the tongue for a while. Carbonation is a perfect medium to low, goes very nicely.

D - For a 9% imperial stout it is very drinkable. A little sweet for more than one or two. That said this beer is probably not meant for too many more in one go.

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

Poured a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Dark, dark brown with very nice, light tan head that had great retention for it's style.

Sweet malty smell with beautiful roasted coffee hints.

Full, rich flavor of roasted malts. Lots of coffee and chocolate with a little fruitiness. Almost wish there was just a little more bitterness, but this really is almost perfect.

Not really thick, just a great creamy mouthfeel.

I don't know if I could find a more "drinkable" RIS. I really want to find this on draught now.

Photo of sgraham4
4.92/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- beautifully dark black with a brown head that lace nicely on the glass

S- malty & sweet coffee notes

T- GREAT flavor- very full and rich with a nice maly character and a coffee taste that lingers wonderfully on the palate. reaaalllyy good

M- Nice and full

D- favorite Imperial Stout, hands down. Certainly a beer for any dark beer lover or any beer drinker alike!

Photo of WickedSluggy
4.74/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the best imperial stouts I have had.

A - Black except in edges of glass where it is dark brown. Foam is brown - not a lot of it.

S - Malty hoppy and coffee-like

T - Very good flavor - RICH and pleasing flavor roasted barley and hops - Roasted nuts and coffee. Balanced maltiness with bitter from both hops and roasted barley

M - Wooly and full bodied

D - A pleasant robust experience that makes me appreciate the potential of this style. If possible I will want to keep this one on hand.

Photo of beerorRIP
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap @ stuff yer face (from notes i remember taking on a phone that died)

a full pour into a standard pint glass revealed a black as night body. a dark brown 1 finger head crowned the glass, which eventually crept down. some sticky brown lace was hanging on the sides of the glass throughout.

smells like RIS... nice deep roasty barley, chocolates, some coffee (although not as much as others), and a whiff of alcohol. no noticable hop aroma.

the taste was soooo nice. rich and chocolatey. slight coffee and perhaps sweetness of a ripe fruit. bitter balanced well with the noticable malt character of the beer. the alcohol is really well hidden and only peaks out from under the covers when i rolled it around my mouth for a while. delicious.

not super thick, but a thick and creamy mouthfeel that is of course expected for the style. it does suit the flavors of the beer really well.

dangerous. that is the drinkability of this crazy old man. after one i started to feel it in my head and promptly got something to eat. the second one told me "you ain't gettin' away that easy" and made me feel quite relaxed.

overall, highly recommended! a great RIS that i overlooked for a long time... and do i regret that? yes.

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

I had the privilege of drinking this beer on nitro, so my opinions are a little skewed by the benefits of serving this kind of beer in that manner. First off, it looks fantastic. The head is full, looks sort of like chocolaty whipped cream with a sheen across its surface. Dark as night. Smells quite good, with a little bit of alcohol coming through roasty notes. Tastes even better than it smells: excellent maltiness, nice bitter finish, notes of anise, chocolate, and coffee.

The mouthfeel is really what did it for me, again, probably due to nitrogen. Exceptionally creamy, perfect level of carbonation. Avoided swallowing as long as I could bear...

Overall: great RIS, I highly recommend it. If you live in the Boston area, get over to Deep Ellum, where they have it on nitro consistently.

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

Wow, I have never seen a more beautiful, more appetizing beer then Old Rasputin on tap. Darkness with a perfect creamy head that resembles whip cream on hot chocolate.

Roasted aromas, chocolate and coffee.

I can tell this beer is on nitro, its almost like drinking an extremely flavorful Guiness, with all aspects enhanced. Very roasted, coffee, a little chocolate with a lingering creamy roasted aftertaste.

Absolutely amazing. Old Rasputin on Nitro is pretty much as good as it gets.

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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 10,794 ratings.