Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
Dismiss Notice
Join The Buzz! Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest BeerAdvocate updates delivered to your inbox.

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - North Coast Brewing Co.

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,511 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,511
Hads: 11,235
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 486
Gots: 2,279 | FT: 56
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.
View: Beers (25) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 3,511 | Hads: 11,235
Photo of Grunewald
3.76/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - poured from a 12oz bottle into a goblet. It pours black with a thick brown head.

S - dark chocolate, coffee beans

T - tart chocolate covered coffee beans and a hint of medicinal cherry

M - low carbonation, thick and smooth with a chalky finish

D - very heavy. Having just one of these to sip is good enough for me. The astringent cherry taste can be a bit strong at times and can carry into the finish. (410 characters)

Photo of IMincedTheKing
3.76/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours an opaque chocolate brown with a head like tightly packed brown sugar. Some bubbles can be seen crawling up the glass.

The smell is roasty and yeasty with some coffee and chocolate.

It tastes somewhat malty, but the rest of the flavors are overpowered by drying citric hops and a dominant aftertaste of chocolate. It feels thick and full in the mouth, almost like a milkshake.

A big bold beer, but I think it's a little too over-the-top (in flavor, mouthfeel, and ABV), to be extremely drinkable. (505 characters)

Photo of Klgkenny
3.76/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a transparent, thick glassed tumbler; medium aggressive pour.

Pour produced a medium sized tan head which receded after 2-3 minutes leaving behind spotty lacing. The beer is almost black. It does not let any light pass through.

Aroma of copper is most prominent, with secondary aromas of earth and charred wood.

Tastes of copper and earth. As it rolls around the mouth slight taste of hops and chocolate, just the barest of hints.

Feels like a lightly carbonated zero weight oil in the mouth.

This is a highly drinkable beer, but everything seems just a little short of bold. It's just one or two points outside of extraordinary. I wouldn't turn it down if it were free, but there has to be something better from the genre. (740 characters)

Photo of Stevedore
3.76/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Note: personal system uses whole numbers)

12oz bottle without bottling date poured into CCB snifter today 2/9/13.

Aroma: Not a particularly impressive nose- some toffee and caramel, a bit of burnt sugar. (3)

Colour: Pours a dark cola colour with a very nice 2cm brown head that sticks around for less than a minute. Lacing is very good, seductive even. (4)

Flavour: Follows the nose but much more forward. Starts off with a nice smoky maltiness, followed by the nose's toffee and caramel with some dark chocolate. The toffee dominates the finish. Very tasty but not superbly complex like some of the other RIS's can get to be. (4)

Mouthfeel: Nice thick body but closer to the medium range of the spectrum. Not particularly creamy but it isn't a BA stout. Carbonation is solid but doesn't particularly stand out. Aftertaste is a nice toffee bitterness which sticks around a while. It's a bit bitter for a stout, even a RIS. I find it interesting. (4)

Overall: A pretty good RIS, above average for the style. It would be nice if it had a better nose and wasn't as bitter to fit the style which would make it an even better brew. As it is, its year-round availability and price point makes it a very worthwhile purchase for anybody craving a shelf RIS. (4) (1,260 characters)

Photo of jettjon
3.76/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. A vigorous pour yields an utterly opaque “pitch brown” color with a huge, milk-chocolate brown head that fades away at a moderate pace. Heavy cap and plenty of clingy lace remain. This is certainly a fine looking stout. Nose is somewhat subdued with milk chocolate, cocoa, and sweet malt in evidence. Taste is bittersweet with biting hops and toasted malts complementing a dry, dark chocolate/powdery cocoa flavor. Bitterness is high, so if that’s your cup of tea, you should enjoy this. However, I am not a fan of highly bitter stouts, so this detracted for me. There are hints of dark fruit sweetness (cherries?) but it doesn’t do much to balance the bitterness. Despite 9% ABV, no real alcohol presence. Mouth seems a bit thin for a stout but thickens as the beer warms substantially past what I’d normally serve at (typically 50-55 degrees). Semi-syrupy-creamy with mild, smooth carbonation; just not as chewy as I’d prefer. Drinkability is merely OK for me; the bitterness just turns me off.

Overall: This is a highly rated imperial stout but obviously I was not as impressed as most people have been. It’s a great looking stout to be sure, but it’s seriously aligned toward the bitter end of the spectrum, which to me overwhelms the underlying flavor complexity. Definitely allow this one to warm up for maximum viscosity and mellowness. Certainly worth a try; I’m just not certain that it lives up to its reputation. Maybe I’ll try another batch next year. (1,515 characters)

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black as the night with a large, light tan head.
Nose is very rich with sweet chocolate, berries, cinnamon and a fair whack of grapefruit-like hops and woody characters.
Very similar flavours, lots more hops with grapefruit and resinous characters. Underneath is roasty malt, treacle and booze. Lots of booze. A bit too full on.
Carbonation could be a little bit higher. Body feels nicely syrupy. (402 characters)

Photo of n2185
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with four fingers of tan head that recedes into a thin ring with a little lacing.

S: Lots of bitter, roasted malts up front with some orange/citrusy notes from the hops. There are notes of creamy chocolate in there as well.

T: Lots and lots of roasted malts here with notes of dark, bitter chocolate and coffee. The hops provide some extra bitterness towards the finish and there is a decent alcohol burn. The bitterness lingers around after the finish.

M: Thick body with medium carbonation that accentuates the bitter notes of this beer.

O: Overall, a solid imperial stout and a nice value for its price. It's lacking in complexity, though, with the roasted malts and hops creating a bitterness that masks any subtleties. (743 characters)

Photo of iheartmyTHO
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Overall, not one of my favorite stouts. I guess it's because I prefer my stouts to have more of a chocolate or coffee taste to them. The Old Rasputin Stout reminded me more of a stout mixed with a nice Belgian Ale. It's still tasty, and the high alcohol content will give you a nice buzz. But I just didn't care for the fruit / raisin notes. (341 characters)

Photo of vacax
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Black with a mocha colored two finger head. Retention is up high and there is a good amount of lace as well. Looking in the bottle, it appears this is not bottle conditioned, and the head reflects this in terms of density.

Nose is full of cocoa, roasted malts, wine grapes, pear, and a dash of pepper. The smell is quite fruity and sweet, though the flavor is quite balanced in comparison. The initial taste is a mixture of chocolate and grape--not too sweet because the roast kicks in quickly on the midpalate to balance and neutralize the sweet qualities. Somewhat spicy as well, maybe a bit of leather in there, or perhaps shoe polish toward the end. Bitter roast on the finish with a chlorophyll tang and a final cookielike residual affect. Pretty good job of balanced sweet and roast flavors, though a few notes that were not completely harmonious in my book. Full bodied with a medium, slightly higher than average carbonation. Awkwardly sticky.

Given the fact I paid something like two bucks for a bottle of this instead of $6-10 for most other imperial stouts it is hard to find a leg to genuinely criticize the beer. It is good product for a more "every day" imperial stout. If I absolutely crave an imperial stout I could go for one of these, but it is not something I reach for much. (1,297 characters)

Photo of joshuadlight
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Deep dark black, thin off-white head that I expected to be bigger and darker. Not too much lacing to boot. But, it is one dark beer.

S - Cinnamon and roasted smokey malts. I was expecting a little more considering the style.

T - To me, taste is most important, and OR delivered. Chocolate, roasty malts, espresso, even the faint sweetness of marshmallows. It was full of strong flavors that we were not compromised in their individuality.

M - Pretty good for a stout. Rolled through the mouth pretty well. Not too sticky or thick.

D - I don't think I could handle 3-4 OR in a session. Too much going on with too much alcohol to contend with. Plus, I paid more than $3 a 12oz bottle for these things, which doesn't help the drinkability one bit. (752 characters)

Photo of huguey
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into Rare Vos glass.

Small, quickly dissapating head.

A: Black Black Black. It's a stout.

S: Call me crazy, but I smell pepperoni. Slight oilyness, saltyness, alcohol. None of this in a bad way.

T: Malt leads to smoke leads to hops. Bitterness charcteristically hoppy

M: No lingering oil, makes the bitter mouthfeel at the back of the drink go away soon.

D: Good beer, not exceptional. I had one and it certainly didn't stand on it's own. (464 characters)

Photo of PintOHops
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Glass - Snifter

A - Black color with a bit of brown when held to light. Produced a 1-finger head that quickly dissipated to a thin tan ring. No lacing here, a spot & a splash is about it.

S - Raisins, dates, grape & plum fruity notes when swirled. A bit of licorice with some mild charcoal and roasted notes. Dark chocolate as well with a touch of alcohol as well.

T - Lots of charcoal & a bit alcohol burn upfront, rich dark chocolate flavors follow, not as complex as I expected. This beer finishes with pronounced alcoholic flavor & burn, from the tongue all the way down the throat! A bit more roasted & chocolaty flavors are there when it warmed, big dark chocolate flavors are dominate.

M - A bit slick and almost full bodied, allot thinner than I expected. Mild mild crispness on the tongue.

D - Well I might have a snifter or 2 after a long day. I did expect a bit more complexity for sure, I don't recommend drinking this straight out of the fridge because there's more flavors to enjoy when it's around room temp. Pretty good, not sure if I'd buy it again but I definitely recommend it. Cheers! (1,109 characters)

Photo of Foxybrau
3.74/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I'm a noob to stouts, but learning fast, just don't love this one as much as so many do. Sudsy brass head that contrasts nicely to the black body. It looks fantastic. I find it a bit thin in the mouth, mostly charred and hoppy. Plenty of black coffee but I don't find the sweetness and malt. A very good beer, not world class to me, but I'll definitely give it another shot as I've loved North Coast thus far. (414 characters)

Photo of divineaudio
3.74/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. bottle has a code on the bottom but no date.

pours dark brown to black and forms a one finger head right away. head retention is good but leaves very little lacing behind.

smells of coffee and floral hops with notes of apple and/or pear. has a weird medicinal quality that i can't place.

taste follows nose with big roasted malt character up front and lots of bittersweet hops in the back. some dark chocolate and burnt malts in there too. after tasting, the medicinal quality seems to be due to the alcohol content. well balanced and tastes good, but i was expecting much more flavor here.

mouthfeel is on the thick side, slightly syrupy and has more co2 than i would like. slight alcohol warming in the finish.

pretty drinkable considering the alcohol content, but not sessionable. two of these and you're likely done for the night. a pretty solid beer but not one that i feel lives up to it's reputation. i can think of a few other RIS that i would rather have than this one - bell's expedition, stone, founders... (1,062 characters)

Photo of SteveS1
3.73/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From the bottle to a glass-
Look: Pitch black, only a hint of red at the edges. Thick bubbly brown head, little retention.

Smell: Sweet, malty, cherry, and yes, a bit of alcohol.

Taste: The taste begins with a dark cherry flavor, then fades quickly into a roasted chocolate. Aftertaste is of bitter alcohol.

Feel: Thick, heavy, a little carbonation.

Drink: The strong alcohol content and flavor keeps this from being any more than a sip and enjoy. (451 characters)

Photo of StuFox
3.73/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not as thick as it looks. That being said, damn, this tastes good. Not quite the flavor level of the Founders' or Sammy Smith's Imperial Stouts, but delicious none the less. It has a bitternes and smokey character that few other beers have. Less solid of a body as those beers too. That, of course, still makes it thicker than carro syrup, but hey, let's keep this beer fighting against brews of the same weight class. Everyone should try this once, it's a good time. (467 characters)

Photo of ChrisPro
3.73/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On nitro tap at North Coast brewpub on 6/28/09. Pours solid black, creamy mocha head. Hints of chocolate, but dominated by coffee aroma. Mild sweetness with bitter coffee finish and a little slick on the tongue. Solid, well above average, imperial stout.

Note: factoring in the bottle price, this beer is exceptional! (319 characters)

Photo of BakaGaijin
3.73/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Very dark with thin brown/pinkish head.

S - A little bit of coffee and some dates.

T- Some coffee and dates again, but weak. Alcohol extremely well hidden. This is much lighter tasting than I expected. Easy drinkability.

M - Quite thin. I was hoping for more body.

O - Pretty good. However, I feel this beer is over-rated. (330 characters)

Photo of AlexCorleone
3.73/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Definitely black with a thin layer of delectable, malty chocolaty head that dissipates rather quickly, pooling slightly in the center of the glass and radiating outwards as the glass progresses.

S - Definitely vanilla dominates; coffee and chocolate follows, with heavily roasted malts, brown sugar, and alcohol undercurrents that sting the nose.

T - Again vanilla and coffee are protagonists, followed by dark chocolate. Roasted malts, finish rather bitter and alcoholic, with pleasing warmth.

M - Full-bodied and smoked feel. (534 characters)

Photo of zerofear13
3.73/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out that dark black like most Russian Imperial stouts. Nice head retention. Great lacing. Smell is a little off-putting. Has that wonderful chocolate, coffee, roasted, smokey malts flavor. But it also had this stale wheat smell that you get from macro lagers. Taste, fortunately, doesn't have any trace of that. Great roasted, smokey flavor. You get the coffee, chocolate sweetness too. I gave it a bit of a lower score on mouthfeel because it is quite dry. Not as creamy as you would think you can do with the possibilities of a stout.

Overall, there are better stouts out there. And I'm sure many of them don't come with the same rarity and price tag. You're better off finding yourself a nice Young's or something of that nature. (740 characters)

Photo of rangerred
3.72/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had on nitro at mellow mushroom in Johnson City, TN

Arrived looking like a typical nitro pour with an off-white creamy head. Body was solid black.

Aroma had pleasant notes of coffee and dark chocolate. Also a slight hint of smoke in there.

The flavor had loads of cocoa and a slight bit of coffee. Lots of roasted malt and unfortunately, a decent amount of alcohol. I kind of feel like the nitro may have hindered the flavor somewhat because I didn't find this all that spectacular. I will have to pick up a bottle sometime to see if my opinion is any different. (566 characters)

Photo of edskirk3
3.71/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I got a couple of these over the weekend. There are Cyrillic letters on the label. I'd try to translate but I really want to taste this stuff. There is no freshness information.

Pours viscously opaque black into a brandy glass. A creamy dark brown head adorns the infinitely dark body. It's real sticky and nearly tattoos the glass with its lace.

The aroma is surprisingly dominated by Cascade hops instead of chocolate or coffee like I had expected. The taste also has a hoppy bite to it, as well as a deep bitterness of dark chocolate. Several levels of bitterness blossom across the tongue and linger after each sip.

All the bitterness makes me think this is a fresh bottle. I'd like to see how this ages. I'll try to wait as long as I can but, realistically, I don't see myself holding out past the holidays. (815 characters)

Photo of wiseguy142
3.71/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours jet black, oily with a rocky/creamy mocha head. Lacing actually looks like lace.. weird connection. Lookin pretty good so far.

Aroma is fruity and sweet.. slight touch of alcohol. Lacking in roasted grain aroma. A little vanilla and cream. Could be stronger, or the beer could be a little cold.

Taste has a pleasant chocolate flavor with a very slight alcohol bite. Dry in the finish, like a good porter. Malt and alcohol sort of stick to your tongue. Freshly roasted coffee towards the end. As it warms up a little more balanced milky sweetness and bitterness from the roasted malt comes through which is nice. All is a little subdued though, was looking for something a little more flashy.

Pretty light mouthfeel. Rush of carbonation towards the end of the sip. Disappointing, should be thicker.

This beer's got some good flavors but some of them need to be more pronounced. I would even scale this back a bit and up the body and it'd be a great porter. (966 characters)

Photo of teromous
3.71/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pitch black like looking through a piece of coal. It is accompanied with a creamy tan head that goes away pretty fast.

S: It smells very toasty with a slight musty scent and a little earthy. There's something in the smell that puts me off. I wasn't completely sold on the scent. I could pick up hops but the aromatics were much to bland.

T: Very very robust toasted flavor with a very distinct hop flavor. The hop flavor can really punch through the bold roasted flavor. I keep taking a sip to get that surprise hop-pop. What I like is that the hop flavor really finds its place and stays in it. It's not too subtle or overpowering.

M: I get a "sticky" malty aftertaste which isn't a bad thing it's just something I noticed. It coats the mouth well and is carbonated just right. It's very smooth with a little bite at the end from the grain and hop bitterness.

D: I could drink more of this, but it's not something I would drink one after another. It's very strong and would go well by itself as a sipper or with something with a robust flavor like smoked cheese and sausage. (1,082 characters)

Photo of chocosushi
3.71/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz->Hoegaarden Hexagon
A ~ Pours black with a tall cap of mocha-foam head that rises half in inch out of the glass, decending ever so slowly. Impressing structure & retention.

S ~ Earthy hops, tree resins, roasted malt, cocoa powder, with
a little note on the back reminiscent of Raisinettes.

T ~ Mmmm rich charred malts with a rich backbone of American hops lending gentle tropical fruit & resin notes. Burnt wood, french-roast coffee grounds, black pepper, & charred veggies throughout.

M ~ Bold & roasty/ashy in terms of maltyness. Easy drinking for 9 percent. Feels better on the palette as it warms up. Great balance.

D ~ A solid stout for a very reasonable price. I could see this moving into six pack over the next few years. Purchased often. (764 characters)

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 3,511 ratings.