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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3,496 Reviews

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Reviews: 3,496
Hads: 11,172
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 467
Gots: 2,212 | 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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 3,496 | Hads: 11,172
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)

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

I'll state it from the outset (as I have before), I have problems with beers that move to the "cloying sweet" taste, and this one does. Maybe it'll be something I accomodate in time, but for now it's a distraction. However, it doesn't take away from many other fine attributes of this beer. Very good head considering the abv, with nice lacing almost to the end. Really nice red/mahogany color when held to the light. Nice complex flavor and aroma that leans toward caramel as much, if not more than, roasted malt. It's the heavy fruitness that moves towards excessive sweetness that I struggle with, but I'm working on appreciating it. Very well hopped leaving a very long dry finish. And as others have said, a well hidden alcohol content. Mouthfeel was just a tad thin. Somehow I'll manage to get through the rest of my bottles. (831 characters)

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

New from Starbucks and Skoal vodka . . .

There are chestnuts roasting on a open fire and then there are the grains that go into Old Rasputin roasting in the heart of a California wild fire. This brew looks and acts like a Storm King after the brewers at Victory have had a few too many. Intense espresso backbone with huge hops to back it all up. Astringent. An evolving beer, Old Rasputin moves into raw cocoa beans, licorice, rum-soaked raisins, a vat of fudge, and sweet fruit.

Parching finish. Fudge, fudge, fudge!

A domineering beer that, though complex, is tight and restrained from the focus on charcoal malt. The hop character is benchmark, however, and the warmth this beer puts on you reminds me of a Belgian quad.

Thanks to my friend Drew at The Corkscrew for the bottle.

Relax, relax.
ng (817 characters)

Photo of Allpe45
3.71/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

from a 12oz bottle, no freshness/bottled date that I can find

The room is dark, but this appears fairly black with a short but sturdy head, and a bit of lacing.

Hop forward in the nose, with plenty of roasted malt and barley, and a bit of alcohol.

Sweet roasted malt up front with faint mocha to back it up. herbal tea-like hops in the finish along with some alcohol burn.

Medium-high bodied with low but noticeable carbonation. Somewhat creamy but not over the top.

Great value and an excellent example of the style, but not stellar. (539 characters)

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

A: a thick looking black color almost a hint of purple. it has a tan one finger head that leaves a thick lacing

S: a vert sweet smell you get a choclate and hints of alchol

T: it starts with a bitter sweet taste and ends with a very dry sweet choclate taste.

M: a very thick body that sticks around for awhile with medium carbnation.

D: a very thick filling beer that i'm set with just one or two of these. (411 characters)

Photo of cooter
3.7/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hark, and hear an Ode to Ol' Rasputin:
With ye heavy roasted barley, that tastes just like rye
and clumpy, wispy, whipped-looping froth that I've never seen die,

Your bitter citrus hops are locked in battle for
flavor supremacy in an escalating war.

Chocolate! Coffee! Citrus and bitter and pungent and sour!

Tastes towering higher than Soviet nuclear stock
to show how much stonger they are than a bock!

I am kicked in the teeth
by the intensity you bequeath

So to ye I sing this ode,
for with the brew that you are,
warmth and hops and malt are never far,
and I have no fear of getting cold. (616 characters)

Photo of angrybabboon
3.7/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cheers once again to Goblinmunkey7 for giving me a bottle

Appearance: Black, with a moderately-sized beige/light tan head, leaves wisps of lacing

Smell: A lot of different aromas here - burnt malts, somewhat charred, very roasted - burnt, dark coffee - dark chocolate and some cocoa - hoppy, too - herbal and grassy, with orange and grapefruit rind - the hop profile is not what I'm looking for, but I imagine that it will drop over time

Taste: Follows the smell, with a ton of burnt - burnt malts, chocolate malts, bitter dark chocolate, burnt coffee, char - burnt orange and grapefruit rinds - combined bitterness from the burnt malts and the hops is actually a little harsh - lingering bitterness, too

Mouthfeel: Medium body, above average carbonation, very smooth, somewhat dry

Overall: Good, not that amazing

The RIS style is inundated with ridiculously thick, absurdly ridiculous monsters. This is not one of them, and it isn't supposed to be. It's a good for what it is, but I am not a huge fan of the hops and overall lack of depth of the malts. This does work well in cooking chili, however. (1,107 characters)

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.7/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Near black. Dark brown at edges when held to direct light. Head is dark tan and drops to a thin ring in short order. Nice notches of lacing. Pours heavy and viscous without looking syrupy.

Smell: Citrus rind and burnt malts. Super burnt. Roasty sweet with some solid char notes. Easily one of the hoppiest aromas I've encountered with the style. So many roasted malts. Alcohol is present and assertive. Old coffee and a slight cocoa finish.

Taste: Burnt malts. Roasted malts and then some. Old espresso and powdery cocoa. I swear it tastes like orange zest and chocolate malts. Hopped pretty heavily for the style. Burnt, char, and some lingering notes of tobacco. Sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Thinner than the pour would indicate. Solid carbonation keeps things lively and moving. Lacks the heavier mouthfeel I like to see in the style. It works for the flavor profile.

Overall: It's good, but it's not the best on the market for the money. Nice char notes and some hop notes make things interesting. Decent, but that's as far as it goes. (1,051 characters)

Photo of JosiahS
3.7/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a small snifter glass. Pitch black in appearance with a thin brown ring at the top. The aroma has chocolate, espresso, black licorice, a bit of hops as well as a tang. The alcohol is noticeable.

The first thing i notice when tasting this is a bit of bitterness right up front followed quickly by alcohol which seems to merry with a very roasted malt character that i can describe only as black licorice and dark chocolate. There is a charcoal-like bitterness that carries through the beer and lingers at the end along with some dark chocolate. Mouth-feel is smooth in texture, full bodied with low carbonation.

Drinkability is low on this one. This beer is alcoholic on first impression but as the temperature rises, the dark chocolate and alcohol seem to mix rather nicely making for a smooth, enjoyable stout. (825 characters)

Photo of HiroProtagonist
3.7/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Old Raspy was served from a stubby 12 oz. bottle. In a pint glass, the beer was black (deep ruby edge accents with backlighting), and was topped by a thin but persistant light brown head. The nose yielded deep-roasted-choco-molasses aromas that were accompanied by enticing though subtle notes of sasparilla, vanilla, and toasted sesame oil. Little sign of esters in the nose. The taste consisted of a rich dark-roasted cocoa-chocolate malt profile that was joined by some nice sharp dark cherry and plum notes that helped cut through initial roastiness. A robust smokey cocoa-bitter dark chocolate flavor dominates the subtle fruitiness in the finish, which left some rather flat lingering dark chocolate notes. The flavors are tasty and rich as expected, but I was dissapointed in the lack of complexity and interesting accents. I thought the finish was a bit too "smoky" as well. The body was appropriately smooth and full for the style. Old Rasputin is a full-flavored and robust Russian imperial stout, but for me lacks some of the important details found in many other examples of the style. (1,097 characters)

Photo of Bendurgin
3.7/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip. Appearance is black with a nice mocha colored head that is about an inch. The smell reveals a dark fruits; dates and a nice caramel smell lingers in the nostrils. I get a bit of bitterness and some nice roasted malts a cocoa flavors. Also dark fruits that I smelled. Certainly the dates coming to the tongue and some nice roasted malts. I wish it were a little more roasty. Not as full bodied as I expected and a little more carbonation than I expected as well. Nothing offensive though. The nine percent ABV is well hidden. This is a very drinkable RIS, it's not hot going down and the dark fruits make it very pleasent. (642 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.7/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

well hidden alcohol for an imperial. pours deep brown like dark chocolate and mildly carbonated with a mocha head only half an inch thick. smells imperial. strong, roasty, and complex. powerful taste just a little bitter from the roast. genuine russian imperial, probably the definitiion of the style, all grainy and boozey. yummm, but i coudnt drink the whole four pack, no chance (381 characters)

Photo of bigjohn
3.68/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The thing that struck me most about this beer was the strong presence of the alcohol, both in the taste and in the after effects. This is certainly a complex beer with a strong coffee and chocolate bitterness. The appearance is nearly black, a slight tinge of dark red is visible when held up to the light. The smell is potent and prepares the drinker for the flavor to come. This is definitely a well crafted beer that is full of flavor. However, I marked it down in some areas mainly because of personal tastes. I found it somewhat difficult to drink because of the strong almost burning presence of the alcohol. I have had other high alcohol beers before and not been put off by the alcohol, I am not sure why I was by this one. Overall it is definitely worth a try. (769 characters)

Photo of atigerlife
3.68/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with some red highlights. A nice one finger brown head sits on top. Head dissipates rather quickly. Good lacing.

Aroma is of coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malts, toffee and some hazelnut. Interesting.

Taste is dominated by bitter dark coffee. Also some dark chocolate, roasted malts and some alcohol at the end.

Mouthfeel has a medium body and lightly dry at the end.

Overall, this is an interesting brew that I wouldn't mind having again. The high alcohol level would rule it out as a session beer, but good for sipping. (554 characters)

Photo of brushpig
3.68/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Found a 4 pack at Trader Joes in Chicago, but you can find it almost everywhere here.

The appearance is interesting, very very shimmering black with a tan head that unfortunately diminishes rather quickly.

The aroma is like dark espresso coffee with a light friut smell as well. Not too powerful.

This is a very good imperial stout, with it's coffee like flavors, chocalate, and alcohol bite, however the fruity flavors left a strange aftertaste in my mouth. Nothing too terrible. Still a very fine beer

Wouldn't have to many of them in one sitting,a little overwhelming.
But worth a try. (602 characters)

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 3,496 ratings.