Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - North Coast Brewing Co.

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

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11,064 Ratings

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Ratings: 11,064
Reviews: 3,578
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 10.23%
Wants: 452
Gots: 2,152 | FT: 57
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: 11,064 | Reviews: 3,578
Photo of bort11
4.95/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I love the label design on this bottle. That crazy mad monk staring out from a smoky haze, I think that alone does a lot for the near-legendary status of this stout.

A- Poured into an Imperial pint glass. Pefectly black in the center. Dark reddish tints on the edges. Thick and creamy tan head, about a finger high from my pour. It receeds a little fast for me, but maintians a tight lace which makes up for it.

S- Espresso aromas POP! I can smell that from an arms length. Chocolate notes linger and some spices hint around the edges.

T- Excellent follow through from the smell. Espresso, chocalate, some maltiness, finishes with some hop bitterness. A little alcohol warmth. very well balanced.

M- It feels a little overcarbonated to me, but that is the only drawback. There is a chewiness to it that a RIS should have.

D- This is an all around great stout and one of my favorites. With this session, I had it with a slice of DQ ice cream cake. Oh man, that's good. This is a great dessert beer by itself, but it added to the overall enjoyment. Now that my local beer store is carying North Coast beers, I will keep this on hand.

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.95/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My first sampling of this coincided with my chance discovery of Monk's Cafe in Philly. At the time (2003-2004), I was living in Center City, piss poor, and longing for good beer. One fine day, riding my bike around in explorer mode, I found myself coming up upon the unmistakable awning and neon sign for said cafe - got little money, but let's do it. I'm desperate! - This may have been the very first time in my life I had been presented with a beer menu, the content of which I wasn't familiar with 90-95% of. Looking to cheaper and more interesting sounding beers, I ordered one Rasputin to go (at about $7 or $9, if I remember right). So off I go on my bike back up 16th st to my studio apt, giddy with delight or delightfully giddy. Get home - and I can't recall actually pouring it - and I find myself eying up one intimidating pint of darkness. The rest is...you know.

Old Rasputin will make a man out of you (Rip Van Winkle, for one). Always pours with an explosive, swelling head, big and busty, and the perfect shade of ash and gravel. Scummy, sparkling lacing. The liquid is impenetrably black - a charred void. Black death. The aroma hits you instantaneously, even from a foot or more away. More of a Baltic Porter scent than a bitter, dry stout. What I get is dark chocolate cake dipped in dark chocolate, mellow espresso, grain just lightly singed, and wafting among these scents, a faint grassy/piney hop presence. Oh, and a clean, vodka-like alcohol aroma, more and more as it warms. Flavor-wise, I'm not sure what you can improve upon, considering the style and imagery conjured up by the namesake of the beer. Cold and black. A sultry bitterness - by way of hops, dark chocolate, and dark malt. Velvety smooth feel and vague molasses character, with surprisingly potent fruitiness and almost citrus hop flavors as it warms. While this doesn't need to warm up much to express its fabulous complexities, the alcohol makes itself quite apparent in the aftertaste and feel past a certain degree. Once in awhile, this can be somewhat off-putting. For the most part, you really want this though. Carbonation, at its levels, is ideal and maintains excitement on the tongue - never any cloying sweetness or heavy feeling. That, and the warm prick of ethyl, round out an expertly crafted brew. So difficult to put this into perspective...when you've had 2 or 3.

Photo of Vancoubeer
4.95/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Man this beer is what a Russian Imperial stout should be. Taste outstanding. looks dark as night. Feels the way it should and it smells similar to dark coffee / dark chocolate. The flavor is full on roasted goodness. Why pass this one up? Just get it.

Photo of Eeroomnhoj
4.95/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My friend gave me a few bottles of beer for Christmas and I started with the darkest first. Great tasting beer, one I would have again and again, just not on the same day. Maybe some people are different but one is enough for me. It poured jet black and had a fairly thick head. It tasted real heavy on the first sip so I knew I was in for a treat. The beer did leave a taste in my mouth but so does a good cigar. Definitely a winter sitting by the fire beer.

Photo of artdob
4.95/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is the stuff. My desert island brewski. The one that sent me into a panic nearly 14 years ago when I first stumbled on this brew from a then unknown micro brewery when I was living outside of Columbus Ohio. I was immediately taken in by this beer and quickly, shuddered to think, oh my, what if this brewery doesn't make it? And that thought sent me exploring the world of home brewing to see if I could personally brew something that came close to this, in the event, heaven forbid, that Old Rasputin would cease to be.

The good news is that I was able to come close enough so I feel prepared if that horrible day ever comes. But even better news, I haven't had to resort to that workaround. Old Rasputin lives!

Pours an exotic black with a tan head that tops the beer nicely before evolving into a layer of a tan sudsy blanket that drapes this brew. Oh yes, and I always drink this one at cellar temperature, never chilled, in a snifter as well.

Nose is spectacular, inviting with notes of chocolate cake, licorice, and roasty espresso.

On the palate, this is like a slice of liquid black forest torte, nicely balanced with roasty and sweet tones.

Mouthfeel is nice with very light carbonation. Wouldn't want any more for this style. A nice warmer this one.

Overall, nothing else but a top score for my personal all time favorite beer. If there were a beer hall of fame, this would be my inductee. Rasputin lives.

Sto lat North Coast (get yer Polish dictionary handy here).

Photo of hitter114
4.95/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle into Tulip
A: Very dark, not quite black but 95% of the way there
S: Smells amazing of simple roasted malts and great hop profile for the nose. Got a chocolate smoke smell going
T: Just as good as it smells. Burns just a little, but the perfect amount. Hops and malts balance it out brilliantly
M: Sharp and bitty as expected. Could be slightly smoother but for 9%, what do you expect?

Overall: One of my favorite Russian Imperial I have had. Great mix of hops, malt, roasty, chocolate/barbecue smoke taste. Buy this beer if you like beer.

Photo of deapokid
4.95/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From my first glance into the dark and imposing eyes of Rasputin on the label of this majestic imperial stout, I knew I was in for one hell of a ride.

Lucky for me, I got a four-pack of it for Christmas and almost cried tears of joy when I ripped it from the packaging.

From tip of the bottle to the bottom of the glass, Old Rasputin pours a rich dark-brown/molasses-y coloring that resembles coffee with a light dose of cream. Its rich brown head smells of caramel and nuts and it offers up a profoundly robust flavor that smacks of classic stout taste with a nice punch of alcohol to round it out.

This little number was no slouch and it lived up to all of my expectations. It's powerful, flavorful and delightfully nuanced: it's definitely become an all-time favorite and one most stouts should aspire to be more like.

Photo of Kopextacy
4.94/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is for the nitro version, which is far superior to the bottled version.

Photo of bobaguilar
4.94/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The head has an incredible creamyness akin to the feel of a rootbeer float. Coffee and chocolate flavors, with a smoothness and satisfying aftertaste. One of my favorites.

Photo of zerocrane
4.94/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into snifter from 12 oz bottle.

A - Black with a decent to undersized tan head that dissipated rather quickly

S - Get a lot of the -OH for sure with a strong roasty character. If I was going to try to find one flaw with this brew, it would be the nose.

T - Again the -OH comes in really strong at the end. In the meantime there is a roasty-delicousness to this beer that the alcohol kind of washes away in a nice finish.

M - Light mouthfeel for how big this beer is. It's not chewy, which I love.

O - Can't beat this for a year-round shelf stout.

Photo of seh410
4.94/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Black with a bubbly mocha colored head. The head looks frothy and creamy. Not light coming through at all.

Aroma: Coffee, roasted caramelly malts, chocolate

Taste/Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Starts heavy on the coffee and then finishes with a sweet and roasted malty caramel with notes of chocolate kind of woven through the whole thing

Notes: Awesome, delicious beer. Extremely drinkable.

Photo of MaddenDalyBrokaw
4.93/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


Darker than night. Rich malty aromas. On the palate we begin with moderately placed roasted barley tones, then comes the warm hops with chocolate and coffee, followed by the even warmer alcohol. Lingering roasted barley. A real beast of a beer.

Photo of zomatic
4.93/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My favorite beer. Rich, dark imperial stout, bitter with hints of coffee & chocolate. So dark brown that you can't see through it if held up to a bright light. Great stuff.

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

Very dark brown to almost black in color with a tan head that dissipates leaving some lacing. Nose is bursting with chocolate, coffee, maybe a hint of vanilla and cherry in there as well. Chocolate, espresso, and molasses with a hop bitterness in the end make up the taste. Mouthfeel has pretty low carbonation, maybe a little less would make it perfect, definately full bodied and thick. This beer is just wonderful, I definately need to get some more.

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

The nose offers plenty of anticipation with prunes, molasses and prunes. Thick mouth. The beginning is smokey, earthy, toasted malts. Bittersweet chocolate notes. A little sharp tartness rounds out the hops balance. Towards the bottom some traces of woodsy oak, port wine, and even cherry come through. This beer I will definitly drink again, and probably North Coast's top beer.

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

Poured from bottle into tulip glass. A dark black pour with wonderful, frothy 2 finger head, big lacing. Inviting.

Complex aroma of molasses, roasted coffee, some chocolate backed by balanced hop bitterness.

Taste starts coffee like fading into molasses finishing dry with big hops. The hops stay with you along time. Taste moves from one element to the other and leaves nothing to want. Complex and powerful flavors.

Mouth feel is creamy, effervescent all balanced.

Perhaps there are more recent, unique takes on this style with bourbon barrel aging and vanilla overtones but this beer represents the standard for Russian Imperial Stout. One of my fravorite all time beers. Never had an off bottle.

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

Into a pint glass (also in a nonic, and also a chalice, nothing changes with this beast):

A: pitch black body with a very thick two finger off-white head, lacing is pretty thick as well

S: very good roasted malt with good coffee aromas mixed delicately in so not to overdue the aroma, chocolate, vanilla come out as the beer warms

T: light hops, and coffee along with the roasted malt, chocolate and vanilla again, it gets sweeter as it goes, slight caramel in the taste as well

M: medium to heavy, not sessionable, alcohol felt, dry bitter aftertaste and a dry finish

O: of all the times I have this beer, the numbers never change, this was awesome and still is.

Photo of bigkahunas4
4.92/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Tulip glass.

Brew came out of the bottle jet black, not too thick, not too thin. Dark cookie head starts at about 2 fingers, and settles down to a voluptuous half finger. Spotty, sticky lacing that really clings to the glass. The aroma on this out of the bottle was huge, and now as the glass settles about a yard away, butterscotch is just flowing under my nose. Upon further inspection I detect some sttrrronnggg vanilla and a dark roast.

This elixir is incredibly creamy, bringing immense sweetness to the front of the mouth. Big sweet malts like I've never tasted before in a stout/RIS - tons of oaked vanilla. As this bubbly brew begins to settle on the tongue, bitter coffee nibs take control of the palate. A slight smokiness to the brew as well. Alcohol is apparent, but masked incredibly.

Certainly the best RIS I've ever had, and according to others, it perhaps is the best out there. Just incredible balance, and enjoyment with every stage of that balance for me. Honestly, I'm not a huge stout guy - but this one is just making me drool. I dislike the finish of most stouts - but this one just hits it on the head. Give me more!

Pretty sure the ratings I'm giving this will make it my top rated beer. You know, maybe not my favorite ever, but as far as RIS and Stouts go - this is just leagues above anything else I've had.

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

Pours jet black. Medium brown head that dissipates quickly. Beautiful roasty aroma. Also get a bit of smoke on the nose. There's some burnt malt tastes. Very strong bitterness. I love that in an Imperial. The IBU must be approaching 100 in this brew. Incredible malt load balances nicely with the hops. A bit of alcohol dangles on the tongue nicely. This is everything I look for in an Imperial Stout. Not as viscous as Bell's Expedition, but tremendous in its own right. One of my all time favorites. This is in the elite category of microbrewed Imperials that I have tried (along with Bell's Expedition and Rogue).

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.92/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Saw this at a local liquor store and was amazed that this was actually being sold in my neck of the woods. I heard good things about this on here, and even though I'm not an aficianado of this style, and it's not the time of the year to drink stouts, I took the plunge and gave this a shot. Thankfully, I made the right choice, as I'm having to pace my drinking. That's the only way I've had any left in my glass, as I write this review!

The pour was one of the best I've ever seen or smelled - hands down. A nice, deep brown hue could be seen with some light around the edges. The roasted, toffee-like aroma filled my glass and quite a bit outside of that, as the head nearly overflowed. The sight of the bubbles and their long-lasting duration was quite a sight to behold, and the taste lived up to that and the smell that I could discern. The toffee was present there too, with notes of dark chocolate, caramel, and coffee tossed in. What amazed me the most was the smoothness. The few stouts that I've had all had one thing in common, and that was their bite. Alcohol could be felt front to back, and it didn't take long before the flavors were overpowered by that trait. In this case, that never happened. The flavors lingered beautifully and the dark chocolate lingered long after I finished each sip. It was only when I started to feel buzzed did I realize how strong this was.

Yes, I know that I'm not the most experienced when I come to this style, but I'd have to wholeheartedly say that this is worth the hype and a great introduction to this style for novices like me. The mouthfeel is enjoyable and solid, and there's not bitterness to be felt here. Just richly deep layers of flavor, and plenty to ponder between sips. No wonder this comes in 4-packs - I'm not quite sure that I could handle six of these!

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 greencrush
4.92/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This one poured a deep brown, nearly black, with a thick sudsy tan head that left excellent lacing down the glass. This was poured from a cold bottle into your run of the mill dinner glass; nothing special. A moderately vigoroua pour is needed with this one, go to hard, and you'll easily overflow your glass.
The first wiff out of the freshly opened bottle comes across sweet and chocolaty, which, to be honest, is what I was expecting. The arouma only grows stronger as the brew is poured.
"Wow", my literal response to the first sip. Sweet chocolaty flavours erupt upon the palate, giving way to coffee and char. Only after swallowing do the hoppy, bitter flavours that I personally prefer in a breq emerge. It may take a few sips for the true cacao flavours of this one to emerge. I may have to bring this one back to WV with me.

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

This is probably one of the more heralded stouts brewed in the US, and I think with good reason. What makes it more unusual is that it's an imperial stout, which isn't that common. Very malty, giving it a powerful sweetness, and it has a deep roasted coffee flavor. It's got 8.9% ABV, but don't worry, you'll sober up when you see the picture of Rasputin on the label. Man, he is one creepy bastard. Look at Rasputin, and then turn the bottle one way or the other, and I swear, the eyes follow you...Not even John Ashcroft gives me the paranoid willies like this label (begin Tommy Chong-like rant against the government in 3, 2, 1...).

Photo of rgturtle
4.91/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Finding a 4-pack of this covered in dust at a local package store was like winning the lottery.

A - Dark brown, with little carbonation, maybe a quarter-inch head.
S - Huge and lingering on the nose. Toffee, cocoa, espresso.
T - The nose paid off in the taste -- sweet but complex; the coffee didn't overwhelm.
M - A little chewy; not syrupy.
O - This is the best stout I've had in a while -- I found myself wanting to spend more time decoding the various scents. I'd stock up on this -- if you can find it.

Photo of itlnstallion11
4.9/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- I was lucky to first try this beer from a nitro tap. It poured a motor oil black with a thick tan head I could rest a penny on.

S- great smell, barley, milk chocholate, some oatmeal hints, black licorice, some dark fruits, with a nice roast finish

T- ton of Malts, some plum, molasses, chocolate, hints of coffee with a pleasant wood burn bitter ending.

M- full bodied thick milkshake

O- an awesome stout, one of my new favorites. Alcohol is masked well and the taste is not overbearing. The balance of sweetness an bitterness is one of almost perfection, I'm utterly in love with this beer. Get one.

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 11,064 ratings.