Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
Dismiss Notice
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.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

3,511 Reviews
THE BROS
97
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,511
Hads: 11,238
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 487
Gots: 2,281 | 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
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 3,511 | Hads: 11,238
Photo of callmeclemens
1.15/5  rDev -73.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Upon pouring this beer looked like cola, maybe a little darker. Smelled like licorse. Tasted like Licorse and Alcohal. I found this beer difficult to sip, sallow, and even gulp. Had no head, and no lacing whatsoever which leads me to believe I may have gotten a bad bottle, so perhaps I'll try again.

However, judging from what I know about Rasputin, this seems like the kind of thing he would drink by the barrelful atleast ten times a day. So I suppose mission accomplished, Comrades. (487 characters)

Photo of tfp4268
1.62/5  rDev -62.1%
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. (812 characters)

Photo of clvand0
1.91/5  rDev -55.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Usually I'm not a fan of Imperial Stouts, but this one looked cool and I was hooked into buying it for the looks and name. Pours a very dark color with a moderate sized tan head that dies off after a few minutes. Leaves a little lacing on the glass. The aroma was burned malts and coffee/chocolate and some sort of spiciness (odd for an imperial stout?). This is a big beer. The flavor was majorly strong. Way too strong for my taste buds to accept. Tastes of alcohol, burned malts, slight spiciness, and maybe a little fruitiness. Didn't care much for it. (556 characters)

Photo of assurbanipaul
1.94/5  rDev -54.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I want to like this beer. Really, I do. I'm crazy about imperial stouts and I read the praise everyone has for this beer, but I can't help but think that I'm unlucky enough to keep purchasing skunked beer upon skunked beer.

Sharper than other imperial stouts, spicer and hoppier than I would prefer. Acrid taste, almost far too sharp to be palatable. Sample has drain pour written all over it, but I've bought this beer three different times during the past year with the same experience.

If ever I can find good things to say about Rasputin, I will joyfully update and upgrade my ratings. But until then, this is just nasty. (631 characters)

Photo of Jdbateman83
2.03/5  rDev -52.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 1.25

This review will be far from the norm, and doesn't reflect bad on the beer, but my own taste. I do respect this beer for its amazing scores, style, complexity... But with all that being said; I couldn't finish my glass. I tried this beer at the Yardouse with a friend. I hate bitterness, I like smooth, complex, deep, slight hops, lots of malt, type beers. Aboslutely way to bitter for me. I try and finish every beer, even if I don't like it, because I want to be sure I don't like it. I left half of a pint glass with this and the Yardhouse bartender gave me a refund. Not MY cup of tea. (589 characters)

Photo of CaptJackHarkness
2.12/5  rDev -50.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

First, I must disclose that this is my first Russian Imperial Stout and if this is typical of the style, I won't be having too many more! This brew has in it's favor an almost black color and a nice rich aroma, you can smell the alchohol. But, it's all about the taste! This tasted far too bitter and hoppy, and left a horrible aftertaste in the back of the mouth!
Again , I enjoy sweet stouts, like Murphy's, so make your judgements accordingly!! (448 characters)

Photo of likethetaste
2.15/5  rDev -49.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

WOW! I got this beer as gift at Christmas. I really looked forward to trying this. It poured a beautiful dark color with lovely long lasting foam. I smelled it and it just had a wonderful dark chocolate bready smell. But then I tasted it! YIKES.
This had a horrible bitter taste. The aftertaste was just terrible. I could not drink this and enjoy it at all! I was greatly disappointed. Apparently I just do not have the same taste buds as others who reviewed this but It was just awful tasting to me and I have tried many stouts. (530 characters)

Photo of pweis909
2.22/5  rDev -48.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

This beer poured an opaque black with a big tawny head, which didn't last too long.

The smell is powerful. Fruity and alcoholic with spicey notes lingering in the background. Juicey fruit gum, soaked in vodka. Different, but not complex.

Taste is unpalatable. The roasts are too sharp, too bitter; the alcohol is too overpowering.

I didn't finish my 12 oz bottle. My mouth reviled at the taste and I had a hangover before I consumed 8 oz. (448 characters)

Photo of WhiteOak
2.36/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

G- Riedel 6416/07

A- Black, showing black-olive green under direct light. Coarse foamy head.

S- Predominant burnt smells, a hint of roast. An annoying off-smell of a dirty ash tray and old cigarettes plagues this beer's aromatic presentation.

T- One dimensional, simple burnt flavor with strong ash tray impressions. A bit of old coffee grounds. No complexity to speak of. Flavors did not entice. Short, sharp, finish with only bitterness lingering.

M- Fizzy CO2 which throws this beer further off balance.

D- Physically drinkable, but this beer did not entice. No seduction here.

Serving- 12oz bottle. (645 characters)

Photo of SimplySinister
2.41/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A - Black and Opaque. Similiar to other Russian imperial stouts. Fair carbonation and a very nice head.

S - Full bodied, complex. Notes of Barleywine, Malt, and licorice.

T - OR tastes of malt and barelywine. Unlike other Russian Imperials OR seems to lack deep mocha/coffee notes. It reminds me of a Russian Imperial version of Skullsplitter.

M - Thick.

D - I am not impressed with OR's drinkability. While I could easily drink multiple Samuel Smith Imperials, it seems that I can just not stomach OR.

All in all, fans of barleywine and malt with adore this brew. On the other hand, I dislike it. (603 characters)

Photo of joebrewer
2.43/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I had this on a nitro tap at Sunset Grill. The next day I also had a bottle and found that I liked the bottle better. The nitro made the beer smoother, but I don't think that's what makes the beer. The carbonation of the bottle matched with the strong flavors in this beer while the nitro felt like it was trying to mellow a big beer.

Overall I'm not a big fan of Rasputin. It seems to be especially harsh for it's alcohol content. I also find that after about 2/3 of the way through the beer I wish I was done. The flavor profile isn't complex enough to carry me through. (573 characters)

Photo of cfleisher
2.46/5  rDev -42.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Never thought I'd say this, but this beer was too highly hopped for me. Nice dark espresso color and low carbonation, smelled of caramel malt, but could barely taste it. I love highly hopped beers (Stone's Ruination is a favorite) but not so much with the stouts and this could have been so much more if the malt could come forward a little. (341 characters)

Photo of jujubeast6000
2.48/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Reviewed 8/5/2008 (bottle):

Pours an inky black colored body, with a gray brown head, with some good lacing but not very lasting. Aroma has some alcohol and some dark malts, nuttiness. Malty taste and some dustiness. Somewhat hot. Some dark chocolate. Too much for me. (269 characters)

Photo of pigc
2.48/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Thought I would give this classic RIS my own review...

A - Pours as black as night with huge three finger mocha colored head.

S - Molasses, brown sugar, chocolate, cocoa, slight piney hops.

T - Starts out with sharp alcohol followed by bitter hops. Wow, this taste really throws me. I'm picking up very little chocolate or coffee. Malt seems to have abandoned the seen. Very hot, like drinking pure alcohol with no flavor.

M - Medium to thick. Oily and resinous.

O - This beer started off so well with the appearance and smell then just went way south with the taste. Not balanced at all. This may be my first drain pour and I can't believe it's on such a highly rated beer as this. I'm thinking I must have picked up a bad bottle or something. This beer is a hot, alcoholic mess. So disappointed. Glad I only picked up a single! (834 characters)

Photo of WAbeerfiend
2.5/5  rDev -41.6%

Poured into a tumbler in late 2013.

A: Opaque black. Motor oil. 2 finger head.

S: Coffee, bitterness.

T: Sweet chocolate, roasty malt, bitterness on the back end.

O: This was ok at first, but then the bitterness took over and I wasn't enjoying it. There was a little bit of alcohol burn in the nostrils. I ended up drain pouring it because of the bitterness. (362 characters)

Photo of njmoons
2.59/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured a very dark brown, 1 finger of foam which dissapated quickly.

The aroma was malty and overwhelmed by the spicy grapefruity smell of cascade hops. This overwhelmed the malt and heavy fruits I expect to smell in a Imperial Russian.

The taste was initially heavy malt and quickly overtaken by the hops, which took over the flavor with excessive bitterness and grapefruit flavors. This hop flavor overpowered the finish with a spicy bitter flavor that lingered on the palate.

Mouthfeel was thick and creamy appropriate to a Imperial Russian.

Due to the overwhelming hops flavors and bitterness the drinkability was relativily poor. (638 characters)

Photo of TK5150
2.63/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Have had this beer many times, deciding to rate a bottle after having it again today.

A- Looks like a stout. Pours black with a beige head. I would like the head to be darker considering this is an imperial stout.

S- Very mundane, and tight. Not much going on, basically just some maltiness on the nose.

T- Malty with some bitter old coffee and a little dark chocolate. Does not flow well. Bad flavor transitions. Not much in the way of complexity or flavor.

M- Full bodied. Roasted grain bitterness out of nowhere is hurting the score though.

D- Glad I only bought a single bottle this time.

I keep giving this beer chances, but honestly this is not very good. Probably will not buy from the bottle again. On draft it is a pretty nice beer though. There is not much skill in this beer. (792 characters)

Photo of Buebie
2.7/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle with no freshness date, into a snifter.
Color is pitch black with no color to be found. 3 finger creamy brown head, sits there and sits there. Big thick clumps of lace rings around the glass. Retention is outstanding.

Great big sweet chocolate aroma of the knose. Some grainy earthy aromas, mixed with hints of grassy hops.
Oh that sweet milk chocolate aroma is intoxicating.
No alcahol fumes off the aroma.

More carbonation than anticipated, mouthfeel is somwhat thin for an RIS. Yet there is still an inky like texture. Bitter chocolate grainy flavors. The sweetness in the aroma is now nowhere to be found. This is quite bitter. Kind of a chalky aspirin flavor at the swallow. Some alcahol warming at this point.
Becoming increasingly bitter with hints of spicy hops at the lingering finish.

It was a terrific beer, until I took a sip. Then it became an ok beer for the style. Way too much carbonation, not thick and creamy either. (969 characters)

Photo of LiamStLiam
2.71/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I got a good, black pour, low head.

I found it harder to drink than I expected. A lot going on in this beer, and not all of it to my taste.

I am a "smoothness" guy, and this is not a smooth beer.

I find this a difficult style to understand right now, and I know it's a hard one to do.

This is my first North Coast Beer, so I am not quite sure what to expect in the future. (385 characters)

Photo of dogboy
2.71/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Thought I'd try this highly rated brew and was dissapointed. Pours good and looks ok in the glass. Smell was too much coffee on the nose and the first sip confirmed the smell. Overpowering burnt coffee taste for me. Also the beer was too thick and as I find with American stouts, too fizzy. It's ok enough and I'd like to try it on tap (or aged), but why the A? (361 characters)

Photo of Larry6767
2.77/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 1.75

I think mine must have been a bad batch. It tasted like straight toothpaste. It had the look, feel and smell of a great RIS. However, when I drank it, it was one of the more revolting beers I've had in the last 6 months. Drain poor. This may get deleted, maybe not. But this is a 100% real review of this beer. I was extremely unimpressed. (339 characters)

Photo of esch
2.83/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A: Deliciously dark. Ruby slices through when held up to the light. Persistant pillowy cappuccino colored head.

S: Cocoa, wet sugar, tons of toasted malt, definite hop florals.

T: I first get a hint of dried cherries that fades fast into (diet) cola with a harshly bitter aspartame.

M: Medium-moderate body. Medium-moderate carbonation.

D: I really want to like this beer but the chemical flavors are really off-putting. Tasting was comprised of a newly purchased bottle and one from my cellar. I'll have to give this beer a revisit. (538 characters)

Photo of Dubblebock
2.84/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Old Rasputin was certainly a beer that I have been looking forward to trying for quite some time now. I have seen it quite often but never had the chance to pick up a bottle to sample until recently. I have to say, this was definitely a case of expectations exceeding reality. The bottle looks good, the drawn face of Rasputin himself cocking a wary eye towards the drinker.

The pour was excellent as well. The beer was nothing but inky blackness, with a chocolate head of foam. I began to get the idea that something was amiss, however, when the nose came at me with alcohol stringency and bitterness.

The taste was less than impressive to me. There were notes of dark chocolate and burnt coffee, but all of the complexity in this beer was totally masked by the alcohol. Granted, it's a bruiser of a beer at 9% ABV, but there was clearly no attempt to hide the potency behind the flavor. The beer just got bitter and uninviting as I made my way through the mug. I did get a few notes of hops and dry grains, but all was lost in the end.

Mouthfeel was ok, the aftertaste bitter. Not drinkable at all, IMO. I won't be reaching for Rasputin's face any time soon. Disappointing, as this is always considered a classic beer by most. It's definitelty too over the top for my tastes. (1,286 characters)

Photo of jrehmert
2.84/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured very dark, as expected, with about a finger of light tan head. The effervescence was short-lived. Residual sweetness was minimal. The nose was much more smoky than I had expected. I had hoped for more roasted malt, coffee, and/or chocolate malt than realized. Overall this was an average beer - Rogue RIS was a far better representative - afaic... (354 characters)

Photo of neobassman
2.84/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Ok, here I go again, trying to decide if my dislike is for the brew or the style. I'm not a fan of Guinness, and I'm not a fan of Old Rasputin RIS for the same reasons. The appearance is enticing; this stout has an inviting syrupy pour with a rich, dark tan, modest head. The bottle opened with more carbonation than I would have expected from a stout. There is moderately sticky lacing as the head slowly subsides. The color is black and passes virtually no light, which I always find amazing for beers that are also free of cloudiness. The smell is good, but with some coffee bitterness that starts the downhill slide for me. (In the interest of full disclosure, I've never learned to like coffee, either.). This beer is all stout, but its taste has a top and bottom without a middle. The top is a prominent hops bitterness, and the bottom consists of slight saltiness with strong roasted, even burnt, flavors. What came to mind was "catmouth" because I kept trying to get it past my tongue long after the swallow. I would have expected the mouthfeel to be more creamy than it is.

If you like Guinness, you will probably really like this offering - the high Ba rating attests to this. However, it is not for me. I gave this a 3.0 overall in deference to the style, but based on personal preference I would have gone lower. So there it is. If you like bitter, cooked coffee stouts like Guinness, this may be for you and I urge you to try it. If, like me, you like rounder stouts like Young's Oatmeal Stout or an imperial like Old Heathen, this North Coast offering may not be your cup of tea. (1,595 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 3,511 ratings.