1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - North Coast Brewing Co.

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

9,682 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,682
Reviews: 3,350
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 10.23%
Wants: 290
Gots: 1,227 | FT: 38
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 01-18-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 9,682 | Reviews: 3,350 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WalrusJockey
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz into tulips.

A- dark, maybe opaque. Head is creamy latte-colored, with decent staying power.

S- bitter, with sweet, roasty and smokey notes, which, together, remind me of jerky. Also a background alcohol aroma, but fairly faint.

T- dry roast flavors of malt and well-hidden alcohol, edged with caramel. After the swallow is a lingering aftertaste of dark chocolate and something that reminds me of spring water, which is perfect alongside the chocolate.

M- not heavy, not syrupy, but also not too light. smooth and silky and nice, though slightly 'warm' on the palate.

D- I don't think I could drink more than one of these, but I do think I may buy some more.

WalrusJockey, Jul 06, 2009
Photo of firedog23
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in a non-descript glass used to hold beverages.

This is the kind of Imperial Stout I can see being sent from England to Russia across the North Sea. It is a typical heavy stout with an obvious level of alcohol in it. It has a great warming feeling and is not meant to be drunk in a quick fashion. This stout may be beyond some peoples taste capabilites or understanding of why there is an Imperial Stout.

A really good beer that is meant to be enjoyed over time.

firedog23, Oct 21, 2011
Photo of Mustard
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Chubby, 12oz. brown bottle with no "bottled on" or "best before" warning; stray single purchased for $1.79 from the West LA Whole Foods on National and Barrington. "A heartfelt friend does not come about suddenly" scrawled in Russian afront the label.

Appearance: Entirely opaque; fine, half-inch, cocoa-brown head; moderate ring style lacing; not much in the way of head retention.

Aroma: Largely of chocolate and dark, rum-drenched fruits.

Taste: Sweet; big notes of roasted coffee and dark chocolate; discernible hints of vanilla, licorice, grain and prune-like fruits; tight, tasty, carbonized-barley bitterness in the finish; vinous; faintly phenolic.

Notes: By all means the equal of top notch Impy's like Victory's Storm King, Bear Republic's Big Black Bear and Stone's IS. Love the finish.

Mustard, Sep 01, 2003
Photo of donmonkey1
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours black with a really nice frothy brown head. The head isn't going anywhere soon either. Excellent lacing. I can tell immediately by looking at this beer that it's got to be great.

Smell: Chocolate, molasses, nutty.

Taste: Nutty, coffee, raisin, molasses. There's a sweetness with a hint of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Thick and a bit stingy.

Drinkability: This is an outstanding beer but it's like rich chocolate, you can only handle so much at one time. I'm sure I could manage to hold quite a bit though if I put my mind to it.

donmonkey1, Jul 03, 2009
Photo of PhiloPsych
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this while at the Newport Beach Brewing Company. It was poured by from a bottle by my server (table side). The head disappeared almost immediately. The nose was roasted, slightly smokey, a little burnt. The mouthfeel wasn’t as creamy as some stouts--but not thin or watery at all. This stout was not dry, rather a bit sticky and syrupy. The moderately strong alcohol (8.9%) was not noticeable at all. The taste was very nice. Many porters are too burnt for my taste, this one had a definitely detectable burnt flavor in the finish, but it only enhanced the total flavor of the beer for me. I really liked this one.

PhiloPsych, May 13, 2007
Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Straight pour into a becker glass. The color is a deep, completely opaque black; no light passed through when I held it to my lamp. A thick, three-finger head of cappuccino-colored foam developed and dissipated very slowly to leave a ring around the edge.

Smell: Loads of roasted glory. Roasted chocolate, coffee, and caramel malts. There is also a nice toffee and molasses sweetness to keep the aroma balanced. There are also hints of dark berries: to me it smelled like blueberry and raspberry. There is a little dark fruit in the mix as well. It is a very enticing aroma.

Taste: More roasted glory, and the first sip was a shock of burnt bitterness; the overpowering intensity, though, passed after a couple sips. Roasted chocolate and coffee malts. The caramel from the smell is there, but it instead adds a touch of sweetness. The taste is nutty and also features flavors of dark fruit (perhaps plum), toffee, molasses, and vanilla. Way deep down, at the very end of each sip, is a noticeable alcohol edge that tickles the back of the throat, but it is very faint and does nothing to interfere with the other flavors.

Drinkability: Excellent beer. It is very complex, flavorful, and warming. Drink six of these and I will guarantee you will wake up with a headache (at least I will).

TheQuietMan22, Dec 15, 2010
Photo of JamesP123
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured in a tulip glass. Bought from Cost Plus World Market, no clue on the age.

A. Pours a deep black, the light had absolutely no chance of shining through this one. Big brown pillowy head with great lacing.

S. Rosated chocolate malt dominates the smell tyhroughout. Almost no alohol noticable, impressive for a 9% abv.

T. Thick and creamy. Major roasted and chocolate malt flavor. Don't taste a lot of alcohol, but it warms up the stomach fast. A spicy, bitter finish.

M. Thick and creamy, not much carbination. Just what youd expect from a really good RIS.

D. Quite a good beer, due to the overbearing (In a good way) style not one I'd drink more than one or two. Would recommend to anyone as a very good beer.

JamesP123, Apr 25, 2009
Photo of jaxon53
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served slightly below room temperature in a pint glass. Poured a shiny, used motor oil like jet black. Left a frothy coffee brown colored head about three quarters of an inch high. Head slowly dissapeared into a brown gob in the center of the glass. Sweet aromas of chocolates, roasted coffee beans, and a touch of freshly baked cookies. Had a wonderful taste as well. Flavors of roasted chocolate malt, bitter roasted coffee beans, some dark chocolates, and vanilla extract. A small hint of well hidden alcohol and a little bit of carbonation. Mouthfeel was thick and full with an explosion of flavor. Also a pretty drinkable russian imperial stout.

jaxon53, Jan 09, 2007
Photo of Portertime
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Such a good imperial, you can never go wrong with this beer. Had it the first time in Fort Myers. Srved it slighty chilled in my Samuel Smith pub glass. Poured a bittersweet choclate brown with a milk chocolate colored head that left some fine lacing. Aromas of roasted malts and baker's chocolate waft my nose. Taste has the alcohol edge in the finish with smokey, roasted chocolate malts in the front. A great after dinner quaff.

Portertime, May 17, 2008
Photo of yeahnatenelson
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Imbibed at Finnegan's in Plainfield, IL on 12/03/2010.

Appearance -- Pours a deep dark brown with two fingers of delightfully creamy tan head. Retention and lacing are both phenomenal.

Smell -- The nose is bursting with bitter chocolate, along with ground coffee, vanilla, and licorice.

Taste -- Again, LOTS of dark chocolate, licorice, black coffee, anise, vanilla, and an abundance of leafy hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-full in body with gentle carbonation.

Drinkability -- Having this on nitro-tap deserves a second review. Beyond the smooth and creamy body, the chocolate notes are pushed far into the forefront. Great stuff. This beer makes me sad that Guinness and Murphy's are the only stouts that use nitro widgets. Just ain't fair, I tell you...

yeahnatenelson, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of horndecker
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep dark brown black, a decent head, purple-edged tan, full and creamy, very fine carbonation.
The smell has a tricky mix of espresso, raspberries, medicinal hops and raisins. A bit off the beaten track. At least the track I'm on. But it's very nice.
The flavor is a big hit of espresso and french ultra-bitter chocolate. Burnt malt underneath, then the hops chime in, leading to a dry and dusty finish. Nice mouthfeel, pleasant and foamy, and a nice balance between all the flavors.

A real nice imperial stout, not Sam Smith's (my fave), but an interesting change of pace.

horndecker, May 15, 2005
Photo of EmilNoldSinclair
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Gave this sucker a hard pour and got a nice head out of it that retained decently enough. The head is tan brown and the bubbles are very small and leave a few occasional strands clinging to the glass. An almost opaque black motor oil appearance, but held up to the light it looks like a very very dark reddish brown.
Sweet smell of prunes, raisins, dark chocolate (standard), and ethanol. Nice.
An initial flash of bitterness that mellows out in the middle to the typical dark chocolate taste but also with a sweetness like currants. The aftertaste smooths out even more. Very pleasant.
Full bodied with medium carbonation.
Can hardly taste the alcohol, and could drink this until I die. It feels like a session beer until you realize that it's twice the abv.
This is a good imperial stout available year around, but I either prefer something with stronger flavor (Stone) or complexity (Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout).

EmilNoldSinclair, May 27, 2007
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on tap into a snifter. Light khaki head with a lot of lace. Tastes like saltwater toffee, coffee, chocolate, slight bitter hop. Full bodied and beautiful. Creamy and smooth. Just a slight alcohal bite. Very drinkable and would definately have again.

Stinkypuss, Jul 31, 2008
Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark brown to black with a nice creamy 1/4 inch brown head lots of bubbles and good lacing all over the glass. I can't see anything through this glass.

Smell: Somewhat smoky. The strong alcohol smell is masked by a tasty nuttiness which blends with a very potent dark chocolate. The hops are bright and bitter.

Taste: It starts slightly sweet. If you hold it in the mouth there is a very sweet citric hop profile. I really appreciate the balance in this beer. It finishes with chalky mix of apricot and dark chocolate. The beer has a very strong consistency which doesn't diminish upon tasting.

Mouthfeel: Medium. Full-bodied. Develops good character in the mouth. Nice finish

Overall: This is one of the best high ABV beer's I have ever had. It shines both in malt and hop characteristics. This is the best desert beer i've ever had that doubles as a party beer. I could drink a few Old Raspy's without regrets.

BerkeleyBeerMan, Mar 26, 2011
Photo of hangh
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark black colored beer with a tan almost amber head and a thick 1-2" head. Very fine and barely clings to the glass. Very sweet malty aroma. Full of coffee scents. Smells like some burnt chocolate in there too. Taste is very full of bitter coffee and toffee at first with a smooth burnt chocolate finish. There is a small gap in between where there is a kind of relaxing taste that is pretty unique and cool. Medium to heavy bodied with light carbonation. It's great for one drink but probably too heavy for two in one sitting, not to mention 9% ABV

hangh, Jul 11, 2010
Photo of nlmartin
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a bottle into a pub glass.

Appearance: Poured a midnight black with a cascading toffee colored head almost 2 inches high. Laced like spider webs throughout the beer drinking session.

Smell: Huge amounts of coffee, chocolate and general fruity goodness. Fantastic sweet floral maltyness stands forth and demands that we "Respect my Authority!"

Taste: No surprises here great maltyness supporting coffee, chocolatey fruity goodness.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: This beer is fantastically thick and oily a pleasing full bodied beer. This will go down great when the deep freeze of winter is on.

nlmartin, Nov 11, 2005
Photo of TequilaSauer
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The mere definition of a bargain RIS, Old Rasputin has been satisfying my dark beer cravings for years. I figured I might as well go ahead and review it.

It's a beautiful looking stout, about as perfect as it gets. Light head retention sitting atop an abyss of black nothing.

Smell is nice, milk chocolate and toffee dominate with little else to report. Good, not great.

Attacks with a creamy chocolate pudding that lingers pleasantly on the palette for quite some time. There's a slight alcohol tinge but it only adds to the deliciousness. Eventually, the chocolate fades into a smooth hoppiness with a slightly smokey finish. It's not the most complex stout in the world, but it's intense, yet pleasant and elegant. It is the perfect late night, after-dinner stout, in my opinion.

It's a silky, magnificent brew that always delights the senses and never offends. It's not a beer you could drink one after the other, but it's one that is always worth having in the fridge. Old Rasputin is in a word, essential.

TequilaSauer, Aug 03, 2009
Photo of bfields4
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a very dark brown not quite on the motor oil level, but close. A beautiful creamy brown head.

Smells of dark fruits and caramel.

Mouthwatering goodness exhumes from this stout as the malted sweetness hits nice followed by a very nice dark chocolate taste.

There's a reason this beer is a cult classic. An affordable treat that I would never say no to.

bfields4, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of beeragent
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle, into a snifter. The beer pours an opaque black, forming a 1/4 inch mocha head, leaving medium rings of lace. The aroma is heavily consisted of roasted malts and coffee. The taste is just amazing!! Strong roasted malt bitterness, coffee, and good amount of chocolate sweetness. Alcohol is not detectible, suprisingly being 9%. Mouthfeel is thick and extremely smooth. No harsh finish associated with other RIS. Drinkability is high, except for the abv. I think drinking a few of these would do it for one night. This is thee best Russian Imperial Stout that I have had the pleasure of drinking. A bit expensive, but well worth the price.

beeragent, May 01, 2007
Photo of BACTAdam
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I went with this brew totally blindly, not having read any reviews and not having any expectations. Here is what I found...

A- Dark as night. Charcoal black with only the slightest hints of brown with a dark copper head. Head was medium but faded fairly quickly to thin.

S- Smells of dark coffee with hints of dark chocolate.

T- Old Rasputin is a whirlwind of flavor. Honestly, at the start, I was puzzled by it. Quite bitter for a stout with sort of a burnt taste. Made me pucker a bit from the bitterness and I wasn't crazy about it. By mid-glass and as the beer warmed, the true amazing flavors come out and I was sold. The alcohol burn becomes more apparent but I also get notes of espresso, dark and milk chocolate and a nice sweetness I love in imperial stouts. By the end, I was begging for more.

M- A very solid mouthfeel- heavy, makes you feel like you're drinking a beer and not water.

D- What to say about drinkability. It's certainly not a session beer but it's very drinkable for an imperial stout. The alcohol doesn't start to kick in til mid-glass so it's deceiving. Still, one or two of these per session is more than enough.

Overall, this is a high quality Imperial Stout. Not my ultimate favorite but still excellent.

BACTAdam, Dec 04, 2007
Photo of hrockefeller
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bought bottle at Northside Indianapolis Kahn's as my introduction to the imperial stout style. I have had quite a few stouts, but this is my first review as I felt I should develop my tastes a little first.

Appearance: Opaque black, with a 1/2" head on initial pour. Head dissipates rather quickly into a thin layer that clings slightly to the glass.

Smell: Complex smell that is heavy with alcohol ( I realize this states the obvious a bit when the brew is 9% ABV). Other dominant scents include chocolate and coffee. Hints of fruity smells including raisins. Very toasty/bready.

Taste: Wow! The presence of alcohol does not seem to be as dominant with the taste as it was with the smell, allowing the other flavors to make their presence known. The toastiness and chocolate really come out at this point with a nice balance of hop flavor that allows for a somewhat dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Thick, creamy, leaves my taste buds craving more.

Drinkability: If it wasn't for the high alcohol content, I think I could easily make this a session beer. Leaves a clean, dry feeling that prepares you for the next drink.

This has instantly become one of my favorite beers. I was a little unsure, as I am somewhat partial to milk/sweet stouts. However, if this example is any indication of what to expect, imperial stouts may just take their rightful place on the throne.

hrockefeller, Jan 16, 2006
Photo of treque
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: a deep brown almost black clour, with a big off-white head, i would say a sand colour, made of wide bubble, with good retention.

S: a nice roasted very deep but also a sweet notes, probalby from dark fruits, and some caramel malts

T: some alcohol presence, deep roasted, Some sweet notes i would say from caramel malts, and some smoky notes.

Medium-high body

treque, Apr 20, 2011
Photo of micromaniac129
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours thick and deep brown with some ruby high light at the beer edge. Deep fairly dense brown foamy head fading to surface churning. There is plenty of lacing too.
Aroma is of rich and roasted malts with sutle hop bitterness and alcohol
Taste brew with a good solid malt bill of burnt and roasted malts some coffee and dark bitter chocolates. Hop and hop bitterness tend to weave through this brew.
A good feeling beer thats tart and bitter with warming alcohol deep into the aftertaste of this brew. A good well made beer.

micromaniac129, Apr 24, 2011
Photo of Lemke10
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had a 12oz glass on tap at Hollywood Casino in Joliet, IL for $4 in Spring 2010.

Pours a very dark brown color with a good thick head of chocolate colored foam. Has a strong scent of roasted malts and hops. The taste was heavy and long lasting. I was really surprised to see some foam stick around til the very end. Definetly a must try!

Lemke10, Apr 18, 2011
Photo of OnThenIn
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A finger of dark tan head on top of a beautiful ebony beer. Lacing is left behind and the head dissipates slowly.

Smell: Big roasty aroma with malt sweetness in the background. A bit of coffee aroma and some chocolate as well. There is a tiny bit of dark fruit, like raisin apparent.

Taste: The flavor is very rounded and well mixed. There is a bitter roastyness to the finish, but through there is almost a oatmeal stout like flavor. The sweet malt is really balanced by the roast bitterness and there is a certain dark chocolate flavor to the beer. There is a bit of caramel flavor, which plays nicely with the chocolate, forming a coffee like flavor. Really enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: The beer has a good amount of carbonation and a big full body. There is a certain smooth, silky feeling to the beer. It is definietly a sipper.

Drinkability: This beer is rather interesting. It has the mouthfeel of a huge killer RIS, but at 9% abv has a lower abv than quite a few examples of the style. I am not saying that it is sessionable by any means, but it is really nice to be able to not have to resort to a beer above 10% if I want an RIS.

This is a relaxing sipper that can just be enjoyed, while providing the complexity need for you to stay hooked.

OnThenIn, Feb 23, 2010
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 9,682 ratings.