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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3,523 Reviews

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Reviews: 3,523
Hads: 11,304
Avg: 4.27
pDev: 18.5%
Wants: 498
Gots: 2,343 | 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: 3,523 | Hads: 11,304
Photo of biegaman
4.77/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pitch black with hazelnut lining; my glass has become the sight of one big oil spill. The complexion is utterly unyielding - even when held directly into the light the beer refuses any highlights or transparency. This defines the word 'opaque'. The rustic toned carbonation seems selective about which parts of the top it chooses to amplify. Nevertheless, it's fairly thorough and leaves a coating of lacing that sticks like drying cement.

The nose is everything you'd ask for in an Imperial Stout (chocolate, espresso, heavy roast, molasses, black licorice) plus an extremely generous inclusion of hops. We're talking West Coast style hops - lively, spicy, tangy, fruity, acidic, green, fresh from the vine hops. Although they do interfere a little with all the dark chocolate and roast malt decadence, they also provide a level of sumptuousness of their own. This smell is divine.

Each sip is like drinking liquefied dark chocolate. Well, it's not that simple actually. It's like drinking liquefied dark chocolate that has been infused with a strong, heavy roast espresso and a farm's worth of macerated hop cones. There's a big spoonful of dark caramel, a layer of crunchy toffee crust and nibs of black licorice. Bittersweet notes resonate with increasing intensity on the finish. Surely if there is an ideal tasting Imperial Stout this must be it.

Words like "smooth" and "delicious" have been so overused in reviews that they've lost much of their meaning. That said, a beer like Old Rasputin comes along and there's no better, more appropriate adjectives to describe it. It not only rejuvenates these words, it might even redefine them. The flavours are luscious, the body is full, the textures vivid and the alcohol never to be seen. This whole thing just feels like a warm (decadently rich) blanket.

They may not all be easy to get your hands on, but there is no shortage of great Imperial Stouts. The bar for this style is set ridiculously high, arguably much higher than most other styles. Although Old Rasputin may no longer be recognized as one of the top, most decadent RIS it damn well should be. I've had my share of revered, highly sought after Imperial Stouts but I'd still claim this as one of my favourites. And probably always will.

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Photo of CIBoy10
4.77/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look - oily jet black with nice off-white head that leads to great lacing.
Smell - currants, raisins, cocoa. pretty impressive.
Taste - raisins, coffee, tobacco, a little hoppy, cocoa. nice hoppy bitterness that lasts through the finish.
Feel - very smooth, appropriately carbonated.
Overall - very impressed with this one. i found it nicely complex.

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Photo of dmfrench
4.77/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A unique, hoppy, complex, and excellent RIS.

A: Nearly opaque reddish brown with a tight, fairly persistent two finger dark khaki head. Good lacing at first, but loses steam.

S: Baker's chocolate and a bit of burnt malt... hints of hops and alcohol.

T: Kinda the reverse of the nose... quite hoppy for an RIS, and slightly warm... chocolate and burnt malt are underneath... salty and very complex with some flavors I can't quite place... another reviewer said anise, and I could see that.

M: Silky and rough at the same time... the carbonation carries the flavors well.

D: Goes down as easily as such a weighty beer can.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.77/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A nice dark stout with a rich color and very pleasant, stouty smell. The taste is complex, but not heavy and without any bitterness. It sits nicely in the mouth and goes down smooth as velvet and strong as a truck. I highly recommend it to anybody who loves porters and stouts.

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Photo of aaronh
4.77/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

After searching for this beer for 10 months, I finally got my hands on a 4-pack while on vacation. It was worth the wait. This is a wonderful Imperial Stout. Nice dark color, almost black with a beautiful tan head. The aromas from this beer are almost as good as the taste: coffee, chocolate, malt. I savored each sip of each beer, spending almost an hour with each. The alcohol is noticable, but not overpowering. But I wouldn't choose Old Rasputin for a night of drinking. It's more of a beer for a relaxing evening. If this beer is readily available in your area, drink it regularly. If not, stock up when you find it. I'm ready to make the 6 hour drive to get some more.

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Photo of Kirkles
4.78/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Strong, thick and smooth, everything a RIS should be.

I got this on nitro-tap at Magnolias in Purcellville, VA.

A: Pitch black with an amazing head. Just looking at it built my expectations to an immense level.

S: Strong. The malt hit me first, with hints of coffee. It built great anticipation for the first taste.

T: Wonderfully complex. I felt like I discovered something new each sip I took.

M: This was my favorite part. I buried the majority of my face in the head and took a good draw. It was thick, full and smooth. It was absolutely everything that I hoped for.

D: It's a fantastic brew, but so strong and thick that it fills you up quick. Not that this is a bad thing.

Overall, within my top 3 beers. Definitely the best RIS I've ever had.

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Photo of BeerCon5
4.78/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black color with a thick very creamy dark brown head, very sticky lacing.

The scent is of roasted malt, sweet dark chocolate, dark fruit, and notes of coffee.

The taste is first of sweet dark chocolate, followed by pronounced alcohol, roasted malt, coffee notes, finishes with a dry cocoa taste.

Full bodied, chewy and thick, very low carbonation.

Probably one of the best RIS I've had, great complex flavor, lots to taste with every sip. I will definitely look for this again.

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Photo of ImBOBtheBEERguy
4.78/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

At Canal Street Pub:

The barkeep told me this was from an aged 5 gal keg pulled on the nitro tap. WOW

This beer was a deep black with nice light brown head and lace. Its hard to describe the flavor, balance and finish due to total taste bud satisfaction. Smoooth, tasty, rich, and relaxing! Mmmmm


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Photo of Kristing
4.78/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a real powder keg, a cascade of flavour. Tasting it is a bit like being punched in the face, without the pain of course. There are many lovely roasted tones, and a great deal of strong coffee and dark chocolate in the flavour. I feel that this is really the way an excellent Imperial Stout should taste like. Despite the flavour, it is rather easy to quaff this brew, and it is really the quintessential beer to kick back and relax with, especially during a cold winter day when the darkness outside reflects the colour in your glass.

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Photo of FaustieMo
4.78/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wonderful pour to give a rich, dark tan head. Although it didn't last long (due to the high alcohol), the head had a great combination of small and large bubbles. Really pretty beer.

In the aroma, I get rich, dark chocolate and roasty malts. The smell is very round and fresh, but not lighthearted. Some detectable alcohol. There may be some hints of dark fruits as well. Hope aroma is less evident.

The taste is unreal. There are huge, round chocolate and roasted malts, with the perfect balance of hop bitterness. After the swallow is a nice alcoholic burn.

The mouthfeel is extremely creamy. Drinking this beer is not unlike eating a piece of bread.

Incredible beer, a must try.

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Photo of blakesell
4.78/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from the nitro tap into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Beer pours a solid jet black with a three finger head of solid tan that doesn't dissipate for a solid five minutes. Lacing clings to the sides of the glass and doesn't let up.

Smell- Roasted smoky malts and slight hops. Head is sticking in my moustache giving a bit more in the way of aroma. Milk chocolate and black patent malts very similar to a malted milk ball. Slight prune and fig, LOTS of black licorice.

Taste- Creamy, black licorice, black and milk chocolate, caramel, creamer, dark chocolate again, light vanillanin, chocolate milk, prunes, figs, brown sugar, light burnt malts, dark burnt malts, black patent, 350L+ torched malts. Good lord this is sweet.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, full-bodied, smooth, well carbonated. Excellent.

Drinkability- Wow. Nitro tap is the way to go on this delicious elixer. I will be ordering this again before it's too late.

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Photo of IvanNewMexico
4.78/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is my favorite beer. It is strong in both taste and power, but it is an acquired taste. Once you acquire the taste, there is no going back.

Think of Guinness Stout, but stronger and more flavorful.

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Photo of beergambit
4.78/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

At first I heard many good reviews on this wonderul beer and never had the chance until now. I am glad I had the chance to taste this great drink. From begining to end this is a smooth and rich in flavorful beer. The taste of the hops and fruit flavors were a mouthful but not as a punch to the gut but pleasent like.

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Photo of Seanibus
4.78/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is one powerful, beautifully crafted beer. It is not for the faint of heart, but it is everything a Russian Imperial Stout should be.

Pours an oily black with a thin beige head. The aroma is powerfully malty, with a sharp bite of cherrywood smoke.

The flavor is vast, with a massive attack of bitter, earthy smoke and a huge, round undertone of sweetness.

The mouthfeel is enormous, resiny and thick, clinging to the tongue long after the beer is down your throat. It finishes with smoke and a satisfying alcohol bite on the top of your moth.

This is an amazing beer that will stand up to food, or survive aging, like a fine port.

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Photo of Tilley4
4.78/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This was an incredible RIS here! Pours very dark but not totally opaque with a nice creamy 1 inch head that leaves some fairly decent lacing as well.

Smells rich and dark, like espresso. This is a very complex brew here. Aroma of fruit and licorice, malt and coffee.

This is one fine tasting stout. This is what I want a stout to taste like. Very rich and dark with a nice alcohol finish and a good warming end to it. You know you're drinking a strong beer when you drink this one. Not the strongest of stouts, but just the right amount of kick to it. The alcohol is present but it isn't overpowering or overbearing in any way.

I loved this beer. I had to travel an hour west to get the last two bottles that the store had. It was worth the trip and I guarantee you that I'll make it again.

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Photo of bobbyc881
4.78/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Adventures of South Carolina Guy at Brickskeller in DC:

Wow. My first Imperial Stout. This was goal #1 on my journey of better beer. Being such a stout fan, I was really looking forward to this.

Appearance was decieving at first. A small, unassuming little bottle. Maybe I was expecting Beer Angels to sing... Rasputin then told me to pour, so I did. Black, black, black. A nice brown head that settled down thin. Very little carbonation.

Smell was incredible. Big roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, dark fruits, and a bit of alcohol...oh, 9%, we don't get that in SC.

Perfect taste. Best beer I've ever tasted. Period. Insansely complex. Chocolates, fruits, coffee, hops bitterness, and a faint reminder that there's a wad of alcohol in there.

This felt great going down, with a very pleasant sweet taste hanging around, inviting me back for more. Nice and thick.

I think these are meant to be had one at a time. So, I came back 2 days later for my second.

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Photo of Bills453
4.79/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - black as night as this brew settles into my new Belgium tulip glass. A great and frothy 3 finger head rest atop my bear and looks the color of hot cocoa.

Smell - toasty malts, milk chocolate and cocoa all together in a fantastic pleasure filled experience for my nostrils.

Taste - very much like the smell and equally pleasure filled.

Mouthfeel - thick and creamy...smooth like budda.

Overall - such an amazing stout and perfect for a cold January dinner time!

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Photo of wcudwight
4.79/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As black as a night coon hunting with a new moon. 1/4" tan head that quickly recedes to a heavy lace. Lace last as long as the beer.
Ohhh man this smells good. Licorice, syrup, dark fruits, rich bread and dark cocolate.
Taste is as good as the aroma. This beer has a sharper hoppy type bitterness than others of the style I've had. More of the rich chocolate flavors and less of the coffee. It's fantastic. This and Storm King are my two favorite of the style and two of the best beers I've had over all.
Mouthfeel is velvet. This beer is over a year old and that may have contributed to the slick mouthfeel.
It's a sipper and it's feeling but I gave it a 4.5 because it's so good.
I was taking inventory of my cellar and came across 2 bottles of these. They have to be over a year old and I was suprised I've not reviewed it yet. This should be a staple for you to sip on cold evenings.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
4.79/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Westmalle trappist piece of stemware.

It pours out a small fluffy head that has a wonderfull lacing. Also a jet black color that is traditional of Russian Imperial Stouts.

It smells like coffee and dark cocoa and a little sweet. A sweet licorice and fruitiness that are just great. I believe I smell black currants which were described in the Dark Lord, but I have not had any before.

The taste is sweet and bitter at the same time with spiciness. Coffee (expresso), licorice, dark fruit, and flowery hops are all flavors that hit me very nicely.

Mouthfeel is very nice and smooth, smooth and a little creamy feel is in it.

I am glad this is now in Roots, because I will wish to have it at least once a month, very nice.

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Photo of Oakengroves
4.79/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - A dark, foreboding back with an off-color, dull head.

Smell - A deep, earthy roasted malt scent. Very appetizing.

Taste - An outstanding dark, earthy flavor interrupted occasionally by a mixture of grain and chocolate. Delightful!

Mouthfeel - Full bodied with a perfect amount of carbonation.

Drinkability - One of the most drinkable Imperial stouts on the market.

Overall - The gold standard for imperial stouts, and very, very difficult to beat for the price.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Ego
4.79/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A classic in my book. Dark brown head that dissapates, beautiful lace clings to the sides, classic roast aroma with the sweetness of the alcohol quite present.

In the mouth it has just enough carbonation to make it non syrupy and also to mask the heavier alcohol content. This may be too heavy for many people but if you like dark, malty, alchol laden brew.. this is a must try.

Savor the nose in a big snifter glass, wonderfull, better than a starbucks venti hazelnut cappucino... the nose is unreal on this beer.

The malt takes over early (front of tongue) on a sip and then fades into the strong coffee notes (back of tongue).

This is a truly a well crafted beer, highly recommended. This is hands down one of my favorites.

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Photo of deadbody
4.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow. $7 for the 4 pack on sale I was expecting decent. Instead I get exceptional. Pours a dark black with a huge head, recedes to a thin layer of foam with lacing all up and down the glass. Smells great, not a hint of booze in the 9% ABV hog. Taste is good, a bit too much burnt but not bad. Nice and subtle, no booze taste. Mouthfeel is great, thick and rich. Almost bready.

Overall, this is a hell of a value, and I will be picking it up regularly.

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Photo of hawkseven
4.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle

First experience with a RIS.

A- Black !!!with a thin (1/4 inch) mocha head

S- Coffee and chocolate, smells tasty and inviting.

T- very chocolate-y with a bitter coffe after taste, mild smokiness, definitly 9% ABV

M- creamy and thick, with a slight carbonation bite.

D- very good, need to pair this with a meal probably something fatty instead of drinking by itself. Very impressed with this brew. I will look for it again.

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Photo of Tdizzle
4.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Poured into a tulip glass, this beer pours black with a creamy dark-tan head that sticks around for the duration of the beer, leaving some really thick lacing on the glass.

S- It's all here. Rich dark chocolate, roasted malts and coffee with a bit of vanilla sweetness. Notes of hops ad dark fruits are less prominent. The alcohol begins to peak through as the beer warms.

T- A superb balance of bittersweet chocolate and roasted coffee with a mild hop and cocoa bitterness on the finish, which is fairly dry for such a rich beer.

M- Smooth, creamy and coating with more lively carbonation than I expected.

D- This is a huge beer, but it drinks lighter than you might expect. The finish leaves you wanting more after every sip and the alcohol is so well-hidden you'll rub your eyes after seeing that it's 9%.

A classic in my book.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Beautiful. I managed to get a nice multicolored head with bright white on the top and the more brownish head on the bottom. I have some constant foam on the top. I see some medium lacing on the glass, which is good. The dark black color reminds of what dark chocolate looks like. I got a nice dark dark brown almost dark chocolate when I poured it.

Smell:I get a nice light whiff of roasted malts. For me, the dominant flavor appears to be the dark chocolate mixed with malts.

Taste: ORGASM!!! I get roasted malts mixed with dark chocolate . I can taste the alcohol a little bit but enough that it balances the other flavors. Frankly, I like the balance.

Mouthfeel: Wonderful light carbonation when you first drink it followed by a silky finish.

Drinkability: Definitely drinkable. I wish I had tried this earlier in the winter. The wonderful smell with the beautiful presentation, not to mention the price makes this beer a winner. To be honest, I think this stout is definitely an improvement over an espresso with bourbon poured in it.

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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 3,523 ratings.