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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - North Coast Brewing Co.

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

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3,526 Reviews

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Reviews: 3,526
Hads: 11,318
Avg: 4.27
pDev: 10.3%
Wants: 498
Gots: 2,355 | 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 (28) | 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
Reviews: 3,526 | Hads: 11,318
Photo of instrumentality
4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a thick brown-black with three fingers of creamy brown head that settled into a thin pool of lace of various shades of white and brown.

The odor conjured images of chocolate malt with a shot of espresso.

The smells translated well to my palate, somewhat bitter with the added flavor of red wine.

Initial mouthfeel seemed a bit chalky, oddly enough, but intensity-wise, it was pretty mellow with only a slight burn of alcohol and minimal carbonation. The aftertaste was just a bit too strong and coating, a bitter mix of espresso and red wine.

I was disappointed to find that this brew smelled better than it tasted--not that the taste was bad, but I expected more. To take a more positive spin on this, for an RIS, it's well balanced and fairly easy to drink.

I'll probably save the last couple bottles of my four-pack and let them age a bit. I have a feeling a little time will make this one a real treat.

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Photo of gbarron
4.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a squatty 12 oz. bottle, no dating.

A - very, very dark and black but not quite opaque. When held up to direct light, deep ruby and amber hues emerge. Head is very thick and tight, lightly tan and creamy like froth on coffee.

S - rich smell of roasted grains, nuts, coffee beans. Backed up by firm earthy hop aroma, English hops. Hints of alcohol. Smells like a stout.

T - I have rarely given out 5's, but this one deserves it in the taste category. Rich and very complex. Initial malt sweetness like bitter, dark chocolate mixed with licorice, espresso, dark fruits, followed by assertive hop bitterness and earthy hop flavor. Extremely well balanced beer. Warming aftertaste of alcohol. Lots of different flavors bouncing around in my mouth on this one.

M - very, very smooth and silky despite alcohol content. Very full bodied mouthfeel, but not overwhelming. Alcohol is slightly warming. Carbonation is moderate to low. Slightly sweet finish.

D - amazing brew, give it a try. Despite higher alcohol and full body, I could drink several of these in an evening and not tire of it.

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Photo of Liquids
3.91/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks delicious, dark black with a red-brown hue peeking out from the bottom of the glass, with a massive, bubly and creamy head that is comparable to the color of, say, wheat bread, for lack of a better comparative. Smells like an american variation on the grassy english ale aroma--more piney and resinous--but the aroma is rather gentle for an imperial stout. Hmm. More like a straght ahead stout. The taste is malty and focused, with a charred finish that tastes, again, mostly like a standard stout. This may have some time on it, in which case, considering style, this is how it would taste after reaching Russia. The expectedly intense hops have mellowed out I think, comparing it to when I had it fresh on tap months prior. The hops again are american, piney, and slightly floral even. Mouthfeel is medium and well- or possibly over- carbonated. Stout like in feel, not as heavy as anticipated, but not light either. Overall, I am not a fan of the hop profile here. Nor do I love the less than smooth, charred malts that acompany it in the finish. This is a very good beer, but it is not the best of style. Tastes more like an american stout than an imperial stout, but it somehow hides the 8% well. I love the label and russian phrases. North Coast is consistently good, despite brewing beers that don't personally appeal to my palate enough to be my pick as favorites given their style. Drinking this left me dreaming of Storm King, which I find delicious both on tap and in the bottle, while this was absolutely better on tap.

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Photo of JBStith
4.32/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Rasputin. I've had it in both bottle and draft, but bottle most recently. As I remember, it wass slightly better on draft. However, this is an exceptional beer regardless of serving type.

A: Dark like crude oil with nice tan head. Initial head is about 1/4 inch with slight retention and lacing.

S: Acrid smell of dark roasted coffe and black patent malts.

T: Similar to smell. Great roasted, coffee and acrid flavors supported by slight malt and good bitterness. Alcohol was not readily noticeable, but became more apparent as the beer warmed up. Became slightly sweeter as well.

M: Mouthfeel was not too heavy, though heavier than most regular stouts.

D: Due to high alchol content, I don't recommend drink more than 1-2 of these per session. However, very drinkable from a flavor and body point of view.

Overall, a very nice example of Russian Imperial Stout. I will have this again and recommend it to others, esopecially stout fans. Great beer!

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Photo of DuqTroops
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - very dark beer. could not see through it at all.

Smell - lots of coffee, chocolate and hops/malt complexities.

Taste - great tasting stout! perfect balance with all of the previous complexities.

Mouthfeel - good night cap.

Drinkability - night cap beer!

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Photo of rtratzlaff
4.47/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: 1/2" tan head composed of very tiny bubbles dissipates and leaves an island of head that floats in the glass for a good while. Black body with miniscule amounts of ruby light slivers coming through the edges.

S: Sweet ripe fruit, banana, raisin

T: Dark chocolate and coffee grinds, raisin-like sweetness, finishes with the bitterness of dark/espresso roasted coffee

M: Thick barleywine-like mouthfeel

D: This is a slow drinking beer. Slowly sip and enjoy.

Wish I had this a few months back during the cold weather. I'll have to revisit this next winter.

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Photo of moklett
3.93/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark black with an almost purple tinge and 3 fingers of caramel-colored head. Smells of coffee, caramel, and grapes (reminds me of something like a shiraz from the wine world). Tastes unlike it smells. I taste wood and oak, although the coffee and caramel is still present. High marks for mouthfeel - it is creamy and lingers nicely. The alcohol is masked nicely - especially at first - but it becomes more present as the beer warms. Overall, a nice representation of the style but not astounding.

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Photo of Lupin
4.87/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My third tasting of this brew. 12oz bottle kept at standard fridge temperature. Rasputin's hypnotic techniques have reined me in. I love this brew, but I can only take one in at a time.

Pours an utterly opaque black coffee. I violently throw the last 5 ounces or so in to coax out a 1"+ roasted sandy head. Minor lacing at the top of the glass. Easily the best smelling brew I have ever sampled.

The taste is utterly dominated by a raw, dark chocolate. There is no other way to describe it. It even leaves the same dry feeling on your tongue that a bar of any dark chocolate will provide. Bitter bitter bittersweet.

I wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who likes beer and coffee or beer and chocolate of any type. I warned my dad, who loves dark chocolate, that he'd better drink the bottle I offered him that night or else it was liable to disappear from the fridge. My willpower is such that the same bottle has just been reviewed.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.52/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle a pitch black(with reddish tones) having a fairly large head of foam that dissipated slowly leaving just a fine layer.

The smell is of roasted barley with some malty sweetness and notes of coffee.

The taste is huge! Lots of roasted barley, chocolate, and coffee with some grain and a bit of anise. Very very complex and very rewarding to my taste buds. I've had this one a few times in the past and it never fails to impress me with its flavour and how well it hides the rather substantial 9%abv.

Bottom line: This is a world class sample of the style that is a *must* to try.

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Photo of nectarkeeper
3.62/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Old Rasputin on tap at the Brickstore on a lazy tuesday afternoon.
this beast of a beer poured out velvety, greasy, dark and mysterious, with a tannish head that held up all the way down to the last sip.

i found marshmallows and smoke in the front, with burnt dark chocolate and dried dark fruits going down. halfway in, the dark-fruit character really took over, still laced with that nice bitter-burnt tingle. overall, really nicely balanced and totally enjoyable, but slow drinking with that thick-as-night mouthfeel...and one was plenty!

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.32/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally reviewing this beer. This was one of my first better beers (before I was a BA) and I have tried it since both in the bottle and on-tap, and even have one aging, but somehow haven't reviewed it. 12 oz. stubby with no freshness date. It pours almost black with a quarter-inch of light brown head that reduces to a collar and doesn't leave much lacing. It smells of big, dark roasted malts, cocoa, chocolate, blackberry, and chocolate-covered cherries. It tastes like coffee, dark, unsweet chocolate, and lots of hops (green, piney, leafy, oily, maybe citric) that contribute a big bitterness. The beer has a good balance, with lots of malts and hops, on top of a medium to thick body that leaves a very long finish. A great beer that I will always come back to revisit.

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Photo of elricorico
4.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours quite dark with a strong redness to it. In the glass it appears black, and keeps up a creamy tan head. More head retention than I expect from a high alcohol beer of this style. Lacing left everywhere.

My nose detects alcohol and an almost burnt malt aroma. Bitter chocolate and charcoal. Coffee bean becomes more and more prevelant the warmer the beer gets.

Smooth into the mouth, this is fairly sweet overall. Dark roasted coffee flavour with a hint of vanilla. Finishes with a bit of charcoal and alcohol, warming the throat all the way to the belly. Alcohol is not overdone though, it feels very appropriate.

This beer is relatively thick and carbonation is low. Both good for the style, but nothing extraordinary here.

Quite nice, perhaps my favourite of the Imperial Stouts I've had. One more thank you to orrshow for giving me the bottle.

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Photo of Fish113d
4.13/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pouring into a tulip glass from a bottle a bit chilled, it pours a black color with a brown, dense 1/4" surface layer that sat on top of the brew for most of the tasting.

Aroma leads on a bit of black liquorice (sp.); roasty chocolate aromas also are prominent. A decent amount of alcohol hits my sinuses as well. A slight oak aroma also.

Sipping, it reveals a lot of roasty nuttiness (almonds) w/ dark baker's chocolate. Lots of coffee w/ a dry oak barrel flavor also seems to come across my palate. On the finish, I sense a bit of the black liquorice flavor i was smelling just a few minutes earlier.

Mouthfeel is overall, nicely balanced. Carbonation is nice; very drying finish. A bit of alcohol on my palate; huge body!

Overall, the hype around this one is well deserved. At 9%, I know I can't drink as much as I'd like to, but this is a great sipping brew!

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Photo of jetfanzee
4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Liquid Midnight in the glass. No light gets through this dark black pour. About half an inch of foamy tan head that slowly melts into a ring around the glass, nice lacing as you drink.

S: Strong coffee, dark chocolate, and a slight licorice smell on first sniff. Maybe some toffee but just a hint.

T: Sweetness as this beauty first hits the tongue, but the bitterness of the hops stops it from being overwhelming. Slight alcohol burn in the back of the throat along with the hops leaves your mouth calling for the next sip.

M: A little thinner than I would have thought from the color and head. Also a little more carbonation than I usually like, but it helps cut through the sweet start.

D: This beer definitely wants to travel in groups! One just won't do it. I don't know if I want this all night, but 2 after a hard day will definitely take the edge off. Overall Highly enjoyable, and a great way to end a tough day or a great meal.

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Photo of EvilKeith
4.2/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into the pint a deep dark brown color with ruby highlights. Head was two fingers of short-lived tan light foam that formed over a brief cascade. Head faded to a thick cap with heavy lacing.

Smell was chocolate malt, a charred smokiness (malt) and sweet caramel.

Medium bodied. Lighter than I expected for the style, but nice. Creamy mouthfeel. Mild carbonation.

This very well may be the most drinkable RIS I have ever had. Drinks like a stout with half the ABV. I'm impressed.

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Photo of mcallister
4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark dark highly carbonated nearly black but more brown liquid dredges from it's bottle. A faint tan head dissapears almost as soon as it appears leaving spotty thin lacing and a rim around the edges.

Smells of bitter cooking choclate, black currant, roasted chocolate malt, roasted coffee, vanilla, and a dense hop aroma.

Tastes of a bitter dark choclate bar. With a big roasted malt component and grainy drying hops to help balance. A finish of coffee, some smoke, burnt flavors, heavy cream, and a few choice dark fruits. Very big and complex with no apparent RS. Very dry. Alcohol leave a slight burn in the chest but otherwise very well hidden

Mouthfeel is very dry and somewhat bitter. A terrific contrast to the RIS i've been sampling lately.

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Photo of Backer2004
4.4/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Here is the biggest problem I could find with Old Rasputin. I drank this one side by side with the Raspberry Weyerbacher, which has currently taken over as the best reviewed beer in Backer2004's history to this point. It's just an outstanding beer when paired with white and dark chocolate but didn't complement as well as the aformentioned. Lovely deep dark color, nice mix of caramel and chocolate taste, rather easy to drink. Will definitely search for this one and try my own bottle.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Just a picturesque head. Tall, tan and creamy. Makes me teary eyed. Floating on a pitch black moat that defies definition. Too dark to see whats going on in there....lets move to the next step

S: Roasted malts and chocolate cheesecake. Brings to mind chocolate eclairs with fresh pastry dough and sweet cream. Liquid dessert coming right up.

T: Just great. Begins a balanced smooth freefall across the palate...making a play for one of the smoothest Imperial stouts then switches gears into a sultry sweetness...only just for a moment until the hops bitterness sends a swaggering dash down the center of the tongue then finally relenquishs control to the roasted malt burnt character that massages the side-back of the tongue. Truly a journey

M: Everything I could hope for. Thick, creamy, velvety across the tongue

D: Massively complex. Abundantly tasty. A masterpiece of a beer.

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Photo of wingman14
4.37/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a dark tan head, which was very small. Sweet chocolate and burnt aromas, this has a more powerful smell for a russian imperial stout. Taste is very powerful, sweeter than most, with a noticable alcohal flavor (not suprising considering the ABV). A bitter aftertaste leaves you wanting more. A good balance in flavor, not much carbonation which adds to the mouthfeel. I could have a couple of these after dinner or for a nice nightcap. This is not to pricey and is well worth trying. A great russian imperial stout to start out on, not to much ABV, but enough flavor to tell you if you like the style. Do yourself a favor and try this beer. Cheers!

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Photo of HimerMan
4.2/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. In a Brooklyn Pint Glass.

Awesome pour, black with a dark tan head. Alcohol already noticeable.

Strong flavor with dark chocolate and coffee, with a harsh bitterness that comes directly from the alcohol. Hops do come through at the end of each sip - and definitely at higher temperatures (though not invisible at colder).

Overall - an excellent imperial stout. Really what they should taste like - however, not easy to have the stringent alcohol many times in a night.

Buying this beer is a solid imperial stout choice.


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Photo of dfried
4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured a deep, oily black, without much color around the edges and a carmel colored head. The smell was pretty complex with lots of tones of malts, roasted to sweet, and a slight hop presence. The taste was the standout character of this beer for me. Very coffee and chocolaty, both bitter roast and sweet. It is very deep and creamy. The alcohol is apparent but not overpowering. Not the most drinkable, but a few can be fine.

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Photo of hero27
4.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. 9% abv.

Pours a menacing dark mahogany color. Bubbles cascade up & down to form a perfect head of frothy tan foam (that seems to have the staying power of Rasputin himself)..it just will not die.
Smell is dominant dark roasted malts with fresh ground coffee & black licorice tagging along. The taste has more of a hop kick than you'd expect, and creates a nice bitterness. As this approaches room temperature, it really matures into the beer it's supposed to be, with the dark chocolate flavors keeping you yearning for more.
I always pick up some of this when I find it..unfortunately, I can't get it in my immediate area yet. Always mentioned among the great stouts, this is one that is certainly worth trying.

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Photo of jwc215
4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 12 oz. bottle, poured black with thin tan head that became a well-retained lacing.
The aroma was robust with roasted coffee, black currants and a hint of chocolate with a noticeable alcohol bite.
The taste was of robust, rich coffee - on the thick side. There were hints of black currents and some plum-like fruitiness in the background. There was a great balance of bitter and sweet with a touch of smoky charcoal. Overall, the taste was very well-balanced, rich and complex.
Some of the complexities were slightly masked by the alcohol. There was a touch of sweet stickiness at the finish, though it began more bitter.
It was very drinkable - a worthwhile and delicious treat!

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Photo of DogFood11
3.61/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

What would you expect from nitro and old rasputin....well the appearance is lovely, dark , rich, frothy, excellent retention...etc.

I found that the nitro detracted from what is truly good about this brew. Normally this brew has a nice hop presence, almost over the top. Roasty, charred and good. On the nitro, while all these characterstics are there, just expect them to be dumbed down.

Notes: excellent beer. Why is it on nitro? No reason, in my opinion this is just a way to market it as a guinness...I heard this many times throughout the night...bartender " its similair to a guiness but slightly stronger" ...ok.

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Photo of evanackerman
4.4/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

this stout pours a very opaque black with no light escaping through its murky darkness, head is thck and tan colored and has good retention, rings of lace are left behind as beer is consumed.

arom is far more complex than most stouts i've had. there are notes of figs, caramel, hops, and alcohol, a very pleasant aroma overall.

taste is very complex, hop bitterness up front followed by roasted barley and figs, next comes a pleasing warmth from the alcohol, the finish is long and dominated by chocolate and hop bitterness. a truly satisfying flavor profile.

mouthfeel is very good, smooth and a bit oily, very viscous brew with just the right carbonation to maintain a degree of crispness.

overall, this is my favorite imperial stout so far, it strikes a lovely balance of flavors as far as i'm concerned. definitely a must try beer.

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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 3,526 ratings.