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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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10,797 Ratings

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Ratings: 10,797
Reviews: 3,512
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 10.23%
Wants: 417
Gots: 1,930 | FT: 53
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: 10,797 | Reviews: 3,512
Photo of callmescraps
3.63/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Not always my favorite style, but I see this guy around all the time and finally decided to give it a bid.

Appearance - Black. Ok, maybe just very, very, very dark brown. Pretty much black. An inch of mocha head hangs around and laces nicely. Looks like a winner.

Smell - Lots of dark fruits. Cherries and chocolate come first. There is almost a prune thing going on. Lots of chocolate and roast malt. A hint of smoke.

Taste - Follows the smell. Lots of chocolate and cherry up front. There is a lot of roast on the finish. Honestly, it seems a little thin. Just sort of sits there in the middle. Almost some tart fruit randomly in there, which is unsettling.

Mouthfeel - Decidedly thin. Just not luxurious enough. Almost watery. Eh.

Drinkability - Not bad, but that might be because it doesn't seem to have enough working. The roast follows unpleasantly.

This is a fine beer. Pretty good, but not doing anything special for me. Quite disappointed with the body. Otherwise, it's a very good bang for your buck, but it's not the worst idea to spend a few more bucks.

Photo of david18
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this one a few times and I like it a lot. Not as great as some say it is but a very good imperial stout. I'm not sure what the difference between a Russian Imperial Stout and and American Imperial stout is (I think american has more hops) but this is one you should get if you can find it. Also, comes in 12oz bottles so if you don't like it you don't have as much to worry about.

Photo of magine
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a black brew with a deep tan fluffy head that sits thinly atop the brew. Minimal lacing.

This brew has a great robust smell; chocolate, roasted malts, some citrus hops.

This brew tastes big and roasted; chocolate taste with a nice hop kick. Has a thick creamy mouthfeel. Has some tart fruit tastes in there as well. Finishes very smooth and balanced, leaves a tad bit of stickyness on the tongue - excellent.

This a damn fine Russian Imperial Stout - one of the finest I have had. A drinkable, delicious tasting brew. The alcohol presence is there but is blended rather nicely. Very nice brew - a sipper and savor brew, not a session type. Damn fine.

Photo of prosper
3.94/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours a very, very dark brown. Not quite black, but opaque still. Frothy tan head, good retention, lots of lace. Nice cascading effect when poured aggressively as the head died down. Couldn't ask for more.

Smells are faint. Dark sweet caramel, sticky malt sweetness, plenty of citrus hops.

Taste is very interesting. A good balance of the malt sweetness of a barleywine, roasted malts, dark, dried-fruit caramel, Roasty bitterness and pleasant herbal hoppy bitterness. Plenty of late-hop character, citrus and such, but I don't think any dry hops. If not for the hops, I think it might taste like cough syrup.

Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy, but finishes surprisingly clean. Still, it's sticky on the palate.

Drinkability - good for a beer this big, but not something you'd want more than one (or possibly two) of in a sitting.

Photo of huguey
3.75/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into Rare Vos glass.

Small, quickly dissapating head.

A: Black Black Black. It's a stout.

S: Call me crazy, but I smell pepperoni. Slight oilyness, saltyness, alcohol. None of this in a bad way.

T: Malt leads to smoke leads to hops. Bitterness charcteristically hoppy

M: No lingering oil, makes the bitter mouthfeel at the back of the drink go away soon.

D: Good beer, not exceptional. I had one and it certainly didn't stand on it's own.

Photo of bonsreeb85
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ok, so this is my first experience w/ a RIS. I like stouts ok, but seeing as though lately I have been getting into really big beers, I wanted to broaden my world by trying some styles I don't normally go for.

A - thick motor oil black w/ a purty creamy brown head and fairly decent retention

S - tons of chocolate(like a freakin' milkshake, yum!) roasted, nealy burnt malt, and espresso

T - spicy and much more bitter than expected. lots of chocolate and heavy coffee flavor. grainy/earthy hops are a suprising participant and welcome addition to the mix. i like, dare i say "love" ?

MF - very creamy and very low carbonation. this beer is really heavy and full bodied. I like the way is slided down the back of the thoat ever so silky!

D - as stated previously, this is my first RIS. I think I could go for another 12 oz. before it's time to switch it up. that said, this is definately a sipper, and a damn good one at that!

Photo of realmpel
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a dark reddish brown head about half an inch high. Beautiful appearance.

Flavors of bitter chocolate and roasted grains hit me first. I took the first sip cold, but as this beer warms it develops nicely, losing some of the bitterness over time. The smell develops as it warms, too. From now on I will cool this beer to just under room temperature and end it.

Photo of Andreji
4.23/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

So much talk about this old russian fellow around here certainly aroused my interest so I brought one of these back home from the states and have kept it cellared now for about 4 months (hey, that's a record for me, mind you).

I decided to pop this one open on a sunny bogota afternoon while on break from my rural internship.

No less mystical than i expected it at first, very, very sombre pour with little to absolutely no transparency. head is dirty, very very dark and frothy, savage and very difficult to fully attain. by the looks of this, from the bottle with an old photo of this infamous russian character to the last bit of the very unpredictable pour, this beer retains an air of uneasyness- a brilliant one at it. kudos, this has to be one of the most peculiar and unique looking beers i've poured.

The smell is really hard to understand as well. a post-imperial russia industrious metallic pungency hides an underlying sugary, burnt caramel feel. dark cacao seems to be very present throughout.

The taste is great. very very smokey feel with underlying alcohol roasted sugar feel, strong dark coffee and a stingy bitterness attacks the side of the tongue through the whole deal. I hate to sound cheesy, but it arouses the senses very thoroughly. and the feel is amazing, thick bodied, fizzy, like the bottom of a cup of fresh ground coffee.

It gets to you quick, through, and you'll know you've been struck by this dark-souled russian when you least expect it. not a session beer, not a kind-tasting belgian, this beer is a monster you'll find yourself hunting down again and again.

Photo of Buschyfor3
4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

New Review - 5-year aged bottle, served 12/20/14

A: Same viscous, black pour; fully opaque; a finger thick worth of chocolate milk colored head quickly recedes to a collar of very fine bubbles; rings of lace on the drink down.

S: Mellowed slightly, but still tons of dark roast malt, cold coffee, dark fruits and bittersweet dark chocolate.

T: Smooth blend of heavily roasted malts, black coffee, sweet, rum-soaked dark fruits (raisin, figs, cherry?), molasses, bittersweet chocolate and doughy brown bread; finish is long, with a lingering bitterness from heavy roast, used coffee grounds and extra dark, bittersweet chocolate (80%+ cacao)

M: Smooth, velvety, creamy

O: Time has definitely tamed the boozy punch of this massive RIS, but it still retains all of the nuanced complexities of a fresh bottle. Very nice.

Serving: 12oz bottle poured into my Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

A: Dark, rich, muddy, murky brown pour - about as close to black as you can get while still retaining enough of a ruddy, deep mahogany tinge. Head looks like I poured milk chocolate into my glass - chocolatey-khaki brown, creamy with bubbles dotting the surface and extending to a good finger's depth. Lacing is sticky and coats the side of the glass with each sip.

S: The first whiff delivers many a roasted aromas - roasted black coffee, espresso beans, burnt toast, roasted sweet malts. Next come some flashes of dark fruitiness and dark, cocoa-like chocolate - chocolate covered cherries perhaps? Just a slight boozy sting rounds out the nose. Quite inviting.

T: I'm getting little flashes of everything in the nose assaulting my palate all at once. Starts up front with a dark fruity sweetness like rum soaked raisins and dark cherries. That is quickly followed by just the slightest flash of bitterness - possibly the only hop presence in the whole beer - that lasts for no more than a second or two. Then the roasted flavors spring forth with a salvo of black coffee, burnt toast and a charcoal/earthy wood flavor. A mellowing bittersweet chocolate and licorice kicks in to balance out the roastiness along with some hints of molasses and brown sugar. A slightly boozy/medicinal alcohol note appears right before the finish but fades behind the reintroduction of roasted malts, coffee and buttered breakfast toast which ride out to the finish.

M: Carbonation creates a creamy, slick mouthfeel. So good - what a big, bold stout should feel like. It goes down super easy on the swallow and coats the esophagus.

D: Honestly, I find this to be the easiest drinking RIS I've tried to this point, and that is not to discredit some of the superb RIS I've tried (yes, you, Stone 09 IRS). This stout is high ABV but it's not as nearly as hot as the fresh Stone IRS I reviewed earlier this year. In 12oz form, it is easy to put down a full bottle without much delay - had this been in a bomber, well it might be a different story. Nonetheless, I have to say it was much more enjoyable and much less of a chore to finish off a bottle.

A fantastic RIS. One that will surely find its way into my fridge on many occasions because of its wonderful flavors and supremely reasonable price point ($7.99 for a 4pk).

Photo of kegger22
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out darkly with a small, tan head that didn't last long (which is OK by me). I only got mild coffee aromas out of it. The taste was nice, strong coffee, but not overpowering. Ranks right up there with Speedway stout, but for different reasons. Heavy, oily feel; great for a stout. Warmed up nicely and I got a nutty chocolate flavor at the end that was worth waiting for. Next time, I'll serve this a bit warmer.

Photo of projectflam86
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep brown with a mocha head that leaves some nice rings.

S- Big rush of chocolate and malt with some slight coffee and oatmeal scents.

T- Lots of roasted malt flavors initially. Strong grain and oatmeal tastes with huge highlights of bittersweet chocolate. Some light coffee flavors. Alcohol is easily noticed but not too 'hot'.

M- Creamy and full with adequate carbonation.

D- Pretty good overall and definitely worth the money. Cheap and easily accessible RIS with a nice flavor.

Photo of Naugled
3.27/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

served in tall flute from bottle

a: nice appearance just better than avg. opaque black, dark brown head, thick and creamy but doesn't last, and carbonation is low

s: nice roasty sweet smell, some molasses comes through

t: very bitter, ashy and sweet, some tar but not overly sweet, overly bitter aftertaste with a slight warming affect

m: full creamy mouthfeel

d: average for a RIS, it's not cloying or too hot, but way over bitter. Aging would do this beer wonders.

Photo of JMD
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black as night, with rocky dark tan head. Heavy lacing down the glass.

S: Toasted malt, chocolate, expresso. Hints of toffee and ripe fruit. A touch of hops as well.

T: Same as the smell, toasted malt, fresh-brewed expresso, and dark bitter chocolate. Also some carmel and molasses that give a sweetness to this beer. Finishes with a nice hop bite.

M: Full bodied, smooth and creamy.

D: For being such a full-bodied, full-flavored brew, they go down pretty easy. A great RIS.

Photo of Birdiebeagle
4.18/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Pours a good black with a creamy lasting light brown head. The head produces great lacing. Has a great aroma of chocolate, mocha, coffee and hints of alcohol. Has a good carbonation. The flavors are excellent. Very well blended and the alcohol is well hidden. Nice mix of sweet chocolate and tart coffee. Has a thick texture. A bold solid finish with a real good aftertaste. Had this one on vacation and it is awesome.

Photo of tyanow
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Yum! I drink this at home and on tap it's plenty better.

Almost black with a soft full head.

Full coffee and toasty grain aroma.

The rich and full (understatement) body taste is appreciated throughout the mouth and for literally minutes after I swallow.

It's an Imperial so the it fills your senses but few do it this well.

In my mind this is the premier American version of this style. Anyone who can suggest a good rival, please let me know.

Photo of scottyshades
4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque mahogany color that produces a nice rich ruby/brown head that dissipates verrry slowly and leaves a brown lacing

S: The nose is bitter right off the bat with burnt malts, bitter-sweet chocolate, coffee, molasses, cocoa, hops and espresso

T: Much hoppier and bitter than I expected. Huge roasted notes, chocolate, coffee, caramel, molasses, and burnt malts

MF/D: Super chewy, oily, silky, creamy, and just delicious.

A little bitter for me, but those who love hops will love this one

Photo of OldSchoolGamer
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

North Coast is a little underwhelming as a whole, but this is probably their crowning jewel in their rotation. Here is my review:

A: Pours a pitch black color. Very thick with a nice tan head. Lacing is very prominent.

S: Smells very malty with a nice roastyness. Hints of chocolate and coffee, but not overpowering.

T: Very flavorful and tasty Imperial Stout. Lots of roasted malts with a nice smoke character. Chocolate is more dominant than the coffee, but is blended very well. Nothing really overpowers in the flavor, its very well balanced overall. Not nearly as intense as say Founders Imperial Stout, Great Divide Yeti, or Bells Expedition, but an excellent offering nonetheless.

M: Full-bodied and coats the mouth nicely. I have had thicker beers, but this is very nice overall.

D: Full-bodied and full of flavor, this is one you will revisit often. However more than one at a time is not recommended. Very smooth and tasty.

Fairly common and widely available, this is one that almost anybody can enjoy. There are better Imperial Stouts available, but this is always a solid performer and well worth the money. Highly recommended.

Photo of wd40
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Having this beer fresh on tap makes a world of difference. The hops were still a bit alive and the interplay between bitter and sweet was great. The sweet maltiness came through with hints of chocolate, caramel and coffee. There is a pleasing viscous thickness to this beer like molasses that really adds to the sweetness of the malts. Very drinkable. Appearance is jet black with a dark brown head that quickly dissipates. Definitely must have again.

Photo of 1santore
4.85/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one exceptional beer. Being a newcomer to "better beer" I'm just now finding Russian Imperial Stouts. Of the stouts I've tried this has to be the best. It pours thick and black. The taste is incredible. The mouth feel is very light and smooth, but this is one drinkable beer.

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

Had this last night out of a 12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. Have heard good things as Cost Plus World Market has it on sale for $7 for a 4-pack, so hey, made for a good pick-up for the burgeoning beer collection.

Appearance: Brown-black, like a stout-porter, and with a nice, one-finger tan head. Laced very nicely down the glass too, definitely looked the part of a RIS.

Smell: Chocolaty, slight coffee, and earthy. You can smell a bit of smoke too, and reminds me of a nice, sit-by-the-fire smell.

Taste: Roasted barley malts and bready, smoky taste wash over the palate with markedly low bitterness to it in comparison to other Imperial Stouts, and not in a bad way.

Mouthfeel: Not overly thick or heavy as RIS tend to be and I expect, but this was lighter and made more of a drinker than a sipper. Finishes very clean and with a hint of coffee left at the end.

Drinkability: For the style, it's up there. Much, much more drinkable as far as having more than one goes, and I could certainly enjoy more than one of these in a row, and for this style, that's saying something. Lighter than the Stone Imperial Stout and the BBXXI as far as dark and complex brews go, but this does improve the drinkability as well as it goes down much more smoothly and drinks like a champ.

Photo of association330
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle with a darkly humorous label featuring a sketch of Rasputin himself, apparently about to invoke some sort of curse.

A - Pours pitch black, and I do mean pitch black. A pinky of creamy brown head settles to a luxurious looking cap. Excellent fingers of lacing stick to the glass.

S - The unmistakable characteristics of burnt barley - intense coffee and bitter chocolate, a little smokiness. There's a bit of hops as well. Oddly, it doesn't smell particularly sweet. I'm kind of missing the usual hit of dark fruit and molasses here, though I know they are not required to be true to the style.

T - Smoky roasted barley flavors abound. Coffee and bitter chocolate dominate, with some dark fruit notes and a rather hoppy finish. Hop/coffee bitterness lingers. Alcohol is present and it pleasantly tingles the throat.

M - Medium-heavy body and medium-high carbonation. Thick, creamy, and pleasant swallow. Warming alcohol effect.

D - Not as "dessert beer" sweet as many other attempts at the style, which is a refreshing change. Very enjoyable and definitely a beer I'd have again from time to time.

Photo of sethmeister
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle with no date, though I believe I bought this approx a year ago so it has some aging.

Pours into my tulip glass opaque black w/ big foamy 2 finger tan head.

Scent is lightly sweet and fruity. Raspberries? floral notes.

Taste is sweet, smooth and fruity. Dark fruits, raisins, plums(?). Some lighter sweeter fruit. I;d swear there are raspberries. Vanilla, anise. Doughy bread or cookie batter. Milk and dark chocolate. Molasses. Very smooth and silky. A nice hop bitterness still peeks through at the end.

Silky mouthfeel

Drinkability is very good though the alc warming is pronounced.

Although I neglected to review it then, this was delicious fresh. It strikes me as a bit softer and fruitier with a year of cellaring on it and is still quite a delicious RIS.

Photo of dmfrench
4.77/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

Photo of flannelman808
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

had this on a Nitro tap... yum...

Look: This beer pours very dark and has a deep tan head. Extra creamy coming off the nitro.

Smell: Smells like toffee and coffee and coco. Chocolate malts. I smell soy sauce as well and a little tangyness... very complex.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy and warming. This beer coats the tongue and throat.

Taste: Toffee and sweet malts. I get a very Dark chocolate flavor as well. This beer starts sweet but is very balanced...The hop presence bites the tongue as the beer finishes. Very good stuff!

Drinkability: I love this beer but its best had as a dessert perhaps with chocolate or ice cream.

Photo of jrallen34
4.41/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I drank this from a tap into a chalice

This beer is beautiful to look at with a dark body and creamy head that lasts for a while. The color is pitch black with a tan head.

It smells like coffee with a hint of sweetness and a touch of alcohol.

Its tastes strongly of coffee with a balance of chocolate. Its a great combination of sweet and bitter.

A very fine stout.

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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 10,797 ratings.