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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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BA SCORE
96
world-class

9,677 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,677
Reviews: 3,350
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 10.23%
Wants: 289
Gots: 1,224 | 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
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Ratings: 9,677 | Reviews: 3,350 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of warriorsoul
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I have been craving an Imperial Stout, so I figured I'd finally try this bad boy...a carry over from New Beer Sunday if you will.
Cloudy dark w/ dark brown edges only in the pour. A nice full finger of creamy light brown head...lacing clings to the side of my snifter and goes nowhere.
A bit too carbonated in the nose, taking away from the olfactory experience at this point...sweet carmelized malts, cocoa, butter rum and just a touch of alcohol.
The taste is much sweeter than I was expecting, but also has a deep, dark smoked flavor within a robust coffee blend. The finish is a bit dry, but not bitter. Refreshing in its finish for the viscousity of this bad boy...it's still a few steps below Founder's Breakfast Stout, but IMHO, it is a nice substitution if you can't obtain the aforementioned.
Mouthfeel is thick, but not syrupy. The alcohol is very well hidden..only makes its way to the surface at the last few sips.
I would enjoy a couple of these, but since I am a true hophead at heart, I would not pick this for a session brew.

warriorsoul, May 24, 2005
Photo of sinistermadman
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brew pours a deep black with a nice nut colored head that lingers for a good time.
Smell: Toffee, burnt malt, expresso, faint chocolate aroma.

Taste is classic stout. Delicious roasted malt coupled with bitter expresso/chocolate. Hops are warm up front, but then the brew tapers into an almost sweet finish. Bitter chocolate rides out until the end. The taste lingers after the drink. Nice. This brew is medium bodied, creamy, and very much at home on the palate. A must try for all stout lovers. Cheers.

sinistermadman, May 19, 2005
Photo of JackStraw22
4.78/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Nearly pitch black body, inch and a half of caramel colored head. Retention and lacing were both nice.

Smell: Chocolate/mocha, coffee, and roasted malts galore hit the nose. Slight citrusy and fruity aromas sneek in underneath.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Wow! This stuff knocks you on your ass then kicks you in the face. And that never felt so good. There's so much going on it's hard to know where to start. The hops are loud and fierce. The roasted malts are king in this, though. Burnt wood, coffee, mocha all come through nice and balanced. Mouthfeel is bold and creamy. Maybe a slightly dry finish with the alcohol, but it all works.

Drinkability: I wish I had gotten a growler of this when I had the chance, cause that would go down no problem.

JackStraw22, May 18, 2005
Photo of malty
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. stubby brown bottle - no freshness date.

Appearance is midnight brown with the faintest dark ruby highlight on the edges. A khaki colored head settles down to 1/4".

The scent of this stout is very intriguing... There's the strong roasted malts, damp coffee grounds and dark bitter chocolate. But what's this liqueur-like boldness I'm getting? Ahhh! It smells like a cross between licorice and root beer. Quite odd but very interesting.

The taste is very fresh with a stong flavor of bitter roasted earthy malts and there's that intriquing liqueur flavor carried in from the nose, hmmm... A powdered sugary sweetness complements the boldness of this gracefully. The hops hold-up nicely to this bold and bouistrous brew, creating a herbally dryness which is quite pleasant.

Mouthfeel is superb! A very creamy texture and full bodied. Fine carbonation at just the right level. A semi-dry long lingering finish.

Drinkibility is dangerously high. Alcohol is masterfully masked, would have never guessed 9%.

Overall utterly complex and a multi-layered tower of flavors. Strong but not heavy-handed. Bold but not brash. Big but graceful. I'm positive I'll detect many more flavors and nuances the next time a try this fine stout. Oh well, I'll endeavor to persivere.

malty, May 16, 2005
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 asabreed
4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

4-pack purchased for around $7. This is sampled from one of those bottles.

Appearance: What I expected from a stout with such a solid reputation. An off-white / tan and mocha-colored head, big and frothy. Body is dark black and opaque.

Smell: Lots of things going on when it warms. Raisins, honey, coffee, dark and burned chocolate malt, slight toffee, slight berry. Doesn't smell too sweet, but rather melds everything together quite well.

Taste: Poweful on the burned and chocolate malt, but not overbearing. Slight berries and sweetness mix with the malt character for an interesting complexity. Drink this at celler temperature for sure, as I only had mine in the fridge for about 30 minutes, and halfway through the glass -- as the slightly colder temperature's gotten back down to cellar temperature -- there's already so much more going on. Lingering aftertaste that stays nicely on the back of the tongue with some burned and sweet notes.

Mouthfeel: For as much of a whopper of a stout this is, it's not really heavy, but maintains creaminess and balanced carbonation levels. Pretty excellent.

Drinkability: This is rich stout, and one that would be a waste make a session of, not to mention the high ABV. Can't wait to try it with a rich dessert.

North Coast continues to impress me with their solid representations of almost all the styles they do. For me they're up there with Rogue, Victory, DFH, Great Lakes, and Stone. I just wish they'd add some more style / variety to their line-up, so hopefully the coming years will provide that.

asabreed, May 02, 2005
Photo of tgbljb
3.78/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

somewhat ominous-appearing bottle. Poured a deep black almost opaque color. The head is puffy cream color and long-lasting. The first smell is a bit alcoholic for my pleasure, as is the first taste. However, as the beer warms the smell and taste become more to my liking. A good solid beer, but not the best

tgbljb, Apr 30, 2005
Photo of Higravity
3.4/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I think this beer gets by on reputation alone. It is as mild of the road Imperial Stout I have had. It has the oil color and profile one would think with very little tan-cream head. There are some hop notes in the nose but it is nothing but burnt wood shavings with out the smoke after that. It is just a roasted heavy body, mostly from the alcohol, stout that can't be called creamy, it is very acidic. It lacks the smoothness of a better stout and the fruitness that can hide in the beers is also not present. I am not impressed, but by the end I almost enjoy chewing on burnt wood, but then again maybe not.

Higravity, Apr 29, 2005
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Old Rasputin is not as dark as many other Imperial stouts, with luminous dark mahogany highlights beneath its creamy yellowed-tan head. And it's head retention leaves a bit to be desired as well. It does leave some thin lace, however, which is nice. And what it lacks in appearance it makes up for in aroma. It's slightly vinous with some yeasty fruitiness coming through the maltiness, followed by a touch of dark chocolate, espresso, and a waft of hops. It's quite slick, and a touch creamy, across the palate with a full body and a restrained, natural carbonation. The yeasty fruitiness carries through into the flavor with notes of prunes, plums, and berries; all backed by a massive assult of malt that offers espresso, burnt black coffee, dark caramel, and the suggestion of molasses as well as a pinch of brown sugar. It finishes with some resinous hops and a drip of black licorice before fading into a long, very dry finish. Quite nice!

NeroFiddled, Apr 21, 2005
Photo of SupaCelt
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Old Rasputin. The pour released an ultradark brown stout that would be called black in human speak. A cocoa head of small stature dispersed into a ringer without much procrastination. This ringer remains intact due to the efforts of falling lace curtains throughout the excursion. A nice looking glass of heaven.

The smell threw me a big shout out of hops as a salutation while Old Rasputin on the bottle was throwing up his "What it is, Blood?" hand jive to egg me on. Alright then. Nice chocolate covered coffee bean and black malt aromas march in behind the hop bouquet. You smell good for an old dead guy, Rasputin.

The flavour was grand. Nice chocolate syrup and cream flavours along with the coffee and bitter impressions make this a great tasting imp. There is a very pleasant roasted appeal to the taste. This coupled with the hop character make for a truly excellent taste amplifier for the choco-coffee expressions. Very nicely juggled components indeed. This stuff is really quite good. Warmth and sting are provided by the alcohol which meshes perfectly to the flavour framework. Utterly consumable. Very nice. Certainly not hard to kill, so the name is somewhat misleading : )

SupaCelt, Apr 18, 2005
Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ebony-colored liquid, nicely sheened, fills the glass and raises a noisy tan head, about 1" deep, to the rim. Bubbles of various size crackle away and leave handsome pock marks in the head as it works its way down the glass, leaving a somewhat soapy cling. The aroma kicks off with big sniffs of cocoa and prunes that get pulled by a tarry woodiness into a bitterness of coffee-and-lemon. Here's an American-made Imperial Stout that recognizes that when it comes to hops, modesty can be a virtue. Baking-soda nosefeel is powdery and dry. Over a base of mellowly toasted cedar can be detected light--not burnt--fruit flavors of orange peel and melon rinds dipped in dark chocolate. Black coffee takes over, with black peppercorns rounding out the finish. The tastes distribute widely and fluidly through a dryish, clean, and softly carbonated mouthfeel that carries the bitterness all the way to the back of the throat. At no point could I detect the 9% alcohol level, except for my light daze at the end of the serving. Now this here is good beer.

NearerMyBeerToMe, Apr 15, 2005
Photo of goodbyeohio
3.95/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

appearance: i think i can see through it but thats my mind playing light tricks again. orangey-mocha head with remnants of carbonated activity on the surface. probably has some bubbles in the body.

aroma: chocolate syrup malt and wood. surprisingly light in the nose and this lessens my fear of such a monster brew.

mouthfeel: wow. tingling from what appears to be hops, powerful cringing bitterness from dark roasted coffee grounds. nutty. sweetness and tartness back it all up and add balance. alcohol becomes noticable in the taste after a few sips, definitely unwelcome. strongly flavored with little-to-no lingering obscenity or bitterness that i would associate with spoil.

delicately balanced, a true achievement.

goodbyeohio, Apr 10, 2005
Photo of BadBadger
4.6/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A very pleasant imperial stout. Pours nice and dark into the glass, with a very nice tan and foamy head. The head retention was brief. But a bit of swirling easily recreates the head for enjoyment, with each raising. Smell is a wonderful mixture of malt sweetness, bitter hops, and alcohol. The taste is much more than pleasant. However, at very limited points the alcohol content is unmasked, something my palate prefers not to notice-but this does not detract from the wonders of this fine beverage. A enjoyable mouthfeel...a thick enough beverage. exceptional drinkability! Certainly worth seeking out and sampling. Enjoy!

BadBadger, Mar 20, 2005
Photo of dungaree
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a smooth dark black color with a creamy head. Smells of toasted malt, hoppy bite, and alcohol. Tastes of bitter hops, alcohol, warmth, chewy, malty, and thick. Finishes with taste of alcohol and hoppy flavor. The alcohol hits quickly and stays a long time. Excellent beer.

dungaree, Mar 18, 2005
Photo of mynie
4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Completely opaque blackness with a brown, two finger head. Nice.

Really rich bitter malt smell. Roasted chocolate and espresso and burnt barley. Deep and strong and complex.

Roasted barley and alcohol dominate all the way through while dark chocolate flavor sweeps in up front, coffee in the back followed by hops and an earthy tobacco aftertaste. Fantastic.

This is an easy drinking RIS, too. Easily one of the best you're going to find.

mynie, Mar 17, 2005
Photo of isubsmith
4.6/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Dark, night-ly black. Medium head that quickly dissipated after the pour into an imperial pint glass. Lots of residual lacing though.

Nose: Wow. Very rich. Roasted barley. Extra-strong coffee smells. Extremely aromatic.

Taste: Burnt coffee and well-roasted barley, unsweetened chocolate. Finish is bitter hops mingling with the well-roasted coffee tastes.

Mouthfeel: Good body. Much heavier than (say) Guinness, but lighter than (say) Victory Storm King.

Drinkability: Dangerously drinkable, esp for almost 9% ABV. Very flavorful.

Absolutely worth a drink if you like stouts.

isubsmith, Mar 15, 2005
Photo of alexgash
4.6/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, dark brown--nearly black. Capped by a dense, creamy, cocoa brown head that laces the glass nicely. Beautiful. Aromas explode out of the tulip glass. Roaseted coffee, bittersweet dark chocolate, and dark sugary fruit mix seamlessly with an assertive pine-accented hop component. A wonderful smelling beer! Rich, roasted malt flavors up front meld with some sweetish, overripe dark fuits. Light chocolate coffee notes pick up right before a big rush of bitter hops. Cascadey and delcious, they provide nice balance. Finish is hop bitter, with vinous notes, tannins, and some warming alcohol. An excellent, full-bodied stout, that's right up there with the best of them.

alexgash, Mar 10, 2005
Photo of beertastegood
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep dark black with a tall creamy tan head that sticks around for a long time. Aromas of burnt coffee, malt and slight alcohol. Very intriguing.

Tastes of burnt coffee and black malt, with a pleasant bitterness and a dry finish. More carbonation than I expected, but it goes well with the flavor. The high alcohol content is not as evident as it was in the nose; I could not even discern the slightest alcohol flavor. Drinkability is understandably low - but really, one of these bad boys is all you need. A wonderfully complex and tasty stout. I will have to check out more beers from North Coast, as this was my first.

beertastegood, Mar 08, 2005
Photo of karst
4.85/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this"staretz," or holy man out as a absolute blackness. Only the direct sun refracts a deep mystic brown red peasant hue from its edges. Rich aromas predict assassination of the Imperial Family of beers. Born in Siberia on the banks of the Tura River and renowned for his drunkenness, stealing and womanizing were activities Rasputin in fact was developing into a rake, a man with a debauched, and endless, sexual appetite. This brew will change you in a similar way. This extreme aromatic stout is truely a liquid full of flavors. Rasputin was an advocate of the renegade sect within the Orthodox faith, the Skopsty trying to reach God was through sinful actions practicing "sin to drive out sin." A awesome brewed RIS to drive out all other RIS's this miracle worker's powerful aroma and stong flavors hypnotize and cause the bleedings for the ultimate RIS to stop. Old Rasputin will gain your undivided support.
During Rasputin's fateful last evening, the conspirators drugged, poisoned, beat and shot him. Yet the staretz survived all these and actually died by drowning when his body, wrapped in a carpet was thrown into the Moika Canal on the Neva River. As you wrap your self in its 8.9 abv rug of thick run of coffee, chocolate, dark-roasted malts and hop weave and throw yourself into its dark velvet fluid, enjoy your ultimate plunge into darkness and sinful bliss as you overthrow all other Russian imperials.

karst, Mar 07, 2005
Photo of gbontrag
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

That's a figgy pudding in a glass. Thick brown beer meringue hangs around for a few minutes then dissolves. The lace is more of an old tattered quilt. That's a brown beer.
Smells like figs, like date pudding with a carmelly crust, and a small hot espresso. Don't dismiss the appearance of alcohol.
It's so carmelly and fruity and malty.... Rich, sweet raspberry, milk chocolate ganache gives way to toasted malts all dark and smokey. The alcohol twists this all up into a robust bitterness with a metallic edge. A kind beer spliff.

gbontrag, Mar 05, 2005
Photo of bark
3.8/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The colour is pitch dark; the beige-brown foam forms a thin compact head.

The smell is dry and robust with flavours of coffee, lemons, liquorice, roasted malt, white bread, and porridge rolled oats.

The carbonation is fresh and surprisingly strong, but it suits the beer fine.

The first taste is a creamy one with a touch of cocoa. It develops into a dry, very bitter flavour with some citric notes. The body is rather weak, or is it just hiding below all that bitterness? The aftertaste is long and generous with a touch of alcohol, a sourish, burned bitterness and some black coffee.

A fine (very American) stout, but I could wish for some more body.

bark, Mar 02, 2005
Photo of stjarnflikka
4.68/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with a thick, chocolate coloured foam that stays for some time. Some carbonation running along the edges of the glass.

Smell comes on quite malty. Sweet fruit traces are present together with some sourness and chocolate. Nice alcoholic presence together with raspberries and black currant perhaps. Some hops present here aswell, perhaps grapefruit in there aswell. Dont know, just great smell on this.

Runs over tastebuds with quite so much burned malts. Chocolate mixed with coffee tones in faintly leaving place for sweet and harsh traces lifted by carbonation. Nice, fruity taste with a bitter harsh aftertaste give a nice bitter aftertaste with a warming alcoholic prescence. Sweet, yet burned and rough. Excellently balanced in there.

Really pleasant brew this rasputin. truly a masterpiece in a bottle, just missing some of that harshness and burned flavour (this is after all an imperial). Thats just being a pain in the ass though, wonderful brew, wonderful stout.

stjarnflikka, Mar 01, 2005
Photo of yoko
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, Old Rasputin greets you himself with a hand raised high (some sort of signal to those in the know), unyielding eyes and a few words left not understood. The brew on the other hand I understand as a great imperial stout. I didn't expect it.

The pour was an espresso color (oils and all) with a short lived, short head much like the tail of an espresso pour. What lace remained was like a milk mustache -- just there. The nose collected in greatness - semi-sweet chocolate mocha...thank you roasted malts. For such a dark, light filtering beverage the carbonation went throughout. The mouth was soft, round, full.

I pause to let the temperature come down a bit - to allow for all to come through and called zatte bie who was walking the Haight /Ashbury scene, filling my senses in another way.

The time warp was a wonderful excursion. Old Rasputin exceeds itself. The nose softens, the taste broadens and the sharp and/or high tones balance. All became bigger yet softened. What was initially a hoppy finish with a high squeal followed by a dry note with a metal element transformed. I found Rasputin to be balanced from nose to finish. The appropriate temp made for a most boastful review. This was a good brew.

yoko, Feb 28, 2005
Photo of carln26
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Light absorbing black color with a thin tan head. The head leaves an intricate lace pattern down the side of the glass. The aromas of roasted malt waft up from the glass. I catch hints of the malt from a good 2 ft away. It has espresso, and black cherry notes throughout the aroma. The flavor has a plesant hop bite up front. The malt kicks in immediately after. Coffee, chocolate. I don’t catch the black cherry in the flavor. The level of bitterness and the alcohol give this an almost spicy character. Very bright, smooth mouth feel. A little too much alcohol to give it a high drinakbility, None the less a great beer.

carln26, Feb 26, 2005
Photo of Stimack
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Was able to give this brew a try the other evening, my first experience with Old Rasputin. It pored to a pitch-black color allowing no light to filter through. Had a frothy dark tan head that was slow to break down leaving a nice amount of lacing through the first half of the brew. The aromas are of dark malts, coffee or espresso, dark fruit, chocolate and a few other things that seem to be hard to pinpoint. The taste is very warming as you do notice a nice slight alcohol flavor that goes perfect with the tastes of chocolate and coffee and has the right amount of hop at the end. This is a very good brew one to be enjoyed during the cold winter. Now with the accolades for this brew here is a little take away, I do feel that I have had better Imperial Stouts in the past but this is right up there!

Stimack, Feb 21, 2005
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 9,677 ratings.