Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - North Coast Brewing Co.

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,541 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,541
Hads: 11,433
Avg: 4.27
pDev: 18.5%
Wants: 515
Gots: 2,454 | 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 (26) | 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: 3,541 | Hads: 11,433
Photo of TuffNut87
4.53/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the beers that lives up to the hype, the mysterious Cyrillic and the mad monk on the label. The half inch head was formed by millions of miniscule bubbles. The smooth potency of the flavor makes it stand out. I am an Edmund Fitzgerald fan, and this stout is so much better. My first North Coast brew, so I will have to sample more via the great selection/make your own six at Andersons.

 393 characters

Photo of dweideman
3.77/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a large frothy light-medium brown mostly lasting head. Aroma was extremely sweet – I detected dark cherry, ripened banana and a slight hint of citrus. Initially a light sweet taste with lively carbonation followed by moderate bitterness. The roasted malts really came through late in the finish with dark chocolate the predominant flavor. I really enjoyed the different aromas of this offering.

 402 characters

Photo of mrbosworth
4.34/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick sandy head, with dense bubbles float above an opaque mahoghany chalice of Old Rasputin. A great coffee roasted, toasted molasses smooth flavor and rich body, with a smoky aftertaste, define imperial stouts. Vanilla, oaky flavors give way to a spicy bitter finish as the beer warms. It becomes drier and maltier and tastier near the end. I love this beer, if you hadn't noticed.

 383 characters

Photo of Bootscraper
4.31/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

At another board this beer was talked about and raved up and down for some time. I just thought it was awesome that it pays tribute to Rasputin.
Served a little bit over 50 degrees F in pint glass listening to The Best of Mountain.
Pours like motor oil, and looks like motor oil in the glass. Seriously, this thing is as black as 4-chan's humor and opaque even when held right beside a light bulb. Beautiful. A 2 cm bubbly (but very creamy) very tan head sprung up, and briefly continued to rise after the pour. After a good 5 minutes, it had shrunk to just a thin layer, and stayed that way for a good while down the glass. The lacing was pretty steady, and clung on for dear life, not going anywhere for quite some time. For as much as this beer was hyped up, I was honestly expecting a little bit more impressive head, so at this point I'm wondering what I did wrong.
The smell was modest, yet what was there was robust. I had the Thelonious Monk beer by this same brewery, and they both had the same "barbecue" smell to it. I'm assuming now that it is roasted malt. There is also some cappuccino right behind it.
The taste, unsurprisingly, is a very roasted, charred one. It progresses towards the finish, along with some dark fruit flavors. Throughout the entirety of each sip, that creamy coffee is slightly present, as well as alcohol. The alcohol actually blends with the flavors nicely though, so it is hidden quite nicely. At most, it puts up a slight sting in the back of your throat at the swallow, but it mostly just translates to a pleasantly warming feeling. If nothing else, it comes off as a very dark chocolate (at least in the after-taste).
The mouth-feel is pretty darn smooth, considering how upfront and robust this beer is in general. It's also fairly full-bodied, and I enjoy the low carbonation levels and yet there is a very slight tingly feeling to accent this nicely. This is pretty damn syrupy as well, at least for a stout... though I understand that this particular style is supposed to be quite sticky from the addition of much more malt.
In all, I guess this is quite drinkable if you enjoy a beer of this style on this caliber. I'm in my second and determining that this would be best accompanied with a rich dinner, but I am having no trouble sipping through this.

 2,299 characters

Photo of TehAnkh
4.3/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: This stuff pours black as night with little to no light shining through. Where it does, you can see this uber dark brown elixer for what it truly is. Gives up about a finger of head that recedes quickly to leave a nice thin layer of light brown froth like one would expect on hot chocolate, but darker. Leaves little lacing, but what's there is appreciated.

S: Coffee, roasted nuts, some caramel, and the overwhelming STINK (I used to be a baker, so I use this term affectionately) of yeasty rising bread. This stuff smells fantastic, it definitely gives the impression of being exactly what stouts are sometimes thought to be, liquid bread. Roasty, toasty, sweet and yeasty are all words that apply here.

T: A bit less hop presence and bitterness than I typically associate with a Russian Imperial Stout, but this lends to the drinkability by a truckload. Coffee, caramel and roasted walnuts are the major flavors I'm getting here. A little bit of a cocoa flavor is detectable, while at the same time that yeastyness seems to carry over in to the taste as well, suggesting a crusty bread-to-be rising in a warm proof box. Fan-freaking-tastic.

M: Somewhat creamy, very very smooth, and a perfectly comfortable level of hoppy bitterness that doesn't hang out on the tongue for too long. Lovely.

D: I could kill a 4 pack of this by myself in a few hours. The 9% is hidden so well you're liable to be dancing on the coffee table with a lampshade on your head at 3 AM before you even realize that you've had enough. So smooth, pretty creamy, and really delicious. But it did leave me wanting... a little.

 1,607 characters

Photo of mcnabb0001
4.65/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle with Rasputin on the label putting a communist curse on everyone that drinks this.

A - pours jet black with a nice thickness, big tan colored head just rises to the top of the glass and leaves a thick lacing as it dissipates.

S- sweet, coffee, dark chocalate, dark fruit (raisons) actually the sweet alcohol smell stings the nose a little.

T - nice bitterness hits the tongue followed by a blast of coffee and dark chocalate. Sharp sweetness rides the chocalate coffee wave down the throat. Alcohol is definitely present but not overbearing.

M - fulled bodied, thick, and smooth. nicely carbonated for an Imperial with a nice warming affect in the back of throat and in the chest as this one goes down.

D - Rich, smooth, and filling. This Stout is big and boozy. One maybe two are all I need of this Imperial.

Overall this is one of the best I have had it ranks top not sure if I Old Rasputin or BBCS better at this point

 939 characters

Photo of sirdillon
4.18/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours black with quite a bit of carbonation. Big frothy(!) light tan head that sticks around pretty well. Leaves a beautiful dark lacing around the glass as I sip. Good stuff.

S- Like if you made a hop tea in a dark chocolate mocha. Except not much coffee. This is one of my favorite smelling beers out there, definitely one of a kind. Pine, dank marijuana, roasted barley, dark chocolate and a bit of alcohol heat are all there. Not much sweetness to be found. The alcohol is a bit prominent, but it's a fair trade off for a walk through the marijuana chocolate forest that is Old Rasputin.

T- Lots of hops and lots of deeply roasted coffee flavors. Finishes with a sensation of hop resin and coffee. Not much sweetness to be found, but very drinkable. There's some alcohol in the taste, but it's not too unpleasant.

M- This may be the weak aspect of this beer. I'd say it has a bit too much carbonation for an imperial stout, and has a somewhat light mouthfeel because of that. However, this is infinitely more drinkable than most imperial stouts because of this as well. Lots of hop resins coat the mouth, leaving a bit of a bitter aftertaste. Not cloying or syrupy in the least.

O- By far the best beer for the money that I've found thus far. Has a very distinctive and refined taste and smell. It's not perfect, but this is one of my favorite beers, and in my opinion it deserves great affection.

 1,410 characters

Photo of jagoffyinzer
4.17/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours pitch black with a thick head that dissipates to a thin layer. Great lacing on the edges and good head retention though it slowly fades as you drink. Carbonation is right on for the style.

S: A nice malty chocolate hits your nose and dances with some vanilla and alcohol. Also getting some roast and coffee notes.

T: Greeted with a vibrant roast flavor with a bitter back bone. Some alcohol notes on the finish. The roast flavor also plays counter part to some underlying chocolate.

M: This is initially very creamy and smooth but the finish is quite dry, almost too dry.

D: It is pretty hefty but this an Imperial Stout, it's not made to session. For the ABV it's not upfront and in your face like it is with some other beers of this style. It is masked very well with the roast aroma and flavor, it sticks out where it should.

 841 characters

Photo of GoNowhere
4.73/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

S: Cool little four pack with a picture of the unkillable Rasputin daring you to drink this beer. Poured into a goblet and allowed to settle for 10 minutes.

A: Pitch black with a frothy almond colored head.

S: Coffee, with hints of roasted malty goodness.

T: Awesome. So much flavor from this little bad boy. Malty, roasted unsweetened cocoa, maybe some mollases coming through. Tasty and goes great with a nice medium rare steak.

M: Initially it comes on thick in an epic kind of way, then warms in the mouth and settles back to unleash the flavors.

D: Highly. The alcohol is a ghost in this stout which deceives its 9% content. I know stouts are primarily a winter beer but this thing can be enjoyed in the summer too. As the beer warms it unleashes even more flavors.

 779 characters

Photo of itlnstallion11
4.9/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- I was lucky to first try this beer from a nitro tap. It poured a motor oil black with a thick tan head I could rest a penny on.

S- great smell, barley, milk chocholate, some oatmeal hints, black licorice, some dark fruits, with a nice roast finish

T- ton of Malts, some plum, molasses, chocolate, hints of coffee with a pleasant wood burn bitter ending.

M- full bodied thick milkshake

O- an awesome stout, one of my new favorites. Alcohol is masked well and the taste is not overbearing. The balance of sweetness an bitterness is one of almost perfection, I'm utterly in love with this beer. Get one.

 610 characters

Photo of newsage
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

THEE Russian Imperial Stout!! But with all the other Breweries that have copied this style since and that have barrel aged it, Well it should be barrel age really, it smoothes it out a bit and adds refinement to what is a strong hearty beer not for the timid or faint of heart! If you Don't like Thick Stouts don't buy this.

 324 characters

Photo of ColdBassHonkey
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Pours almost jet black, with the slightest dark brown hue. The head rises quickly, frothing into a dark tan. The aromas are overwhelming in a great way: cocoa, roasted malts, and coffee come through the strongest. The malts smoothly hit the palate first, followed by the balanced hops and malts. An oaky finish has a tinge of a tobacco taste, followed briefly by notes of espresso and dark chocolate. Truly an exceptional beer! Although it sounds counter intuitive with the coffee/espresso flavors, this is a great bedtime brew. The best RIS out there, IMHO.

 565 characters

Photo of geofort78
4.41/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tottaly black beer with a thick tan head. Smell is toasted malt and coffe. Full body. A little sweet at first, followed for toast and coffe. Alcohol present at the end. Persistent aftertaste of coffe. Very nice beer and good drinkability.

 238 characters

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

I love a nice Imperial Stout. This one wasn't one of the best I have ever had, but still a very good choice.
It poured black as night. Almost impossible to see through.
The aromas are smokey. Hints of coffee and chocolate peek through.
The flavor is bittersweet and chocolatey and slightly watered down for an Imperial Stout. Not thick in mouthfeel or flavor, but the taste is somewhat notable.
Definitely a good choice for dessert or as a winter warmer but by far not my favorite.

 485 characters

Photo of icetrauma
4.64/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is my first exp. at a Russian Imperial Stout. I can say that I have had limited exposure to stouts. Only prev. exp. has been with Guiness, not impressed, and Peg Leg Stout, which I found quite delicious.

Poured up into a pint glass. Poured as expected. A deep black color with a dark tan 2 finger head. First notes were that of espresso and dark roasted malt.

Taste was seriously yummy. As with smell the first flavor to hit the palate was that of roasted espresso and malts. Finished off with a nice touch of hopiness that lingured around after the beer was on its journey.

This stout will def. be a welcomed edition into my beer fridge.

 646 characters

Photo of esch
2.83/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A: Deliciously dark. Ruby slices through when held up to the light. Persistant pillowy cappuccino colored head.

S: Cocoa, wet sugar, tons of toasted malt, definite hop florals.

T: I first get a hint of dried cherries that fades fast into (diet) cola with a harshly bitter aspartame.

M: Medium-moderate body. Medium-moderate carbonation.

D: I really want to like this beer but the chemical flavors are really off-putting. Tasting was comprised of a newly purchased bottle and one from my cellar. I'll have to give this beer a revisit.

 538 characters

Photo of BACTAdam
4.2/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

 1,241 characters

Photo of cactusjuggalo
4.61/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally got to try one last night when my shipment arrived at work. Poured out of the bottle into a standard pint glass.

Blacker than night apperance with a slight head one very tasty lookin brew.

Smell was exactly what i come to expect from a good RIS coffee and chocolate.

Good lord this is a good beer. It has this perfect bitter taste to it thats not to extreme and not to light. Just rich and full.

As far as mouthfeel goes it is quite smooth and enjoyable.

Man i could drink this all night but at 9% rasputin is a sneaky one that can creep up on you quick. Drink with caution my friends.

 599 characters

Photo of pnkHoody
4.08/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

After drinking the XII version a while back, picking this up was a no-brainer - especially as I found it at $9.95 for a four-pack in a Victoria government liquor store (sometimes the darnedest beers turn up in BC).

This is my third bottle. Anxious about reports of a non-existent head, my first bottled was poured from 6 inches with vigorous swirling, and I ended up with the stout equivalent of an Ibiza Foam Party. This third bottle was poured on the cautious side of usual, but still produced a thick three inches of head that diminished to half a finger that stayed throughout. Lacing is thick and permanent, and it looks beautiful for it.

This smells lighter than many imperial stouts (Peche Mortel and XII are my benchmarks, however, and they are very robust) and yeast is prominent. As well as familiar burned tones, there's a deep woody odor reminiscent of an old school desk.

It's more effervescent than other RIS I've had, which explains the head. It really blooms in the mouth -- which is a bit too much at first, but it settles down after a few sips. The taste is sensational. It is very bitter, but more charcoal than hops. It avoids the sweetness many RIS ride upon, delivering 75% cocoa chocolate, powerful molasses, and baking-soda astringency.

The beer is far less complex than the XII, which makes me reflect on how beautiful that beer really was. But at this price, this is a sensational RIS that makes no mistakes. I will buy a lot of this, especially as Peche Mortel is all gone and Brooklyn Brewery Chocolate Imperial Stout is harder to come by in BC recently...

 1,589 characters

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

-Tulip Glass

Pours into your glass dark, just about black. Thick, caramel colored, two-finger head which lingers nicely before dissapearing. Not much lacing left, but that doesn't detract from anything.

Smells rich. Hints of chocolate and malt. Smells sturdy and thick with hints of coffee. Extremely inviting.

The feel is smooth and creamy on the palate with a dry finish. Carbonization is mild, but well balanced with the rest of the aspects. Just the right amount in my opinion. Hops are subtle and I detect more of the roasted qualities than anything.

Definitely one you'd like to sip and savor. Full bodied and thick, but not chewy.

 642 characters

Photo of tobin
4.28/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A great stout that made me want to try and brew my own version of it!

Pours a black/brown color with a dense foamy head.

A quality blend of toasted wheat bread and coffee notes with a lace that clings to the glass as well as the tongu

Very thick mouthfeel that lingers on the palate. This beer has 8.9% alcohol, but it is not apparent in the taste because it is so smooth. The alcohol is only slightly noticeable in the aftertaste.

 434 characters

Photo of AlexCorleone
3.73/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Definitely black with a thin layer of delectable, malty chocolaty head that dissipates rather quickly, pooling slightly in the center of the glass and radiating outwards as the glass progresses.

S - Definitely vanilla dominates; coffee and chocolate follows, with heavily roasted malts, brown sugar, and alcohol undercurrents that sting the nose.

T - Again vanilla and coffee are protagonists, followed by dark chocolate. Roasted malts, finish rather bitter and alcoholic, with pleasing warmth.

M - Full-bodied and smoked feel.

 534 characters

Photo of alcurtsinger
4.26/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Note: The first Imperial Stout I have ever had. Also the only other stout I have ever had was Guinness.

A- Completely Opaque. As black as I have ever seen a beer. 3 finger head.
S- Both a mocha and malt aroma.
T- Malt, chocolate. Very balanced. Not overpower for me, considering I have never had anything like it before.
M- Medium, not real heavy.
D- 2-3 is enough but could drink more.

 387 characters

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

bottle poured into Sierra Nevada tulip glass.

Another old favorite. I've finally decided to age one or two...

Jet black with a dark brown head that lingers fairly nicely. Nose delivers everything one might want in a stout- roasted malt, tobacco (?), cocoa.

Coffee and chocolate reign over an mild iron flavor kingdom. Very complex. Very rich.

Mouthfeel is as rich as the pour might suggest. Big and syrupy, yet smooth. ABV might as well be session-esque.

Truly fantastic beer. Fully deserving of any accolades it receives.

 527 characters

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

The basic walkthrough is something like this:

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout pours great from a 12 fl. oz. bottle. As soon as the head begins to form the full bouquet is there from its smokey dark malt earth tones to its chocolatey sweetness and of course its 09% ABV--it is all there immediately and it's a beautiful thing.

The head is nice and thick--a good three finger head--but its airyness--that which gave us that beautiful strong bouquet--of course means it dies off pretty quick. What's left behind if a pretty, light, chocolate colored lace that hangs in there the whole time.

From the first sip I was in love with this beer's body and mouthfeel. It's got a perfect carbonation, leaving a potentially heavy beer lighter than one would expect. The mouthfeel however ends up being a bit creamy and in that way it's a pretty awesome ride to go from that unexpected crisp lightness to the obvious feel you want and expect from a stout.

The taste from beginning to end is full and certainly a bit more alcoholic than I like, but in a great way the somewhat higher alcohol content compliments the mouthfeel of this beer and certainly makes the "warm finish" they advertise on the bottle happen.

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout is an experience for sure. And while I prefer a crisper, hoppier beer this certainly got my attention and has 'warmed' me up to stouts that much more.

 1,396 characters

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 3,541 ratings.