Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - North Coast Brewing Co.

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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial StoutOld Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

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3,495 Reviews

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Reviews: 3,495
Hads: 11,156
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 465
Gots: 2,207 | FT: 56
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 01-18-2001

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 3,495 | Hads: 11,156
Photo of TheSteiny
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- This brew is BLACK. I don't think it's possible to get much of any light through it. Poured a dark, syrup like brown with slightly thinner consistency. The head is something to be admired. A dark cream color. Very thick. Soft, creamy texture. Once you take a drink, it's not exactly going anywhere, either.

S- Can definitely smell the roasted tones, as well as what seems like some lighter, woody/nutty tones. Definitely has hints of the higher alcohol content present.

T- A wonderful mix of roasted maltiness, a touch of nut, and a bit of sweetness (akin to a dark chocolate) after swallowing, but before the aftertaste fully kicks in. Aftertaste retains the roast, yet has a hint of what feels like a touch of hopiness.

M- Very smooth, yet lacks the "creamy" the head had suggested. Carbonation has been kept low, but feels like it's at just the right level to add a comfortable bite. Has some characteristic weight, but nothing excessive.

D- As others have said, this is not a session brew simply because of the alcohol content. The four pack it comes in is sufficient for 2 people to enjoy without losing sight of the high points of the beer. If I ever see this on tap, rest assured I will be buying a round for anyone with me. (1,239 characters)

Photo of svendryden
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Obtained my 4-pack based on a friends suggestion. So glad I heeded it. Filled my pint glass with over an inch of head, took quite awhile to pour, increasing the anticipation.

A - Deep black with a slight tint of amber. A foamy tan head that makes this beer look like an inverted oil spill. I love that my wife cringes when I drink it because she can't imagine consuming something so menacing.

S - Dark chocolatey, the kind I would normally steer clear of in solid form, but always smells great. Also it's got the morning roasted coffe scent going. And finally a hint of smokiness.

T - As with the smell, strong chocolate followed by the coffee finish. A bitterness that's welcoming.

M - Smooth and full. Not the thickess as one would assume from the look, but enough that your mouth is coated after a few drinks and you can continue to swallow air and it tastes like your still drinking the beer. Near Perfect.

D - I expected a moderatley slow drink, but surprisingly the 9.0 ABV doesn't stand out. I find myself sadened that in the time it took to write the review I seem to have finished the beer. This 4-pack could go very quickly indeed. (1,146 characters)

Photo of JayRey
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into Newcastle pint glass.

Appearance: Very black. 1 finger tan head reduces relatively quickly.

Smell: First thing I get is chocolate, followed by some coffee and roasted caramel malt.

Taste: Awesome. Just like the smell: chocolate, coffee, roasted malts. Alcohol comes through at the very end but is mostly hidden.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, medium body, very smooth.

Drinkability: Very good beer overall. Great balance, especially with so much going on here. Will definitely be buying this again. (531 characters)

Photo of wstuart
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

black as the devils backside, this russian imperial stout is freaking delicious. light hazelnut top with a distinct chocolate flavor accompanied by a rich coffee aroma. interesting how both the coffee and chocolate are in balance with eachother, while maintaining their boundries. delicious (290 characters)

Photo of beerSexualizer
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Creamy tan head with a couple fingers of volume. Black brown in colour like when midnight closes it's eyes.

Smells of fruity hops, dark chocolate, and coffee.

Tastes like black licorice that goes from subtly sweet to agressively bitter. Dark chocolate is around before the bitterness takes over. Nice lacing that thins to almost nothing as it drys.

Mouth feel is subtle then quickly errupts into an effervescent coating which follows the sweet to strong bitter profile.

Get this beer and drink it. Strong alcohol, black colour, and formidable bitterness are all staples of this style. F**k yeah. (601 characters)

Photo of rgturtle
4.91/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Finding a 4-pack of this covered in dust at a local package store was like winning the lottery.

A - Dark brown, with little carbonation, maybe a quarter-inch head.
S - Huge and lingering on the nose. Toffee, cocoa, espresso.
T - The nose paid off in the taste -- sweet but complex; the coffee didn't overwhelm.
M - A little chewy; not syrupy.
O - This is the best stout I've had in a while -- I found myself wanting to spend more time decoding the various scents. I'd stock up on this -- if you can find it. (513 characters)

Photo of sgtaxt
4.61/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a stunning obsidian black. Mocha colored, one finger head that dissipates quickly leaving just a ring of foam and minimal lacing. Beautiful beer.

Smell: Coffee and dark malts. Some fruit scents that remind me of red wine. Also a bit of a sour, acidic smell right at the end (maybe the alcohol?).

Taste: Espresso, bold roast (almost burnt) flavor, bitterness balanced by warm chocolate flavors. The 9% ABV is apparent without being overwhelming.

Mouthfeel: Heavy body paired with med-high carbonation makes this beer creamy and satisfying. Taste and carbonation linger in the mouth.

Overall: My first imperial stout so I don't have much to compare it to, but this beer is outstanding no matter how you look at it. (749 characters)

Photo of yauri
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Darkest eggplant. Beautiful. Deep. Smooth. Had to take a picture, for the case this was some lucky strike.

S - man... tons of different smells, but very elegant. Slightly hoppy, nuts, slightly roasted malt

T - exactly what you would expect from a Stout. Again, elegancy is the word. Very reach, decently bitter aftertaste, roasted coffee beans, deep malts. Rich, dark, and yet - not aggressive.

M - did I mention elegancy yet....?

Overall - awesome. Stouts are not my cup of roasted coffee, but this one is must have option in my cabinet, for winter night, standalone drink, when you feel like a little taste of the dark side.
Can`t wait to try this one off the tap! (675 characters)

Photo of Pyrosixer9
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Thick, oily, and pitch black. Exactly what I'm looking for in an Imperial Stout. The head isn't as dark as I would like, coming in at a light tan color, but it sticks around in a pleasant ring all the way to the end. The lacing is to die for. Like spiders made sweet webby love in my glass.

Smell: Huge chocolate notes, mostly dark with a little bit of milk chocolate thrown in. Roasty, with a nutty warmth. Slight touch of alcohol

Taste: Lots of warmth from the alcohol. Roast, coffee bitterness. A different bitter note right as you swallow, like a black tea that has steeped too long. The nuttyness returns to sit on your tongue after each sip.

Mouthfeel: Thick, just the way it should be. The carbonation gives it a lively zip right at the end to keep things exciting.

Overall: This has quickly become my go to Imperial Stout. This is my first beer from North Coast, but if Old Rasputin is any indication, I will happily be buying more from them in the future. (4.25) (990 characters)

Photo of bsjapost
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I do not enjoy Stouts, but this is close to a perfect example of an Imperial Stout. Chocolate, Coffee, Nuttiness, and bitterness close to 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate. Creamy feel in the mouth. It is smooth with a bite. If you enjoy Stouts this is for you. Try it with Oysters. If you are like me and do not like stouts, just eat the oysters. (338 characters)

Photo of kdlz
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - black as night with a 1 finger tan head. Beautiful lacing lasting the whole beer through.

S - roasty with chocolate, caramel

T - on the bitter side with no bite from the alcohol, extremely rounded stout. Nice roasts and definite caramel and chocolate hints. Balanced.

M - creamy just a bit bitter.

O - this is now one of my go to stouts. Very balanced, dangerously drinkable. (383 characters)

Photo of Aaron_Eicher
3.51/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

In Rasputin's earlier years, he was known for his "healing through prayer" and stuff. In reality, he used a version of Aspirin that was available at the time.

Is this relevant? Absolutely. Truth is, Old Rasputin was misleading.

I poured the black beverage into my glass and took a whiff. It was a definitely a stout. Smelled like roasted barley with a hint of coffee. It was a taste I was looking forward to.

I wasn't prepared for the taste though. This is one bitter stout. No joke. As soon as I took a sip, my taste buds were greeted with a roasted/alcoholic flavor, but was quickly and severely washed away by bitterness in the back of my tongue. The beer finished with the bitterness of hops and 95% cacao dark chocolate.

All in all, I would recommend this to anyone who is in for a surprise...and wants to get a buzz. (837 characters)

Photo of ianwolfman
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

so close to perfect. It's dark and complex, bitter, good mouth feel. Some day I would like to make a beer very similar to this one. I don't expect anyone to improve upon it. Oddly enough I don't like anything else I've had from this brewery. (241 characters)

Photo of rgdgerard
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a good 1" of creamy head over a midnight base into my snifter, which fairly rapidly subsides leaving a thin layer of lace that lasts the whole beer.

Pronounced coffee smell and taste, like a smooth expresso with assertive hops. Has a reasonably light mouthfeel for a stout, and is not overly alcoholic in taste. Really smooths out a lot when it warms up. (362 characters)

Photo of jetfanzee
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
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. (952 characters)

Photo of eph
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There is a fabulous bar out in western Massachusetts that caries this on tap. It was served in a goblet and was a thick black color with a dark brown head. It smelled of roasted coffee, almonds, chocolate, and a hint of alcohol. This beer has a good heavy mouth feel with a mellow carbonation that gives it an almost creamy feel when you swallow. It has a thick chocolate malt taste with a few shots of espresso to boot. After I swallowed I noticed a bit of a sweet dull fruit finish to it, not overly hoppy for sure. This beer was a great experience, I would recommend it as a sipping beer to fully enjoy... and the 9.0 abv has a way of sneaking up on you if you over drink this brew. Enjoy! (692 characters)

Photo of kzczp0
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich dark brown like espresso. Fine beaded head that lays at a half inch or more for a few minutes and then recedes to circle the glass with minor lacing over entire surface.

Smell is exquisitely rich, strong of roast malts, cigar and alcohol. Taste is straight on with dry feel over palate and not a complexity of flavors but rather intense burnt malt and bitterness from alcohol that does not change. I am not complaining about the taste. It is completely as expected.

The brew gets a little flat for carbonation quicklly which is to be expected but not a big change from beginning. As the beer warms I notice increase of chocolate and some hoppiness. This is an excellent Imperial. 2 or 3 of these would make for an interesting evening with good friends. (773 characters)

Photo of jrehmert
2.84/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured very dark, as expected, with about a finger of light tan head. The effervescence was short-lived. Residual sweetness was minimal. The nose was much more smoky than I had expected. I had hoped for more roasted malt, coffee, and/or chocolate malt than realized. Overall this was an average beer - Rogue RIS was a far better representative - afaic... (354 characters)

Photo of screwcitybeernut
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rasputin was a Russian mystic who contributed in the downfall of the tsarist Romanov dynasty in 1917. Rumor has it that he refused to die after being stabbed, shot, and poisoned only to have his assailants finally bind him and toss him through a hole in the ice, which apparently finished him off.

It took me only 20 minutes to finish off Rasputin.
And he was delicious.

Old Rasputin Imperial Stout is typical of the Imperial Stout style - brewed to 9% abv or higher to withstand the cold Siberian train rides from England. It leaves you feeling a bit more resistant to cold than before you drank it - some sort of exothermic reaction must have happened because halfway through the glass, I started shedding layers.

Not a beer for the faint of spirit or faint of palate.

Appearance: 4 - Black as midnight - little to no light shines through. Rocky tan head at first, subsiding to a lingering layer of light brown foam that lasts until the last sip.

Smell: 4.5 Burnt coffee, bittersweet chocolate, alcohol and roast malt.

Taste: 4.5 Coffee and chocolate up front followed by a huge hop linger. Like a good espresso, this beer stays on your palate for a while.

Mouthfeel: 4.5 Lush, creamy smooth, little carbonation, dry finish.

Drinkability: 4.5 Not a chugging beer! Sip this while reading a good book in front of a fireplace.

Overall: If you like stouts, you'll love this offering from North Coast. (1,437 characters)

Photo of r00tarded
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is my closer any time I'm out and its on tap.

You can have a line up of beers and if you end your evening with this beer, you've done well for yourself. This beer is the equivalent of a fresh from the oven molten chocolate cake, home made vanilla ice cream and an espresso all at once.

Dark, rich, mellow, smooth, flavorful, not overpowering but yet full of flavor... when it's placed in front of you take your time appreciating it in its glory. (457 characters)

Photo of abc3
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

See how I rated drinkability as "exceptional"? That's a problem...here's why:

I recently had my 44th birthday party (37 per my fake ID). Anyway, I served old Rasputin on tap for my beer-minded friends and a lager for the rest of the crowd. Now keep in mind, my friends know me a one who serves big, bitter, high alcohol "sipping beer".

And when they drank ORIRS, they noticed how smoooth this beer is. Yes, it is not for the faint-hearted, but compared to a west coast barleywine or a double IPA, it tastes quite innocent. Chocolate and espresso flavors, medium mouthfeel and the look of Guiness...this stuff is like everclear & punch is to frat boys hitting on little sisters.

By the time they drank 3, my sister started motor-boating my nieghbor, and my best friend (a professional bartender) blacked out. (yes he had whiskey too). The next morning...he was seriously pissed at me..claiming I should have warned him how desceptively strong this delicious brew is. Guilty as charged.

For BA readers, be warned. There are stronger brews out there. But none that hide the alcohol behind so much flavor. To those who enjoy a very stout stout..this is one of my favorites. (1,176 characters)

Photo of hawkseven
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle

First experience with a RIS.

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

S- Coffee and chocolate, smells tasty and inviting.

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

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

D- very good, need to pair this with a meal probably something fatty instead of drinking by itself. Very impressed with this brew. I will look for it again. (442 characters)

Photo of HereticDivine
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is, without a doubt, one of my favorite beers.

The appearance is awesome. Poured black, with an inch of tan/orange head.

Smelled of dark mocha. Has a very deep, fine dark chocolate undertone.

The taste is of thick dark chocolate, with a few dozen shots of expresso. As it warms up, the chocolate becomes more pronounced and much richer. This beer as a lot of alcohol, but you would never know that by taste alone.

Mouthfeel is great. Very thick and creamy.

Two of these would definitely be enough for one sitting. It's extremely heavy.

This beer is unreal. One of the best stouts I have ever had. It's something I will reserve for special occasions. (660 characters)

Photo of gatorguy813
3.98/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my first experiences as i delve into the world of porters and stouts. This brew smells strong of espresso and dark chocolate and tastes of it as well. For being 9% abv, it hides it very well. all in all i'd reccomend it to those who want to enjoy an excellent stout. (281 characters)

Photo of holycrapamoly
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have had 3 of the four pack I bought and I really enjoy this. It pours out a dark strong coffee appearance with a nicely formed finger thick khaki brown foamy head.
The smell reminds me of wood, coffee (although that might be the suggestion of the look) and chocolate.
The taste is great. Smoothly balanced malt, hops and sweetness. This is not my favorite type of beer, but this is my favorite of this type that I have had.
Mouthfeel is as smooth as Belgian chocolate. I am amazed that the ABV is as high as it is, yet it has such a smooth character and good drinkability for this type. I usually refer to this group as the beers that eat like a meal, but Old Rasputin like its namesake could give advice on how to make a fine Russian Imperial Stout. Well done! (764 characters)

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 3,495 ratings.