Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout | North Coast Brewing Co.

3,687 Reviews
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial StoutOld Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 01-18-2001

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Reviews: 3,687 | Ratings: 12,083
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.

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Photo of EvilKeith
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
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 -6.5%
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 +2.8%
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%
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 +2.1%
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 -1.9%
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 -4.2%
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 -1.2%
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%
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 -15.7%
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 +2.8%
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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Photo of WeisGuy
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a - dark color, nearly complete black...typical of RISs; short tan head that didn't last too long; not much by way of lacing

s - alcohol very evident, roasted malt, coffee

t - coffee and roasted malts, like the aroma, the finish is dominated by lingering alcohol taste, but not unpleasant

m - minimal carbonation; pretty chewy

d - very drinkable for an RIS; the alcohol is evident, but not overwhelming, and the front end of the taste is very pleasant and complex

I really enjoyed this beer. I don't think it's on par with the "top" RISs, but very respectable nonetheless. I like that this is relatively affordable and easy to find.

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Photo of MagicLantern
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a Pint Glass.

A: Four fingers of head! Thick creamy tan head that faded over several minutes. 1/2" of lace coats thick and evenly across the glass. As drank, lace continued to coat glass. Half way through beer, lace continued to cling to top of the glass and coat the entire glass all they way down. A Bback beer held up to the light, this had the *slightest* red translucence. This was a fantastic looking beer.

S: Notes are sparse here. "Malty? Spices." That's all I wrote. It was pleasant, but nothing that merits more detail.

T: Smooth and creamy. Chocolate over coffee flavors. Moderately chocolatey with a sharp coffeesque bitter finish accented by a slight tase of spices. Alchohol is well hidden by coffee like flavors.

M: Light carbonation tingles and smooths the beer. Incredibly well balanced. The bitter after taste is slight

D: The combination of pleasant flavors and great mouthfeel combine to make this a very well balanced beer. This makes the beer very easy to drink. I don't typically think of stouts as a casual beer, but this one is a great reminder of how pleasant a dark beer can be.

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Photo of SilentSabre
4.54/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This will be my second of three planned reviews of this beer. My only problem with it, is that is has too much hop bitterness when fresh. It's almost like eating mouthfulls of grapefruit and chocolate pieces together and washing them down with coffee. Not exactly my idea of a tasty treat. So, what I have planned, is to rate this aged about 6 months, and then again in a year. So far, tonights session shows that Rasputin does, with time, improve. The 6 month old example poured the same colour as a fresh one, obviously. The smell, however, seemed noticeably sweeter. Lots of stewed fruit and loads of chocolate and caramel. The taste, while improved, still has that hop bitterness that I am trying to age away. Mouthfeel was nice and smooth and drinkability was a bit better than a fresh example. We'll see what 12 - 14 months worth of aging does to Rasputin around Christmas '06 or Jan. '07.

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Photo of Shaw
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours totally black with a substantial tan head that reduces to a thin layer with lovely lacing. This beer looks very nice.

It smells of caramel, toffee and roasted malts.

The taste is creamy, with many complex roasted flavors competing. The alcohol flavors are there but aren't as obvious as in other beers of the style. Very nice!

The body is wonderfully creamy.

Overall this is an excellent RIS. It's widely available, which gives you very little excuse to not try it.

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Photo of dustified1234567
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Black with a finger and a half of yellow brown head. It leaves a foam on the sides of the glass.

S- Strong hops smell and a little malty.

T- Malty coffee flavor that was really very good.

M- Fee carbonation start at the center of my tongue and spread out to my cheeks. Thick.

D- Drink slow to enjoy it. Very good Russian Imperial stout and I would definitely go and grab a few more.

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Photo of Freshie
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a genre I have been wanting to get into for awhile. Heard so many great things I couldn't resist no longer.

Pours a beautiful dark black colour with tan creamy head. Laces very well.

Smells of roasted caramel malt, and a hint of fruit.

Tastes very smooth, with strong espresso or coffee flavour and chocolate, that gradually gives way to a more tangy hoppiness.

The alcohol is masked well by the ingrediants and only shows it's head slightly. The roasted coffee flavour stays with you as you drink.

Very smooth and very flavourful.

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Photo of badbeer
4.92/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very dark brown to almost black in color with a tan head that dissipates leaving some lacing. Nose is bursting with chocolate, coffee, maybe a hint of vanilla and cherry in there as well. Chocolate, espresso, and molasses with a hop bitterness in the end make up the taste. Mouthfeel has pretty low carbonation, maybe a little less would make it perfect, definately full bodied and thick. This beer is just wonderful, I definately need to get some more.

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

Stouts are becoming more and more one of my favorite styles and the Rasputin is near the top of the list. This baby pours black. Big thick head that mostly diminishes. Big time strong coffee aroma and wonderful dark chocolate. Taste matches the smell, for the most part. Not much of an alcohol taste, but one can feel the warmth. This is right on style. I've had this on tap and in the bottle. This is great and relatively cheap and accessible RIS.

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Photo of bort11
4.95/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I love the label design on this bottle. That crazy mad monk staring out from a smoky haze, I think that alone does a lot for the near-legendary status of this stout.

A- Poured into an Imperial pint glass. Pefectly black in the center. Dark reddish tints on the edges. Thick and creamy tan head, about a finger high from my pour. It receeds a little fast for me, but maintians a tight lace which makes up for it.

S- Espresso aromas POP! I can smell that from an arms length. Chocolate notes linger and some spices hint around the edges.

T- Excellent follow through from the smell. Espresso, chocalate, some maltiness, finishes with some hop bitterness. A little alcohol warmth. very well balanced.

M- It feels a little overcarbonated to me, but that is the only drawback. There is a chewiness to it that a RIS should have.

D- This is an all around great stout and one of my favorites. With this session, I had it with a slice of DQ ice cream cake. Oh man, that's good. This is a great dessert beer by itself, but it added to the overall enjoyment. Now that my local beer store is carying North Coast beers, I will keep this on hand.

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4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The name and bottle caught my attention immediedately while I was shopping.

The pour on this beer was perfect, with a thin tan head that developed. Once poured, it was completely opaque when held to the light.

The smell was strong with noticable aromas of roasted malt and alcohol.

The taste on this beer is out of this world. It is very complex with coffee and chocolate taste to this stout. At the end the hops come through with a slight bitterness, but not overwhelming.

The mouthfeel on this was the low point of this beer for me. It seemed a little thin. However, a mouthfeel such as this could be considered a strong point in a beer that did not have such a complex taste.

The drinkability of this beer is great in my book. I would not want to drink more than 3 or so. But if you like the style, and don't mind a strong taste of alcohol, then this is an imperial stout to enjoy after a long day.

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Photo of irishtimepiece
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.
Pitch black except for ruby hues at the edges. Thick tan head that recedes slowly, but lasts the whole way down. Lacing is very good. Smells strongly of roasted coffee and very dark chocolate, some caramel. Tastes very strongly of roasted coffee with hints of sweet caramel, but the chocolate from the smell is missing from the taste. Alcoholic bite right at the end that I like very much. Mouthfeel is right where it should be for a stout. The only thing really holding this brew back is it's drinkability. With an alcohol content of 9%, I can't see myself drinking more than 2 a night. Overall, one of my favorites. Even at 7 dollars a 4 pack, it's worth it.

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Photo of ColoradoBobs
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vigorous pour from the interestingly-shaped 12 ounce bottle yielded a large, firm tan head that lasts well and sticks to the glass as it tightens and becomes rocky; all this over an almost completely opaque black-ruby body. Don't call what it leaves on the glass "lacing," but rather "sheeting"!

Aroma is superb: vinous, figgy, chocolate-covered cherries with espresso. Is that cinnamon back there? Maybe some pink peppercorns? Definitely some caramel malt. Mmmm.

The taste fell off a bit from the aroma -- it smelled more complex than it tasted. The fruity notes seemed absent from the taste. Mind you, it's still good, but not up to "sniff."

Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than I thought -- still good, just not a chewy as I was hoping.

Good drinkability for an RIS, at only 9%. Definitely worth the price.

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Photo of kohoutek
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Ebony darkness. Only the slightest light penetration. Lovely tan head, but it quickly dissipates into a coagulated, large bubbled, foam replica of Pangea.

S: Dark roast, vinous malty alcoholic stone fruit with molasses chocolate ashy husky whiffs. Yeasty Vegemite beef bullion. Malt acidity beckons a sip.

T: Sweet coffee, ash, molasses, herbal hops, lingering bitterness, large warm yeasty presence, dark cocoa chocolate milkshake. Graham crackers and wheaten scones lurk in the shadows. The finish is rounded by iron aerosols left over from John Henry's frenetic activities.

M: Sweet, cleanly balanced with bitterness, herbs, iron. If sipped and swallowed it appears thin and quaffable. If tossed about in the mouth it awakens with a silken, mouthfilling foam.

D: Very nice. The bitterness, roast acidity and herbal nuances sweep this large, sweet beer down the pipes.

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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 12,083 ratings.
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