Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout | North Coast Brewing Co.

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial StoutOld Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
Liked This Beer
4.3 w/ 12,258 ratings
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:
Produced in the tradition of 18th Century English brewers who supplied the court of Russia’s Catherine the Great, Old Rasputin seems to develop a cult following wherever it goes. It’s a rich, intense brew with big complex flavors and a warming finish.

Added by kbub6f on 01-18-2001

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Ratings: 12,258 |  Reviews: 3,735
Photo of dhd1491
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On pour, thick and black with dense foamy tan 3-finger head on pour. Alcohol jumps out a little in the nose. In the taste there is dense smoke and caramel, mocha and lemon rind. Malty sweetness at first, then gives way quickly to bitter smoky finish. High viscosity coats the tongue. Carbonation is light, somewhat fizzy.

This is a complex and potent brew to be enjoyed like a good espresso. There are tastes present that would be unpleasant on their own, but are delicately balanced together to form a challenging, but enjoyable concoction.

I admit that stouts have generally not been my favorites, but this one is so well crafted and complex that it is impossible not to appreciate and enjoy its effect. Much like a good cigar, to me.

I am drinking this without the accompaniment of food. However, I think that this brew (and maybe all stouts) would go better with a meal or dessert. The suggested pairing for this beer is chocolate-based dessert. I'm more than willing to try that combination.


Note: Third time's the charm. Tonight (4/7/08) I had the third bottle out of the 4-pack. Really enjoyed it as a dessert beer. Aftertaste is fairly strong, smoky and bitter, but all-in-all, a very enjoyable brew. High ABV was just the right accompaniment to working on my tax returns.

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Photo of Ryan011235
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter on 1/4/10

Pours dark brown, almost a dull crimson, settling near black. Two fingers of medium brown head that thins quite rapidly to a skim on top. Decent streaks of lace are left. Swirling revives a little foam. Lacing is ok but gets sporadic.

Moderately potent malt aromas that tend to be on the sweeter side of things. It kind of brings to mind chocolate milk & a creaminess reminiscent of hot chocolate. While the sweet aspect of the chocolate are most notable, there are subtle roasted undertones.

Tastes very similar to the nose; the only big difference being a slight hop twinge leading off. Roasted dark malts abound. Sweet throughout with creamy milk chocolate in the middle & on the finish. Hints of coffee bitterness in the back. Smooth all around.

Full bodied offering low carbonation that is smooth, allowing the flavors to take precedent. Faint lingering notes of roasted malts. Lacking is any appreciable alcohol heat.

Very good; not particularly complex but the whole seems greater than the sum of its parts, as it were. I imagine this ages well. Recommended.

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

A - Pours dark black with a surprisingly solid head for a stout. Head lasts for quite a while with a bit of retention throughout.

S - To start, it has a good oak, coffee, chocolate smell. As it warms, though, I can't get a whole lot other than alcohol. The smell for sure gets a bit boozy with time.

T - Great taste. The first time I had it, I thought it was a bit watery, but I can't see that in this bottle. Coffee and hints of dark chocolate are the forefront of the flavors.

M - Flavor sticks around for a while. The hearty carbonation shines through in the mouthfeel, too.

D - For the style this is pretty drinkable. Compared to most other styles, though, this is a doozie.

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Photo of LonesomeTraveler
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

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

Opened a 12 oz. bottle and poured into a tulip glass. I had to stop 3/4 through the bottle due to a huge tan head. Nice and thick and creamy looking. Really this looks like something you would get at Starbucks. The beautiful head sits atop a jet black beer, that showed nice ruby hues en-route from the bottle.

Smells of dark roasted malts, bitter chocolate and fresh-ground dark roasted coffee. Tastes of iced coffee as it begins to warm. Creamy and chocolaty with an air of sweetness that never turns to the bitter finish you would come to expect. There is some mysterious spice to this RIS as well. Some licorice and/or anise thing that leaves the back of the throat a little tingly. Maybe a little alcohol burn in there two, but not as hot as you might think.

This is a nice big-bodied beer that lives up to its 11% billing, it begins to warm your depths as soon as you start sipping it.

Drinkable sure, I'll be sipping this one for two hours :-)

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Photo of cmq103
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 0z. bottle into a Duvel Belgian Tulip glass. I bought this at the Beer Store in Southampton PA. I will say it was worth the drive over from NJ, as they have one of the larger selections of craft beers that I've seen in the area.

Appearance: A typical jet black thicker pour, as expected with the style. I nice, thick 3/4" cola colored head impressed me resulting from only a moderately aggressive pour. Lacing was spotty, but decent as my glass emptied. The head eventually reduced to a thin light brown ring after a few minutes at room temperature.

Smell: Right off the bat, this reminded me a lot of the Storm King Imperial Stout, which is a hoppier Imperial Stout. I get dark bittersweet chocolate, followed by burnt roasted malts then a definitive hoppy and unsweetened espresso aroma. I also detect a slight booziness in the finish, which become more prominent as the beer warms.

Taste: Like the nose, bitter unsweetened dark chocolate, espresso coffee, dark fruits, and caramel. Light roasted, almost burnt, malts and a surprisingly bitter hoppy finish. I prefer my RIS just a tad sweeter to tame the hoppy bite. The alcohol is well hidden and doesn't expose itself until the beer gets closer to room temperature.

Mouthfeel: Definitely a full-bodied brew. Smooth, but with a dry bitter finish. Carbonation is moderate.

Overall: This is a sipper for sure with the higher ABV. I'm glad I tried it but my "go-to" RIS is still Brooklyn Black Chocolate. I would still say it's a "must try" for fans of the RIS style but I prefer my Imperial Stouts with a little less hop bite.

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Photo of DudMan
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Drazzamatazz
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: This beer always pours so well it makes me wonder why it needs to be served on nitro. Dark body with a hugely attractive mocha head. Light doesn't make it fully through, but it does give off an almost deep ruby glow in the right angles. Great lacing from this one.

S: Dark malts, molasses, lots of roast. In fact most of the other aromas found could probably be labeled as "burnt". Burnt caramel, burnt chocolate, burnt hops, so on. Alcohol doesn't hide to well in this one. There is a certain level of earthiness here that is hard to describe.

T: Surprise, its a roast bomb. French roast coffee, baker's chocolate, high alpha hops. If you can get past the dark roast there's a dark fruit sweetness that can be found. I keep saying roast because its clearly the highlight, but there are enough subtleties to keep this one interesting especially as it warms.

M: Now I remember why this is always on nitro. For such a big stout the body on this one is a weird combination of high carbonation and a thinner body. Each sip leaves you with a drying warming sensation from the dark (somewhat astringent) roast and alcohol.

O: This was one of the first beers to really pull me into the craft beer world. It has a cult following for a reason and at $8 or less a four pack it is a great bargain. I do wish there was some medium between out of the bottle and on nitro though.

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

12 oz short bottle, no date.

black, with 1/4" khaki colored head. aroma is roasty, but with strong hops underneath. tastes of toasted marshmallow, roasted malt, with hop finish. medium body, low carbonation.

overall, definitely a solid imperial stout, with the slight twist of a strong hop presence.

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

The Setting:
Sitting at my friend Scott's house with this beer, playing some xbox 360 and killing zombies...with the occasional hand of uno.

Beer pours a nice dark brown with a hefty head that seems to stay relatively firm, ala rootbeer float. Smell is very roasty!

Taste is very smooth at first, sweet and mocha-y. Then it grows into a pretty heavy alcohol finish...a bit of a burner really. Mouth is really round; the tongue really fills up with flavor.

This is a great return beer. But not a session beer.

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

a: deep black crude with a one inch tan head; leaves light lacing

s: light roasted coffee, light grain; light cream; light grassy hops

t: dark roasted coffee; terra firma; light grassy hops; molasses; bitter burnt coffee and bitter hop kick

m: creamy anf thick; very light carb

d: a great Istout

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

Poured a solid black. At first there appeared to be no head, but after a few seconds head formed, which I found both interesting and awesome. Head has good retention at a fingers width, is nut brown in color, and is thick and foamy.

Smell is strong with roasted malt, oatmeal, chocolate and molasses.

Taste is well built, starting with the bittersweet from the roasted malt. The flavor mellows into a roasted nut with chocolate hints, and as the beer warms the flavors become a bit more harsh.

Mouthfeel is heavy bodied with a very thick and syrupy feel. As I poured the last sip the beer hung onto the bottle like it didn't want to let go.

Drinkability is good. This is a great stout, no wonder its won so many medals. Goes down pretty easy too, considering the ABV.

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

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter, this looks real good. Black with a light brown head, body is as near opaque as I've ever seen in a beer: there's no light coming through and there is minimal lacing. Smells like coffee, smells sweet. Really tastes like a coffee, has that bitter coffee acidity on the back of the tongue. Leads to a chocolatey burp. This beer stands up nicely to and complements well my dad's Christmas English Toffee. 9.0% is well hidden, I feel like I could put down quite a few of these.

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

This stout is definitely on the complex side. A subtle but noticeably floral hop character is one of the sneakier characteristics that contribute to the stout's unique qualities. The mouthfeel is substantial, due to residual sugars that also leave some sexy, sticky lace.

I like the intense dried fruit aroma that blends well with hints of cocoa and fruitier Ethiopian coffee beans. Somewhere along the line, there is a kind of smokiness in the back of the throat deal, and while it is pleasant, I found there was a strange, faint chalkiness or musty property in the mouth. Not texturally, but from a flavor perspective.

On the whole, this beer is a warming, strong ale that I am happy to say protects me from the Ithaca cold!

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

Pours black (brown at the edges), with a small mocha head, Head rapily settles to a small cap, laces quite stickily.
Smell of alcohol, strong coffee, and almost a little smoke.
Tastes like expresso - strong coffee with the attending bitterness, roasted molasses and a touch of black cherry. Chocolate and a more roasted taste develops as it warms.
Carbonated on the pour, but flat and full in the mouth.

This is a nice change of pace beer, a good imperial stout.

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

Pours a dark black-brown with only the slightest red hue when held up to the light. Thick bubbly brown head with good retention.

Dark chocolate, coffee, nutty, and roasted caramel/toffee aroma..

Somewhat mellow and understated for the style, but still a full-flavored brew. The citrus hops are the first thing I notice, along with the full and complex malts. Bitter chocolate and coffee with healthy, but not overpowering alcohol flavors.

Creamy but somewhat syrupy full-bodied mouthfeel. This is probably the most drinkable RIS I've tasted too, since the flavors are so subdued and there is almost no bitter aftertaste.

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Photo of TheJollyHop
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opaque, silky black pour with no head.

Roasted barley and medium roasted coffee along with a whiff of alcohol on the nose.

Creamy texture and velvety on the tongue; bitter roasted coffee upfront with a milk chocolate middle and a touch of roast astringency on the bittersweet finish. Alcohol barely presents itself.

Medium to full bodied and carbonated; flavors work exceptionally well together. A little tongue drying but oh so smooth; not harsh at all.

Bottom line; a great no frills imperial stout that is highly drinkable.

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

Pours a dark brown color with a very thick light tan head that settles fairly slowly. Aroma is surprisingly hoppy, along with some cocoa notes. Tate has some roasted coffee flavors, along with some oakey notes as well. Maybe even a faint bit of licorice ? Hmm... Mouthfeel is a tad bit light for such a flavorful brew. A very nice RIS. Would certainly be agreeable to having this again.

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Photo of ryrust5301
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage poured out of a 12oz. bottle into a snifter. Black cap, and black label with a menacing picture of Rasputin on the front. Awesome pic!

Apperance - Pours a jet black with a half finger tan head. Lacing glides down the glass as tilted when drinking.

Smell - Coffee, and chocolate straight up. No messing around.

Taste & Mouthfeel - Espresso and chocolate smack you right up front. A bitter chocolate though. Smooth on the tounge, and almost silky. Smoothness holds on right through the finish with some sweetness.

Drinkability - I was expecting a lot from this brew, and needless to say I was not disappointed. Drink with respect or Rasputin will put you to sleep.

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Photo of Pauly2X
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Opaque black, one finger tan head.

S- Rich roasted malts, some vinous fruit aromas as well.

T- Assertive chocolate malts with an underlying roast character. Some citrusy hops show up at midpoint then trail off to a balanced finish.

M- Full bodied and rich sharp carbonation.

D- The balanced finish helps greatly with drinkability.

A very solid Imperial Stout. For better or worse, this shouls be the comparison for all other Imperial Stouts.

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

Dark brown, almost black body. Thick brown head, with excellent retention. Aroma thick with roasted malt, raisin, and molasses with undertones of the 8.9% alcohol coming through. Good flavor, roasted malt dominates with a nice bitter finish. Alcohol apparent in flavor, but less so than in the smell. Thick beer, but not really heavy or oily. This is a good choice for an after dinner/late evening relaxation beer.

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Photo of Manoftyr
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours from 12oz bottle into pint glass

Appearence-pours a slick dark brown into my glass, an impressive mocha head rises and leaves some rich lacing as it recedes.

Aroma-Chocolate and heavily roasted malt dominate mingling with some coffee aromas and a streak of citricy hops. Some alcohol creeps up towards the finish.

Taste-Bittersweet chocolate and citric hoppiness mingle with the chocolate inevitably overwhelming but not after the hops put up a good fight and ensure they leave an impact upon the flavor. There's some espresso-like flavors as well but they're not quite as pronounced as the chocolate.

Mouthfeel-Rather thin for an Imperial Stout in my honest opinion, it's not this beer's major selling point.

Drinkability-Dangerously drinkable for the ABV, pace yourself with this one as the light mouthfeel and the bittering hops can certainly disguise this beer's alcohol strength and make you forget you're drinking a 9% Imperial Stout.

Notes-Honestly, I find this beer a tad overrated; I like it, but it doesn't blow me away or anything. It's main selling point, at least to me, is it's surprising drinkability. I also think it could benefit considerably from turning down the hops and turning up the chocolate malt.

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Photo of gphelps70
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 94% out of 100 with 12,258 ratings
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