Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout | North Coast Brewing Co.

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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial StoutOld Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
12,330 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: 12,330 |  Reviews: 3,748
Photo of BuxMontBeerLover
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thank to my best friend and fellow BA member "BeerConnoiseur" I was able to try this brew for the first time. Thanks, Pat! Drank from a Dogfish Head Signature Glass

A - Pours used motor oil black. Nice one finger beige head that disapates after a few minutes but retains a nice ring of creamy froth around the edges. Leaves a slight sticky lacing on the side of the glass.

S - After letting it sit for a few minutes, a nice coffee, chocolate smell is really present. I've got a good feeling about this beer already!

T - Yes! What a big, robust stout. Coffee, expresso, choclate and burnt malts are the predominate flavors. Nice ending that is bitter but not off-putting. The longer this brew warms up, the more the flavors come out. The 9% alcohol is well disguised.

M - Very creamy and thick but not syrupy. Good amount of carbonation. My pallet is overwhelmed with the combination of flavors.

D - An awesome stout! This is so robust that I can't call it a session beer by any means but that isn't a bad thing. This is just so good tasting that you don't want to rush through it.

Overall - Highly recommended. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. Reminds me a lot of the Black Chocolate Stout from Brooklyn Brewing that I reviewed a few days ago. This is a bit better, in my opinion, although both got an A from me. A perfect brew for a winter afternoon or evening.


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Photo of MrIncognito
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Incredibly dark brown to black with a fluffy mocha head. Head lasts quite a while and simmers to a nice 1/8-inch lace on top. Great sticky lacing on the sides of the glass as drank.

S - Espresso, dark chocolate, and roasted malt all at once like a slap in the face. Boozy alcohol when I really stick my nose in and take a good long whiff.

T&M - I taste the espresso off the bat and then chased by the roasted malt and finally with a nice twinge of dark chocolate in the aftertaste. Nicely balanced in these flavors and none of these overpowers the other, rather compliments each other. A bit of a thick brew with a sticky mouthfeel. The alcohol is warming and not as noticable as I expected. The alcohol seems to meld into the flavors as the beer warms.

D - Such a great sipping beer and nice to drink. It would be hard to drink more than two of these in one night as you have to sip and savor this or the alcohol will knock you out.

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Photo of DaveFL1976
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Now there's a fine beer.
Black, black body. There should be a word that expresses a darker color than black. This would be it. It's topped with a dark tan head, too. The head settles down into a skim but never completely disappears. The smell is dry, bitter bakers chocolate. But sweet, too. An excellent balance. Taste is huge. It all wraps itself up into a beery, chocolaty dream with 9% alcohol. Taste is smooth, but with a bit of alcohol harshness at the very last part of the swallow. This is a fine beer.

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Photo of jmh21
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Glanzman
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Russian Imperial Stouts are my favorite style and this one was just meh to me.

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Photo of hoppyhampy
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Pours nearly pitch black with three fingers of lumpy, toasted brown foam. Very nice lacing and good visible carbonation. Nose is rich and sweet with notes of coffee, cocoa, a little caramel, and some alcohol. Thick like chocolate milk on the palate with excellent carbonation. Not much hop character. The malt isn't overbearing, allowing dark chocolate flavors to play on the palate and become more pronounced in the finish. Very easy to drink for 9% abv. The mouthfeel and palate are very well rounded so you don't feel super weighed down. Still, its obvious why they only sell it in 4-packs. Its a big brew meant for moderation and special occasions. Happy Friday to me :)

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Photo of gabedivision
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a bottle to a SA Imperial Series Snifter glass. Bottle about a year old.

Pours a motor oil black, with a weak looking 1 finger head, lots of slime and sticky bubbles. Big hops on the nose, followed by bitter coffee bean, bitter dark chocolate, vanilla milk chocolate, toasted malts. Chocolatety mayhem in my mouth right now, coffee/espresso, nice alcohol warming bitter coffee bean finish . Full bodied, creamy, smooth. Overall this beer was great, this beer aged well and tasted less like a coffee milk shake (as i thought it did fresh) and more like a great RIS. Very complex, rich and inviting.

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bomber purchased at the LCBO; bottled Oct 28 2016 and served slightly chilled. Not the first time I've enjoyed this stout, though it is the first time I've had a chance to review it.

Pours black as night, with roughly one inch of frothy, tan-coloured foam seated atop. Ungodly retention; the head gives up virtually no ground for more than 15 minutes, though it does take on a smoother, creamier, lumpier appearance - as its big, soapy bubbles burst, gradually being replaced from below by tiny, finer gauge bubbles. Beautiful lacing, too; this is a visually-stunning brew. The aroma reveals this to be a rather well-hopped stout, with big leafy, earthy hop notes coming through almost as clearly as the rich, roasted malts themselves. Black coffee, molasses, dark chocolate and cocoa figure in strongly, with accents of licorice, dates, raisin, alcohol and smoke supplying added depth of character to the nose.

A genuine treat to sip. Big roasted malt flavours dominate the profile right off the bat - espresso coffee and baker's chocolate blend together with a mix of caramelized sugar and molasses sweetness. Hints of date, prune and vanilla also come through by the midpoint, with the sip rounded out by herbal licorice, earthy pine resin and leafy hop bitterness on the back end. Finishes bitter, with coffee grounds and earthy hop flavours fading as you approach the dry-ish aftertaste. Medium-full in body, with restrained carbonation that gently prickles the palate and provides a slight bite; the overall texture is quite smooth, luscious and creamy. Pleasurable and fulfilling to sip.

Final Grade: 4.35, an A grade. Old Rasputin is exactly what an imperial Russian stout should be - rich, smooth, balanced, and intense. When I first tried this imperial stout a few years back, I definitely liked it, but not to the extent where I considered it one of the best - however, this follow-up sampling has converted me into a true believer. The exquisite balance achieved between the roasted malts and sturdy hop notes is nothing less than a thing of beauty. There may very well be better stouts out there, but that doesn't diminish what North Coast has managed to accomplish. One of the grand-daddies of them all; if you haven't tried Old Rasputin, do yourself a favour and take whatever steps are necessary to correct that.

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Photo of hooligan
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pitch black beer with a burnt-coffee and milk head that settles to a wispy lace on top after a sip or two.

I can smell cherries, plums, and faint licorice. Not a lot of hop in the smell besides some astringency at the top end, but that could also be the alcohol.

Burnt toffee with a hint of cherry invades the palate with a faint overripe plum flavor towards the finish... which is cut by a very sharp, very crisp, but otherwise unknown hop. Quite a bit of warming alcohol throughout.

Rich and thick with a very slight, porter-like fizz at the back end.

One of my all time favorites. This one was enjoyed during a huge saturday breakfast, and it makes me feel bad for all those poor suckers drinking coffee today.

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Photo of SenatorSpaceman
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of TheSarge
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black and produces a ton of creamy milk chocolate looking head, which dissipate to solid pacing.

In the aroma there are roasted coffee and cocoa hints.

Taste wise it is mostly semisweet chocolate along with a strong coffee flavors.

This feels dense, creamy, a little slick, and has a warmth to the finish.

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Photo of tetonka4kzoo
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thick and very dark pour in snifter. A slight foamy head that disappears fast.

Aroma isn't heavy but has a nice malty roast.

Taste is malty with vanilla and chocolate. It has a nutty finish with a slightly hoppy bitterness.

Well-carbonated RIS that feels silky and thick.

Extremely tasty and drinkable. You feel the alcohol more than you can taste it. This brew was highly recommended at Tiffany's Wine & Spirits. It's an impressive RIS that reminds me of Bells Expedition Stout. I want to go back to Tiffany's to buy another single bottle to cellar.

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Photo of PhageLab
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured at a 46 degree angle in a tulip glass.

A - Motor oil for the most part. Made for a massive head of froth that simply refused to dissipate. Lacing was immaculate.

S - Complex nose of raw chocolate, dark fruits, and the tinge of hops. This aroma is worth taking several moments to absorb it all, especially if served chilled. Chances are you won't even catch most of the scents until it hits room temp.

T - Rich flavorful profile of fruit notes with a dry, bitter hop backing. Finishes with a toasty, dry malt flavour. Although the alcohol warms, it does not shine through in the body. Outstanding.

M - Full bodied, nice carbonation level which adds to the crispness, no residuies, dry finish.

D - Dangerously drinkable, had I several more of these I'd be content. Amazing brew that honestly impressed me in every aspect. Reco.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a motor oil black with a two-finger foamy tan head.

S - Sweet roasted malts, coffee, and dark chocolate. Also some faint dark fruits.

T - Coffee is front and center followed by the roasted malts. Finish with a nice amount of bitter dark chocolate.

M - Full body wit medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with a slight alcohol burn.

O - One of the best imperial stouts out there. A true American classic.

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Photo of Whiteweasel
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle bought in 2009, drank in Nov 2013, drank from a pint glass.

Appearance: Thick, deep black, viscous, motor oil appearance. Not a single ray of light is getting through this beer. About 1 finger of light, brown creamy head. Not enough head to really leave much lacing. Very appealing

Smell: Primary smell is a heavy maltiness, with a raisin-like sweetness. Typical roasted cocoa and coffee bean flavours are there, but fruits and malts have become stronger over 4+ years. Slight ethanol warmth is present, with a slight bit of phenol.

Taste: Lots of roasted body, from the first taste through after you've swallowed it. Very coffee heavy but without the bitterness. A faint malty sweetness, mixing with the dark cocoa flavour. Very little bitterness at first, but hits you later. More and more butterscotch-y diacetyl as you go.

Mouthfeel: Thick and viscous. Lots of booziness, almost over the top after a while. Tenacious aftertaste. Nice and creamy.

Overall: Very good, always enjoy these, but the time definitely changed this beer. Whisky-like characteristics are emphasized a lot more, and the roasted malt notes have been subdued in favour of a powerful boozy bitterness. A dangerous beer.

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Photo of portia99
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a Bruery tulip.

A - Pours an opaque black with a finger of mocha colored head. Head is a touch on the loose side and dies down after about a minute to a nice collar and some islands of bubbles in the middle.

S - Some coffee, creamy and roasty. Some fruityness and touch of sugar and brown sugar in the aroma too.

T - Full of coffee, a good amount of alcohol, a bit of prunes. Lots of dark roasted malts, bakers chocolate, bitterness from the malt and alsosome hoppy bitterness too. Overall, a a slightly sweet impression left behind, caramelly, brown sugary and refined sugar. Very well balanced.

M - Good mouthfeel, medium bodied and a little bit thick on the tongue. A touch oily and slippery on the tongue. Not as thick as some other RIS's out there. Carbonation is medium - gives a creamy impression and a lingering tingle in the center of the tongue after the swallow.

D - Very well balanced RIS. Plenty of dark roasted flavors and dark fruits and lots of hops to balance. Not hoppy at all, but enough there to offset the sweetness from the malts. 9.0% alcohol is hidden quite well...makes this one a bit dangerous.

Very, very good RIS...challenging the Stone RIS as my favorite "everyday" RIS..

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Photo of NastyNorseman
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of TheBrewo
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew pours a motor oil black. We get a nice medium brown colored head of two fingers, which retains for a bit, then dissipates into a bubbly film across the top of the liquid. Spotty and sparse lacing appears as we sip. The aroma is huge in roasty malts. There is typical dark chocolate and a healthy alcoholic aroma, with subtle hints of fresh coffee bean wafting in and out. Hops are also abundant, making for a balance through the nose. The taste buds are assaulted with deeply roasted malts at the very front. Therein mixes a bittersweet dark chocolate that is more bitter than sweet. This affectively rolls back on the palate through the middle of the taste. Here there is also a curious organicness to it. There is dark, peppery spice, and incredibly subtle flavors almost similar to a vegetable juice (tomato and cucumber come to mind). The finish is robustly malty, but cleanly hoppy, and a bit sweet. As the sip departs the drinker breathes coffee remnants, ghostly hops, and more roasted malt. The body is full, with an almost syrupy feel. The carbonation is light and, while the mouth is left coated, once that dissolves it is dried. The abv is nice and high, as it should be, and this warming beer is a sipper.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was its robust attitude. The aroma was dark and foreboding, but also inviting with its sweetness of hops. The taste is very much the same way, but is nicely balanced and complex. This is a delicious brew and, if you only have one or two of them, it becomes difficult to kill.

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Photo of Popkas
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one has been cellared for a little over a year.
A: Pours a deep black with a thin head that lingers.

S: Nice roasted malt and alcohol. Bready?

T: Roasted coffee/malts and a hit of alcohol at the end.

M: Nice thick and silky feel, plenty of carbonation.

D: More drinkable than I recalled. Wonder if it has to do with it having a year of cellaring on it?

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Photo of BarrelAgedG
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of leitmotif
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jcflorian
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Near-black brown, absorbs all light. Respectable moderate cafe-colored head that recedes but leaves some appetizing residue. Looks thick.

S: Dark but not burnt malt, cocoa. Those are the only components I detect, but wow, do they fill the nose!

T: Mmmm... chocolate and dark malt, some sweet dark molasses yet carries a decidedly bitter finish, long and pleasing. Smoky toffee. So dark. Delicious. Alcohol is hidden very well, and I'm pleased not to get any sweetness from things like prunes, which I usually don't enjoy.

M: Creamy, smooth. The bit of carbonation disrupts its smoothness somewhat, but not enough to make it disappointing.

O: This is considered a standard for Imperial Stouts for a reason. Very dark and straightforward, thick palate in both taste and mouthfeel yet easy to drink. You can smell an opened bottle from across the room. Can't go wrong with a pack of this.

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Photo of DrDogbeer
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Union Brew House. Poured into a 10 oz. glass. Pours jet black with a thin, creamy tan head. Smells of bitter chocolate, burnt coffee and some burnt sugar. Taste is wonderful. Good amount of chocolate and coffee with a nice, smooth sugary, malty finish. Nice creamy mouthfeel, but not thick- rather thin and drinkable. Wonderful beer that I probably first tried 10 years ago and is still great today.

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Photo of WS_Transplant
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.3 out of 5 with 12,330 ratings
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