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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout | North Coast Brewing Co.

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3,656 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: 3,656 | Ratings: 11,955
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep, menacing mahogany with ruby highlights and a medium brown cascading head that would make a nitro pour proud. Initially four-fingers-and-a-thumb in size, the cap looks as if it'll last for a good, long while. Dark brown lace--some of the darkest I've ever seen--coats the glass, but doesn't last all that long.

The nose abounds with bittersweet chocolate. Yes, there's some coffee; yes, there's heavily roasted malt and hops; but chocolate is king as far as the aroma is concerned. On the palate, hops return with a vengeance. "Regicide or death!" they scream as they pound away at King Cocoa... sorry, I got carried away there for a moment. A huge quantity of heavily roasted black malt results in a constellation of flavors that includes bittersweet chocolate, espresso and anise. Each and every one fills the mouth with Godiva-like goodness.

Even with all that malt, the citric hoppiness is unrelenting and is at least as prominent as in a middle-aged Storm King. Strangely enough, I'd prefer to see the hops ratcheted back a few notches in this beer, something that I never thought I'd say.

The mouthfeel is akin to heavily silky melted chocolate and is some kind of chewy, as befits an Imperial stout. Those who don't believe this is a true Imperial stout have different standards than I do. Nearly unnoticed carbonation is a perfect capper on a nearly perfect mouthfeel.

Old Rasputin is a mega hoppy stout, perhaps a tad too hoppy. It's definitely not for the faint of heart or the faint of palate. Proceed only if you enjoy immensely flavorful, luxurious stouts that could fairly constitute a meal in and of themselves. Old Raspy is North Coast's best beer, I do believe.

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

Appearance: Pours out black, with a thick tan head that slowly fades to a thin ring of lace.

Smell: The aroma is a rich, vibrant framework containing scents of licorice, espresso, sweet chocolate, and ripe, vinous fruits.

Taste: Flavors Ahoy! Bitterness and black roasted malts fight for attention. Hints of molasses, toffee, mocha, and spice help to round out the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied; feels heavy on the tongue. Rich, smooth mouthfeel. The ABV provides for a warming, satisfying finish.

Drinkability: Very enjoyable. For anyone who's had this beer before, let me just say: Booyah!

If you haven't had this beer before... Try it: Today!

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark black color, with a thin tan head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: It has a very rich aroma of dark chocolate and roasted malt.

T: The taste is creamy & malty with flavors of roasted coffee, dark chocolate and caramelized malt. For a beer with 9.00% ABV you sure wouldn't know it. The dark chocolate flavor comes out a little more.

M: Very, very smooth, low-to-medium carbonation, medium-to-heavy body, finish is kind of sticky.

D: Very tasty, quite easy-to-drink, not as filling as other beers in the style, this is a beer that can be a sipper or a pounder, even if the ABV creeps up on you. I think this beer is an excellent representation of style and definitely one of the better RIS's that I've had.

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

First had: bottle from Total Wine, Cherry Hill, NJ

A very good stout, along the lines of Guinness' extra. Plus Rasputin is on the bottle. Pours a dark brown-black with a finger of tan head that recedes to a fine layer of lace. Heavy dark malt aroma, chocolate and coffee notes. Roasty taste of dark malts, coffee, dark chocolate, with hints of licorice, tobacco, raisins, and brown sugar. A bite of bitterness and alcohol in the finish. Smooth, strong, and a very tasty drink.

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

Thanks to bm0095 for the bottle.

Good lawd does this look nice. Absolute black as night with a huge cream colored head. Lace was so thick I could not see through the glass. Perfect look for an Imperial Stout,Perfect. Smell started with a hint of chocolate, some coffee, maybe even some dark fruity smells hidden in there, nice overal aroma.

As for the taste, hmmm.Big Flavors right off the bat. Roasted, caramel sweetness, The alcohol can definatly be tasted and this is warm going down, yummy. Coffee undertones as well as the tiniest hint of chocolate, I mean tiny but it is there. Very nicely carbonated, and thick. This is a definate sipper. The abv custs down on what you may be able to drink but not what you think you can! I could really drink this on every cold night. Big beer here folks, very nicely done!

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Photo of Slatetank
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this at Teresa's Next door on Nitro at the Beer Geek brunch, Served chilled in a large snifter

A - Deep black, opaque like a black hole w/ 2 fingers of whipped chocolate mousse for a head.

S- Slight port aroma, deep plum, tobacco, cocoa, vanilla, coffee and caaramel

M - Lots of creaminess in the feel w/ smooth vanilla and spice. Lots of charred malt textures w/ mild sweetness in the finish and mild alcohol accent

T - Bitter cocoa, dark toffee, french pressed french roast coffee, caramel and high amounts of vanilla flavor-earthy bean like elements. A dark brown sugar, molasses and cocoa mix w/ mild caramel, dark plum fruit notes and hints of roasted barley. There is the taste of dark rum as the alchohol is present in the finish, with mild sweetness at around room temp.

D - Well brewed RIS w/ nitro usage I actually enjoyed. I am not normally a fan of the Nitro, but in this stout it is fantastic, Old Rasputin is a top -notch ale any way you cut it.

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Photo of dcmchew
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Damn hotels for not having the proper glassware!
Pitch black pour with more than 2 finger light brown fluffy head. Sticky lace much later on.
Big chocolate and sweet coffee in the smell, roasted malts, alcohol (coffee-liquorish, actually), lower dark fruit.
A fruity flash at the start, with juicy plums and figs, raisin, some orange, quickly pushed away by espresso, dark chocolate, slight caramel and rich, very rich roasted malts. Dark spices, citrus peel, woody notes with some oaky vanilla. Obvious hops in the finish, but the bitterness comes from the burnt roast. So some charcoal notes and burnt coffee expected in the aftertaste.
Smooth sipper, creamy, alcohol is nicely hidden, tho some ethanol is (ok, rarely) felt. Medium carbonation. Just a bit of crispness.
Perfect example in its style, balanced and rich.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I can't believe I've yet to write a few for Ol' Raspy. Here it goes...

A: I poured the bottle into my Cigar City snifter to reveal the beautiful and familiar jet black, viscous liquid that is Old Rasputin. A small mocha colored head sits atop the darkness.

S: Great aromas of chocolate, coffee, a roasted nuttiness, and hints of vanilla. A wonderful combination of sweet and bitter aromas.

T: The taste very much follows the nose, and I'm quite glad it does. Once again, a great balance between sweet coffee and vanilla flavors melds well with bitter coffee and a roasted, bordering on burnt, taste.

M: Now this is a full bodied beer. Very little in the way of carbonation, the way it should be, and this gives the beer that thick, creamy mouthfeel you are looking for in an RIS.

D: I personally find this to be one of the more drinkable beers in the RIS style, but that doesn't make it a beer you're going to drink 6 of. A great beer and I've decided to finally put some away to age, even though I love it fresh.

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Photo of russpowell
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bought a 4 pack today, decided to re-review to see how this compares to the dozens of RIS I've tried since 05:

I stand by original ratings with the following exceptions: Take a appearance down to 4.0 head retention & lacing are good not great. Taste 4.5; depth of flavor isn't quite as good as I remember... & Mouth feel seems much thinner than I recall. Still a benchmark for the style that delivers awesome value for $ taste-wise!!

Pours almost pitch black (when held to intense light goes mahogany to purple) with a whipped up tan bubbly head, Great head retention and insane lacing, a feast for the the dark beer lover's eyes.

Smell: Coffee, chocolate and licorice notes, with alcohol and roasted malts lurking in the background.

Taste: Some fruitiness, then bam! Burnt coffee taste, chocolate, molasses, hops/grainy bitterness &alcohol.

MF: Chunky, silky and just hits the marks.

Great winter-time beer that has been lapped by others in in hoppiness and abv, but not drinkability IMHO

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Photo of Jason
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sample from the brewery

One hell of a cult classic, certainly a kick back and relax beer. I love when winter comes so I can enjoy these beers ot their fullest.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color. The beer has a three finger tall creamy dark tan head that is dense and made up of very large bubbles. The head reduces slowly to a half finger tall, covering the entire surface of the beer with a slightly thicker patch in the center as well as a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate lacing is observed.

S: Fairly strong aromas of dark roasted malts along with lighter notes of chocolate, coffee, and some very light hints of dark fruits.

T: There are strong flavors of dark roasted malts along with some moderate notes of bittersweet chocolate. There is a moderate amount of bitterness in the flavor of this beer along with significant notes of freshly ground coffee bean in the finish.

M: Medium to full bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Creamy with some dryness in the finish. There are light amounts of alcohol warming.

O: This beer is very enjoyable and has really nice complexity in both the smell and the taste. The higher ABV is pretty well hidden in the smell and taste but lightly present in the mouthfeel as the beer warms. It has been a couple of years since I have had this beer but it definitely lived up to my memories. I will happily have this one again.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a GameWorks shaker pint glass.

Thanks to VDubb86 for another shot at this brew!

This bottle served as a coda to our Hallowe'en mini-tasting. It pours a nice onyx topped by a finger of light tan/dark ecru foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, toasted rye bread, pumpernickel, and a light flash of molasses. The taste is nearly identical, though heavier on the roasted malts. The body is a stolid medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a somewhat thick and chewy feel. Overall, a very nice bit o' stout, one that drinks way the hell too easily for its (and my) own good.

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

Served on nitro-tap at Al's of Hampden into a nonic pint.

A - Pours used motor oil black with a thin, almost non-existent, head leaving thin rings of lacing down the glass.

S - Plenty of dark roasted malt blends well with the coffee, chocolate, and a faint hint of dark fruits. Some vanilla and cream sweetness helps keep things balanced as much as possible. Very nice nose.

T - Flavors are very similar to the nose. Rich coffee and cocoa dominate this one with some vanilla sweetness offering a bit of balance. Very rich, dark malted texture in the finish lingers for some time. If anything it was a bit thin, and given the nitro serving I can't see how that can happen..maybe too cold? Either way I have had this before, it is one of my favorites, and I will have it again. Hopefully those will be better than this one...

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderately low carbonation for being on nitro. Not the thick, creamy, stout I was expecting to receive when I ordered it to say the least.

D - Still very high. Even with the carb issues this is still one of my go to stouts. I was more disappointed in the pour than I was in the beer. I will have to re-review this one at a later time...

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had out at a restaurant, no indication of year.

A: Pours a very deep black with a 1.5 finger frothy mocha colored head that remains until I am finished. Decent lacing down the sides.

S: Lots of roasted malt, a little bit of coffee, and some nice cocoa. It is an extremely strong aroma overall, but no hint of alcohol.

T: More coffee comes through on the flavor than on the aroma, and while I typically am not a fan of beers with a lot of coffee flavor, this one I like. Probably because there is a sizable chocolate/cocoa component as well. There is some molasses as well and a little bit of dark fruits, mostly raisins that I can pick out.

M: Has a thick and creamy mouthfeel, really didn't get any indication of alcohol, no heat really at all.

O: A really great beer, a go to in the style for sure, especially at the price. I got this bottle at a place that does a $10 happy hour for a burger and your choice of beers, so I consider that to be an amazing deal.

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Photo of smcolw
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance--The color of dark chocolate; not even opaque. Beige head that quickly goes down.

Smell--Rich chocolate malt aroma; some burnt coffee

Taste--Predominately coffee, some caramel. Excellent hop ending that perfectly balances the powerful malt.

Mouthfeel--Warm oily texture; nice hop bitterness lingering after the swallow.

Drinkability--Very true to the style. While I personally wouldn't repeatedly drink Imperial Stouts all night, this would be a top pick for this style.

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Photo of billab914
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured nearly black with a small tan head that all but disappeared shortly. Not much lacing on the glass. Excellent aroma of caramel, chocolate and roasted malts. Taste has a lot of coffee and bitter chocolate coming through. Nicely carbonated and a nice creamy mouthfeel as well.Excellent RIS, especially for the price and availability. I've purchased this one many times and will continue to do so.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a very dark black color with almost no carbonation. No light at all getting through and a little bit of an off brown colored head that left after about a minute.

s - Smells largely of coffee. Also got a little bit of chocolate and a little bit of alcohol.

t - Has a good, definitely coffee taste. It was actually a lot smoother than I was expecting. Also getting a bit of chocolate in the taste, but not really tasting the alcohol which is nice.

m - Rich and creamy, with very little carbonation. Full bodied and a great feel.

d - Overall I really liked it. It was a lot smoother than I was expecting and considering the high ABV, it goes down real easy. Would definitely buy again.

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

First introduced to this one early on in my beer advocacy, feels good to return to an old friend. Appearance: Pours deep viscous black toned deep purple ruby highlights full tan two finger sized head perfect looking beer, oh so nice with perfect evenly laced foam. Aroma: Deep cocoa, espresso infused, undertones of alcohol infused fruit along with a great bready sweet malt tone this is one awesome imperial stout in my opinion it sets the bar. Taste: Wow complex swirling spiral of flavor alcohol infused fruit, doses of hardcore strong coffee notes, and dark chocolate playing the tie the flavors together predominantly bitter from the dark roasts there are some hops evident in the flavor. Creamy balanced mix of so many flavors works so well, gotta love the Ol' Raspy. Mouthfeel: Full bodied syrupy goodness of massive flavors this is one extraordinary beer, a must try. Drinkability: No questions as to it's placement on the top 50 beer list, this one does it so well remaining amazingly drinkable and flavorful is the key for an Imperial stout not cloying in anyway and you yearn for another one the glass is empty that's what it's all about.

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

On draft at The Nook in Huntsville, AL.

Near black with a thick, beige head that leaves a thick sheet of lacing all over the glass. The aroma is of heavy roast, slightly charred, with subtle chocolates. The flavor is slightly smoky, with chocolate notes. The finish brings an interesting combination of charred roast and hop bitterness. A classic beer and a tasty stout. I will always go back to this brew.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark color that very little light comes through, giving an almost purplish hue. Nose is malty and slightly sweet with a roasted coffee edge. Taste is thick with barely a touch of sweetness. Mouthfeel is thick, but smooth. Even at 9%, it's very drinkable. Another smooth brew by North Coast.

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Photo of stakem
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes taken 6/23/10.

On tap at Als served in a nonic. Appears black in color with a thick creamy tan head that retains very well and sticks in thick patches about the glass. Nose is full of dark grains smelling of coffee and dark chocolate with a blend of hops and dark skinned fruity sweetness. The alcohol becomes a bit more noticeable as it warms. Taste includes a mixture of alcohol, roasty grain and slightly citrusy hop bitterness upfront that blends through a medium creamy smooth body with more flavors of dark grainy sweetness. The roasted grains suggest black coffee, dark chocolate and dark skinned fruits much like the aroma indicated. There is a pleasant lingering bitterness from the darkly roasted grain coupled with the flavor and warmth of alcohol. This is a brew I enjoy regularly from a bottle and on nitro it is even more drinkable and creamy in the feel.

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

On tap at World of Beer in WPB, FL. Served in a snifter.

Appearance - Jet black with a two finger cream colored head. The head slowly recedes to a foam that coats the surface of the beer. What more could you look for in an RIS?

Smell - Dark chocolate and coffee. Some hops come through, as this seems to be an RIS that is hopped to hell. Very nice aroma. Even my wine-drinking sister could smell the coffee in this when she took a whiff.

Taste - Dark chocolate and coffee again up front. Roasty flavors abound throughout the drink. Not a hint of sweetness to it. It finishes with a long hop bitterness. Great flavor, although it is extremely bitter in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Creamy and chewy. Great texture as it goes down. My only complaint is the bitterness in the finish. It's tough to put this away quickly because of it. Not that I'm looking to put it away quickly...

Overall - The bitterness is its only flaw. Otherwise, a fantastic RIS. Amazing that it is this good and this easy to come by.

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Photo of Lare453
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A this beer is dark, opaque with a light brown head. Looks fantastic

S malty, dark bitter chocolate, light booze, coffee

T WOW AMAZING!!! Slightly dry malty beginning, with a drier coffee middle and a bitter chocolate ending.m the aftertaste a lightly boozi, and dark bitter chocolate.

M medium viscosity, drying and a nice carbonation.

O one of my top 5 stouts ever. This beer is amazing and I drink it frequently and recommend it often.

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a riedel snifter

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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 johnnnniee
3.97/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours a solid black with a huge fluffy tan head that sticks around forever. Smells of roasted malt dark fruits chocolate, toffee, and a touch of alcohol. Spicy earthy hop in the aroma as well. Taste is heavy coffee, espresso, chocolate, and dark fruits. Leaves a slight ash and slight alcohol in the finish along with a lingering roasted bitterness. Medium to thick body and finishes a bit dry for my taste. Creamy smooth mouthfeel with light carbonation. This one tastes and smells great, but I found it to be a little light in body. 9% alcohol is well hidden and this is a dangerously drinkable stout.

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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 11,955 ratings.
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