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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 m_hall
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A Fairly gentle poor from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. This beer is inky-black, just as an RIS should be, and topped with a thick tan head. This fell slowly into a nice raft, leaving lots of lacing in its wake

The nose is malty and sweet, chocolate, vanilla, and a slightly bourbon-like alcohol touch. There's also subtle earthy hops in the background. It's not one of those massive noses that knocks you over as soon as the cap comes off the bottle, but it's very nice just the same.

Flavors are bittersweet chocolate right up front, supported by dark-roast coffee and toasted nuts. Peppery flourishes come in near the finish, which is long and dry, with just a touch of subtle hop bitterness. An assertive but very balanced beer.

Mouth-feel is big, rich and smooth (but not syrupy or tongue-coating) with moderate carbonation. There is a very distinct alcohol warmth that lingers nicely. A sipper to be sure.

This is a beer I was very eager to try, with a large cult following. Those accolades are all richly deserved- Russian Imperial Stout is one of my personal favored styles, and I can honestly say I've only had one other that is at this level (Oskar Blues Ten FIDY.) And best of all unlike many in this style this one's available year round. Old Rasputin has become something of a benchmark, and it deserves to be.

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Photo of K-Dog
3.77/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Have drank many stouts over the past month leading up to the hoildays. I have never had this before so I had high expectations for this. Let me just say I'm highly dissapointed. Not much smell to it and thought it was rather bland tasting. Many better options out there like plead the fifth and blackout stout just to name a few. Maybe it's just me but found this to be highly over rated. It's not that it's bad but mediocre for the style.

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Photo of Antc2382
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle
This beer may make you crazy like ol' Rasputin himself. High ABV, clocking in at 9.0. This is a big, boozy beer for us beer lovers.
A: Black. No light. Little tan head which forms a ring around the lip. One of the darkest beers I've tried. S: an earthy, smoky aroma from the roasted malt and coffee tones. I pick up some of that alcohol there as well. T: very dark chocolate of a high quality gives way to strong malt and coffee undertone. F: creamy, very smooth, nice taste left in the palate of coffee. O: a huge flavored, smooth and boozy stout that purest will love to drink slowly to savor

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

Look: blackety black . . . strong and black! you cannot see light coming through the black wonder. this is dark matter in a bottle
Smell: i really cant smell this beer but thats typical since my nose doenst work
Taste: starts creamy dark chocolate and heavy roasted barley, then fades to coffee bitterness and finishes dry. there is a ton of good flavors going on in each sip. however they are all perfectly balanced and there is no hint of an off-note.
Feel: creamy heavy bodied and perfect
Overall: i have been drinking this beer for over 15 years and i have always loved it. it is actually the beer that converted me from Coors to the the craft brew club! i have drank this from bottles and on tap and either way it is an amazing beer. i just decided it is truly perfect! if i could only drink one beer for the rest of my life this is it.

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Photo of HamdenHector
4.19/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: opaque; very dark brown - virtually black; 1 finger dark tan head that receded to a thin cap; very nice lacing;

S: bittersweet chocolate; roasted grain;

T: bittersweet chocolate for a moment, then sweet malt; the chocolate mixes back in at the middle before coffee completely takes over at the finish; mild to moderate bitterness at the end;

M: full bodied; light to moderate creamy carbonation; moderately dry finish; smooth; ABV is well hidden;

O: really good;

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Photo of drmeto
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.25

-pours the darkest of brown with no light coming through and a big,frothy,sand-coloured head
-coffee,mocha,bitter chocolae,grassy,tobacco,nutty,licorice,toasty finish
-medium carbonation (overcarbonated)
-light to medium body
-alcohol noticeable
Damn good Imperial Stout

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Photo of Bonkinishwa
4.46/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

North Coast Brewing Co. - Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. 9% ABV. 12oz bottle poured into snifter.

Look: Non aggressive pour yielded a huge three finger khaki head on a pitch black viscous body. Sticky lacing remains.

Smell: Bitter coffee, dark cocoa, caramel, toffee, and dark malts. Very rich aromas.

Feel: Heavy bodied, with perfect carbonation and creaminess.

Taste: Immediate bitter coffee and dark cocoa, and dark malts. Those remain into the back end, where the caramel and toffee pick up, and all blend into the aftertaste. Some alcohol burn on the back as it warms up.

Overall: I actually had the Rye Barrel Aged version of this before the regular; this holds it's own extremely well compared, since both are different. Very nice blend of flavors and aromas in this that mask its ABV nicely.

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Photo of TheElectricOne
3.99/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip:

Appearance: deep, dark brown bordering on black. Lighter brown highlights on the fringes of the glass, with a really fluffy and lingering head. Lots of lacing.

Aroma: mostly roastiness, not overly complex, but very deep and pronounced. A twinge of coffee/dark chocolate, but the dominant scent is roasted malt.

Taste: ticks all the components you'd expect/desire for an RIS. Begins with sweetness and caramelly flavor, moves into roasted malt and bitter coffee notes, and finishes with some dark chocolate flavor. Flavor is complex and nuanced. Delicious.

Feel: perhaps a tad thin, drinking like a heavy porter instead of a heavy stout. Could just be palate overload from drinking so many BA stouts recently.

Overall: delightful beer, exemplary of the style.

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz, with very hard to read date on bottle (North Coast need to do a better job with the labeling the bottling dates on their bottles), but I believe it is Nov. of 2015. Poured into large wine glass. I tasted this beer side-by-side with a 2015 Sierra Nevada Narwhal.

Look: Pours a very dark brown, with a nice amount of beige colored head (lighter color than the Narwhal) that lasts; nice lacing.

Smell: Dark malts, sugar, a bit of dark fruits, perhaps a twinge of spiciness.

Taste: Not too complex, but plenty of dark malts, some hops, and some sweetness.

Feel: Almost like drinking chocolate milk: medium to heavy mouth-feel, and very creamy.

Overall: This is one of my go-to imperial stouts, and I have been drinking it for at least a couple of years now. I liked Narwhal better in just about every way, but this one is still a solid RIS I would be happy to sip anytime.

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Photo of cipherbreak
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

L - Pours a tint-dark black with an ephemeral tan head. Not much in the way of character.
S - Nuts, roasted coffee, dark chocolate. Not an overly complex taste.
T - Dark roast coffee followed by the sweetness of a 90% cocoa chocolate. 9% abv? No way!
F - Good body for a stout. Frothy. Nicely carbonated. Balanced. I could drink this all night.

O - At 9% abv, this is a strong beer but don't expect your taste buds to let you know. It is very well balanced and true to its style. A stout's stout! Yet, there is nothing that stands out. It looks, meh. It tastes like you would expect a stout to taste. The thing is, with every sip I enjoyed it more and more. Before my glass was empty, I was ready for another one. That 9% though. I have things to do!

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Photo of q33jeff
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

AROMA: Toasted Malt, Chocolate
LOOK: Dark Black, Creamy head with staying power.
TASTE: Deep Toasted Malt….like "6-Toast". Alcohol Spike late, but otherwise well balanced.
FEEL: Low carbonation, but the acidity/sharpness gives the beer some pop.A really Nice Beer.

Collected this bottle earlier in 2012, not sure why it was not rated. Just picked up a four pack.


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Photo of LennyOvies
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

L- Pitch black body with very dark brown tints through the edges. Creamy tan head, dissipates fast leaving a small crown.
S- Cherry, plum, nuts, vanilla and coffee.
T- Very bitter chocolate, earthy hops, toasted malts, some caramel and well hidden booze.
F- Medium, a bit light for a RIS.
O- Amazing beer, could use less bitterness and more body.

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Photo of sandsonik
3.63/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Look - about what you'd expect from an imperial stout - Dark, opaque, small tan head that quickly dissipates to about an eighth inch. Pretty typical for the style.

Smell - roasted coffee, hint of Bakers chocolate or cocoa. Not really getting anything else. (Chocolate reveals itself more on warming)

Taste - way more coffee than chocolate. No alcohol readily evident, so the 9% abv is well hidden. Disappointing, not a lot going on here but on the positive side, nothing really wrong either. Quite drinkable, but don't think I'd seek it out. By the way. Im getting none of the sweetness some reviewers mention. Maybe it's just my batch?

Feel - shockingly thin, didn't expect that

Overall disappointed, and I had high expectations - maybe too high? I'll try it again though, I'm a sucker for Russian Imperial Stouts...and it is pretty smooth, I must say. I just feel like the flavor is lacking. It's not bad .

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Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was poured into a nonic pint glass.
The appearance was a pitch black color with a one finger off white foamy head that dissipated leaving some subtle stringy lacing sliding into the beer.
The smell had some roasty coffee beans strolling into a nice sweet cocoa bean aroma.
The taste was mainly roasty with the sweet wrapping it up and allowing a subtle bitterness to balance. Lingering sweet to roasty aftertaste accompanies the finish nicely.
The mouthfeel was full and roasty to bitter components running over my tongue in a great almost creamy smooth sort of way.
Overall, RIS, hell yeah, it is! Always love comin' back to this.

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Photo of Beers-es
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a 12 oz. bottle, pours black with a 2-finger pillowy tan head that sticks around. Lots of lacing, great looking beer--probably its most attractive attribute. Smell is kind of rudimentary, with mostly roasty coffee then some chocolate and cherry/dark fruit as it warms. Taste is very good, but a little simplistic compared to other RIS beers I've been having lately. Coffee and chocolate dominate, and not a lot else really. Feel is thin-ish and watery, the least attractive aspect of this beer to me. Overall it's a good stout, but not in the same league as many other dense, complex offerings these days.

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Photo of Czarkazm
3.94/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle from 8/20/2013. Pours a dark coca cola color but appears black in the glass. Not completely opaque as some light is able to shine through. The head is thick and tan, dissipating to a thin layer. The aroma has lots of dark caramel, some chocolate, a deep earthiness, almost like wet dirt or wood, hint of dark fruit, and an ashy smoke. Mouth feel is medium-full, soft and creamy; nicely balanced. This one may be past its prime or possibly wasn't cellared at optimal temperature. Very strong earthiness, maybe from stale hops, milk chocolate, light roast, weak coffee, and booze.

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Photo of MizzouBrew
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick opaque black with a one inch tan head, which leaves nice lacing while drinking. Smells faintly of dark fruit. Tastes of bitter chocolate and light coffee. One of the best stouts I've had. Just a little richer and stronger than Founders Porter, but not quite as smooth.

Using the Begnel formula, the Alcohol Score is 12 oz. x 9.0% = 108, or 2.1 Bud Lights.

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Photo of beergoot
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

After all these years, I'm surprised this has escaped a rating by me...

This is an initial rating, but I'll be having another in an other hour or so, and may update my impressions...

Coal-black body; thick, dense, light tan head; excellent head retention. Roasted grains and mild chocolate aroma; traces of vanilla and hints of fruit; almost smokey in character. Grain char flavors; bitter chocolate; black coffee; mild alcohol presence; robust hop bitterness at the finish. Heavy body; smooth and luscious; mix of sweet and dry finish.

I have enjoyed this beer for a couple of decades now and it never fails to disappoint. It exudes depth and richness in many aspects yet retains a balanced and nuanced complexity. It's a dark joy and merits repeat visits.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark with a brown head. Smells of roasted coffee, dark chocolate and dark fruit. Taste is pretty similar, with roasted coffee, chocolate and dark fruit notes. Medium body with moderate carbonation. Slightly creamy mouthfeel. The abv is right on the boundary of tasting it, but the intense RIS flavors overwhelm the palate so that the 9% is undetectable. One of my favorite dark beers, and one that got me hooked on craft stouts.

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Photo of geofort78
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tottaly black beer with a thick tan head. Smell is toasted malt and coffe. Full body. A little sweet at first, followed for toast and coffe. Alcohol present at the end. Persistent aftertaste of coffe. Very nice beer and good drinkability.

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Photo of Erlkoenig
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours a very dark brown, opaque, with a huge foamy khaki head. Head dissipates slowly. Lacing not so sticky. It certainly looks like it tastes.

S: There's quite a bit of toasty espresso in the nose, very much the kind of sharp alcoholic smell I expect from a RIS.

T: Wonderfully bitter espresso and chocolate hit you up front. Hints of caramel and earthy hops linger in the back. Roasted malts permeate the palate. Alcohol is quite present. Hop bitterness in the finish lingers a while.

M: Full-bodied, not too creamy. Alcohol is assertive and warming. Appropriate, I think, for the style.

O: Definitely a great RIS. Deliciously toasty, warming for the coming winter. A fine example of the style.

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Photo of Cbelk1781
4.74/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark rich brown with a nice tan head. From the first sniff you get hints of dark chocolate and malts with a very small hint of coffee. From the front to the back of the pallet an extremely smooth beer with hints of caramel and chocolate. As far as stouts go this is my number one go to it is a little pricey but well worth the money.

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Photo of Spikester
4.26/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark brown opaque with three fingers of tan head that lasts and very nice lace.
Smell is espresso hints of dark chocolate anddark roasted malts.
Taste is deep bitter espresso dark chocolate molasses and some fruity aspect from the hops.
Mouthfeel is full with modest carbonation and long bitter mostly dry finish.
Overall a rich bold beer that drinks rather easily. So take care folks this 9%abv will let you know it!

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Photo of Apellonious
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle (not sure from when) poured into a tulip glass.

A - Pitch black with a three finger frothy tan head that retains well .

S - Chocolate, hints of raspberry/fruit, roasted grains.

T - Follows the nose, with a nutty bitterness and mild smoke added.

M - Creamy, full, with a medium low level of carbonation.

O - A top tier stout, chocolate and bitter with a great feell and finish.

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Photo of BriantheBeerHound
4.71/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: A 60w bulb does not penetrate it. Haven't looked at it under sunlight, but I assume it's pretty dark. Thick and creamy mocha-colored head that sticks to the sides of the glass.
Smell: Big alcohol nose. Coffee, burnt sugar? It's better than it sounds.
Taste: LOTS of things here. Nuts, toffee, brown sugar/caramel, straight cocoa/dark chocolate. These are some toasty malts! Surprisingly, no coffee flavor despite the smell. Not much for hops, and if they are there, I lose them in the bitterness of the cocoa flavor.
Feel: Full-bodied mouthfeel; one of the thicker stouts I've tried. Surprisingly clean finish, but with a lingering bitterness. Much less alcoholic than different styles at similar abv.
Overall: Absolutely superb beer. Complex, bold, and pretty cheap too!

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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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