Old Rasputin | North Coast Brewing Co.

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Old RasputinOld Rasputin
12,421 Ratings
Old RasputinOld Rasputin

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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 12,421 |  Reviews: 3,762
Photo of yankeeheel
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is what I'm talking about. Pours a pitch black with a nice espresso head that sticks around. Lots of lacing. The smell of chocolate, starts wafting as soon as I crack the bottle. In the glass I get a lot of deep dark toasted malt.

The taste is incredible. Big waves of coffee, burnt malt, dark malt, licorice, and fig crash down on my tounge. The alcohol is well hidden and the finish is slightly dry. Just an incredible big, thick, chewy stout. Wish I could afford to drink it all the time.

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Photo of AbePhroman
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Paid $6.49 for a 4-pack of this stuff at a local store. Poured extremely dark and thick. Resembles other Imperial Stouts bu this one has a very disticnt smell and taste. Smelled very nutty, almost reminiscent of some porters I've had. Malts hit the nose right away. Nice sweet taste, the alcohol is present. However the nice coffee taste covers it up nicely. At 8.9%abv it does have a kick, but a four pack of these is great. Sipped them all ice and slow. If you like stouts give this one a shot.

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Photo of JISurfer
4.46/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This was an excellent brew. I am totally in debt to the Vintage Cellar for letting me sample it. It was a very nice super dark brew with a beautiful head. It mad me want to cry. Well, not really, but if I was an unstable person I guess I would have. The smell was like most imperials, but with more substanance. It was really heavy on the malts, which is something I totally dig. This is the perfect cold weather brew.

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Photo of Naerhu
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful blood/red/black
Although not bitter, so much as burnt. Like delicious slightly burnt whole wheat pizza crust. Aroma of licorice and contrastingly rich earth. Defininately maltier than hoppier, but the hops do make themselves known on the finish. Not oily, but slick. Not thick, but voluptous.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.52/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Clear black beer with ruby highlights. Poured with a large head that fell back slowly. Aroma is chocolate, coffee, and hops. Flavor is huge and complex with chocolate, coffee, and hops. Bitterness is well done and lasts into bitter coffee chocolate finish. The body is spot on and drinkability is very good.

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Photo of Gavage
3.92/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured an almost black color with a tan colored thin head that quickly dissappeared leaving a spotty residue. The aroma is full of roasted malts, coffee, and alcohol. The taste followed the smell with a roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate flavor. Bitterness and high alcohol was also noticable. Medium-heavy bodied beer.

The mouthfeel was somewhat dry, smooth, and creamy. The coffee, slight bitterness, and chocolate last on the tongue long into the aftertaste. Alcohol is very noticable in this compared to other imperial stouts, knocking down the drinkability one notch.

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Photo of gueuzeonhigh
3.94/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've got four Russian Imperials in front of me... ahhh!

A.Le Coq 2001
Old Rasputin
Rogue XS
Weyerbacher Old Heathen

Old Rasputin---
Pours with a slight head.
A reddish African Mahogany brown color in my tasting glass.
A meager nose- the dry alcohol is the most notable element followed by the bitter tones of hops surrounded by slight sprinkles of malt.

This beer had wonderful heavy long lasting flavor, but light bodied. The "carbonization" helps produce a tart feel on my palate with a bitter stance of hops then bounded by definite malt notes. If I were blindfolded I'd declare this beer a Russian Imperial Stout.

Long finish that dissipates with its dry alcohol character as the ending cadence. The living finish cleansed my palate and left my taste buds yearning for the next sip.

In my opinion, this is beer third to the A.Lee Coq 2001.
Doesn't have the flavor complexity of the A.Lee Coq 2001 nor the body / and overall mouthfeel.

Regardless a wonderful Imperial stout indeed!

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Photo of oberon
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have to say this is the best imperial stout I have had so far,pours a deep borwn but not quite black with a light almond colored head,aroma is burnt with some rasin notes.The taste is a bombshell very buttery and rum-like with some light earthy tones,love the butteriness of this beer along with the rum flavor.A real complex brew that is pretty easy to drink for the alcohol content,what a real nice beer.

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Photo of bigjohn
3.68/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The thing that struck me most about this beer was the strong presence of the alcohol, both in the taste and in the after effects. This is certainly a complex beer with a strong coffee and chocolate bitterness. The appearance is nearly black, a slight tinge of dark red is visible when held up to the light. The smell is potent and prepares the drinker for the flavor to come. This is definitely a well crafted beer that is full of flavor. However, I marked it down in some areas mainly because of personal tastes. I found it somewhat difficult to drink because of the strong almost burning presence of the alcohol. I have had other high alcohol beers before and not been put off by the alcohol, I am not sure why I was by this one. Overall it is definitely worth a try.

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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 CharlesRiver
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Solid black in color with a 1/2 inch creamy tan head. Served from a 12oz stubby bottle from my cellar (50ish Degrees?)

The smell is chocolate and coffee as well as some of the alcohol coming through. The alcohol kind of hits you right away with this one. It leaves in the middle and then comes back for that warming feeling in the end. The beginning is coffee and chocolate. The middle is where the bitterness comes in. Nice! The ending is more coffee and alcohol than anything to me.

I recently purchased this four pack so I am assuming it is pretty fresh. Doesn't appear to be bottle conditioned but I think that I will cellar the other 3 for awhile. Just to see how they do.

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Photo of Admiraldinty
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black, although not opaque black, but dark, dark ruby when held to light with a huge tan foam that sticks to the glass. Aroma of roasted malts, chocolate and coffee, very sweet. Very rich and full taste. At first there is a bit of hop bitterness, then the malty sweetness, chocolate and coffee. Ends dry with an alcohol finish. Velvety mouthfeel. Wow, this one is for the ages. A great imperial stout and not at all overpowering. This beer can sneak up on you though.

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Photo of Anglewood
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have had this beer on nitro and in the bottle, IMHO it is best out of the tap. It was served in a 12 oz. Pilsner, which in size may be appropriate, but I would prefer a beefy pint glass.

This beer pours well, and ends up with a nice tan head over a black body. Some residual cascade is attractive, and the head hangs around for a little while. A sniff reveals malty chocolate notes with a little coffee. The taste is the same, with some hops and a little crisper than expected. Finish is malty again with a slight alcohol warm. After a couple it will sneak up on you. Overall body is not too heavy, and it has a good mouthfeel.

Among my favorite beers by North Coast, brewed an hours drive from my town back home. A good beer for relaxing, but not one to go all night on. Overall a fine imperial.

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Photo of merlin48
4.23/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow! This stout is a handful. Pours very dark and opaque, with an imposing head that warns of what is to follow. Plenty of lacing.

Aroma is of dark chocolate, molasses, coffee, toffee, and alchohol.

Mouthfull is complicated, smooth and fulfilling. Nice balance of roasted malts, hops, and an essence of prunes that jumps into the mix somehow. Slightly bitter hoppy aftertaste.

I'm new to imperial stouts, but this one is very drinkable. Perfect companion to an open fireplace. Rasputin will leave you with a nice warm feeling, as you might expect from the abv.

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Photo of Darkale
4.17/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is an uneven beer. The aroma is exceptional -- sweet, like the sweetest and creamiest milk chocolate, high in the nose and powdery.

Excellent appearance, too. Thick, typical stout head, cratered and foamy like a root beer float, with excellent lacing.

But, thin and slightly gritty in the mouth. Not thick and chewy enough to be Imperial, I don't think. Taste is burning cocoa and chocolate, sour on the edge, but a wash of sweetness overall.

Not a bad stout, but lacks the fullness and breadth to be an imperial. An excellent stout overall, and many no doubt will overlook the thinness in deference to its amazing sweetness.

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Photo of 86MonteSS
4.62/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

For a beer that isn't opaque (a very dark reddish brown when I held it up to the light), this is superiorly robust. The smell is one of the most enticing I've ever encountered, and the taste follows up with gusto. So many of the imperial stouts I've had have been sweet almost to the point of nausea but nay, Rasputin was a hardier fellow. Poisoned, shot, beaten, and drowned, he lives.

...In a bottle.

Let me tell you something: If I ever wake up and realize I'm a hemophiliac, I'm jumpin' in the ol' Monte Carlo and zooming out to Half Time to buy another bottle of Old Rasputin. Na zdorovia, comrade!

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Photo of SetarconeX
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Visually, this is a beautiful beer. Jet black, with a nice brown head. Looks great. Smells brunt to a crisp. This isn't just any stout, this one's nice and toasty. Not for the faint of heart.

Taste is not too different than the taste would lead you think. The alcohol is perhaps a little more obvious than I'd like it too be, but considering the freakishly high ABV on this one, it's impressive how much it's been minimized.

A good Imperial Stout, though one that goes to your head quickly. Give it a try, if just for the ominous picture on the bottle.

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

One strong brew...but boy, is there something different going on here! The smell was malty with some alcohol hints, but it was a different kind of malt, not only sweet but with a smoothness that I haven't encountered before. Poured a jet black with a nice chunky head that laced nicely. I'm not an expert, but I can sense something complex going on with this brew...sweetness,,,chocolate..coffee...alcohol, but blended so beautifully, it was a rare pleasure.

I'm not a strong brew fan, but the mouthfeel was equally impressive for its strength. True, it's a sipper, but warm and full-bodied. For what it is, very drinkable for the high abv. Everyone should try a bottle, and if you are really brave try two!

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Photo of IrishRedRock
4.14/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one hell of an Imperial, but does not stand up to a few that I've had. I was hoping it would be right up there at the top, but it's not quite.

Pours with zero carbonation, and not as thick as expected. No head retention and has a dark brown body. Held to the light it has a ruby glow to it. Nice chocolatey aroma with notes of sweet candy and hops. Flavor follows in kind. Bitter dark chocolate gives way to a nice roasted malt flavor, followed by a crisp hop finish. Mouthfeel is smooth, but is somewhat spritzy and could be better. A damn fine Imperial, though honestly I expected a little more. Nonetheless, definitely worth seeking out, especially if you love beers of this delightful style.

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Photo of saltydog
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance:Dark, opaque, the head is a dark brown and very retentive. Smell: Malt sweetness, roasted malts, and hops, in a pretty nice balance. Taste: Big roastiness in front, then, hops, then sweetness at the end...which is very odd, as sweetness is usually the first thing you taste. Works great, though! Mouthfeel is rich, thick and creamy, with a little residual dryness from the roasted malts. Obviously not something you would knock back many pints of it, but it still is easy to drink for an imperial stout.

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Photo of grynder33
3.6/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had a beautiful dark color, a coffee chocolate aroma, initialy a smooth velvety feel in the mouth, but the CO2 started coming on strong. The first tastewas complex, fruit chocolate carmel, but then a big bitter alcohol taste started building in the back of my throat and became unpleasant. This is good stuff, but you probaly have to sip it slower than Scotch Whiskey

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Photo of avylover
4.37/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

My 100th Review, and a worthy beer to go with it. My wife "is proud." An american brew that is carried by a local bar that stictly carries only imports. Guess they saw the light on this one.

Pours thick & black with some ruby highlights when held up to the light. Nice frothy tan head that gave the "waterfall" effect upon pouring. Aroma is strong in the malt department. Very sweet, yet there are some hops to calm things down a bit. An alcohol bite clears up the sinuses. This is one beer that's full of taste. Starts off with a deep sweet maltiness, followed by some hop bitterness fighting back, ending with a nice roasted malt aftertaste. There is some fruitiness in there all the while just trying to make things even more interesting. Decent carbonation that gives way to a nice slick mouthfeel, with a quite sticky aftertaste. Very drinkable stout, and dangerous at that. I could drink this all night....and end up with a rough morning. Great Beer...'nuff said

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.46/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thick, oily and black, definite brown head, that is quite meringue like, tops this brew. A sweet roast malt aroma emanates from my glass, followed by a note of coffee. Quite thick, though not overly so. Strong malt presence, definite roast malt character as well. This beer is like chewing on a roast malt kernel, it has the same after taste and everything. Even though thick and malty the roast character lets this beer finish like it is quite dry. There is a bit of oiliness in this beer. The beer is very smooth, yet still carbonated. Almost a cola not to this as it first hits my mouth.

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Photo of HossMcGraw
4.51/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a great Imperial. The head is surprisingly huge. Very dark brown color. Not much aroma detected. The taste is very similar to Storm King, only not as cloying. Dark fruits and roasted malts, with a nice hoppy aftertaste. Drinkability is high. I think I could have about three is one sitting. In summation, better than Storm King, not as good as Willy Shakes.

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Photo of Dantes
4.42/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Package: 12oz. crowned brown bottle, labeled 8.9% ABV; no date information. Black and gold label with a forbidding portrait of a greeting or saluting Rasputin. Russian inscription I can sound out but not translate.

Cost: $5.49 a 4-Pack at Total Wines

Presentation: Imperial Pint glass at ~50º

Appearance: Opaque, but of a slightly lighter brown than the typical imperial stout. More like a bittersweet chocolate than ebony. Copious gunsmoke on opening. Generated a medium-dense one-finger cocoa head, which resolved into a patchy slick.

Smell: This exhibited a deep, rich, roasted malt aroma, with some coffee and chocolate notes. Surprisingly subdued hops.

Taste: Good first impression. A bit sweeter than I expected, with lots of different sensations happening at once: coffee, bittersweet chocolate, nuts, malty sweetness, and just enough hops to keep it interesting but not so as to be intrusive. Much less espresso–like than the Storm King. More like a Sam Smith’s. As it warmed, the more fruity elements came to the fore, with currants, prunes, and some gentle eau-de-vie warmth. Medium finish despite the relatively light body.

Mouthfeel: This was somewhat roughly carbonated and not as thick or creamy as I expected. Certainly doesn’t have the viscosity of an Expedition or Sam Smith’s, but the flavor makes up for a lot. Similar in body to a Storm King, but with better balance.

Drinkability: Very drinkable for an imperial stout. The relatively light body allows for an extra one, and it has a nice balance of flavors (not too hoppy, not too espresso-like). Alcohol is unobtrusive.

Backwash: I have to say that I enjoyed this MUCH more than the Storm King. I found that it had better balance, allowing the perception of many different flavors. It has all of the flavor and is smoother. Perhaps the Storm King is a beer better sampled after aging (I have some from last year for comparison), while this is ready to go now. The lighter body and slight sweetness remind me of Perkuno's Hammer. I’d love to try some of the Millennium Edition, as it is described as being very thick. Unfortunately, I passed on the one bottle of it that I saw. I can imagine how something like this kept Rasputin alive under the ice of the Neva.

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Old Rasputin from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.3 out of 5 with 12,421 ratings