Old Rasputin | North Coast Brewing Co.

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Old RasputinOld Rasputin
12,551 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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Ratings: 12,551 |  Reviews: 3,796
Photo of whartontallboy
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep black with a tight tan head that holds well. Smell is alcohol, roasted malt, chocolate, and a bit of espresso. Flavor is very nice. The alcohol comes through, but so do the big roasted malts, and the aftertaste is full of chocolaty goodness. There's a hint of citrus rind on the tongue that rounds things out nicely. And again, each sip finishes with a big chocolate burst. Medium mouthfeel complements these flavors very nicely. Surprisingly drinkable for a stout its size; I think I really dig this one!

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

Pours a near black with a dark tan rocky head that leaves sheets of lacing down the glass. The lace is thick and vinuous and slowly creeps down the glass. Quite nice.

The smell is of alcohol and fruit.

Flavor is of heavily roasted malts and apples. Alcohol plays into this beer rather well, and the hop bitterness brings it all together. For an imperial stout I think this one may be a bit sweet. Still quite good, mind you.

Near syrupy mouthfeel with large bubbles, big beer for sure. Pleasing to drink, and for a 9% beer it wasn't too much effort to finish a bottle.

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

Appearance is deep, dark brown to black and opaque. Definitely one of the darkest beers ever. Head is creamy and tight and colored a chocolately-beige. Smell is cedary, burnt ash, espresso, and olives. On palate, notes of bubblegum, bitter, dark chocolate, smoky/peaty, bitter, tangy and sweet. Finish is bitter, and fruity. Mouthfeel on this one is thick, viscous, syrupy. Impressive.

This is a big beer. Packed with character (and alcohol), it's not for the faint of heart. A first-rate sipping beer.

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Photo of ypsifly
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black like a Spinal Tap album cover with a head that is more tan than expected. The head dissapears rather quickly and leaves thin lacing.

Hearty aromas of roasted malt and dark chocolates with some hop in the end. Very nice.

Tastes much like it smells with the hops being more pronounced in the finish. I know the alcohol is in there, but I can't taste it.

Has a very balanced, almost velvety mouthfeel. More, but not too much, carbonation than most examples of this style. Adds a nice touch that shows attention to detail on the part of the brewer.

Drinkable? Oh yeah!

I'm really impressed by what I have seen from this brewery. Rasputin was one of the more interesting characters in Russian history. Its very fitting that someone would chose to name a brew with such character after him.

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

12 FL. OZ.
ALC./VOL. 9%

Appearance – almost flat black; nice tan head that dissipates to a thin line but is firm enough to run some light lace

Smell – roasted malts, caramel, black coffee, some black licorice and a cut of rye

Taste – roasted malts, semi-sweet chocolate and a tinge of alcohol but it hangs in the back; bitterness and roasted flavors along with the light alcohol run through the end

Mouthfeel – full; silky smooth; light wisp of carbonation; very satisfying; not too thick or too dry; this is on the mark

Drinkability – the smoothness and beautiful finish create a fabulous Russian Imperial Stout experience

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Photo of medic25
4.23/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally found this beer in New York; tough to find in CT....
Pours a pitch black, with a slight brown head that quickly dissipates.
Delicious, roasted malt flavor. Little hint of hops; for the high alcohol volume it really isn't an overwhelming part of the flavor. Picked up a taste of raisins too. Nice smooth mouthfeel, and not a huge aftertaste. This is a beer I could see drinking all night. This was my first experience with a Russian imperial; big difference from the Irish stouts I'm used to, but definitely a beer I'd drink again.

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

Wish the bottle had a bottled date. It's the same as the one pictured on BA, but the words "Old Rasputin" are in black and not gold. It was also just delevered to the beer store that day, not sure how much that goes towards quality control, but at least it was not on a shelf for the past 9 months. The beer poured into the glass a midnight black in color. Light was not even making it around the edges of the beer. A finger-width head formed on top of the beer, then dissipated to ring the glass. Stringy lace would form in small amounts around the glass as well. The aroma is of malts and burnt toffee. Also, just a touch of smoke. The taste is chocolate, old coffee, and malt. Hops come through in the aftertaste. Alcohol is just slightly present in the mouthfeel, but not in such a bad way. The only problem I foresee with drinking this beer is that it is kind of overwhelming and you will lose your taste buds after too long.

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Photo of rowew
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz short bottle with a drawing of Rasputin surrounded by some Russian text. No freshness (vintage?) info.

Appearance: No light getting through here - completely black, with a dark tan colored head. Fades relatively quickly to leave a thin lace.

Smell: Aroma of cocoa and coffee with a slight nuttiness.

Taste: Mmm .. yummy. Lots of roasted flavor. Smooth and drinkable despite the high ABV. Great mouthfeel - slightly thick but not overly so - low carbobnation level that works great. Some great hop flavor manages to sneak in - must have been lots in there to make it over the great malty flavors.

Overall impression: Wow .. very nice stout. This is highly drinkable for the style - great for a winter night. This would also make a fantastic companion to a nice strong cigar .. in fact, time to crack another and light up!

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Photo of necoadam
4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Oh yeah!

Poured out a nice solid black color with a tan head.

Smell consisted of lots and lots of coffee/espresso aromas. Roasted malts also come through. A hint of earth can be found in the background.

Taste was good. Big roasted malt flavors ride through the beginning and almost into the aftertaste. Some hops thrown in to balance it out. Big flavors in this one. The coffee comes through underlying the malts in the middle. Quite nice.

Mouthfeel was medium to full bodied. Carbonation was on the light side to make the flavors show up.

A nice evening sipper for sure. Didn't except to see the flavors to show so much muscle. A nice surprise.

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Photo of dauss
4.01/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 fl.oz. brown bottle. Picture of Rasputin on the label, with Russian words. No freshness date or stamp. Says it is 9% ABV, even though on North Coast's website it says its 8.9%.

Appearance: Pitch black. Small and thick tan head. Good retention with a lot of lace.

Nose: First whiff and it is full of alcohol, almost burns the nose. Chocolate and burnt and acrid roasted malt smell. Probably has a lot of Black Patent.

Taste: Starts with sweet maltiness. Upfront alcohol bitterness. Very roasty, tons of chocolate and some coffee. Light bitterness throughout, and sweet finish.

Notes: Tasty, a little solventy alcohol flavors, definitely needs some cellaring.

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

An exceptional imperial stout. Pours almost like a viscous expresso with very little head out of the bottle. Smell is overwhelmingly 'chocolate' like with a slight coffee aroma. My first impression when sipping it is hops and lots of hops. I prefer my imperial stouts with a strong hop backbone to support the loads of roasted malts otherwise the alcohol presence is overwhelming and they tend to be on the 'sweet side'. In this case there is a great balance and the alcohol isn't as noticeable. Overall is very similar to Storm King Stout by Victory Brewing. I highly recommend this beer to any imperial stout fan.

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Photo of walleye
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

from the bottle. poured black with a nice brown head. aroma caramel, bitter sweet chocolate, malts, plums, raisins, and other dark fruits, with hints of alcohol. coffee. flavor a nice bitter sweet chocolate, caramels, malt, a nice bitter dryness to this sure glad I picked up a 4 pack.

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

This was my " chaser " after a draft of the mad elf. Pretty wonderful, potent stout. Not for the faint of heart. Excellent notes of coffee, chocalate, and licorace in both aroma and taste. good balance. Very dry on the palate encourages slower, more reflective consumption. I will have this again to drive the cold winter chill away.
To BAs, as I drank this, I wondered about how it would mix with the Mad Elf? I think pretty good. I will also have this again with a nice spirit accompaniment. Any suggestions?

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

An unexpected gift to get to try this one in North Carolina! Smuggled in by my buddy Jim.

Poured in inky black with a creamy tan head.

Aroma makes this beer -- a huge chocolate hits you right off the bat. Slight fruitiness; malt (comes through with caramel and vanilla); and the hops are present.

Flavor is coffee-like with an alcohol presence. Malt also creates a tasty brew.

Aftertaste is hop bitterness with coffee beans.

An enjoyable sipping beer for this time of year.

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Photo of LarryKemp
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The esters, raisons?, prunes? whatever, grabbed me as soon as I popped the cap. What a nice, strong, complex aroma But the chocolate in the background will finally come forward. Makes for a very complex nose.

THe beer poured a jet black with a firm tan head that lasted a very long time. Just after I poured the beer, I was distracted for nearly 10 minutes and there still is a solid layer of foam resting atop the liquid.

The malts really kick in on the taste buds. Great chocolate and roasted intermingled. Really rich and VERY intense. Particularly when the bitterness wrestles with the sweet. I can barely make out hints of the esters on the tongue. They add a little variety

Very full bodied with a high viscosity. The bitterness tingles the roof of my mouth. The alcohol does not make itself known. All 9% is hiding somewhere I am sure but the other elements are so strong and interesting, the alcohol does not have room to shine.

I would recommend this beer. It is true to style and never is overbearing. Each sip showcases a different aspect of this fine beer.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
3.95/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a deep ruby red beer with a one finger tan head... about what I expected in appearance, although for a Russian Imperial Stout I thought it might be a tad darker.

The aroma was somewhat sweet, with prominent dark raisins, and hints of dark malt. I expected more roasted character... but what I got was good, in its own way.

The taste... DEFINITE Imperial stout. Very strong roasted malt, with a not-quite-coffee aftertaste. Good stuff.

VERY good mouthfeel... nice and full and chewy. had to take off a bit for drinkability though, it was just too strong. I don't know if I would want a second one.

But it sure didn't taste like it had an ABV that high.

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

on tap at the chapter house.

poured through the nitro tap with the ususal dense thick creamy head that is coffee colored and sits on top of a dark dark body with some ruby hints to it. coffee like aroma, esspresso with some alcohol. thick mouthfeel smooth and creamy with some chocolatly notes and leaves you with a dry aftertaste and a nice alcoholic warmth.

absolutly wonderful and even more so since I got this for free!!

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Photo of tweeder263
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a nice black brew with a 2 finger tan head,head recedes pretty quickly.Looks pretty well carbonated.Taste,,very hoppy up front and nice hints of coffee come into play and round it out.Slightly bitter linger detracts a little from the taste. Nice alcohol warming feeling.Very good Imp stout, would definitely have again.

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Photo of BDTyre
4.87/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a purplish tinge. Nice thin brown head. Smells...perfumey but not sweet or overwhelming. Very pleasant smell.

Tastes like a very powerful stout. A bitter undertone, but this does not detract from the taste. Roasted malts with a bitter-sweet aftertaste. This is thick, but smooth and easy drinking. In my opinion, the only detractor of this beer is its limited availability.

I very much enjoy this stout; although it is my first imperial stout, it is one of the better beers I have tasted and I would eagerly order a case of it.

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Photo of Citadel82
4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


Pours black as the night along the Volga where the evil monk was done in...

Thick long lasting tan head left a solid sheath of tan lacing in its wake...

Smell of malt and damp earth in the nose with faint floral backdrop.

Tastes of carmel malt and toffee, then black espresso with chocolate and hardwood charcoal notes.

This is a wonderful complex brew and well woorth seeking out for a taste. After pouring it has minimal carbonation but a thick substantial feel to it.

Very drinkable.

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Photo of brentk56
4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearnace: Tar black with a bit of ruby peeking through when put in front of a light source; a modest head that webs the glass with lacing

Smell: Roasted malt, chocolate and espresso

Taste: The flavor explodes in your mouth - at first you get the coffee and chocolate and then, after the swallow, the bitter hops kick in along with the alcohol; after the warmth and the bitterness fades, the chocolate tones linger and comfort

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A lovely, warming stout for the cold weather months; a big beer and not for the faint-hearted

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.85/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Barley's Smokehouse. As much as I hate drinking a non-Barley's beer at Barley's, no way am I going to pass this up. Served in a snifter. Pours black as night with a dense beige head. Thin and quick lacing. Great roasty aroma with malt, and robust coffee. Rich body with a great balance of sweet malt and caramel, along with coffee and sneaky hops that poke through periodically. The alcohol is well-hidden too but you can tell it is there. The finish is long and lightly bitter coffee and chocolate. An excellent Imperial Stout that is exemplary of the style.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.87/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12/09/04- On tap at the Englander in San Leandro, CA

Appearance- Pours a dark tanish-black opaque color. Great head and good lacing.

Smell- Ahhhh, lots of chocolate and lots of coffee mixed together. Both roasted to perfection.

Taste- Frickin awesome! This compares almost equally to Stone Imperial Stout IMO. I had Stone two weeks ago and needed to give this one another try to compare. Tons of chocolate and coffee swirling around in harmony. Roasted malt thrown in for good measure.

Mouthfeel- On tap this is phenomonal. Carbonation level is near perfect and after it warms up it's even more tasty. Fairly thick, but goes down like a fat guy on a waterslide. (fast) :)

Drinkability- The only drawback is that you can feel this one after you finish it. You can still have another, but two is almost too much. Always will be one of my favorites.

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Photo of wailingwench
3.53/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Eye Candy: Jet black with garnett edges.Creamy tan 1 finger head. Thick and dark.

The Nose Knows: Dark bitter expresso mixed with bitter chocolate. Dark fruit finish. Slight aromatic alcohol.

Tongueland: Slight black licorice that gives way to bitter chocolate mixed with burnt dark fruit and oily hop finish. Nothing underlying, begging to come out. Thinner than expected and too fizzy. Lacks thick and chewy stout character.

Bender Factor: Not as I expected. This has had some rave reviews.Perhaps cellaring would improve this.

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

Appearence: Pours a deep black with a little tan head. Head dissaptes down to a tiny ring, and leaves spotty lacing.

Smell: Smells very strong of chocolate and coffee malts, with an almost sweet, fruity back. The nose is very complex, and very intriguing.

Taste and Mouthfeel: At first it's balls out Russian Imperial Stout, with no holds barred. Strong coffee barrage the taste buds. Slowly a tiny hint of hop bitterness comes through, with an almost fruity and sweet flavor. The finish is mostly hoppy, with a nice lingering aftertaste. In the mouth the beer is just right. Thick and creamy, without sacrificing any amount of flavor. Superb.

Drinkability and Overall: This is definitly a classic beer. Full of flavor and complexity without being too overboard like most Russian Imps. A nice, well-balanced flavor makes this is drinkable beer, expect for the fact that it's 9% ABV. Overall, try it. You'll love it.

Thank you bashiba for this lovely brewski.

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Old Rasputin from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.3 out of 5 with 12,551 ratings