Old Rasputin | North Coast Brewing Co.

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Old RasputinOld Rasputin
12,544 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: 12,544 |  Reviews: 3,792
Photo of BeefyMee
3.33/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looks really good. It's got that classic black body and a head that sprang up out of nowhere to be the perfect size. I was interested by the aroma of this beer. It smells distinctly of cocoa, and I can't stress distinctly enough. I've never had a beer with the same smell. There's also some alcohol in the aroma. The taste was a little disappointing. The chocolatey aspect remained but was masked to some degree by the overt alcohol flavor. It was like some kind of strong chocolate liqueur. Still not a bad beer, it just need to settle down a bit.

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Photo of RasputinsRevenge
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Given my handle on BA, I figured I ought to review this fine beer.

I could not in good conscience give an all 5 rating for the simple fact that *nothing* is perfect and without room for improvement. But to be perfectly honest, I can not find anything wrong with this beer.

This pours a deep brown that under normal light appears black (opaque), held up to light though, you should see a nice reddish-brown tint at the bottom edges in particular.

The head is a somewhat thin layer of dark tan foam made up of larger sized bubbles (as opposed to say a tightly packed head of a Guinness Draught, for example). In the glass in front of me, the head eventually settles to a small desert island in the middle of a black sea - with a thin ring around the edge of the glass.

I have a hard time describing tastes and smells, but I'll try my best here. The aroma is a pleasant fruity, sweet smell, and I'm pretty sure I smell chocolate or even coffee in there too. The taste is about the same as the aroma, only with the taste of alcohol in there. But for a higher alcohol content beer, I'm still surprised as to how subtle it is. I have to agree with the last reviewer on the aftertaste, it has a bitterness to it that is not unlike coffee - so if you enjoy a cup of joe every so often, as I do, I would think you might enjoy this.

The mouthfeel is fairly unique - it's a sharp feeling, but it's not a bad or burning sensation. I would think it might have something to do with carbonation, but there is a relatively small head, so I'm honestly not sure on this one...

As for drinkability, this is a beer with a lot of flavor and body, so as long as I drink it slowly and deliberately, it's very drinkable.

Anyways, if you are a fan of darker beers, stouts, porters, etc, I would say poney up the cash and buy a 4-pack of this, you will not regret it. If you are not much into the style, I would say this is the king of (relatively) available Imperial Stouts (well, in my opinion, perhaps it shares that title with Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout), so why not sample the best of the style?

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

Based on the ruby fringes (visible only with the lamp turned up to max), this seems to be a clear beer. That being said, this one is black enough to appear opaque. Topped off with a finger's worth of chocolate milk-like froth that reduces quickly to a thin but persistent and clingy layer of bronzy beige. Despite the ominous darkness, the smell is remarkably complex and pleasant. Roasted notes are lighter than expected and complemented very nicely by the scent of milk chocolate. Some bitterness up front followed by a creamy mouthfeel that succumbs again to the bitterness. A blast of alcohol warmth shows up and fades very slowly. As mentioned above, the mouthfeel is creamy, but it also maintains an astringency rather than the clingy fullness one might expect or desire from a potent stout. Roasted grains and chocolate are there as well, but again are balanced nicely by the assertive hops. This is more complex than I anticipated and is a nice change of pace among stouts.

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Photo of Zorro
4.63/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a super black brew, a 500-watt bulb shows that this is clear with reddish highlights. If you have a 500 watt bulb or a Laser.

Smells sweet and malty, lots of flowery perfume too. I also smell chocolate, coffee and fruit.

Nice tastes of chocolate, and coffee. Sweeter flavors too like prunes, Nice but not quite what the Samuel Smith's version is.

Mouthfeel is very good.

Drinkable for what it is, a Beer H-bomb.

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Photo of MobBarley
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This stunningly black beer pours with a slick thickness. A nice creamy tan head billows up but flees before I can really take it in. Moderate lacing in the glass. Aroma is all roasted malts and a slight alcholic tang. Notes of licorice and chicory are fleeting but round out the smell nicely. Taste is sublime, especially at cellar temperature. A bitter roastiness makes a quick entrance and sticks to the mouth throughout. There are interesting notes of strong, real maple syrup, horehound and something almost camphoracious. The finish is sweet and smooooth. A lovely hop bitterness with some mineral notes lingers. Mouthfeel is akin to cooled-down hot chocolate. Certainly not refreshing, but one hell of a smooth Imperial stout. A true "meal-in-a-bottle" beer. Drinkability is fantastic one one hand, because of the unique flavors and smooth feel. Conversely, the high ABV makes it a serious sipping beer, which is detrimental in my opinion. This is an altogether stupendous beer, and I am not just saying that because it was brewed in my hometown!

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

12 oz bottle at cellar temp. Caramel , toasted malt and burnt fruit nose. Black, w/ a dark tan head. Tiny bubble head leaves a bit of lacing. Balance/complexity easy to tell this is a finely crafted creation. Heavy body, coating mouthfeel, a fine winter brew.

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Photo of rabidawg
4.31/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Absolutely opaque black. Two-finger head that settled to one finger and stayed that way. Sheets of lacing. An absolutely gorgeous brew.

Smell: Initial alcohol, followed by a roasty, yet sweet, maltiness. A hint of chocolate and significant charred coffee notes.

Taste: Creamy mouthfeel, and loads of burnt, roasted malt. Sharp alcohol bite, with a burst of coffee flavors after the swallow. Very dry in the finish, with a slightly green hop flavor lingering in the end.

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Photo of Crosling
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have a pretty rich history with Old Rasputin. He first appeared in my life when I was 15 years old and tasted him at a little adult get together. I hated it but kept the bottle for my bottle collection with a big fat 0 out 10 on the back of the bottle. Yes I rated it back then. Recently, I have had quite a bit of Mr. Rasputin.

So right now it is about 25 degrees out. It has snowed about 6 inches today. I just got home from school and it took me about 45 minutes longer than it should have (snow) and I could hear Old Rasputin singing in my fridge even when I was driving home. He was speaking to me and we were communicating. We understand each other and love each other.

He poured pitch black with a large light brown head that stood very tall and proud. Within minutes, his the head faded but left a beautiful lace of where the head once stood. I love when beers do that and Old Rasputin knows I do.

Roasted coffee, bitter chocolate, crushed nuts topped with hard caramel, vanilla and lots of roasted malts in the nose.

Wow, Old Rasputin you taste great! Very well balanced and well hopped. Nice hop bitterness towards the finish and an onslaught of flavor just coats my entire mouth. This is the type of beer that will linger in my mouth for hours upon hours. Black licorice, roasted coffee, bitter chocolate, salt and more roasted malts were the dominant flavors. My only issue with Mr. Rasputin is that he seems a little thin in the mouth but he makes up for it in other ways. It's okay.

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Photo of CortexBomb
4.48/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Old Rasputin pours a lovely jet black with a fair amount of head that likes to stick around for awhile. Smell is dominated by chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate.

Taste is what I pour it into my glass for though, and this features a balanced pile of roast, coffee, and plenty of that chocolate too. For such a high alcohol beer this drinks very smoothly as well, though the mouthfeel isn't quite top of the imperials, but still plenty of coating to go around.

Overall a wickedly tasty stout that goes down surprisingly smooth, and a regular in my fridge.

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

I've been waiting a long time to try this mystical Russian...

Poured a very, very dark brown with glints of ruby where light penetrated. Big aroma, with notes of bourbon, toffee, and about a hundred other things mixing beautifully. Rich, deep taste, where the warmth of alcohol sits atop an earthy blend of coffee, dark chocolate, subtle fruit sweetness, and a nice, bitter edge of hops.

Exceptionally compex and wonderfully warm. This is a very good beer.

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Photo of filabrazilia
3.85/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a "midnight without a moon" black with a gorgeous brown head that settles into excellent lacing. A very nice looking beer.

I am struck by how much chocolate exists in the nose. This is like opening a box of fine imported chocolates and allowing the smells to embrace you as you anticipate the first taste. Toffe and carmel are present as well.

The taste, unfortunately does not match the aroma and is nowhere near as complex or as smooth as I anticipated. It is a tad bitter--I suppose from the roasted malts. There were some pronounced alcohol flavors as well. While not bad, I'm a little disappointed with it.

This is a medium bodied beer that is mildly carbonated and pleasant on the palate.

This is not nearly as drinkable as I'd like it to be. I think I will let the remaining beers age for a while before I try it again. The taste just didn't quite match the smell or the appearance. Hopefully time will give it some more character.

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Photo of CBFanWish
4.57/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grigory Rasputin's ability to control Nicholas II while he was sleeping with his wife, made him one of mankinds darkest and most mysterious men in history.
Like its namesake, Old Rasputin is truely dark and mysterious. As black as the heart of rasputin, himself. Atop was a thick, frothy dark tan head.
A wonderful aroma, sweet with the slightest bitterness, of dark chocolate and rich coffee fills the air.
Upon tasting, I am brought back to my childhood, biting into a chunk of chocolate, yet it is mixed with the more mature flavours of mocha and roasted coffee beans. Smooth and robust. Also has a prune finish.
This is not a beer for the timid. It's strong, rich flavours can be overpowering, but wonderful at the same time. I would recomend this as a dessert beer. It would be perfectly paired with chocolate cake, cheesecake, molasses cookies or ginger snaps.
One problem. I decided to review this as a porter other than a stout because it has qualities found in porters rather than stouts. I think it should be classified as an Imperial Porter.

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Photo of JamesBerry
2.88/5  rDev -33%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

This one has a black cola-like coloring with a brownish/orange head. Immediately after opening the bottle, a strong chocolate smell emerges. The taste is intensely bitter, like baker's chocolate, but with noticeable amounts of alcoholic tone. Old Rasputin has a tannic mouthfeel, like sucking a teabag or coffee grounds. Not as creamy or as say, a porter or (non-Imperial) stout, but admittedly, the taste mellows out significantly after the first half. Not exactly what I'd call a session beer. This is more of an experience than just any beer.

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

pours jet black, black as black can get with a nice toffe colored head. aromas of toasted malt, coffee, alcohol, raisins...everything an imperial should smell like. intense but inviting. first sip? oh man...roasted flavors run wild. this thing is complex! nice big alcohol slap, dark fruits, coffee coffee coffee, toffee and caramel, finishes with a nice puckering twang. damn, this is packed with flavor and character. very warming, you can feel this this beast in the chest. silky smooth in the mouth, yet you get the carbonation sting in the back of the throat. goes down like a friggin champ. for an imperial that weighs in at a whopping 8.9% this drinks like a dream. all i can do is throw the horns in the air and give it an "at the gates" tribute and hope the beer gods are satisfied. fackin glorious beer.

paid $5.99 for a 4 pack.

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Photo of smcolw
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
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 Foxman
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It pours a deep, dank, rich brown, almost, but not quite, black. There are opulent deep ruby highlights at the edges and udner the head. Speaking of head, it's quick and light brown, mottled in texture, and it soon fades to cirrus wisps of frothy vellum. There's spotty, rapidly dwindling lacing.

The aroma powers foward with dense, raw espresso currents, dark, bitter, and almost burnt. There is a deep roasted grain sweetness right behind. A dark chocolate essence pokes its head through intermittently. There are dusky earth tones at the finish, along with a poignant hops bitterness.

The tidal wave of dense flavor begins with an intense roasted and burnt maltiness backed by a black coffee bitterness. The malt delivers a fleeting but memorable earthen sweetness quickly upstaged by a second surge of bitterness, this time from the hops. There's a very distant, almost obscured, port character accompanied by the mouth-and-throat-warming glow of alcohol. Chocolate slips through late, giving way to an almost tongue-numbing dry hops bitterness that lingers just long enough to make its mark. Quite simply, the overall flavor is not especially complex, but it packs some serious testosterone.

It's thick bodied, oily and syrupy, not only coating, but providing a tangibly chewy texture on the palate. Roasted grain and hops bitterness charge the tongue and back of mouth with an almost electric tingle.

This is something the Russians obviously must not do half-assed, if this domestic offering is any gauge. This is thick, dark, full-bore flavor, never dancing, but rather plowing straight foward. The muli-layered bitterness is capably offset by a lesser but poignant underlying sweetness. The dense balance makes a grand impression, and despite the hefty ABV, more than one is virtually a certainty. I may not be a czar, but this down-to-earth elixir is welcome in my dacha anytime!

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Photo of Hagbard
3.93/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Rasputin is famed for the difficulty his executioners faced when trying to kill him. He escaped death when being fed poisoned bread and reportedly, a point-blank gunshot wound; finally succumbing when drowned in the icy waters of Russia. Luckily for me, my bottle of Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout wasn't so hard to kill. (sorry for the horrible setup)

This beer poured black with a thin tan head that disappeared disappointingly quickly. Perhaps the glass wasn't pristine, who knows. When held up, light penetrated on each side and the top and bottom of the pint glass to form beautiful pockets of amber amidst the darkness. I'd have easily given appearance a 5.0 except for the thin, disappearing head.

It smells of roasted, burnt malt and chocolate espresso. It has a very powerful aroma...one of the strongest I've seen (or smelled). As the beer hits your toungue, you're assaulted by a malt presence. A very interesting burnt character moves in and settles in next to the malt. The chocolate espresso moves in towards the end. As you swallow, the alcohol makes itself known as it warms your belly. You are left with a nice malty aftertaste that has a touch of metallic in it. I could do without the metallic taste, but it's a minor quibble and by no means dominates. Though the alcohol does make itself known, as it should in an Imperial, it is still well hidden among the sweet malt and espresso. The mouthfeel seems a bit on the light side for the style, but the carbonation level was perfect.

I thoroughly enjoyed this offerering and I'm glad I bought 2. It lacks a little of the complexity of the Storm King, but it's a damn fine beer that can help warm you on frigid winter nights. It is easy to imagine yourself drinking a few of these in the royal Russian court listening to Rasputin spin tales.

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Photo of frank4sail
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers to boilermaker88 for the sample.

Rich roasty slightly metalic and sweet cocoa in the smell. Dark black opeque look medium sticky tan head. Quite a lively mouth and tongue.. also the brew is much lighter on the mouth than it looks. Initial black malt taste gives way to a a dry cocoa powder and expresso finish. A slight touch of metalic tin and sweetness is left on the tip of the tongue as well. Quite a roasty treat, it is a great night cap beer.

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

A friend gave me a bottle of this as part of a Christmas gift, and boy am I glad. I had high hopes for this Imperial Stout based on what I've read about it and the fact that Imperial Stout is my favorite style of beer. I was not disappointed.

The appearance was great, dark brownish black. Very small tan head that dissipated quickly leaving a nice bit of lacing. It smelled of burnt coffee, toffee, chocolate and burnt molasses with a slight bit of alcohol in the background. The taste matched the notes of the smell. Very burnt coffee and chocolate/molasas. I also detected a weird soy sauce taste?!? Hard to explain but something reminded me of it, perhaps the molasses. There was also a bit of alcohol in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel was excellent, smooth, creamy, hearty. I'd like to drink this after a long day outside in the cold. The drinkability was excellent. I could drink a few of these. The only thing slowing me down is the high abv, but if you're at home and staying in, I guess it's no problem.

All in all this was an excellent example of an Imperial Stout. I would defiantly try it again, hopefully on tap.

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

I had this on-tap this evening and it was just great!! It came with a nice thick light-brown head that died down slowly leaving a small creamy head for the entire glass. It smelled of coffee, chocolate and a little alcohol. It tastes smooth and is inline with it's smell. There was some bitterness that really stuck to the tongue and throat. It felt creamy and smooth in the mouth with a small bite of alcohol in the throat. I could drink a few of these at my local pub. I doubt if this will be on tap again very soon in my future. I will have to try the bottled version to find out if it as good.

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Photo of Dmann
4.95/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This has to be the most easy to drink Imperial Stout I've ever had. It poured an almost opaque black with a awesome brown head that was so big I had to wait a few minutes for it to die down. The smell was of dark chocolate and hops. The taste was just about the same as the smell, with a perfect mix of coffee flavors in there. The thing I loved about this brew is that it was powerful but not overpowering. I could sit back and enjoy the whole 4 pack in one sitting, even though they are 8.9% a piece! Great beer!

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

Poured a nice deep smooth black with about an inch worth of head that dissipated slowly while drinking it. Sweet aroma with chocolate and candy like notes, possibly molasses.(?) Taste was very nice the choolate was accompanied by coffee and a roasted fruit I can't quite nail down. Barley carbonated, it's finish was smooth as glass, very good. Not the best but it's up there!

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Photo of GreatPondBrewer
3.56/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aged a year, served at just above cellar temp.

Poured a wonderful dark opaque brown with a tan head that had patchy lace all over the sides of my brand new 3 phils chalice. Smell was very sweet with huge molassas and brown sugar and some figish ester notes. Smelled similar to the brooklyn black chocolate. The taste was very dry and chalky with a slight metallic twang and bitter chocolate notes. There was little hops present, which surprised me coming from a west coast creation. Aftertaste left a sweet, dry red wine effect and a distinct roasted grain taste. Very minimal carbonation with small bubbles here and there. I would like to try a vertical to see how well this holds up. Not a bad Imperial, but I have had much better.

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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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Old Rasputin from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.3 out of 5 with 12,544 ratings