Old Rasputin | North Coast Brewing Co.

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Old RasputinOld Rasputin
12,616 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: 12,616 |  Reviews: 3,818
Photo of HochFliegen
4.62/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Now this is my kind of beer. When I poured it reminded me of a syrup it looked so dark and thick. I was hoping it tasted as good as it looked. It was black! It carried a nice brown head that just hung around the top of the beer. So far so good.
The smell was quite potent. It had a hint of alchol in the nose but was was mixed really well with the chocolate and rasin like smell. It had a slight tart smell as well.
This beer packs a punch in the flavor. I have to start with the ending since it is so much of the flavor in my opinion. It lingers for awhile with a tart/bitter sweetness that I enjoyed. The start is felt right away as soon as it hit my tounge. I could taste hints of chocolate and almost grapefruit/citrus like tones in there mixed with a nice malt flavor.
This is one of my new favorite beers.

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Photo of karengarys
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I bought this because it was listed in BA's top 100. I'm not a stout person, but I was out to try anything, and this was available.


It pours black, a nice and clear. No head in the pour, but a 1/4" brown top emerges from nowhere. It is quite appealing! The head doesn't stay around, and there is no real lacing. A slight foam ring hangs around for a while.

Smell - I notice a lot of chocolate. Some coffee.

Mouthfeel is rich, but slightly creamy and alcoholey at the end.

Taste is quite thick. A syrupy chocolate sits on the tongue, and resolves into a slightly sweet and buttery finish. There is a strong alcohol overtone in the finish. There is very little unpleasant aftertaste.

This is an interesting mix. Stout like with a huge alcohol overtone in the finish. Lots of chocolate. Some coffee. If you are into any of these aspects of a beer, you MUST try this. If you are NOT, but like to experiment, do give this a try anyway - it is worth experiencing even if it isn't your style.

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

Got this one at a Grocery store with the Hennepin, I'm not too sure how old it will be being as I believe this particular store probably doesn't sell much.

Poured out of the bottle a dark as oil black sludge that created a dark brown cascade that made a small brown head, not sure why there wasn't more. Didn't leave any lacing, but given the head I wasn't really expecting it. When I picked it up to sip it I noticed a small amount of light around the edge of the glass, made me think "Gee, this seems more like a porter than a stout."

EDIT: Second bottle was a much better appearance, lots o'head and lacing, better smell as well.

The smell was a bit lite, especially for a stout of this calibur. Picked up faint espersso and dark malt with toasted barley.

The Taste... Hrmmm, very BOLD. Reminds me of an 8-Ball stout but more bitter, finishes sweet with a definate dark dark dark chocolate aftertaste with a hint of alcohol, yum.

Mouthfeel was great, active carbonation from the tip of the tongue to the throat. Creamy yet not, but definately good.

Drinkability for me was pretty good, although I could see the 9% catching up quick after about 2 or 3. Too bad it only comes in 4 packs.

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Photo of MrNuggets
4.27/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Hey, I see light around the edges, what gives?
Sure smells imperial! All the things that make bere great, all right there. Heavy hit of roasted malts in the initial tastes.
Firm bitterness abundant throughout the layers. I've hated black liquorice even since I was a child. But, it doesn't seem out of place in this beer. It actually works very well. Taste would have most likey gotten a 5 had been a fan of the flavor.
Mouthfeel is very out of place. A light bodied imperial stout? If you say so! Makes the thing drinkable.
This has been my party brew for about a year now.
"Party at Joe's tonight? I'll bring Rasputin!"

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Photo of ramrod666
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

old rasputin pours a deep mohogany with decent head that dissapates to ring at the edge of me goblet quickly. the smell is heavy of coffee and alcohol. at 8.9% it is definatly a warmer. taste is heavy chocolate/ coffee with astrong alcohol and hops in the finish. almost overwhelmingly so. it fits so well with the style. an excellent example. mouthfeel is thick with little carbonation, warming. drinkability is good. semi-sweet chocolate and strong hop flavors make for a terrific ruskie imperial stout. berzerker.

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Photo of Beersignal
4.02/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very seductive stout that pours dark and rich like cocoa. Difficult to judge the clarity due to its obscure nature but the head left me wanting. Not as abundant as I would have expected with no lacing and almost no retention.

Aromas were pleasing and beautifully harmonized. A well balance marriage of fruits and malt open the nostrils to let in heady vapours of alcohol. Quite nice.

The beer is medium in body despite its rich texture and provides a warming alcohol reflux after being swallowed. Soft malt up front is followed by fruitiness reminescent of black berries and currants. It finishes with a decidedly alcoholic bitterness supported by hoppy burnt character which hangs around for some time.

For me this is a solid imperial stout. It has an enticing character but is not too powerful. Complexity develops as the beer warms which keeps me interested and wanting another.

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Photo of beerceller99
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle. The color is black. The head is thick and brown. The body is thick and chewy. The taste is of burnt grains with a hint of dark fruits ( plums ). The finish is of bitter burnt grains and alcohol.
As I drink this I see myself goose stepping in a WW II victory parade in Moscow Square !

A classic Russian Stout ; )

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

Appeared nearly black with dark brown highlights if angled correctly; a half finger tan head which left a nice, thick lacing as I drank. Aroma was spice, chocolate and raisins with a hint of prune. Taste up front was sweet, burnt dark malts, spicy and tangy in the middle with a nice bitter coffee finish, coupled with a warming from the high ABV. Mouth was thick and a little syrupy, not as syrupy as I would've liked though. Carbonation covered the tongue nicely. Taste wasn't as complex and exciting as I would've expected for an imperial stout but nonetheless, still quite good and not to be overlooked.

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Photo of rdrummer
4.6/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Okay, this is the best beer that I've had recently. I really hadn't read about it, although I should have. But it was a really pleasant surprise. The liquor store clerk didn't want to sell me the four-pack because it was very dusty. I'm glad I didn't let it sway my buying decision.

This is a very dark, almost black and opague stout with a medium sized brown head huge lacing. There are a lot of hints of flavors in the nose, but the roasted maltiness comes through more than anything else. There are hints of chocolate and coffee.

The taste is unbelievably smooth with a real roasted quality but rich chocolate, coffee, caramel, and fruity undertones. There is some hint of bitter hops or bitter chocolate at the end.

It is thick in the mouth and very satisfying almost like a meal. I finished the four-pack quickly and will be heading back for more of the dusty gem.

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Photo of odeed
4.6/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

this is the first and i would say best imperial stout i have ever had.i just cracked another tonight and it never disapoints.
black as all heck apperance with a nice smokey smell.very smooth considering the alcohol content.what else can i say but,its yummy!

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Photo of FormatKid
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is not available in my area so a friend on a road trip brought a couple through to me. This style is quickly becoming one of, if not my most favorite style in existence so I appreciate it.

The packaging is a stubby 12oz bottle with a somewhat…intimidating looking label. I poured this into a standard tumbler pint glass. The body is jet black with direct exposure to light yielding the slightest red tones. The head is off-white and is surprisingly white compared to other Russian Imperials I’ve had. It recedes eventually but leaves sheets of lacing on the glass as the beer is consumed.

The nose is very roasty and bitter, this raises my anticipation to taste it even more. I smell deep dark, roasted coffee and ripe dark fruits.

This is a really fine beer on the palate. The mouthfeel is a little light, but this is made up for with the flavor. Charred malts come across first and maintain their hold on my senses throughout the drink. Again in the flavor I get that deeply roasted dark coffee taste, very delicious. The finish registers the hop bitterness and a piney, oily presence attempts to fight off the deep, luxurious flavor of the malts, somewhat successfully. A spicy alcohol kick peeps it’s head in slightly and leaves a subtle warmth in my throat. The flavors cling to the inside of my mouth and lips, that’s one of the things I love about a good Russian Imperial.

A great, great beer from an amazing style of brewing. I have to say I felt the mouthfeel was slightly lacking compared to beers I’ve had of the style that have totally blown my mind. None-the-less I look forward to having this one again and it is going great with the slowly cooling weather of the southern fall. Thanks again John.

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

Upon pouring this beauty I received a very nice 2 or more inch head of tan threatening to overtake the top of the glass. As it relapsed it showed a lot of Lace down the side of the glass. The color is black with just a small hint of Deep Red that is only visible looking at the brightest of lights. Looks fantastic!

The scent has several nice scents of Dark Roasted Malts, Dark Chocolates, and Dark Coffee and a slight nuttiness.

The Taste is superb. It has a nice full upfront flavor with lots of Coffee and Chocolate flavors followed by a sweet but dark roasted maltyness and a little bit of nut with some small bits of alcohol notes. A very nice finish that was pleasant in the mouth from start to finish although feels a little thinner in the mouth than imperials.

In the drinkablility department it is a little high on the ABV so lends itself to be enjoyed in moderation, but I still found myself disappointed I didn't have another in the fridge.

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

Black with brown hues, small tan head.

Full aroma with bitter chocolate, espresso and burnt notes.

Full bodied, quite smooth. Rich chocolate and espresso show up first followed by caramel sweetness. Some hop bite in the finish and then you are left with a bitter-sweet aftertaste.

Delicious imperial stout. The alcohol is well hidden and the flavors are mixed very well.

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Photo of bensiff
4.07/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poors a dark brown to black color with a quickly dissipating dark mocha colored head. Aroma is complex with a distinct roasted character, coffee, chocolate, and I even venture to say the slightest hint of toffee hiding in the mix.

The taste is complex as the aroma and almost as enjoyable. It rolls on the tongue lightly until it hits the back where the flavor kicks in fully. The roasted malt has a smokey character, bitter chocolate, espresso, and a kick of hop to round off the flavors. The finish is dominated by the high alcohol of this brew and is a lesser beer for it. The mouthfeel is not as smooth as I expect from this type of beer and is my largest complaint. Overall this is an enjoyable beer for those in a slow sipping mood and worth revisitting time and again.

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Photo of Ninjaworm
3.61/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Blood black with a large creamy head that finally subsided leaving a 1/16” head with amazing lacing.

Smell: Faintly sweet vanilla blends into a linear alcohol nose.

Taste: Silky vanilla alcohol flavor with hints of oak.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy.

Drinkability: Smooth alcohol flavor that melds into a vanilla profile making one dream for another.

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

I love a nice Imperial Stout. This one wasn't one of the best I have ever had, but still a very good choice.
It poured black as night. Almost impossible to see through.
The aromas are smokey. Hints of coffee and chocolate peek through.
The flavor is bittersweet and chocolatey and slightly watered down for an Imperial Stout. Not thick in mouthfeel or flavor, but the taste is somewhat notable.
Definitely a good choice for dessert or as a winter warmer but by far not my favorite.

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Photo of StuFox
3.73/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not as thick as it looks. That being said, damn, this tastes good. Not quite the flavor level of the Founders' or Sammy Smith's Imperial Stouts, but delicious none the less. It has a bitternes and smokey character that few other beers have. Less solid of a body as those beers too. That, of course, still makes it thicker than carro syrup, but hey, let's keep this beer fighting against brews of the same weight class. Everyone should try this once, it's a good time.

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Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is HUGE. The flavors are intensly amazing. The deep dark black that pours out immediately fills the air with a heavy dose of sweet and toffee-like aromas. This beer to me seems very complex...if you take just a small sip, the sweetness is very evident and somewhat single layered. With a larger sip, more layers seem to expose themselves and the high ABV becomes increasingly evident. In a sense, I would have to say that reviewing this intensely flavored stout could vary greatly by your drinking style. IMHO, this is one of the hardest beers to truly appreciate because of its power. Definately not a beer to waste on a friend who says "sure I'll take one of those....I love the way Guiness tastes"

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Photo of Goldorak
3.55/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled 11aug2004 (thanks Beersignal)

Pours down black, with a of hint of red when you place it against the light in just the right way. Small tan head, a little bit of a cascade as it poured down.

Smells alcoholic, with a definate sweetness I couldn't quite pinpoint.
Strawberries? Sort of. Bubblegum? Maybe.

The alcohol is very present in the mouth, and stays with you, which is great in the dead of winter, not so much in August. The drinkability would have gained a solid point if I just got back from a few hours of pond hockey or x-country skiing, but would have lost a point if I didn't have air conditioning.
As it warms a little the toasted malts take a bit more space, but not much. I didn't detect much coffee in this one, which is a great change of pace for this style.

If I ever get my hands on another one of these, I'll definately slap a "do not open before x-mas" sticker on it.

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Photo of HiroProtagonist
3.7/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Old Raspy was served from a stubby 12 oz. bottle. In a pint glass, the beer was black (deep ruby edge accents with backlighting), and was topped by a thin but persistant light brown head. The nose yielded deep-roasted-choco-molasses aromas that were accompanied by enticing though subtle notes of sasparilla, vanilla, and toasted sesame oil. Little sign of esters in the nose. The taste consisted of a rich dark-roasted cocoa-chocolate malt profile that was joined by some nice sharp dark cherry and plum notes that helped cut through initial roastiness. A robust smokey cocoa-bitter dark chocolate flavor dominates the subtle fruitiness in the finish, which left some rather flat lingering dark chocolate notes. The flavors are tasty and rich as expected, but I was dissapointed in the lack of complexity and interesting accents. I thought the finish was a bit too "smoky" as well. The body was appropriately smooth and full for the style. Old Rasputin is a full-flavored and robust Russian imperial stout, but for me lacks some of the important details found in many other examples of the style.

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Photo of sweethome
4.49/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured with a nice tan head which dissipated fairly quickly. Nose is complex - coffee, plum, roast malt, and just a hint of hops. Attacks the palate with a flood of roast malt, full of flavor... hint of raisin, coffee, toast. So beautifully rich. The hops are there late to provide a nice bitterness, but finishes out with an incredibly long roast malt finish.

I've tasted this blind versus Bells, Rogue and other world class Imperial Stouts. It is always worthy of the competition, but not quite there with the best. Savoring the flavors by itself, its hard to imagine why. A great beer in every way.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.82/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a dark black colored beer with almost no head. Aroma is comprised of a strong chocolate and coffee mix. The chocolate and coffee also hits you right at the first sip along with some roastiness. A bit too much bitterness at the end for my liking though. Carbonation is bit weak and body is strong which was expected. Overall, this is a very good drink but maybe not as much as some make it out to be…

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Photo of skybluewater
4.27/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearence: Deep mahogany. Head dissapates, leaving a thin head. No lacing.

Smell: Chocolate, pure chocolate.

Taste: Outstanding, like chocolate-covered coffee beans. There's a warming alcohol present, but it's not obtrusive.

Mouthfeel: Coats the mouth with a thick glaze. Very nice.

Drinkability: It took me an hour and a half to drink, and at 8.9%, I wouldn't want to have more than one.

This is one fine, soul-warming beer, sure to ward off the cold on those winter days. I do believe that Mr. Rasputin and I are going to spend a lot of time together in the future.

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Photo of WetCoaster
4.12/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I almost fell into my cart when I saw that Old R had found its way back to shelves of Safeway--happy days are here again. In honor of this most joyous occasion, I thought I'd review it.

Appearance: A deep mahogany that takes on a nice ruby glow in the light, although it's not as dark as many stouts. The carbonation is fine and mild, and the head is tan and short lived. There isn't much lacing, oddly, but there is a collar that lasts throughout.

Smell: "Booming" does not come close to describing the aroma of this brew; even ice cold, it fills the room. Initially, it's one tight ball of sweet, dark fruit. As it warms, it begins to unwind. The darkness is still there, figs and raisins come on strong. There is also surprisingly strong Myer's rum-like alcohol in the nose. There is the usual molasses, caramel and a perplexing "maybe it's chocolate, maybe it's not" undertone. Finally, there is also a sharp, almost chardonnay aroma--hops? You'll notice this one.

Taste/Mouthfeel: No real surprises here; it tastes pretty much like it smells. In a word, chocolate-covered raisins. It's pretty straightforward, but you'll find some smokiness. Deep into the finish, a drying hoppiness emerges. Not surprisingly, the mouthfeel is medium/full with a sticky coating, although the carbonation is sharp enough to keep it lively.

Drinkability: It's a wonderfully tasty beer that's lighter than you might expect. But at almost 9%, it'd be a rough session.

While I really enjoyed this beer, it didn't quite have the "wow" factor I might have expected. Still, if you kick back, pour an inch or two at a time into a good tasting glass and spend and hour or so with Rasputin, he'll be your buddy for life.

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Photo of HopHeadKen
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This stout pours with a thick foamy cascading head, creamy and light Brown. The color looks black but has a rich dark amber around the edges when viewed in bright light (in a sunny beer garden).

The smell is malt; taste is malt and sweet. For a beer with 8.9% ABV It doesn't taste alcoholic, but does have a roasted coffee chocolate aftertaste with a smooth light mouthfeel.

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Old Rasputin from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.3 out of 5 with 12,616 ratings