Old Rasputin | North Coast Brewing Co.

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Old RasputinOld Rasputin
12,496 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: 12,496 |  Reviews: 3,782
Photo of AtrumAnimus
3.92/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Russian Stout - Who would have thunk it? Anyway - this one is a real surprise for the stout lover. It compares well to Rogue Shakespeare Stout.

It is a dark stout (of course) with a dark brown head that is not as creamy as the Guinness style of stouts. The taste is more malty with a strong taste of hops in the finish. Another beer that I rather enjoy. A little hard to find in stores. Definitely worth a try. Has a clean finish. And read the article on the side - what a hoot that is. This beer even has a history that is more than just how they make it.
It's been speculated that no one had a greater appreciation for this rich, roasty elixir than Rasputin, the mystic wag (and favorite of the ladies of the court), who was the ultimate downfall of Czar Nicholas II.

Rasputin is probably best remembered for his dramatic exit. Having been deemed politically expendable, he was fed poisoned wine and tea cakes by his rivals. Surviving that, he was shot several times - whereupon he attacked his assailants. He finally succumbed when bound and stuffed through a hole in the ice to drown in the River Neva. Legends that attribute his tenacity to his appetite for Russian Imperial Stout are unproven.

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

For a small, unassuming looking bottle, there is one mighty beer contained inside.
Old Rasputin himself stares at you with “those eyes” from the simple looking brown, black and white label, whilst doffing his right hand in a kind of salute to the brave souls that are tasting this beer for the first time – myself included. Am I to be yet another Virgin to add to the “Mad Monks” long and varied list, I wonder?!.
The beer pours a color twixt a very deep oily-brown and an almost bituminous black color. Once poured, the body of the beer lets little light through, although a deep brown red- hue can be detected from the refracted light at the edges of the glass. Atop this darkest of beers sits a regal looking fluffy brown-tan head that remains a solid ½” throughout, though dies a little towards the end. The smooth looking velvet creamy head looks fantastic and hints at the smoothness of this beer.
Immediately I poured this beer, I thought to myself “liquorice”, for the fresh pungent smell of this fine root-extract flavoring filled the air around my desk. Malt is perceptible in the nose at the start, with some roast character, although surprisingly I found the aromas to be less pungent than expected. A powerful introduction, an assault on the tongue almost, tells you that this is a beer that you don’t mess with. A marvellous strong roast coffee flavour interspersed with roast malt flavours, roll around together in the mouth and punch the cheeks. This is a fighting beer. Deep, dark chocolately middle, with a hard-wood, oaky dry bitter finish that leaves hints of raisins and liquorice on the palate. The beer leaves a warming trace that slowly tracks the path of the fluid as it descends the gullet, a warmth that would quell any Siberian winter. Fantastic. A bloody marvellous Imperial Stout.

More Russian than a Vodka Breakfast….
More Imperial that Darth Vader’s Dark Side….
And More Stout than John Candy….

A truly hypnotic beer that clearly has Rasputinious powers of influence.
It has me well and truly under its spell that’s for sure!

A fine libation from North Coast Brewing. Excellent!!!

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

Rasputin the "mad monk" was legendary for, among other things, his drinking ability and high tolerance which helped him evade, if only temporarily, attempts on his life involving alcohol and poisin.

This brew pours black as onyx, letting only a dull shimmer of light through around the edges of the glass. The head is medium tan and maintains just a cap but leaves a respectable amount of lace.

The aroma is like rich hot chocolate, molasses, and a bit of dark roasted malt. The taste is of decadent chocolate and cappucino with some dark roasted bitterness making an admirable appearance before being held in check by all the sweetness. The mouthfeel is slightly syrupy which is very fitting for this brew. Perhaps a bit sweet for the style but nonetheless a delicious beer. Have this one after dinner.


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

An old, old favorite that I've been loyal to since my very first sip.
Huge, cocoa-colored head, properly boisterous and fizzy. Phenomenally aromatic: all the regulars for this style and more are here in attendance--cocoa, coffee, toffee, nuts. Very mellow, despite the flavor and strength. Perfectly black in color, fantastic texture: thick and chewy, but not overly so.
This is a great accompaniament for any meal, particularly rich and spicy food. I'd compliment the finish, but it never stops! The flavor sticks in your mouth forever, it seems. One of the finest stouts in all the universe.

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

Black as night with a dark tan head. Head was thick,retention was good, and lacing solid. Very nice roasty aroma, strong alcohol notes on the palate. A very complex big beer that mellowed me out just right. Not really my favorite style but I sure appreciated this big beer. I did like that the 8%ABV made this more drinkable than some of the 10% Imperials I have tried. Great brew!

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Photo of garymuchow
3.71/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'll state it from the outset (as I have before), I have problems with beers that move to the "cloying sweet" taste, and this one does. Maybe it'll be something I accomodate in time, but for now it's a distraction. However, it doesn't take away from many other fine attributes of this beer. Very good head considering the abv, with nice lacing almost to the end. Really nice red/mahogany color when held to the light. Nice complex flavor and aroma that leans toward caramel as much, if not more than, roasted malt. It's the heavy fruitness that moves towards excessive sweetness that I struggle with, but I'm working on appreciating it. Very well hopped leaving a very long dry finish. And as others have said, a well hidden alcohol content. Mouthfeel was just a tad thin. Somehow I'll manage to get through the rest of my bottles.

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

The beer pours as "Dark as the inside of a cow", monumental and frothy chocolate head with tons of lace. The nose simply reeks of toasted grains, chocolate, and caramel. Big sweet malt start, top "Don't get any fuller than this", finish is hop spicy, minimal acidity, droughty chocolate malt aftertaste. Just cannot remember having a better "Imperial than this". A must try for all "Lovers of the Dark side", and if your a "Stout" lover, "Baby your ship just came in".

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Photo of maxpower
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one great Imperial Sweet roasted malt aroma, thick dark creamy head,black in color, nice taste of plums, chocolate and coffee, not over sweetness. just very tasty, I like this awesome brew, well done.

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Photo of Kwak
4.73/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
Head : Thick hard and filled with flavor.
Body : Dark dARk darK thick merky almost death like.
Taste : Rich maty burnt hops Slight bitter. Coffe like.

The end was warm with alittle dryness.
Verry good drink whish they had it where I live. " Mabey I'll Move"!

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Photo of mjohn27603
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours opaque black with a slight reddish tinge. Small head indicates the low carbonation common in this style. Aroma is of chocolate and roasted character but a little short of perfect. Taste is on the bitter side. Some chocolate. I must say I enjoy Bell's Expedition Stout more it has some fig or prune tastes that add another layer of complexity to the mix. High alcohol is present and noticeable. I did enjoy this at night on the first day of our first snow that stuck. I did the the atmosphere right.

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

As soon as the bottle is cracked open, one is assaulted with a very forward aroma of coffee and alcohol. This beer pretty much announces itself. Old Rasputin pours a warm black color. The head I poured was not overly impressive. (I may be at partial blame for that.)

This beer is no joke. There is deep, bittersweet pungency to this brew. There is an exciting malt-on-malt, layered flavor. It is extremely complex and with an alcohol content of 8.9%, you will feel this beer. At moments, it tastes as though I am drinking a stout spiked with a shot of Stoli vodka. Holy [email protected]

Enjoy. And be sure to note the hair on your chest in the morning.

Edit - January 20, 2009

The taste buds have adjusted to many new types of beers, so I thought I'd re-visit a style, and this ale in particular, to see what I think of it now.

Dark as night with a clingy tan head. Faint, crisp note of alcohol and malts hit the nose.

Smooth, but bitter, malt kick. A smoothness resides underneath some of the upfront flavors. Tastes like a wonderful, french roasted coffee bean that has been french pressed --- with just a hint of sugar and cream. Bittersweet. This is so complex and delicious --- and would work well with black forest cake or a dark chocolate pairing. I'm having mine with some "morning after bread" that my girlfriend made: a whole wheat bread made with coffee and Kona Pipeline Porter. It's heavenly, and you should be jealous.

I'm glad I picked up a four pack of this and re-evaluated this selection. I think it has "cult" status for a reason. It's a cold night here in VA, and a few of these will warm me up the way I like.

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Photo of dolem98
4.34/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

-Overpowering burnt coffee flavors, faint smokiness
-Lots of bitterness, reminds me of chewing espresso beans
-Improved as it warmed
-Reminds me of quadruple shot (with a hint of raspberry and light on the chocolate) mocha

I didn't give it a higher rating in appearance, because I like it when Imperial Stouts pour like syrup. This one poured just slightly thinner than expected. Excessively bitter to get a higher drinkability.

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Photo of chilidog
4.17/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My first Imperial & I purchased this as my first offering of ohio's new apv law. At 8.9% this was a great sample of things to come. This brew was stunning for me as soon as I cracked the cap. The scent and aroma take-over to kick-start the taste-buds. Pour this black, low carbon stout and get a half-inch head that settles to a film but has enough in it to lace well, thicker than one might expect.The taste of dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans with a not shy alcohol presence. The strength I think smooths this brew to the point of creamy. Enjoyed this-one on a cold rainy night.....Perfect!!

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Photo of Jon
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml. Millennium Edition bottle. Pours jet black with a creamy, tan head. Hops, alcohol and coffee are present in the nose. Coffee-like taste presents itself along with a generous dose of hops, malt and alcohol. Mouthfeel is rather oily and fitting for the style. Quite smooth overall. This imperial stout certainly has its warming effects at 8.9% ABV. An impressive creation from North Coast.

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Photo of boblinneman
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark dark dark brown, not black. Roasted alcoholic nose. Roasted malt flavor followed by a strong alcohol and hop bite. A very good imperial, true to the form. Storm King still is King of the Imperials.

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

This beer pour almost black dark amber color. It formed a nice dark tan foamy heal that left some nice circular lace. The aroma was of malt and coffee. The flavor was of malt, coffee and chocolate. The body was a bit thinner than the few others I have tried. The finish was of a burnt bitter style.

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Photo of mzwolinski
4.59/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is quite a substantial beer. Pours jet black, of course, with a thin head which dissipates almost immediately -- your first clue to the alcohol content of this beer, in case you missed the tiny 8.9% ABV on the bottom of the label.

Alcohol is present in the aroma as well, but surprisingly, only on rather close inspection. The scent that hits you in the face is the highly roasted malt. Deep, intoxicating and luxurious aroma, with hints of black cherries.

The beer is as bit rough on the tongue, but I'm not sure this is even a fault. Coffee-like flavors of malt with a surprisingly high hop bitterness. Alcohol warming sensation and a nice, sweet aftertaste. Full bodied in the extreme. Approach this beer with respect!

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

Pours a dark coffee color with deep garnet if held up to light, but who cares ;-)...and has a dirty tan head. Smells of faint coffee and chocolate mildy roasted come through and blended nicely. Taste of burnt coffee and a nice balance of hops tapers into a nice malty roast that is delicious! Very nice balance of flavors that ends with a dry hoppy taste on the tail. The mouthfeel is a medium body and just mildly creamy. Awesome brew! Cheers!

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Photo of putnam
4.14/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

After a glass of Lion Stout...this has a warmer tone to the color of the head and warmer, woodier aromas as well. The liquid is suprisingly light in color. Raw cocoa and coffee beans, like kahlua, with a little green bean, pine nut, and cherry jam on the nose. Now licorice and cough syrup...Rich, round, sweet chocolate fudge. Burned chocolate cookies. A nice assertive bitterness on the medium-long finish.

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Photo of marc77
3.94/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Approaching black in hue, w/ trace deep brilliant garnet when held to light. Dark tan head slowly settles into a tight lace leaving layer. Light chocolate and butterscotch, w/ mild roasted barley and nuttiness. Subdued vinous alcohol soaked dark fruit. Not as delectable in aroma compared to other imperials. Sharp roasted barley bitterness hits the palate initially, then is ensued by a wave of milk chocolate sweetness and prune like fruitiness. Mild sherry notes and black licorice emerge mid palate then are rendered abrupt by assertive hop bitterness. Hop flavor, although overshadowed by the malt profile, combines w/ the fruitiness to leave a pleasant citrus rind undertone. Fairly light in body for an imperial, but the dextrinous mouthfeel does not reflect that. Finishes w/ a slightly smoky, lingering bittersweet chocolate flavor. Old Rasputin is delicious, but falls a bit short aromawise. The rich malt character isn't represented in aroma. It lacks the complete package of richness, but is highly enjoyable nonetheless.

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Photo of aaronh
4.77/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

After searching for this beer for 10 months, I finally got my hands on a 4-pack while on vacation. It was worth the wait. This is a wonderful Imperial Stout. Nice dark color, almost black with a beautiful tan head. The aromas from this beer are almost as good as the taste: coffee, chocolate, malt. I savored each sip of each beer, spending almost an hour with each. The alcohol is noticable, but not overpowering. But I wouldn't choose Old Rasputin for a night of drinking. It's more of a beer for a relaxing evening. If this beer is readily available in your area, drink it regularly. If not, stock up when you find it. I'm ready to make the 6 hour drive to get some more.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Old Raspy was very dark brown, almost black in color, with some ruby glimmering through. Had a good, creamy tan head, with nice lacing. Big-time coffeeish-roasty aromas coming forth. Good body, and slid nicely over the tongue and down the hatch...

Lots more roasty/coffee flavors produced some bitterness. Found some hints of dark fruits hidden in there as well. Comes through with a nice little hop zing at the end. But it's mostly the bitter roasty flavors which stand out. A good belly-warmer! Thanks to WilliamPhilaPa for the sample.

overall: 4.25
appearance: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4


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

Typical appearance for any rich stout or imperial stout. Deep black with dark tan head. Head wasn't very large, but not overly small either. Aroma is has the burnt chocolately aroma typical of the style, but it's in competition with the sharp citric peel of the hops. Seemed very balanced between the two. Some sweetness in the aroma as well. The flavor is lighter than I expected. There's a thin burnt bitterness and citrus peel flavor (although sharper like lemon or grapefruit than fuller orange peel flavor). This is all backed up by by the rich malt, but less so than Expedition or World Wide. It was also less sweet than those others. Not quite as overwhelming as the others and a bit more drinkable.

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

Midnight black with a creamy tan head....the nose on this beer is outstanding...I just want to smell it and smell it and smell it, but I figured I'd better get around to drinking it too. The nose is very heavy on the hops, with a wonderful blend of spicy, earthy, herbal hops..some chocolate on the nose too.. The hops shine through on the buds as well, but there is an excellent chocolate bite to it also...like dark semi-sweet chocolate..Body is thick, but not over thick like Bell's Expedition...this is pretty drinkable in my opinion...the only drawback to me is there is some alcohol taste evident..It finishes with the hop bite, but also with a smooth butterscotchy texture...I really like this one...rates right up there with the best..

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

Dark brown, almost black body. Thick brown head, with excellent retention. Aroma thick with roasted malt, raisin, and molasses with undertones of the 8.9% alcohol coming through. Good flavor, roasted malt dominates with a nice bitter finish. Alcohol apparent in flavor, but less so than in the smell. Thick beer, but not really heavy or oily. This is a good choice for an after dinner/late evening relaxation beer.

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Old Rasputin from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.3 out of 5 with 12,496 ratings