Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout | North Coast Brewing Co.

12,205 Ratings
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial StoutOld Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

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: 12,205 |  Reviews: 3,722
Photo of wedge
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

@ Flying Saucer

I'm not usually one for Nitro beers, but I was feeling adventurous and decided to give an old classic a try. Pours black with a typically thick, dense, stable slab of a head on top that leaves much lacing on the glass. Nearly no aroma at first, but then a semi-sweet chocolate aroma emerges with an increased dark fruitiness as it warms. Tasty from the start...I think maybe a bigger stout like this is what I need from a nitro tap. Lots of chocolaty roast and a gentle creamy sweetness. Feels a little less than full bodied this way, but still obviously very smooth and floaty in the mouth. Whereas most nitro I come across is rather mild and bland, this is not...it works! It also reminds me that I need to revisit this widely available, great stout more often.

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Photo of gregb13
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried this one tonight after a session in the pool (heated) and spa. I'd had it before but didn't remember much. To start with, it pours like motor oil with a small mocha head. Nice retention and lacing. Nose is very inviting; lightly bitter hop, roasty malt and a little booze. Taste is fairly complex; bitter (back end) hops and espresso, some dark bitter chocolate, moderate booze. Bitterness lingers a little more than I'd like, but it's hard to be perfect. Mouthfeel is velvety, with a medium-full body. A sipper for sure, especially at 9%. Overall this is very good. Would seek out again for sure.

Addendum: This tastes very similar to Deschutes Black Butte porter (which is also very good) with more booze. Similar hop profile. Booze booze and more booze, and some licorice. Not very complex. Where's the beef? Give me control of the brewery and I could produce one hell of an inviting stout. Why can't these guys do the same?

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Photo of gabedivision
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a bottle to a SA Imperial Series Snifter glass. Bottle about a year old.

Pours a motor oil black, with a weak looking 1 finger head, lots of slime and sticky bubbles. Big hops on the nose, followed by bitter coffee bean, bitter dark chocolate, vanilla milk chocolate, toasted malts. Chocolatety mayhem in my mouth right now, coffee/espresso, nice alcohol warming bitter coffee bean finish . Full bodied, creamy, smooth. Overall this beer was great, this beer aged well and tasted less like a coffee milk shake (as i thought it did fresh) and more like a great RIS. Very complex, rich and inviting.

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Photo of Hophead717
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Total black with a 1.5 finger finger mocha head. Nice lacing as the beer clings to the sides of the glass after each sip.

S: Deep notes of dark chocolate and roasted malt. Light coffee scents can be detected when searched for, but they take a backseat here.

T: A nice combination of roasted malts upfront and dark chocolate. Both are deep flavors that work very well in tandem. Hints of espresso flavor emerge, but they largely follow the roasted malt flavor. Bitterness from the hops may also be present, but it's difficult to tell for sure because of the prevalence of the roasted malt flavor. As the beer warms, the espresso become a bit more noticeable on the finish.

M: Full bodied, with medium-to-heavy carbonation. It's a nice beer to drink.

O: Make no mistake, this is a RIS. Some stouts/porters can be a bit lighter or a bit sweeter...this is neither. A very good beer and, though I haven't explored RIS-es a lot as of yet, I definitely think it's a winner. This was the first from a four pack-I look forward to the rest!

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Photo of cmq103
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 0z. bottle into a Duvel Belgian Tulip glass. I bought this at the Beer Store in Southampton PA. I will say it was worth the drive over from NJ, as they have one of the larger selections of craft beers that I've seen in the area.

Appearance: A typical jet black thicker pour, as expected with the style. I nice, thick 3/4" cola colored head impressed me resulting from only a moderately aggressive pour. Lacing was spotty, but decent as my glass emptied. The head eventually reduced to a thin light brown ring after a few minutes at room temperature.

Smell: Right off the bat, this reminded me a lot of the Storm King Imperial Stout, which is a hoppier Imperial Stout. I get dark bittersweet chocolate, followed by burnt roasted malts then a definitive hoppy and unsweetened espresso aroma. I also detect a slight booziness in the finish, which become more prominent as the beer warms.

Taste: Like the nose, bitter unsweetened dark chocolate, espresso coffee, dark fruits, and caramel. Light roasted, almost burnt, malts and a surprisingly bitter hoppy finish. I prefer my RIS just a tad sweeter to tame the hoppy bite. The alcohol is well hidden and doesn't expose itself until the beer gets closer to room temperature.

Mouthfeel: Definitely a full-bodied brew. Smooth, but with a dry bitter finish. Carbonation is moderate.

Overall: This is a sipper for sure with the higher ABV. I'm glad I tried it but my "go-to" RIS is still Brooklyn Black Chocolate. I would still say it's a "must try" for fans of the RIS style but I prefer my Imperial Stouts with a little less hop bite.

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Photo of SawDog505
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 16 oz snifter. Pours a slick black, with a 3 inch sticky mocha head, tons of lacing. Smell coffee, chocolate, some pine, and a hint of alcohol. Taste is all that, more piney hops than the smell would lead on. Body isn't the biggest, but nice. Perfect amount of life, helps it's dribkability. Temperature is so important to allow this beers flavors to completely shine, close to 55 is best. Lives up to the hype, most reviews I have ever noticed for this style.

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Photo of VncentLIFE
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

well its cold as hell for the first time since i moved to NC, so a nice RIS is in order!

Pours as back as i think ive seen. Full inch thick head that looks like mocha.

Smells bitter and hoppy for a stout, and I like it. I get hints of bitter black coffee.

For something that isnt an IPA, holy shit this thing is bitter. I get bittering noble hops as well bitter chocolate and black coffee. Not overly complex, as the hops and bitter flavors take over. After exhaling, I can feel a creamy smooth texture in the body, which is a nice accent to the assault of multiple sources of bitterness. The roasty malt is really only an afterthought since its overshadowed pretty heavily by the hops. A bit boozy on the back end, but for the ABV its just about right.

The more you drink it, the more the coffee comes out. Its rather impressive. The bitter hops are really almost taken over by coffee and smokey roasty malt.

A nice hop forward stout that is nice on a cold night.

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Photo of XxNitExX
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours the color of oil, with a nice 3 musketeer inside colored head. Beautiful lacing down my tulip glass.

S - Strongly of roast and dark roasted coffee. I slight alcohol tinge, that becomes more apparent as it warms. Dark chocolate present towards the end.

T - Starts with a nice hit or roast, with some chocolate notes early. Bit of alcoholic bite follows with a very wonderful DARK roasted coffee flavor to finish. Taste lingers on the tongue just like a nice sip of joe.

M - Perfectly carbonated, but not too syrupy and thick like some RIS can be. Lingers for quite awhile with its powerful coffee taste.

O - Wonderful readily available RIS. A great go to for those cold nights (or early mornings). For what its worth I do not notice alot of chocolate, but my friend who hates chocolate thinks its very potent and avoids it just for a heads up.

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Photo of beersteak
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours the color of Brent crude. Fluffy off-white head.

Nose is hard to identify. I don't drink a lot of stout. Toasty coffee.

Taste is powerful but smooth. It delivers a tingling sensation on the tongue that warms into that characteristic toasted, slightly bitter chocolate/coffee finish.

Mouthfeel is dominated by that tingling sensation. It's addictive.

Old Rasputin truly is black gold. This beer is also one of the best values in my collection at 9 bucks for a four pack, compared to 14 - 15 for anything else that's similar in quality and size. Very highly recommended.

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Photo of JMWEB2
3.91/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aged for 16 months...

A: Pours awesome chocolate black with decent lacing, looks like it should...

S: Heavy roast coffee smell, malty and chocolate.

T: Sweet malt flavor finished by deep chocolate awesome!

M: Full bodied for sure, feels good on way down..

O: Wow, flavor is awesome, drink it alone!

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Photo of MNJR
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is delicious, powerhouse beer making at it's finest. Dark chocolate flavors abound and the mouthfeel is sublime. I can't really say I've had a better stout. Creamy, smooth, exceptionally rich, and the aftertaste that seems to linger forever is better than anything I've had in this style of beer. Let it warm up a bit and it only gets better. Perfect companions: a nice maduro cigar and a shot of fine whisky. It gets no better.

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Photo of 57md
3.98/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a thick and creamy head. Like with many nitros, you must wait until the beer settles before taking your first sip - but, the great visual effect of the beer settling makes the wait bearable.

The aroma is roasty with some general sweetness. The first sip yields a hearty beer with a bitter roasted finish that has a slight alcohol burn on the back end. As one drinks this gem down, the foam ring remnants divulge the size of each delicious gulp.

Since its an imperial, it could have a stronger roast profile, but no need to nitpick.

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Photo of Valmor88
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours black with a chocolate colored head that takes up half of the glass at first. Excellent head retention. You could take a shower and come back and it would still be there.

S: Roasted malts and chocolate and prevalent. Coffee/caramel and alcohol hints are the next most noticeable. Near the end there are some fruity esters, but I can't identify what kinds.

T: Toasty flavor. Dark chocolate with coffee/toffee and alcohol. Again, something fruity at the finish, but it's underscored by the big roasted coffee flavor also at the finish. Wow.

M: Full bodied. You get some warmth from the alcohol, but it's certainly in the background to all of the flavors.

O: One of the better Russian Imperial Stouts that I've had. Very easy to drink.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

App- The head rages to a four fingered, chocolate monster. It refuses to die after several minutes, leaving circles of soapy lace. The body is an opaque dark brown with no highlights. It is beautiful.

Smell- There is brandy, roasted malt, dark chocolate and some anise. Obviously some coffee roast in there as well. The alcohol heat might be a little too pronounced, but it is still pretty impressive.

Taste- Awesome roasted malt and sweet alcohol flavor morphs into a toffee mid sip. The finish is a dark chocolate, hard roasted coffee and char that really sticks. Really good.

Mouth feel- Smooth drink that is a little dry from the coffee roast. It is a little warm but not overpowering. It is full bodied and fits the beer very well.

Overall- I really enjoy this RIS. It is a brew that everyone should try it once. It's very well brewed with not many surprises, but you know exactly what you are going to get every time.

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

A: A very dark brown, almost black pour into my Wild Heaven snifter. One finger tan head with good retention and a persistent rim of lace for the duration. This lace has legs and a slow oily descent.
S: Roasted malts, dark chocolate, cocoa, toffee, ethanol and even a hint of soy sauce all emerge as aromas of interest.
T: Biscuity, roasty malt, chocolate, dark berries, coffee grounds and warmth of alcohol are all contributors to this flavor bonanza.
M: Stout is putting it mildly. Full bodied and mildly carbonated. This beer coats the tongue and lingers with a slightly bitter finish balancing out the flavors.
O: Outstanding brew with no shyness to it. The alcohol presence does not hide itself but does not hijack this beer. It is very drinkable and enjoyable. I will turn to this one again and again.

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Photo of dbmata
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a phenomenal beer. Have had it many times, it is by far best on tap. You get a far sweeter flavor profile from the draught then you do from the bottle. The bottle gives a slightly more bitter and toastier flavor.

Appearance: Black as night, perfectly stouty.
Smell: Biscuity and toasty. You can smell the slight bitterness from the dark malts.
Taste: Bitter, dark, toasty and a small chocolate nib flavor. Nice malt backbone, and a slight but non-descript bitter from the hops.
Mouthfeel: Nice and thick, as it should be. Perfect mouthfeel, coats your mouth and doesn't let you forget it.
Overall: Great beer, one of my favorites. Have had it many times and draught is best. It is the model of a RIS, and holds up well to extended aging.

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Photo of nickfromsacto
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The only decent beer on tap this night, unfortunately this place doesn't clean out their lines very often.

A whole pint for just five bucks, though.

Poured about two fingers of dark golden head that lingered and lined the walls of my glass until the second round. Unable to see through this dark-dark beer. The smell makes a lot of sense for this particular style: the essence of dark chocolate, roasted almonds and the strong scent of ethanol. It feels a little spicey coming in and warm going down. Not sure about the hops, are there any? Should there be any? Who knows. I don't care because overall this is an awesome beer for the high alcohol and dark chocolate lovers a staple for the cooler holidays and beer float nights.

I have missed my chance to have this on nitro ... Twice.

Cheers and enjoy

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Photo of brewerburgundy
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

10/21/2011, 12oz bottle, Bruery tulip. Score reflects more recent review.
Well, that was the first time I've overflowed a glass. This is a good looking RIS, standardly and less importantly dark, with a fantastic head on the darker side of brown. After my overly exuberant pour I let it sit for maybe five minutes and when I turned back to it the glass was covered in copious amounts of lace from a head fallen to a quarter inch.

It is so wonderful returning to this beer after nearly two years of immersion in craft beer and finding it to be of the caliber I thought in my craft infancy. Just a solid as a rock heavy stout here. Dough, English yeast, espresso, mineral and char don't mess around, complimented by a little sweet chocolate.

Charcoal and roast come in much higher levels. Roast playing up front with cocoa powder, cherry, and grain, while the finish is lusciously dominated by burnt espresso. There is alcohol running through the nose and the taste constantly and I'm not sure I've encountered a better example of it being so well integrated into an entire beer where all it does is compliment, never dominant and not at all a bother.

While the mouth is solid, it doesn't rise to the same peaks as the preceding categories. It's full but not chewy, smooth but not creamy. Solid, as is the whole composition, with medium-high carbonation.

I would not have revisited this any time soon if it were not for a birthday gift from a great friend. What a great gift. This is a widely available icon of American craft beer and surely a first Imperial Stout of many.

11/15/2009, 12oz bottle, 4.3 A.
A: Falls a drip coffee brown into the glass, a film of mocha bubbles on top. No light through this baby. 4.5

S: I could smell it a foot or two away, dense toffee, chocolate, and coffee. Spice from hops and some warmth you can tell. The creaminess can be smelt, its rich with cocoa. 4.5

T: A mocha up front, spice follows down your throat, and more mocha and bittersweet chocolate finish it. The booze, while never hiding only helps the experience. 4.5

M: Silky and slippery it goes down. 4.5

D: I could drink it often and bottle after bottle, but of course I'd get into trouble that way. 3.5 because of the potential trouble.

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Photo of firedog23
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in a non-descript glass used to hold beverages.

This is the kind of Imperial Stout I can see being sent from England to Russia across the North Sea. It is a typical heavy stout with an obvious level of alcohol in it. It has a great warming feeling and is not meant to be drunk in a quick fashion. This stout may be beyond some peoples taste capabilites or understanding of why there is an Imperial Stout.

A really good beer that is meant to be enjoyed over time.

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Photo of pBRale
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a warbled mug.

Appearance: Black pour with a huge, creamy light cocoa head that settles VERY slowly and has outstanding retention. This beer leaves many many rings of lace all the way down the glass. An aggressive pour shows off this beer's deep, penetrating, cascading head. Very nice.

Smell: Coffee, chocolate, and alcohol on the nose. Roasted coffee malts as well.

Taste: Roasted coffee and chocolate, a hint of brown sugar, some roasted coffee malts, some more coffee afterwards and a bit of alcohol taste. Luxurious. Nice roasted chocolate with a warming finish. The aftertaste is of bitter coffee grounds and espresso and lingers well after.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body, low-medium carbonation, a coating feeling, and a crisp, biting finish.

Overall: A very solid beer. Outstanding coffee flavor with substantial chocolate as well. A very well balanced beer, especially considering abv, which is hardly noticeable.

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Photo of ChugginOil
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've had this one many times now and I think it's about time to review it.

Pours a very dark dark black color allowing zero light to transfer through. There is a fingers worth of tan head that dissipates rather quickly, leaving plenty of legs behind.

The nose is full of milk chocolate and roast. A bit of booze is noticed behind the dessert like scents.

The taste is full of some dark chocolate that leaves a bitter taste on my palate. Roasty malts follow the cocoa and make way for a bit of the 9% to show through. Tasty

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice stickiness about it. There isnt a whole lot of super sweetness in this brew which is nice because it doesn't leave a cloying feel.

Overall, this brew is a great all around stout. One I have everyday access to and one that I will continue to purchase.

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Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Dark brown, with a light tan head that really sticks to the glass. The head is much thicker than normal and last a lot longer as well.

Smell – Dark malts, chocolate, and a bit of licorice. There is also a hint of coffee. It’s relatively simple, but very nice.

Taste – Malts, light booze and chocolate. It actually hides the alcohol well. Like most Russian imperial stouts, the taste is simpler than an American double stout, but it’s a great flavor that I enjoy.

Mouthfeel – A thin syrupy mouthfeel, and light carbonation that feels just right for this style.

Drinkability – This beer surprised me. It’s a well above average Russian imperial stout, and is extremely drinkable. The 9%abv is very well hidden.

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Photo of BeerDocT
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a chilled, wide-mouthed glass.

-Appearance 4.0: Poured out a jet black, with no brown highlights. Its cream-colored head shrunk, but stayed around on top. Beautiful color contrast between the head and the color of the brew.

-Smell 3.5: Nice bouquet. I primarily smell toasted grains, but there is a nice undercurrent of chocolate. Very promising.

-Taste 4.5: Sweet taste up front, with a nice alkaline hoppiness and a slight bitterness. There is also a very pleasant sourness. Lots of caramel, chocolate and toasted barley after swallowing...long aftertaste of toasted grains. Just a bit too sweet for me, but delicious nonetheless with a depth of flavor that must be experienced first-hand.

-Mouthfeel 4.0: Good mouthfeel. The carbonation present in this beer serves to balance the high alcohol content that otherwise would have been noticeable. Still has a slight burning sensation in the mouth, but it is not distracting.

-Overall 4.0: Excellent stout. These "Imperial" or "Russian Imperial" stouts all have a relatively high alcohol content, but this is balanced by a depth of flavor and a drinkability not common in other high-alcohol brews. Really, these could be viewed as "dark triples," due to the amount of ingredients that go into each beer. "Old Rasputin" is highly recommended. If you can find this beer, it is worth the monetary investment.

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Photo of mcslain
4.29/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black and thick. Substantial tan head that forms of a billion tiny bubbles then morphs into a very slow fading creamy foam. Paints the inside of the glass as it recedes. Smells of roasted malts, some chocolate, hint of licorice. Mouthful is rich and thick - a real milkshake of a beer. Carbonation really hits just right for this beer. Tastes of chocolate, coffee, espresso beans, and dry baking chocolate. Finishes a little sweet w a kick of black licorice and some alcohol. Packs a wallop as far as stouts go - meaning a lot of the classic imperial stout flavors are here in strong showing. Really a well made beer. I know my home brew attempts at imperial stouts just can not get to this level.

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Photo of Crundy
4.87/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: black but a dark brown where light can pass through around the edges, thick mocha head

Smell: Chocolate, coffee, caramel roasted malt

Taste: delicious, strong coffee flavor, chocolate, quite sweet, roasted malt flavor

Mouth feel: Thick, full bodied, had a syrupy feel that kind of coats the mouth, slight bitterness of the finish

Overall: Very taste, great beer very rich powerful flavors, now when I think of how an RIS should taste it will be like this.

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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 12,205 ratings.
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