Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout | North Coast Brewing Co.

12,190 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:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 01-18-2001

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Ratings: 12,190 |  Reviews: 3,720
Photo of gatornation
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at busters

A- pours a dark black color with a 2 finger creamy khaki head ,nice sticky lacing

S- roasted malt.semi-sweet chocolate,vanilla bean,caramel and toffee

T- a delight for a RIS..so smooth with chocolate,roasted malts/hops with some coffe and cocoa notes

M- velvet smooth with medium/light carbonation coffee and vanilla

O- a delicious easy to drink and tasty RIS

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

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

A: Looks great with a solid black pour and a light brown head.

S: Smelled strong right out of the bottle of coffee and vanilla.

T: Just like the smell it was strong of coffee and vanilla. Absolute joy here.

M: Not too thick for a stout and easily drinkable even at 9%

O: I love this beer, it really is easy to drink and one i can see myself going back to over and over again. Fantastic brew and one i'm happy to recommend to others.

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Photo of JackieTH
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours opaque black, with a cap of rich mocha brown head. There is a coffee, vanilla, roasted malt and a hint of alcohol in the nose. Taste is slightly chocolate, espresso, roasty malt, dark fruit and subtle vanilla. Very well balanced with a hoppy bitterness that matches the sweet elements. Creamy carbonation and a medium heavy body is very nice for the style. The ABV comes through at the end. It's warming. Also a subtle bitterness is re-established. Very pleasant finish.

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

Poured from 12 oz bottle into Sam Adams glass. Pours pitch black with nice creamy tan tinged two finger head, with exceptional lacing. Aroma is burnt caramel cocoa and coffee. Taste is licorice, espresso, and dark chocolate - very complex. Mouthfeel is thick, subtle carbonation, and alcohol well hidden.

I tend to use this beer as an indicator of how far I've come in my conversion to good beer - I tried this a few years back and declared it undrinkable. Now it's something I crave with all the strong complex flavors. I'm sure it's a path most of us have been on - Cheers!

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Photo of blackcompg
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed a pint of this on tap at Slyce Coal Fired Pizza Company in Wauconda, IL - really nice beer menu, pizza is bar none the best I've EVER had (also had a pint of PumKing)...

Appearance - Came to me in a pint with a finger of rich, creamy mocha head. Beer was a Deep dark rich black coffee, could not see thru the glass. Over half a finger of head remained thru the session leaving thick foamy lace rings.

Smell - Black roasted coffee, dark chocolate, slite licorice, hint of dark ripe fruit.

Taste - OMG!!! Dark fresh ground/brewed french roast coffee, semi-sweet rich dark chocolate, burnt toffee, black licorice, touch of dark fruits, some roasty dry pumpernickel breadcrust in the finish. I literally don't pick up any of the ABV (9%) in this at all, warms the insides thru the session though. So complex and well balanced!

Mouthfeel - Medium to full, rich and silky smooth, mouth-coating, and lo-carb makes this feel downright creamy. Some slight bittering and drying long into the finish.

Overall - I have not had many imperial stouts YET - that will change after this incredible experience. Old Rasputin was Fantastic on tap, Highly Recommend, already looking forward to meeting up with friends at Slyce while enjoying pints of this in the coming fall/winter months.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.68/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brown glass bottle served into a generic pilsner glass in low altitude Orange, California. Reviewed live.

A: Pours a three finger head of wonderful cream, great thickness, and amazing retention for the ABV. Solid black colour.

Sm: Cream, caramel, and light chocolate. A mild strength aroma.

T: Lovely cream, caramel, and light chocolate. Simplistic, but pleasant and nicely built. Decently balanced.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and creamy. Suits the flavours of the body.

Dr: Very drinkable for its high ABV, but the alcohol is noticeable to its detriment. It's a high quality brew that I quite fancy, and I'd love to try it on draught, but it's not without its flaws.

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Photo of atr2605
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours black with a tan head with 3 fingerwidths head that clings to the side of the glass and leaves a great lace
S-coffee, caramel, dark chocolate, low-medium hop aroma
T-roasted malt, smoke, coffee, dark chocolate, plum in the finish, medium hop bitterness that does a nice job offsetting the sweetness of the malt
M-full bodied
O-tons of flavor and a very big beer. Delicious and great example of the style.

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite the classic US RIS. Coming back to it on tap.

Presentation: 10 oz draft serving. The menu notes the main characteristic of the brew and Alc. by Vol. (10.5%) Served into a snifter.

A - Black pour with an rich creamy head, nice retention with a good surface memory and rich lacing.

S - Soft nose on this draft serving, a touch too cold to shine, roasted notes, chocolate, coffee...

T - Luckily the flavor is not half as shy as the nose began with long roasted notes, touch of coffee, more so of coffee with a nicely woven bitterness… touches of dark fruits under the roasted current.

M - Full body with medium-soft carbonation, rather creamy with a nice lingering bitterness.

O - Quite the great sipper, it does not let down despite the touch competition.

Notes: Nice opportunity to revisit it on tap… One of those invitational brews that stays up there, always worth a revisit. And for what it is the price-quality ratio of this serving is fantastic.

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Photo of Raven3464
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Old Rasputin has a beautiful pitch black body and pours a two inch brown, foamy head.

Smell: Sweet roasted malts, dark coffee beans, bitter chocolate, and a pinch of alcohol are all apparent.

Taste: Flavors and then more flavors! The taste cycles among flavors of sweet roasted malts, bitter chocolate, coffee, and some kind of dark fruit, almost like raisins. This is probably the most complex stout I've ever tasted and yet so smooth. There is a slight burn from the alcohol in the aftertaste, which just adds to the complexity in my opinion.

Mouth feel: The beer feels creamy and heavy, just like a stout should.

Overall: Once again, this is a complex, flavorful stout. I was expecting it to be good, but not this good.

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

A- Brownish black with a brown head that dissipates quickly and leaves little lace.

S - Dark fruits, like cherries, red grapes, and plums. Carob and toffee with a bit of caramel are hanging out there too. Almost a spicy licorice/anise hint. Alcohol is definitely present in the nose. Tobacco, wood, and smoke cover an almost algae/vitamin aroma. Leather, chocolate, and malted milks balls are also there. Beef jerky and pepper. A great nose!

T - Salty sweet malts with a nice bitter that follows it up. Coffee and bittersweet chocolate give in to a good rounded toffee and burnt caramel finish that leaves some bitter but reveals a more rounded, supple, and pleasant roasted malt profile. Cassis, slight anise, and carroway flavors give the beer a spicy, fruity profile that complements the traditional stout character well. There's some cherries and dark berries back there with a bit of herbs and grass as well. Alcohol is definitely noticeable, but not overwhelming. The beer has a good acidity that doesn't overpower, with a quality malt profile that isn't particularly sweet. Very nice!

M - Very pleasant. Decent carbonation for the style and doesn't leave your mouth too sticky. A nice coating that leaves you with a good, dry finish.

O - An excellent beer! Outstanding nose, wonderful, dynamic flavor profile, and just an all-around quality example for the style.

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Photo of DaveBlack
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Completely pitch black beer with a two finger tan head. The head continues to form and grow after the beer is poured, then VERY slowly drops back down (in fact the head was still there by the time I finished this slow-sipping beer), leaving a fair amount of lacing in its wake.

S: Big aroma, delivering what you'd expect from a stout: lots of malty sweetness, chocolate, coffee.

T: Hits powerfully upfront with chocolaty sweetness, roasted malts and bitter coffee all in one go. The sweetness is pretty overwhelming, and I thought I was going to find this beer cloying until the sweetness disappeared leaving a nice chocolate malts bitterness in my mouth. Finishes strong with alcohol warmth.

M: Thick and creamy with very little carbonation. Tends to stick in the back of the throat.

O: A solid stout. Big flavors, good balance and it uses the alcohol to enhance the beer, rather than just hiding it completely. It is certainly sweet, but not cloyingly so. Definitely a sipper.

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

A: Pours jet black with two fingers of tan colored head that sticks around and creates some interesting bubblework/caramelization

S: Caramel malts, hints of vanilla, bready, creamy sweetness, slight bits of chocolate

T: At first, a great flavor of caramel, sweet malts, and bittersweet chocolate, which transitions into a roasty/smoky/woody dryness, and finishes with a double espresso-esque bitter, dry finish. Complex, and very tasty.

O: This is one damn fine RIS. I'm glad I revisited this after a long time, I didn't know what I was missing. The nose could use some work, but the taste is phenomenal. Will definitely buy again.

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Photo of olimpia84
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured the demonic labeled looking 12oz bottle into a Snifter.

A: pitch black body with very small coffee tanned head. Lacing was present but it wasn't as viscous and sticky as I was hoping for.

S: roasted malts, coffee beans, espresso, some chocolate. It's not a strong smell but it's very pleasant and leads well to the taste.

T: strong complex taste composed of roasted malts, some hops, coffee, dark chocolate and ends with a rooty/medicinal taste. The good balance helps disguise the alcohol content. As the beer warms up the taste gets more concentrated and becomes stronger.

M: very nice feel, smooth and creamy on the palate. Full body yet feels very drinkable which is odd for the style.

O: an amazing offering for the style, this beer is downright yummy and perfect as a dessert beer. It feels smooth and it's full of taste making it a complete imperial stout that should be tried by any beer fan.

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Photo of brian44556
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 12oz bottle into a Delirium Tremens snifter. Couldn't find a date on the bottle. Served at 55 degrees.

Pours a pitch black with a huge chocolate colored head that seems to sit on top of the body of the beer for awhile. As the head diminishes thick lacing coats the sides of the glass. Smell notes of dark chocolate, caramel, toffee, and coffee. Taste chocolate, light coffee, a warm touch of alcohol. Carbonation is superb, but the beer seems a bit thin for a RIS. This beer is a great example of a RIS. Glad this is available year around.

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Photo of jeff1973
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Hair of the Dog tulip.

A - Nice dark pitch black w/ a light tan head. Lots of lacing.

S - Dark roasty, bitter malts and a little burnt sugar.

T - Roasty, leathery, then a touch of sweet dark chocolate and dark fruits. Really dries out at the end with a little alcohol warmth.

M - Medium to low carbonation. Not quote silky. Enough carbonation to still tickle.

D - Medium. Richness of the malt and warming of the alcohol doesn't let you chug this one. It begs you to enjoy it.

Solid beer. Good taste and satisfies that imperial stout urge on a budget.

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Photo of ChanChan
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Rasputin:
Finally I get to reviewing a classic oldie but goodie. Poured from a 12OZ botella into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Very dark with a tinge of ruby-red showing when held to the light. An aggressive pour results in a huge root-beer-float type head. The lacing is casklike beautiful.

Aroma: Hops, roasted malt, chocolate and dark fruits. The hop presence in this beer is very pleasant it gives the impression that this beer is fresh even if it isn’t.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, carbonation is minimal in this beer, there is a slight coffee sourness in the finish.

Taste: Bitterness right up front, lots of coffee and chocolate. The chocolate note is perfect in this young beer. I Think with a year of age this beer will be fantastically smooth. The taste is also reminiscent to an Abyss in that it has a bit of saltiness in the finish. The bourbon barreling of the Abyss, of course, makes that beer much more complex than the Old Rasps. I wonder how my Old Raspy XIIth anniversary will compare to my 2009 Abyss, we'll see!

Overall: This is one of the most consistent and affordable Imperial Russian Stouts out there. In addition, it is available in 12OZ bottles! I had this beer at room temperature and I loved it! It’s no barrel aged stout but then again a 12OZ bottle of Old Raspy is only 1/6 the price of many of the popular imperial IRS bombers!

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

12 oz. bottle, purchased from a good bottle shop, 7/2011, unknown bottling date as I did not have access to the “mother case” were the date is located. Stored in a temperature controlled environment since purchase.

Poured into a Dogfish Head Snifter.

Thick one finger head when first poured, which settles into a thin cap, easily revived with a swirl, a lively stout, tan colored head, deep black/brown color. Classic look for an IRS.

The smell hits you first with deep roasted coffee malt, intense dark unsweetened chocolate, vanilla, and as it warms some yeast sneaks out, rather complex and extremely enjoyable.

Incredibly rich flavor of roasted malt, distinct coffee and dark semi-sweet chocolate. DELICIOUS! Not overly sweet at all which I find to be very refreshing. Wonderfully balanced bitterness waits for you in the middle, are there some hops here? I think so. As this stout warms the chocolate intensifies, but you never lose that great balancing bitterness. Full bodied mouth feel, though you certainly do not notice the 9% ABV.

Very long finish of chocolate/coffee/malt, coats the mouth, and lasts forever. First class.

You really can’t ask for a whole lot more from an RIS. This is just flat out delicious! Despite the strength of this stout, or maybe because of it, I find it very easy to drink several of these back to back. It’s so good! As seems the norm for me, I feel the sweet spot temp wise is 55 degrees, when everything starts to explode from the glass. If you are a fan of RIS, this is one to search for, IMO.

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Photo of Eltorrente
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just an excellent brew. I bought a 4-pack and poured a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. It was at about 45 degrees when I poured, smelled, and started checking it out.

It poured black and beautiful. I was intrigued and gave it a deep smell.. coffee with roasted malts is what I detected, in strong amounts. Wonderful smell and I could tell it was something that I would want to drink, and in fact I've brewed several stouts looking for this sort of "in your face" roasted/coffee aroma.

I tasted it and was not disappointed, just a wonderful Imperial Stout.

Heavy roasted flavor and coffee notes. Any carmel or chocolaty notes were beaten down by the omnipresent roasted malt. The taste would linger, and was really in-your-face. It was telling me that it was not to be messed with, when a strong, but pleasant, alcoholic-type aftertast slapped my taste buds into shape.

This beer seemed to have a good amount of IBU's, which the malt calms down a bit, but then the roasted malts bring the percieved bitterness back up to balance it perfectly.

I was very impressed by this beer. It tastes like the Imperial Stout that I've been trying to make.

I look forward to drinking the other 3.

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Photo of antlerwrestler19
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours oily pitch black with a half finger caramel mocha head that is super creamy - as I begin to take sips it leaves an impermeable coat of lace around the glass - excellent. The smell is coffee roast, chocolate malt, and burnt sugars - nice, roasty, and inviting. The flavors are no surprise - roasted malt, dark bitter and semisweet chocolate, dark fruits that have a bit of tang to them at the back of the tongue and bitter hops play through nicely as well - altogether very roasty and faintly smokey flavor. The mouthfeel is creamy like whole or chocolate milk and there is a presence of the alcohol. This beer is delicious I've had it on tap and bottled numerous times but finally got the audacity to review it. Love this beer and I'm glad its so readily available.


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Photo of McNealc31
4.76/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Old Rasputin pours black as onyx and is completely opaque with a huge, rocky, dark beige head. The flavor is massive and complex. Lots of roasted and bitter notes with a little bit of expected coffee and chocolate. I also got some dark fruits, like currants. The finish is long, lingering, dry, and woody.

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

12 oz bottle served in a pint glass.

The well-sized dark tan head was about as dense and lovely as could be short of a nitro-can or nitro-tap. The liquid appears black with just tiny glimpses of brown at the edges when backlit. The head has excellent durability and leaves lots of light brown lacing.

Rather aromatic for a stout, with an easily detectable hop note over a rich dark malt aroma. The high ABV becomes more evident as the beer warms, but remains partially hidden. This high ABV is exceptionally well hidden in the taste and feel, however. The rich flavor, mainly from dark roasted malt, certainly contributes to the masking of alcohol flavors. There are dark chocolate and, less obvious, coffee notes in the finish. Almost no charred (burnt) taste components. Perfect sweet/bitter balance.

M - Exceptional mouthfeel, with a body that is nicely full for style, a creamy smooth texture, only the slightest alcohol tingle, and a modicum of lively tongue feel from the perfect carbonation.

O - What an excellent balance of hops and dark roasted malt, in this lively RIS! Delicious.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Very dark, tan head, no light shines through.

S - Chocolate and malt. Possibly a slight bit of licorice.

T - Just as it smells, chocolate, heavy dark malts. Very tasty.

M - Not quite syrupy, but heavy as most RIS' are.

O - A very good RIS. One of the best for it's price.

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

I got this one in order to see if it could be a good candidate for my first beer to try aging. I think it's worthy.

A - Great. Very delicious looking. Caramel head, dark black body. yeah, Definitely a pro stout.

S - Not too powerful, but interesting. Sweet candies, dried dates, licorice; all covered with an intense roast smell.

T - INTENSE! POwerful alcohol bite jumps through right away. It's definitely not hidden. Roasted all the way through. Coffee, burt chocolate. Very tastey and changes with temp.

M - very drinkable for such a high abv stout.

O - I think I want to see what the rest of this 4-pack will taste like in another year. If I can wait that long...

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Photo of Drazzamatazz
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: This beer always pours so well it makes me wonder why it needs to be served on nitro. Dark body with a hugely attractive mocha head. Light doesn't make it fully through, but it does give off an almost deep ruby glow in the right angles. Great lacing from this one.

S: Dark malts, molasses, lots of roast. In fact most of the other aromas found could probably be labeled as "burnt". Burnt caramel, burnt chocolate, burnt hops, so on. Alcohol doesn't hide to well in this one. There is a certain level of earthiness here that is hard to describe.

T: Surprise, its a roast bomb. French roast coffee, baker's chocolate, high alpha hops. If you can get past the dark roast there's a dark fruit sweetness that can be found. I keep saying roast because its clearly the highlight, but there are enough subtleties to keep this one interesting especially as it warms.

M: Now I remember why this is always on nitro. For such a big stout the body on this one is a weird combination of high carbonation and a thinner body. Each sip leaves you with a drying warming sensation from the dark (somewhat astringent) roast and alcohol.

O: This was one of the first beers to really pull me into the craft beer world. It has a cult following for a reason and at $8 or less a four pack it is a great bargain. I do wish there was some medium between out of the bottle and on nitro though.

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Photo of xuptygm
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Upon pouring this beer looks and smells amazing. Black as night big frothy brown head. Sweet roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, and alcohol aromas. Smells very complex and delightful.

Very(!) smooth drinking. Starts out tasting of roasted (almost burnt) malt with a little bitterness (I presume from the hops), but then finishes with a very complex smooth chocolate coffee finish.

After taking a few drinks I noticed that the beer leaves a very faint lacing, and the head begins to recede. After warming a bit the beer just keeps getting better. It evolves into a bittersweet chocolate finish that somehow tastes bitter yet equally sweet. I would drink this at room temperature to get the full effect.

One of the best R.I.S. I have had the pleasure of drinking. A classic beer for sure.

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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 12,190 ratings.
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