Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout | North Coast Brewing Co.

3,694 Reviews
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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Reviews: 3,694 | Ratings: 12,103
Photo of FranklinPCombs
3.41/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a dark brown with ruby hints behind it. Head is less than a finger and recedes very quickly to a tiny layer of foam. The smell is chocolatey spice, but it is also very alcoholic too. Very little hops or malts are evident. The taste is actually very sweet, and it actually tastes like a less tasteful stout with a shot of whisky in it, adding a heavy alcoholic and sweet taste to it. Besides that there are some fruity tones to it, but I really cant get by that initial sweet alcoholicness. The mouthfeel is medium body with plenty of carbonation, which is fine. However, I find this beer tasting way too alcoholic to me.

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Photo of ibbjamin
3.42/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Paid $7.99 for a 4 pack of 12 oz. bottles from BevMo in San Jose, CA. Poured one of the bottles into a snifter.

Quarter inch tan head. Somewhat fizzy, but does not seem too carbonated. The beer is black with minimal head retention. Some lacing.

Alcohol and a complex malt blend in the nose. Roasty and some chocolate.

Taste is of nicely roasted malts. Not as complex as the nose.

Mouth is more carbonated than I expected. Pleasant. Medium body and a bit thinner for a RIS.

A bit overrated IMO. There are better RISs than this.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.42/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a New Belgium globe glass. The beer is pitch black with a thick dark espresso foamy head that takes forever to dissipate. Good sticky lacing persists. The beer smells like alcohol, big time. But through that is bitter chocolates and perhaps roasted malts. The beer tastes warm and boozy up front. After that, raisins, bitter chocolate, and burnt malts. A slightly smokey presence is also noted. The mouthfeel is bright, carbonated, and dry.

Overall, the alcohol just ruins everything for me here. It's in the smell, the mouthfeel, and the taste. Doesn't leave much room leftover for taste ... I know my viewpoint clashes with nearly every BA out there, but that's why it's MY viewpoint.

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Photo of Onceeven
3.42/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, yeah... Is this maybe the freakiest looking bottle of beer out there. Old R. kept staring out at me from my fridge and giving me the willies.. so I had to get rid of it..

This beer is quite dark, but doesn't seem as impenetrably black as other stouts. Thin mocha colored head, that dissipated quickly, but left thick lacing.
You can smell the alchol on this one, along with a subtle smokiness from the roasted malt. Also a hint of coffee.
The mouthfeel is thick and syrupy, which is one reason I love stouts. That along with the warming effect of the alcohol makes this one a good one to sip on a cold night.
Wow, big flavor here. Initial tartness or sourness as it hits the tongue, then mellows a bit turning sweet, only to surge back with a big alcoholic hop finish.

A complex brew, but with a bit too much emphasis on the alcohol. It seems to dominate the other flavors to a point where the overall effect is compromised. Good, not great.

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Photo of flooshmander
3.43/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The high alcohol content took a little away from it. I would have enjoyed this beer more at 7.00 abv. As for the particulars rated above: strong point is its look and smell. The alcohol is what equated to the taste & mouthfeel rating being lower than the olfactory.

I'd drink this with dessert in a small 6oz glass.

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Photo of Jonoesh5
3.43/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wow, alcohol is front and center. Surprised by how prominent this flavor is over oats, dark chocolate, and other notes. A very bitter stout with soapy/carbonated mouthfeel and strong, strong alcohol warmth. Unfortunately, not a stout I would recommend or have again anytime soon :/

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Photo of RJLarse
3.43/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked up an Old Rasputin in a specialty shop to taste, review and enjoy. I poured this beer in to a pint tumbler.

Pours black and opaque. Two fingers of rich brown head is quite resilient. The head produces moderate lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell is fairly robust and slightly sweet, with an aroma of malt, brown sugar and molasses. The smell of alcohol is also present.

The taste is very strong, rich and robust. It tastes like sweet coffee, with hints of unsweetened chocolate and malt. There is also a somewhat bitter finish. The aftertaste is both sweet and bitter at the same time.

The mouth feel is think heavy and syrupy.

This is a drinkable beer, but heavy, filling and a little long on ABV. It’s good but I wouldn’t want to have it very often, not more than one or two in a sitting, and I wouldn’t want to drink them very fast. Certainly not an every day experience.

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Photo of Higravity
3.43/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I think this beer gets by on reputation alone. It is as mild of the road Imperial Stout I have had. It has the oil color and profile one would think with very little tan-cream head. There are some hop notes in the nose but it is nothing but burnt wood shavings with out the smoke after that. It is just a roasted heavy body, mostly from the alcohol, stout that can't be called creamy, it is very acidic. It lacks the smoothness of a better stout and the fruitness that can hide in the beers is also not present. I am not impressed, but by the end I almost enjoy chewing on burnt wood, but then again maybe not.

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Photo of jcalabre
3.45/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Originally sampled on 15 June 2002. It pours a very dark brown. The taste is full of burnt coffee & chocolate flavors, but in my opinion, they are not as nice as other imperials, like Victory Storm King, Alesmith Speedway or Stone Russian Imperial. I think it was OK, nothing special

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Photo of wanker
3.45/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It is mandatory that you let this beer warm before drinking it - what a difference it makes.

When I take my first sips right from the fridge, the hops are way too harsh, making the beer unbalanced and killing the other flavors. But -- if you let it warm up some -- the hops mellow out and the other flavors come through. The beer then becomes nice and balanced.

This is a good, complex imperial stout. A bit too syrupy in the finish for me, but not as syrupy as Samuel Smiths.

Given the choice, I'd prefer Victory Storm King, my favorite impy stout. But if Storm King is unavailable, this is a good second choice.

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Photo of Finatic
3.45/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a miniature Cigar City sifter.

A:Pours a dark black with a light brown head. Very little lacing.

S: Smells of burnt malts, not much coffee or chocolate hints as some other stouts.

T: Maybe I had an off bottle, but the taste was very bland and didn't have that nice chocolate, burnt coffee taste I so desire in my stouts.

M: Very bland on the palate for me I'm afraid. Just didn't have that oomph that most good stouts have.

O: Not my favorite stout and was disappointed after hearing such good things about it.

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Photo of Minkybut
3.45/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tumbler at 5o degrees. Beer was black as night. Smell was dark roasted malty nutty smoke laced like wood fire smell. Head went away rather quick. I though this was a right strong stout a little bitter for my taste, but stout folks I think will like and shuld try it. I most likely will not purchase again though.

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Photo of Duttonic
3.45/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer is strong. It reminds me a lot of black licorice. Great appearance and mouthfeel, but I had trouble downing a pint of it.

The smell was intense and dark, but inviting. I would like to try this out of a bottle rather than from a tap to see if there is a noticeable difference in taste. Worth trying if you enjoy stouts.

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Photo of williamherbert
3.47/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The color is a deep deep dark dark brown ... almost black. There is a massive chocolate brown ice cream float-style head. The color is utterly impenetrable.

The scent is heavy but sweet. Has a very dark malty aroma, but with a slight sweetness that is a nice counterpoint. There is a very hard, alcoholic smell. I can tell this is going to be strong.

The taste is a karate kick of alcohol to the taste buds. A very deep coffee flavor. Very harsh. Need an appreciation for stouts and/or a strong palate to appreciate this baby.

It's a syrupy and thick feel. Leaves a heavy residue on the tongue. It's a very good beer, but it's a one-and-done for this advocate. It's way too heavy for me to have more than one per night. Maybe one per month.

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Photo of rastaman
3.48/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Quite big and complex. Roasty, licorice aroma, with more hops in the aroma than i expected, quite aromatic. The palate is quite thick and roasty, with some licorice and raisins, with quite a few hops to finish, the finish is even a bit citric. Nice bitter finish. Flavours don't quite blend however.

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Photo of tone77
3.48/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1 inch head. No light penetrating through this beer. Smell is of malts and chocolate. Taste is complex, roasted malts, chocolate, a touch of coffee, a little bit of bitterness. Feels creamy in the mouth and has average drinkability. Overall a good quality beer.

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Photo of mjpolzin
3.48/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sometimes on Beer Advocate, I think we all see a score that a beer has obtained and it affects the score that you give it when rating said beer. What I mean by this is if a beer has a good score, we are more likely to score it higher or vice versa for a bad beer. Old Rasputin was one that I made sure I bucked this trend because I did not enjoy this as much as other Imperial Stouts I have had.

I drank this beer 3-4 years ago and didn't remember much about it so I had to try it again. Unfortunately, I hoped it would have been better.

It poured a very dark black and a had a nice, big tan colored foam head. This is where things started going downhill for me. As hard as I tried to smell all of the things I like about a Russian Imperial (dark fruit, malts, booze), I only got the faintest hint of a malty stout. The taste was very hoppy up front. I tried to taste the dark fruits that usually come with a RIS and even though they were there it was a mostly watery finish. I have to say that if I tried to do a blind taste test on this beer, I am not even sure if I would know it was a RIS because it doesn't have enough of a distinctive taste.

I didn't hate this beer. I do like Imperial Stouts and they are especially good this time of year as I am reviewing this beer 2 days before Christmas. That said, there are many other Russian Imperial Stouts I would pick over this one.

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Photo of kindestcut
3.48/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The Old Rastputin poured black...an impenetrable void as black as coal. The dark tan head was quite active and lasted several minutes as I allowed the beer to warm before tasting.

Man, I could tell by the aroma that this was going to be a kick in the nuts...again, compliment or insult? I dunno. The beer smelled like a cookout. Just replace the steak with malt and you got it. "One malt burger! Well done!" This beer is like roasted malt incranate.

OK, now, the taste. BAM! Down on the floor I go! In reality, I don't remember much from the first taste. It was so overwhelming, I had to gather my thoughts...including, do I really like this or not? I decided to walk away for a few minutes to gather myself and return. I'm glad I did.

After a few more sips, this beer is beginning to grow on me. The flavor is overwhelming. Espresso, a hint of chocolate, alcohol in the distance (which would be pretty dangerous for a beer with a 8.9% ABV but you can't chug this!) and a bitter finish. This is a beer that kicks your ass, follows you home and sleeps with your wife.

The mouthfeel is very good...creamy and chewy...like coffee taffy. The beer is actually easily sipped (I wanted to say drinkable but it's too harsh for a gulp) after a few minutes. However, the drinkability is pretty low for me given the strength of this bad boy.

I feel like I just saw a disturbing, yet brilliant movie. I acknowledge the genius but I don't know how much I truly liked it. I don't think I did but I could be wrong....

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Photo of Richardberg
3.48/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Very dark liquid with a big creamy head. Didn't last too long but still much nicer than the average imperial.

S: lots of dark malts from toasted to burnt, brown sugar, cinnamon, ethanol

T: a lot of bitterness I wasn't expecting from the smell. Alcohol is very present.

M: coats the mouth nicely, but not especially creamy or full. No carbonation to speak of once the head dissipates.

D: nice beer overall but the ABV would keep me from having more than 1. If the taste were exceptional or the weight better hidden I might press onward, but that's not the case.

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Photo of Richardbeerlover
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice dark stout. Nice dark color and the taste is neutral. Only the slightest of sweetness. Good flavor with just the right amount of carbonation. Enjoyed this. Nothing really stood out as being exceptional to me except that the high ABV really gives you a nice wack.

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Photo of MadTown1000
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours dark and thick and heavy into a pint glass with the kind of dissipating-from-the-bottom-up foam you generally see with nitro-cans. The several inches of brown-white large-bubble foam that remain on top just stay there. Given 2 minutes, about 2/3 of it is still there, with major lacing along the part that's receded. The beer itself is a very dark chocolate brown with almost no hint of translucency.

The smell out of the bottle is sweet, roasted caramel malt, not quite the chocoalte or coffee flavors I've noted on some other imperial stouts. Not quite as strong as I've noted on some others either. Almost as strong out of the glass as out of the bottle. Quite inviting.

Taste is a touch more bitter than I like in the style. It's got a bit of a sting to it, and the bitter sticks around longer than the aforementioned sweet caramel malt and other swirling accompanying flavors. Most prominent note is something like roasted espresso beans. It's tasty, but not what I'd hold up as an exemplar of the style. If you like your sweet paired with bitter, though, it might be just for you.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Copped this single 12oz short, stout, fat brew from Total Wine and More in West Orange... pours a motor-oil, jet-black color with modest tan head... smell is full of dark, burnt chocolate and espresso... taste is dominated by a cocoa-powder, dark chocolate, black coffee flavor that has an unappealing bitter-sweet aftertaste... the bitterness is very noticeable, and although the 9% ABV is somewhat well-masked behind a strong dark-chocolate flavor, the taste wasn't my favorite for this style... although not bad, wasn't my absolute favorite either... a strong, rich, dark, thick brew with an overwhelming flavor that pulls through noticeably... heard good things about this brew, and although it didn't disappoint, definitely wasn't my favorite represenation of the style... Good enough to recommend... Worth a try if you're a fan of the style...

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Photo of seaoflament
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Floydster for this beer.

I used to drink this beer more frequently, before I got into trading, and this was one of the beers that got me hooked into this particular style. I haven't had one of these in months. Let's see how it holds up now.

Pours jet black with a huge 3 finger thick head that slowly trickles down. The foam takes a few minutes to "settle" to an inch of foam and leaves behind thick soapy lacing behind.

Smells of citrus hops upfront, I forgot how hoppy this RIS is. Great toasted and bready malts in the background with some notes of toffee and milk chocolate. It smells like a citrus flavored chocolate. There are also some dark fruits hiding in the back along with some grains and a touch of alcohol.

Tastes of bitter chocolate with some citrus and deeply roasted barley finish. Lots of burnt toast and hops as well. Dark fruits and some alcohol. Tastes a little rough actually. I'm picking up some flavors of alcohol soaked raisins.

Great carbonation and almost silky mouthfeel.

Sadly, this one isn't what I remembered it to be and it's not even among my top 10 or 15 RIS I've tasted. Tastes too rough, the alcohol is a bit intrusive and it could use a sweeter chocolate taste instead of the dry, dark and bitter taste.

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Photo of sfprint
3.51/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Very dark, but not as dark as other Imperial Stouts I've seen. Almost a centimeter of head, cola colored, with teeny trails of bubbles scurrying to the surface. If looking at the thinner parts of the body, it's reddish brown.

S: Although the alcohol is one of the first things that hits the nose, it does so in sort of a soft way.

T: semi bitter coffee, tobacco, alcohol. There are also some grassy, hay like notes in a pleasant way. I would find it more pleasant with less alcohol or less of an alcohol flavor.

M: Smooth with a medium body, but the alcohol doesn't leave the most pleasant of mouth sensations.

D: Relatively heavy, I couldn't have more than 1 or two. It goes down ok for a high alcohol beer.

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Photo of marcobrau
3.51/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a small goblet with minimal foaming. Opaque in color. Aroma of espresso. Starts with intense coffee and chocolate flavors, then more chocolate, almost burnt chocolate until a long bitter finish laced with alcohol. Mouthfeel and body are almost similar to a fuller bodied wine such as a cabernet. The most memorable character of this beer is its profound bitterness in the finish. I've had this on tap before and I think I enjoyed more off a tap than out of the bottle. It went especially well with some Mississippi Mudcake. On its own, and out of the bottle, it comes across as a bitter strong stout and bit brash. Still, a damn fine stout.

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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 12,103 ratings.
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