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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout | North Coast Brewing Co.

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3,665 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: 3,665 | Ratings: 11,990
Photo of Gouldsby
3.52/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a dogfish head snifter out of a 12 oz bottle. one of the best cali bang for the bucks out there at $6.99 for a 4 pack...

refrigerator cold...too cold.
A: pours dark, not inky black dark but dark brown black opaque, like the coat of a wombat. small bubbles thicken but recede to ring the brown black, leaving a modest lace of mocha.

S: immediately briny hops and slight molasses hiding behind a strong co2 release. [poured very cold] as it warms, espresso and herbally bitter notes, fernet and echinacea with a suggestion of prune, and faint molasses edging in shyly.

T: immediately bitter in the mouth, receding to strong roast burnt espresso, astringent charcoal bitterness, barely a suggestion of the fruits hinted at in the nose. this is an overwhelmingly dry and earthy, bitter herbal stout. slight acidity strikes in a flash as the bitterness subsides, finishing dry fading into alcohol warmth late suggestive of melted bitter chocolate.

M: medium full mouthfeel, balanced with a medium carbonation, high for a stout of this gravity, leaves with bitter astringent dryness that mellows.

D: this is one of my go-to's, good punch and hits the hop craving in the back of my toungue. for a stout, it's lacking the robustness and dynamic layers of malt fruits that balance a beer this intensely hoppy, roasted and alcoholic. it's not inherently drinkable, but does play an enjoyable foil to a night of IPA.

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Photo of albern
3.52/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'm just not a fan of Imperial stouts so I'm just not inclined to rave about this beer. It pours about as black as mud, not much carbonation, some retention, some lacing. The head is dirty brown. The smell is thick, oily, molasses, cherry overtones, dark roasted coffee, and sweet malts. This beer is full bodied, strong, bitter, and not for the faint at heart. Perhaps I'm the faint at heart because I couldn't imagine drinking more than one. I can appreciate the style to a point, but then it is just a strong espresso, molasses, bitter and biting roasted malt brew that just stings in the mid section. On the very tail end, some sweet malts and cherry like flavors emerge, but not until I've been hit over the head by the mid section and beyond of just bitter and strong flavors. As the beer settles a bit, the more warming alcohol notes and the sweeter malts present themselves sooner. The aftertaste is a bit over the top for me as well. The mouthfeel is pronounced and thick, but what do you expect from a beer that pours like dirty oil.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.53/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours a nearly opaque dark brown with a creamy tan head that quickly subsides to a thin layer that laces the glass some.

The aroma is roasted chocolate, dark fruits and some anise and alcohol and hops.

The flavor is roasted chocolate and some milkiness with some almost metallic alcohol (that subsides) followed by a big and dry coffee bitterness tinged with licorice. The mouthfeel is medium to full and nice and creamy.

Overall, a nice imperial. It's a little unbalanced in the flavor with alcohol and bitterness - all the elements don't come together well and play nicely. It's good, but I've had better.

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Photo of rsyberg01
3.53/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

S - Served from a 12 oz. bottle. Poured into a room temp pint. Didnt look for a best by date.

A - Black with deep garnet twinges at the edges.

S - Fruitiness with slight malts. A green beer that would do well with some sit down time. Caramel twinges that were underage. A supreme classic with a few years under its belt, but right now it is quite young.

T - Didnt quite balance out. The caramel and the bitterness clashed, but not in a significant way. Both were gentle but didnt agree with eachother. Like I said, let this hang out for a year or two.

M - A little rough, carbonation was out of wack with the gravity of the beer. All would be resolved with some time to work things out.

D - Now: Easy to drink, definitely recommended if you are at a bar that serves it. Later: It will be like drinking thinned out fruity, chocolatey, roasted coffee infused caramel, which I personally would thoroughly enjoy.

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Photo of wailingwench
3.53/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Eye Candy: Jet black with garnett edges.Creamy tan 1 finger head. Thick and dark.

The Nose Knows: Dark bitter expresso mixed with bitter chocolate. Dark fruit finish. Slight aromatic alcohol.

Tongueland: Slight black licorice that gives way to bitter chocolate mixed with burnt dark fruit and oily hop finish. Nothing underlying, begging to come out. Thinner than expected and too fizzy. Lacks thick and chewy stout character.

Bender Factor: Not as I expected. This has had some rave reviews.Perhaps cellaring would improve this.

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Photo of cvfish
3.53/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a very dark black, that produced a tan head that retained well and left a nice lace around the glass

S - Licorce, some roasted chocolate malts

T - Light taste of roasted chocolate malts, some more of raisins and licorce

M - Medium bodied, light carbonation

D - Alright RIS, body feels more like a Irish Dry to me though

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Photo of MrSeth
3.53/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

App: pours with spots of carbonated activity which finally forms a cream-coffee colored head. It settles quickly and leaves just a thin ring of suds around the glass. The body is an opaque black, except for the faintest hints of brown highlight at the edges.

Sm: pure cocoa powder, Van Leer chocolate, rich and earthy Tamari soy.

Ta: a full malt start, smooth texture while those toasty malt flavors become a bit bitter at the end. Not amazingly complex, but not boring either. The malty and bitter flavors take a little getting used to before the balance of this stout can really be appreciated. The malt hides at first and the hops stick out, in the end it works well and is very enjoyable.

Mf: Heavy, smooth, well carbonated despite the appearance of being flat.

Da: The bitter, somewhat sticky finish takes away some degree of the drinkability for me. I love stouts and a nice long finish is always welcome, but here it is a bit exagerated.

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Photo of SQNfan
3.53/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black in color the beer poured a 1" thick light brown head that dissipated slowly (and never completely). The nose had scents of roasted coffee, raisins and bitter chocolate. The palate was concentrated though light on its feet. While nice, similar to the nose, the palate was fairly simple. It did build nicely from the front palate into the midpalate and then lingered with a bitter chocolate flavor. Overall, it was very nice though rather simple.

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Photo of Goldorak
3.55/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled 11aug2004 (thanks Beersignal)

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

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

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

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

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Photo of philbe311
3.55/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Thick tary pour... Slick black... Foamy brown cloud like head...

S - A lot of scents at first, all equally strong... Coffee... Chocolate... Licroise... Leather... Very potent aroma...

T - Dark chocolate... Smokey... Hops... Peanutes... Coffee... Very strong... Too much going on... Heavy alcolhol kick on the back end...

M - Strong and aggressive... Oily texture...

D - Nothing sublte about this stout... Overwhelming to the senses... A little to aggressive for my liking...

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Photo of Hopfenpeter
3.55/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer is almost black in color and builds a sturdy head with staying power. A very attractive beer which is very inviting.

The smell is rich and strong and gives you a hint of what to expect from the aroma.

I could taste the feel of coffee,chocolate and banana under the cover of a strong bitterness which increased as longer the beer stayed in the mouth. Certainly a great stout, yet for my personal taste a little bit too strong in character.

After one beer I had enough and did not feel to have more, yet tasted one more anyways and remarkably the second beer tasted better, because I got used to the beers bite.

great stout

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Photo of nomad
3.55/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours out just about black with light tan head that doesn't amount to much. Real rocky and frothy lace that dies fairly fast and eventually turns into a nothing of a lace. For the nosey stuff, it had an interesting turn on the common imperial stout nut scent, a lighter but more complex type of nut. Real bright fruitiness to the nose, has a citrusy kind zing to it from the very high level of hops.

As for taste, there was an almost salty type of hop bitterness with a long and multi-leveled finish: started with a quick bitterness, then turned to a fruity hoppiness which then mixed with the roasted malt flavor, and lastly it all evened out and washed over the majority of my palate. Fairly thin mouthfeel.

Overall, an overly hoppy version of the Imperial Stout. The more it opened the more malt attempted to balance the strong hops, but in the end the sharp onslaught of hoppy bitter, fruit, and salt won out. I love me a hoppy IPA, but in my opinion an Imperial should not stray too far from its malty base.

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Photo of Snaefridur
3.56/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Jet black, with a 2 finger light brown head, which dissipated quickly.

Smell - nothing stands out, just a bit of alcohol, though not as overwhelming as I'd expected

Taste - starts off with a bitter bite, in the way of a strong coffee, with noticeable (but not overwhelming) alcohol present. This fades into a roasted flavor, and leaves a bitterness on the back of the tongue for a bit.

Feel - It is smooth,not very carbinated, texture is more water than cream, but not very watery.

Overall: This is an OK stout. I don't know how it compares to other RIS's, since this is only the second one that I've tasted. I drink alot of regular stouts, however, and love em. I bought Old Rasputin because of the hype; I thought this was going to be either an "I really LOVE it" or "Omg, I HATE it!" beer, based on the reviews. However, I just feel in the middle. It's not bad, I'll enjoy drinking the bottles I have, and I might buy it again, but I won't be in a rush to do so. It's simply OK.

I was expecting a lot more complexity, but really, I think it's kind of bland. I've tasted stouts with a lot more flavor than this, and I've also had stouts that have a much harder alcohol bit than this. To the reviewers going on about the "kick in the mouth" alcohol experience....I really don't experience that, personally. This is a typical stout. Maybe some people are just used to drinking light beers?

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Photo of GreatPondBrewer
3.56/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aged a year, served at just above cellar temp.

Poured a wonderful dark opaque brown with a tan head that had patchy lace all over the sides of my brand new 3 phils chalice. Smell was very sweet with huge molassas and brown sugar and some figish ester notes. Smelled similar to the brooklyn black chocolate. The taste was very dry and chalky with a slight metallic twang and bitter chocolate notes. There was little hops present, which surprised me coming from a west coast creation. Aftertaste left a sweet, dry red wine effect and a distinct roasted grain taste. Very minimal carbonation with small bubbles here and there. I would like to try a vertical to see how well this holds up. Not a bad Imperial, but I have had much better.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.58/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

4.0 A: Used motor oil color, can't see through anything. Creamy head with average retention and lots of lacing.

3.5 S: Chocolately with hints of coffee and plenty of roasted malt. Some hop aroma too. However, aroma just isn't strong enough.

3.5 T: Big strong taste with is neither bad nor great. Bittersweet chocolate, espresso beans, and lots of roasted malt. Bitter aftertaste.

4.0 M: Medium heavy body. Right amount of carbonation, good for the style. Very smooth.

3.5 D: Not my favorite RIS, but worth a drink.

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Photo of davey101
3.58/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz stubby bottle into a DFH siganture glass at fridge temp. Allowed to warm up for a while.

A - Deep black viscous body that let's zero light pass through. Awesome mocha head and lacing.

S - Bitter chocolate, vanilla and oak, roasted malts. Nothing spectacular.

T - Nice thick mouthfeel with some crisp carbonation. Chocolate and coffee notes with a smooth vanilla and malt finish. Some bitterness and alcohol warming.

O - This RIS is awesome at its price point, but it is fairly average compared to some of the big name stouts out there, despite their high cost.

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Photo of Beanmeister
3.58/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is my first beer I have reviewed on this site. Drank out of a pint glass

A - Rich dark brow (almost black) with a mild brow head

S - The hops stood out the most

T - This was not the most complex stout I have ever had yet the flavor match the I would consider this RIS to have more of a hop character than other RIS

M - like it said on the bottle "worming finish" I couldn't put it any better myself

O - overall i thought this beer brewed well for its genera. I'm not going to go out and by cases of it but I wouldn't turn it down

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.58/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Old Rasputin is an enjoyable RIS with an apparent emphasis on roasted malt, giving this beer roasted and charred flavors with prune-like sweetness and hints of cocoa beans and roasted coffee beans. Unfortunately, the ethanol is able to bleed through somewhat substantially, and while the roasted malt and chocolate flavors are substantial, they're not as overwhelming as in, say, Odin's Tipple. The result, for me, is a beer with good aroma and taste, but unfortunately hurt by an easily detectable ethanol presence that detracts from these more interesting components. Good, but due to this imbalance, I'd say not in the upper echelon as it's currently ranked.

Pours a 2cm head of dark tan foam: the bubbles are small and compressed, giving this a very dense head. Retention is about average for the style, lasting only a minute or so as it fades to a thin cap of foam atop the body. Lacing is present, modest, a few Body is an opaque brown to black, with no visible carbonation.

Aroma primarily of roasted malt, with some dark prune-like sweetness, ethanol, and slight vanilla. Not as complex or huge of an aroma as I was hoping/expecting.

Taste is generally of roasted malt, unrefined cocoa nibs, prune-like sweetness and ethanol. Opens with prune and raisin-like sweetness on the front of the tongue, moving to a mid-palate of roasted malt, prune-like sweetness, strong ethanol, and hints of modest chocolate and coffee. Back of palate picks up ethanol and roasted malt, leading to an aftertaste of lingering roasted malt, minor dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans, and subdued ethanol. I really like the aftertaste of this beer and wish that the entire experience was as enjoyable.

Beer is medium-heavy to heavy in body weight, with medium levels of carbonation. The result is a beer with enough carbonation to slowly propel this across the palate in an appropriate fashion for an imperial stout. Ethanol heat and burn is definitely felt across the entire palate, but is less detracting here than elsewhere. Substantial stickiness across the palate after each sip.

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Photo of rdilauro
3.59/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Just another stout to add to my tastings this winter. Honestly, I was not totally impressed with this one. I tasted it before looking at any of the ratings.
It poured very nicely, total black, creamy head. It had faint hints of coffee and chocolate. I was somewhat disappointed at this point. Then the taste, it was good, enjoyable but not something to get excited about. What I really found missing, was that it wasnt big. It did not fill my mouth as many other bigger stouts have done. Considering this, it also finished very small, which was another reason I did not rate this one that well.
It is totally drinkable, my co-workers really enjoyed this one, it is just not the one for me

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Photo of hophugger
3.59/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a motor oil chocolate brown, very deep. Head is amazing, like the top of a rootbeer float, tan and chunky. Lacing is some of the most amazing I have seen, it is thick and glues itself to the sides of the glass!!. Aroma is of malt, roasted coffee, spice and a hint of chocolate. Taste is bold, with burnt malt/coffee being predominant. Could have used with a little more roast and less burnt. Alcohol is pretty well hidden for a 9% ABV. The undertones of coffee, spice and light chocolate would have been better if it wasn't for the overwhelming burnt bitterness. Ok, I guess it wants to be more, and I am trying, once I get the bitterness off my palate..

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Photo of kelticblood
3.59/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is my 100th review so I thought I'd choose something worth remembering.

The pour yielded a 1 inch off-white head that reduced to about a 1/2 inch and stayed.As It reduced it left a solid ban of sticky lace around my glass.The color is an opaque black.Alcohol is evident on the nose and in the taste almost right away.wheeew this is strong.Long very bitter finish.Full bodied with a thick mouthfeel.Alcohol makes the mouthfeel somewhat harsh..The alcohol and the strong hop bitterness seems to hide any real flavor here.Very creamy with a rolling texture.Hints of chocolate and coffee are noted on the taste.Very malty with a dry finish.

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Photo of grynder33
3.6/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had a beautiful dark color, a coffee chocolate aroma, initialy a smooth velvety feel in the mouth, but the CO2 started coming on strong. The first tastewas complex, fruit chocolate carmel, but then a big bitter alcohol taste started building in the back of my throat and became unpleasant. This is good stuff, but you probaly have to sip it slower than Scotch Whiskey

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Photo of tjthresh
3.6/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours and inky opaque black with a brown head that disapates to a ring. Molasses, smoke, bitter dark chocolate, dark roast coffee, chewing tobacco, spicey hops and alcohol in the nose. Prunes, very bitter, chocolate grit. Light smoke. Rather thin. Higher carbonation for the style. Slick and oily. Very good.

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Photo of far333
3.6/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This one's powerful, starting with the scary illustration of the Russian cleric himself on the label. Pours a deep brown color, with flashes of ruby where the light gets through. Head is an inch high, light brown, big and frothy. Rich aroma of chocolate, toasted malt, and alcohol. Bitter coffee flavor greets the tongue, followed by a strong alcohol finish. Not much room left for other flavors. I'm half way through the glass, and the head remains, accompanied by wavy lacing down the sides of the glass. Not for the faint of heart.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.6/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 fl oz bottle, poured into a Westmalle chalice.

Coal black in colour, with a thin covering of a tanned head, this turned into a couple of wisps and half a collar before very long.

The aromas and taste were very simular, dark chocolate and burnt malts, some raisins and Victoria plums were detected in the taste however, which gave it a less agressive flavour.

The body was rich and heavy, which hid the alcohol very well.

Easy to drink and interesting, not a style I have on a regular basis, but most enjoyable.

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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 11,990 ratings.
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