Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout | North Coast Brewing Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
3,656 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 3,656 | Ratings: 11,955
Photo of phishgator
4.73/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass with a nice creamy tan head that stays the entire session. The color is opaque and nontransparent. The aroma is of roasted coffee beans and dark chocolate. The taste is as good or better than any RIS I have had to date (I do have 2 Stone RIS's in the fridge waiting to be unleashed). The roasted coffee and dark chocolate shine through as there is a touch of milk chocolate. The mouthfeel is thick and full. The drinkability is great for two and then your to full to drink another.

 506 characters

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

Coffee and chocolate tastes dualing, with coffee getting the slight advantage. A little dry. Some roasted malt and nut flavors popping up here and there. The head's bubbles are precise and poppable, rather than creamy. There is a nice lingering aftertaste, but the flavors don't over stay their welcome. Despite its alcohol content and robust character, Old Rasputin doesn't fatigue the taste buds. You can have a few and enjoy each one more than the last...just remember that 8.9% will catch up on you quick. Old Rasputin is still a mystical favorite.

 552 characters

Photo of unknownlamer
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

This is quite possibly the most attractive beer I have ever poured. It is a thick deep black with an ever so slight hint of ruby around the edges with a nice brown head that laces really nicely.

The smell is delicious. Very strong and roasty, a bit chocolately, and really toffee like. The taste follows up strongly. It's thick and syrupy in the mouth with a very strong roasted flavor. A bit of coffee and a mild chocolate flavor comes through along with a bit of a burnt fruit flavor. The only fault I can find in the taste is that the finish has a bit too much bitterness for my taste. After a few sips the alcohol warmth hit my stomach strongly. This goes well with a chilly winter day.

There is a downside to this. The flavor is perhaps a bit too strong, and it is hard to drink this at anything faster than a snails pace. More than one (*maybe* two) of these is a bit too much for my palate to handle.

 913 characters

Photo of Silenus
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a beautiful beer! This Imperial Stout pours a beautiful black with a thin caramel head. The aromas are of chocolate and coffee. The flavors are surprisingly smooth for a beer of this ABV. It has a full mouthfeel with a long, dry finish of burnt toast. The hops are perfectly balanced with the dark roasted malts. BALANCE is the key! Take my advice though, don’t have this with a sweet cookie for dessert ... match it with a piece for dark bitter chocolate. Excellent!

 473 characters

Photo of allengarvin
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out an oily black appearance with a light coating of tan foam across the top. Nose is filled with ripe, sweet fruity aroma and rich, velvety maltiness. First taste is slightly roasted malt with creamy cocoa and toffeeish notes. Lots of bitterness, but there's a lot of malt to pit it against. Dries out a bit at the end, with a modest acidity. Full-bodied, warming with a creamy, soft texture.

 399 characters

Photo of Bcant
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a rocky brown head. Smells strongly of dark chocolate underlined with liquorices root. A few alcoholic whiffs but that is expected for a beer that’s 9 percent. While there is a hint of alcohol in the bouquet the palate is incredibly dry for a stout this strong; dominate flavors: coca, French-press dark roast coffee and sherry whit hints of oak and port. Viscous and chewy, this Siberian coats the mouth but is not too oily.

 443 characters

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

Old Rasputin, my little friend in the stubby 12oz. bottle. Deep and dark, a black that matches the nefarious deeds performed by the Mad Monk. Except the bottled version sports a halo, one made of pale brown foam.

Smells of chocolate malts, with a nice vanilla-bean twang and earthy hoppiness.

Taste just screams decadence. Rich and creamy chocolate, like a liquid Hershey's Kiss coating the back of my mouth, with a distinct roasted malt taste. Overshadowing everything is a surprising hoppiness, reminding me that this is Northern California's take on a classic style.

This is one of my anytime beers. Always available, always enjoyable. For just under seven bucks, a four pack can spend a few days in my fridge. The 12oz size is nice, too. I don't think I've ever seen another RIS in this size, for this price. I can totally see the czars of old Russia lounging around, drinking this tasty brew out of huge goblets while serving girls spoon caviar into their mouths.

 977 characters

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

After a hard night at work, I celebrated the end of the day by cracking this stubby bottle open and carefully pouring it into my Baldwin-Wallace College standard pint glass.
Old Rasputin - does anybody remember the movie HBO did about the now dead Russian legend starring the bad guy from the original Die Hard movie? - poured with a finger of thick, off white head that retained mediocrely well and left some lacing down the side of the glass. The beer is the thick blackness of the empty theatres I had left behind at work: hiding and betraying no secrets, forever comlex. The aroma was thick was and heavy on roasted malts with a little alcohol peaking through. I took a sip, a big sip to be honest, of the syrupy, full bodied brew and allowed it to wash over my tongue. The flavor seemed to attack and hold my senses at bay: strong coffee flavors, with well roasted malts, and a alcohol finish. Old Rasputin and I sat around the family room and finished the evening in style. After finishing the beer, fully enjoyed, I wanted nothing less than another of the same exact beer and scolded myself for not purchasing more than a single bottle of this brew. I will be returning to this one as the seasons change and the temperature drops. A real treat, and dangerously drinkable as far as this style and this ABV goes.

 1,318 characters

Photo of paterlodie
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No freshness date. Litle yellow head and a black beer. Nose is very roasty, hoppy, chocolate and black prunes fruity. Nice carramellic sweet hint with it complete the great nose. Taste is strong, heavy, litle sweet, caramellic and IMO litle overdone on the roastmalt part.Makes it also overbittered in to many I guess but for me just fine. Edgy mouthfeel but well drinkable.

 374 characters

Photo of hyuga
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pure black in the glass with a thin ring of a sticky head. A carbonation phantom forms on top of the black liquid as well.

Very roasty aroma with some vanilla and a good hop presence. Raw and untamed. Some licorice as well...

Big roastiness combines with a huge leafy-bitter hop character for the main part of the flavor. Starts off like this and becomes more pronounced in the middle, leaving with a hop bang in the finish. It's most definitely woody too. A bit of vanilla creeps through the cracks of the rough roastiness and hoppiness. Hops stay big and leafy in the aftertaste. Again, quite raw.

Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, but jagged-edged from the hopping. Big and bold body.

This is the old standby Russian Imperial, $8.49 for a 4-pack, which is not bad for the style. Fresh it's a raw roast and hop monster, but aged I imagine the vanilla and other subtleties would come through more and create a smooth sea of complexities. Either way, excellent.

 967 characters

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I gave this a straight poor from a 12 0z bottle into a pint glass and the head came above the brim. Didn’t expect that. The color isn’t exactly black, but a beautiful dark brown. Leaves slight Belgian lace.

The nose is deceptive. There are obvious roasted malt notes, but there are some fruits there as well. Perhaps some black licorice. The bottle says 9% abv, but there’s no alcohol yet.

Big roasted flavor. Too delicate to be called coffee. There’s a sweetness that prevents the “coffee” from dominating the flavor. There’s also a slight bit of sour to it near the finish. The finish leaves the roasted malt with you and the 9% abv finally lets itself be noticed effervescing into the nose.

Big texture in this beer. It’s very thick, but the bubbles are a little small for my liking. Very creamy feel.

This is an awesome beer. It has a very distinct taste that’s good for sipping. However, the lasting roasted finish keeps me from wanting to immediately crack open another one.

 1,003 characters

Photo of buckiflyer
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the beer alcohol limit being raised in NC Old Rasputin is no available at Whole Foods, purchased a bottle for $2.50. Poured a midnight black color with a huge head. Rasberry and chocolate smell. Smooth taste was a big surprise, hints of chocolate and coffee flavor, a great heavy mouthfeel, alcohol aftertaste is noticable. Long lasting head with lacing. This is good stuff, I can't wait to share with my father next time he is in town.

 446 characters

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

I first had this beer about 7 or 8 years ago and it was just my second Imperial stout after Sam Smith's Imperial that I'd ever had the chance to try. Now that I can buy this beer in NC, the anticipation of cracking this one open is exhilerating. The beer pours black, nearly opaque, with a 1 inch light brown head. I can detect a whiff of coffee, dark malt and hops. The initial taste is of chocolate,coffee, plums, dark fruit and hops. As the beer warms, the alcohol taste comes out more, but does not take anything away from the drinkability of this beer. I could easily drink several of these in one night. This beer is just as good as I remember it. Excellent.

 664 characters

Photo of fingolfin72
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Color- Essentially black, with a diminutive palomino head.

Nose- High-quality dark chocolate, espresso, milk.

Palate- Chocolate milk with some espresso, toffee and campari bitterness, a touch of winy acidity, and a very creamy mouthfeel.

This is a lovely slow-sipping beer. I sipped it while Traffic's "John Barleycorn" was playing on the deck of the Sawmill Taproom.

 376 characters

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

Presentation: 12oz brown glass generic stubby bottle, black and gold label

Appearance: very dark brown color, medium brown head, small but sticky lacing

Smell: roasted malt, chocolate, alcohol

Taste: full body, sticky mouth feel, espresso, bitter chocolate, prunes, molasses, hop bitterness

Notes: one of the best of its kind

 337 characters

Photo of numenor1
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown, though not opaque and lightens up a bit around the endges. Head is thin tan and isn't leaving a lot of lacing for me. Aroma is pretty nice, some dark espresso roastiness and bitter chocolate, with a slight touch of hops. Taste is fantastic. Very roasty, fairly dry (for an impy). Starts of full of roastiness, espresso and bitter chocolate, some slight fruit midway, then the hops emerge through the finish coupled with a slight alcoholic spicyness. It doesn't suffer from being too sweet like some impy's i've had do. It's very nice. Perhaps that's why the body is a bit thinner than expected, but that's a tradeoff I can make. A very very good stout. Alcohol is noticeable in the finish, but not a problem

 732 characters

Photo of Dubblebock
2.84/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Old Rasputin was certainly a beer that I have been looking forward to trying for quite some time now. I have seen it quite often but never had the chance to pick up a bottle to sample until recently. I have to say, this was definitely a case of expectations exceeding reality. The bottle looks good, the drawn face of Rasputin himself cocking a wary eye towards the drinker.

The pour was excellent as well. The beer was nothing but inky blackness, with a chocolate head of foam. I began to get the idea that something was amiss, however, when the nose came at me with alcohol stringency and bitterness.

The taste was less than impressive to me. There were notes of dark chocolate and burnt coffee, but all of the complexity in this beer was totally masked by the alcohol. Granted, it's a bruiser of a beer at 9% ABV, but there was clearly no attempt to hide the potency behind the flavor. The beer just got bitter and uninviting as I made my way through the mug. I did get a few notes of hops and dry grains, but all was lost in the end.

Mouthfeel was ok, the aftertaste bitter. Not drinkable at all, IMO. I won't be reaching for Rasputin's face any time soon. Disappointing, as this is always considered a classic beer by most. It's definitelty too over the top for my tastes.

 1,286 characters

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

This is an excellent beer that pours dark and kicks up a lovely tan head. The flavor is fantastic, and I could really taste the darker malts -- but without the overwhelming bitterness and over-the-top burnt coffee profile that haunts other Russian Imperials.

There is some sweetness to found here, as well as some bittersweet chocolate and roasty/toasty elements. This full, rich beer is complemented by a very good mouthfeel. The nearly 9% ABV is expertly concealed by serious depth of flavor. Old Rasputin is a great brew at a great price. I will pay this one a visit again soon.

 584 characters

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

Pours a nice toffee brown/ black with a bit of seriously brown head. The smell is a bit of a surprise- almost floral in addition to the usual caramel/ roast/ soy stuff. The taste is heavy on the acrid/ roasty/ burnt side with a hint of chocolate and italian roast coffee- flirts with being too much, but never really goes too far. Mouthfeel really stands out in this one- less body than some other impy stouts that lean towards the thick syrupy side- but that's perfect in this beer; nice to have one that doesn't feel immensley sticky. Alcohol's nicely balanced, too. The intense roastiness limits the drinkability somewhat, but I could certainly have at least one more...

 673 characters

Photo of canucklehead
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is really the best imperial stout value around. Available in six packs for a reasonable price, this beer constantly amazes me with its complexity and bigness. The real treat is the sinful chocolate notes packed with hops and burnt malt. Cellar age only increases the smoothness of all the flavours. A real contender for my favourite beer.

 343 characters

Photo of kgotcher
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours Black as night with a hint of ruby if held up to light. Thick brown head. Smell is complex with all sorts of roasted goodness, mouthfeel is a bit slick and warm, there is definately some alchohol going on in there. Dry finish. Taste is strong flavors of roasted coffee, smokey roasted malts and some powerful hops busting through.

For a strong brew this one goes down pretty nice considering that it has an almost liquor like feel to it. Stouts are not my favorite but are definately moving up because of brews like this one. A coupel of these will do you in good, thank God they only come in a 4 pack.

 612 characters

Photo of cooter
3.7/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hark, and hear an Ode to Ol' Rasputin:
With ye heavy roasted barley, that tastes just like rye
and clumpy, wispy, whipped-looping froth that I've never seen die,

Your bitter citrus hops are locked in battle for
flavor supremacy in an escalating war.

Chocolate! Coffee! Citrus and bitter and pungent and sour!

Tastes towering higher than Soviet nuclear stock
to show how much stonger they are than a bock!

I am kicked in the teeth
by the intensity you bequeath

So to ye I sing this ode,
for with the brew that you are,
warmth and hops and malt are never far,
and I have no fear of getting cold.

 616 characters

Photo of silver0rlead
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque black with a nice tan head, very imposing looking. Aroma is expresso, coffee, chocolate, blackstrap molasses, citrusy and floral hops. Flavor is very complex and imposing; big coffee and chocolate flavors upfront followed by a blackstrap molasses sweetness that is balanced by a floral and citrus hops bitterness. Mouthfeel is huge with a big body and moderate carbonation and a bitter, slightly astringent finish. Alcohol notes are present, but balanced and drinkability is near the top for an imperial stout.

 526 characters

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.18/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My first Russian Imperal Stout. Poured out to a black coffee color with a nice, full brown foamy head that was well lived. Notes of lace were all about inside the glass. Aromas similar to whisky were first noted, as were indications of chocolate and coffee. Flavor was full and rich, with notes of molassas, cocoa and coffee, with some smokey elements to it as well. The big drawback for me with this beer was the alcohol. Way too present, as it almost overpowered the other flavors. Very hard to ignore. Full and thick mouthfeel was similar to what I would imagine having motor oil in your mouth being like. I guess i'd have another, but certainly not right after having one. Worth a try.

 689 characters

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

Summary: A very tasty and enjoyable beer with relative complexity and smoothness

Appearance - It poured a very dark brown, almost black in color and seemed somewhat viscous. It had a very nice medium-brown colored head that stayed intact for more than a minute.
Smell - Hint of nutmeg, but first impression was of chocholate and Ethiopian coffee. Very pleasing because it was subtle & slightly unexpected.
Taste - Smooth and full-bodied, and yet crisp with a dry semi-sweet chocholate taste.
Mouthfeel - Lingering dryness that just doesn't seem to go away. My mouth felt like I was continuously tasting the beer.
Drinkability - Very good; can easily have a few of these. I'm not sure what it can be paired with because of it's accented texture, but I think a fruit-based dessert would be good.

Additional comments - I think this beer is well-balanced because no one ingredient is over-powering, but that also causes it to not be distinct and memorable.

 962 characters

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 11,955 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!