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 clayrock81
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick, midnight black with little head and little lacings. This stuff is thick. A strong malt smell of roasted, coffee, some chocolate, probably some other malts like bread or toasted could be in there. Incredibly smooth when you first sip it, the roasted and chocolate malts really kick in. Definitely a sipper. Full-bodied and slightly creamy (although you could slightly syrupy as well), this beer passes over the tongue leaving behind that malty goodness and finishes with a firm, dry backbite. If it weren't for the ABV I could drink this all day.

 560 characters

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

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer pours a jet black opaque body that has tiny little bubbles rising on the edge of the glass. The tan head that is creamy and smooth so fades into a wisp around the rim.

S- Smells of dark roasted and toasted malts are combined with some notes of raisins, coffee and a faint hint of tar. The finish has a nice green spicy quality perhaps from hops.

T- This beer has a slight sour note in the beginning with deep roasted malt and to toasted malt flavors aswell. The hint of coffee and some caramel notes are also the taste. The finish has a dark malt bitterness combined with some hop bitterness.

M- The mouthfeel is medium-full with some creamy texture to it. The alcohol is smooth and soft with a faint hint of astringency.

D- This is a nice big stoic beer that has lots of dark roasted layers. There is a nice creamy quality that makes it drink like a meal.

 910 characters

Photo of kscaldef
3.91/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Fills a Spielgau tulip with over an inch of dense khaki head over jet black body.

S: Classic roasted malts and coffee, slightly acrid with a hint of alcohol.

T: Coffee and roast, pumpernickel bread

M: Fairly light-bodied compared to the current imperial stout style, much more akin in mouthfeel to a standard stout. Develops a bit more richness as it comes up from refrigerator temperature.

O: Very classic RIS, although it comes across a little over-attenuated these days. Personally I prefer something which leans more in the chocolate direction than the dark-roast coffee direction.

 594 characters

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

A 12 oz bottle purchased from LiquidSolutions.biz (free advertising for an excellent store).

A: The ale is a deeep black color with softer brown highlights when held to light. The head is small now but was bigger on pour and has laced nicely.

S: The aroma is one of roasted malts and sweet chocolate held together by a strong alcohol presence.

T: The stout has a strong, bold presence taste-wise. The first flavors to hit the tastebuds are roasted malts and alcohol strength. The intensity of the alcohol gives way to a vinous complexity. That complexity gives up hints of chocolate and warming alcohol. My only complaint is that the flavors are not big and bold immediately, they require a bit of time to really shine.

M: The roasted complexity is very pleasing, giving the stout multiple levels of flavor that build well upon each other.

D: The drinkability is limited by the 9.0% abv. The flavors meld well together though, creating a deeply complex ale that is smooth without knocking one out.

 1,012 characters

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

Served in straight pint glass. Poured a beautiful black, with a lovely cascade ascending into 3/4 inch of dark tan head that had excellent retention and left a moderate amount of lacing.

Rich roasted malt aromas greet the nose, without the annoying coffee notes so often found in brews of this type. Those deep scents translate into a glorious flavor on the tongue. Nothing exotic, edgy, radical or extreme, just the exact stout experience you're looking for.

The body is wonderfully full, smooth, textured and coats the tongue like a well-worn jacket. Easily drinkable, this is one of the big stouts I have several of in a row. Truly a world-class brew, if this is not available locally it's certainly worth much effort to obtain it by whatever means at your disposal.

 771 characters

Photo of cjgator3
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark black with a creamy tan head that sticks all over the glass. Dark roasted malt aroma with a bit of cocoa, coffee and nuts. Taste is smooth with a lot of roasted malt, a bit of bitter chocolate, coffee and hops. There is a seemingly never ending bitterness to the finish. Overall, North Coast really did an excellent job with this RIS and should be commended.

 369 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle a pitch black(with reddish tones) having a fairly large head of foam that dissipated slowly leaving just a fine layer.

The smell is of roasted barley with some malty sweetness and notes of coffee.

The taste is huge! Lots of roasted barley, chocolate, and coffee with some grain and a bit of anise. Very very complex and very rewarding to my taste buds. I've had this one a few times in the past and it never fails to impress me with its flavour and how well it hides the rather substantial 9%abv.

Bottom line: This is a world class sample of the style that is a *must* to try.

 610 characters

Photo of spinrsx
4.06/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle

My 300th beer review; looking forward to the next 300.

Appearance - The beer pours a dark brown/black colour with a very large frothy and rocky light brown coloured head. I can't see much carbonation due the darkness of the beer and there is very nice lacing running down the sides of the glass. The head lasted for several minutes before it began to disappear.

Smell - coffee, malts, chocolate, hops, vanilla

Taste & Mouth - The beer doesn't have a whole lot of carbonation, but it feels very light and creamy on the palette. It's packed full of chocolate and coffee flavour mixed with malts. There is also a lot of bitterness from the coffee and the hops. The beer gives a warming feeling in my chest but the alcohol isn't really detectable. The beer finishes with little bit of a peppery/spicy aftertaste.

Drink - This is a flavour packed full bodied beer that is a must try. It's extremely drinkable and perfect during the winter/colder months.

 966 characters

Photo of wordemupg
4.54/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle poured into pint glass dec17 2009

A black with a thumbs worth of mocha head that falls to a 1/4inch film fairly quickly and leaves only a patch or two of lace

S smoke, chocolate, coffee and some booze

T not far off the smell but a little licorice perhaps and the alcohol is hidden a little better then on the nose

M thick creamy goodness, oh dear that sounds wrong yet feels quite right

D for the strength it's a little dangerous with out doubt, sinks like a ship and oh so worth trying.

I'm wondering if my glass was dirty, cause if so this may have been a rare A+ looks average but well ahead in all other departments. doesn't cost a fortune either here in Alberta making it just that much better, drink, think, repeat

 739 characters

Photo of pat61
4.91/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had on tap at Muddy Waters, Bryant Lake Bowl and Pig & Fiddle and have had from a bottle.
L: Pours bright deep dark coffee brown under a 2” persistent, clingy, frothy foam collar.
S: Chocolate, dark sugar, coffee, dark dried fruit, and and a hint of wine on the nose.
T: Chocolate coffee flavors sweetened with molasses and seasoned with dark dried fruit with a slight tartness in the background. Dark roast bitterness augments the hop bitterness on the finish.
F: Full body to chewy, medium carbonation
O: Very fine Russian Imperial Stout. I think I like the draft version a little better than the bottled because the flavors come out more.

 648 characters

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.11/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-Looks perfect. Deep, dark black with a hint of brown around the edges. Excellent frothy head that refuses to die.

S-Big roasty, coffee, dark chocolate notes. Detecting some hops as well. Black licorice. Burnt malts and a slight hint of alcohol.

T-Quite the individual taste. A very strong taste. Surprising amount of bitterness which I am a fan of. Coffee, rich chocolate, dried fruits, licorice. Roasted and burnt. Light whiskey flavor. Finishes bitter.

M-Not as thick as I was expecting. Not disappointed, but definately surpised.

D-A big beer. One of the more drinkable stouts I've tried considering my limited experience with the style.

Deserving of the high praise. And a pretty good deal too.

 707 characters

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

A: pours very dark brown almost black

S: roasted malts with hints of chocolate and coffee

T: roasty malts flavor with hints of chocolate. Great well rounded ballanced flavor

M: very full body, but not sticky

D: This beer will be gone before you know it, is goes down so easy, just watch how many you have.

This was one of the first Russian Imperial Stout, I had tried. I judge other RIS to this one. I was so shock and suprised by the flavor one the first sip.

 475 characters

Photo of ppoitras
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from oracle as part of No BS BIF. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into a heavy glass chalice, formed a 1/4" brown head over the barely translucent reddish dark brown brew. Head is down an uneven layer of bubbles pretty quick, with slow-falling lacing. Aroma is heavy, rich dark malts, chocolate and coffee doing battle, just what you expect and want in the style. Taste follows along in the same vein, but even better with the slow warm on the swallow. Mouthfeel is velvety, and drinkability is excellent. This one is ranked highly for a reason.

 564 characters

Photo of barczar
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Been in the fridge a couple years, so...

Pours an opaque black brown with a dense, frothy one inch mocha head that lingers indefinitely. When it dissipates, it leaves thick, sticky sheets of lacing.

Dark fruit, a touch of soy, roast malt, and chocolate start the aroma. Deeply toasted, nutty scents are accentuated by sorghum sweetness and earthy notes, finishing with a touch of coffee grounds. Malted milk balls and licorice emerge. There's a touch of plasticy phenols.

Flavor is dominated by deeply roasted malt, lightly sweet, which becomes chocolatey mid palate, and finishes charred, a touch acrid, and fairly bitter. Underlying notes of dark cherries surface, adding complexity. Toasted, nutty notes and dark chocolate are evident in the aftertaste.

Body is thick and smooth, with low carbonation and substantial alcohol warmth. There's a bit of astringency at the finish.

Aside from some light phenol presence, an excellent brew. It's more bitter and dry at the finish than I recall. Good complexity, but the bitterness is offputting to me.

 1,054 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter, the beer pours very dark brown/black with about an inch tan head. The head doesn't stick around for too long, but the lacing is OK. The aroma is roasted malt, chocolate and coffee. It tastes like coffee, roasted malt and bittersweet chocolate. The beer also has a good lingering bitter hoppy finish, with nice balance. Mouthfeel is medium/full, and it's creamy and has just the right amount of carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's nice and smooth. Alcohol is noticeable, but not bad. IMO, it's a good RIS, I'd recommend it to others to try.

 564 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Well well the famous Old Rasputin has finally hit my area! Lets see if it backs up the hype

A - Wow decent head for an imperial. Motor oil looking goodness.
S - Chocolate and Carmel malts.
T - Bitter coffee hit first but smooth to a chocolate taste.
M - End is not as bitter as expected. Alcohol warms the belly.
D - Four pack anyone? As one of the oldest imperial company's I ever had this beer is a keeper. Will squeeze in a bottle every now and again.

 456 characters

Photo of Immortale25
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at Ancora New Orleans. Served in a New Belgium goblet.

A- Pours a fully opaque black color with a full inch of frothy light brown head that retains very well before slowly melting away to a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a large bump of surface foam. Wisps of lacing stick to the glass.

S- Rich roasty cocoa aroma with notes of vanilla, coffee and even black cherry.

T- I always forget how sweet this beer is. The black cherry continues on with the flavor and mingles with the dark roast creating a chocolate-covered cherry type of effect. There are also notes of anise and more vanilla in the finish. Moderate hop bitterness.

M- Thick and somewhat creamy with medium carbonation and a full body.

O- A classic version of the style. While I prefer it on nitro-pour if having it on-tap, it's just fine with CO2.

 839 characters

Photo of avalon07
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Old Rasputin has a dark appearance - no clarity at all - with very little head evident. The smell was low key, sporting some hints of coffee especially. The taste, like other imperial stouts, had coffee and chocolate in it. However, the hops flavor was fairly strong and kind of overwhelmed the others. Mouthfeel was sharp and tingly. In general, this is a drinkable beer. I didn't like quite as much as Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout, mainly due to the hops content.

 470 characters

Photo of jzeilinger
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours an engine oil black color with a very thick, toffee colored creamy head of foam. The head is very dense and lingering.

S - Malted chocolate, cocoa, small traces of warm pete, some creme, and mild coffee.

T - Creamy layers of malt balls and coffee wrapped in an earthy wet blanket of flavor. Waves of creamy coffee with a watery middle, and very generous pine bitterness finish with a moderate lingering bitterness.

M - Medium thin bodied, really needs to be thicker.

O - An exceptional stout, a little too thin, but one I could drink all of the time.

 564 characters

Photo of bark
3.84/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The colour is pitch dark; the beige-brown foam forms a thin compact head.

The smell is dry and robust with flavours of coffee, lemons, liquorice, roasted malt, white bread, and porridge rolled oats.

The carbonation is fresh and surprisingly strong, but it suits the beer fine.

The first taste is a creamy one with a touch of cocoa. It develops into a dry, very bitter flavour with some citric notes. The body is rather weak, or is it just hiding below all that bitterness? The aftertaste is long and generous with a touch of alcohol, a sourish, burned bitterness and some black coffee.

A fine (very American) stout, but I could wish for some more body.

 667 characters

Photo of DrJay
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Totally black with clear, ruby highlights topped by a lace of medium brown head. Looks nice all the way down due to moderate lacing and good head retention for what's there. Vinous alcohol aroma, lots of roast coffee, dark chocolate and overall maltiness with a moderate hoppiness. The flavour starts malty sweet, bitterness appears at the mid-point along with chocolate and alcohol warmth. The finish is very roasted and dry, with bitterness contributed by the dark malts. Creamy, viscous texture, full bodied. The alcohol flavour melds well with the malt character, leaving you with a very drinkable stout.

 608 characters

Photo of tigg924
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: huge beautiful head, opaque, dark brown

Smell: complex: malt, dark chocolate, sugar, wood, some espresso

Taste: It follows the smell but with a noticeable dose of alcohol.. The sweetness is surprising...It is almost like a milk stout and then the alcoholic bite..The aftertaste alternates between the burnt taste and the sweetness

Mouthfeel: smooth, thick body, creamy, with a sweet finish, then a hit of alcohol, followed by a bitter alcoholic finish

Drinkability: A nice and complex RIS. Not my favorite in the style, but up there...I will have this again, but due to the noticeable high ABV--probaly would only have one or two in a sitting..Excellent RIS.

 675 characters

Photo of rfgetz
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Black as night with Khaki head and nice rings.

S - Roasted malt with slight coffee and chocolate tones

T - Roasted and toasted grains, cereal quality. A little bit of bitter, sweet and sour dancing around on the palate.

M - Viscous and full bodies, coats the mouth but doesnt linger

D - Very drinkable for the ABVs and not too overpowering.

 348 characters

Photo of Stevedore
3.76/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Note: personal system uses whole numbers)

12oz bottle without bottling date poured into CCB snifter today 2/9/13.

Aroma: Not a particularly impressive nose- some toffee and caramel, a bit of burnt sugar. (3)

Colour: Pours a dark cola colour with a very nice 2cm brown head that sticks around for less than a minute. Lacing is very good, seductive even. (4)

Flavour: Follows the nose but much more forward. Starts off with a nice smoky maltiness, followed by the nose's toffee and caramel with some dark chocolate. The toffee dominates the finish. Very tasty but not superbly complex like some of the other RIS's can get to be. (4)

Mouthfeel: Nice thick body but closer to the medium range of the spectrum. Not particularly creamy but it isn't a BA stout. Carbonation is solid but doesn't particularly stand out. Aftertaste is a nice toffee bitterness which sticks around a while. It's a bit bitter for a stout, even a RIS. I find it interesting. (4)

Overall: A pretty good RIS, above average for the style. It would be nice if it had a better nose and wasn't as bitter to fit the style which would make it an even better brew. As it is, its year-round availability and price point makes it a very worthwhile purchase for anybody craving a shelf RIS. (4)

 1,260 characters

Photo of bylerteck
3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pot at Terminus. From notes.

A - Poured black with a khaki one finger heat. Good rings of lace and a film of retention.

S - Coffee seemed strong with lot's of chocolate. Simple but enjoyable.

T - Chocolate, booze, chocolate covered coffee beans. layers of chocolate and roastiness.

M - Really smooth, mild carbonation and a medium to full body.

O/D - Nice but lacking depth. Don't get me wrong though, this was a good Impy Stout and really easy to drink. Just left me wanting more as I felt like it had the potential for greatness.

 536 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!