Brew Review

Beer Review – North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout


North Coast Brewing Company’s Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout was yet another one of those beers that I have heard a lot about, but until last week, had yet to try. The Old Rasputin has been rated a total of 2,914 times on Rate Beer with an overall score of 100, and it’s been rated a total of 3,127 times on Beer Advocate with an overall score of 95. To say that this beer has an excellent reputation would be an understatement.

North Coast Brewing has the following to say about the Old Rasputin:

Produced in the tradition of 18th Century English brewers who supplied the court of Russia’s Catherine the Great, Old Rasputin seems to develop a cult following wherever it goes. It’s a rich, intense brew with big complex flavors and a warming finish.

That’s a very straightforward and no nonsense description of this beer. Let’s see if the Old Rasputin lives up to its reputation…

  • Appearance: Deep, dark mahogany color with ruby red highlights. Thick, creamy one inch head that lingers for a really long time. Lots of tan colored lacing remains on the glass as you drink it down.
  • Aroma: Rich dark chocolate and espresso. Hints of black licorice and dried fruit.
  • Taste: Very smooth and creamy. Fizzy carbonation. All of the aromas carry through to the palate. A harmonious blend of dark chocolate and dark coffee flavors. The boozy nature of this beer doesn’t kick in until the finish. It leave you all warm and fuzzy feeling with a pleasantly bitter aftertaste.
  • ABV: 9%

North Coast’s Old Rasputin is one seriously flavorful beer! It is also exactly as the brewer described. How often does that happen? I enjoyed this beer from start to finish and look forward to one day trying it on tap. I will definitely buy this again.

27 replies »

  1. A legitimate world classic and one that ages nicely. I have one in the “place not to be accosted by small or spousal fingers” which has rested comfortably for 3 years. With luck and a delayed onset of dementia, I hope to recall it’s presence and pour it next year for the Anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution.

    Das Vadanja!

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    • This begs the question… are there illegitimate world classic craft beers that do not age nicely??? If they DO exist, then I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that there is a bottle or two hidden somewhere in your craft beer stash.

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  2. Fortunately, this is a rather common selection to find around St. Louis, and I’ve been able to partake often. It’s a really great fallback when I’m in the mood for a Stout.

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    • It may be a common selection, but it’s far from a common beer. If this is your fallback stout, then you must have a pretty respectable Craft Beer scene in St. Louis.

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  3. Ah Old Rasputin my love…it’s so true that it gives one the warm and fuzzies. It’s really hard for me not to be happy if I’m drinking this one. So glad that you finally got to try this!

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  4. Sounds delightful. Do you think the Old Rasputin comes close to winning first prize in a most-sinister-label competition? It’s got to be right up there!

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    • Nice! I was truly impressed with it. Can’t wait to read your review and to find out which film you’ve paired with it. How about The Hunt for Red October? It’s a favorite with the Booze Dancers.

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  5. Best Stout Ever. Just picked up some of the Rasputin Special Anniversary XIV (aged in used whiskey barrels). Letting it chill a bit, and will sample in an hour or two.

    Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout is a stout I can even get the Mrs. to drink, and she’s not fond of stouts.

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  6. G-Lo was kind enough to drop off a bottle of the Old Rasputin and it was every bit as good as his review would suggest. Too me, it was more dark, dark chocolate and black licorice than espresso with only a hint of bitterness at the finish. I like Leinie’s Big Eddy (a relatively easy find and fairly consistent Russian Imperial) but this is something else entirely. I would definitely look for this one again.

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