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Rating: 4.6/5 (5 votes cast)

Beer Profile

  • Brewery: North Coast Brewing Company
  • Website:
  • Country: United States
  • State: California
  • Style: Russian Imperial Stout
  • Malts:
  • Hops:
  • ABV: 9.0%
  • IBUs: 75
  • Tasting Notes: charred oak, astringent burnt grains, espresso bean dipped in dark chocolate
  • Preferred Glass: snifter
  • Food Pairing: ice cream float, chocolate cake, steak, black forest strata cake
  • PHM Grade: A

North Coast Old Rasputin

Written by

Nate: My goal is to drink this beer slowly. I personally tend to enjoy stouts at a warmer temperature. However, for some reason Guinness may be an exception. I enjoy the warming quality of Russian imperial stouts. I believe that the warming quality comes from the higher ABV but is enhanced when the liquid itself is warmer.

The aroma is milk chocolately and has a faint coffee smell. It is inviting to say the least.

Taste is utterly smooth. Perhaps on the lower side of the ABV range for an imperial stout and perhaps contributes to the fact that this beer is smooth on the palate. It is sweet, but not overly so. It has all the classic roasted barley flavors that stouts tend to have and no rude or offensive tones.

I have been fortunate enough to have this beer on a nitro tap before. It is exquisite and a North Coast favorite of mine. If I am ever in its presence it is hard to pass up. Like many of their beers it deserves an A rating. It is true to style, very flavorful, and there is nothing off about it. Really, I suppose it could get an A+ from me but I am leaving room for another Russian imperial stout out there to completely and utterly blow my mind. It very well may not happen but I am leaving my options open. Regardless, I tip my hat to North Coast and will continue to be a fan and frequent patron of theirs.

And there goes the last sip….
Grade: A

Michael: Two years ago if you would have told me that I would be contemplating having a beer, a very dark, luscious (yes, luscious), chocolaty, thick brew, on hand at all times, I would have said you’re crazy. A house pinot noir at my finger tips? Perhaps. The perfect champagne tucked away in my fridge? Likely. But a beer? A stout no less?!? Impossible!

Well, a lot can change in two years and tonight I find myself with my favorite ‘daily’ stout, North Coast’s Old Rasputin, a recipe of character, body and just-plain-goodness. I came to Old Raspy in a bit of a backdoor sort of way. I sipped his more luxurious brother, Old Rasputin XII, at Dark Lord Day in Munster, Indiana and was, simply put, in love. However, with a $24 price tag and a seemingly small chance of finding it in stores on a typical Friday afternoon, I decided to turn to the more available and more pocketbook-friendly North Coast stout.

It pours a beautiful black. Even in the light all but the most distant edges are a deep, dark night. A coffee-colored head puffs to a finger and settles back down to a visible but unimposing film. The nose is so rich. Coffee, dark fruits, hints of velvety chocolate and the slightest waft of coconut mix together in a splendid blend of scents. The taste reveals much of the same. A present alcohol, yes, but it is stashed elegantly between layers of flavor, both forward and subtle, so it becomes a pleasant warming instead of an overpowering booze. The brew is smooth, going down as easily as a summer beer with half his ABV.

All in all, a great beer to keep around for a dessert, a night cap or a special treat, I’ll have a hard time not having a bottle or two in my fridge for many months to come. Grade: A

Tom:  This is THE quintessential Russian Imperial Stout.  First brewed in 1996 it has won over 12+ awards and deserves some serious respect.  Hey, if a crazy “prophet” to the Czar court was picked to the grace the label, you know this beer means business.  I have to give credit to my former roommate Daniel (and our friend Brian) who first introduced me to this beer.  Cheers!

Pouring this sexy beer into my snifter produced a almost Guinness density head with a deep tan hue.  The beer itself was a dark mahogany color, but when in the glass it was black as can a dark cave when splunking.

The initial aroma that hit my nose was boozy and fruity.  Almost grape-like, the yeast and abv combine to create a jammy smell.  Beneath that were huge hints of debittered dark chocolate and extremely roasted coffee.  Layers of brunt grains and an earthy hop presence give the aroma some zing.    A chalky, yet heavy mouthfeel coats the palate completely perking up your taste buds to the astringent drying aspect.  Right in the middle of the sip the chocolate notes present themselves giving some bitterness which quickly turns into a hop and coffee bitterness towards the finish.  Great aftertaste of roasted grains, rich coffee, and dark cocoa.  The abv is hidden will for the most part, but be careful as it can sneak up on you.  Perfect for enjoying with a cigar.  Grade: A+

North Coast Old Rasputin, 4.6 out of 5 based on 5 ratings
  1. LOVE IT!!! Such a good beer and great with a cigar. Have you had a chance to try the annivsary barrel aged Raspu?

    Tom — March 9th, 2010, 3:49 PM
  2. This and Founder’s Breakfast Stout are first on my list of must-try stouts. In all honesty, it’s kind of a shame I haven’t tried either…multiple times. I may just run to Binny’s right now…

    Noel — March 9th, 2010, 4:16 PM
  3. +1 to Old Rasp.

    Matt — March 9th, 2010, 4:21 PM
  4. haven’t dropped the 22 bucks for the barrel aged Rasputin, Tom. But it does look good. Hoping to possibly sample it when I am up at the brewery later this month.

    Nate — March 9th, 2010, 6:28 PM
  5. Dang…22 bucks. I think I got mine for less. In any case, I’m sure the sampling at the brewery is going be awesome. Jealous!

    Tom — March 9th, 2010, 6:51 PM
  6. I just saw this one at the store and it looked interesting. I passed it up but after reading this review I will make sure I grab it next time.

    Britton — March 11th, 2010, 9:14 PM
  7. Grabbed it at TJ’s. A new fav.

    Noel — March 12th, 2010, 3:07 PM
  8. Finally grabbed one of these … wow. I don’t know if I enjoyed it as much as the rest, but it was without a doubt a strong, bold brew. Roasted in the fires of Mt. Doom.

    Taylor — March 23rd, 2010, 3:17 PM
  9. Picked up a 12th Anniversary today. Literally cannot wait…

    Noel — March 30th, 2010, 3:52 PM
  10. Who says summer is no time for an old raspy? After my love for 12 has continued, I figured it was time to try the original. We’ll see!

    Michael — August 1st, 2010, 1:36 PM
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