Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout - Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's

Not Rated.
Otter Creek Russian Imperial StoutOtter Creek Russian Imperial Stout

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very good

282 Reviews

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Reviews: 282
Hads: 550
Avg: 4
pDev: 10.5%
Wants: 38
Gots: 37 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Brad007 on 01-09-2009

Every so often we brew this tasty treat that clocks in at 10% ABV. A silky smooth, motor-oil black pour reveals rich, roasty notes of caramel, chocolate and coffee. Like the first stouts brewed for Russian Czars, this offering is big, bold and built to last. Grab a few for the cellar, a couple for your comrades and enjoy because—like those Czars of yesteryear—this beer may be gone soon.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 282 | Hads: 550
Photo of WesMantooth
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No bottle date visible, but I know it is at least 2014.

Pours pitch black and viscous. Not much head on mine, even with an aggressive pour. It does have a nice tan ring that leaves some lacing.

Smells mainly of dark roasted malts and chocolate with a hint of tobacco.

Lots of tobacco and some licorice up front that is too strong for me. However, as this beer begins to warm up, the almost overbearing tobacco flavor starts to meld nicely. Now the malts really start to shine, complemented by some cocoa and slightly bitter dark chocolate and molasses. Decent bitterness with an ashy/charred and roasted coffee beans aftertaste that is balanced by some brown sugar like sweetness. Alcohol is not noticeable.

Not Ten Fidy viscous, but close. Very full bodied and creamy.

This is an excellent example of a RIS. It reminds me of an Expedition stout after about a year of aging.

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3.69/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

At first it didn't look like I was going to get much head at all but I was quickly surprised as two plus fingers of caramel brown head climbs over the edge of the glass and onto the table. head has great retention and leaves scattered lace as it slowly fades. Body is pure blackness like used motor oil. Nose is very robust and smokey with some coco based malt notes that fight to come through. Very meaty smell. With first sip the smoke and roast feel is first up front but not overly dominant. Dark, bitter, and slightly soured chocolate notes play mid palate. The slight soured feel is little off for me. This, bitter and rather dry on the mouthfeel. Drinkability is not bad for the style but a little sweetness would be nice.

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Photo of Czarkazm
4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from February 2013. Pours like motor oil, opaque with the slightest hint of deep chestnut brown around the edges. The head was dark khaki while it lasted. Very rich smelling, bold dark roasted malts, an rich earthiness, faint touch of booze still, dark fruits, licorice, and bitter chocolate. Lots of roasted malts in the flavor, almost burnt, stale hop earthiness, charred mocha with thick creamy mouthfeel and mild carbonation. Would need to try this fresh but an extremely well crafted RIS and a bit underrated, in my opinion.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #74 (Mar 2013):

A massive brew that ends up being a sheer pleasure to sip. A resurrected beer that was last brewed back in 2009, not to be brewed again until next winter … perhaps they should rethink that, as it will be missed. If you are lucky enough to find some, you’ll want to save a bottle or two, as the brewery states it is a great candidate for cellaring.

STYLE: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.0%

LOOK: Awesome brown head, pitch-black hue

SMELL: Chocolaty, charcoal, dark roast coffee, creamy, blackberries, molasses, hermit cookies, alcohol

TASTE: Bold roasty character, dark chocolate, burnt sugar, espresso, dark fruit, slow alcoholic warmth, underlying hoppiness, fudge brownies, faint oily resin, bittersweet finish

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Photo of dstanmyer
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a goblet type glass. Pours like motor oil; dark and heavy with limited carbonation. Roasty and Rich, with a velvety smooth mouthfeel. Boozy undertones but readily drinkable for a 10%. Aged two years makes it devine.

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Photo of SABERG
3.81/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle dated 123112, into a modified tulip glass.
A - No light gets though, dark and deep. Gentle parade of fine carbonation can be coaxed into a thin cap. Laced with the finest of threads is the only trace remaining.
S - Bakers chocolate, dried tobacco, plums, hint of charred wood, and mint. Leaves me a little intrigued.
T - Surprisingly smokey, that chocolate from the nose is buried way behind, dark fruits,
and an earthy roasted malt body. There is a piney bitterness that exits leaving that lonely bakers for dessert.
M - Round and smooth to begin, the fringes of the palate, take the heat at mid sip, Mouth is fully coated at the exit, leaving a strong earthy lingers. At this point the 10% ABV is quite present with that alcohol cooking off.
O - This Stout is well constructed, a little confounding. A limited offering that could
be touched up some. I am glad to have some left.

Cheers all

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Photo of keithmurray
4.31/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled in December 2012

Appearance - almost jet black body with a small amount of mahogany head

Smell - dark chocolate, fudge, espresso, roasted malts, black licorice

Taste - dark chocolate, fudge, espresso, roasted malts, black licorice

Mouthfeel - medium plus bodied, high carbonation, chocolate sweetness upfront, roasty and sweet in the finish, good bitterness in the finish as well

Overall - pretty good eample of an RIS, certainly worth a try for fans of the style

Price point - $2.75/12 oz single

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Photo of Toddcbrf2
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Overall pretty good and enjoyable Slight bitterness to it which may be why I don't rate it slightly higher.

Very dark with nice chocolate head. Nice malty texture and smooth thick but not syrupy

Very drinkable and goes nicely with a cigar

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Photo of woodychandler
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I know that I bought this over at The Fridge a while back, fully intending to "Enjoy with Comrades", but they never came by and it has been in my fridge far too long. The Great Bottle Purge of 2014 continues unabated and now, it is the Imperials' turn to fall!

From the bottle: "Inspired by the 18th century English offering to the Russian Czar. Big malt flavoring and overtones of chocolate and dark roasted malts. Finishes on a smooth and warming sweet note."; Handcrafted in Vermont"; "Enjoy with Comrades. [undersigned] Mike Gerhart Master Brewer"; "Otter Creek Limited Edition"; "Located in historic Middlebury, Vermont, Otter Creek Brewing is the proud brewer of the finest quality, handcrafted ales since 1991."

I used a gentle pour to avoid rousing any les, and then I swirled the beer in the glass to with some cgauge its carbonation. I got a finger of deep-tan/light-brown head with decent retention for my efforts. Color was a dense, deep, dark-brown (SRM = 44), allowing zero light penetration. Nose was rich with chocolate, very reminiscent of freshly baked brownies and much more in keeping with my expectations. Warming, I was beginning to notice fusel alcohol heat, but the chocolate was still prevalent. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, not as dense as my previous RIS, The taste was very much of a freshly-baked brownie, chewy, dark chocolaty, slightly smoky. I realize that aficionados of the style would find this one less complex, but I found it much more pleasant and therefore more drinkable. Finish was dry, leaving a slightly bittersweet chocolate taste with a slight charcoal smokiness.

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Photo of pants678
3.03/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Black body, receding brown head.

Booze first and foremost on the nose, roasted malts are well behind that.

Dark chocolate's sorta sharp, teetering into dark fruit--licorice might be the best descriptor. Alcohol's part of that, at 10%. Robust without being rich, doesn't have that desert sweetness. Needs an additive, perhaps.


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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.52/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a pitch black color. The head is a finger high, and tan in shade. Retention is alright for the ABV, and the creaminess is rather nice to look at. Touches of lacing are left behind.

S: Licorice-y, perfumey, boozy. These kind of imperial stouts are not my bag (see also: Narwhal, Smuttynose IS, Stone IRS), but the subtle chocolate note of this redeems it slightly. The more it opens up, the more the harsh licorice-cum-booze fades away. This will also show off a nice nutty, roasty character which blends well with the chocolate. The aroma grows on me, but it never completely grows on me.

T: The flavor is nicer than I anticipated. It's definitely focused on the licorice aspects of an imperial stout (instead of the chocolaty and umami notes I love from the style), but it's also restrained enough to not overpower the roasted and chocolaty flavors. Alcohol-wise, it's about what one would expect from a 10% RIS - gently boozy without being moronically harsh. Alcohol While the flavors are quite solid, I could use a bit more depth.

M: I love how soft and creamy this is in the mouth. And yet, it still has a dry (if faintly alcoholic) finish. The subtle booze gives it a nice warming character. If this were just a *bit* heavier, I'd give the feel a 5. More than anything, it's the gentle carbonation that helps give it its fantastic mouthfeel.

O: DAT MOUTHFEEL. It's somewhat unremarkable otherwise, but the amazing feel gives it more than enough reason for me to really like this. And that's really good considering I'm not a fan of licorice-y imperial stouts.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served from a twelve ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Pours dark black, some brown foam settles out. Tar like pour. Rich roasted nose, espresso beans. Taste is full and rich, burnt coffee, backed by a modest alcohol burn. Light licorice underneath. Earthy. Thick mouthfeel.

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Photo of Andrew041180
3.39/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A - Pours a lovely black with creamy brown head. The head recedes quickly and leaves no lacing on the glass.

S - Nice aroma. Roasty. Dark chocolate. Hint of alcohol, which I suppose is to be expected at this level.

T - Touch of sweetness on the tongue. Here is where I pick up the dark chocolate. Little bit of bitterness followed by an absolute wave of alcohol. The alcohol really wipes away everything else and is not overly pleasant for me.

M - Thinner than I expected. The finish is a little sticky, which maintains that alcohol-heavy aftertaste.

O - I really had high hopes for this one. I should be able to pawn some off on my wife. I wouldn't buy this one again, and I would recommend readers not to buy it if they are not fans of boozy imperial stouts. If you like that sort of thing, then have at it.

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Photo of Jnashed
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Otter creek Russian Imperial stout.

Poured in a snifter.

A: not much head. Black as midnight. Thin lacing. Thick looking if that makes sense as it looks dense but not a lot of brown head or lacing. Syrup like.

S: Coffee, chocolate, Figs.

M: thick and syrup as its look.

T: figs, but not really sweet. Dark dark chocolate, and burnt coffee. Lots of alcohol on the back end. You know it's 10%. Maybe some time would have helped.

O: good not great. Pales behind Founders Imperial Stout and Bells Expedition. North Coast old Rasputin as cleaner. Liked though.

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Photo of KingdomBobcat
3.99/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-jet black, very thin mocha head, barely any head though, barely any lacing. just kinda meh
S-lots of chocolate and roasted malt notes with noticeable booziness, over-roasted coffee
T-chocolate really hits the back of the tongue, roasted malts up front, lingering booze aftertaste, almost tastes a little barrel aged actually.
M-not too thick, not too thin, just kinda average. light carbonation, lots of booze
O-bottle date reads 12/3/12 so I think this may be discontinued and I maybe grabbed one of the last 4pks that I may see for some time, so I shall savor it. Last time I had it was about a year ago, and since then I've certainly had better stouts and have raised my expectations, but this one is still good.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.63/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle purchased from AJ's Beer Warehouse in Henrietta, NY.

Pours a thick, dark black into my Rooster Fish tulip. Light coffee colored head sits on top of the beer for a while, foamy and nice.

Smells strongly roasted and malty. Pretty simple, but effective.

Tastes incredible. Earthy dark chocolate, roasted malts, slight tea-like hoppiness, a bit of sugary sweetness that never gets cloying. This is a serious strong stout! No alcohol is really present, which is amazing considering the intensity of malt flavors.

Full, thick body. Low but appropriate carbonation.

Awesome, under the radar stout. Otter Creek is quietly a pretty damn good brewery.

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Photo of fx20736
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bought a single bottle from AJ's Beer Warehouse on 1/25/14.

poured into a chalice, served slightly cool.

appearance: engine oil black with a mochachino head, hardly any lacing.

aroma: charred roast, coffee, molasses maybe some chocolate.

taste: coffee, a pleasant burnt marshmallow taste, Hersheys syrup

mouthfeel: decent

overall: a very tasty imperial stout with nice flavor.

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Photo of Givemebeer
4.75/5  rDev +18.8%

Bottled 12/3/2012, drank tonight. The aging did this pup well. So smooth and no alcohol booze taste. Drank at room temp. First taste is a rich dark chocolate. Following taste is a straight up coffee flavor. Great dessert beer. Perfect nightcap to a long days work.

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Photo of 57md
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep dark brown with a finger of fluffy tan head that dissipated quickly. The nose is pleasantly roasty. The flavor profile includes a solid roasted malt taste. The finish has good roasted bitterness. The mouthfeel is substantial and sticky.

This is a solid RIS that is better than most others of its style.

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Photo of CHADMC3
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark black body beneath the rich, mocha head which dissolves to leave a thin yet sticky ring of lacing around the glass.

Generous roasted malt, sweet milk chocolate and just a hint of dark fruit as it warms highlight the aroma.

The flavor leads with the dark fruit and roasted malt more than the aroma and the sweet milk chocolate appears more as it warms.

The body is rich, full, and chewy with medium carbonation and a big, coating finish.

I'm pleasantly surprised by this RIS, darn good and style appropriate.

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Photo of JMScowcroft
4.79/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's - Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout (2013 Barrel-aged version), poured into a Craftgeer snifter.

NOTE: This is not the same beer that is being reviewed on this thread, this is a barrel-aged version aged in maple whiskey oak barrels for a year.

Look - Pours motor oil black thick with a thin soapy mocha head. Tons of splotchy lacing.

Smell - Rich creamy aroma. Maple and bourbon with oaky vanilla notes behind it.

Taste - So creamy, rich maple, some roasted malts overtaken by the oak vanilla and then ending whiskey. Yessss.

Mouthfeel - Heavy body with low carbonation. Surprisingly not boozy for 10% but it will catch up later, make no mistake. Great drinkability.

Overall - Wow. I am legitimately blown away by this Otter Creek offering! I am not huge into BA beers but now I am beginning to think I have just been having the wrong ones. Cheers!

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Photo of Frost-Mountain-Brew
5/5  rDev +25%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

5.0. For the style, I think this beer is absolutely perfect. There is something I relish about "creamy" mouthfeel and this has it. It's hard to get something that has 10% ABV to feel smooth on the tongue but this is so well balanced that nothing is jarring to the tastebuds. Notes of caramel, coffee work well in the creamy stout. The appearance is spot on, dark dark dark with a nice small head that lingers. Well done Otter Creek. This is one of my favorites and I have a case in my basement. I'm really intrigued to see how it tastes in a year's time.

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Photo of PHBoiler
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Thick, rich, chewy. The mouthfeel on this beer is exactly what I want from a stout when I sit down to have a stout in the winter. The taste has some bitter chocolate and light roast. It fills your mouth and rounds out so well unlike many RIS available in the market. The best thing I can say is well rounded. It isn't a coffee bomb or a chocolate bomb. The roast isn't immense. I was going to age some, but I'm not sure this beer needs any help to improve.

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Photo of Mrappinin
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big surprise from Otter creek. Smell of chocolate, coffee, and a subtle boozeiness. Poor's a used motor oil black little or no head it has vanished by the time I started writing this. Ah the taste, big roasty coffee and unsweet cocoa, a little dark fruit and no booze to speak of. Little carbonation makes for a silky smooth texture. One would not notice the 10% abv more like an american stout. Easily could go through the four pack in a night. Good job otter creek

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

3.0 A: Black color. One finger of frothy medium brown head. Retention is below average and not really any lacing is left.

4.0 S: Bright, potent aroma on this. Tons of molasses and layers of caramel. Chocolate, moderate roastiness, and black cherry fruits. Almost like a gingerbread like doughy/biscuitiness. Very nice.

4.0 T: About the same as the nose. Molasses, caramel, moderate roast, biscuit, chocolate, moderate, yet supple, roastiness.

3.75 M: Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Pleasantly creamy and smooth.

4.0 D: Well rounded, very tasty brew. Can't complain.

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Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
89 out of 100 based on 282 ratings.