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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
89
very good
294 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
294
Ratings:
601
Avg:
4
pDev:
14.5%
 
 
Wants:
45
Gots:
51
For Trade:
1
Otter Creek Russian Imperial StoutOtter Creek Russian Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
Vermont, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Brad007 on 01-09-2009

User Reviews
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Reviews: 294 | Ratings: 601
Photo of fitzy84
3.71/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bought in Vermont at the Cold Hollow CIder Mill in Waterbury. The beer pours with a thick black appearance, brown creamy head, and eventual good, bubbly retention with some thick lacing on the sides. The aromas are attractive, though restrained, with coffee, chocolate, nuts, maybe a hint of spice like cinnamon. The taste variable included more vocal flavor attributes. This included a bitter, but buttery, chocolate flavor with a slight burnt sugar aftertaste. Mouthfeel is great with a creamy body that envelopes the ingredients and alcohol into a warm blend. Overall, not too bad, especially in terms of appearance and mouthfeel.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer poured nicely into my glass - the black liquid rolling out and bringing a little beige froth that ends in a thick ring. The rign easily grows thicker with a little agitation. The body itself seems black, but later in the glass, it does appear to lean a little more brown with a fair amount of clarity.

Nose is quite nice, powdered cocoa cocoa and dark roast brewed coffee. Subsequent whiffs bring the chocolate the brewers' notes talk about, mainly in brownie form, maybe with walnuts, even. Other notes include a little licorice spice and a little tang. Some of the scents turn a little woody later in the beer.

The taste is mostly expected. Bitter, bitter chocolate and coffee notes hit me first. These seem very harsh, and add to a rough feel in my first sips. The strong bitterness is really the dominating sensation throughout the pour. It takes on slightly different variations as the beer warms, from chocolate to unsweetened coffee to dark-skinned nuts to cut wood resin. These aren't distinct, but all impressions I get.

I wasn't thoroughly enjoying the rough bitterness feel of this beer, but appreciated the flavor sensations it brought. The nose was very nice. If you like strongly bitter stouts, I think this will be to your liking. If you like a little malt sweetness and a smoother feel, this one may be one to be cautious about - and definitely let it warm a bunch.

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

snagged a bottle locally. big roastiness with a sludge chocolate undertone. nose leads with crisp chary roast...a bite of winter. flavor follows but leads with chocolate...chocolate speaks more as the brew warms. good beer.

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Photo of SawDog505
4.48/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured slowly down the middle at almost room temperature into a 16 oz snifter. Pours a slick black with a 3 finger light mocha head that clings to the sides of the glass like a fat kid holds a Charleston Chew.

Smell is roasted expresso, toffee, vanilla bean, anise, leather, caramel, and some hints of booze.

Taste follows toffee, chocolate covered coffee beans, anise, vanilla, leather, caramel, and some warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel is almost large, silky smooth with a little heat from the alcohol, a little chewy, moderate carbonation, definitely on the dryer side, and way too drinkable for 10% ABV.

Overall this is a serious stout, very complex from start to finish. Well done Otter Creek.

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Photo of Immortale25
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel tulip. No readable freshness date.

A- Pours a fully opaque black color with a 1/2 inch medium brown head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of sheer surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves tiny clots behind.

S- Big roast character that's slightly sweet but still also somewhat hoppy. There's also this slight chemical aroma that's a bit off-putting.

T- Nice rush of dark roast, dark chocolate and char and then there's that damn plastic-y thing again. Once the palate acclimates it fades but there seems to be something a bit off here. The good amount of sweetness is helping though. Alcohol is masked quite well. Coffee aftertaste.

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

O- Disregarding the initial astringent aroma and flavor, this is a very good RIS with great drinkability and deep flavors.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.65/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Delicious! Black pour with lasting, clingy brown foam. Aroma is rich, with lots of roast and dark cocoa. Flavor is similar - very roasty, but never too bitter, with lots of chocolate notes and a mild sweetness mid-sip. Incredibly smooth from start to very clean finish, with just a slight lingering cocoa. Easily the best RIS I've had.

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Photo of scotorum
3.96/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

OTTER CREEK RUSSIAN IMPERIAL STOUT 2/2/16

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Tree House stemmed tulip.

a: Opaque black with a hint of clear ruby at the very bottom. Half finger thick tan head receded to thin surface foam and spotty lacing.

s: Primarily chocolate.

t: Dark roasty malt with dark chocolate notes and a moderate bite which lingers in the back of the throat along with a little throat burn. Roasty malt finish. The chocolate becomes more prominant later.

m; Medium, very good body and loads of carbonation tingle.

o; A flavorful RIS which nicely covers its high ABV.

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Photo of Scliff27
4.39/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mouthfeel is abit light for Russian imperial which honestly I kind of like
Very easy drinking Russian imperial coffee chocolate are present slight caramel like advertised
It poured great too with wonderful aroma very enjoyable deserves an outstanding

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a pitch black color with 2 fingers of head that slowly fades down to a cent cap

S: Roasted malts, dark fruits, and some cocoa stands out. Some anise in the back

T: Follows the nose, with quite a bit more emphasis on the anise. Starts off with some roast, coffee, and cocoa before the dark fruits and anise kick in with some force. Finishes with light bitterness and roast, as well as lingering anise

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Quite smooth

O: A solid RIS that is layered nicely. Definitely hits on both the malty side as well as the fruity side. Very easy to drink for double digit abv. A great candidate for aging

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Photo of Tmsmaloy
4.51/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The color is black. Even held to the light none shines through. A thick tan head dissipates to a thin ring around the glass. Aroma of sweet aromatic tobacco and raisins. Taste of leather pepper and steel. As much as I enjoy their new IPAs I believe this beer is bigger, and holds a more special place. I love this beer.

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Photo of smanson56
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Newly bottled 2015 it pours a rich black color with a nice creamy tan head. Lots of roasted malts in the nose just the way an RIS is supposed to be. The flavor is strong with some chocolate and coffee overtones. The mouthfeel to me is just a little thin. This is a good drinkable RIS.

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Photo of edward_boumil
3.66/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

L: Very dark, and very opaque. Normally you can see through a little bit of the edges of the beer, but not htis one. Poured a 2 finger dark brown head that settled down, leaves some nice lace.
S: Sweet, definately a bit of milk chocolate in there. Only the faintest hit of ethanol. Somewhat straightforward aroma.
T: For a 10% beer, it is remarkably smooth. Once again it is very sweet. There is definately a burnt quality to this one, chocolate and a bit of coffee. Also some dark fruit qualities (think apricot or fig) as well as brown sugar.
F: Very heavy body but as smooth. Goes back easy. Carbonation is spot on.
O: Good, not great. My issues with the beer are minor, chiefly being that it is a little sweet for my taste and not incredibly complex. But nonetheless I would recommend this and drink it again.

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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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Photo of SPLITGRIN
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%
AVAILABILITY: Rotating

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.

Smooth.

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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. 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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Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
89 out of 100 based on 294 ratings.