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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

499 Ratings
THE BROS
88
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 499
Reviews: 276
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 32
Gots: 30 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Brad007 on 01-09-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 499 | Reviews: 276 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Jon for sharing. Pours thick black with great brownish head. Good aroma of expresso and chocolate and the taste delivers, with coffee, expresso, lots of chocolate. A bit sweet biased, but good bitterness there.Above average mouthfeel. Dangerously drinkable. Could be the best they have ever done.

Sammy, Feb 12, 2009
Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%

t0rin0, Dec 05, 2012
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev 0%

djrn2, Dec 13, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours near black with a slight mocha head. A bit of retention and a small amount of lacing. The nose brings some coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt as well as a tiny amount of booze. The taste is more chocolate with a bit of roast. Feel is a bit boozy but very nice. Drinks alright, but isn't one of the top examples of the style. Have a bottle to age, and we'll see how that does.

Thorpe429, Nov 02, 2010
Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev 0%

zestar, Aug 19, 2014
Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev 0%

nmann08, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a half finger high tan head that consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are aromas of chocolate and roasted malts in the nose along with some hints of licorice.
T: The taste is similar to the smell except that the licorice flavors are very subdued. A light amount of bitterness is present.
M: It feels full-bodied and a bit smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a bit of dryness in the finish.
O: This beer is a very good representation of the style and hides its alcohol well.

metter98, Jul 31, 2012
Photo of brentk56
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: This one pours with a rocky mocha head that sits atop the pitch black liquid; the head quickly descends to a film and leaves only a few splotches behind

Smell: Dark chocolate and burnt brown sugar, with hints of licorice and dark fruit

Taste: Dark chocolate, burnt brown sugar and some fruitiness, up front, with the hops adding a bit of citrus by mid-palate, when a boozy tingle brings another aspect; after the swallow, the chocolate is the dominant flavor, although the citrus lingers in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; not as full bodied as expected for the ABV

Overall: A very nice stab at the style for a brewery not known for brewing such bid beers; not the best RIS out there as it lacks some complexity in the malt bill but it is a very good value

brentk56, May 04, 2011
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Motor oil black with no appreciable accents, no matter how bright the backlighting. Atop the beer sits a coffee milkshake colored crown that looks as thick and as creamy as... well... a coffee milkshake. The foam hangs around forever and does the glass proud when it finally fades.

It smells like OCRIS is chock full of roasted and chocolate malt. This is one powerful stout and the starting chill hasn't even has a chance to melt away. There's nothing fancy here, just big burly barley of the darkest kind. My expectations just shot through the roof.

Russian Imperial Stout *almost* tastes as good as it smells. It isn't quite the malt monster that it needs to be to compete with the style's best, but it's a damn good first effort at high-gravity beer for a brewery that has only recently ventured into those waters.

Specific flavors include bittersweet chocolate, charred coffee beans, brown sugar (which was added), hints of black licorice, and a bitter tea leafiness that must be due to Magnum and Willamette hops. This is clearly a fresh bottle because the lupulins are still on the aggressive side. The finish is amazingly tight given all those malt sugars.

Alcohol is buried beautifully, something that is hardly a given when the ABV tops double digits. The mouthfeel doesn't miss the next highest score by much. It falls just short of medium for the style, although that matches the surprisingly balanced (read: hoppy) flavor profile very well.

It looks like the brewers at Otter Creek did their homework after deciding to release an RIS. This offering is undoubtedly more hoppy than the originals, but this hophead isn't about to complain. $6.99 was a more than reasonable price and I wouldn't hesitate to spend it again.

BuckeyeNation, Aug 23, 2010
Photo of mikesgroove
4.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally was able to track this one down thanks to the NO BS BIF. I have been wanting to try this new big one from otter creek for a while now. Served at cellar temp and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 04/14/2009.



The pour was very nice. Black as night and simply huge here with an enormous tan head of foam that just came up over the top and sat there for a few moments before releasing its grip and settling down into a normal inch high pillow that was simply a wonder to behold. The aroma was rich roasted malts, lots of chocolate and coffee notes here, hints of licorice and a nice molasses bit as it warms up. Almost vanilla touches, but not really. Big upfront hint of dark coffee for me, this mellowed somewhat after a few moments but still kept a tight leash on the flavor throughout. Rich notes of cocoa and light alcohol rising up mid palate as it really warmed up leaving a nice and lightly hopped finish to mingle with the rich ad sweet notes that had started it all. Big smooth body on here, really very full with great carbonation and a nice, easy sipping feel to it. A wee bit strong, but no matter this one was a nice change to sit and watch TV with.



Overall a very, very solid RIS, not the best I have had but no complaints here at all, easily the best beer to come out of the brewery that I have ever had. Solid from top to bottom, and certainly a must try.

mikesgroove, Apr 16, 2009
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%

ygtbsm94, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev 0%

GRG1313, Apr 28, 2013
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a frothy, bubbly, dark tan head.

Smell: Dark roasted maltiness command the earthy, heady aroma with full notes of coffee, chocolate, and charred grains.

Taste: Sweet, malty opening of roasted barley, bittersweet chocolate, cigar ash, and Italian roast coffee. Slight fruitiness buried underneath all the weighty malt flavors. Growing roasty, earthy bitterness and slight hint of warming alcohol begin to take hold, though a taste of gooey molasses tempers them somewhat. Finishes dry and rather roasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Recommended. Whaddya know, that's pretty darned good. A well-made, respectable RIS from Otter Creek.

ChainGangGuy, Mar 27, 2009
Photo of Knapp85
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Knapp85, Dec 26, 2013
Photo of JAHMUR
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

JAHMUR, Jan 03, 2012
Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Otter Creek's Russian Imperial Stout pours an opaque black body beneath a finger thick head of frothy dark tan foam that holds well and leaves short walls of lacing around the glass.

The aroma is like roasted, oily coffee beans. Not much else comes through except for a gentle waft of alcohol. If you'd like to suggest that there's dark chocolate in there as well, OK, I'll go for that, but mainly what I get is bright, roasted coffee beans. Not coffee, mind you, but just the beans. And solid beans, not grounds.

The flavor offers more complexity. There's an edge of fruitiness, and some more distinct chocolate than the nose hints at. It's also a touch fudge-like. Creamy and smooth in the mouth. And although it's deeply roasty, it's not acidic. It's as if the malt is both toasty and roasty. Mocha Java! The balance is right, and it's remarkably smooth and round - almost to a fault. Some spicy (... that may be the alcohol coming through) and grassy hops give it a little bit of edge at least. It finishes dry, and not overly done with sticky malt or residual sweetness or roastiness; although I should point out that there are some minor phenolics present. The strength is evident in the warming as well, although the alcohol never really makes itself known.

An enjoyable beer for sure, but not particularly engaging given the style. It lacks complexity, or should I say depth? Perhaps both.

NeroFiddled, Jun 16, 2009
Photo of Jason
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%

Jason, Sep 02, 2014
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass. I’ve aged this beer for at least a couple of years, but unfortunately I don’t know exactly how long.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a short beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick on the glass.

S: The aroma contains chocolate, roasted malts, dark fruit and coffee.

T: The taste starts with a very hearty roasted malt character. Then some mildly sweet flavors of chocolate, coffee and dark fruit follow. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a very good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp but a bit chalky, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this is a very good big stout to drink for a long time.

TheManiacalOne, Dec 30, 2012
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The most honest bottle from the 22 ounce gift pack I bought, Imperial IPA was solid, and the Wine/Beer hybrid was a bit of an abomination. Well this beer sang praises of why it's okay to go extreme every once in awhile. Form DFH brewer was completely able to nail a big bodied dark beer like no other. Poured dark a bit viscous, with heavy mocha/tan deep brown head color and stark black body bubbling up in my chalice. I'm sorry I didn't use the fluted small pilsner glass that came with the sampler. It didn't seem like the right tool for the job. Aromatics big on ripened fruit/hints of coffee/dark chocolate. Plums/brand soaked fruit/dark chocoalte/even a bit of soy sauce like all great impy stouts. Nose nails the style and hides the booze. Flavor wise more of the same dark fruits/soaked in a mild layer of booziness. Again creamy coffee/big dark roasted malt layers/an edge of soy sauce saltiness this bottle will age forever it you can hold onto it. Big body a bit chewy in the best possible way, smooth rolling carbonation mellow at best carries this big bodied Russian Impy Stout quite well. Like I said this was the VIP of the three pack I came across while browsing the selection up at Vintage Estate in Boardman Ohio. Overall drinkability if one and done this is the supreme one beer to drink, if sharing with friends a four ounce pour is just as satisfying even though you'll crave another bottle to cellar.

WVbeergeek, Jan 09, 2011
Photo of Kegatron
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz foil topped bomber into a tulip glass.

Pours a dense motor oil black with several fingers of extremely rigid looking burnt mocha (almost like chocolate milk) head. This settles down into a 1/2 finger of solid retention, which throws up a big and creamy cascade that just DRENCHES the sides of the glass with foam and brown oily goo. The aroma is huge with roasted grains and zippy notes of espresso beans, along with underlying backer's chocolate that adds some sweetness to the mix. A stiff whiff of licorice and heat pull up the back of this bouquet. Just a really nice and assertive Imperial Stout nose here.

The taste is just as in-yo'-face as the aroma was. Big milk chocolate sweetness up front that then quickly runs into a BRICK WALL of burnt and grainy malts, roasted coffee, and a swift blast of hop bitterness. Mingling in are more subtle (if you can call anything in this subtle) notes of smoke, molasses, brown sugar, and anise. Finishes burnt, tangy, and bitter, with a feel that just sticks to the palate. The mouthfeel is extremely full bodied, with a big creamy feeling up front, that then melds into a more chewy and thick viscous feel that carries all of these huge flavors nicely. There is some definite alcohol heft to the body. While I can't say that the drinkibility of this is stellar because of it, it doesn't distract from the other flavors and in fact helps bring out a lot of the burnt and bitter notes in this.

A bit of a shocker, I would have never expected a beer this big and bold from Otter Creek. Powerful and complex, the only thing holding this back is the alcohol and I'm anxious to see what some time in the cellar will do for future bottles. If this is the start of Otter Creek's new Imperial Series, well then sign me up for the rest, as this made me a believer!

Kegatron, May 22, 2009
Photo of russpowell
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this from Bitterbill, cheers Bill!

Pours like 15,000 mile motor oil with 1 finger of cocoa colored head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Dark chocolate, raisins, & a touch of leafy hops & then some figs & oak notes as this warms

T: Rich dark chcolate, a touch of roastyness, a bit of leafy hops & charred grains up front. As this warms, I get oakyness, a bit of vanilla, black cherry & powdery dryness from the brown sugar I presume, works pretty well here. Plums & figs soaked in booze also show up as well. Finishes with a hint of boozeyness, leafy hops, & figs

MF: Very chewy, fairly light carbonation, a tad syruppy

A fairly dry & complex offering, which slows me down quite a bit. A touch too fruitty for perfection, but this works overall. This is cutting the chill on a fairly cool (not cold) March evening. Another winner from Otter Creek

russpowell, Mar 05, 2010
Photo of MasterSki
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this in a trade a while back - can't remember from whom though (think it was Reagan1984). Served in the same weird conic pint glass.

A - Poured with two fingers of mocha foam that dissipates slowly to a thick cap and leaves big bubbly lacing. Pitch black body with only the faintest bit of brown at the bottom. Looks like an RIS should!

S - Cocoa, roasted malts, some tobacco, some sweet and fruity malts, marshmallow.

T - There's a lot of bitterness that makes this seem a little dirtier than the other stouts we've had. Roastiness, dark chocolate, earthiness. Not my favorite collection of tastes and mono-dimensional in the wrong direction. Bitterness persists well into the aftertaste.

M - This is thicker than the bottle d0b had - medium, with light carbonation tingle, and a smooth creamy texture. Maybe that was a bad bottle, because this was pretty good.

D - The bitterness gets a little out of control, but otherwise this is a pretty easy drinking RIS that hides the 10.6% quite well.

I'm thinking d0b got a bad bottle, because this wasn't awful. Still it was probably my least favorite stout today.

MasterSki, Oct 05, 2009
Photo of jlindros
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Kinda felt like a Finnish Sahti or something similar during this storm, but guess I don't have any available for review interestingly. So next best step is a RIS.

Pours a very dark inky looking pitch black thick beer, a small dark molasses brown colored fizzy head covering that fades pretty quickly although typical for a 10% RIS. This puppy sucks the light in like a nice black hole, none escaping, and gives the glass a nice show with legs from here to Boise.

NOse starts with plenty of dark malts, black malt right off, then some roasted barley, hint of dark chocolate that seems like 95% cacao dark, with a light burnt bitter acrid that is getting into the soy sauce category but not there yet. A faint vanilla as well as hints of earthy hops. A bit of cacao nibs I think too.

Taste starts with big dark malts again, roasted barley again but not coffee, and plenty of black malt. The super dark black malts bring char as expected, as well as a bit of acrid burnt roast and again starts to get soy sauce like again. Crazy dark chocolate in there a bit again, maybe even cacao nibs, but mostly a dark bitter almost acrid chocolate. THe super dark malts also bring some tannins and bitterness to go with it, as well as hints of earthy hops in the middle somewhere. The booze is in there a bit, warming mostly, but is blended into the big dark malts fairly well. The thick malts get a bit syrupy but not overly syrupy, with thick chewy malts, maybe even hints of creamy oats. Finish is semi sticky and sweet, long lingering dark malts, roasted malt, black malt, a bit of chocolate plenty of earthy hop bitterness and some tannins from the roasted malts, and just a touch of burnt acrid flavor lingering for a while, as it somewhat coats the mouth.

Mouth is fuller bodied, fluffy carbonation and thick slightly creamy and rich, just a touch of warming booze.

Overall pretty good, I think this will improve with age pretty well as it has all the right components, super dark malts that get slightly syrupy and borderline soy sauce, just light warming booze, some dark malt tannins, just the right about of earthy hops, which I think will age quite well. As for now being fairly fresh, it's a pretty decent beer but not great yet.

jlindros, Feb 08, 2013
Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not sure where I first had this, but I think it was at TJ's, Paoli.

Opaque black pour with a rocky tan head that sank to a ringlet, leaving a bit of lacing on the glass. Aroma was dark malts, dark chocolate, hints of dark dried fruit. Definitely a tasty stout here, dark malts, dark chocolate, a little espresso, burnt marshmallow, notes of plum, and some mild earthy hops coming through. Body was on the fuller side of medium, robust and smooth, tremendously easy drinker for a 10% brew. Very nice overall.

Rifugium, Apr 22, 2013
Photo of WesWes
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a pitch black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a warm and rich, malty scent that really showcases the chocolate and roasted malts. The taste is great as well. It has an incredibly smooth, malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes dry with a residual chocolate sweetness. It's adequately bitter with a nice warmth as well. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. I'm really impressed with this beer. Otter Creek is stepping up to the plate and knocking it out of the park. Great job guys!!

WesWes, Apr 06, 2009
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Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
89 out of 100 based on 499 ratings.