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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

282 Reviews

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Reviews: 282
Hads: 549
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 11.28%
Wants: 37
Gots: 38 | 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: 549
Photo of caminiti
3.48/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I gave this beer a lot of rope to hang itself, and it did. Poured beautiful, dark, slight head, great appearance. Nose had malt and coffee come through, with maybe a bit of nut (burnt). Taste was were this brew fell apart. Appearance and name (and style) did not come through in the taste, it was light with a burnt aftertaste, and in my opinion of the style, not very good at all. I read the other reviews, which were much more impressive than mine, and I think I may have just got a not so good bottle, and at the price, which was not too steep, I may try again, and let it age.. (581 characters)

Photo of 01121987
5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

this beer is absolutely incredible.
it has an incredible roasted malt/barley character that is not at all in any way cloying or overwhelming with a welcomed alcohol warmth that is not at all harsh. this is the most "drinkable" imperial stout i have ever tasted and is on my top ten best beers ever tasted list. i would recommend this beer to anyone and everyone who likes darker and stronger beers, and even those who don't.
this might be the best beer i have ever had from otter creek and i used to live in vermont so iv had just about al of them.
great beer. if you see it buy more than one! (595 characters)

Photo of IBUnit63
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, I've been waiting to try this for a couple of weeks and finally pried it from my fridge and poured contents of this bomber into a Portsmouth snifter.

Pours a shiny dark brown - not black, but definitely a dark brown leather color. Head that forms up top is very thin and brown sugar in color. Fades to small wisps very quickly.

There's a whole lot of coffee in here - robust, velvety coffee - maybe not a dark roast but a good solid medium blend. Pike's Place or something like that. The beautiful bride suggests licorice tones in here too and I can't disagree. I get a touch of hop pine and a whole lot of well-roasted malt. It's really impressive.

Well, definitely let this thang warm to room temperature, because 15 minutes out of the fridge isn't enough to burn off the slate dryness and excess carbonation. There is a bit of of austere tannin in here - not a huge excess. Thankfully after 5 minutes it starts to get frisky and get some Beautiful Chemistry going on. The tannins subside, the coffee, the roasted malt and the piney hops get it together with a touch of brown sugar and slight booziness to make a tasty RIS that has a touch of clamminess in it that hinders from being awesome. This is very good - maybe just a touch on the thin side. Coffee provides a nice little bite on the back end. No, I didn't mean that literally.

OK, now that we've warmed this up a bit...it's got that nice licorice bite on the roof of the mouth, a good coffee/pine hop bite on the sides and a dry, sweet hint of brown sugar booze on the tongue. Finish is well-balanced and loses clamminess by the second. This at first blush reminded me of that typical Otter Creek sooty slate and earthy Ringwood texture but that was fortunately ephemeral. This rolls like a damn fine, if slightly light, RIS.

A cleaner RIS than I'm used to when all said and done. Maybe a little lighter and a little too much patent tannin but all in all this drinks extremely nicely and the alcohol really doesn't stick out. Maybe not in the same sandbox as Kate or Darkness but it won't embarrass itself against a few of the other well-regarded light-heavyweights either. (2,145 characters)

Photo of jujubeast6000
2.86/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed 4/16/2009 (Bottle):

Pours a pitch black color body, big foamy tan brown colored head lasting. Good lacing. Strong coffee chocolate aroma. Some alcohol. Some sweet chocolate too. Something else like ash. Watery palate, smokey and slightly ashy taste. Sweet chocolate and some dark chocolate in the taste too. Something is off. (335 characters)

Photo of DefenCorps
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Jet black with a dark brown head with good retention. Dark brown highlights. Quite impressive!

S: Molasses, coffee and medium dark chocolate open things up, with some dark fruit following through. Roasty, with a hint of citrus hops in the back.

T: Opens up with a firm combination of citrus hops and chocolate as well as maltose-like flavors. Coffee mid palate with a mildly hoppy finish with a bit of alcohol

M: Medium bodied, excellent carbonation and a great finish. I like the way the hops are expressed here

D: Fairly easy to drink despite my being burnt out on the style (584 characters)

Photo of drseamus
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to aerozeppl and avryle for sharing.

A: Pitch black with a thin off white head.

S: Roast city! Massive roasted malt. Fairly singular.

T: Roast is even stronger in the taste than the aroma. Almost purely one dimensional. Dry cocoa in the back.

M: Thin behind the roast.

D: A touch too roasty and too one dimensional. (327 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.43/5  rDev +11%
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. (1,401 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a solid black with a huge fluffy tan head that laces the side of the glass all the way down. Aroma is of burnt brown sugar, coffee, a touch of alcohol. Taste is more brown and burnt sugar, some dark chocolate, dark roasted coffee a touch of alcohol and a lingering roast bitterness and alcohol in the finish. Lots of caramel and toffee appear as this one warms. Very complex, very tasty! Thick body, creamy syrupy mouthfeel, low but ample carbonation. Wow I'm impressed! This is one solid Imp Stout, I wish I had bought more than one bottle! Otter Creek welcome back to my craft brew scene. (596 characters)

Photo of twelvsies
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Otter Creek from what I've sampled tends to brew solid, even tasty, yet style specific and standard-ish beers. A good porter, a nice copper ale, etc... but nothing too bold or exceptional, this beer being an exception. Mmmm this is good. This beer is pretty darn black, initially a nice big head but recedes into thin brown bubbles. Smells deep and malty, a bit chocolaty, and I read it right on the label (by the way I love it when breweries list the specific ingredients used) but the brown sugar is coming through. Rich and malty indeed. Damn. It's got the general bases covered for the style, real chocolaty with a bit of bitter coffee. That I expect in a stout - but what I love and don't always get is that extra deepness, and this beer has it. A nice smokey finish - real nice. Takin' a gander here but maybe this has a common ingredient with their tasty Stovepipe Porter, which is also nice and robust and smokey? Regardless it's real damn nice. Velvety on the palate with a bit of a dry finish and a nice warmth. Yum. A great local beer worth having again for sure, readily available and affordable too. (1,112 characters)

Photo of lackenhauser
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Jet black as you would expect. Small, tight cocoa tinge on top. Not really a head. Dried fruit and somewhat fig like aroma. Mild sherry. Big, bold roasted character in the flavor. Hop blast as well. Quite floral. Distinct roasted graininess to it. Great body. This is a great beer. Only good thing I have ever had from Otter Creek actually. I didnt want to go into this biased as I am not a fan. Killer stuff, well worth picking up. (432 characters)

Photo of WesWes
4.47/5  rDev +12%
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!! (600 characters)

Photo of Gavage
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a black color with a dark tan colored 1" head that falls to a thick surface foam.

Smell: strong roasted malts, dark chocolate, some softer coffee tones, and a bit of alcohol are easy to detect.

Taste: the roasted malt profile is big along with a slight burnt woody flavor. Dark chocolates along with hints of coffee linger in the background. Alcohol is warming and the bitterness brings this into check.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Lightly crisp to start, smoother at the finish. Aftertaste is long as the burnt tones linger in the mouth.

Drinkability: good for the style as I found myself drinking this a bit quicker than normal. Alcohol levels bring this score down a notch. Very good beer from Otter Creek. (730 characters)

Photo of unibrew
5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

WOW! The Russian Imperial Stout is perhaps the best RIS on the market today. I had a taste of it in Brooklyn at Mugs Ale House last month. I found it on sale at Oliver's Beverage Store in Albany NY. I picked up 2 bottles and had one of them last night. It is just sooo good! Smooth, creamy and chocolatey. If the 2nd bottle was cold, I probably would have drank it as well. I pray I can buy it here in Brooklyn. Also, it didn't give me a hangover. I don't know why.. that never happens! Honestly, I found it to be even better than Yeti and better than Black Ops, especially for the money.
Dave (593 characters)

Photo of Imsothirsty
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this at the Pour House last night, poured into a wine glass. Served way too cold.

Appearance: What I expected from an RIS, thin very brown head lacing

Smell: Alcohol! Really came through strong for me and overpowers the nutty, roasty, coffee smells, but they are there

Taste: Oooh nice, lots of choclate, less coffee than I expected, roasty and nutty flavors to start, kind of mellows out to a roasty mollases taste at the finish, very good.

Mouthfeel: Not very thick like many other RIS's, appropriate carbonation, some sips felt gritty.

Drinkability: The intense alcohol aroma before each sip along with the thin mouthfeel make me think twice about coming back for more, definitely harder for me to drink than other RIS's.

Overall Im glad I tried it, but not really standout. (788 characters)

Photo of BeerSox
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber into 25oz snifter.

Pitch black with absolutely no light getting through. A thick brown two finger head rises just above the rim, then slowly settles to a thin cap with a bubbly shelf. The head leaves behind a solid wall of lacing.

A strong coffee aroma rises from the top, along with a little bit of brown sugar. A little bit of dark fruit sits in the background. I think I smell chocolate cake too.

Molasses is heavy in the flavor, which mixes with the deep roasted malts. The flavor almost has a slight creaminess to it. A little raisin mixes in. Full bodied.

The alcohol is well hidden in this one, making it pretty drinkable. It's a little on the sweeter side, and not as hoppy as some others. Recommended. (728 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.15/5  rDev +4%
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. (748 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This pours close to a pitch black, actually a very very dark brown. Nice 1 finger head of tan foam that recedes quickly leaving a scattering of lacing.

The smell is very nice. Big notes of coffee, roasted malt, and something sweet behind in the background. Maple syrup? Molasses? It does a great job of balancing the nose. I can also smell some alcohol but it isn't a dominant feature.

The taste is big coffee, big chocolate(both sweet and dark), roasted malt, and nice dark fruity tones. A very nice balance of bitter and sweet with just a touch of alcohol poking through giving me a light warming. Very tasty.

It has a close to full mouthfeel and it is on the light side with the carbonation.

Drinkability? Damn good for how potent it is. The flavours keep you busy enough to forget the alcohol, for the most part. This is a very nice brew.

Edit Feb 5, 2011:

Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout 2008.

A gorgeous pour with a 1 finger head of tan foam.

There's still loads of chocolate notes in the smell, light hint of roasted Malt.

Chocolate of the sweetish type, some roasted Malt, some nice smoke from a bbq, dark chocolate bitterness that grows during the sitting, coffee...the +2 years of cellaring has been very kind. It's drinking very damn well right now! (1,273 characters)

Photo of rwrk42
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a nice tan head which has some cling to the glass
Smell: Roasted malt, slight caramel and a whole lot of chocolate
Taste: Good smooth taste. Roasted malts and chocolate with the right amount of hop bitterness to offset the slight sweet brown sugar taste.
One to savor and not chug. A very good Russian Imperial Stout which I recommend (351 characters)

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.46/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer is about as black as they get with only a faint sliver of brown creeping around the edges of my pint. The head is a tan foamy film.

Smells of smokey barley and a touch of milk chocolate but it is sadly backed by sweet rotting fruit. The initial charcoal and cocoa is nice, but what lies beneath isn't so hot. The alcohol tends to come through much more when it warms.

The flavor has the same dynamic. There's a quite tasty smokey barely, coffee and barbecue but it too is followed up by over-ripe prunes and cherries. There are other styles that get far more lopsided than this one. Although this one is mostly pretty good, I still can't over look that sickeningly sweet fruit flavor in the background.

Feels big and sluggish with a light frothing of carbonation. It leaves a little film behind, but it seems to work well with the smokey flavors at hand.

I'm a little more pessimistic about this beer than I should be, but there are plenty more RISs I would have before this one, as easy as it is to drink. (1,020 characters)

Photo of HoustonTX
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout

You're greeted with a simple, yet elegant bottle. I love the basic print label, and golden foil top. Inside, a delectable treat. The deep rich darkness of this ones pure jet black body entices you to break in. Fluffy mocha head, with extravagant retention. Very appealing to the eyes. I want to just dive in. But, not yet - I'd rather stare at this beauty for a little bit.

The aroma permeates the air the instant you crack the bottle. Big, roasty, and complex. Beautiful roasted malt notes of sweet dark chocolate, toasted caramel, and brown sugar. Very deep and extremely aromatic.

Now onto the best part of this beauty. The taste. Striking complexity immediately, with lots of the flavors resembling the nose. The first thing you notice is the gigantic roasted notes, which are just so damn complex. They barrage the palate, and coat it with roasted malt goodness. Soon after sweet chocolate, and rich cocoa beans accentuate with the flavor tone and provide even more depth. Bittering hops blend well with the chocolate notes and provide a bit of citrus/earthiness to the flavor. The balance overall is wondeful. Finishes just as it started, absolutely delicious. With a nice drying edge. Great mouthfeel, and amazing drinkability despite the 10% abv.

This is incredibly well done RIS. Incredibly tasty, and offers everything you look for in an RIS, and more. Mad props to Otter Creek for nailing this one. This is definitely one of my top RIS's. (1,488 characters)

Photo of wagenvolks
4.41/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bomber into a Duvel tulip.

Pours about as perfect as a Russian Imperial Stout can pour--jet black, oily body with a sizable dark custard head that retains well and leaves appropriate lacing. Aroma is a delectable blend of roasted chocolate and caramel malts, cookie dough, and espresso liquor, balanced nicely with a dose of earthen hops.

Whoa!!! This is a BIG beer. I'm immediately greeted by an rush of bitter baker's chocolate, earthen hops, and chocolate liquor. Body is viscous and oily, with a creamy, well-carbonated consistency and an amazing finish of hearty hops and booze. Easily one of my top 10 RIS's, Otter Creek's version has impressed me to no end. I think I will be heading back to the store to pick up a few more bombers of this gem so I can drink, age, and trade it. (794 characters)

Photo of grayburn
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a goblet at around 55 degrees,
A heavy midnight with a brown crown. The head retention is very nice, and the lacing is thick. Big looking beer.
The smell is a lot more tame than I expected from both the appearance and the abv. Notes of chocolate, caramel, and a little bit of spice linger in the background.
The taste is a bit over average, a bit subdued...a little too one-dimensional in my opinion. Certainly not a bad flavor by any stretch. The heavy malt is there, there is definite sweetness and some alcohol as well, there just isn't much balance. It is big but not rounded.
The mouthfeel is pretty silky, good carbonation.
The drinkability is pretty good. For almost 11 percent, this goes down very smoothly. (741 characters)

Photo of far333
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque brownish black with an inch high head of light brown foam that settles out slowly to a lid of soapy bubbles.

Aroma of cocoa and dark malt and licorice, some subtle smoke.

Rich flavors of darkly roasted malt and tangy cherry. Subtle cocoa and deep espresso, morphing to bitter dark chocolate. Notes of charred smokey bark and licorice. Lots of complexity here.

Even mouthfeel, moderate carbonation. Warming in the cheeks. Finishes somewhat dry. Very drinkable, tasty beer. (481 characters)

Photo of Amalak
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

At Mugs Ale House on Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn they had a tasting with a cask of this brew. Completely black in color with a tan head, no real lace. It had a sweet toffee scent to it.

Very flavorful, chocolate, vanilla and coffee, very sweet, actually. Roasted malt, smooth, yet strong...good brew. (298 characters)

Photo of morebeergood
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle recently at Bauer. Poured from the bomber into a pint glass. Thick as the midnight fog. Dark as oil. Huge light brown colored head that lasted for a majority of the time drinking it. Smelled like (almost) burnt coffee beans. Strong on the nose. Taste was a bit unusual for an RIS. I swear, I think this is a smoked RIS. I really liked the flavors of chocolate and coffee from an RIS, but it seemed to be mixed with the smokiness of a rauchbier. Very different. Very heavy body, a sipper for sure. The huge body, the intense flavor, and the noticeable alcohol make this a slow drinking beer, but surely one that I enjoyed. (640 characters)

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