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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

(Read More)
Reviews: 282
Hads: 550
Avg: 4
pDev: 14.5%
Wants: 38
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: 550
Photo of JamesShoemaker
3.55/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

10 oz pour into a snifter at the brewery. Good friends, good food, and glad to see this bad boy on tap. Very extensive tap list at the brewery, including five Otter Creek brews, five Wolaver's brews, and two Shed brews.

A - yup, this is the first RIS I've had in months and it looks the part. Dark brown lacing and a half-inch of foam takes forever to recede, never completely dissolving into the surface of the brew. The beer itself is dark brown, not quite as black as I expect from the style, but still nearly impenetrable to light.

S - hmm, not a lot there. Even though this is a tapped snifter, the smell is subdued in a bad way. I get hints of the roasted malt, maybe a little booze, but otherwise it dissipates into a very slightly bitter pungency on the end of the nose. Not impressive.

T - slightly better than the odor. Roasted malts, just a hint of caramel, molasses, and sugar. Nothing sweet about this brew, but still surprisingly subdued in its flavors. Even the alcohol is barely present at 10%, which would normally be a positive aspect, but given the dearth of true flavor here, it's a drawback!

M - a dearth of flavor also means a relatively smooth finish. The alcohol doesn't really contribute anything to the MF, but the lack of bitterness/sweetness creates a mediocre brew through and through. Nothing really left in the mouth after the swallow.

O - a very ordinary experience. I'm glad I got to try this on tap at the brewery, but I won't go out of my way to have it again. Overly subdued tastes and smells, and seemingly inexpertly handled.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - It's a stout...oil black in color (and leaves a thin, dark coffee colored ring around the glass).

S - Coffee beans, dark roasted malt, and toasted dark chocolate.

T - Roasted chocolate and delicate vanilla with some alcohol presence and mild dark chocolate bitterness.

M - Medium full bodied and slightly creamy.

O - Good, sits in the middle of the pack overall.

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Photo of hosehead83
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a wine goblet.
Pitch-black in color, with a moderate cap of dark, tan foam.
Aroma-Black patent malt,coffee, dark chocolate.
Taste-Dark roasted coffee, dark roasted malt, baker's chocolate, hop leaf and tobacco notes. Warming alcohol comes to the forefront in a rather bitter finish.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.21/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Opaque black. Pours thick with a head that looks equally as good as the body rising to about 1/2" dark tan.

Smell: strong malt, has hints of pure vanilla and feel of chocolate at the same time. Pretty appetizing.

Taste: A strong dark chocolate with caramel features offset with a marly bitterness. It is a notch sweet, not to the point where it is anything like milk stout but just enough to keep drawing you.

Mouth: Smooth finish, takes at least two sips to adjust then goes down perfect.

Overall: Best Otter Creek beer I have had and ridiculously good Russian imperial stout. If its still by my shop ill be filling another growler without hesitation. Salud!

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Photo of hopoilcrazy
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Mew for this extra!

A - Absolutely great...almost perfect look. Totally pitch black with a dark tan head that does not go away for awhile.

S - Milk chocolate and caramel malt. A little boozy. Bready almost yeasty tang. Puffed wheat.

T - Big, huge, enormous malt. It is a great malt profile: peaty, cocoa powder, kettle corn, biscuity. And at the end when the hops should balance, they don't but the beer doesn't suffer. Faint hop oil, but indeterminable.

M - Luscious coating and tingly booze. Soothing.

Overall, this beer is pretty great and I'm sure that it is a great value. I would drink this a lot if I could get it

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Photo of CardiacNP
4.44/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft from Fox & Hound in Ohio

A nice imperial stout with 10%abv but you do not Taste it.

Dark black in color with a tight 1 finger creamy brown head. Decent lacing.

Malty chocolate , coffee stout.

Lightly carbonated. Smooth creamy mouth feel.
Surprisingly so for such a high alcohol beer.

Overall a solid Russian imperial stout. Recommend trying

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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.

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Photo of davey101
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass, 2013 release?

A - Pours a jet black body with two fingers of creamy mocha foam. Settles down quickly. Pretty stereotypical RIS appearance.

S - Very roast dominant with some chocolate and coffee in the background.

T - Roast central here. Balanced out by some sweeter chocolate and bitter coffee notes. The 65 IBU's are present in the bitterness but the hop flavors are non-existent. Medium bodied and creamy.

O - This is a very solid beer that can compete with the likes of Narwhal and Old Rasputin. A little simple, but that's not entirely a bad thing. I'm not a huge fan of stouts with high IBU's but this was quite nice. This was my first Otter Creek beer and I'm left impressed.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

A real dark mocha and brown chocolate head only about a finger, which subsides to a small collar. Body is a very black walnut and extremely opaque. Scattered leopard lacing. Pretty nice.

Nose has nice chewy toasty grain, and lots of sweet roasty character. Mellow and emphasis on malts. Interestingly not getting hints of chocolate or coffee, but a real simple solid wonderful roast stout classic character. Very nice.

Palate matches much of what is hinted on the nose. Good roasting grains on the mid palate. The swallow brings a nice astringency, good warmth and toast char. Simple grain malt body, almost borderline biscuity with dark malt quality. A light texture, with some chewy quality. As it warms the body sort of weakens though.

Overall though this is a good solid Russian Imperial. Bare bones and simple, but just done well.

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Photo of beyah
4.34/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Apearance - Very minimal head, it is dark tan almost brown, can't see though the beer if you hold it to the light.

Smell - Chocolate, roasty a slight coffee aroma.

Taste - Alcohol is evident, Roasted Malt, hop bittering with a sweet ending as it warms up the chocolate notes come through.

Mouthfeel - Smooth , a bit more carbonation than I expected in this style.

Overall - I have always loved the RIS style, this beer is good but need to age it still a bit to hot and hoppy. I'm going to set a few bottles aside for later.

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Photo of templar316
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pour's black as night ruby highlight's at the edge of the parabola, the mocha head is gone quick. But it keeps working around the edges. The scent of dark fruits; dates and figs, fades into cinnamon and coffee. It's smooth, the ABV is hidden, but the flavor is mild. It's not a tongue crushing monster but dark roast char and hop bitterness at the end remind us that something extra went into the wort. The nuanced malt layers open and smooth the alcohol across the tongue. Eager to try this after a year in the cellar. An excellent beer!

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Photo of cbutova
3.74/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A- Poured from 12oz bottle to a giant snifter with jet black, oil-like body. A one finger dark brown, mocha colored head forms and stays around for a decent time. Frothy ring with big bubbles leaves spotty lacing.

S- Dark fruit and cocoa is what I notice mostly off the bat. Some caramel and vanilla sweets as well. The aroma isn't quite as strong as many great RIS examples.

T- Huge base of roast malt flavors. Big dark cocoa powder, heavily toasted nut, dark caramel and some general roast/burnt flavors make up the backbone for me. There is certainly a good amount of dark fruit (raisin, cherry feel) from the yeast they use. It has a nice edge to it from the roast grains but it does not feel astringent or unsettling. With warmth the cherry and cocoa balance out to give a nice truffle/dessert feel.

MF- Massively thick and creamy body, really nice way to support the heavily roast grain bill. Some bitterness probably from both the hops and the heavily kilned grains.

Cocoa and roast forward RIS with a good dark fruit feel as well.

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Photo of Pete27lax
4.41/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on 3/5/2013

Pours a straight black with a mocha colored head. Good retention and good lacing as well.

Smell is the highlight here. Roasted notes are the heavy hitter on the nose but chocolate and a slight hint of licorice are also present.

Taste is good. Once again the dominant flavor is roasted coffee notes but the smooth milk chocolate flavors are more prominent here.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for an RIS but still good. Hides the alcohol very well too. Very drinkable for a 10% RIS as well.

Overall I am very impressed with this beer. Not going to lie I wasn't expecting to enjoy this beer as much as I did. Well done Otter Creek!

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Photo of JK4Stout
3.46/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A: Well, the color is right. It's darker than midnight and thicker than the cough medicine I'm not supposed to mix with beer. (What do doctor's know anyway?) But there was absolutely no head here! At first I thought this might be nitro and I was pouring wrong...nope, just a headless beer.

S: Not too shabby. A bit weak to be called an imperial from comparrison with other. Notes of chocolate and slight mocha.

T: Good, and certainly has that appropriate mild burn to great warming up ability that Russian Stouts promote. Just doesn't compare to old Raspy or Dark Hollow.

M: Weak for the style. This should linger and stick to the mouth all day. Breweries like to call things a little bigger than they actually are, and this may be the case here.

O: Meh. I'm not complaining that much. It was still a good way to spend the evening...this and Game of Thrones Season 2. But I just can't go much higher when there are several better subjects in the same style out there.

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Photo of Andrew61923
4.31/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle dated 12/3/12 into Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a viscous black with a half finger's worth of mocha colored head. Looks pretty imposing. I'm up for the challenge.

S: Heavy roasted malts, bitter chocolate. It almost smells hearty. I can tell this is going to be a big beer.

T: More of the chocolate coming forward with a slight alcohol tinge at the back of the throat. Finishes with even more bitter dark chocolate. Really nice.

M: The viscous pour was not misleading and this sits pretty heavy on the tongue. A thick beer that's meant to be savored, yet is plenty smooth on the palette. The 10% ABV is somewhat detectable, but this doesn't detract from the beer whatsoever.

O: For a beer I bought as a single because I wasn't sure how much I'd enjoy it, I'm pleasantly surprised. I probably wouldn't go out of my way to get a full 4-pack, but it would be interesting to see how a bottle of this ages. My guess is that it would continue to get better. Well done.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.81/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle with 120312 on the neck. Pours a dark black color with virtually no head. Aromas of coffee, chocolate, roasted malts and earth. Almost no lacing. The taste is a smokey mocha flavor with some earth at the back end. Bitter dark chocolate aftertaste. Earthy and boozey as well. Nice alcohol presence that isn't overwhelming. Light mouthfeel for the style. Overall a pretty decent Russian Imperial Stout I'd grab again.

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Photo of soccerman7
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tulip glass, Growler freshly poured yesterday.

A - A gorgeous tan head that is rather dense. Faded down after a bit to wisps on the surface.

S - The nose has everything you would expect for the style. Roast and smoke notes, coffee, herbal hop notes.

T - Rather smooth flavors. A really nice RIS. There is a lot going on and it keeps revealing more as the beer warms. Coffee, a dark red wine, smoke, pumpernickel bread, its all there. Well done.

M - A nice oily feel with a little bite on the back from the roasted barley.

O - A really nice RIS that should get more attention. A welcomed winter seasonal and looking forward to seeing different versions in the barrel hopefully.

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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.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.01/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - stouty stout black, as black as you'd want your IRS to be. The pour wells up a finger of shiny black head with some staying power.

S - unsweetened chocolate on the aroma hits first, some burnt coffee grounds with a strong pure alcohol finish to the whiff

T - peaty, earthy malts are the biggest element in the taste, aided by a pure unsweetened cocoa powder flavor, some alcohol on the end, but it's hard to entirely hide 10%

M&D&O - rich, luxurious, warming, wainter busting, stouty, not extremely complex, but not mono-characteristic, quality flavors that you would expect in a nice stout, coffee, chocolate, its all there. A nice beer!

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Photo of mpedara429
3.24/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

A: Poured out black with one finger of light brown head. Low retention with spotty lacing.

S: Booze, coffee, and dark roasted malts.

T: Same as the nose with some harsh bitterness.

M: Thick, oily body with a medium carbonation.

O: Boring. This beer has a better mouthfeel than many of it's competitors, but the smell and taste is just average.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Picked this up a few weeks back down at Buy Rite in Jersey City. I never had this before and wanted to wait until it was cold out before going through the dark beers in my stash. Sure enough, the weather's just right this week and I was hoping that this would keep me warm on a night such as this. Even though the alcohol in this was 10.0% and not the 10.6% listed on here, this was certainly strong enough for a RIS and almost seemed like an Imperial Porter, given the roasted nature that this had.

Naturally, the pour to this was dark - a deep coffee brown with a tan head that wasn't terribly thick or long-lasting. The lacing was present, but spotty, as it slid down the edges of my pint glass after each sip. This smelled like a Porter, even though I knew it wasn't, because of the strong burnt coffee notes. I haven't had a beer this toasty in quite some time but the chocolate and cocoa that I've come to expect in a beer like this just wasn't here. There was just a hint of bitter chocolate to be savored but without the powder that sometimes accompanies it. Instead, this beer had a creamy mouthfeel that faded into just a touch of currant and Bourbon-like booziness, leaving a clean and crisp aftertaste that faintly smelled like alcohol.

To be sure, this was strong even if I couldn't feel it throughout my session. The bitterness and chocolate weren't very present here but this was complex enough to be a Stout and to go just a bit beyond it, since it was full-bodied and full-flavored. I wouldn't start off with this if I was new to to the style but for aficionados, this will satisfy most palates while pushing the edge of what a RIS can taste and feel like.

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Photo of BB1313
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle, "Limited Edition", 10% abv. Poured into a snifter. Pours pitch black with no light getting through. There's a mocha head that slowly fades and leaves nice retention. The aromas are full of black coffee and has hints of smoke. Very roasty nose. There's some chocolate malts in the mix, but the black coffee really seems to dominate. The flavors are extremely bold, but somewhat metallic and has subtle alcohol notes, but it's not hot or boozy. There's a strong bitterness from the dark chocolate. There's barely any hop flavor, but there's definitely some hop bitterness going on. More coffee and smoke. The coffee dominates and lingers. The mouthfeel is very nice. It's not quite milkshake thick, but it's thick enough. Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Fluffy and creamy. Very smooth Imperial Stout. This makes a great sipper.

I really like this. Nice example of the style. I bet this will age amazingly. Props to Otter Creek.

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Photo of Altrurian
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

SAE 40 pour, black all the way to the edge. Thin brown head. Minimal cling. Velvety feel. Really an excellent appearance and texture. The taste is interesting and a little surprising. While the cues might conjure notions of chocolate and prunes, there's a certain tart quality on the palate. It drifts off into bitter coffee and burnt toast, tempered by just a suggestion of dates. Alcohol is the merest afterthought. The more I think about it, actually quite nice.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into an oversized snifter.

A: Thick and viscous on the pour, and black as black gets. Motor oil for sure. One inch of tan head forms from a vigorous pour. It settles after a short while, but never fully disappears. Lacing adorns the glass in unbroken rings and small but concentrated spots.

S: Hefty dose of acrid roasted malts. Woody and smokey. Black licorice, baker's chocolate, burnt coffee. Mocha. Earthy hops. Spike of alcohol and some plum esters. This beer smells huge.

T: Dark fudge, acrid roasted malts, smoke, black licorice. Plum and black currant esters. Earthy hops. Strong spike of alcohol mid-palate brings a hit of spice. Woody. More black licorice. Burnt coffee. Long roasty finish of acrid roasted malts, baker's chocolate, and dark fudge.

M: One of the biggest bodied beers I've ever had. Thick and very heavy. Weighty and downright sludgy. Almost no carbonation. Feels as though you could cut it and eat it with a fork and a knife.

O: This is one gigantic beer, and definitely one of those 'meal in a glass' type beers. Encyclopedia definition of a sipper. It's drinking fairly well right now, but it goes without saying that this is an excellent candidate for aging. So now we have another great, readily available 4-pack Imperial stout priced very competitively at $10. Good stuff. Nicely done, Otter Creek.

Notes: It's been a long time since I've had the original, discontinued Otter Creek Imperial stout in the 22oz bottle, but I don't think this is the same beer. This doesn't taste anything like I remember. Unless I am mistaken, this should probably be entered as a different beer.

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Photo of dogfishandi
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle at fridge temp poured into a snifter. Listed as 10% ABV on the label which is different from the one pictured.

Pours out a completely opaque, viscous black. A vigorous pour results in just a small 1/4 in. layer of head that quickly fades to a ring, but the ring remains nice and tight throughout the rest of the glass. What is nice about the head is that its a nice deep tan/ light brown color. A bit of lacing and a bit of some sticky legs from a swirl of the glass.

First off, in the aroma is a deep charred, roasted malt, some alcohol, a bit of dark chocolate, black licorice, slight hints of smoked meat as it warms.

AgaIn, a deep charred roasted malt really takes center stage in the taste. Bitter- sweet. Some nice dark chocolate and a bit of some bakers chocolate. A bit of alcohol, but more in the form of warming. A bit of dark fruits on the back end. A bit basic, but defiantly tasty.

A nice thick mouthfeel that really coats the whole palate with each sip. Low carbonation which is compliments the style.

A very nice RIS, it defiantly exceeded my expectations. They seemed to have nailed everything exactly to style. Age should do this well, but this would be real magic in a bourbon barrel. Worth atleast one try.

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