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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

496 Ratings
THE BROS
88
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 496
Reviews: 274
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
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: 496 | Reviews: 274 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MbpBugeye
MbpBugeye

Ohio

2.98/5  rDev -25.3%

The first treasure to be opened from my birthday spoils. Sent to me by JamnesCameron. In all fairness I can buy this locally but Ive never reviewed it so I was glad to pull it from the box.

A- This one isnt ashamed to throw up a big dark tan head. Lacing is at a minimum however. Typical black body.

S- The smell is strong. Its one of those beers that can be smelled half way across the room. There will be no fooling the officers at the check point on your way home from having a glass of this. It has a milky, chocolatey smell with a touch of roast and grain. Its appealing and quintessentially stout.

T- The flavor is lacking some things here and there and in a world dominated by imperial stouts that body slam the taste buds there really isnt any forgiveness. The creamy milk chocolate carries over from the smell but thats really about the whole story. The 10.6% is well hidden but I wouldnt mind a warming glass of beer right about now.

M- Medium body with very low carbonation.

D- This beer will easily get lost in the sea of imperial stouts that can be found.

12-08-2010 03:46:17 | More by MbpBugeye
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

3.45/5  rDev -13.5%

22oz bottle poured into my Narke tulip...Black beer with a decent light tan head. Good retention and lacing...The aroma is very malty, but good. Sweet chocolate and a little roast, nice combo, has me excited to try...The taste is not nearly as successful, a lot of the sweetness is gone. Bitter steal coffee and a lot of alcohol comes out. Roasty finish

A great start, terrible finish. Not worth trying.

11-19-2010 02:28:25 | More by jrallen34
Photo of cope0021
cope0021

Minnesota

4.15/5  rDev +4%

Dark color. Thick head that quickly subsides.

Roasted smell with some light fruit notes

Taste is slightly bitter. Some sweetness as well. The flavors are well ballanced.

The only dissapointment was that it was deffinitely thinner on the tongue than the pour led me to believe.

But all in all a great beer

11-16-2010 03:18:52 | More by cope0021
Photo of MBPChead
MBPChead

Maryland

4.4/5  rDev +10.3%

Look: Pours a thick opaque black with a motor oil consistency and a minimal amount of a creamy coffee head. Very entrancing.

Smell: Thick coffee and dark chocolate with roasted malt coming through. Very lovely fragrance overall.

Taste: Full of malts and hops, neither of the two are fully out of this brew but as the liquid courses through the mouth the balance of power shifts from malt to hops. Overall the flavor is predominantly coffee and dark chocolate with the bitterness characteristics for each flavor coming from the hops. The roasted malt exhibits a char/charred oak characteristic, as well as hints of vanilla, black licorice, molasses and a small whisp of ginger. Very wonderful all in all.

Feel: Ridiculously thick, as a good friend of mine put it, this makes Guinness look like water. Smooth and warming from the level of alcohol and a small tingly sensation from the hops.

Drinkability: This one drinks quite well, but I'd be more inclined to split a 22oz bomber with a friend or 2 as an after dinner treat than having several servings, plus the alcohol contnent is also a slight deterent from having more than half a bottle.

All in all an excellent version of a russian imperial stout.

11-14-2010 19:43:43 | More by MBPChead
Photo of CooperEllis
CooperEllis

New York

4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

22oz into DFH snifter

Straight roasted malt aroma, flavor.

This RIS is dark, not pitchblack, but a deep brown with a ful carmel head that reduces to thin lacing around the edges of the glass.

Lacing is sticky, but not cloying.

Flavor is full, slight alcohol bite but doesn't detract from the full roasted malt flavors of the brew.

Carbonation is spot on. The finish is smooth, with faint bitterness that doesn't linger.

Solid across the board.

(33rd)

11-05-2010 18:15:09 | More by CooperEllis
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

3.65/5  rDev -8.5%

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.

11-02-2010 01:33:05 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of Khazadum
Khazadum

Illinois

4.13/5  rDev +3.5%

Huge thanks to Allie for this bottle. I'm always willing to try out a new RIS, especially from a brewer I have yet to try. Poured into my brandy snifter and enjoyed instantly.

A- Beautiful head formation... I mean this is a work of art. Few beers have such spot on formation. Some don't form what you want without violence, others gush out this ugly collection of bubbles that would make a man cry. This... this is that rare cap of uniform miniature bubbles that slowly dissipates into the room. As it creeps its way down to the liquid level, a skin of lacing occludes vision all the way across the glass. It eventually leaves me with a thick collar, a tomato soup skin, and some pleasant memories of that gourmet milk chocolate froth.

No matter what I do, the inky depths reveal no secret to me. I beg, I plead, I shine a flashlight into its eyes interrogating it as I wish... but to my dismay I am left as clueless as when I began.

S- A delicate sniff foretells what I was hoping to not find. It is the all too common fault of your everyday RIS that it reeks of scrap metal. Copper, aluminum, iron. The trifecta of horror cackles from beneath its veil. It knows how to ramp up my distaste as it exhales a puff of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons right up my nostril.

I'd almost given up all hope when hiding in the corner, tied up and begging me to help is that sweet, little, damsel BC. Her strength is my addiction. Bitter Chocolate is one love I will always have, no matter where she lays her head down. Before I knew it, she had rescued me as she introduced me to her other friends hiding down there. The pleasure was all mine to be reintroduced to roasted barley. Now that I knew I would have support, I was ready to start imbibing.

T- That first sip was miles ahead of what i was expecting. If complex existed in a physical form, it would have taken a dump into this beer. There are multiple layers to delve into that it almost is a chore to fully enjoy this stout. The frosting on this cake is most definitely coffee flavored. Bitter, roasty, and acidic without straying from what coffee actually tastes like. If you scrape off your icing, you find a thin layer of sweet malts that have hints of caramel before you hit that fluffy cake portion.

After having such contrasting characteristics as bitter coffee and sweet malt you'd expect vanilla cake? Not this time. We are hit with another bitter character right dead in the middle. Our favorite lady, BC, can't help but shine through. If you think this is the last you'll see of her, you are most assuredly mistaken.

A new challenger appears! The hop character actually exists. I take my eyes off my current lust for just a moment and she had disappeared leaving me with a bitter retinue of hateful hops. They are easily slain with a few flicks of my tongue, but I am left alone... forever alone. Or so I thought. Dashing from the backs of my tasting fields comes the best gift. Tender gentle love from bitter chocolates remind me what I have been missing for far too long.

M- It seems every other step from this offering is a mistake. It tripped over its own massive flavor and gave me what is barely above the minimum I expected. Of course it is full of body, waves of creamy liquid easily identified. However, is that also a thinning in the edges? It is easily identified as full, but it quickly dilutes itself to be thinner than it should have been. It suffers that famous fictional story conundrum... two natures in one being.

It is saved by having a delightfully bubbly attitude... it brings about a certain oie de vivre. The full package combines into something functional enough to allow my palate to reminisce for a time on what it has experienced.

D- Balanced, careful, graceful, clumsy, vulgar, loud, and crass. All natures found in various areas of this brew. It truly reminds me of the relationships I've had growing older. Hidden gems that I failed to comment on can be dissected from these words just as can be from prior experiences. I'd like to revisit this dream, if but for only a moment.

10-30-2010 22:05:45 | More by Khazadum
Photo of sdawson
sdawson

Oregon

3.98/5  rDev -0.3%

Many thanks to jmu500 for this bottle, and his continued ability to knock off my wants with finesse. Thanks so much!

Otter Creek's RIS poured a thick, opaque black, even more-so than many I've seen in the style. There is just a hint of lacing and a patch of foam atop the brew. The smell is of sweet chocolate, caramel, and a hint of cherries, suggesting quite a sweet offering. On taste the beer is much more rich and balanced than the scent may suggest, though, complete with a surprising show of lemon-herbal tinged hops, baking chocolate, and tart cherries. The mouthfeel is good with strong carbonation and just enough oiliness to coat the mouth. While certainly not one to pound down (is any of the style?), the drinkability is high for the style, lacking both the bitter alcohol punch or the cloying sweetness that can often hurt stouts. Definitely a nice brew, particularly for a hop-lover who wants to give stouts a try.

10-20-2010 08:05:36 | More by sdawson
Photo of alleykatking
alleykatking

Indiana

4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Poured from 22oz bottle.

A- Poured a motor oil black color. Very wonderful looking to say the least! Two finger mocha colored head shows good retention for the ABV. Very sticky streaky lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Big time roasted malts and chocolate malts. Nothing really else on the aroma except a ton of malts...bigger dark malts. Simple and works very well.

T- A lot of of chocolate malts in the front of this. There is a roasted coffee hint that rides the entire beer. Brown sugar hints in the middle of the beer. Toward the ending of the beer there is a light anise flavor which gets covered with the roasted malts and a light warming alcohol. This bottle is a year old and the alcohol is still there in a warming way.

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Nice heavy roasted malt flavor left on the palate. Lighter roasted malts and alcohol in the aftertaste. Medium alcohol drying on the palate. Malt forward beer that I have no complaints with. Clean flavors throughout.

D- This is a nice heavy hitting beer that I was glad to try. This one could rivial any of the bigger stouts and I think might actually be better than some of those in a blind test. The ABV is hidden till the backend but even then isn't as big as it should be. Great beer!

10-11-2010 03:16:46 | More by alleykatking
Photo of Naugros
Naugros

New Jersey

4.18/5  rDev +4.8%

I was surprised to take the gold foil from the top of the bottle and find a bottle cap hiding beneath. I was expecting a basket and cork, but had fun playing with the foil anyway. It brought to mind a giant cherry cordial or maybe a portion of Janet Jackson's Super Bowl costume. Oh, I'm supposed to be reviewing this beer...and I haven't had a sip of it yet.

Looks like almost every other imperial stout I've ever poured. Dark brown (not black) with a mocha-colored head which took just as long to build as it did to die. It did leave behind a nice crown and bubbly islands and some nice lacing.

It also smells like every other imperial stout I've ever poured. That means roast, toast, chocolate, earth, some whiskey (it's hard to hide 10.6% abv), but no coffee.

It also tastes like most imperial stouts I've ever poured, but this one has more earthiness to it than others and leaves behind some grit. The chocolate is there, but the whiskey is not as prevalent in the taste as in the nose. So they do mask the alcohol pretty well.

Is it me or are we overdoing this style? Yes, my profile says that my favorite style is Russian Imperial Stout, but everyone is making one now. But that's about it for the bad news. The good news is that this must not be a hard style to master since I've had very few bad ones. This is not a bad one, in fact it's pretty darn good.

09-03-2010 00:41:02 | More by Naugros
Photo of cavedave
cavedave

New York

4.28/5  rDev +7.3%

My last oil change had this look, minus the light brown foam which briefly caps this beauty of a big stout.

The smell is deep caramel, roasty malt, some charry notes, hints of yeast and licorice, and a coffee bitter to it that adds a yummy complexity. Mmmmm.

More licorice in the sip for sure, which starts roasty and sweet, goes into the licorice, and hangs on for a ride of charry notes, dark chocolate notes, coffee notes, ending with hints of herbal hop and sweet, but mainly the darker notes gradually depositing clean layers of lasting herbal bitter and char on the palate. Marvelous flavor, clean and balanced.

Mouthfeel is thick, low carb., and a finish that is as good as many stouts with more hype and higher ratings.

This is a sipper that leaves you craving next sip. I am likely to crack the other bomber in the fridge before too long.

Impression: What a surprise, this is the best OCB beer I've tried. If you can get this, get this.

08-29-2010 23:04:43 | More by cavedave
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4.22/5  rDev +5.8%

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.

08-23-2010 13:01:51 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of perrymarcus
perrymarcus

Massachusetts

3.7/5  rDev -7.3%

bomber served in an oversized wineglass.

pours your usual imperial stout dark, dark brown... a finger of a tan/cinnamon toned head demonstrates respectable retention and lots of lacing. a very nice looking RIS. nose: dark chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, booze.
first sip delivers more of the same. less booze than i was anticipating judging from the smell, but also more hoppiness, both surprising. imo they overdid it a bit with the hops. velvety, creamy moutfeel that impresses; moderately carbed. overall a solid representation of the style and one i would welcome again, though i probably wouldn't seek it out.

08-15-2010 01:08:18 | More by perrymarcus
Photo of oddfire
oddfire

Massachusetts

4.65/5  rDev +16.5%

A - Poured into a snifter an wow this beer looks awesome. Pitch black with a chocolate head. Good head retention.
S - Chocolate and licorice with a hint of cloves.
T - Wow this beer is good. You get a taste of it and then you are hooked. This is a well done beer. Chocolate, coffee, toffee, and malt. What more can you ask for.
M - velvet.
D - Very easily put down. But you feel it in the morning. I will continue to drink this as long as they brew it.

08-14-2010 01:36:04 | More by oddfire
Photo of mjaskula
mjaskula

New York

3.85/5  rDev -3.5%

Reviewed from notes.

Served in a pint glass. Pours black, as expected, with a medium tan head that thins to a film and leaves a bit of thick lacing.

Aroma has dark roasted malts and dark chocolate. Flavor is thick with plenty of roasted malt and chocolate and some malt sweetness. Hop bitterness mixes well with the roasted malt bitterness. Alcohol flavor and strength is well hidden.

Mouthfeel is syrupy. The mild carbonation and crisp bitterness leaves a nice finish. This beer is about as drinkable as you could expect from a RIS.

08-10-2010 03:06:08 | More by mjaskula
Photo of kingcrowing
kingcrowing

Vermont

3.98/5  rDev -0.3%

22oz foil topped bomber poured into an 8oz Rock Art tulip.

Pours an oily ink black with a nice bit thick mocha-esque head with lots of really fine bubbles. Nose is coffee, roasted barley, sweet maltiness, and almost a hint of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is a bit light, not super rich, and there's a hint of iron on the finish. Lots of coffee-like bitterness. Very drinkable and sweet, but ti's still got a bit of that milk creaminess. overall decent!

08-01-2010 01:29:29 | More by kingcrowing
Photo of jmarvin4189
jmarvin4189

Vermont

3.65/5  rDev -8.5%

Appearance - very dark, basically a black color with a tan head... reminds me of guiness.

smell - a very sweet chocolaty smell.

taste - a coffee and chocolate mixture with a mild alcohol sting to it. Its not a bad taste but the alcohol aftertaste puts a buffer on it.

Mouthfeel - very heavy and creamy. It is quite smooth but not too refreshing definitely a winter beer.

drinkability - don't plan on drinking too much of this one. this is a good beer to just sit down with and take your time with. don't plan on this beer being cold the whole way through. its also very filling and is a good desert beer.

08-01-2010 00:53:18 | More by jmarvin4189
Photo of darkmartin
darkmartin

Virginia

4.03/5  rDev +1%

Apperance: Pours to an extremely dark brown, almost black color with a thick, creamy, dark tan head that dissapates quickly leaving a thick, glass coating, lacing.

Aroma: Smells of strong chocolate malts, with hints of coffee.

Taste: The coffee flavor overwhelms the chocolate at first, while the chocolate malts seem to make a comeback in the aftertaste. The high ABV level is quite evident as well, as the alcohol taste is not particularly hidden.

Mouthfeel: Thick, somewhat sticky texture with a moderate amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Despite the moderately high ABV level, after the
first few sips the chocolate and coffee malts overpower the alcohol taste and make the drink really quite enjoyable.

07-20-2010 06:34:17 | More by darkmartin
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.18/5  rDev +4.8%

In my eyes, Russian Imperial Stouts have got to be one of the sleekest looking of all beer styles. Their resolute opacity, the boldness of their black complexion and the sepia-toned, ochre colouring of their head is not only distinctive and eye-catching, but somehow seems to emphasize the creaminess of its skin. This thing belongs hung on a wall.

My nostrils inflate like a balloon, becoming sublimely sedated by the chalky, rich, almost tangy perfume of fresh cocoa nibs. The scent is balmy and ethereal, like a bouquet of tropical flowers, despite the fact that its character is dark and roasty and full of decadent chocolaty and espresso flavour. Every breath honestly makes me feel lighter.

The appearance may belong in a photography exhibit but the taste is something right out of an authentic, top-notch Italian bakery: rich tiramisu, fresh-pulled shots of espresso, ginger cookies, creme brulee, chocolate mousse and a silky mouthfeel that is equivalent of the most airy whipped cream or delicate mousse.

What impresses me most, however, is how the sweetness - despite all the richness of these flavours and the fact they've directly added brown sugar - is kept in check by an impressively coy 65 IBUs and an easily overlooked hop profile. The alcohol, astonishingly for a beer over 10%, is equally easily overlooked and makes no bid for your attention.

Of the "hearty meal, soft cheeses or decadent desserts", I've opted to pair it with an assortment of the latter and, take my word, it works just as well with sweets as it does tropical fruity treats, mousse cakes or baked berry custards. (Probably because there's a little bit of all those things in the beer itself!?) It is the exclamation point to any dessert.

If I owned a fancy-shmancy restaurant I would be sure to stock cases of Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout and advertise it all over my dessert menu. This brewery has shown through their "World Tour" releases that their brewer is capable of capturing many styles although I must insist, to date, it seems he's captured the RIS best.

07-10-2010 18:58:19 | More by biegaman
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

4.18/5  rDev +4.8%

Pours pretty much as black as you can get with a dense inch and a half cap of dark brown foam. Lacing was a bit clumpy, head retention good. Malty aroma, lots of roast and coffee, toffee, charcoal, milk chocolate, hint of alcohol. Nicely balanced bitterness up front, lots of toffee and dark chocolate, a bit sugary, molasses, raisins and figs as it warmed. Roast and coffee were more prominent towards the end and really lingered in the finish, along with increased bitterness. Light alcohol flavour, moderate warmth. Full bodied with fine, smooth carbonation. A bit of astringency from the dark malts. Really drinkable for a big stout too. Quite enjoyable.

05-31-2010 00:25:12 | More by DrJay
Photo of htomsirveaux
htomsirveaux

Texas

4.05/5  rDev +1.5%

22 oz. bottle tried 14 Feb 2010.

Poured in a 512 One snifter. Medium dark brown tight glossy head. Beer is black, almost opaque. Aroma of Kahlua, some vanilla, cocoa. Quite sweet, vanilla, oakiness. Finish is of cocoa and coffee. Ethanol is fairly potent. Becomes sweeter as it warms. Medium to heavy oily body.

Would get this again.

05-23-2010 02:43:26 | More by htomsirveaux
Photo of biglite351
biglite351

Pennsylvania

3.28/5  rDev -17.8%

A - pure darkness. Dark head that drops a bit too quickly.

S - roasted malts and hops.

T - roasted malts, chocolate and alcohol. Almost more paled than a RIS.

M - good coating bit no tongue feel. Alcohol burn in the top of the throat.

D - one bomber only.

05-23-2010 02:05:09 | More by biglite351
Photo of meatyard
meatyard

Pennsylvania

3.1/5  rDev -22.3%

Thanks again to AltBock for this bottle.

Pours an opaque black, it seems, with a shortish coffee/cream head that falls quickly but leaves a bit of lacing.
The smell is cocoa, coffee and roasted malt with a hint of alcohol.
The taste is burnt, bitter coffee, chocolate and dark roasted malt plus there is a tangy/lactic? taste that lingers and leaves an ashy taste.
Mouthfeel is on the thin side but decently carbonated.
Drinkability: Maybe this one shouldn't be aged at all, at least for about the 16 months it's been saved. As it is, it's a slow drinker and hard to get past the overly burnt malt, bitter coffee and the lactic taste.

05-12-2010 22:33:08 | More by meatyard
Photo of mdfb79
mdfb79

New York

3.95/5  rDev -1%

Received in a BIF from Ineedabeerhere, thanks man. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark brown, almost black, with 2 inches of brown head. Decent lacing and no carbonation evident.

s - Smells of coffee, roasted malts, chocolate, and a little bit of dark fruit. Pretty nice.

t - Tastes of coffe and roasted malts mostly, but also some bitter chocolate and hops. A little bit of sweet caramel malts later in the taste.

m - High carbonation and medium to full body. Pretty thick.

d - A very solid RIS. Nice roasted coffee smell and taste and the alcohol is very well hidden. I thought the high carbonation hurt it a little bit, but worth checking out none the less. I would try it again.

04-19-2010 23:09:16 | More by mdfb79
Photo of maximum12
maximum12

Minnesota

3.65/5  rDev -8.5%

Thanks to AdamDC for this bottle, the lone survivor of a fall-time trade. It finally came to the top when I stirred the cellar tonight. Sipping while I watch the fourth Twins game of 2010.

Black, & honestly, I rather expect my RIS to be black. Smell is very promising, sweet chocolate & roast, bordering on coffee, greets the nose hairs.

Otter Creek's RIS is a hop-forward version of the genre. Follows the nose faithfully; the first tastes that come out are roast & chocolate, in nice proportion. Mid-sense there is a shadow of some off fruit, of the dark variety, or perhaps of the fig family. The end is a surprising burst of bitter hops, even after gathering dust in the cellar for several months, giving OCRIS (or is that O.C.R.I.S.) a nice hoppy ending.

Well, a nice sipping RIS. This has the hops going for it, & a fine beer to reach for mindlessly between pitches. Good RIS, solid example of the style.

04-09-2010 03:03:57 | More by maximum12
Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
89 out of 100 based on 496 ratings.