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

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Otter Creek Russian Imperial StoutOtter Creek Russian Imperial Stout

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very good

528 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 528
Reviews: 276
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 32
Gots: 36 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Brad007 on 01-09-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 528 | Reviews: 276 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RedHaze
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to thirdeye11 for the bottles.

Pours very dark, but not pitch black as there or some deep ruby highlights around the edges. The peaks at just over one finger and then fades to a few thin wisps after a couple minutes. Very minimal lacing.

Smell; light roasted coffee beans dominate, with some very faint hints of chocolate and black licorice. Bitter hops top off the aroma.

Taste; as with the smell coffee beans seem to be the main component, with it being a touch on the oily side. I like coffee, I'll even eat a couple of beans from time to time, so this doesn't bother me. A hint of chocolate and mildly citric hops are present, but they are definitely in the background. This is one of the most coffe forward beers that I've had that was not actually brewed with coffee. I like it.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, with a bit of an oily quality to it, and it goes down almost to easily for me. Glad I have another bottle to try in another couple of months.

Photo of hreb
4.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Liberated this bottle from my collection today, after several months of waiting. Cold 22oz bomber poured into tapered pint glass. Beer pours black, like motor oil, with a thick, ice-cream-float-like mahogany head, which grows as it rests. Rich hazelnut-coffee aroma. Toasty.

Initial sip has a creamy mouthfeel with a mouth-coating roasted coffee flavor. The beer would do well to warm up a bit. Carbonation and hops are appropriately distant. Doesn't betray even a hint of alcohol. Lots of thick brown lacing already coat the glass.

As the beer warms it gets even more mellow. It also becomes even more apparent that the aroma, initial flavor, and aftertaste are pure roasted barley, while the middle of the palate uses hops to subtly take the edge of the sweetness of the brown sugar. Fantastic. And in no way does it reveal the over 10% ABV.

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.05/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz bomber brewed in 2009. Pours a very opaque black color with an extremely dark brown foam. Might be the darkest head I have ever seen and it is tight and creamy. Leaves plenty of thin lace on the glass. Great looking beer.

Nose is full of black licorice, alcohol and some plum-like fruitiness. Plenty of hops on the nose, herbal and slightly minty. Not a whole lot of chocolate malty notes, and in fact does not seem to have much maltiness to it overall.

Taste is on the fruity side of the RIS spectrum with alot of floral and minty hop flavors. There is a bit of roasty malts, but there seems to be a serious lack of malt backbone and body. No sweetness, thin mouthfeel and even a bit astringent. Not a big fan of this one.

Photo of ritzkiss
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber courtesy of sstackho - thanks Sean!

Pour a jet black with a thinner than I would like mocha head, thin glints of brown and ruby play along the edge of the glass when held to the light.

Sharp coffee and roasting malts in the nose, just a hint of brown sugar and sweetness - smells big!

Quite a roasty stout and it belies its bigness, something I've found with the DIPA from Otter Creek as well - beware of the ABV that will sneak up on you! Lots of coffee roast (my cup of joe this morning instantly reminded me of last night), oats, bitter roast malt, dark chocolate, nice sweetness throughout balanced by a slightly drying finish. Complaint with this one is the mouthfeel which feels a little thin for what I want a RIS to be, I want a bit more chewy - though I suppose this lighter feel aids the drinkability which is high for such a monster, just a hint of booze.

Tasty beer, what I've had from OC so far has impressed me in their straightforward drinkability. Nothing too complex here, just tasty, big beer.

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

During a recent trip to Vermont, I took the opportunity to purchase a bomber of this fine brew, an entry in Otter Creeks' new series of "Imperial" beers.

Poured into a stem glass, it begins has a gusher of chocolate mousse that slowly subsides into pitch black darkness. It looks like a glass of oil. There is some splotchy lacing coating the sides of the glass along with a few sparse bubbles of carbonation.

The nose his hit with intense notes of cocoa powder and molasses while the palate is greeted with an overwhelming bite of dark chocolate and brown sugar. To appreciate the full complexity, I would let it sit for about five minutes. Despite the above, it is not as sweet as one would think. The mouthfeel is a heavy one, consisting of a heavy malt blanket wrapping around the tongue while resinous chocolate coats the inside of the mouth. It is very heavy and very rich; I recommend a glass of water on the side. (Single malt? You say!)

This is the proverbial "sipping beer." Drink it slow and steady. This is surely one for a leisurely after dinner quaff.

Photo of mountdew1
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a dark opaque brown tieh a thick 3 finger head. Head was a thick bubbly foam that clung to itself and the sides nicely. Looked a little thick when pouring from the bottle. Aroma was very strongly coffee, and well brewed coffee at that. Seemed to have hints of either lactose or milk chocolate, perhaps both. Slightly sweet smelling, but not overly so. It started off tasting a bit bitter up front, but mellowed out well, to a coffee mocha finish. Felt solid in the mouth, coated nicely, perhaps a smidgen over acidic, but body and texture were dead on. Smooth to drink, but the ABV seemed to hit quickly, but wasn't noticeable while drinking.

Photo of homebrew311
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received via trade with Portia99, thanks! Cracked this one as part of my New Year's Eve celebration.

A: Thick, black, viscous pour. Opaque. Two finger dark brown colored head with great retention. This is a perfect looking RIS.

S: lots of molasses malts and notes of licorice, some dark fruits- mainly cherries. Smells complex.

T: lots of sweet malts up front with some of the cherry and molasses coming through, there is a flavor similar to licorice in the mid palate and it finishes with some bitter hops and booziness.

MF: thick body, higher carbonation than I'm used to for the style

D: this beer is incredibly rich and sweet, tastes great, but definitely a sipper

Photo of augustgarage
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Obtained in trade from ShogoKawada (thanks!). Bottled in 2008? Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Rich dark brown liquid is topped by a churning creamy sandy brown head of foam. Thick pasty lacing, and superior retention (a swirl brings the head right back up).

Chocolate covered malt balls, roasted barley, brown bread, molasses, shoyu, and a touch of oxidation (sweat, cardboard) in the nose. Letting it "breath" for a while seems to help dispense with some of the undesirable aromatics...

Old coffee grounds, and an almost sour hop flavor greet the palate. The astringency blossoms into an array of roast levels from pleasantly toasty to nearly acrid as it builds into the finish. A touch of hazlenut, faint cherry, heaps of brown sugar and a bit of milk chocolate tames the bitterness, though the aftertaste is still fairly dry and roasty.

Full-bodied, dense, velvety mouthfeel - filling with fairly high carbonation. Warming but not at all hot. Pleasing spice-like astringency. Reminds me of nitro-tap but in a good way...

A well balanced and enjoyable example of the style, though it doesn't seem as robust as the label claims - I'd be nervous to age this except at a very cool temperature - as it tastes just a hair past its peak already.

Photo of ffejherb
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Drafting Room, Exton, PA on 12/11/09.

A - Pitch black body with a frothy burnt mocha-colored head and nice cascade a la nitro pour, which transformed into thick, creamy foam down the sides of the glass.

S - Initial aroma blends roasted malt, toasted nuts, a hint of coffee, bitter chocolate and earthy hop notes. A slight waft of alcohol also emerged as the liquid warmed up.

T - Flavor is quite roasty up front but not charred or too woody or bitter. This RIS artfully balances coffee and chocolate notes with a nutty malt character, concealing any trace of alcohol, which for a 10% plus RIS is no easy feat. Finishes with earthy bitter notes and another potent surge of coffee.

M - Medium to full bodied with an exceptionally creamy, almost chewy texture and very minimal carbonation. Finish is quite bitter, which is a quality I always desire with a RIS.

D - Fantastic RIS that stands up proudly with the best of them. This was a great introduction to this brewery, and otters are really cool, so that's a plus, right?

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

Poured from 22 oz bomber into a Sam Adams Imperial Series Tulip while kegging the American Strong Ale I made in honor of my mothers 80th birthday.

Let me just say I have always liked the Otter Creek beers that I have gotten fresh, was never a huge customer, though I really enjoy the Stovepipe Porter.

This new series of beers has taken the brewery into a new realm and I am excited to try the other two releases to date.

This beer pours like black gold, thick and almost syrupy with as dark a brown head as I have ever seen. If I had to venture a guess this beers terminal gravity is somewhere around 1.030 or almost the starting gravity of a breakfast stout.

Aromas are earthy leather, dark bitter sweet chocolates and roasted malt. Subtle notes of caramelized sugar, vanilla, licorice, freshly roasted/ground coffee.

Flavor is roasty and bittersweet chocolate, with espresso notes and some maple/molasses character.

The alcohol in this beer is masked but warming, the mouthfeel is full bodied and the finish is sweet and creamy but with enough bitterness and alcohol to stop it from being cloying.

A fine Imperial Stout, worth cellaring.

Photo of Aphelion
3.35/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Squid ink on the pour. The very darkest of browns when held under scrutiny of a bright light.

S: Faintest aroma of stale coffee, raw cocoa, and every so slightly molasses.

T: First impression; a concetrated Anchor Porter. A slight coffee-ish flavor that is more raw cocoa and akalized cocoa powder. Leaves a hint of sour coffee and roast bitterness on the tongue.

M: Initialy bone dry; after opened for two days body seems fuller and now semi-dry. Could be fault of my own palate, or oxidation/flatness.

D: 10.6%?? No way! Well hidden. Aside from its covert potency, its initial dryness (for +10% RIS) allows some degree of quaffability, which is sabotaged by its cloying stale coffee/raw cocoa palate.

Bottle is now two days old, this is worth mentioning as now that it is flatter, I'm picking up more on the chocolate even cokey flavors. Body seems much fuller and sweeter to me now. All in all the flavor has seemed to improve for me and ratings have been adjusted to reflect this.

Photo of popery
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

~6 months since purchase. Solid RIS, much better than expected offering from Otter Creek. This is a very dark beer. The liquid is black and opaque. The head is a creamy light brown. The aroma is a mixture of sweet fruity malt, roasted grain and a light madeira note. I have a feeling this beer could have lasted significantly longer in the cellar. The flavor is relatively dry from the roast. There's some vanilla and alcohol burn on the tongue, as well. The mouthfeel is a tad thin but not too bad. It's a very solid example of the style.

Photo of wyattshotmaker
3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a snifter,black with a nice resilient tan head.nice lacing.smooth roasted coffee nose,not overly acrid.dark chocolate in the backround,bit of tobacco and alcohol in the backround.

nice dark chocolate,roasted barley,coffee,slight acridity,bit of dark fruit,ever so slight alcohol in the backround,bit of tobacco.very smooth bitterness throughout. nice residual chocolate flavor in the aftertaste.

smooth mouthfeel,seems a touch light in mouthfeel.maybe i'm just being picky.but still very smooth.

i'd probably pick this up's solid.

Photo of Jayli
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Consumed 12/8

A: This beer pours an opaque dark chocolate brown with a two finger of thick creamy light brown head. Head recedes at a decent pace leaving wispy lacing along the glass.

S: Nose is of roasted malts, toasted malts, chocolate, and just a touch of alcohol.

T: Taste starts with a nice rich roasted and toasted malt. Middle is filled with dark chocolate and bitter baker's chocolate. Finish is caramel malts, toffee and some hops to give it a bitter yet sweet afterbite.

M: Lighter side of medium body, low to medium carbonation, very thin mouthfeel with a somewhat creamy texture.

D: Nice RIS, nicely balanced, very tasty, goes down easily, but the mouthfeel could be improved.

Photo of AlexMunse
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pouring at 50 degrees into an imperial pint glass.

It pours a very dark brown, almost inky. There's a thick, two-finger head that has a little staying power, but goes down to a ring and leaves little lacing.

The smell is very robust with the roasted barley and hops showing through with chocolate and toffee. There's a bit of sourness with a bit of wood or nuts of some kind. Judging by the smell, I'm going to like this beer.

Taste is slightly bitter with heavy coffee and hickory flavors. I'm getting an unsweet cocoa chocolate with a very dry finish. Very malty, but very good.

It's a very heavy beer, that goes down a lot smoother than I thought it wood. The taste is very strong, but doesn't hang around. I think the carbonation is well balanced with the heaviness.

I think this is a good beer to share, but it's not sessionable.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A bomber poured into my tulip glass. Black in color, thick cocoa head that disappeared quickly. A little bit of lacing. A sweet chocolate aroma, with some roasted grain. The taste was more bitter, like espresso, but there was also a sweet chocolate taste too. So, I'd have to say this was a bold and balanced beer, worthy of many more tastings.

Photo of gford217
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle courtesy of VanillaMike poured into a tulip.

Pours pitch black with no light coming through at all underneath a big mocha head that shows excellent retention and leaves some delicate lacing on the way down.

The aroma just massively roasted black malts, closer to burnt actually, with burnt espresso beans and a little dark chocolate mixed in. There is a faint molasses sweetness that starts to come out as it warms a bit.

The taste brings the sweetness out a little more with a thick molasses sweetness balancing the heavily roasted dark malts. The finish is dry with some cocoa and espresso flavors. The taste isn't as overtly burnt as the aroma and is more balanced.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and very, very smooth with a modest, soft carbonation that still provides plenty of tiny bubbles on the palate. The alcohol is subtle to start but becomes more and more evident along the way.

This is an impressive RIS extremely enjoyable despite the seriously burnt character of the aroma and parts of the taste. Even with that, there is a lot of complexity and balance in the taste. Very good.

Photo of donniecuffs
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured black into a tulip, with a very thin brown head and surprisingly decent lace. The nose revealed a mix that not only included chocolate, coffee, and malt, but also soy sauce (I had my friends check me on this). Sounds disgusting, but it actually worked! Anyway, the flavor was a nice round mocha-flavored coffee, with a slight alcohol presence which was mitigated by the nicely dry finish. Dry coffee aftertaste. The feel was thick and creamy, followed by dryness; fairly impressive mix. I also found this to be fairly drinkable for such a thick, big beer.

Photo of Docer
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle acquired in a trade....

- Dark Black... can't see through it in my bomber glass.. red and dark brown around the edges.... not much mocha head... left a couple spots.... not too impressed with the look... where is all the lacing and foam?

- Robust chocolate malt, oat.. sweet grain, fig, prune, and dark roasted sugars.... slight bitterness..

- Rather sweet and bitter stout... not too strong of either ingredient.... liking the barley and grain backing... little too much sweetness on the brown sugar side of things. Decent enough malt presence and grain. Alcohol is well hidden. Overall good.

- Somewhat thin compared to a lot of imperial stouts... carbonation is great, and its only slightly chewy.

- Overall not a bad stout... a few unique flavors showed through... but doesn't really stand out like some others do. So far my favorite from their imperial series though.

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.13/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

An aside: I don't see why Otter Creek can't have that travellin' otter pose for all their beer labels. That lil' feller always puts a smile on my face. How does he hold a pint glass without opposable thumbs?--I don't know, but I'm pickin' up what that otter is layin' down.

Black with a muddy brown head--looks like a RIS. Head dissipates way to fast and is gone by the end of the glass.

Aroma is heavily toward the vinous, dark fruit side with some chocolate, burnt caramel, and brown sugar.

Taste is also dominated by vinous dark fruits; plums, black cherries, and blackberries particularly. Medicinal hop and chocolate support. Warm but not hot. A dessert beer--almost like drinking chocolate covered dark cherries.

Otter Creek lists the ingredients on the bottle (I like that) and from the poor retention, to the thin body, I think the brown sugar addition really killed this beer. Finally, though I prefer a more roasted RIS I appreciate OC doing something different and focusing on the fruit aspect of the style.

Photo of Cylinsier
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 1 pint 6 oz bottle.

The pour is oil black, allowing no light through, with a dark brown sugar head. It dissipates after a bit to nothing.

Smells smokey and toasty with a bit of brown sugar sweet malts.

The taste is similar, a nice mix of malty sweetness and smokey bitterness. A bit nutty. The alcohol is ever so slightly detectable.

Feels thick and smooth with a tingle of bubbles on the tongue and very late in the throat.

An excellent imperial stout, one of the better ones I've had. Handles the abv well. A must try for all RIS fans.

Photo of outdoorbrewer
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled from bomber bought at the brewery this past summer and chilled till now.
Roasted sweet dark chocolate/coffee over light hop aroma
with a dark bread dough issuing the alcohol presence.
Poured a light brown head with frothy greatness mostly lasting then settling to 1/8" covering a murky black/brown hue.
Dense creamy texture initially gives rise to the moderately sweet then flowing bitterness with a long duration. I taste roasted grains, differing crystals and chocolate malts that form a complex character with some hop flavor blending.

Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours black as night with a solid 1/8" head of tan bubbles that is thick and looks like it is going to be there a while. There is a decent amount of lace left on the glass from just the beer falling, so it looks like a thick one. After drinking there is a decent amount af lacing left on the glass, and the head never completely falls. It is a nice looking beer, no doubt.

Aroma: Even from the neck of the bottle after popping the top, I could pick up coffee notes. I pick up a bit of the alcohol, but unfortunately for this beer (and me) that my allergies are not in the best shape right now. Maybe I will come back to this beer afterward if my sniffer improves before I am done. Otherwise, I would be able to pick up any obvious flaws, and there is none. I am numb to the subtlties, and this beer is pretty subtle for its stats.

Taste: Unfortunately, I am not in the best shape to review this beer apparently as my sense of taste is also quite off from where it should be to give this beer a fair shake. I get some obvious roasty notes and coffee with some alcohol and some sweetness, but my senses are dulled right now. The bitter balance is reserved and leaves the malt to take care of everything in the finish.

Opinion: Obviously I am judging in a compromised state, so I will go with what I know. There are no flaws in this beer and I am splitting hairs to give or take points. This beer is clean and definitely deserving of a "good" rating regardless. It is good enough that I would like to try it again to update my review at a later time. I would give it a shot regardless of my review, and later I will make a better one

Photo of DNICE555
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at plan b. Served in a pint glass... I wasn't going to be the one to point out to the bartender it's 10.6% ABV.

A - Black body with a generous frothy medium brown head.

S - Roasted coffee and chocolate. Slightly burnt.

T - Roasted coffee and chocolate. Some fruitiness comes along with the alcohol. An earthy bitterness in the end.

M - Full body, high carbonation for the style,abv.

D - No burning alcohol sensations. Not the best stout I've had but pretty decent.

Photo of GregSVT
2.93/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dark black with a huge dark tan head that has excellent retention and decent lacing.

S: The nose is chocolate/cocoa, coffee, and roasted malts. A slight metallic aroma is evident.

T: Taste is chocolate/roasted malts with a sweet vanilla flavor. There's a big metallic taste on the finish that was there in the nose.

M: Feel is great. Thick and creamy with a good amount of carbonation.

D: I'd drink this again if it wasn't for the metallic taste. Really hinders the drinkability...the ABV does as well.

Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
89 out of 100 based on 528 ratings.