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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.
very good

496 Ratings
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 atsprings

North Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +2.3%

22oz bottle into a Duvel snifter pours a deep opaque black with a decent light-tan head that diminishes to a ring and leaves very spotty lacing on the glass. Aroma is a decent amount of roasted malts with a hint of bitter cocoa. The taste is a nice blend of roasted malts with mild cocoa and espresso. The beer is somewhat heavy bodied with warming alcohol and mild carbonation, a smooth sipper for a cold night. This is a very respectable Imperial Stout, one I can easily see myself picking up again.

10-20-2009 08:42:13 | More by atsprings
Photo of vacax


3.95/5  rDev -1%

Pours black in color with a one-finger brown head. Decent retention with a bit of lace. Smells of caramel, graham crackers, coconut, cocoa, and almond. Real doozy of a scent. Tastes of roasted malts, alcohol, and black coffee. Midpalate has some floral character and raisin, then there is a cookielike finish. Medium to full bodied with medium level of carbonation, maybe could use less. Pretty nice RIS overall, glad I tried it.

10-14-2009 23:54:48 | More by vacax
Photo of Lunch


4.72/5  rDev +18.3%

Had on tap at Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia, Maryland as part of Baltimore Beer Week (10/13/2009). Served rather cold in a snifter, but I allowed it to warm up quite a bit to around cellar temperature.

Appearance: Very typical for a RIS as it was virtually black likened to that of motor oil with one finger of espresso brown head. Decent, but unremarkable lacing that left a slight oiliness on the inside of the glass.

Smell: Fairly complex nose that was dominated by chocolate and coffee giving off a roasted bouquet of toffee, vanilla, raisins, and just the faintest soupçon of graham cracker along with a flutter of alcohol ("Sideways", it was true and I just couldn't resist).

Taste: Oh my. This is a wonderful treat that crushes the smell in terms of complexity. Chocolate and roasted coffee comes through first quickly followed by oat, molasses, maple syrup, and rich malt. A slight hop bitterness is also present, but is far less dominant than many of its other American RIS brethren. As the beer warms, a minor alcohol tinge becomes subtlety apparent, but never comes through anywhere close to that of its lofty 10.6%.

Mouthfeel: A thick feel that is quite pleasing and oily. If I had one minor critique, it would be that I wish that it was just slightly thicker, but that is truly splitting hairs.

Drinkability: Truly excellent for its style as alcohol never really gets in the way and each sip seems to bring across new characteristics. I had no problem putting away two of these on tap, but as with any higher alcohol beer, the alcohol, even though it is hidden quite well, will catch up to you.

Overall this is an excellent and unique offering from a brewery that is seemingly headed in the right direction concerning its Imperial Series. I look forward to not only revisiting this beer again and again (as well as its Imperial IPA brother), but also to the hopes that they expand their Imperial Series lineup. Highly recommended.

10-14-2009 14:59:29 | More by Lunch
Photo of Reagan1984


4/5  rDev +0.3%

Earlier this year, we had this beer as part of a blind taste test... The beer did not fair too well vs. the big famous Russian Imperial Stouts.. (Kate, Dark Lord, Darkness, Abyss, Sexual Chocolate) Again, this was a double blind taste test... This review is NOT based upon that tasting earlier this year. This is the 2nd bottle and is being consumed on it's own.. Months later.

I love pouring R.I.S and watching the head rise from within the beer. A big creamy tan head rises even above the glass. Settles to about 3 fingers thick. The darkest brown and almost black the beer is totally opaque. No shimmers of light even at the edges. Just a touch of lacing.

Aroma is a wonderful mix of chocolate (cocoa powder) and coffee with a twinge of alcohol. Almost espresso like.

Like a sweet coffee shake with a dose of charcoal or ash.. (Dark Roasted malts) There is a fairly strong hop bitterness mixed with the burnt/dark roasted malts. The hop bitterness fades a bit and you are left with the ash flavors in your mouth... A bit like smoking a cigar. In the end it's like drinking a dark espresso with a bit of cream and quite a bit of sugar.

Mouth feel is just shy of creamy carbonation is very slight. Sweetness slows you a bit here. Slightly chalky at times.

Nicely drinkable. Not epic, but very good.

10-12-2009 21:23:37 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of Gosox8787

New Hampshire

3.83/5  rDev -4%

Presentation: Poured from a bomber bottle into a pint glass in two parts.

Appearance is dark, opaque black with a two finger dark mocha head. Nose hits first with sweet, dark fruits. Coffee and espresso malts are also there with some noticable booze. Taste is sweet upfront from the dark fruits followed by espresso and smoke notes from the malt. The smoke not is a bit overpowering for my tastes. The booze is well hidden here. Complex but lacking some balance. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with slight carbonation. Drinkability is decent. High ABV is well hidden in the taste, but not the smell. The overpowering smoke flavors can wear thin.

Overall, a nice RIS big on the smoke flavor. Enjoyable, but not great. Definitely worth a try.

10-12-2009 21:08:01 | More by Gosox8787
Photo of kirok1999


4.1/5  rDev +2.8%

Pours a deep black, legs on the glass and almost no head or fizz.
Smells sweet and chocolatey. Some dark fruit and citrus hops. Mild coffee.
Taste has much more coffee than the smell. Almost dominates the chocolate notes. Dark fruit in the finish leaves the mouth sticky and a bit dry.
Rich and creamy and it's a really nice sipper.

10-07-2009 01:39:02 | More by kirok1999
Photo of MasterSki

Ontario (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev -2.8%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10-05-2009 15:35:08 | More by MasterSki
Photo of rudylaw


4.08/5  rDev +2.3%

Thanks to MasterSki for bringing this to the CE release. Served in my GTOM taster glass.

A natural black pour with minimal caramel-colored head.

The aroma was hard to lock down. Fudgy, tobacco, chocolately. It has a burnt smell as well.

I get a ton of chocolate up front. There's some coffee notes here, but mostly dark chocolate. Some smoke as well. This is actually very appealing to me. Smooth mouthfeel and decent drinkability for an RIS. I could easily drink a whole bomber of this.

10-04-2009 11:27:35 | More by rudylaw
Photo of farrago

New Jersey

3.78/5  rDev -5.3%

One to two finger head of dark brown hue, mostly tiny foam bubbles, the lacing forms complete sheets but they slide down the sides with ease. Jet black in color, no sign of any brown or orange. Malty nose of caramel, milk chocolate, creamed coffee, surprising burst of grapefruit citrus which registers way before the raisin, plum, cherry scents, in turn unprocessed grain and grass notes also take on a prominent role, overall hovers more than it lifts. Medium-bodied, creamy, full mouth entry which turns semi-bitter featuring coffee rinds, burnt dark chocolate powder alongside wheat and straw, not quite herbaceous given the latter. The citrus is lower here, more mixed in flavor, however, clearly present. Also more floral as it warms. Does sweeten some by the end but not much. As it finishes a metallic and minerally element comes out. Has a "mature" feel to it, avoids taking a more ungroomed "power" route to impress.

09-28-2009 23:04:48 | More by farrago
Photo of edmedina


3.75/5  rDev -6%

Ok first, let me say this. One of the best Russian Imperial Stouts I have had is the Duck Rabbit Rabbid Duck. To me that is the bench mark of the style. Otter Creek almost gets there. The head of the beer is about one fingers worth. It has a dark creamy look to it. The aroma has a strong coffee aroma with a hint of hot liquor. The appearance is black, solid black. There is no light coming through this beer. The first taste has a roasted coffee character. The beer is big and the hot liquor shows up at the back of the tongue. I am also getting some smokey character and sweet malty character.

This big beer is a great example of the style. Is it as good as Duck Rabbits? It's close. I think the smokey/coffee character is just a little higher than I would have liked. However, it is definitely a great sipper.

09-27-2009 05:50:20 | More by edmedina
Photo of MrHungryMonkey


3.53/5  rDev -11.5%

Nose is nicely dark and rich with chocolate, espresso, and hints of vanilla. Soft grape-like fruit, but mainly malt. Smells excellent.

Pours black with mild head. Looks good.

Follows nose with substantial bitterness - both roasted and hop feeling. Lots of roasted dryness, dark malt, toast, and bread crust. Soft fruit - dark and grape-like. Some hoppy tannins/phenols add sharp rawness; seems like age would mellow it out. Mild sugary sweetness. Notions of alcohol. Finishes fairly dry with tannins/phenols. Tastes pretty good. Feels good. Pretty good drinkability.

Otter Creek's RIS is raw and young and will probably get better with subsequent batches and recipe evolutions. It's too rough and tannic, with an unsteady balance of sweet to dry, and the roasted malt character is either not strong enough to dominate or too sharp/acrid to be in harmony. It's like they loaded a shotgun with all the ingredients for a RIS, closed their eyes, and discharged into their brew kettle. It's close, and if they work at it they can make it better. Worth another try in 3-5 years.

After reading their description online I like it even less. Either they're shamelessly self-promoting or they just don't know what a real stout should taste like.

09-22-2009 04:02:18 | More by MrHungryMonkey
Photo of deereless


4.18/5  rDev +4.8%

A: A solid two inches of dark espresso-like head off a medium pour, head settles into a rocky mass of meringue leaving lots of lacing, absolutely no light passes through this black hole of a beer, pitch black - 4.50, S: Burnt molasses and candied cherries, lots of dark chocolate and coffee, thickly sweet with a heap of ash - 4.25, T: Bitter espresso, quite dry and void of much sweetness which is surprising given the smells I was picking up, some mild dark fruit flavors, toasty and charred, ever so slightly on the side of grassy - 4.25, M: Very silky with a touch of grittiness from grains - 4.50, D: A solid interpretation of the style, I appreciate the dry roastiness of this particular brew - 4.00

09-19-2009 23:41:30 | More by deereless
Photo of DIM


3.4/5  rDev -14.8%

a: A huge, frothy, mocha colored cap that leaves behind huge clumps of lace sits atop a black body.

s: I got some roasted malt with a fairly strong bitter edge. Not bad, but there isn't a lot going on here. I guess maybe the aroma suggests coffee, but overall this is oddly featureless.

t: Tastes a good bit better than the smell would suggest. Roasted malt up front, becoming increasingly bitter towards the finish. Very dry overall. Here as well, suggestions of coffee, but not much else. Lacks depth I think.

m: Kind of thin bodied for the style.

d: Not bad, but in a crowded big stout market, it just doesn't stand out. The alcohol is extremely well hidden though.

09-17-2009 10:44:04 | More by DIM
Photo of ditch


4.03/5  rDev +1%

I was surprised to find that I enjoyed this one! I may have rated it a bit higher than I should have, but it just really came together after about half the bottle.

Poured an impenetrable black with a caramel colored head. I gave it a pretty vigorous pour into a standard pint glass. Lots of creamy lacing hangs around for the entirety.

Smells are a bit all over the place. Very distinctive chocolate, almost a fresh baked fudge, with a bit of smokey background. Also some spices floating around in there with some dates.

Taste is of a complex dark chocolate. Definite dark roast coffee and burnt caramel. The first sip was a bit unimpressive, but letting it take hold a few later, this is a great combination of layered flavor.

Mouthfeel is good. Not too oily, like some stouts can get when they are this dark. Drinkablility is also quite nice. I could have easily put back 2 of these 22 oz bottles.

Very nicely done from Otter Creek, a brewery that I have not come to expect too much out of. I'll have to find some others from these guys now. =)

09-07-2009 16:47:54 | More by ditch
Photo of msubulldog25


4.08/5  rDev +2.3%

A new beer friend recently inquired: 'Have you tried the Otter Creek Imperial Stout? It's one of my favorites...'. Well, I happened to have one in the cellar from an early '09 trade with Pamola (thx, Kyle); since I hadn't yet tried it, I decided to make it one of my priorities. 22 oz. bottle, crimped gold foil cap, poured to a snifter after 15 minutes or so of warming outside the fridge.

A: About as black as one could ask for, the near-perfect abyss. Very nice head, a toasted mocha-tan that builds to a finger and falls to a thick ringing cream and rippled film. Lace is awfully pretty, too: draping ribbons, broken beads, all very clingy.

S: Heavy malty nose, a smoky and chocolat-y invitation. Slightly soured whiffs hint at some age but add to the intrigue.

T: Wow...just, wow... Strongest coffee brackishness, deepest chocolate bitterness, puffs of cigar smoke, chewy fruit (prunes, dry figs), molasses. Not all dark malt and such: there are both a sweeter toffee and a dry reedy/woody grassiness that creep in. All very interesting, and quite appealing to these taste buds.

M: HUGE mouthfeel, a filling and lusciously coating chocolate bitterness. ABV is big, yet isn't blatant. Creamy, too smooth; rich and satisfying.

D: A fine brew and an excellent example of what I'll openly proclaim to be my favorite style. Intensely aromatic and flavorful, it's a (slightly surprising) winner - one that I'd definitely want again. The 10+% ABV won't allow for heavy consumption but it's a perfect sipper - and a great way to celebrate MSU's 45-7 win. Well played, Otter Creek, well played.

09-05-2009 23:27:44 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of weeare138


4.13/5  rDev +3.5%

Appears a pitch black with a dark tan head that slowly fades into a mild cap. Spotty bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of mollases, bitter cocoa, espresso, ripe fruit, and roasted barley.
Taste is of the aromas with some huge amounts of roasted grain and a brown sugar, raisiny sweetness.
Mouthfeel is sweet, full bodied, with a chewy, toasted nuttiness.
Reminds me of a toned down, less viscuous Dark Lord.

09-03-2009 20:44:34 | More by weeare138
Photo of sulldaddy


4.55/5  rDev +14%

Im pouring this brew from a 22 oz bottle into a snifter at cellar temp. The beer pours an oily rich black with no light passing through when held to the light. THe head foams up 4cm of creamy tan to cocoa brown hue. This appears to be a serious brew!
Rich, malty nose with roasted malt and baker's chocolate mixing with just a bit of charred wood scent and very ripe plums. Dominant roast to smoke scent.
The head is remaining fluffy at several minutes into the sampling.
First sip reveals a creamy soft textured brew with very mild carbonation that gently plays across my palate with each sip. The flavor is dark chocolate and coffee beans mixing with some dark fruit but finishing with a dry roasted malt note that really dries out my mouth. The lingering roast is slightly coffee bitter but no real hop characteristics. I also cant believe this is 10.6%, as there is not heat whatsoever.
This beer is dangerously drinkable and I am sure I will feel the effects before bedtime tonite. This is a must try beer for Imp Stout fans, I am glad I have another in my cellar, but dont know how long it will last.

09-02-2009 00:53:32 | More by sulldaddy
Photo of sliverX

S. Georgia & S. Sandwich Isls.

2.65/5  rDev -33.6%

poured a used motor oil like color and just thin of said substance in consistency lets some brown shine through the edges ring and bubble around edge of glass is about it for head
smell a huge roasted malty, very heavy on the dark chocolate
taste was odd expected a lot different no real chocolate taste just badly burnt malt
mouthfeel was thin as hell very deceptive from color and clinging properties displayed from pour
drinkability suffers on the last 2 points not something I"d look for again...

09-01-2009 21:11:02 | More by sliverX
Photo of macktbone


1.75/5  rDev -56.1%

Thanks to ThirdLap for this offering. One of the many gifts as we travel across the country.

A- Has a shiny black color with a woody brown head of foam. Head dissapates after a few minutes but it continues to belch goodness from it's depths.

S- Figs, brown sugar, wood, cherries, alcohol (tequila). and a strange aspect of stale mold that it is little disconcerning.

T- I am almost afraid after the mold statement...
Hot...Hot...Hot... that strange flavor of old tequila is too much. Two sips is about all I can get. I do get a little chocolate and really old coffee.

M- Moderate to good for an imperial stout.

D- Can't do it...taste like ^@#$*!

I tried to be objective when looking at a pretty bottle and getting this from a friend I figured it would be half way decent. Did vermont try to make a maple syrup beer and decide it should be an Imperial stout? I think they scraped the moss of the tree and made this beer out of that instead.

08-25-2009 00:20:10 | More by macktbone
Photo of rpstevens

New Hampshire

3.93/5  rDev -1.5%

Poured from a bomber into a dogfish head signature glass.

The beer is a pitch black with a thin mocha head. As the head fades it leaves behind a moderate lacing, not as much as expected, the beer seems a little thin.

The smell is roasted coffee (more and more as it warms) with some bitter chocolate and some alcohol sweetness.

The taste is much like the smell, very roasty and malty with bitter chocolate and dark coffee.

The mouthfeel is a bit light for the style. A RIS coming in at over 10% abv is expected to have some motor-oil qualities, and this one is just not that thick. It is tasty and well carbonated though.

For a readily available Russian Imperial Stout I would rank this right behind Old Rasputin. This is a good beer that I will certainly drink more of.

08-24-2009 00:09:27 | More by rpstevens
Photo of champ103


3.63/5  rDev -9%

A: Pours an opaque black color. No light gets through at all. At first a two finger tan head forms and recedes in a minute. The foam sticks around as a small cap. Good lace is left behind.
S: Roasted malt, chocolate, and raisins. Thick molasses and some dark fruits.
T: Sweet caramelized and burnt malt. Dry with thick molasses. Bittersweet chocolate. I enjoy it, but to much burnt flavor for me. Warm alcohol.
M/D: A full body that is way to thick to be enjoyable for me. The thickness and alcohol keeps this from becoming a great sipping beer. Though it is still manageable to finish the bottle.

This is a very thick beer with several layers. Not my favorite RIS, but I can see how this would be a great hit with others. A very well crafted stout. Worth a try.

08-22-2009 20:03:56 | More by champ103
Photo of mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

4.05/5  rDev +1.5%

Thanks to Brandon, Deleriumfest for this one.

Poured into Boulevard Smokestack Chalice

Pours about ½ finger of tan head. Color is a deep caramel brown, pretty much black. Fades down to a thin layer, not very good retention, but leaves some thin lace rings.

Aroma: Big roasted malt flavor, coffee, raisins, molasses, chocolate. A very sweet aroma almost. It has a slight alcohol flavor to it, almost reminds me of a bourbon aged beer.

Taste: Roasted/smokey malts, chocolate, coffee, toffee, molasses, raisins. Slight booze in the aftertaste. Not that hot, but the alcohol is always a nice touch to an RIS.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, rich, and slightly hot. Full bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Ends with a very smokey aftertaste that I really am not enjoying that much, pretty dry.

Overall, not a bad RIS. Nothing to special, but a pretty solid brew. I am glad I got to try this one. This one is definitely worth a shot if you get a chance. I am splitting this with my Mom and she is enjoying it as well. My half is going pretty fast.

08-12-2009 02:24:33 | More by mothman
Photo of tai4ji2x


3.63/5  rDev -9%

22oz bomber. no date. tasted in early/mid may 2009. poured into tulip.

opaque black. 1-finger, brown head w red tint. fades to wisps and big wide ring. sparse splotches of lace.

roasted aromas upfront, coffee-like, with cocoa and vanilla traces in back. moderate caramel and brown sugar underneath all the roast and slightly earthy hop (also w faint grass and resinous character). whiff of alcohol.

roasty flavors again, sweet malty caramel and molasses, touch of fruitiness and acidity. coffee tones are subdued in comparison to aroma. medium to bold bitterness. somewhat boozy however, with an alcoholic note throughout.

slightly viscous and syrupy/creamy, but gets cut through w astringency and alcohol, further sharpened by the otherwise moderate carbonation.

acceptable for their first attempt, but i hope they tweak future batches though. or maybe this needs time in the cellar?

08-09-2009 18:42:02 | More by tai4ji2x
Photo of younger35


4.35/5  rDev +9%

Received this brew from the main man himself BeerTruth. I've heard some pretty good things about this brew so I'm excited to suck it down. Haven't had a good RIS in a while. Drank from my Darkness snifter.

Appearance- Pours VERY thick and viscous and black as night. A decent half finger brown head sits atop the beer before it quickly bubbles away. Nay a cap or collar remains and obviously no lacing.
Smell- Very potent with a big roasted ash that just jumps out of my glass. Tons of chocolate notes as well sometimes disguised as milk chocolate, sometimes as dark chocolate. Rich caramel and cream balance out the roast also adding a bit of brown sugar like sweetness. A touch of smoke and some semi prominent alcohol make their way to my nostrils as well.
Taste- Surprisingly starts with a big kick of herbally hops that add an initial slap of bitterness. Maybe even a snap of citrus (lemon mostly) as well before everything else kicks in. The hearty roastiness may even add a bit of charred acrid bitterness. The beer is nowhere near sweet (thank god) and is very enjoyable even though I don't necessarily like hoppy Stouts. A bit of dark chocolate comes into play toward the finish as does a bit of vanilla and coconut husk. The alcohol seems a bit more than the 10% but it's still young.
Mouthfeel- Thick and rich with a velvety smooth feel that's aided by the near non existent carbonation. Don't get me wrong, there is a gentle tickle on the tongue but nothing crazy.
Drinkability- I gotta say... I don't like hoppy Imperial Stouts (i.e. Darkness) but damnit, something about this works. I was shocked after the first sip and wasn't real sure how I was gonna feel about this beast. About two sips later I realized I really liked it and am glad I drank it young. Now send another bottle Adam so I can age this bastard!

07-27-2009 19:20:19 | More by younger35
Photo of glid02


4.38/5  rDev +9.8%

Got this in a trade with ShrLSU - thanks!

Pours black with a one-finger brown head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of roasted malts, raw coffee beans, and unsweetened chocolate.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Roasted malts and coffee flavors up front segue into a good amount of dark chocolate flavors midway through the sip. The ending is solidly bitter.

Mouthfeel is very good. It has a great thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is good - I had no problem finishing a glass of this.

Overall this is a very solid RIS but it doesn't do anything exceptionally well that would push it into the top tier. Still, well worth a shot.

07-26-2009 23:00:21 | More by glid02
Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
89 out of 100 based on 496 ratings.