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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.

521 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 521
Reviews: 276
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 32
Gots: 33 | 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: 521 | Reviews: 276 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mhatters
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at the Vermont Brewers Fest (from my notes)

Pours black, no tones or notes of other color, thin light brown head.

Lots of roast in the nose, coffee, chocolate, and dark malts. The alcohol is present too.

The chocolate beats the coffee out, the roasted flavors play together nicely. A sweet finish.

A bit too thin for me, I would like this to be more full-bodied.

The high APV and the thinner mouthfeel would stop me after one bottle.

mhatters, Jul 21, 2009
Photo of Bierman9
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Popped a bottle of this yesterday whilst laxing outside, enjoying a rare sunny day! Label has a short history of the style plus all ingredients, yet no freshness dating. Not overly important for something of this caliber, though.

Poured into a small, Smutty tulip, this RIS was a deep, opaque, motor-oil brown. Head was deep beige, creamy and mousse-like, sticking around at about 1/8" for a while, and leaving nice foam trails on the glass. Aroma was mocha and toffee, with roasty choco wafting forth. The bier itself was fairly smooth, and in the medium range for body. That's still good, though I'd like to see an imperial stout have something with more chewiness and heft.

Roasty notes kick things off on a good footing flavor-wise. Chocolate and coffee meld together, along with hints of dark fruit. The finish has a solid floral hop bite, leaving a pleasant aftertaste on the palate.

A solid bier, overall. I had tried this for the first time in April, up in VT, and was not impressed. I chalked it up to being the last bier of the day, after a few earlier pub stops with Alewife. I tried a couple more in the weeks right after, and it still did nothing for me. I guess some aging has helped out, because it is now getting the job done.


look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | drink: 4


Bierman9, Jul 20, 2009
Photo of NewGeneric
4.65/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this earlier this week and took notes. Poured an opaque black color with soapy hazelnut head that faded somewhat slowly and left light lacing. Smelled of caramel, roasted coffee, chocolate, light hops, and malt. Tasted the same with hints of fruit. Incredibly smooth and creamy. Great beer!

NewGeneric, Jul 18, 2009
Photo of ballewblake
3.45/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a sam adams fancy pint glass.

Bummer, got some Otter Creeks in a trade a month ago, and now they are available right down the street. Don't you hate that. Two finger light tan head on aggressive pour, opaque black body. Super fully body, smoke, sweet malts, creek water aftertaste. Probably the smokiest RIS I've had so far. Great body, balanced, tasty, head retention lasted almost to the end, light lacing.

ballewblake, Jul 13, 2009
Photo of vurt
3.38/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle purchased at Vendome Liquors in Toluca Lake, CA. Poured into a nonic pint glass.

Very dark cola brown, pretty much opaque. A somewhat energetic pour raises two-fingers of graham cracker colored foam composed of small to medium-sized bubbles. No lacing. The appearance is to style, but not as delectable or sinister as some other Russian imperial stouts.

A prominent alcohol cloud wafts up out of the glass and hits my nose from a couple feet away. Aside from that, the nose is heavy with dark roasted malts and coffee with a little too much cream. Very milky, like an imperialized version of a lacto stout. There's an edge to the milk which makes it smell like a carton 1 day past the expiration date-- not turned yet, but clearly past its best. Also has some caramel, roasted peanuts, figs, and a lingering ashy note.

Starts off sweet with bitter chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, soft brown sugar, and non-dairy creamer. Slight acidity from the dark malt. More bitter chocolate with a short-lived berry-like fruitiness in the middle. Ends with flavors of coffee spiked with hazelnut syrup and a hint of licorice, along with a faint but unpleasant plastic note at the finish. Cold coffee and a dusting of ashes in the aftertaste.

Smooth, with low levels of coarse carbonation in a light and rather milky body. Slick and mouth-coating but not sticky.

On the plus side, this is a big, burly stout with lots of roastiness and strong coffee flavors at a reasonable price. The coffee flavors are so significant that I'm surprised there's no coffee in the brew. On the other hand, the body is light for the style, the carbonation is on the harsh side, and the ashy/milky flavors put me off a bit. (Just my opinion. Your Mileage May Vary.) The alcohol is also pretty hot. I'm glad I got to try this one, but I wouldn't buy it again.

vurt, Jul 11, 2009
Photo of GbVDave
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into two white wine glasses. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist. Extra special thanks to Ineedabeerhere for the trade and hook up!

A: Pours a dark, syrup-y, charcoal-black with a creamy sliver of dark tan head on top. Retention was limited and virtually no lace was left behind.

S: Aromas of toasty malt, dark chocolate, dark fruit, cherries, espresso, and a touch of spicy hops.

T: See above. Toasted malt, caramel, espresso, and dark chocolate with ribbons of dark fruit, chocolate covered cherries, espresso, spicy hops, and fruity alcohol.

M: Sweet and toasty with a slightly tart fruitiness. Very sticky and oily with a kick-ass helping of alcohol burn.

D: Pretty good considering the abv%. The fruit and chocolate keep the booziness in check. Very nice!

GbVDave, Jul 11, 2009
Photo of tpd975
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Kiefdog for bringing this one to a tasting.

A: Pours very dark black with an average sized tan colored head. No retention or lace.

S: Nice sweet malt up front. Rich chocolate, with a nice blast of roast on the backend.

T: Mmmm charred malt up front which seems to melt into rich sweet chocolate. The combination of ashy malt and sweet chocolate really works here.

M: Medium in body, very bold, with carbonation that carries.

D: Pretty good. Tasty beer. I am glad I got one in a trade to consume on a cool Florida evening.

tpd975, Jul 06, 2009
Photo of theghost3
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a a dark brown, almost black with a 2-finger brown head that quickly dissapates leaving a ring throughout. Minimal lacing.

The scent is strong of espresso, toasted malts & some anise. The taste is really strong of espresso and burnt malts along with a little brown sugar and dark fruit but this is not nearly as sweet or complex as alot of other Russian Imperial Stouts I've had. The mouthfeel is much more carbonated than expected, oily & not as thick or creamy as I'd like.

This is a drinkable RIS, but the coffee & burnt malts are a little extreme. I'd prefer something sweeter & creamier.

theghost3, Jun 22, 2009
Photo of AndyAvalanche
3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A good Russian Imperial Stout. Had it with dinner tonight, my wife made meatloaf, it went really well with the meal. Great appearance, dark brown almost black with a foamy head that didn't last but was very dark too. The smell was great as well. It has a nice chocolaty aroma. Like most stouts you really should drink it slightly below room temperature, anything too cold really compromises the flavor. Mouth feel was pretty average, smooth, not very complex so I expected a little more from it in that department. It was pretty drinkable, one of the 1pt 6oz bottles that lasted me through dessert (bread pudding) which it also went well with. I sipped it throughout the whole meal and even had a little left over.

AndyAvalanche, Jun 22, 2009
Photo of jjayjaye
2.35/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours an opaque darkness with a HUGE stiff light brown head that fades slowly leaving a reasonable amount of lacing behind. The smell is somewhat rough IMO...highly roasted malt and bitter dark chocolate. The taste is right there...burnt. A bitter strong black coffee ground flavor is overwhelming and lingers significantly. The mouth feel is sharp and on the lighter side. I'm having a problem relaxing with this one. Pour.

jjayjaye, Jun 20, 2009
Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Otter Creek's Russian Imperial Stout pours an opaque black body beneath a finger thick head of frothy dark tan foam that holds well and leaves short walls of lacing around the glass.

The aroma is like roasted, oily coffee beans. Not much else comes through except for a gentle waft of alcohol. If you'd like to suggest that there's dark chocolate in there as well, OK, I'll go for that, but mainly what I get is bright, roasted coffee beans. Not coffee, mind you, but just the beans. And solid beans, not grounds.

The flavor offers more complexity. There's an edge of fruitiness, and some more distinct chocolate than the nose hints at. It's also a touch fudge-like. Creamy and smooth in the mouth. And although it's deeply roasty, it's not acidic. It's as if the malt is both toasty and roasty. Mocha Java! The balance is right, and it's remarkably smooth and round - almost to a fault. Some spicy (... that may be the alcohol coming through) and grassy hops give it a little bit of edge at least. It finishes dry, and not overly done with sticky malt or residual sweetness or roastiness; although I should point out that there are some minor phenolics present. The strength is evident in the warming as well, although the alcohol never really makes itself known.

An enjoyable beer for sure, but not particularly engaging given the style. It lacks complexity, or should I say depth? Perhaps both.

NeroFiddled, Jun 17, 2009
Photo of Bung
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. Almost black pour with a good sized dark tan head. The creamy foam stuck around quite a while and laced fairly well. Very roasty coffee and malt aromas. Definetely some char with some booze also. A good balance of chocolates, coffee, some piney hops. Feels and tastes like a fair amount of malt in this, mouthfeel was almost creamy. There was quite a bit of bitter ash like tastes lingering throughout, but I did not find it as off-putting as others here. Finish was slightly bitter, some soy, but oatmeal like as well. I was really pleased with this one, especially for the below average price tag for an Imperial. Don't let the downers dissuade you from trying this one.

Bung, Jun 15, 2009
Photo of paco1029384756
3.23/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a small dark tan head that dissipates fairly quickly.

Scent of chocolate, roasted malts, milk, burnt coffee beans, and molasses. Good, but the burnt coffee bean aroma is a bit distracting.

Taste of roasted malts, chocolate, burnt coffee beans, milk, and a strange plastic flavor in the finish. It has a good flavor, but the finish is what is holding back.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and thin with too much carbonation.

paco1029384756, Jun 14, 2009
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.15/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 5/13/09. Bottle. Pours black with a small tan head. Aroma of rich roasted malt, light coffee notes, and bitter chocolate. Flavor is roasted and sweet malt. Palate is thinner than I'd prefer for an RIS. And it's too sweet. Meh, just another mediocre RIS.

LilBeerDoctor, Jun 11, 2009
Photo of magictrokini
3.55/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours jet black with an impressive frothy tan head. Weak lacing. Fragrant chocolate cake batter aroma with deep roasted chocolate malt. Some tobacco and leather with light vanilla. Hearty mouthfeel, heavy without getting sticky. The taste is good, but lacking. Solid roasted malt, but it runs away quickly. It leaves behind a soy sauce bite with brown sugar sweetness. Long, black coffee finish. Alcohol is masked well, but it just needs something else.

magictrokini, Jun 10, 2009
Photo of Zorro
3.48/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Black light proof beer with a small brown head.

Bitter cocoa powder and a faint whiff of sour milk. Slight amount of coffee and a slight amount of patent malt.

Starts out sweet and bitter with a strong metallic patent malt aftertaste. Little bit of chocolate, but this is all patent malt fighting other malts. Alcohol is well hidden. Taste is sort of basic and lack nuance.

Mouthfeel is thin for the style.

Tastes like under sweetened KahlĂșa liqueur. Needs a more complex flavor.

Zorro, Jun 08, 2009
Photo of jdhilt
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a three finger light tan head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving traces of lace. Black color, no highlights. Light-medium carbonation and heavy bodied. Chocolate nose. Flavor is roasted chocolate, smooth, slight burnt chocolate finish. $5.99 for a 22oz bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT.

jdhilt, Jun 05, 2009
Photo of Damian
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Drank from a 1 pint, 6 fl oz bottle purchased at Downtown Wine & Spirits, Somerville, MA
Served in a snifter

The beer poured an absolute pitch black with a tight, frothy, saddle brown head that slowly faded to a thick bubbly collar. Large blocks of lacing trickled down the glass.

The aroma was amazingly sweet, smooth, rich and creamy with a robust coffee presence. Vanilla was also noticeable. Very oaty as well. On smell alone, I might have mistaken this beer for a rich and complex oatmeal stout.

The taste was big and bold. Lots of roasted and chocolate malts up front. Notes of espresso came through strong as well. The espresso-like flavor carried into the super bitter, charred and roasty center. The dry, lingering finish tasted like a combination of burnt coffee and piney, minty hops. A bit of oakiness also came through as well. Slightly tannic. As the beer warmed, the hoppy, bitter and roasty flavors intensified to an almost unpalatable level.

The mouthfeel was creamy, slick and smooth yet quite thin for the style.

Even though the 10.5% ABV was well masked, drinkability was severely hampered by the overwhelming roasty and bitter flavors in this brew.

This beer had an aroma that was to die for, yet the flavor profile was far too acrid for my palate. If only the char flavor could have been minimized, this beer might have been a real winner. Regardless, I am excited to see yet another local brewery integrating an imperial series into their lineup. Keep 'em coming!

Damian, Jun 04, 2009
Photo of blackie
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: mocha head recedes to an average ring atop a deep brown - essentially black - colored beer

s: molten semisweet and bakers chocolate, around which the deep roast profile that also includes molasses and barley charred to various degrees is centered, just thick with the stuff, thick dark fruits and a touch of booze, dark coffee underneath, nice

m: medium carbonation with a silky full body

t: semisweet and bitter chocolates at the forefront introduce a long lingering finish of deeply charred grain, big notes of burnt coffee and barley coming through, while the aroma is a nice mix of sweet and char, on the palate a strong astringent current runs through from the beginning and clings to the palate afterward, grossly imbalanced in this respect - and I can dig it, but it doesn't warrant a higher score

d: a sipper, but that's to be expected, not overboozed at all

bomber from himerman in No BS 4

blackie, Jun 02, 2009
Photo of allengarvin
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of the blackest beers I've ever poured. Held up to the light, there's a near-complete opacity. There's a small but dense head of dark tan foam on top. The lacing is good. The aroma is good, if a bit one dimensional: rich dark cocoa, a tad powdery. The flavor features a lot of dark, bitter chocolate taste, somewhat roasted, with enough bitterness to keep the heavy malt from being more than moderately sweet. By the finish, there's a bit of a warming sensation, but surprisingly for the strength, the alcohol is well-disguised.

Most of the Otter Creek beers are competent but not noticibly memorable; this one is both, though. Very good beer!

allengarvin, May 27, 2009
Photo of Wasatch
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to Bitterbill for this brew.

22oz. Bomber
Gold Foil

Poured into a tulip a very nice black color, nice carbonation, very nice one-finger creamy/fizzy tan head, with some oil slicks and slight sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some coffee/toffee/dark chocolate notes, vanilla. The taste is very nice, sweet, malty, big does of the dark stuff. Medium body, the ABV is kinda up front, but still nice. Very drinkable, a very nice sipper, glad I got a chance to try this one, thanks Bill.

Wasatch, May 23, 2009
Photo of GClarkage
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

05/22/09- Purchased at Mollie Stones in Burlingame, CA.

Presentation- 22oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Super black and thick pour. Milk chocolate colored 3/4 inch head on pour which receedes very quicky leaving maybe a spot of lace or two...really looks lifeless after that...a beer of this abv could have a better showing.

Smell- Lucious scent of deeply roasted and semi burnt hops as well as a mild dark chocolate flavor mixed in with a touch of vanilla.

Taste- There are two types of imperial stouts...the deep burnt malts ones and the chocolate hops infusion ones. This one is a combo of both. Very roasted malts with a burnt coffee bean flavor as well. Chocolate is dark and pretty intense. Hops show themselves early and hang around during the aftertaste. Quite a range of tastes.

Mouthfeel- Starts out with a mid level carbonation level which fades to a light level. A slight bit viscous and chewy with a vey large coffee-dark chocolate-burnt malt aftertaste...oh yeah and hops too. Becomes very smooth and fairly creamy.

Drinkability- This one is a good imperial stout from the pop of the cap, which becomes exceptional after the air gets to it and reveals it's exceptional range of flavors. Highly recommended.

GClarkage, May 23, 2009
Photo of Kegatron
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz foil topped bomber into a tulip glass.

Pours a dense motor oil black with several fingers of extremely rigid looking burnt mocha (almost like chocolate milk) head. This settles down into a 1/2 finger of solid retention, which throws up a big and creamy cascade that just DRENCHES the sides of the glass with foam and brown oily goo. The aroma is huge with roasted grains and zippy notes of espresso beans, along with underlying backer's chocolate that adds some sweetness to the mix. A stiff whiff of licorice and heat pull up the back of this bouquet. Just a really nice and assertive Imperial Stout nose here.

The taste is just as in-yo'-face as the aroma was. Big milk chocolate sweetness up front that then quickly runs into a BRICK WALL of burnt and grainy malts, roasted coffee, and a swift blast of hop bitterness. Mingling in are more subtle (if you can call anything in this subtle) notes of smoke, molasses, brown sugar, and anise. Finishes burnt, tangy, and bitter, with a feel that just sticks to the palate. The mouthfeel is extremely full bodied, with a big creamy feeling up front, that then melds into a more chewy and thick viscous feel that carries all of these huge flavors nicely. There is some definite alcohol heft to the body. While I can't say that the drinkibility of this is stellar because of it, it doesn't distract from the other flavors and in fact helps bring out a lot of the burnt and bitter notes in this.

A bit of a shocker, I would have never expected a beer this big and bold from Otter Creek. Powerful and complex, the only thing holding this back is the alcohol and I'm anxious to see what some time in the cellar will do for future bottles. If this is the start of Otter Creek's new Imperial Series, well then sign me up for the rest, as this made me a believer!

Kegatron, May 22, 2009
Photo of rallison
3.28/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Wow, beautiful pour. Viscous black liquid with the creamiest, most luxurious tan head. After a couple of minutes the head dies down, leaving no lacing.

Smells nice with lots of espresso, chocolate and roast character. Can't wait to dive in.

The first sip hits me with a lot of astringency and dryness. Acrid bitterness. Some burnt notes. After a few more sips, my palate gets a bit more used to it. At this point, some of the dark chocolate and hints of dark berries come out.

The body was a letdown after the beautiful pour. I was hoping for something rich. This a bit too dry and a bit too light - there's just something in there that is reminiscent soaking some instant espresso in water and dumping a bit of that mixture into the beer.

Maybe a bit harsh, but the taste and body just were off for me and were not enjoyable.

Given the generally solid reviews this gets, I'll try to give this a try again in the future; maybe it will excel next time.

rallison, May 22, 2009
Photo of aforbes10
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from the Vacaville BevMo purchased a few weeks before. Pours a dense dark black with a creamy brown head. Settles off to a spiraling bubble galaxy. Smells of carob beans, buttermilk, chocolate and ethanol. Big, roasted, decadent chocolate flavor. Strong and assertive, with a distinct alcohol presence, as well as some tasty residual hops. Very flavorful and interesting. I also get some buttery that adds an intriguing bit of depth. Full bodied and creamy, without being cloying. Drinks well, not among the best of the best, but still a really, really good impy.

aforbes10, May 19, 2009
Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
90 out of 100 based on 521 ratings.