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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

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535 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 535
Reviews: 279
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 33
Gots: 38 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Brad007 on 01-09-2009

Every so often we brew this tasty treat that clocks in at 10% ABV. A silky smooth, motor-oil black pour reveals rich, roasty notes of caramel, chocolate and coffee. Like the first stouts brewed for Russian Czars, this offering is big, bold and built to last. Grab a few for the cellar, a couple for your comrades and enjoy because—like those Czars of yesteryear—this beer may be gone soon.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 535 | Reviews: 279 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bung
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

Photo of paco1029384756
3.25/5  rDev -19%
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.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.18/5  rDev -20.7%
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.

Photo of magictrokini
3.57/5  rDev -11%
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.

Photo of Zorro
3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
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 Kahlúa liqueur. Needs a more complex flavor.

Photo of jdhilt
4/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

Photo of Damian
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
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!

Photo of blackie
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
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

Photo of allengarvin
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
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!

Photo of Wasatch
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

Photo of GClarkage
4.41/5  rDev +10%
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.

Photo of Kegatron
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
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!

Photo of rallison
3.33/5  rDev -17%
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.

Photo of aforbes10
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Photo of sonicdescent
3.34/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Received as an extra in my second trade with Beerloco. Thanks Alan, and cheers!

Look is a healthy black liquid with some great head.

Scent is too sweet smelling off of the bat..this is how I imagined the 08 darkness would smell after reading the descriptions (It didn't)

Taste unfortunately follows the smell, just too sweet. This is a stout for fans of Old Rasputin and Fresh Yeti, not so much those on the Blackout/Speedway end.

Mouth is nearly perfect, thick bodied and light carbonated.

This is a decent beer and clearly has a place, but it is not for me.

Photo of drgonzo3705
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Black with a small tan head. Decent lacing left behind.

S: I can hardly get past this buttery popcorn smell. I get a little coffee and chocolate as well.

T: Chocolate and coffee with that butteriness lingering around. Not too bad. Its definitely a little different.

M: Full bodied and creamy with a decent hop presence.

D: Not too bad. Definitely not the same as all the other RIS. Try this one for yourself!

Photo of number1bum
4.37/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It's cold and rainy tonight so what better than a big old RIS. This one will do the trick...

Pours very dark brown, not quite completely pitch black although quite thick looking. Generates about two fingers of dark tan head. Keeps a thin but full lace and leaves a decent amount of webbing on the sides.

Smell is very rich with lots of gooey chocolate, roasted malt, some alcohol, raisins, dates, plums. Some coffee and smoke too. RIS noses are typically bold but this is far above average - it's a great, malty, very inviting nose.

Taste is also rich and malty. Loads of roasted malt and fudgy chocolate, and a lot of molasses and dark fruit too, raisins and plums especially. Has a bit of a smoky character and a hint of coffee. It's quite sweet with the chocolate and molassess, with a good amount of roasty bitterness and dark coffee in the finish. Dark fruit lingers long into the finish as well. Definitely some noticeable alcohol but it's not obtrusive. This is quite good.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and chewy and very rich. Moderate carbonation and a very smooth feel. Alcohol is there to let you know that this is over 10% but it's not hot.

This is a very good RIS. The huge dark fruit flavors are different than many others. It's up there in terms of IBU's some I'm not sure to what extent hops are contributing to the fruitiness, but it works nicely. Good balance and very tasty. A very nice surprise from Otter Creek, and an excellent beer for the price.

Photo of BarrelO
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a goblet.

A: Pours black. Rather vigorous head with fair lacing.

S: Major chocolate. Like a fudge cake.

T: Some coffee and chocolate. A lot of alcohol and bitterness. I think it needs some age on it to smooth out the rough edges.

M: Smooth and creamy.

D: Not bad at all. It'd be even better after some time in the cellar.

Photo of jwc215
3.91/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a light brown thick head. This has exceptional retention and lacing, especially for the style/abv.

The smell is of roasted coffee and chocolate with some anise and slight charcoal.

The taste is of roasted coffee and chocolate with some anise/licorice and slight acidity. Fruity alcohol makes itself known. It has an earthy bittterness in the finish.

The feel is slightly slick with a body that is full, though not as much as expected/what it could be (from slightly higher than expected carbonation).

Alcohol lingers through the afertaste. Seems more drinkable as it is, as alcohol does leave a burning sensation. I'm thinking that more aging would bring the drinkability up. Competition in this style is rough, but this holds its own. A very enjoyable sipper with a nice complexity and richness in aroma and taste. One of the best-looking brews of the style, to boot!

Photo of LOCAL
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

apperance: Pours a dark dark brown, almost black with a one finger cocoa head the fades with in a minute or two. NO light is getting through this one.

Smell: Big on roasted coffee, cocoa, and sweet/roasted malts.

Taste: First off, for a 10.6% ABV, the alcohol is VERY well hidden. Big boozy notes are usually one of the first things I notice when a RIS is fresh, and there are only minor traces here. The first thing you notice is the cocoa, coffee, and roasted malts.

Mouthfeel: On the lighter side of heavy. Oily and sticks to the tongue.

Overall: An enjoyable RIS. While others can be hard to handle when fresh, the Otter Creek RIS is neither hot nor overly hopped or bitter. This beer could only improve with age.

Photo of ppoitras
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased as a single from the brewery in Middlebury, VT. Gold foiled cap.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" dark brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head fades gradually, with excellent lasting lace. Aroma is roasty, sweet dark grains.

Taste starts where the nose leaves off, sweet maltiness upfront, goes lightly hoppy bitter in the middle, and closes with slight acrid coffee bitterness to close. Only the slightest indication of warmth to indicate that this is 10+%abv, well hidden! Mouthfeel is good, could be a bit smoother for the style, and drinkability is good as well. Just wish this one's imperialness came through better.

Photo of treyrab
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed this one at Zeno's last night and split with jac5084 and ashherb17 into three unbranded glasses. Beer #701 for this guy.

A: Pours a very dark and very still black with some dark brown and crimson hues when held up to the light. Not the darkest RIS I've seen. Actually a tad on the lighter side. Pretty lackadaisical effort on the head. Almost none. Some tan bubbles show, but not even a ring of frothy head.

S: Like a bag of coffee slapped you in the face. Tons of coffee blended with some bitter roastiness, burnt caramel and some astringent dark fruits that didn't seem to blend with the immense amount of coffee. Also a touch of soy. But overall, not bad.

T: Pretty good flavors of soy, abundant coffee, bitter roast, and some darker fruits. The coffee really takes the cake on this one. Reminded me of Stout Trooper actually.

Overall, worth a try for sure, but not my go-to Imperial Stout.

Photo of Onslow
4.06/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Roast coffee and dark bitter chocolate in the nose .. . black as a door that was once red but now is painted black .. . . fantastic roast level in the mouth .. . low head for a RIS, but constant medium ring .. .. Yaz is for whores .. . damn fine aroma.. . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgg2kwcsvHo . . Goes down so smooth, way to easy to drink, the 10.5% is no where to be found, even checked under a few rocks, nothing... . This is a great little unknown RIS, recommended!! .. . that sign in the mens room about washing your hands, that's just for the employees, right???

Photo of aerozeppl
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one was a nice surprise.

A: Black with no light getting through. Minimal brown head.

S: Big roast nose. I mean totally dominating. Chocolate was in there as well but kind of buried behind the roast.

T: Like the nose but the chocolate comes out a bit more in the taste. Cocoa powder. Tons of hops in the finish.

M: Full body and well carbonated.

D:For the price this was a steal of a beer. A really nice and well done RIS.

Photo of charlesw
3.94/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice and black. And a nice amount of head. Whoa. Like, almost a first among the IS I've been sampling lately. Nice height of tight bubbles. Dark tan. Lasting lace.

Smells of smoke, coffee and chocolate milk. Heavy on the smokier side. Nice to have the chocolate milk be more in the background, like this. I'd like a more complex malt aroma.

Chocolate milk in the mouth but not totally - not like a Founders BS. So, yeah, chocolate milk in the first 1/2 second - right on the tip of your tongue - then a mouth-filling gentle bitterness. Even and full. Finishes out with bitter on the tip of the tongue in the end. Some of that smoke you smell maybe a little coffee.

Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
90 out of 100 based on 535 ratings.