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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

490 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 490
Reviews: 273
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 32
Gots: 27 | 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: 490 | Reviews: 273 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rwrk42

New Jersey

4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a nice tan head which has some cling to the glass
Smell: Roasted malt, slight caramel and a whole lot of chocolate
Taste: Good smooth taste. Roasted malts and chocolate with the right amount of hop bitterness to offset the slight sweet brown sugar taste.
One to savor and not chug. A very good Russian Imperial Stout which I recommend

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2009 00:29:27 | More by rwrk42
Photo of DarkerTheBetter


3.48/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer is about as black as they get with only a faint sliver of brown creeping around the edges of my pint. The head is a tan foamy film.

Smells of smokey barley and a touch of milk chocolate but it is sadly backed by sweet rotting fruit. The initial charcoal and cocoa is nice, but what lies beneath isn't so hot. The alcohol tends to come through much more when it warms.

The flavor has the same dynamic. There's a quite tasty smokey barely, coffee and barbecue but it too is followed up by over-ripe prunes and cherries. There are other styles that get far more lopsided than this one. Although this one is mostly pretty good, I still can't over look that sickeningly sweet fruit flavor in the background.

Feels big and sluggish with a light frothing of carbonation. It leaves a little film behind, but it seems to work well with the smokey flavors at hand.

I'm a little more pessimistic about this beer than I should be, but there are plenty more RISs I would have before this one, as easy as it is to drink.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2009 00:15:29 | More by DarkerTheBetter
Photo of HoustonTX


4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout

You're greeted with a simple, yet elegant bottle. I love the basic print label, and golden foil top. Inside, a delectable treat. The deep rich darkness of this ones pure jet black body entices you to break in. Fluffy mocha head, with extravagant retention. Very appealing to the eyes. I want to just dive in. But, not yet - I'd rather stare at this beauty for a little bit.

The aroma permeates the air the instant you crack the bottle. Big, roasty, and complex. Beautiful roasted malt notes of sweet dark chocolate, toasted caramel, and brown sugar. Very deep and extremely aromatic.

Now onto the best part of this beauty. The taste. Striking complexity immediately, with lots of the flavors resembling the nose. The first thing you notice is the gigantic roasted notes, which are just so damn complex. They barrage the palate, and coat it with roasted malt goodness. Soon after sweet chocolate, and rich cocoa beans accentuate with the flavor tone and provide even more depth. Bittering hops blend well with the chocolate notes and provide a bit of citrus/earthiness to the flavor. The balance overall is wondeful. Finishes just as it started, absolutely delicious. With a nice drying edge. Great mouthfeel, and amazing drinkability despite the 10% abv.

This is incredibly well done RIS. Incredibly tasty, and offers everything you look for in an RIS, and more. Mad props to Otter Creek for nailing this one. This is definitely one of my top RIS's.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2009 01:03:39 | More by HoustonTX
Photo of wagenvolks


4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bomber into a Duvel tulip.

Pours about as perfect as a Russian Imperial Stout can pour--jet black, oily body with a sizable dark custard head that retains well and leaves appropriate lacing. Aroma is a delectable blend of roasted chocolate and caramel malts, cookie dough, and espresso liquor, balanced nicely with a dose of earthen hops.

Whoa!!! This is a BIG beer. I'm immediately greeted by an rush of bitter baker's chocolate, earthen hops, and chocolate liquor. Body is viscous and oily, with a creamy, well-carbonated consistency and an amazing finish of hearty hops and booze. Easily one of my top 10 RIS's, Otter Creek's version has impressed me to no end. I think I will be heading back to the store to pick up a few more bombers of this gem so I can drink, age, and trade it.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2009 03:11:40 | More by wagenvolks
Photo of grayburn

South Carolina

3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a goblet at around 55 degrees,
A heavy midnight with a brown crown. The head retention is very nice, and the lacing is thick. Big looking beer.
The smell is a lot more tame than I expected from both the appearance and the abv. Notes of chocolate, caramel, and a little bit of spice linger in the background.
The taste is a bit over average, a bit subdued...a little too one-dimensional in my opinion. Certainly not a bad flavor by any stretch. The heavy malt is there, there is definite sweetness and some alcohol as well, there just isn't much balance. It is big but not rounded.
The mouthfeel is pretty silky, good carbonation.
The drinkability is pretty good. For almost 11 percent, this goes down very smoothly.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2009 04:37:27 | More by grayburn
Photo of far333


4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque brownish black with an inch high head of light brown foam that settles out slowly to a lid of soapy bubbles.

Aroma of cocoa and dark malt and licorice, some subtle smoke.

Rich flavors of darkly roasted malt and tangy cherry. Subtle cocoa and deep espresso, morphing to bitter dark chocolate. Notes of charred smokey bark and licorice. Lots of complexity here.

Even mouthfeel, moderate carbonation. Warming in the cheeks. Finishes somewhat dry. Very drinkable, tasty beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2009 02:45:48 | More by far333
Photo of Amalak

New York

3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

At Mugs Ale House on Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn they had a tasting with a cask of this brew. Completely black in color with a tan head, no real lace. It had a sweet toffee scent to it.

Very flavorful, chocolate, vanilla and coffee, very sweet, actually. Roasted malt, smooth, yet strong...good brew.

Serving type: cask

03-10-2009 21:53:42 | More by Amalak
Photo of morebeergood


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

Picked up a bottle recently at Bauer. Poured from the bomber into a pint glass. Thick as the midnight fog. Dark as oil. Huge light brown colored head that lasted for a majority of the time drinking it. Smelled like (almost) burnt coffee beans. Strong on the nose. Taste was a bit unusual for an RIS. I swear, I think this is a smoked RIS. I really liked the flavors of chocolate and coffee from an RIS, but it seemed to be mixed with the smokiness of a rauchbier. Very different. Very heavy body, a sipper for sure. The huge body, the intense flavor, and the noticeable alcohol make this a slow drinking beer, but surely one that I enjoyed.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2009 23:06:04 | More by morebeergood
Photo of bjoyce12


3.63/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've tried other Otter Creek issues and they've been surprisingly good, so I thought I'd give their Russian Stout a try. A little disappointing. It's not a bad Russian Stout, but there are so many better ones out there(Old Rasputin(outstanding), Stone, Rogue, to name a few). This isn't bad, just not that great. Not enough depth to hide the high ABV, burn comes through. If you're in the mood for a Russian Stout and this is all there is to choose from, take it. Otherwise, try to find a better quality brew.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2009 14:30:09 | More by bjoyce12
Photo of DrewOSU


4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed at BA Cincinnati RIS tasting on 3/5/2009, hosted by Yetiman420

A: Pours dark molasses with a 1/8 inch, light brown, sudsy head. Lacing has slight grit to it.

S: HUGE coffee nose! Hints of molasses, not a lot of hops detected, malt undertones. Awesome nose.

M/T: Slightly watery to medium body. A little syrupy. Big coffee flavor on the tongue, followed by sweet malt, finishing with a sting of alcohol. Finishes very dry.

D: Not a heavy bodied beer. Finishes dry from the alcohol base. Excellent sipper.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2009 03:20:45 | More by DrewOSU
Photo of schroederm


4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

In a Sam Smith half pint:

Pours absolutely jet black and viscous. Mountains of coffee/yellow head bubble up, retaining exceptionally well. Thick and sticky lacing has a death grip on the sides of my glass. Honestly, this beer looks like a rockstar. The nose: roasty and coffee aromas delicately accentuated by peanut, toffee, and molasses... overall very complex and hearty, with hints of sweetness. Maltiness persists from start to finish on the tongue. Strong coffee bitter balances out very well with brown sugar sweetness. Bready and anise flavors present as well. The mouthfeel is superb: body like motor oil, great carbonation. Thickness is nothing short of wonderful on the palate. Considering its high ABV and bitter characteristics, the drinkability is extremely high, but still quite good given its attributes.

Overall: This is my first Otter Creek beer. I've heard that their beers are somewhat mediocre, but given this example I'd have to say that I strongly disagree. Here we come top 100.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2009 19:50:32 | More by schroederm
Photo of ATPete

New Jersey

4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle

Pours a meaty oil-like black color, from it forms a medium sized bubbly brown head that chills out then decides to move the party around the rim. Big nose of coffee, burnt coffee and malt with a noticeable hoppy aroma peeking out around the edges. Big and roasted in flavor, the alcohol is just noticeable enough to really warn the palate and allow the malts to dominate until mid/late palate the hops come through with their grassy bitterness, this things gotta be like 60+ IBU! Bitter chocolate and coffee, even dark fruit in flavor. Full bodied that got bigger as it warmed. Good mouthfeel, good drinkability. I think this is about 5 or 6 bucks on shelves, definitely worth it. 1-3 year cellar candidate for sure.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2009 23:18:24 | More by ATPete
Photo of NJpadreFan

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Otter Creek- RIS

A- Thick black with a huge thick tan head. Heavy foamed head laces nicely.
S- Big strong slightly burnt charcoal, chocolate, and marshmallow.
T- Thick dark chocolate, strong burnt black coffee, charcoal, and hints of vanilla. Slight buttery carmelized malt appears in the end.
M- Very strong burnt bitterness up front, creamier malt appears, and sweet chocolatey bitterness finishes this off.

Overall- Starts off burnt and boozy but settles down. This 1 is quite creamy but very sweet and cloying eventually. 1 pint is enough!

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2009 19:59:25 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of matty


4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black colored beer with a slowly fading creamy head.Aroma is coffee and alcohol.Taste is sugar cane,coffee,chocolate and alcohol.Overall a really good stout that makes you want to go right to the next bottle.This is something that I believe any stout fan should try at least once.A keeper!!

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2009 00:40:30 | More by matty
Photo of hopdog


4.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle.

Poured a dark black color with a larer sized brown head. Some lacing left on the glass. Aromas of roastiness, coffee, dark fruits, and lighter caramel. Tastes of roastiness, coffee, chocolate, dark fruits, and molasses. Light alcohol but not giving away the 10%. This one was a nice surprise!

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2009 19:13:05 | More by hopdog
Photo of alovesupreme


4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Extremely dark pour, this is a thick beer. Brown head with white in the mix. Head sticks around for a while.
Lots of coffee and chocolate with a fair amount of smoky character as the beer warms.
Roasted character is very prominent with coffee and chocolate giving the tongue the most love. A subtle caramel character is in the middle with a smoky finish. The finish is mostly roasted bitterness with a hint of hops.
Very thick mouthfeel right where I want my RIS.
An unexpected treat from a brewery that I havent given much thought in the past. Worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2009 02:55:43 | More by alovesupreme
Photo of puboflyons

New Hampshire

4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from a pt. 6 fl. oz. bottle with no expiration date or lot number. Sampled on Feb. 24, 2009. Pours extremely dark to almost black with about an inch of puffy, light brown head and some foamy, brown lacing. Aroma is explosive with chocolate malts, hops, and alcohol. Mouthfeel is rather creamy and heavy. The taste is tart with alcohol and hops first and chocolate and cocoa second. Pretty powerful brew.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2009 00:09:33 | More by puboflyons
Photo of BeerTruth


4.58/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this one at Finger Lakes Beverage in Ithaca.

22 oz. gold foil topped bomber poured into a nonic.

Pours dark as night black with a two finger dark brown head that slowly falls to a creamy layer of foam. A fair amount of stick reamains on the sides of the glass. Smell is to die for...fresh dark roasted coffee, rich molasses, maple syrup, and toasted barley. Sweet oats, dark sweet chocolate, and some piney hops in the nose as well, definitely wasn't expecting this. Damn! First sip is stellar. More rich coffee beans with a good dose of sweet caramel and brown sugars. Roasted grains, smoked malts, licorice, and sweet vanilla beans midway. Aftertaste has a touch of earthiness, booze, and some heavy fudge. A warm full body with a semi-smooth feel and a subtle carbonation. Yeah this bad boy is scary drinkable for the 10.6% abv, I love it. To be honest, Otter Creek beers have been average at best with me, this beer is WELL above average. I'll say it, this RIS is right up there with Kate the Great and Dark Lord and at half the price. Hats off to Otter Creek, definitely looking forward to what else they have in store for the Imperial Series. Pick this one up for sure folks.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2009 03:17:51 | More by BeerTruth
Photo of abriggs1


4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A really great craft beer from Otter Creek. I hope this is the start of a trend for them in that respect. A very drinkable russian imperial stout indeed. More smooth and less bitter than some others. The obvious dominant taste here is of a heavily roasted coffee, and the aftertaste is semi-sweet chocolate. It's not quite up to the level of Old Rasputin or Stone's Russian Imperial Stout, but the good people at Otter Creek have crafted a very good version.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2009 19:09:58 | More by abriggs1
Photo of ATLbeerDog


4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black completely opaque. Sweet smells of deep rich dark coffee that captures my attention. First sip is all coffee and how lovely it is! Whether this is an RIS or a Coffee stout is a valid question. What I can tell you is that this "coffee stout" is world class and worthy of tremendous accolades. Simply wonderful. The bitter coffee finish is both welcomed and outstanding.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2009 05:41:21 | More by ATLbeerDog
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

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

Thanks Jon for sharing. Pours thick black with great brownish head. Good aroma of expresso and chocolate and the taste delivers, with coffee, expresso, lots of chocolate. A bit sweet biased, but good bitterness there.Above average mouthfeel. Dangerously drinkable. Could be the best they have ever done.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2009 03:23:40 | More by Sammy
Photo of thekevlarkid


4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Out of a gold foiled bomber this RIS was an extremely dark brown color that was not quite black. The head was a towering, three-fingers of cinnamon-stick brown colored bubbles of medium size. The retention was quite good as a foamy cap and the lacing consistent as thing rings. The aroma was of roasted malt, chocolate malt, light coffee, a light smokiness and bakers chocolate. The flavors were at first slightly sweet with light chocolate notes but then turned dark and ominous like an Atlantic thunderstorm. I tasted wood, lots of coffee, unsweetened chocolate, notes of pipe tobacco and wood smoke. The roasted barley and heavy hop finish really added a bitter element to the experience. Not as much sweet caramel and chocolate notes as one would hope for, especially to balance the heavyweight bitter elements, but it was still a good example of the style. The 10.6% ALC was marvelously well-hidden! Towards the end as it warmed I finally felt the heat. The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy, the body full and the carbonation light which all added to the quaffable and (dare I suggest it?) sessionable nature of the brew. At $5.99 (here in Burlington) this is an A-Class beer of the highest tier in all beer-dom (RIS) and a bargain to boot. I gave it a 93 of 100, and given that some of the best (Kate The Great, Dark Lord, The Abyss) can run double or triple the price of this and are all about a 96 and furthermore not nearly as readily available I highly recommend one picks up at least a pair, one to drink and one to age. Heads up katz & kittenz, don't miss it!

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2009 16:40:08 | More by thekevlarkid
Photo of Pencible


4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This poured pitch black with a bit of dark tan head, making it one of the darkest beers I've tried. It smelled like roasted coffee and milk chocolate with fresh barley and some copper hops, along with a bit of smoke and oak and alcohol. It tasted like bitter chocolate and burnt coffee with some roasted barley, fig, copper hops, and alcohol. It was fairly thick with a bit of carbonation, and had a lasting bitter aftertaste. Overall this was a pretty tasty beer, and very boldly flavored. Aging could maybe help mellow it out some, but it's pretty clean fresh. The alcohol is noticeable but not too strong, so it's reasonably drinkable. It had nice body and was overall balanced well. Well done brew.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2009 16:32:05 | More by Pencible
Photo of Proteus93


4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice and dark brown-looking while pouring, ending up a black in the glass, though it didn't seem to be 'motor oil thick' when pouring. Head is nice and frothy, a full pair of fingers in height, and retention is decent. It leaves a fairly consistent lacing behind.

S: Full of chocolaty and malts galore. Quite a big aroma, noticeable as soon as I popped the cap. It just kinda wafted towards my nose. The chocolate adds a rich note to the underlying coffee scents and gives it the impression of a being a mocha latte or something. There also appears to be a soft scent of whole grain crackers in there.

T: Wow, also quite intense. Quite a hefty unsweetened chocolate flavour along with the massive malt roast. Some alcohol spiciness is detected, as can be expected, and a little touch of molasses comes through. Good stuff, this!

M + D: It's creamy and full, but like it appeared, not extremely heavy. It doesn't have that engine oil viscosity or the stickiness or molasses or molten toffee that is often found in an RIS. At the same time, it doesn't succumb to being a thin and lifeless brew. Very nicely balanced in that sense. At just over 10%, it's a nice way to close up a Sunday night, and I will actively seek this one out to pick up again. Very good.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2009 05:12:51 | More by Proteus93
Photo of cvstrickland

North Carolina

4.68/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The foil-necked 22-ounce bomber bottle poured into a small snifter produces a tar-black body capped with a chubby finger's thickness of stained khaki foam. The head retains at a chunky-collared sheet and deposits a film of extremely fine-bubbled lacing onto the glass.

The smell is amazing. Notes of fresh black coffee, dark chocolate covered pineapple, unsulphured molasses, caramel-covered peanuts (?), and a touch of anise roll over a dark, savory base of roasted barley, dark caramel malt, and vanilla-perfumey alcohol. A hearty note of dark-toasted pumpernickel reinforces the dominant graininess and layers of chocolatey caramel come to the forefront as the drink warms a bit.

The taste is equally amazing. Rich dark chocolatey sweetness is beset with bitter burnt roast and a splash of strong, unsweetened black coffee. Alkaline and drying, cocoa powder lingers in the aftertaste, sticking to the palate, thoroughly chocolatizing a touch of lingering brown-sugary stickiness. Silky smooth vanilla caramel softens the pleasantly-harsh scratchiness of roasted grain, and a note of French roast rises in stature with each additional sip. Alcohol is masked in vague dark fruitiness, or possibly disguised as mild sherry. Otter Creek's RIS has lots of big flavors, yet is still very well-balanced.

Silky, fullish in body, and mildly carbonated, the brew is extremely quaffable for style, but I can't really say that I would want to drink it from a beer bong. No, no... well... no, not at all. This brew is a beauty and a "snifter beer" all the way--best when thoroughly examined, thoughtfully savored, and highly respected. It's magnificent.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2009 12:59:06 | More by cvstrickland
Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
89 out of 100 based on 490 ratings.