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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.

526 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 526
Reviews: 276
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 32
Gots: 36 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Brad007 on 01-09-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 526 | Reviews: 276 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

Photo of sonicdescent
3.33/5  rDev -16.8%
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
4/5  rDev 0%
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
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
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
3.88/5  rDev -3%
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
3.9/5  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
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
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 +0.8%
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
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
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
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
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
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
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
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

Photo of Stunner97
4.78/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- dark dark black with no light coming through what so ever, very nice tan brown head that starts thick and slowly fads down, very menacing and drawing in appearance

Smell- This one smell is out of control, so strong and so good and power hits you instantly, i cant even get past the smell of coffee, if you were to put a coffee cup next to me and this stout I could tell you which was which literally that crazy

Taste- COFFEE wow, this is one flavorful imperial stout, all you can taste is that espresso and coffee, some roasted malts and slight hops throw touch of small bitterness on the finish, this is a special long lasting finish beer, slight alcohol can be noticed but it really just gets lost in the coffee flavors

Mouthfeel- smooth full bodied, creamy and moderately carbonated

Drinkability- An incredible sipping and savoring stout, if you like stouts with the strong espresso and coffee essence then this is one you must try, my first ever beer by this brewery and I was blown a way by a nice piece of work, if you can find this give it a try a winner of a russian imperial

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

Poured the 22oz bottle into a Duvel glass. Pours a pitch black color with a thick brown head that dissipates rather quickly. Aromas of chocolate, espresso, caramel,and brown sugar. I love the taste of this beer. It tastes like a liquid cadbury milk choclate bar. Very creamy and smooth. The chocolate taste dominates but caramel and coffee notes creep in nicely. A nice bitter finish. It is now in my top 5 russian imperial stouts.

Photo of thequeen711
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a rich, deep chocolate, with a tan frothy head. Nose of incredible coffee and malts, cocoa. Taste was impressive:molasses, brown sugarish, coffee, malt and cocoa. Mouthfeel was medium bodied brew, not too heavy or filling. Otter Creek surprised me with this Russian Imperial Stout, they did a fine job, I'd say I'd put it in my top 10 RIP's.

Photo of caminiti
3.43/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I gave this beer a lot of rope to hang itself, and it did. Poured beautiful, dark, slight head, great appearance. Nose had malt and coffee come through, with maybe a bit of nut (burnt). Taste was were this brew fell apart. Appearance and name (and style) did not come through in the taste, it was light with a burnt aftertaste, and in my opinion of the style, not very good at all. I read the other reviews, which were much more impressive than mine, and I think I may have just got a not so good bottle, and at the price, which was not too steep, I may try again, and let it age..

Photo of 01121987
5/5  rDev +25%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

this beer is absolutely incredible.
it has an incredible roasted malt/barley character that is not at all in any way cloying or overwhelming with a welcomed alcohol warmth that is not at all harsh. this is the most "drinkable" imperial stout i have ever tasted and is on my top ten best beers ever tasted list. i would recommend this beer to anyone and everyone who likes darker and stronger beers, and even those who don't.
this might be the best beer i have ever had from otter creek and i used to live in vermont so iv had just about al of them.
great beer. if you see it buy more than one!

Photo of IBUnit63
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, I've been waiting to try this for a couple of weeks and finally pried it from my fridge and poured contents of this bomber into a Portsmouth snifter.

Pours a shiny dark brown - not black, but definitely a dark brown leather color. Head that forms up top is very thin and brown sugar in color. Fades to small wisps very quickly.

There's a whole lot of coffee in here - robust, velvety coffee - maybe not a dark roast but a good solid medium blend. Pike's Place or something like that. The beautiful bride suggests licorice tones in here too and I can't disagree. I get a touch of hop pine and a whole lot of well-roasted malt. It's really impressive.

Well, definitely let this thang warm to room temperature, because 15 minutes out of the fridge isn't enough to burn off the slate dryness and excess carbonation. There is a bit of of austere tannin in here - not a huge excess. Thankfully after 5 minutes it starts to get frisky and get some Beautiful Chemistry going on. The tannins subside, the coffee, the roasted malt and the piney hops get it together with a touch of brown sugar and slight booziness to make a tasty RIS that has a touch of clamminess in it that hinders from being awesome. This is very good - maybe just a touch on the thin side. Coffee provides a nice little bite on the back end. No, I didn't mean that literally.

OK, now that we've warmed this up a bit...it's got that nice licorice bite on the roof of the mouth, a good coffee/pine hop bite on the sides and a dry, sweet hint of brown sugar booze on the tongue. Finish is well-balanced and loses clamminess by the second. This at first blush reminded me of that typical Otter Creek sooty slate and earthy Ringwood texture but that was fortunately ephemeral. This rolls like a damn fine, if slightly light, RIS.

A cleaner RIS than I'm used to when all said and done. Maybe a little lighter and a little too much patent tannin but all in all this drinks extremely nicely and the alcohol really doesn't stick out. Maybe not in the same sandbox as Kate or Darkness but it won't embarrass itself against a few of the other well-regarded light-heavyweights either.

Photo of jujubeast6000
2.83/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed 4/16/2009 (Bottle):

Pours a pitch black color body, big foamy tan brown colored head lasting. Good lacing. Strong coffee chocolate aroma. Some alcohol. Some sweet chocolate too. Something else like ash. Watery palate, smokey and slightly ashy taste. Sweet chocolate and some dark chocolate in the taste too. Something is off.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Jet black with a dark brown head with good retention. Dark brown highlights. Quite impressive!

S: Molasses, coffee and medium dark chocolate open things up, with some dark fruit following through. Roasty, with a hint of citrus hops in the back.

T: Opens up with a firm combination of citrus hops and chocolate as well as maltose-like flavors. Coffee mid palate with a mildly hoppy finish with a bit of alcohol

M: Medium bodied, excellent carbonation and a great finish. I like the way the hops are expressed here

D: Fairly easy to drink despite my being burnt out on the style

Photo of drseamus
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to aerozeppl and avryle for sharing.

A: Pitch black with a thin off white head.

S: Roast city! Massive roasted malt. Fairly singular.

T: Roast is even stronger in the taste than the aroma. Almost purely one dimensional. Dry cocoa in the back.

M: Thin behind the roast.

D: A touch too roasty and too one dimensional.

Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
90 out of 100 based on 526 ratings.