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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

498 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 498
Reviews: 275
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
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: 498 | Reviews: 275 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerTruth
4.58/5  rDev +14.5%

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.

BeerTruth, Feb 15, 2009
Photo of abriggs1
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%

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.

abriggs1, Feb 14, 2009
Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%

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.

ATLbeerDog, Feb 14, 2009
Photo of Sammy
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%

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.

Sammy, Feb 12, 2009
Photo of thekevlarkid
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%

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!

thekevlarkid, Feb 11, 2009
Photo of Pencible
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%

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.

Pencible, Feb 11, 2009
Photo of Proteus93
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

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.

Proteus93, Feb 09, 2009
Photo of cvstrickland
4.68/5  rDev +17%

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.

cvstrickland, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of grub
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%

Viggo brought this one over. thanks eric!

22oz bottle topped with gold foil. sampled feb 7/09.

pours opaque and nearly black with a very dense dark brown head. the head drops fairly fast and leaves spotty lace behind.

aroma is good. dark and milk chocolate. coffee. bit of lactic sourness that lends it a bit of a baltic slant. light alcohol. anise and vanilla. caramel. bit of butterscotch. earthy. multi-grain bread and cracker. fruity too.

taste is great. big chewy multi-grain bread and biscuit, lightly toasted. oatmeal. touch of smoke. light anise. bit of vanilla. lactic sourness. touch of caramel sweetness. maybe some butterscotch here too. there's also some alcohol rounding things out, but it's quickly forgotten as the other flavours wash over you. medium bitterness level, but it feels like it's mostly from chocolate character rather than hops. there's definitely some hops in there though, giving it a bit of earthy and maybe a touch of citrus rind character. lot going on in this one, but i like it.

mouthfeel is good. nice big body. the carbonation feels just under medium level but is carrying a bit of sting with it. i could go for a little less here. maybe cellaring would mellow that out a bit.

drinkability is quite good. very complex and nicely balanced. you can tell it's a big beer, but more from the body than the immediate alcohol perception. this is one that i'm really enjoying but think would be even better after some time in the cellar. still, i ain't gonna say no to it now. good stuff!

grub, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of Viggo
4.4/5  rDev +10%

22 oz foiled bottle, picked up in Buffalo.

Pours a deep dark and opaque black, no light gets through, thick tan head forms, drops to a medium layer and ring, tons of lacing on the glass, looks like an imperial stout, great retention as the head really sticks. Smell is real nice, quite sweet, chocolate, toffee, coffee roast, brown sugar and molasses, lots of dark fruitiness to go along with it, some sherry like alcohol, some vanilla comes through, biscuits and toast, very malty, almost smoky, a pretty unique aroma. Taste is pretty interesting, heavy roast and chocolate, vanilla, burnt sugar, almost a smoky oatmeal flavour, raisins and dark fruits, wood, molasses, quite sweet in the finish but not overly so, seems to work well with the heavy roast character. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation, very smooth, alcohol is decently hidden, really smooth creamy body like an oatmeal stout. A really nice RIS, have a pretty unique flavour profile and is very smooth and enjoyable. Real nice stuff.

Viggo, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of ImHereForTheBeer
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Appearance: Dark - nearly black. Thin head that was mocha brown and faded quickly. Heavy lacing.

Smell: Chocolate and burnt toast. Hint of mocha or coffee.

Taste: Coffee, bitter and dark chocolate. Touch of sweet, brown sugary. Excellent aftertaste of malty coffee.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, almost creamy in feel, but not taste. Appealing finish.

Drinkability: Its a sipper. Delicious though, perfect for sitting by the fire...

ImHereForTheBeer, Feb 07, 2009
Photo of DMcPhee33
4.65/5  rDev +16.3%

A- Pours a deep black with a solid coffe-colored head.

S- Coffee, chocolate & maybe a hint of licorice.

T- Outstanding. 10.6% ABV & no "hotness". There's a continuation of the coffee & chocolate and it resonates after the sip.

M- It has a great balance for an RIS. Not too thick, yet in no way thin. Well rounded, soft & malty with a slight bitterness that accents the tastes very well.

D- A perfect slow-sipper on a cold night. The 22oz. bomber is the perfect amount of this beer.

Very, very impressed with this one. It really makes up for the dissapointment of the majority of the World Tour 22oz. bombers of last year, and then some.

DMcPhee33, Jan 31, 2009
Photo of shizzdog
4.6/5  rDev +15%

Appearance: Pitch Black Pour with a nice tan head.

Smell: Delicious chocolate and roasted coffee.

Taste: Comes in a little warm but is quickly subdued by chocolate and roasted espresso beans followed by a nice tingly hop bite.

Mouthfeel: Sits nice, Great Carbonation, Dry finsh

Drinkability: Yum Yum getting a few more of these

shizzdog, Jan 30, 2009
Photo of TLove
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%

The appearance is rich, black, and thorough, with a creamy, light brown head with heavy legs (a wine term, i know).

The smell is truly exceptional, with luscious tones of dark chocolate and espresso malt.

The taste is initially bitter, though balances out between the bitterness, superbly light sweetness, and malty chocolate finish of the beer. Alcohol comes through at the very end, which disguises the smoothness underpinning the strong structure of the beer.

Nevertheless, this beer is very well balanced and wonderful to drink.

TLove, Jan 29, 2009
Photo of Hautacam
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

Had this on cask at the Real Ale fest '09 in New Haven. There was a lot of buzz at the fest early on about how good this was.
It lived up to the buzz.
Thick, black ,inky ...barely carbonated ...viscosity of engine oil.
Smelled like dark fruits and dark roast coffee.
Taste was very complex.... sweet ,roasty malt,coffee, dark chocolate, prunes,toast,leather..sherry -like alcohol....lots of layers....all very good and well melded into one fine brew. The finish had some rough edges, but only slightly so, and I'm sure it will soften up with minimal aging. I agree with others who said this was the standout of the fest.
Thanks to those who steered me toward the Otter Creek cask.
I will want a bunch of these for the cellar and to drink now.
The brewer said that this will not be a "one off"
Good news, that.

Hautacam, Jan 28, 2009
Photo of ShamasUVA
4.63/5  rDev +15.8%

Had on Cask at the CT Real Ale Festival, January 2009. This was probably the best beer of the day, which is really saying a lot, considering the level of competition (Hooker Imperial Porter, Victory Unfiltered Pils, Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout Trooper, Paulo Santo Marrone, all on cask!).

The remarkable thing about this beer is that it is extremely rich, without being overly roasty, the way some Imperial Stouts can be. Served cool, with a respectable level of carbonation. Balanced, and amazing.

ShamasUVA, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of jamie2dope
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%

I bought a bottle of this last night after a long day at the bar. Luckily I saved it for tonight, as if I had partaken then, I probably would have been in rough shape. Anyway, this pours a black color, with half a finger of tan heading. Rich chocolate nose, with a bit of must, charcoal, slightly burnt character. Taste reveals deep chocolate, cocoa, dark fruit, whiskey, hints of coconut also. Mouthfeel comes off syrupy at times, starts off on the sweet side, but ends more or less on a dark bitter chocolate note. This one is perfectly balanced for a Russian Imperial Stout. Sipping this beer is a delight, and rather easy. The alcohol never comes off hot at all, and in fact is barely apparent until polishing off the bomber. This is a terrific beer from Otter Creek. It is great to see a brewery like Otter Creek, which is underrated IMO, take on a style everyone seems to be doing and coming out with a winner. This is one of the best of the style I have had in a long time. Seek this one out.

jamie2dope, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of erosier
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%

L: Pours a very deep black color with a short but thick brown colored head that laces the glass nicely on the way down.
S: Smells of deep roasted malts, hints of chocolate, vinous fruits, caramel, and a touch of hops at the end.
T: Tastes of deep roasted malts, chocolate, vinous fruits, caramel, and caramelized malts with a touch of earthy hops at the end. Also yeast flavors present and could feel some of the alcohol.
M: Very thick, warming, perfect amount of carbonation.
D: Very drinkable beer with a nice balance of flavors and a huge abv. Loved it and was pretty drinkable for a beer of this magnitude.

erosier, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of deanhead
4.6/5  rDev +15%

Aroma is of Cocoa, charcoal, slight licorice, and honey, very different aroma than I was expecting with this beer.

The taste is fueled with booze, and cereal grains.

There is a distinct cereal-grainy like taste to this beer. It has copius amounts of roasted barley without the entirely roasted taste. There is nothing acrid or burnt about this beer. It is warming and welcoming like a cold Winter night.

Creamy and viscous mouthfeel. Full bodied, almost syrupy. Dank and clingy with the hops.

It's pretty drinkable given it's OG. This beer has some legs, and will let you know it. Funny thought this beer seems to be very well balanced witht the hops profile. Seems that the hops are not SO prominent in this beer. Nothing really leaped out at me like with most other beers of this style.

Try it. It's neat.

deanhead, Jan 26, 2009
Photo of indiapaleale
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

Had this one first at the CT Real Ale fest in New Haven. I had to have something strong to stop the shaking from standing in the cold. Holy crap was this the right beer for that job.

Pours dark, inky, like the liquid inside a magic eight ball! Little to no head, this stuff is viscous!

Smells amazing. Strong vinous notes, raisins, bitter chocolate and the faint smell of alcohol. Contact buzz begins.

Taste is chewy, vinous, soy sauce, chocolate, bitter dark roasted coffee and alcohol dryness. Such a great blend of so many flavors. What a great RIS from Otter Creek, I was blown away. I started and ended the fest with this beer. Loved it. I need to find some bottles!

indiapaleale, Jan 26, 2009
Photo of CrellMoset
4/5  rDev 0%

Otter Creek RIS, casked at Rustico, Alexandria, VA. Served in a traditional American pint glass near room temperature.

Appearance: Served on cask in pint glass, and arrives a dark, deep brown, nearly black, though with burnt orange highlights around the edges. The one-finger creamy cocoa head fades to a solid but thin sheen and leaves huge walls of lacing on the far side and thick blobs on the close side. Has that great "cask" look to the lacing, too - nothing runny or streaky here. Just thick, chunky blobs of meringue.

Aroma: Thick, dirty, earthy coffee, medium to heavy roast, with fainter but nonetheless present outbursts of cocoa, toast, a few lighter malts, and burnt oatmeal or popcorn. The earth concentrates as it warms, becoming the dominant aroma. A very well-kilned RIS.

Taste: A flavorful monster, though very traditional - heavy on the chocolate malt, the espresso, the coffee notes, burnt toast. There's a slight lactic milkyness surrounding the proceedings, and - though there's also a mild alcohol note, spicy and warm - it's not hot or over the top and melds well. There's not much going on here - only a slight hop bitterness, and practically no fruity notes. It's just booze and bread, but I'm fine with that.

Mouthfeel: Relatively thick and lifeless in the cask mold, but not unpleasant - though it approaches syrupy, it doesn't quite get there.

Drinkability: Simplistic, flavorful, straightforward, solid, and powerful. This isn't a mold-breaking, push-the-envelope American IRS, highly-hopped, barrel aged, brewed with seventen different fruits and a unique paleolithic yeast strain - it's just a malty, choco-coffee RIS. The casking augments this simplicity, enhancing those simple yet time-honored flavors and aromas. A very, very solid brew, and one I'd be happy to enjoy time and time again when I was in the mood for a balanced, quaffable RIS, in so far as an RIS is quaffable.

CrellMoset, Jan 19, 2009
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.91/5  rDev +22.8%

Picked up a bomber at the Brattleboro food co-op for $6.29. The label has lots of info, including all ingredients, abv and IBU's.

This is totally black, opaque with obvious carbonantion around the edge, the head is massive, at least 2" high, very bubbly and frothy with creaminess on the very top. dissipation is moderate for the style. There's plenty of dark brown foam still left over long after the liquid is gone. Lacing is sticky and intricate. right on.

The nose is huge, it's as bold and complex as any RIS I've ever had, including such big-boys as Dark lord and the Abyss. Very dark roastie malt right off, grahm crackers, meaty, nutty, peanutbutter with spicey, herbal hops, mellow peppery black berry jam. As the liquid warms you've got, brownies straight from the oven. Well balanced with the hops really providing a unique spiciness, instead of the leafy-bitter scent you get from many huge stouts. a very subtle aroma of dark fruits pops out even later.

After being totally rocked by the aroma of this brew i was affraid the flavor would fall short. NOT!!! This is extremely complex with mulit-level malt flavor's of dark baker's chocolate, dry brownies, peanutbutter, coffee with cream and a another chocolate current that is a bit sweeter, like milk chocolate. The really unique aspect of this RIS is the bold, spicey and earthy hop effect that is bold but not overly bitter. The hops provides the most sublime balance I've ever noticed in this style. 65 IBU's seems Just right. The heat is pretty subtle and adds a nice warming effect but becomes a bit more hot later on. Chocolate covered blueberries pops out as the stout warms up. highly complex, and enjoyable!!

This big-ass stout is full bodied with a crispy middle body, finishing hefty and smooth, then dry. My lips are sticky. smooth and creamy.

Honestly, Otter creek has NAILED the RIS, I'm blown away. Huge complexity with something unique to offer in the spicey and not bitter hop balance. Impressive!

GratefulBeerGuy, Jan 14, 2009
Photo of Brad007
5/5  rDev +25%

Part of the Otter Creek Imperial Series.

Pours a motor oil black color with a thin brown head into my pint glass.

Aroma is thick and creamy with a strong whiff of roasted coffee and mild chocolate in the nose.

Taste is creamy at first followed by a strong amount of roasted coffee and chocolate. Creaminess is very nice. Hop bitterness seems subdued. Astringency is pretty low, which is nice.

Mouthfeel is full of residual creaminess, chocolate and coffee notes. There isn't much alcohol warmth.

First of all, this imperial stout is very drinkable. Alcohol is barely noticeable. Second of all, the creaminess is just top notch. Mouthfeel is right as well. I honestly can't think of what would make this beer better and it's proof that Otter Creek can create great beer, even bigger beers.I strongly recommend you pick this up.

Again, to me, this is perfection for the style.

Brad007, Jan 09, 2009
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Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
89 out of 100 based on 498 ratings.