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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.

520 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 520
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: 520 | Reviews: 276 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of unibrew
5/5  rDev +25%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

WOW! The Russian Imperial Stout is perhaps the best RIS on the market today. I had a taste of it in Brooklyn at Mugs Ale House last month. I found it on sale at Oliver's Beverage Store in Albany NY. I picked up 2 bottles and had one of them last night. It is just sooo good! Smooth, creamy and chocolatey. If the 2nd bottle was cold, I probably would have drank it as well. I pray I can buy it here in Brooklyn. Also, it didn't give me a hangover. I don't know why.. that never happens! Honestly, I found it to be even better than Yeti and better than Black Ops, especially for the money.

unibrew, Apr 03, 2009
Photo of Imsothirsty
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this at the Pour House last night, poured into a wine glass. Served way too cold.

Appearance: What I expected from an RIS, thin very brown head lacing

Smell: Alcohol! Really came through strong for me and overpowers the nutty, roasty, coffee smells, but they are there

Taste: Oooh nice, lots of choclate, less coffee than I expected, roasty and nutty flavors to start, kind of mellows out to a roasty mollases taste at the finish, very good.

Mouthfeel: Not very thick like many other RIS's, appropriate carbonation, some sips felt gritty.

Drinkability: The intense alcohol aroma before each sip along with the thin mouthfeel make me think twice about coming back for more, definitely harder for me to drink than other RIS's.

Overall Im glad I tried it, but not really standout.

Imsothirsty, Apr 02, 2009
Photo of BeerSox
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber into 25oz snifter.

Pitch black with absolutely no light getting through. A thick brown two finger head rises just above the rim, then slowly settles to a thin cap with a bubbly shelf. The head leaves behind a solid wall of lacing.

A strong coffee aroma rises from the top, along with a little bit of brown sugar. A little bit of dark fruit sits in the background. I think I smell chocolate cake too.

Molasses is heavy in the flavor, which mixes with the deep roasted malts. The flavor almost has a slight creaminess to it. A little raisin mixes in. Full bodied.

The alcohol is well hidden in this one, making it pretty drinkable. It's a little on the sweeter side, and not as hoppy as some others. Recommended.

BeerSox, Mar 28, 2009
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a frothy, bubbly, dark tan head.

Smell: Dark roasted maltiness command the earthy, heady aroma with full notes of coffee, chocolate, and charred grains.

Taste: Sweet, malty opening of roasted barley, bittersweet chocolate, cigar ash, and Italian roast coffee. Slight fruitiness buried underneath all the weighty malt flavors. Growing roasty, earthy bitterness and slight hint of warming alcohol begin to take hold, though a taste of gooey molasses tempers them somewhat. Finishes dry and rather roasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Recommended. Whaddya know, that's pretty darned good. A well-made, respectable RIS from Otter Creek.

ChainGangGuy, Mar 27, 2009
Photo of Bitterbill
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This pours close to a pitch black, actually a very very dark brown. Nice 1 finger head of tan foam that recedes quickly leaving a scattering of lacing.

The smell is very nice. Big notes of coffee, roasted malt, and something sweet behind in the background. Maple syrup? Molasses? It does a great job of balancing the nose. I can also smell some alcohol but it isn't a dominant feature.

The taste is big coffee, big chocolate(both sweet and dark), roasted malt, and nice dark fruity tones. A very nice balance of bitter and sweet with just a touch of alcohol poking through giving me a light warming. Very tasty.

It has a close to full mouthfeel and it is on the light side with the carbonation.

Drinkability? Damn good for how potent it is. The flavours keep you busy enough to forget the alcohol, for the most part. This is a very nice brew.

Edit Feb 5, 2011:

Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout 2008.

A gorgeous pour with a 1 finger head of tan foam.

There's still loads of chocolate notes in the smell, light hint of roasted Malt.

Chocolate of the sweetish type, some roasted Malt, some nice smoke from a bbq, dark chocolate bitterness that grows during the sitting, coffee...the +2 years of cellaring has been very kind. It's drinking very damn well right now!

Bitterbill, Mar 25, 2009
Photo of rwrk42
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
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

rwrk42, Mar 23, 2009
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.48/5  rDev -13%
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.

DarkerTheBetter, Mar 22, 2009
Photo of HoustonTX
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

HoustonTX, Mar 20, 2009
Photo of wagenvolks
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

wagenvolks, Mar 19, 2009
Photo of grayburn
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

grayburn, Mar 17, 2009
Photo of far333
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

far333, Mar 13, 2009
Photo of Amalak
3.8/5  rDev -5%
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.

Amalak, Mar 10, 2009
Photo of morebeergood
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

morebeergood, Mar 09, 2009
Photo of bjoyce12
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

bjoyce12, Mar 09, 2009
Photo of DrewOSU
4.2/5  rDev +5%
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.

DrewOSU, Mar 07, 2009
Photo of schroederm
4.08/5  rDev +2%
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.

schroederm, Mar 06, 2009
Photo of ATPete
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

ATPete, Mar 04, 2009
Photo of NJpadreFan
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
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!

NJpadreFan, Mar 01, 2009
Photo of matty
4/5  rDev 0%
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!!

matty, Mar 01, 2009
Photo of hopdog
4.53/5  rDev +13.3%
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!

hopdog, Feb 28, 2009
Photo of alovesupreme
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

alovesupreme, Feb 26, 2009
Photo of puboflyons
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

puboflyons, Feb 25, 2009
Photo of BeerTruth
4.58/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

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

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

ATLbeerDog, Feb 14, 2009
Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
90 out of 100 based on 520 ratings.