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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

282 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 282
Hads: 554
Avg: 4
pDev: 10.25%
Wants: 39
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:
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 282 | Hads: 554
Photo of beer4colin
4.01/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Full disclosure: I just slammed Big Eddy by Leinenkugel. I felt it was a bogus brew with them throwing in charred wood for smoky flavor.

Then I moved to Otter Creek...

This brewery has never really given me any reason to say WOW! But, this IRS changes that.

A- Nice rich opaque, espresso. Nice mahogany foam, but restrained to 1 finger when poured into a Pinter.

Taste: right up there with high ranked IRS. At least on a par With Stones IRS.

OA: get it if you can. I see it in 12 oz 6 packs in SE Massachusetts....

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Boo-yeah first review of this stuff in a growler son! Picked it up for 15 bucks (tax included) at my local six pack shop. Works out to 3 bucks a pour for a beer 10+% ABV. Whoop!

A - Well the appearance won me over it's thick, viscous, took forever to pour into the growler, and such an attractive 1/2 inch of deep mocha head.

S - Mild bittersweet chocolates next to a very dominant coffee/roast profile and some bittering hops for good measure.

T - Hops are a bit acidic at first but as it warms the beer opens up to a nice blast of bittersweet chocolate and coffee roast. Two of my favorite things. Not much room for sweet vanilla or anything and the finish is rather dry, but damn does it hide the ABV well.

M - Heavy body for sure but the acidic hops do balance some of the ABV sting.

Overall aged this could be a very exceptional brew but even fresh out of the keg it's not the worst RIS I ever had. Kind of like Storm King from Victory and everyone seems to love that shit.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
3.4/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a stemmed tulip: Solid black body with a finger of mocha head, a little loose & dropping to a thin covering, leaving patches of lacing.

Smells of a darkly nutty roast, a little husky & mildly astringent, some grinding coffee, slight licorice. There's a barely perceptible sulfur note, kinda like asparagus.

Yeah, that astringency really comes to the fore in the taste, with an accompanying bitterness like coffee grounds. Some dark fruit skin in there too, but also very bitter & a little acidic. Dark, & I'm talking DARK, chocolate. Almost no sweetness to speak of at first, just dark & bitterly roasty through & through. A little sweet emerges as it warms, but also a dry booze presence.

Nicely smooth, velvety texture, just rolls on down. Leaves a kind of heavy afterfeel, but not bad.

This was a little more challenging than I'd anticipated given the smell. So dark, so bitter. I'd try it again, but this was kind of a beast.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass. I’ve aged this beer for at least a couple of years, but unfortunately I don’t know exactly how long.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a short beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick on the glass.

S: The aroma contains chocolate, roasted malts, dark fruit and coffee.

T: The taste starts with a very hearty roasted malt character. Then some mildly sweet flavors of chocolate, coffee and dark fruit follow. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a very good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp but a bit chalky, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this is a very good big stout to drink for a long time.

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Photo of claspada
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black color with a rocky dark brown mocha head that quickly dissipates leaving only a few splotches of lacing behind.

Aromas begin with dark chocolate and burnt brown sugar. As it warms you get hint of licorice and dark fruit.

The tastes begin with dark chocolate, caramelized brown sugar, charred grains and some fruitiness. The hops adding a bit of citrus by mid-palate, which I did not find in the aroma. As it warms the chocolate maltiness becomes the dominant flavor, although the bitter acrid dark roastiness lingers in the aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with medium carbonation. The finish is dry and roasty with a mild earthy, dark-chocolate bitterness to balance the ample sweet underlying maltiness.

Overall, this is a decent Imperial Stout but nothing to "mind-blowing" or a must try beer but just a solid, extremely affordable example from an often overlooked brewery.

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Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a half finger high tan head that consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are aromas of chocolate and roasted malts in the nose along with some hints of licorice.
T: The taste is similar to the smell except that the licorice flavors are very subdued. A light amount of bitterness is present.
M: It feels full-bodied and a bit smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a bit of dryness in the finish.
O: This beer is a very good representation of the style and hides its alcohol well.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with some very light hints of dark brown when held up to the light and some extremely light hints of visible carbonation near the surface of the beer. The beer has a quarter finger tall dark tan to light mocha head that reduces to a large patch of medium bubbles with a thin film covering the remainder of the surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of dark roasted malts with notes of chocolate, dark fruits, and light hints of alcohol.

T: Strong flavors of dark roasted malts and chocolate with lighter notes of brown sugar sweetness. Light to moderate amounts of bitterness which lingers slightly.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light amounts of dryness.

O: Enjoyable and very easy to sip on though it is much too strong to be drank quickly. There is a very nice complexity and the alcohol is pretty well hidden. Definitely one to get again.

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Photo of ksimons
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Almost black with a thin layer of dark tan head that leaves a ring around the top

S-Roasted coffee and malt, molasses, dark chocolate

T-Roasted malt, molasses, dark coffee, dark chocolate. Much fruitier than other RISs but the malt and roastedness help control it. Alcohol is pretty well hidden.

M-medium body, medium carbonation. Body could be a bit fuller for the style

Overall its a pretty good representation of the style, but not the best. Nice roasty flavors and malt but not as rich as others of the style.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown. Ochre kind of colour, kind of sparse, with thin lace. Nice colour and appearance, but nothing exciting.

Smells roasty and coffee-esque, with spice notes - peppery and nicely roasted espresso, but still pleasant and smooth. Cocoa and espresso, mostly, with a touch of sweetness coming organically from those two elements. Pleasant.

Taste is coffee, spicy with a touch of tartness. Lots of roasty, hints of bitter chocolate, pepper and some star anise. But yeah, big espresso coffee, a hint of vanilla, and lots and lots of cocoa. Really quite pleasant, but nothing hugely flavoursome or complex, and for the size I'm kind of wanting more.

Smooth; lots of texture in there though. Stouty but feels a bit thin, like it falls quite short for what it is.

Nice, sweetish, decent stout. Pleasant enough, but nothing amazing.

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Photo of BostonHops
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bomber served in an oversized wineglass.

pours your typical imperial stout dark, dark brown / borderline black; a finger of a tan/cinnamon toned head demonstrates respectable retention and leaves lots of lacing... a very nice looking RIS.

nose offers notes of dark chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, and alcohol, and the first sip delivers more of the same. somewhat par for the course. less booze than i was anticipating judging from the smell, but also more hoppiness, both surprising. IMO they overdid it a bit with the hops. velvety, creamy moutfeel that impresses; moderately carbed. overall a solid representation of the style and one i would welcome again, though it doesn't dazzle; i won't beat down anyone's door seeking it out - especially given all the competition within this style.

original review on: 08-15-2010

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

Purchased from New Beer Distributors in NYC. Shared with @tobeerornottobe and @LaitueGonflable.

Pours a lovely black-brown hue, with a pocked head of mocha coloured foam. It's slightly ineffective overall, the head is slightly too inconsistent, the body is a little weak and lacking in solidity. Powdery carbonation, but it flits through the body exceptionally quickly. Good look overall. I actually like it more than I should.

Nose is lovely. Big roasted characters, slightly nutty, grainy and full. It has that demi-sec roasted dryness that really separates it from its sweet vanilla bourbon-wood aged American brethren, which is quite a lovely characteristic, while still maintaining a steeped sweetness that is very pleasant indeed. Very pleasant.

Taste is good, but less full than expected. There's a pleasant roasted grain filament running throughout the palate, giving a dry crisp toasted character from start to finish. It melds pleasantly with the smoothness in the feel, but there's little sweetness or complexity to complement it and join it in its dance.

Overall, it's a really good RIS. I like that it's an RIS not an AIS. The dryness and the roastedness without the sweetness works very well, and drives that sort of crisp, sharp intensity. I think it's perhaps not as complex as some of the best sweet and complex Impy Stouts, but it's really good for what it is.

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Photo of Flounder57
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz glass poured into a Guiness pint glass. Merry Christmas folks.

Appearance: one finger mocha head. Pitch black with no signs of clarity. Head has reduced and left some lacing.

Smell: roasted coffee, mocha, and alcohol on the nose. Sweet sugars and molasses.

Taste: super roasted coffee, mocha, earthy, smoke, and some bitterness towards the end. Sugary sweetness and molasses too.

Mouthfeel: close to full bodied, smooth, somewhat dry, medium carbonation, and very delicious.

Overall: I am very impressed and happy with this RIS. Very tasty and delicious. A good treat for Christmas. Will be getting more of this in the future.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this bottle from NewGeneric in a recent trade. Thanks man!

From a bottle into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: A thicker black pour yields a two finger, medium looking, light brown head with decent retention. Thick black body and little carbonation evident. Head fades relatively quickly to a good foam cap. A ring remains but leaves no lacing down the glass. Great beginning, but the head needed better staying power. A little lacing on the glass would have helped as well.

SMELL: Solid nose. Roasted malts and lots of dark, pure chocolate on the nose. Notes of burnt coffee beans and a touch of licorice as well. Bold and chocolaty stuff.

TASTE: Solid stuff again. Roasted and slightly charred malts with some dark, pure baker’s chocolate up front. Plenty of roasted and chocolaty goodness. Some caramel sweetness through the middle into a roasted and chocolaty finish. Bold aftertaste of charred malts, dark bitter chocolate and some coffee and caramel notes. Bitterness lingers nicely on the palate. Flavorful and enjoyable with no booze at all.

PALATE: Medium body and slightly higher carbonation. Lighter on the palate but quite creamy smooth as well. Goes down smooth with a bit of a bite at the back and finishes slightly mouth-coating. Could be a little heavier, but alright here.

OVERALL: Pretty good stuff. A thicker palate would have helped carry the flavors a little more, but that’s a minor critique. Worth checking out if you get the chance. Thanks again for the bottle NewGeneric. Recommended.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.53/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Black beer with a slight mocha head that left a little bit of stick on the sides and had some slight lacing.

S - A bit of coffee, some chocolate, and some roast. Straight forward, if nondescript. Slight bit of alcohol.

T - A little more chocolate than on the nose. Slight roast and some alcohol cut through the sweetness, but this is an RIS that is mostly cocoa forward.

M - Fuller side of medium bodied with some moderate carbonation.

O - Solid, nothing spectactular, but you could definitely do worse.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head. The head sticks around a while, and there's a decent amount of lacing left on the glass. The brew smells like chocolate, dark fruit, caramel, roasted malt, coffee and molasses. It's a very sweet aroma. It tastes like bittersweet chocolate, roasted and burnt/charred malt, coffee, and some molasses. There's a long lasting roasty bittersweet finish, and overall the bitter flavors are pretty well balanced with the sweet ones. Mouthfeel/body is medium (seems a bit thin for the style), it's oily and has good carbonation. It's also smooth and easy to drink. I think this is a good brew, and not a bad choice for $6.99 a bomber.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a black color with a large frothy brown head that lasted with excellent lacing. Moderate to heavy roasted coffee, chocolate and alcohol aroma. Heavy chocolate sweet roasted malty flavor with a heavy sweet and small alcohol bite finish of long duration. Full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. This is a standout beer.

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Photo of rtepiak
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thank you SFLpunk for this heavyweight

bottled 12/11/09

a rather rich dense beer. the time smoothed out the edges but also made it malt forward. hopping is quite subtle for being 65IBU. pour is nice. good carbonation for such an ABV. nose in a burst of meaty chocolate, smoky leather hints and a touch of booze. once it sat around a bit the predominate licorice notes become more distinct. had the notes of a baltic even... just too smooth. black sesame aged quality. hints of candied plum. as it sat the burnt molasses notes would come out.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
3.46/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - The brew pours visibily thinner, but is otherwise similar to the requisite RIS look. Mocha froth, short-lived, with a crude-black body.

S - The nose is pretty damn enticing. There is a lot of fudge aroma, with some vanilla, burnt sugar and maybe some sweet pipe tobacco as well.

T - The taste carries through on the dynamic set forth in the nose, but at a much lower intensity. The notes of fudge-chocolate have been reduced to carob, the vanilla bean is now imitation extract, the sugar is splenda and the pipe tobacco is e-pipe tobacco. It still has admirable qualities, but the taste is sorely disappointing in comparison to the nose. As it airs out, I am getting a lot of stale oxidized notes.

M - Thin for the style, but not particularly bad (or good) otherwise.

O - The brew is a mixed bag, but is generally above the curve.

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Photo of gnemesis
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 12/11/09. 8oz sample poured into snifter on 05/09/11.
Pours black with a thin creamy brown head. Good retention and decent lacing. Smells of roasted malt, chocolate, caramel, and dark fruits. Taste follows and adds some more roast and bitter chocolate. Touches of burnt sugar, coffee, and booze. Full bodied with low carbonation. Decent imperial stout and my first from OC- I'll revisit.

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Photo of brentk56
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: This one pours with a rocky mocha head that sits atop the pitch black liquid; the head quickly descends to a film and leaves only a few splotches behind

Smell: Dark chocolate and burnt brown sugar, with hints of licorice and dark fruit

Taste: Dark chocolate, burnt brown sugar and some fruitiness, up front, with the hops adding a bit of citrus by mid-palate, when a boozy tingle brings another aspect; after the swallow, the chocolate is the dominant flavor, although the citrus lingers in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; not as full bodied as expected for the ABV

Overall: A very nice stab at the style for a brewery not known for brewing such bid beers; not the best RIS out there as it lacks some complexity in the malt bill but it is a very good value

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Photo of jminsc76
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A gift courtesy of adavis3891, one which we indulged before several months ago.

Into a tulip, pours some mad motor oil with a cocoa head forming big and thick over the top. Thick legs as I tilt, the body pitch and black.

Smells of chocolate and molasses, the latter aroma strongly dominating the overall bouquet. Some deeper *whiffs* reveal some brownies (brown sugar) and it's mmmm, good.

Flavors of molasses, a little bit of chocolate, and some roasty coffee notes on the finish. It's a lot like drinking a cup of coffee black, with some chocolate powder sprinkled throughout and hints of raspberry. As it warms and the sipping continues, a nice earthy tobacco flavor exhibits nicely.

Mouthfeel is thinner but velvety upon swishing.

Overall, this is a bit different than the one I tried a few months ago. The prior demonstrated a lot more chocolate (virtually a Hershey's bar), whereas the present is richer in molasses and hops, with that earthy tobacco dominating at the latter half. Still enjoyable, just different. Two to three servings per sitting would be no problem.

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

Poured from 22oz brown bottle into a clear glass snifter. No freshness or vintage date. Served at cellar temperature. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $6.99.

A: Pitch black with 2-3 finger tan-plum head with good retention and a few scraps of lace.

S: Milk chocolate sweetness greets the nose first, but herbal, earthy hoppiness bursts through with a very strong statement. Coffee and roasted barley puts a nice foot forward as well. All in all, a complex and surprising aroma profile with lots of hops, approaching Storm King Stout levels.

T: The flavor is at or above SKS as the flavor melds a strong roast component with very tobacco, earthy hoppiness to provide a unique flavor profile. I wish it had a bit more chocolate, fudgy sweetness to counter the hops, but, all in all, this is a fine RIS with alcohol well-hidden.

M: Low carbonation helps but the body is a bit short of the top tier for the style. Not as smooth as some with more dryness than I expect. Not at all bad, just not the best.

O: I am impressed with this beer for its interesting aroma and flavor profile, even if neither is exactly what you expect from the style. I will probably head more towards Expedition Stout, SKS, Old Rasputin, and BCS because I like them all a bit more than this brew and they come in 6'ers and are thus are a bit more economical, but I really liked this brew and would pick it up occasionally if I had the chance. Recommended.

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Photo of r0nyn
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into an oversized snifter.

Pours a dark mahogany brown with somewhat loose viscosity. Coalesces into an inky darkness with full opacity. Head is minimal, leaving only a thin film floating with the substantial alcoholic legs at the top. Lacing is quite spotty, without much stickiness at all. Smell is robust and engaging, with a pronounced chocolate character. Some mild coffee notes show up as well, and there is a definite malty backbone to the scent as well. Slight nuances of vanilla, caramel and that hefty double digit booziness round out the nose.

Lots of chocolate notes to start, providing a bittersweet undertone to the entire taste of the beer. Caramel notes are subtle but definitely present and have almost a roasted quality to them. The brown sugar advertised on the label is also evident, providing some mild, nuanced sweetness. Notes of toasted barley mingle with the substantial malt character to round out the finish, which is drying and lightly bitter. Alcohol really isn't evident, which is slightly surprising. Mouthfeel is admittedly on the thinner side, especially given the weighty ABV. Finishes with a crispness and a little bit of carbonated effervescence.

Drinkability is quite good, aided by the enticing smell, pleasant taste and minimal alcohol footprint. There is still quite a bit of booze in this, so sipping is recommended, but it definitely doesn't hinder how many sips you'll be taking at once. A quality brew from Otter Creek, one I wouldn't mind revisiting down the road. I think this beer would only benefit from a little bit of aging, so time will tell.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
2.5/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

22 oz bottle from one of my first trades. My apologies as I cannot remember exactly who supplied this, but thank you.

Black with little head and hardly any lacing.

My initial feeling, based on the smell, is that this is infected. A lactic sourness, along with almond and Bing cherry, rise above the base of dark chocolate and coffee. Is this how this should smell?

Taste is similar, with a twangy tartness atop the coffee. I'm having trouble believing this beer should present itself predominantly as sour cherry and tart. The underlying beer is bitter and dry dark chocolate and coffee. Uncertain as to infection, but there doesn't seem to be other reviews to support my theory.

Infection seems less with the near flat body. I'm not really enjoying this and will not be finishing the bottle.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at rattle n hum in nyc

Pours totally black with a tanned head, filmy retention and patchy lacing.

Warm roasted malts with light smoke and coffee edges, bitter dark chocolate and a hit of sweetness.

Roasted dark malt with dark chocolate and a noticeable hop bitterness. Molasses and light syrup add in some sweetness. Coffee with a small spike of smoke help to balance out the profile. Finishes warm and toasty with a touch of alcohol.

Full sticky body, drinks nicely especially for the alcohol content. A pretty clear, nice roasted flavor with hops and balanced sweetness.

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Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
89 out of 100 based on 282 ratings.