Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

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.
BA SCORE
89
very good

288 Reviews
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 288
Hads: 583
Avg: 4
pDev: 14.5%
Wants: 43
Gots: 48 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
Vermont, United States | website

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: 288 | Hads: 583
Photo of mpedara429
3.24/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

A: Poured out black with one finger of light brown head. Low retention with spotty lacing.

S: Booze, coffee, and dark roasted malts.

T: Same as the nose with some harsh bitterness.

M: Thick, oily body with a medium carbonation.

O: Boring. This beer has a better mouthfeel than many of it's competitors, but the smell and taste is just average.

 347 characters

Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Picked this up a few weeks back down at Buy Rite in Jersey City. I never had this before and wanted to wait until it was cold out before going through the dark beers in my stash. Sure enough, the weather's just right this week and I was hoping that this would keep me warm on a night such as this. Even though the alcohol in this was 10.0% and not the 10.6% listed on here, this was certainly strong enough for a RIS and almost seemed like an Imperial Porter, given the roasted nature that this had.

Naturally, the pour to this was dark - a deep coffee brown with a tan head that wasn't terribly thick or long-lasting. The lacing was present, but spotty, as it slid down the edges of my pint glass after each sip. This smelled like a Porter, even though I knew it wasn't, because of the strong burnt coffee notes. I haven't had a beer this toasty in quite some time but the chocolate and cocoa that I've come to expect in a beer like this just wasn't here. There was just a hint of bitter chocolate to be savored but without the powder that sometimes accompanies it. Instead, this beer had a creamy mouthfeel that faded into just a touch of currant and Bourbon-like booziness, leaving a clean and crisp aftertaste that faintly smelled like alcohol.

To be sure, this was strong even if I couldn't feel it throughout my session. The bitterness and chocolate weren't very present here but this was complex enough to be a Stout and to go just a bit beyond it, since it was full-bodied and full-flavored. I wouldn't start off with this if I was new to to the style but for aficionados, this will satisfy most palates while pushing the edge of what a RIS can taste and feel like.

 1,676 characters

Photo of BB1313
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle, "Limited Edition", 10% abv. Poured into a snifter. Pours pitch black with no light getting through. There's a mocha head that slowly fades and leaves nice retention. The aromas are full of black coffee and has hints of smoke. Very roasty nose. There's some chocolate malts in the mix, but the black coffee really seems to dominate. The flavors are extremely bold, but somewhat metallic and has subtle alcohol notes, but it's not hot or boozy. There's a strong bitterness from the dark chocolate. There's barely any hop flavor, but there's definitely some hop bitterness going on. More coffee and smoke. The coffee dominates and lingers. The mouthfeel is very nice. It's not quite milkshake thick, but it's thick enough. Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Fluffy and creamy. Very smooth Imperial Stout. This makes a great sipper.

I really like this. Nice example of the style. I bet this will age amazingly. Props to Otter Creek.

 946 characters

Photo of Altrurian
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

SAE 40 pour, black all the way to the edge. Thin brown head. Minimal cling. Velvety feel. Really an excellent appearance and texture. The taste is interesting and a little surprising. While the cues might conjure notions of chocolate and prunes, there's a certain tart quality on the palate. It drifts off into bitter coffee and burnt toast, tempered by just a suggestion of dates. Alcohol is the merest afterthought. The more I think about it, actually quite nice.

 465 characters

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into an oversized snifter.

A: Thick and viscous on the pour, and black as black gets. Motor oil for sure. One inch of tan head forms from a vigorous pour. It settles after a short while, but never fully disappears. Lacing adorns the glass in unbroken rings and small but concentrated spots.

S: Hefty dose of acrid roasted malts. Woody and smokey. Black licorice, baker's chocolate, burnt coffee. Mocha. Earthy hops. Spike of alcohol and some plum esters. This beer smells huge.

T: Dark fudge, acrid roasted malts, smoke, black licorice. Plum and black currant esters. Earthy hops. Strong spike of alcohol mid-palate brings a hit of spice. Woody. More black licorice. Burnt coffee. Long roasty finish of acrid roasted malts, baker's chocolate, and dark fudge.

M: One of the biggest bodied beers I've ever had. Thick and very heavy. Weighty and downright sludgy. Almost no carbonation. Feels as though you could cut it and eat it with a fork and a knife.

O: This is one gigantic beer, and definitely one of those 'meal in a glass' type beers. Encyclopedia definition of a sipper. It's drinking fairly well right now, but it goes without saying that this is an excellent candidate for aging. So now we have another great, readily available 4-pack Imperial stout priced very competitively at $10. Good stuff. Nicely done, Otter Creek.

Notes: It's been a long time since I've had the original, discontinued Otter Creek Imperial stout in the 22oz bottle, but I don't think this is the same beer. This doesn't taste anything like I remember. Unless I am mistaken, this should probably be entered as a different beer.

 1,636 characters

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

12 oz. bottle at fridge temp poured into a snifter. Listed as 10% ABV on the label which is different from the one pictured.

Pours out a completely opaque, viscous black. A vigorous pour results in just a small 1/4 in. layer of head that quickly fades to a ring, but the ring remains nice and tight throughout the rest of the glass. What is nice about the head is that its a nice deep tan/ light brown color. A bit of lacing and a bit of some sticky legs from a swirl of the glass.

First off, in the aroma is a deep charred, roasted malt, some alcohol, a bit of dark chocolate, black licorice, slight hints of smoked meat as it warms.

AgaIn, a deep charred roasted malt really takes center stage in the taste. Bitter- sweet. Some nice dark chocolate and a bit of some bakers chocolate. A bit of alcohol, but more in the form of warming. A bit of dark fruits on the back end. A bit basic, but defiantly tasty.

A nice thick mouthfeel that really coats the whole palate with each sip. Low carbonation which is compliments the style.

A very nice RIS, it defiantly exceeded my expectations. They seemed to have nailed everything exactly to style. Age should do this well, but this would be real magic in a bourbon barrel. Worth atleast one try.

 1,249 characters

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....

 520 characters

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.

 984 characters

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.

 945 characters

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.

 877 characters

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.

 919 characters

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.

 592 characters

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.

 1,019 characters

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.

 519 characters

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.

 846 characters

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

 828 characters

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.

 1,382 characters

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.

 638 characters

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.

 1,519 characters

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.

 511 characters

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.

 725 characters

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.

 338 characters

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.

 543 characters

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.

 838 characters

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.

 400 characters

Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
89 out of 100 based on 288 ratings.