1. Extreme Beer Fest tickets go on sale Sat, Sep 27 @ Noon EDT.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Jolly Roger Imperial Stout - Otto's Pub and Brewery

Not Rated.
Jolly Roger Imperial StoutJolly Roger Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

124 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 124
Reviews: 76
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 9.59%
Wants: 39
Gots: 10 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Otto's Pub and Brewery visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: ski271 on 06-20-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 124 | Reviews: 76 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of OneDropSoup
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

From a bomber, procured at the source.

Pours into a shaker pint straight black, getting only some crimson highlights around the very edges. Finger of mocha head.

Smell is rich & on the sharp side: rich like raisins, dark chocolate, cocoa powder; sharp with a bourbon-like alcohol presence. Or rum-like, with those sugars. Subtle vanilla.

Taste is molasses up front, an earthy kind of sugar sweetness, then backed up by dark chocolatey malts, cooked dark fruit, & booze. This is just a little on the creamy side, has a lot more alcohol bite & some acidity to it. Not very bitter at all -- no notable hop presence, & more surprisingly no real roasty flavor. That really helps the mouthfeel: foamy without being creamy, but ends relatively clean with no cling or a huge impact on the palate. Later on I pick up a slight rauch/bacon-y flavor.

Definitely a heavy hitter -- the alcohol seems a little too prominent, both in the taste & on sobriety. Oddly enough, the mouthfeel is a big plus -- very flavorful, but recedes enough afterward that each sip is a renewal & not just layering on more of the same.

OneDropSoup, Jan 08, 2010
Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at the brewpub in State College for around $4. Poured from a 22 ounce bomber bottle into my Adnams Imperial pint glass. The stout appears an opaque deep black color with about two fingers of creamy dark ecru colored foam. Nose and flavors consist of rich roasted malts some of which were nicely smoked, blackberries and raspberries, molasses, bittersweet chocolate, licorice, cocoa, mocha. The complexity cannot be beat considering the price. Still a bit of alcohol heat after over a year in the bottle. The stout is approaching full bodied with ample carbonation. A really nice Imperial stout worth tracking down.

ClockworkOrange, Dec 07, 2009
Photo of nkersten
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Dark brown/black with a thin, quickly dissipating mocha head.
S - Smell is great... Light roasted malts, cherries, a little bit of booze.
T- Taste is dark chocolate, some burnt sugar, dried cherries and a slight hop bitterness. Surprisingly balanced for a big stout. Not to sweet, not too bitter.
M- This is exactly what an imperial stout should be like. Thick but not coating with minimal carbonation. A tiny bit of alcohol burn adds to the enjoyment.
D- I could drink this one all night. One of the better imperial stouts I have had, highly recommended.

nkersten, Nov 19, 2009
Photo of illidurit
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy bulletrain76. Pours pitch black with the slightest of brown highlighting the edges. Light tan cap of dense foam. Lots of roastiness and dark chocolate, but the solid smoked character sets this one apart from your generic RIS. Flavor is ashy burnt malts, roasted coffee, the darkest possible chocolate, and a sweetish smokiness that complements the mild dark fruitiness. Nice complexity. Full chewy mouthfeel, very drinkable.

illidurit, Aug 23, 2009
Photo of Bitterbill
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of joe1510. Thanks Joe!

My first sampling from Otto's...

A pitch black, 1 finger head of tan foam with a ton of lacing, a great start to my session with this brew.

The smell is sweet and roasty and fruity with good coffee and a light hop bitterness and a strongish nose of oak/bourbon. Hmm...didn't see anything on the label to say this was barrel aged but it sure smells like it is to me.

The taste is roasty and full of chocolate sweetness and bitterness, roasted coffee, light amount of dark fruit, more bitterness from the coffee, more sweetness and ends on a dry note. Wow. The flavour seems to constantly change, barraging you with really sweet notes then changing over to the bitter. No way I'm getting bored with what is going on here. ;^)

On the light side of medium bodied and the carbonation is lightly done. Head retention turned out to be so so but not out of the norm for the style.

Drinkability? The alcohol is definitely there so I'm not going to get fooled by another dangerously drinkable beer but... the taste keeps me literally on the edge of my seat. It's drinkable but not that drinkable, if that makes any sense. Anywho, this session was *way* enjoyable and another big thanks goes out to Joe!

Bitterbill, Jun 07, 2009
Photo of maximum12
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This fine bottle arrived via shipped box from the fine beerisheaven, a Master Trader if there ever was one. And an extra, to boot.

Pours black as can't-see-your-hand-waved-in-your-face black. Little evident carbonation, only a wispy ring & some hurricane patterns in the oily surface. The odor...oh my god. Expedition Stout with a touch of smoke, mimics one of my favorite brews. My mouth started watering immediately. That's a perfect score if I ever did see one.

Jolly Roger is creamy in the mouth, & apparently is seeking to create a new "summery RIS" category. Almost light in body, novel, & refreshing, I could sip this one in the heat of a Minnesota summer.

Otherwise this one has more layers that an onion-boy. The well-dressed malts are in the front row, with a smoky presence in the middle, & some dark fruits & the barest hint of coffee have snuck into the cheap seats without paying.

Damn. This is an excellent beer. Complex but not a mess, sweet without being heavy or cloying, unique without causing a riot. A finely crafted beer; thanks for sharing this one Brian!

maximum12, Jun 02, 2009
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled this at an epic tasting hosted by EinWeizenbitte. Thanks a ton Todd!

~4oz. sample poured into a small tulip.

Appearance: Pours out thick and brownish black in color with a dark brown, creamy head sitting on top. Red shades flash at the edges. Great head retention and very nice lacing.

Smell: Perfumy hops, dark fruits, roasted malt, smoke, some dark chocolate, and a few more indiscernible sweet components.

Taste: Molasses, roasted malt, dark chocolate, and sweet smokiness. Maybe some coffee as well (my notes are a little hard to read). Finishes a bit dry, but that dryness snowballs in the aftertaste. Coffee, dark fruit, ash, and smoke can also be found in the aftertaste. Nice progression of flavors.

Mouthfeel: Pretty thick and creamy with a low carbonation that IMO suits it well. Leaves a sticky residue on the lips. Once again, finishes dry.

Drinkability: The aftertaste can be a bit harsh, but otherwise this is a very good RIS. Wish it had a few more unique attributes to help it really stand out as I'm struggling to remember much about it two days afterward. Hopefully I'll get to try it again someday.

ThreeWiseMen, May 20, 2009
Photo of Zorro
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Light proof black colored beer with a small brown colored head.

Fruity smelling with a strong fig aroma. Spicy gingerbread scent with a hint of anise. Chocolate and cherry scent, but no real coffee detected. Alcohol fumes carry a distinct aroma of Cherry Brandy.

Starts out sweet and bitter with a smoky aftertaste. Something like a smoked fig caramel sauce flavor. Doesn't change much taste wise Bittersweet with fruit and smoke with a big patent malt flavor.

Mouthfeel is thick.

Good flavor but a bit of a one trick pony. Bittersweet but complexity doesn't develop much.

Obtained in trade with Kegatron.

Zorro, May 17, 2009
Photo of brdc
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks clockworkorange for this one. Large capped bottle poured into a snifter.

Pitch black, dark tan head, decent retention.
Aroma is more chocolate than anything else, but roasted malts, coffee, some fruits make their way into the mix.
Nearly full bodied, easy to drink, it is well balanced with a slight predominance of sweet tastes, always balanced by a bitterness that comes more from charred malts than anything else. Coffee, milk, minimal fruitiness make an appearance.
A very nice RIS, on the lower end of the ABV spectrum, highly drinkable.

brdc, Apr 19, 2009
Photo of bbothen
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a small snifter type glass.

Pours out a deep brown/coffee color with a tiny tan colroed head that quickly dissolves into a small ring of bubbles aroun dthe glass. Almost no lacing.

Smells of roasted malts, toasted coffee beans, chocolate, burnt aromas, dark fruit, smoke. Nice.

Sweet roasted maltiness, sweet fruitiness, plum, fig, burnt bitterness, nice smokiness, chocolate, coffee, faint alcohol. Tastes great.

Full bodied, low carbonation, chewy, creamy, great.

Drinks great. Wish I had access to this all the time. A winner for me.

bbothen, Apr 08, 2009
Photo of johnnnniee
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I received this from the very generous jtrockchalk, thanks for the opportunity.

Pours a solid black with a thinnish tan head that dissipates quickly. Smells of licorice, dark chocolate, roasted coffee, spicy hops and a touch of alcohol. Taste Hits first with some roast and chocolate followed by some hops and some dark dried fruits melding into a finish of roast coffee and chocolate. Thick body, creamy oily mouthfeel, low carbonation. This is a damn fine Imp stout right here. I enjoyed this one immensely. Great job Otto!

johnnnniee, Apr 02, 2009
Photo of Sammy
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well, they didn't have this winner when we visited State College last summer. No worries, Captain Tom got me one between snowstorms, and sent it as..an extra. This smooth drinker was just what I needed this weekend. Pours black and thick, with good white head. The real think, one sip is a drinkable bitterness, the next a bit of roasted coffee, great malting integrated.

Sammy, Mar 22, 2009
Photo of srandycarter
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours very dark, only a ring for a head. Not much lacing.

S - Sugary, cocoa centric.

T - Powdery cocoa, cookie like flavor.

M - Silky, well carbed, nice balance. Fairly this and oil like, lots of sweet balanced well with bitter.

D - For the style, very drinkable.

srandycarter, Mar 11, 2009
Photo of drgonzo3705
4.7/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Very nice deep black color with a thin mocha head that retains reasonably well and leaves just a bit of lacing.

S: Rich dark chocolate and what smells like some sugar cookie dough. Very pleasant to the nose.

T: Again with the dark chocolate along with some smokiness as well. Still even taste a bit of that sugar cookie dough (I'm not complaining)

M: Thick and creamy just how I like it. Leaves a nice oiliness in your mouth too.

D: For how big this stout is and that it is 9% is a huge plus for me. Most stouts that are on par with this are a little higher ABV, so yes this is very drinkable!

drgonzo3705, Feb 28, 2009
Photo of sadman64
2.1/5  rDev -49.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Stouts are one of my favorite beer styles, but this beer is not very good. The initial taste is typical of a stout, smokey and burnt, however, the overall flavor of this beer is almost offensive. The mouthfeel is rather odd, and doesn't help my rating for this beer. There are alot of better stouts out there.

sadman64, Feb 24, 2009
Photo of jgap
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Received in a trade with jac5084. It seems Josh, Esq. is really making a name for himself- awesome guy and great trader. Pours jet black into a stone 12th glass with a fairly large, mocha head. Great retention. Smell is of strong coca and hints of coffee. Taste is huge, thick molasses. Solid brew, literally it's like malt-O-meal. Milk chocolate fades to a thick malty sweetness then leads to a light, lingering coffee. Very easy to drink, it's like chocolate milk. The alcohol is hardly detectable at all.

jgap, Feb 09, 2009
Photo of dirtylou
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, by way of the secret santa bif (i believe)

appearance: poured into a snifter, very dark body with a creamy chocolate head and really nice lacing

smell: nice high roast levels, a touch of smoke, creamy chocolate, cocoa powder, a bit milky - very nice

taste: This is a very enjoyable stout - creamy and chocolatey, milky and semi-sweet, dry cocoa, a nice touch of hops and a light bitterness. Alcohol is nicely masked and this stout is well balanced without being too showy

mouthfeel: perfect - creamy and milky, silky smooth. perfect

drinkability: great

dirtylou, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of JohnGalt1
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 received in trade from jac5084.. Josh is one of the most chill traders I've ever come across.. Thanks a bunch for the super bunch of dark beers that made their way to Boise.. I've been sitting on this for a while.. just waiting for a good time.. I am trying to clear out the fridge... sooo.. tonight is the night... Poured into my Chimay goblet... shared a small amount with Brenda.

Fairly significant 1" tan head .. nice cap and really a pretty good lace.. the brew is black on the pour and the glass..

Aroma is sorta mild for the style, but is still very complex.. French Roast.. and cocoa.. rich dark fruits with dried cherries and subtle prune.. a subtle smokiness as it warms..

The flavor is rich and bordering on decadent.. chocolate and roasted malts... malty sweetness is inviting and helps bind the palate together.. very smooth.. not alot of hops.. and maybe I'm going hunting for what is there.. dark cocoa as it warms.. more fruity essence comes throughout.. the warming alcohol is there for sure.. but a spicy component of the overall brew.. the smokiness is there .. but more of a background player.. nice body.. really pretty good for the style.. carbonation is adequate.. the fruity aspects begins to wear down my palate as it hits room temperature.

very nice brew.. Josh is a superb trader and very recommended.. in fact.. I should probably check in.. soon.

JohnGalt1, Jan 21, 2009
Photo of Kegatron
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dispensed on cask via hand pump at the brewery on 12/27/08. 10 oz pour into a snifter.

Pours a dense pitch black with several fingers of massively creamy darker looking burnt mocha colored head. This settles down into a sturdy ¼ finger of retention that flares up marvelously when swirled, leaving thick swathes of lacing all down the sides of the glass. The aroma is just lush with chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, oats, a bit of smoke, and some light warmth.

The taste starts with sweet chocolate hitting the lips first, followed by a big dose of heavy oats, and then a bite of dark roasted bitterness and coffee in the back. Underneath lies a good undercurrent of dark fruit tang that lingers in the finish with some residual bitterness. The mouthfeel is full bodied and creamy with a mellower feel from the cask conditioning. There is definitely some heavy warmth in this (especially towards the bottom of the glass) but the alcohol is still kept under wraps thanks in part to the largeness of the flavors and smoothness of the body.

This is textbook RIS territory here folks that's even better via the beer engine. Powerful and complex yet the cask conditioning softens the overall profile to enable good drinkibility. I'm looking forward to several more snifters of this over the course of the winter.

Kegatron, Jan 02, 2009
Photo of jpaltan
3.1/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a solid black with a nice creamy head on it. The head slowly fades into gentle bubbles that cling to the top of the beer. The smell is boozy with dark roasted malts taking precedence over coffee and chocolate notes. Wish the smell was a bit more pronounced. Slight hint of band aids or some other medicinal smell. Beer is creamy with a good amount of carbonation. Some band aid taste throughout. Notes of chocolate and coffee. can't get past the medicinal taste though. overall, I'm not sure if the bottle is expected, but I really had much higher expectation for this beer.

jpaltan, Dec 21, 2008
Photo of beckje01
3.4/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- A deep black color with some brown head on the top. No activity a very still beer.

S- Good malty nose some sweetness then also the alcohol comes through, it's nice.

T- Good taste but not so powerful. A slight kick of the sweet and alcohol tastes good but its just too easy on you for a RIS.

M- Good thickness and nice activity or lack of it fits the flavors.

D- Good easy to drink and it's just not up to snuff as a RIS it's a tasty beer but not as strong as it should be for the style

beckje01, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of treyrab
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this beer if phenomenal from the bottle, but from cask it is in a whole different world!

A: Pours a pitch black...this is Darkness black, Dark Lord black, Expedition black...with absolutely no brown around the edges. Has a luscious, creamy 2 finger dark khaki head that lasts the whole time!

S: The smell is ridiculous. Creamy chocolate milk, graham cracker sweetness, chocolate oats, and bitter roast. It does not get much better than this.

T: The taste is out of this universe! This is remarkable creamy like a chocolate milk shake. The carbonation is low and is exceptionally creamy. Tons of bitter chocolate, creamy caramel, creamy graham cracker, oats, and cocoa. This is in my top 3 favorite stouts, perhaps up there with the big boys.

Overall, this is remarkable. A great representation of the style!

treyrab, Nov 20, 2008
Photo of beachbum1975
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Taken from notes last night)

Currently, I'm hanging out in the backyard of my friend Rusty's house by the fire pit. It's a cool night tonight, perfect for a Russian Imperial Stout.

Pours a thick, blackish brown with a dark brown espresso head. Can't see anything through it. Thick, viscous and nasty - his is what I like to see in a Russian Imp Stout.

Smells of rich, black cherry, espresso chocolate, vanilla. Very sweet with dark, sweet scents.

This is a medium to full flavored beer with tastes of cherry, smoke, char, blackened malts, molasses and bitterness. Great combination of flavors in this medium to full boded beer.

Very nice example, recommended. Thanks for the GREAT trade, treyrab!!!

2nd tasting 1/26/2009:

Shared this tasty oilslick with DrewOSU. I decided to crack this one because it's Monday and I HATE Monday's... So, here's my gift. Oh, thanks got out to my man, treyrab for the opportunity to try another RIS!!!

22 ounce brown bomber with a neat pirate theme on the label. No freshness date...

Poured into a cab glass a rich dark brown to black with a 1 inch medium to dark brown head. As the foam realized, the edges of my glass were darker brown, like molasses in color. Good dead retention with no lacing after the head faded.

The nose went through an intense variety of scents in the first five minutes. It started with heavily roasted/blackened coffee grounds and chocolate malts. After the beer sat a bit, I got a burnt, sweet red cherry flavor with dark chocolate truffle. Very nice, a lot going on...

Cherry comes out of the gates with vanilla, burnt chocolate, coffee, oatmeal and floral sweets. There is a lot of hops in this one and it's seen in the puckering bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is wet & sweet with medium to full body and full flavor. This is a pretty complex beer in the flavor department. At times, it reminded me of a fresh Expedition stout because of the hops presence but not dry like Expedition....

beachbum1975, Nov 10, 2008
Photo of CoolJosh
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A Pours a dark creamy black, with a chestnut brown head, 1 finger head. No light comes through around the edges. No lacing..

S Very little coming through in the nose. Most prevalent is chocolate followed by riper dark fruits.. plums, dark cherries... but not enough is coming through here.

T Awesome. Thick as oil, and very creamy, definitely a fair amount of oats in here. I had this at its release and remember the fruit tastes being very ripe, but they seem a lot more mellow, and only a month later. Nice sweet chocolate tastes matched along side some vanilla, some coffee roasts coming through with a smooth bitterness, and some dark cherries, and ends with a nice touch of plum.

This is a gem, and if you can get your hands on it by any means do so. I threw a few my cellar upon its release , really can't wait to see how they turn.

CoolJosh, Nov 05, 2008
Photo of WesWes
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the owner, Roger, for the opportunity to try this one.

The beer pours a dark, black color with a thick frothy brown head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great!. It has a complex aroma of black patent, chocolate, and peated malts. The smoked malt was done on premise and really takes the aroma up a notch. The taste is great also. It has a dry earthy black malt flavor that is enhanced with the smoked malt character. It goes down silky smooth with a warm and somewhat chocolatey finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a tremendous IS. It's warm and earthy, but I really enjoyed the smokey content. Cheers to Roger and the boys down at Otto's for a job well done!!

WesWes, Oct 02, 2008
Jolly Roger Imperial Stout from Otto's Pub and Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 124 ratings.