Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout | Otter Creek Brewing

very good
297 Reviews
Otter Creek Russian Imperial StoutOtter Creek Russian Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing
Vermont, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Brad007 on 01-09-2009

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 297 | Ratings: 607
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.

 593 characters

Photo of 01121987
5/5  rDev +25%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

this beer is absolutely incredible.
it has an incredible roasted malt/barley character that is not at all in any way cloying or overwhelming with a welcomed alcohol warmth that is not at all harsh. this is the most "drinkable" imperial stout i have ever tasted and is on my top ten best beers ever tasted list. i would recommend this beer to anyone and everyone who likes darker and stronger beers, and even those who don't.
this might be the best beer i have ever had from otter creek and i used to live in vermont so iv had just about al of them.
great beer. if you see it buy more than one!

 595 characters

Photo of Brad007
5/5  rDev +25%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Part of the Otter Creek Imperial Series.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 892 characters

Photo of Frost-Mountain-Brew
5/5  rDev +25%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

5.0. For the style, I think this beer is absolutely perfect. There is something I relish about "creamy" mouthfeel and this has it. It's hard to get something that has 10% ABV to feel smooth on the tongue but this is so well balanced that nothing is jarring to the tastebuds. Notes of caramel, coffee work well in the creamy stout. The appearance is spot on, dark dark dark with a nice small head that lingers. Well done Otter Creek. This is one of my favorites and I have a case in my basement. I'm really intrigued to see how it tastes in a year's time.

 554 characters

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.91/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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

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

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

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

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

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

 1,991 characters

Photo of JMScowcroft
4.79/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's - Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout (2013 Barrel-aged version), poured into a Craftgeer snifter.

NOTE: This is not the same beer that is being reviewed on this thread, this is a barrel-aged version aged in maple whiskey oak barrels for a year.

Look - Pours motor oil black thick with a thin soapy mocha head. Tons of splotchy lacing.

Smell - Rich creamy aroma. Maple and bourbon with oaky vanilla notes behind it.

Taste - So creamy, rich maple, some roasted malts overtaken by the oak vanilla and then ending whiskey. Yessss.

Mouthfeel - Heavy body with low carbonation. Surprisingly not boozy for 10% but it will catch up later, make no mistake. Great drinkability.

Overall - Wow. I am legitimately blown away by this Otter Creek offering! I am not huge into BA beers but now I am beginning to think I have just been having the wrong ones. Cheers!

 887 characters

Photo of Stunner97
4.77/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- dark dark black with no light coming through what so ever, very nice tan brown head that starts thick and slowly fads down, very menacing and drawing in appearance

Smell- This one smell is out of control, so strong and so good and power hits you instantly, i cant even get past the smell of coffee, if you were to put a coffee cup next to me and this stout I could tell you which was which literally that crazy

Taste- COFFEE wow, this is one flavorful imperial stout, all you can taste is that espresso and coffee, some roasted malts and slight hops throw touch of small bitterness on the finish, this is a special long lasting finish beer, slight alcohol can be noticed but it really just gets lost in the coffee flavors

Mouthfeel- smooth full bodied, creamy and moderately carbonated

Drinkability- An incredible sipping and savoring stout, if you like stouts with the strong espresso and coffee essence then this is one you must try, my first ever beer by this brewery and I was blown a way by a nice piece of work, if you can find this give it a try a winner of a russian imperial

 1,099 characters

Photo of Givemebeer
4.75/5  rDev +18.8%

Bottled 12/3/2012, drank tonight. The aging did this pup well. So smooth and no alcohol booze taste. Drank at room temp. First taste is a rich dark chocolate. Following taste is a straight up coffee flavor. Great dessert beer. Perfect nightcap to a long days work.

 269 characters

Photo of Lunch
4.7/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia, Maryland as part of Baltimore Beer Week (10/13/2009). Served rather cold in a snifter, but I allowed it to warm up quite a bit to around cellar temperature.

Appearance: Very typical for a RIS as it was virtually black likened to that of motor oil with one finger of espresso brown head. Decent, but unremarkable lacing that left a slight oiliness on the inside of the glass.

Smell: Fairly complex nose that was dominated by chocolate and coffee giving off a roasted bouquet of toffee, vanilla, raisins, and just the faintest soupçon of graham cracker along with a flutter of alcohol ("Sideways", it was true and I just couldn't resist).

Taste: Oh my. This is a wonderful treat that crushes the smell in terms of complexity. Chocolate and roasted coffee comes through first quickly followed by oat, molasses, maple syrup, and rich malt. A slight hop bitterness is also present, but is far less dominant than many of its other American RIS brethren. As the beer warms, a minor alcohol tinge becomes subtlety apparent, but never comes through anywhere close to that of its lofty 10.6%.

Mouthfeel: A thick feel that is quite pleasing and oily. If I had one minor critique, it would be that I wish that it was just slightly thicker, but that is truly splitting hairs.

Drinkability: Truly excellent for its style as alcohol never really gets in the way and each sip seems to bring across new characteristics. I had no problem putting away two of these on tap, but as with any higher alcohol beer, the alcohol, even though it is hidden quite well, will catch up to you.

Overall this is an excellent and unique offering from a brewery that is seemingly headed in the right direction concerning its Imperial Series. I look forward to not only revisiting this beer again and again (as well as its Imperial IPA brother), but also to the hopes that they expand their Imperial Series lineup. Highly recommended.

 1,952 characters

Photo of cvstrickland
4.67/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The foil-necked 22-ounce bomber bottle poured into a small snifter produces a tar-black body capped with a chubby finger's thickness of stained khaki foam. The head retains at a chunky-collared sheet and deposits a film of extremely fine-bubbled lacing onto the glass.

The smell is amazing. Notes of fresh black coffee, dark chocolate covered pineapple, unsulphured molasses, caramel-covered peanuts (?), and a touch of anise roll over a dark, savory base of roasted barley, dark caramel malt, and vanilla-perfumey alcohol. A hearty note of dark-toasted pumpernickel reinforces the dominant graininess and layers of chocolatey caramel come to the forefront as the drink warms a bit.

The taste is equally amazing. Rich dark chocolatey sweetness is beset with bitter burnt roast and a splash of strong, unsweetened black coffee. Alkaline and drying, cocoa powder lingers in the aftertaste, sticking to the palate, thoroughly chocolatizing a touch of lingering brown-sugary stickiness. Silky smooth vanilla caramel softens the pleasantly-harsh scratchiness of roasted grain, and a note of French roast rises in stature with each additional sip. Alcohol is masked in vague dark fruitiness, or possibly disguised as mild sherry. Otter Creek's RIS has lots of big flavors, yet is still very well-balanced.

Silky, fullish in body, and mildly carbonated, the brew is extremely quaffable for style, but I can't really say that I would want to drink it from a beer bong. No, no... well... no, not at all. This brew is a beauty and a "snifter beer" all the way--best when thoroughly examined, thoughtfully savored, and highly respected. It's magnificent.

 1,646 characters

Photo of NewGeneric
4.67/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this earlier this week and took notes. Poured an opaque black color with soapy hazelnut head that faded somewhat slowly and left light lacing. Smelled of caramel, roasted coffee, chocolate, light hops, and malt. Tasted the same with hints of fruit. Incredibly smooth and creamy. Great beer!

 294 characters

Photo of oddfire
4.67/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured into a snifter an wow this beer looks awesome. Pitch black with a chocolate head. Good head retention.
S - Chocolate and licorice with a hint of cloves.
T - Wow this beer is good. You get a taste of it and then you are hooked. This is a well done beer. Chocolate, coffee, toffee, and malt. What more can you ask for.
M - velvet.
D - Very easily put down. But you feel it in the morning. I will continue to drink this as long as they brew it.

 452 characters

Photo of DMcPhee33
4.66/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

 642 characters

Photo of tekstr1der
4.65/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Delicious! Black pour with lasting, clingy brown foam. Aroma is rich, with lots of roast and dark cocoa. Flavor is similar - very roasty, but never too bitter, with lots of chocolate notes and a mild sweetness mid-sip. Incredibly smooth from start to very clean finish, with just a slight lingering cocoa. Easily the best RIS I've had.

 335 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.63/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle purchased from AJ's Beer Warehouse in Henrietta, NY.

Pours a thick, dark black into my Rooster Fish tulip. Light coffee colored head sits on top of the beer for a while, foamy and nice.

Smells strongly roasted and malty. Pretty simple, but effective.

Tastes incredible. Earthy dark chocolate, roasted malts, slight tea-like hoppiness, a bit of sugary sweetness that never gets cloying. This is a serious strong stout! No alcohol is really present, which is amazing considering the intensity of malt flavors.

Full, thick body. Low but appropriate carbonation.

Awesome, under the radar stout. Otter Creek is quietly a pretty damn good brewery.

 660 characters

Photo of ShamasUVA
4.63/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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

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

 501 characters

Photo of hreb
4.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Liberated this bottle from my collection today, after several months of waiting. Cold 22oz bomber poured into tapered pint glass. Beer pours black, like motor oil, with a thick, ice-cream-float-like mahogany head, which grows as it rests. Rich hazelnut-coffee aroma. Toasty.

Initial sip has a creamy mouthfeel with a mouth-coating roasted coffee flavor. The beer would do well to warm up a bit. Carbonation and hops are appropriately distant. Doesn't betray even a hint of alcohol. Lots of thick brown lacing already coat the glass.

As the beer warms it gets even more mellow. It also becomes even more apparent that the aroma, initial flavor, and aftertaste are pure roasted barley, while the middle of the palate uses hops to subtly take the edge of the sweetness of the brown sugar. Fantastic. And in no way does it reveal the over 10% ABV.

 845 characters

Photo of shizzdog
4.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pitch Black Pour with a nice tan head.

Smell: Delicious chocolate and roasted coffee.

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

Mouthfeel: Sits nice, Great Carbonation, Dry finsh

Drinkability: Yum Yum getting a few more of these

 331 characters

Photo of BeerTruth
4.59/5  rDev +14.8%
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.

 1,190 characters

Photo of deanhead
4.57/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

The taste is fueled with booze, and cereal grains.

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

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

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

Try it. It's neat.

 814 characters

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!

 307 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
4.53/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Im pouring this brew from a 22 oz bottle into a snifter at cellar temp. The beer pours an oily rich black with no light passing through when held to the light. THe head foams up 4cm of creamy tan to cocoa brown hue. This appears to be a serious brew!
Rich, malty nose with roasted malt and baker's chocolate mixing with just a bit of charred wood scent and very ripe plums. Dominant roast to smoke scent.
The head is remaining fluffy at several minutes into the sampling.
First sip reveals a creamy soft textured brew with very mild carbonation that gently plays across my palate with each sip. The flavor is dark chocolate and coffee beans mixing with some dark fruit but finishing with a dry roasted malt note that really dries out my mouth. The lingering roast is slightly coffee bitter but no real hop characteristics. I also cant believe this is 10.6%, as there is not heat whatsoever.
This beer is dangerously drinkable and I am sure I will feel the effects before bedtime tonite. This is a must try beer for Imp Stout fans, I am glad I have another in my cellar, but dont know how long it will last.

 1,106 characters

Photo of Tmsmaloy
4.51/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The color is black. Even held to the light none shines through. A thick tan head dissipates to a thin ring around the glass. Aroma of sweet aromatic tobacco and raisins. Taste of leather pepper and steel. As much as I enjoy their new IPAs I believe this beer is bigger, and holds a more special place. I love this beer.

 319 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The most honest bottle from the 22 ounce gift pack I bought, Imperial IPA was solid, and the Wine/Beer hybrid was a bit of an abomination. Well this beer sang praises of why it's okay to go extreme every once in awhile. Form DFH brewer was completely able to nail a big bodied dark beer like no other. Poured dark a bit viscous, with heavy mocha/tan deep brown head color and stark black body bubbling up in my chalice. I'm sorry I didn't use the fluted small pilsner glass that came with the sampler. It didn't seem like the right tool for the job. Aromatics big on ripened fruit/hints of coffee/dark chocolate. Plums/brand soaked fruit/dark chocoalte/even a bit of soy sauce like all great impy stouts. Nose nails the style and hides the booze. Flavor wise more of the same dark fruits/soaked in a mild layer of booziness. Again creamy coffee/big dark roasted malt layers/an edge of soy sauce saltiness this bottle will age forever it you can hold onto it. Big body a bit chewy in the best possible way, smooth rolling carbonation mellow at best carries this big bodied Russian Impy Stout quite well. Like I said this was the VIP of the three pack I came across while browsing the selection up at Vintage Estate in Boardman Ohio. Overall drinkability if one and done this is the supreme one beer to drink, if sharing with friends a four ounce pour is just as satisfying even though you'll crave another bottle to cellar.

 1,422 characters

Photo of Proteus93
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice and dark brown-looking while pouring, ending up a black in the glass, though it didn't seem to be 'motor oil thick' when pouring. Head is nice and frothy, a full pair of fingers in height, and retention is decent. It leaves a fairly consistent lacing behind.

S: Full of chocolaty and malts galore. Quite a big aroma, noticeable as soon as I popped the cap. It just kinda wafted towards my nose. The chocolate adds a rich note to the underlying coffee scents and gives it the impression of a being a mocha latte or something. There also appears to be a soft scent of whole grain crackers in there.

T: Wow, also quite intense. Quite a hefty unsweetened chocolate flavour along with the massive malt roast. Some alcohol spiciness is detected, as can be expected, and a little touch of molasses comes through. Good stuff, this!

M + D: It's creamy and full, but like it appeared, not extremely heavy. It doesn't have that engine oil viscosity or the stickiness or molasses or molten toffee that is often found in an RIS. At the same time, it doesn't succumb to being a thin and lifeless brew. Very nicely balanced in that sense. At just over 10%, it's a nice way to close up a Sunday night, and I will actively seek this one out to pick up again. Very good.

 1,265 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout from Otter Creek Brewing
4 out of 5 based on 607 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.