Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout | Otter Creek Brewing

very good
611 Ratings
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

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Ratings: 611 |  Reviews: 299
Photo of macktbone
1.82/5  rDev -54.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks to ThirdLap for this offering. One of the many gifts as we travel across the country.

A- Has a shiny black color with a woody brown head of foam. Head dissapates after a few minutes but it continues to belch goodness from it's depths.

S- Figs, brown sugar, wood, cherries, alcohol (tequila). and a strange aspect of stale mold that it is little disconcerning.

T- I am almost afraid after the mold statement...
Hot...Hot...Hot... that strange flavor of old tequila is too much. Two sips is about all I can get. I do get a little chocolate and really old coffee.

M- Moderate to good for an imperial stout.

D- Can't do it...taste like ^@#$*!

I tried to be objective when looking at a pretty bottle and getting this from a friend I figured it would be half way decent. Did vermont try to make a maple syrup beer and decide it should be an Imperial stout? I think they scraped the moss of the tree and made this beer out of that instead.

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Photo of cjac
2/5  rDev -50%

Photo of stckhndlr
2.17/5  rDev -45.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

First try at this beer. Pours pitch black with not alot of head. First impression of the nose was not too appealing. Strong resemblence to soy sauce smell. Very hoppy and malt flavor. Murky flavor with hints of caramel and not as much chocolate as toted by other reviews. Unfortunately could not finish this one as hard as I tried.

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Photo of jjayjaye
2.41/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours an opaque darkness with a HUGE stiff light brown head that fades slowly leaving a reasonable amount of lacing behind. The smell is somewhat rough IMO...highly roasted malt and bitter dark chocolate. The taste is right there...burnt. A bitter strong black coffee ground flavor is overwhelming and lingers significantly. The mouth feel is sharp and on the lighter side. I'm having a problem relaxing with this one. Pour.

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Photo of DmanGTR
2.48/5  rDev -38%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Review from notes on Jan 30, 2010

A - poured very dark brown, almost impenetrable to light save for some cherry hues. Short lived off-white head, no lace. 4.0

S - lots of roastiness, touch of coffee, and bit of chocolate. Something is wrong here, I'm getting a bit of burntness and ash/charcoal too. And it's not making this too pleasant. 3.5

T - Similar to the nose but the ashy and charcoally flavors are too much. And there's a strange mineral flavor in the finish as well. I wish the chocolate and roasted barley flavors could cover this up but it didn't happen. 2.0

M - medium bodied and well carbonated. There's a touch of astringency here that doesn't mix well with the beer. 3.0

D - Sorry, Otter Creek. Not impressed with this one. That ashy/charcoal flavor needs to go. Stat. If I had a whole bottle of this to finish, well hopefully I'll be really thirsty or the sink might get a bit of it... 1.5

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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 saburky
2.75/5  rDev -31.3%

Photo of sliverX
2.77/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

poured a used motor oil like color and just thin of said substance in consistency lets some brown shine through the edges ring and bubble around edge of glass is about it for head
smell a huge roasted malty, very heavy on the dark chocolate
taste was odd expected a lot different no real chocolate taste just badly burnt malt
mouthfeel was thin as hell very deceptive from color and clinging properties displayed from pour
drinkability suffers on the last 2 points not something I"d look for again...

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Photo of jujubeast6000
2.86/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed 4/16/2009 (Bottle):

Pours a pitch black color body, big foamy tan brown colored head lasting. Good lacing. Strong coffee chocolate aroma. Some alcohol. Some sweet chocolate too. Something else like ash. Watery palate, smokey and slightly ashy taste. Sweet chocolate and some dark chocolate in the taste too. Something is off.

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Photo of MADPolo
3/5  rDev -25%

Photo of chrispoint
3/5  rDev -25%

Photo of freeHorizon
3/5  rDev -25%

Photo of jophish17
3/5  rDev -25%

Photo of tastymug
3/5  rDev -25%

Photo of jfcaa193
3/5  rDev -25%

Photo of pants678
3.03/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Black body, receding brown head.

Booze first and foremost on the nose, roasted malts are well behind that.

Dark chocolate's sorta sharp, teetering into dark fruit--licorice might be the best descriptor. Alcohol's part of that, at 10%. Robust without being rich, doesn't have that desert sweetness. Needs an additive, perhaps.


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Photo of GregSVT
3.03/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dark black with a huge dark tan head that has excellent retention and decent lacing.

S: The nose is chocolate/cocoa, coffee, and roasted malts. A slight metallic aroma is evident.

T: Taste is chocolate/roasted malts with a sweet vanilla flavor. There's a big metallic taste on the finish that was there in the nose.

M: Feel is great. Thick and creamy with a good amount of carbonation.

D: I'd drink this again if it wasn't for the metallic taste. Really hinders the drinkability...the ABV does as well.

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Photo of Buebie
3.05/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Picked up this brew at the Bowery WF back in September.

Poured rigorously from a 22 ounce brown bomber into an oversized snifter. Forming up a brown 1'' head and receding somewhat quickly to leave a thin cap and thicker collar of retention.
Lace is spotty at best. The beer is black with no light penetration.

Aroma of chocolate grain, buckwheat pancakes, malted milk balls, a touch of molasses and kinda sweet with just a touch of charred wood.

Mouthfeel is slick and creamy with an over abundance of carbonation.
Taste is milky and smooth upfront with some sweetness and plenty of semi sweet chocolate. Becoming increasingly dark through the process. Dark bitter chocolate, more charred wood and bitter chocolate grain flavors. Plenty of malt packing a punch. Finishing quite bitter with unsweetened baking chocolate and wood.

This is an interesting take on the style. I didn't particularly care for the high amount of bitters. It started out well and resembled a typical RIS. Although the mouthfeel was more Imperial stout then RIS, the carbonation should really be cut down. Carbonation bite was a bit too high for me. Flavors finishing were more dry Irish stout too. I cant say I've ever had a RIS that bittered out as much as this did.
Alcohol was not picked up in either flavor or aroma, it was very well hidden.
I wouldn't seek this out again.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.05/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Chilled bottle into a glass. Received in a long-ago trade (early 2009); I can't remember the source, but I am grateful. Please BM me and I'll put your name here.

A: Pours a pitch black body with just under a finger of light tan head. It retains poorly, leaving behind a thin collar on the brew with a trail or two of lacing during sips.

S: Black cherry. It's so strong that I find myself wondering if the bottle is infected, but it's not super-carbonated, so I'm guessing that's just how it is. Dark chocolate, a hint of raisins, and roasted coffee. Still a little boozy in the nose for a year-old beer.

T: Black cherry, so strong it's almost tart. Raisins, maybe a hint of figs. It's quite the darkly fruity beer. Dark chocolate lends a bittersweet character that segues nicely into roasted coffee bitterness and more dark fruit. It's smoky, even slightly ashy, in the finish. I seem to remember this beer being semi-dry the first time I had it, but here it's syrupy and definitely sweet in the finish.

M: It's a full-bodied, mouth-coating beer. The alcohol is well hidden in the taste.

D: It's a pretty decent beer, but I wouldn't put it in the world-class category (A) or significantly above average (B). It's just too much on the sweet side for me to regard it as anything but a simply competent representation of the style.

EDIT: It got to the point where I had been working on this bottle for a few hours and I decided to throw the remaining 1/3 out rather than finish it. I wouldn't call it a drainpour exactly; I could have finished it, but I just didn't feel like it was worth the time or calories. I was pretty ambivalent throughout.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.05/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The first treasure to be opened from my birthday spoils. Sent to me by JamnesCameron. In all fairness I can buy this locally but Ive never reviewed it so I was glad to pull it from the box.

A- This one isnt ashamed to throw up a big dark tan head. Lacing is at a minimum however. Typical black body.

S- The smell is strong. Its one of those beers that can be smelled half way across the room. There will be no fooling the officers at the check point on your way home from having a glass of this. It has a milky, chocolatey smell with a touch of roast and grain. Its appealing and quintessentially stout.

T- The flavor is lacking some things here and there and in a world dominated by imperial stouts that body slam the taste buds there really isnt any forgiveness. The creamy milk chocolate carries over from the smell but thats really about the whole story. The 10.6% is well hidden but I wouldnt mind a warming glass of beer right about now.

M- Medium body with very low carbonation.

D- This beer will easily get lost in the sea of imperial stouts that can be found.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.09/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz bomber brewed in 2009. Pours a very opaque black color with an extremely dark brown foam. Might be the darkest head I have ever seen and it is tight and creamy. Leaves plenty of thin lace on the glass. Great looking beer.

Nose is full of black licorice, alcohol and some plum-like fruitiness. Plenty of hops on the nose, herbal and slightly minty. Not a whole lot of chocolate malty notes, and in fact does not seem to have much maltiness to it overall.

Taste is on the fruity side of the RIS spectrum with alot of floral and minty hop flavors. There is a bit of roasty malts, but there seems to be a serious lack of malt backbone and body. No sweetness, thin mouthfeel and even a bit astringent. Not a big fan of this one.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.09/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

An aside: I don't see why Otter Creek can't have that travellin' otter pose for all their beer labels. That lil' feller always puts a smile on my face. How does he hold a pint glass without opposable thumbs?--I don't know, but I'm pickin' up what that otter is layin' down.

Black with a muddy brown head--looks like a RIS. Head dissipates way to fast and is gone by the end of the glass.

Aroma is heavily toward the vinous, dark fruit side with some chocolate, burnt caramel, and brown sugar.

Taste is also dominated by vinous dark fruits; plums, black cherries, and blackberries particularly. Medicinal hop and chocolate support. Warm but not hot. A dessert beer--almost like drinking chocolate covered dark cherries.

Otter Creek lists the ingredients on the bottle (I like that) and from the poor retention, to the thin body, I think the brown sugar addition really killed this beer. Finally, though I prefer a more roasted RIS I appreciate OC doing something different and focusing on the fruit aspect of the style.

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Photo of meatyard
3.13/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks again to AltBock for this bottle.

Pours an opaque black, it seems, with a shortish coffee/cream head that falls quickly but leaves a bit of lacing.
The smell is cocoa, coffee and roasted malt with a hint of alcohol.
The taste is burnt, bitter coffee, chocolate and dark roasted malt plus there is a tangy/lactic? taste that lingers and leaves an ashy taste.
Mouthfeel is on the thin side but decently carbonated.
Drinkability: Maybe this one shouldn't be aged at all, at least for about the 16 months it's been saved. As it is, it's a slow drinker and hard to get past the overly burnt malt, bitter coffee and the lactic taste.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.18/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 5/13/09. Bottle. Pours black with a small tan head. Aroma of rich roasted malt, light coffee notes, and bitter chocolate. Flavor is roasted and sweet malt. Palate is thinner than I'd prefer for an RIS. And it's too sweet. Meh, just another mediocre RIS.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.21/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter on 12/17/10

MbpBugeye shared this one

Very dark brown; near black in the glass. 1/4th inch of toasted brown foam that leaves the middle, opting for a collar of retention. A few drips of lace remain.

Aromas of roasted malts, bittersweet cocoa, coffee beans, earthy with hints of dirt & a dull sweetness. Some hops peak through. Burnt flavors comprise most of the flavor upfront with some muddled chocolate sweetness on the back half. Said sweetness becomes more prominent as it warms. It's fairly one dimensional; simplistic at best. Mild hop bitterness lingers throughout. Quite viscous & full bodied with appropriately low carbonation. Has a coating feel on the finish.

Drinkability is fine; however, this is pretty safe play in the imperial stout world. It's serviceable - nothing to complain about, really - but there isn't really much to keep one captivated.

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Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout from Otter Creek Brewing
4 out of 5 based on 611 ratings.
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