Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout | Otter Creek Brewing

very good
298 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

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Reviews: 298 | Ratings: 608
Photo of beyah
4.34/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Apearance - Very minimal head, it is dark tan almost brown, can't see though the beer if you hold it to the light.

Smell - Chocolate, roasty a slight coffee aroma.

Taste - Alcohol is evident, Roasted Malt, hop bittering with a sweet ending as it warms up the chocolate notes come through.

Mouthfeel - Smooth , a bit more carbonation than I expected in this style.

Overall - I have always loved the RIS style, this beer is good but need to age it still a bit to hot and hoppy. I'm going to set a few bottles aside for later.

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Photo of templar316
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pour's black as night ruby highlight's at the edge of the parabola, the mocha head is gone quick. But it keeps working around the edges. The scent of dark fruits; dates and figs, fades into cinnamon and coffee. It's smooth, the ABV is hidden, but the flavor is mild. It's not a tongue crushing monster but dark roast char and hop bitterness at the end remind us that something extra went into the wort. The nuanced malt layers open and smooth the alcohol across the tongue. Eager to try this after a year in the cellar. An excellent beer!

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Photo of cbutova
3.74/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A- Poured from 12oz bottle to a giant snifter with jet black, oil-like body. A one finger dark brown, mocha colored head forms and stays around for a decent time. Frothy ring with big bubbles leaves spotty lacing.

S- Dark fruit and cocoa is what I notice mostly off the bat. Some caramel and vanilla sweets as well. The aroma isn't quite as strong as many great RIS examples.

T- Huge base of roast malt flavors. Big dark cocoa powder, heavily toasted nut, dark caramel and some general roast/burnt flavors make up the backbone for me. There is certainly a good amount of dark fruit (raisin, cherry feel) from the yeast they use. It has a nice edge to it from the roast grains but it does not feel astringent or unsettling. With warmth the cherry and cocoa balance out to give a nice truffle/dessert feel.

MF- Massively thick and creamy body, really nice way to support the heavily roast grain bill. Some bitterness probably from both the hops and the heavily kilned grains.

Cocoa and roast forward RIS with a good dark fruit feel as well.

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Photo of Pete27lax
4.41/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on 3/5/2013

Pours a straight black with a mocha colored head. Good retention and good lacing as well.

Smell is the highlight here. Roasted notes are the heavy hitter on the nose but chocolate and a slight hint of licorice are also present.

Taste is good. Once again the dominant flavor is roasted coffee notes but the smooth milk chocolate flavors are more prominent here.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for an RIS but still good. Hides the alcohol very well too. Very drinkable for a 10% RIS as well.

Overall I am very impressed with this beer. Not going to lie I wasn't expecting to enjoy this beer as much as I did. Well done Otter Creek!

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Photo of JK4Stout
3.46/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A: Well, the color is right. It's darker than midnight and thicker than the cough medicine I'm not supposed to mix with beer. (What do doctor's know anyway?) But there was absolutely no head here! At first I thought this might be nitro and I was pouring wrong...nope, just a headless beer.

S: Not too shabby. A bit weak to be called an imperial from comparrison with other. Notes of chocolate and slight mocha.

T: Good, and certainly has that appropriate mild burn to great warming up ability that Russian Stouts promote. Just doesn't compare to old Raspy or Dark Hollow.

M: Weak for the style. This should linger and stick to the mouth all day. Breweries like to call things a little bigger than they actually are, and this may be the case here.

O: Meh. I'm not complaining that much. It was still a good way to spend the evening...this and Game of Thrones Season 2. But I just can't go much higher when there are several better subjects in the same style out there.

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Photo of Andrew61923
4.31/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle dated 12/3/12 into Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a viscous black with a half finger's worth of mocha colored head. Looks pretty imposing. I'm up for the challenge.

S: Heavy roasted malts, bitter chocolate. It almost smells hearty. I can tell this is going to be a big beer.

T: More of the chocolate coming forward with a slight alcohol tinge at the back of the throat. Finishes with even more bitter dark chocolate. Really nice.

M: The viscous pour was not misleading and this sits pretty heavy on the tongue. A thick beer that's meant to be savored, yet is plenty smooth on the palette. The 10% ABV is somewhat detectable, but this doesn't detract from the beer whatsoever.

O: For a beer I bought as a single because I wasn't sure how much I'd enjoy it, I'm pleasantly surprised. I probably wouldn't go out of my way to get a full 4-pack, but it would be interesting to see how a bottle of this ages. My guess is that it would continue to get better. Well done.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.81/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle with 120312 on the neck. Pours a dark black color with virtually no head. Aromas of coffee, chocolate, roasted malts and earth. Almost no lacing. The taste is a smokey mocha flavor with some earth at the back end. Bitter dark chocolate aftertaste. Earthy and boozey as well. Nice alcohol presence that isn't overwhelming. Light mouthfeel for the style. Overall a pretty decent Russian Imperial Stout I'd grab again.

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Photo of soccerman7
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tulip glass, Growler freshly poured yesterday.

A - A gorgeous tan head that is rather dense. Faded down after a bit to wisps on the surface.

S - The nose has everything you would expect for the style. Roast and smoke notes, coffee, herbal hop notes.

T - Rather smooth flavors. A really nice RIS. There is a lot going on and it keeps revealing more as the beer warms. Coffee, a dark red wine, smoke, pumpernickel bread, its all there. Well done.

M - A nice oily feel with a little bite on the back from the roasted barley.

O - A really nice RIS that should get more attention. A welcomed winter seasonal and looking forward to seeing different versions in the barrel hopefully.

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Photo of jlindros
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Kinda felt like a Finnish Sahti or something similar during this storm, but guess I don't have any available for review interestingly. So next best step is a RIS.

Pours a very dark inky looking pitch black thick beer, a small dark molasses brown colored fizzy head covering that fades pretty quickly although typical for a 10% RIS. This puppy sucks the light in like a nice black hole, none escaping, and gives the glass a nice show with legs from here to Boise.

NOse starts with plenty of dark malts, black malt right off, then some roasted barley, hint of dark chocolate that seems like 95% cacao dark, with a light burnt bitter acrid that is getting into the soy sauce category but not there yet. A faint vanilla as well as hints of earthy hops. A bit of cacao nibs I think too.

Taste starts with big dark malts again, roasted barley again but not coffee, and plenty of black malt. The super dark black malts bring char as expected, as well as a bit of acrid burnt roast and again starts to get soy sauce like again. Crazy dark chocolate in there a bit again, maybe even cacao nibs, but mostly a dark bitter almost acrid chocolate. THe super dark malts also bring some tannins and bitterness to go with it, as well as hints of earthy hops in the middle somewhere. The booze is in there a bit, warming mostly, but is blended into the big dark malts fairly well. The thick malts get a bit syrupy but not overly syrupy, with thick chewy malts, maybe even hints of creamy oats. Finish is semi sticky and sweet, long lingering dark malts, roasted malt, black malt, a bit of chocolate plenty of earthy hop bitterness and some tannins from the roasted malts, and just a touch of burnt acrid flavor lingering for a while, as it somewhat coats the mouth.

Mouth is fuller bodied, fluffy carbonation and thick slightly creamy and rich, just a touch of warming booze.

Overall pretty good, I think this will improve with age pretty well as it has all the right components, super dark malts that get slightly syrupy and borderline soy sauce, just light warming booze, some dark malt tannins, just the right about of earthy hops, which I think will age quite well. As for now being fairly fresh, it's a pretty decent beer but not great yet.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.01/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - stouty stout black, as black as you'd want your IRS to be. The pour wells up a finger of shiny black head with some staying power.

S - unsweetened chocolate on the aroma hits first, some burnt coffee grounds with a strong pure alcohol finish to the whiff

T - peaty, earthy malts are the biggest element in the taste, aided by a pure unsweetened cocoa powder flavor, some alcohol on the end, but it's hard to entirely hide 10%

M&D&O - rich, luxurious, warming, wainter busting, stouty, not extremely complex, but not mono-characteristic, quality flavors that you would expect in a nice stout, coffee, chocolate, its all there. A nice beer!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout from Otter Creek Brewing
4 out of 5 based on 608 ratings.
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