Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout | Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's

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BA SCORE
89
very good
294 Reviews
Otter Creek Russian Imperial StoutOtter Creek Russian Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
Vermont, United States | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
294
Ratings:
604
Avg:
4
pDev:
10.25%
 
 
Wants:
45
Gots:
49
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 294 | Ratings: 604
Photo of woodychandler
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I know that I bought this over at The Fridge a while back, fully intending to "Enjoy with Comrades", but they never came by and it has been in my fridge far too long. The Great Bottle Purge of 2014 continues unabated and now, it is the Imperials' turn to fall!

From the bottle: "Inspired by the 18th century English offering to the Russian Czar. Big malt flavoring and overtones of chocolate and dark roasted malts. Finishes on a smooth and warming sweet note."; Handcrafted in Vermont"; "Enjoy with Comrades. [undersigned] Mike Gerhart Master Brewer"; "Otter Creek Limited Edition"; "Located in historic Middlebury, Vermont, Otter Creek Brewing is the proud brewer of the finest quality, handcrafted ales since 1991."

I used a gentle pour to avoid rousing any les, and then I swirled the beer in the glass to with some cgauge its carbonation. I got a finger of deep-tan/light-brown head with decent retention for my efforts. Color was a dense, deep, dark-brown (SRM = 44), allowing zero light penetration. Nose was rich with chocolate, very reminiscent of freshly baked brownies and much more in keeping with my expectations. Warming, I was beginning to notice fusel alcohol heat, but the chocolate was still prevalent. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, not as dense as my previous RIS, The taste was very much of a freshly-baked brownie, chewy, dark chocolaty, slightly smoky. I realize that aficionados of the style would find this one less complex, but I found it much more pleasant and therefore more drinkable. Finish was dry, leaving a slightly bittersweet chocolate taste with a slight charcoal smokiness.

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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.

Smooth.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.52/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a pitch black color. The head is a finger high, and tan in shade. Retention is alright for the ABV, and the creaminess is rather nice to look at. Touches of lacing are left behind.

S: Licorice-y, perfumey, boozy. These kind of imperial stouts are not my bag (see also: Narwhal, Smuttynose IS, Stone IRS), but the subtle chocolate note of this redeems it slightly. The more it opens up, the more the harsh licorice-cum-booze fades away. This will also show off a nice nutty, roasty character which blends well with the chocolate. The aroma grows on me, but it never completely grows on me.

T: The flavor is nicer than I anticipated. It's definitely focused on the licorice aspects of an imperial stout (instead of the chocolaty and umami notes I love from the style), but it's also restrained enough to not overpower the roasted and chocolaty flavors. Alcohol-wise, it's about what one would expect from a 10% RIS - gently boozy without being moronically harsh. While the flavors are quite solid, I could use a bit more depth.

M: I love how soft and creamy this is in the mouth. And yet, it still has a dry (if faintly alcoholic) finish. The subtle booze gives it a nice warming character. If this were just a *bit* heavier, I'd give the feel a 5. More than anything, it's the gentle carbonation that helps give it its fantastic mouthfeel.

O: DAT MOUTHFEEL. It's somewhat unremarkable otherwise, but the amazing feel gives it more than enough reason for me to really like this. And that's really good considering I'm not a fan of licorice-y imperial stouts.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served from a twelve ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Pours dark black, some brown foam settles out. Tar like pour. Rich roasted nose, espresso beans. Taste is full and rich, burnt coffee, backed by a modest alcohol burn. Light licorice underneath. Earthy. Thick mouthfeel.

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Photo of Andrew041180
3.39/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A - Pours a lovely black with creamy brown head. The head recedes quickly and leaves no lacing on the glass.

S - Nice aroma. Roasty. Dark chocolate. Hint of alcohol, which I suppose is to be expected at this level.

T - Touch of sweetness on the tongue. Here is where I pick up the dark chocolate. Little bit of bitterness followed by an absolute wave of alcohol. The alcohol really wipes away everything else and is not overly pleasant for me.

M - Thinner than I expected. The finish is a little sticky, which maintains that alcohol-heavy aftertaste.

O - I really had high hopes for this one. I should be able to pawn some off on my wife. I wouldn't buy this one again, and I would recommend readers not to buy it if they are not fans of boozy imperial stouts. If you like that sort of thing, then have at it.

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Photo of Jnashed
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Otter creek Russian Imperial stout.

Poured in a snifter.

A: not much head. Black as midnight. Thin lacing. Thick looking if that makes sense as it looks dense but not a lot of brown head or lacing. Syrup like.

S: Coffee, chocolate, Figs.

M: thick and syrup as its look.

T: figs, but not really sweet. Dark dark chocolate, and burnt coffee. Lots of alcohol on the back end. You know it's 10%. Maybe some time would have helped.

O: good not great. Pales behind Founders Imperial Stout and Bells Expedition. North Coast old Rasputin as cleaner. Liked though.

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Photo of KingdomBobcat
3.99/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-jet black, very thin mocha head, barely any head though, barely any lacing. just kinda meh
S-lots of chocolate and roasted malt notes with noticeable booziness, over-roasted coffee
T-chocolate really hits the back of the tongue, roasted malts up front, lingering booze aftertaste, almost tastes a little barrel aged actually.
M-not too thick, not too thin, just kinda average. light carbonation, lots of booze
O-bottle date reads 12/3/12 so I think this may be discontinued and I maybe grabbed one of the last 4pks that I may see for some time, so I shall savor it. Last time I had it was about a year ago, and since then I've certainly had better stouts and have raised my expectations, but this one is still good.

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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.

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Photo of fx20736
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bought a single bottle from AJ's Beer Warehouse on 1/25/14.

poured into a chalice, served slightly cool.

appearance: engine oil black with a mochachino head, hardly any lacing.

aroma: charred roast, coffee, molasses maybe some chocolate.

taste: coffee, a pleasant burnt marshmallow taste, Hersheys syrup

mouthfeel: decent

overall: a very tasty imperial stout with nice flavor.

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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.

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Photo of 57md
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep dark brown with a finger of fluffy tan head that dissipated quickly. The nose is pleasantly roasty. The flavor profile includes a solid roasted malt taste. The finish has good roasted bitterness. The mouthfeel is substantial and sticky.

This is a solid RIS that is better than most others of its style.

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Photo of CHADMC3
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark black body beneath the rich, mocha head which dissolves to leave a thin yet sticky ring of lacing around the glass.

Generous roasted malt, sweet milk chocolate and just a hint of dark fruit as it warms highlight the aroma.

The flavor leads with the dark fruit and roasted malt more than the aroma and the sweet milk chocolate appears more as it warms.

The body is rich, full, and chewy with medium carbonation and a big, coating finish.

I'm pleasantly surprised by this RIS, darn good and style appropriate.

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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!

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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.

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Photo of PHBoiler
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Thick, rich, chewy. The mouthfeel on this beer is exactly what I want from a stout when I sit down to have a stout in the winter. The taste has some bitter chocolate and light roast. It fills your mouth and rounds out so well unlike many RIS available in the market. The best thing I can say is well rounded. It isn't a coffee bomb or a chocolate bomb. The roast isn't immense. I was going to age some, but I'm not sure this beer needs any help to improve.

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Photo of Mrappinin
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big surprise from Otter creek. Smell of chocolate, coffee, and a subtle boozeiness. Poor's a used motor oil black little or no head it has vanished by the time I started writing this. Ah the taste, big roasty coffee and unsweet cocoa, a little dark fruit and no booze to speak of. Little carbonation makes for a silky smooth texture. One would not notice the 10% abv more like an american stout. Easily could go through the four pack in a night. Good job otter creek

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

3.0 A: Black color. One finger of frothy medium brown head. Retention is below average and not really any lacing is left.

4.0 S: Bright, potent aroma on this. Tons of molasses and layers of caramel. Chocolate, moderate roastiness, and black cherry fruits. Almost like a gingerbread like doughy/biscuitiness. Very nice.

4.0 T: About the same as the nose. Molasses, caramel, moderate roast, biscuit, chocolate, moderate, yet supple, roastiness.

3.75 M: Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Pleasantly creamy and smooth.

4.0 D: Well rounded, very tasty brew. Can't complain.

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Photo of JamesShoemaker
3.55/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

10 oz pour into a snifter at the brewery. Good friends, good food, and glad to see this bad boy on tap. Very extensive tap list at the brewery, including five Otter Creek brews, five Wolaver's brews, and two Shed brews.

A - yup, this is the first RIS I've had in months and it looks the part. Dark brown lacing and a half-inch of foam takes forever to recede, never completely dissolving into the surface of the brew. The beer itself is dark brown, not quite as black as I expect from the style, but still nearly impenetrable to light.

S - hmm, not a lot there. Even though this is a tapped snifter, the smell is subdued in a bad way. I get hints of the roasted malt, maybe a little booze, but otherwise it dissipates into a very slightly bitter pungency on the end of the nose. Not impressive.

T - slightly better than the odor. Roasted malts, just a hint of caramel, molasses, and sugar. Nothing sweet about this brew, but still surprisingly subdued in its flavors. Even the alcohol is barely present at 10%, which would normally be a positive aspect, but given the dearth of true flavor here, it's a drawback!

M - a dearth of flavor also means a relatively smooth finish. The alcohol doesn't really contribute anything to the MF, but the lack of bitterness/sweetness creates a mediocre brew through and through. Nothing really left in the mouth after the swallow.

O - a very ordinary experience. I'm glad I got to try this on tap at the brewery, but I won't go out of my way to have it again. Overly subdued tastes and smells, and seemingly inexpertly handled.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - It's a stout...oil black in color (and leaves a thin, dark coffee colored ring around the glass).

S - Coffee beans, dark roasted malt, and toasted dark chocolate.

T - Roasted chocolate and delicate vanilla with some alcohol presence and mild dark chocolate bitterness.

M - Medium full bodied and slightly creamy.

O - Good, sits in the middle of the pack overall.

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Photo of hosehead83
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a wine goblet.
Pitch-black in color, with a moderate cap of dark, tan foam.
Aroma-Black patent malt,coffee, dark chocolate.
Taste-Dark roasted coffee, dark roasted malt, baker's chocolate, hop leaf and tobacco notes. Warming alcohol comes to the forefront in a rather bitter finish.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.21/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Opaque black. Pours thick with a head that looks equally as good as the body rising to about 1/2" dark tan.

Smell: strong malt, has hints of pure vanilla and feel of chocolate at the same time. Pretty appetizing.

Taste: A strong dark chocolate with caramel features offset with a marly bitterness. It is a notch sweet, not to the point where it is anything like milk stout but just enough to keep drawing you.

Mouth: Smooth finish, takes at least two sips to adjust then goes down perfect.

Overall: Best Otter Creek beer I have had and ridiculously good Russian imperial stout. If its still by my shop ill be filling another growler without hesitation. Salud!

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Photo of hopoilcrazy
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Mew for this extra!

A - Absolutely great...almost perfect look. Totally pitch black with a dark tan head that does not go away for awhile.

S - Milk chocolate and caramel malt. A little boozy. Bready almost yeasty tang. Puffed wheat.

T - Big, huge, enormous malt. It is a great malt profile: peaty, cocoa powder, kettle corn, biscuity. And at the end when the hops should balance, they don't but the beer doesn't suffer. Faint hop oil, but indeterminable.

M - Luscious coating and tingly booze. Soothing.

Overall, this beer is pretty great and I'm sure that it is a great value. I would drink this a lot if I could get it

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Photo of CardiacNP
4.44/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft from Fox & Hound in Ohio

A nice imperial stout with 10%abv but you do not Taste it.

Dark black in color with a tight 1 finger creamy brown head. Decent lacing.

Malty chocolate , coffee stout.

Lightly carbonated. Smooth creamy mouth feel.
Surprisingly so for such a high alcohol beer.

Overall a solid Russian imperial stout. Recommend trying

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

Not sure where I first had this, but I think it was at TJ's, Paoli.

Opaque black pour with a rocky tan head that sank to a ringlet, leaving a bit of lacing on the glass. Aroma was dark malts, dark chocolate, hints of dark dried fruit. Definitely a tasty stout here, dark malts, dark chocolate, a little espresso, burnt marshmallow, notes of plum, and some mild earthy hops coming through. Body was on the fuller side of medium, robust and smooth, tremendously easy drinker for a 10% brew. Very nice overall.

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Photo of davey101
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass, 2013 release?

A - Pours a jet black body with two fingers of creamy mocha foam. Settles down quickly. Pretty stereotypical RIS appearance.

S - Very roast dominant with some chocolate and coffee in the background.

T - Roast central here. Balanced out by some sweeter chocolate and bitter coffee notes. The 65 IBU's are present in the bitterness but the hop flavors are non-existent. Medium bodied and creamy.

O - This is a very solid beer that can compete with the likes of Narwhal and Old Rasputin. A little simple, but that's not entirely a bad thing. I'm not a huge fan of stouts with high IBU's but this was quite nice. This was my first Otter Creek beer and I'm left impressed.

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Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
89 out of 100 based on 294 ratings.
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