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

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

Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
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: 296 | Ratings: 605
Photo of LOCAL
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

apperance: Pours a dark dark brown, almost black with a one finger cocoa head the fades with in a minute or two. NO light is getting through this one.

Smell: Big on roasted coffee, cocoa, and sweet/roasted malts.

Taste: First off, for a 10.6% ABV, the alcohol is VERY well hidden. Big boozy notes are usually one of the first things I notice when a RIS is fresh, and there are only minor traces here. The first thing you notice is the cocoa, coffee, and roasted malts.

Mouthfeel: On the lighter side of heavy. Oily and sticks to the tongue.

Overall: An enjoyable RIS. While others can be hard to handle when fresh, the Otter Creek RIS is neither hot nor overly hopped or bitter. This beer could only improve with age.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased as a single from the brewery in Middlebury, VT. Gold foiled cap.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" dark brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head fades gradually, with excellent lasting lace. Aroma is roasty, sweet dark grains.

Taste starts where the nose leaves off, sweet maltiness upfront, goes lightly hoppy bitter in the middle, and closes with slight acrid coffee bitterness to close. Only the slightest indication of warmth to indicate that this is 10+%abv, well hidden! Mouthfeel is good, could be a bit smoother for the style, and drinkability is good as well. Just wish this one's imperialness came through better.

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Photo of treyrab
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed this one at Zeno's last night and split with jac5084 and ashherb17 into three unbranded glasses. Beer #701 for this guy.

A: Pours a very dark and very still black with some dark brown and crimson hues when held up to the light. Not the darkest RIS I've seen. Actually a tad on the lighter side. Pretty lackadaisical effort on the head. Almost none. Some tan bubbles show, but not even a ring of frothy head.

S: Like a bag of coffee slapped you in the face. Tons of coffee blended with some bitter roastiness, burnt caramel and some astringent dark fruits that didn't seem to blend with the immense amount of coffee. Also a touch of soy. But overall, not bad.

T: Pretty good flavors of soy, abundant coffee, bitter roast, and some darker fruits. The coffee really takes the cake on this one. Reminded me of Stout Trooper actually.

Overall, worth a try for sure, but not my go-to Imperial Stout.

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Photo of Onslow
4.06/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Roast coffee and dark bitter chocolate in the nose .. . black as a door that was once red but now is painted black .. . . fantastic roast level in the mouth .. . low head for a RIS, but constant medium ring .. .. Yaz is for whores .. . damn fine aroma.. . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgg2kwcsvHo . . Goes down so smooth, way to easy to drink, the 10.5% is no where to be found, even checked under a few rocks, nothing... . This is a great little unknown RIS, recommended!! .. . that sign in the mens room about washing your hands, that's just for the employees, right???

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

This one was a nice surprise.

A: Black with no light getting through. Minimal brown head.

S: Big roast nose. I mean totally dominating. Chocolate was in there as well but kind of buried behind the roast.

T: Like the nose but the chocolate comes out a bit more in the taste. Cocoa powder. Tons of hops in the finish.

M: Full body and well carbonated.

D:For the price this was a steal of a beer. A really nice and well done RIS.

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Photo of charlesw
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice and black. And a nice amount of head. Whoa. Like, almost a first among the IS I've been sampling lately. Nice height of tight bubbles. Dark tan. Lasting lace.

Smells of smoke, coffee and chocolate milk. Heavy on the smokier side. Nice to have the chocolate milk be more in the background, like this. I'd like a more complex malt aroma.

Chocolate milk in the mouth but not totally - not like a Founders BS. So, yeah, chocolate milk in the first 1/2 second - right on the tip of your tongue - then a mouth-filling gentle bitterness. Even and full. Finishes out with bitter on the tip of the tongue in the end. Some of that smoke you smell maybe a little coffee.

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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

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Photo of atpben
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured the 22oz bottle into a Duvel glass. Pours a pitch black color with a thick brown head that dissipates rather quickly. Aromas of chocolate, espresso, caramel,and brown sugar. I love the taste of this beer. It tastes like a liquid cadbury milk choclate bar. Very creamy and smooth. The chocolate taste dominates but caramel and coffee notes creep in nicely. A nice bitter finish. It is now in my top 5 russian imperial stouts.

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Photo of thequeen711
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a rich, deep chocolate, with a tan frothy head. Nose of incredible coffee and malts, cocoa. Taste was impressive:molasses, brown sugarish, coffee, malt and cocoa. Mouthfeel was medium bodied brew, not too heavy or filling. Otter Creek surprised me with this Russian Imperial Stout, they did a fine job, I'd say I'd put it in my top 10 RIP's.

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Photo of caminiti
3.48/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I gave this beer a lot of rope to hang itself, and it did. Poured beautiful, dark, slight head, great appearance. Nose had malt and coffee come through, with maybe a bit of nut (burnt). Taste was were this brew fell apart. Appearance and name (and style) did not come through in the taste, it was light with a burnt aftertaste, and in my opinion of the style, not very good at all. I read the other reviews, which were much more impressive than mine, and I think I may have just got a not so good bottle, and at the price, which was not too steep, I may try again, and let it age..

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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!

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Photo of IBUnit63
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, I've been waiting to try this for a couple of weeks and finally pried it from my fridge and poured contents of this bomber into a Portsmouth snifter.

Pours a shiny dark brown - not black, but definitely a dark brown leather color. Head that forms up top is very thin and brown sugar in color. Fades to small wisps very quickly.

There's a whole lot of coffee in here - robust, velvety coffee - maybe not a dark roast but a good solid medium blend. Pike's Place or something like that. The beautiful bride suggests licorice tones in here too and I can't disagree. I get a touch of hop pine and a whole lot of well-roasted malt. It's really impressive.

Well, definitely let this thang warm to room temperature, because 15 minutes out of the fridge isn't enough to burn off the slate dryness and excess carbonation. There is a bit of of austere tannin in here - not a huge excess. Thankfully after 5 minutes it starts to get frisky and get some Beautiful Chemistry going on. The tannins subside, the coffee, the roasted malt and the piney hops get it together with a touch of brown sugar and slight booziness to make a tasty RIS that has a touch of clamminess in it that hinders from being awesome. This is very good - maybe just a touch on the thin side. Coffee provides a nice little bite on the back end. No, I didn't mean that literally.

OK, now that we've warmed this up a bit...it's got that nice licorice bite on the roof of the mouth, a good coffee/pine hop bite on the sides and a dry, sweet hint of brown sugar booze on the tongue. Finish is well-balanced and loses clamminess by the second. This at first blush reminded me of that typical Otter Creek sooty slate and earthy Ringwood texture but that was fortunately ephemeral. This rolls like a damn fine, if slightly light, RIS.

A cleaner RIS than I'm used to when all said and done. Maybe a little lighter and a little too much patent tannin but all in all this drinks extremely nicely and the alcohol really doesn't stick out. Maybe not in the same sandbox as Kate or Darkness but it won't embarrass itself against a few of the other well-regarded light-heavyweights either.

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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 DefenCorps
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Jet black with a dark brown head with good retention. Dark brown highlights. Quite impressive!

S: Molasses, coffee and medium dark chocolate open things up, with some dark fruit following through. Roasty, with a hint of citrus hops in the back.

T: Opens up with a firm combination of citrus hops and chocolate as well as maltose-like flavors. Coffee mid palate with a mildly hoppy finish with a bit of alcohol

M: Medium bodied, excellent carbonation and a great finish. I like the way the hops are expressed here

D: Fairly easy to drink despite my being burnt out on the style

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Photo of drseamus
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to aerozeppl and avryle for sharing.

A: Pitch black with a thin off white head.

S: Roast city! Massive roasted malt. Fairly singular.

T: Roast is even stronger in the taste than the aroma. Almost purely one dimensional. Dry cocoa in the back.

M: Thin behind the roast.

D: A touch too roasty and too one dimensional.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally was able to track this one down thanks to the NO BS BIF. I have been wanting to try this new big one from otter creek for a while now. Served at cellar temp and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 04/14/2009.

The pour was very nice. Black as night and simply huge here with an enormous tan head of foam that just came up over the top and sat there for a few moments before releasing its grip and settling down into a normal inch high pillow that was simply a wonder to behold. The aroma was rich roasted malts, lots of chocolate and coffee notes here, hints of licorice and a nice molasses bit as it warms up. Almost vanilla touches, but not really. Big upfront hint of dark coffee for me, this mellowed somewhat after a few moments but still kept a tight leash on the flavor throughout. Rich notes of cocoa and light alcohol rising up mid palate as it really warmed up leaving a nice and lightly hopped finish to mingle with the rich ad sweet notes that had started it all. Big smooth body on here, really very full with great carbonation and a nice, easy sipping feel to it. A wee bit strong, but no matter this one was a nice change to sit and watch TV with.

Overall a very, very solid RIS, not the best I have had but no complaints here at all, easily the best beer to come out of the brewery that I have ever had. Solid from top to bottom, and certainly a must try.

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

Pours a solid black with a huge fluffy tan head that laces the side of the glass all the way down. Aroma is of burnt brown sugar, coffee, a touch of alcohol. Taste is more brown and burnt sugar, some dark chocolate, dark roasted coffee a touch of alcohol and a lingering roast bitterness and alcohol in the finish. Lots of caramel and toffee appear as this one warms. Very complex, very tasty! Thick body, creamy syrupy mouthfeel, low but ample carbonation. Wow I'm impressed! This is one solid Imp Stout, I wish I had bought more than one bottle! Otter Creek welcome back to my craft brew scene.

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Photo of twelvsies
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Otter Creek from what I've sampled tends to brew solid, even tasty, yet style specific and standard-ish beers. A good porter, a nice copper ale, etc... but nothing too bold or exceptional, this beer being an exception. Mmmm this is good. This beer is pretty darn black, initially a nice big head but recedes into thin brown bubbles. Smells deep and malty, a bit chocolaty, and I read it right on the label (by the way I love it when breweries list the specific ingredients used) but the brown sugar is coming through. Rich and malty indeed. Damn. It's got the general bases covered for the style, real chocolaty with a bit of bitter coffee. That I expect in a stout - but what I love and don't always get is that extra deepness, and this beer has it. A nice smokey finish - real nice. Takin' a gander here but maybe this has a common ingredient with their tasty Stovepipe Porter, which is also nice and robust and smokey? Regardless it's real damn nice. Velvety on the palate with a bit of a dry finish and a nice warmth. Yum. A great local beer worth having again for sure, readily available and affordable too.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Jet black as you would expect. Small, tight cocoa tinge on top. Not really a head. Dried fruit and somewhat fig like aroma. Mild sherry. Big, bold roasted character in the flavor. Hop blast as well. Quite floral. Distinct roasted graininess to it. Great body. This is a great beer. Only good thing I have ever had from Otter Creek actually. I didnt want to go into this biased as I am not a fan. Killer stuff, well worth picking up.

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Photo of WesWes
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a pitch black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a warm and rich, malty scent that really showcases the chocolate and roasted malts. The taste is great as well. It has an incredibly smooth, malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes dry with a residual chocolate sweetness. It's adequately bitter with a nice warmth as well. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. I'm really impressed with this beer. Otter Creek is stepping up to the plate and knocking it out of the park. Great job guys!!

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Photo of Gavage
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a black color with a dark tan colored 1" head that falls to a thick surface foam.

Smell: strong roasted malts, dark chocolate, some softer coffee tones, and a bit of alcohol are easy to detect.

Taste: the roasted malt profile is big along with a slight burnt woody flavor. Dark chocolates along with hints of coffee linger in the background. Alcohol is warming and the bitterness brings this into check.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Lightly crisp to start, smoother at the finish. Aftertaste is long as the burnt tones linger in the mouth.

Drinkability: good for the style as I found myself drinking this a bit quicker than normal. Alcohol levels bring this score down a notch. Very good beer from Otter Creek.

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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.

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Photo of Imsothirsty
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this at the Pour House last night, poured into a wine glass. Served way too cold.

Appearance: What I expected from an RIS, thin very brown head lacing

Smell: Alcohol! Really came through strong for me and overpowers the nutty, roasty, coffee smells, but they are there

Taste: Oooh nice, lots of choclate, less coffee than I expected, roasty and nutty flavors to start, kind of mellows out to a roasty mollases taste at the finish, very good.

Mouthfeel: Not very thick like many other RIS's, appropriate carbonation, some sips felt gritty.

Drinkability: The intense alcohol aroma before each sip along with the thin mouthfeel make me think twice about coming back for more, definitely harder for me to drink than other RIS's.

Overall Im glad I tried it, but not really standout.

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Photo of BeerSox
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber into 25oz snifter.

Pitch black with absolutely no light getting through. A thick brown two finger head rises just above the rim, then slowly settles to a thin cap with a bubbly shelf. The head leaves behind a solid wall of lacing.

A strong coffee aroma rises from the top, along with a little bit of brown sugar. A little bit of dark fruit sits in the background. I think I smell chocolate cake too.

Molasses is heavy in the flavor, which mixes with the deep roasted malts. The flavor almost has a slight creaminess to it. A little raisin mixes in. Full bodied.

The alcohol is well hidden in this one, making it pretty drinkable. It's a little on the sweeter side, and not as hoppy as some others. Recommended.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a frothy, bubbly, dark tan head.

Smell: Dark roasted maltiness command the earthy, heady aroma with full notes of coffee, chocolate, and charred grains.

Taste: Sweet, malty opening of roasted barley, bittersweet chocolate, cigar ash, and Italian roast coffee. Slight fruitiness buried underneath all the weighty malt flavors. Growing roasty, earthy bitterness and slight hint of warming alcohol begin to take hold, though a taste of gooey molasses tempers them somewhat. Finishes dry and rather roasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Recommended. Whaddya know, that's pretty darned good. A well-made, respectable RIS from Otter Creek.

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Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
4 out of 5 based on 605 ratings.
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