Cellaring Beers: Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout — Middlebury, Vermont At Four Years From our “Vault”
Date: February 18, 2018
The Story— Otter Creek has been brewing good craft beer for decades, so it’s not a bad brewery to drink during the February Flagship month. An Imperial Stout isn’t anyone’s flagship, but the brewery is a veteran worth celebrating in this time of a dazzling array of newcomers.
We’ve had this beer twice when fresh and it was an exceptionally good example of the style both times. The better of the two was a glass of draft at the Northern Virginia Beer Festival in 2009. Despite the fact that there are far more beers on the market today, some of the great beer festivals have given up the ghost. The Northern Virginia festival was one of the best– spread out on a hill in the Bull Run Park, it reminded us of some of the rural German beer festivals. Our notes then showed a HUGE roast– very dark with chocolates. Hops! sugar and a deep dark finish. Creamy yet balanced. There was something in that draft that didn’t make it to any of the bottles we’ve had, but the bottles are still special and this four year old bottle was at least as good if not better than it was when it was fresh.
The Beer—Ash and rich dark malt. Sweet with soft and even milk chocolate. Even and rich and dark. Creamy with dark malts with echoes of vanilla and bakers chocolate and very even from start to finish. Acrid edge has dissipated almost entirely. Ellie like the super dark roast with an unctuous feel with much less chocolate than I found.
We also tasted an Imperial Series version in a big bottle, but it was far less smooth. Ellie found it more tart, which really isn’t appropriate for the style.
Value — Good to very good if you have the patience to let it sit in your vault.
Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.