so my friends ryan and kelly urban came over tonight and we're being really cool and saying stuff that regular people wish they could say on a totally awesome day but they can't but we totally just mouth-off like it's nothing cause we're awesome even on mediocre days and stuff like that and whatever, man, yo.
then we decide to have dessert. so ryan and i drive over to the mart and talk about the UNDERWORLD films which are awesome if you love them. and then at the store all the blue bell pints, which are usually $3 a piece are $1 a piece, and me and ryan totally flip. so we buy four of them. i can't remember all the ones we bought cause we were so jazzed at the time that my memory was blitzed.
then we got home and busted open some ice cream. then i popped the top on some otter creek russian imperial stout (10.6% ABV / 65 IBUs). the bottle boasts that otter creek brews their russian imperial with "double the malt and four times the hops of regular stouts, this ale offers a robust and intense flavor experience." all crafts breweries love to throw junk like that on their bottles: whether it lives up to the hype is another matter of tastes altogether. to find out, i poured myself and ryan a (room-temperature) draught in wine glasses, and then we started sniffing.
the otter creek russian imperial stout pours oily black, darker than big-rig engine drool. the stuff allows zero light, a liquified spelunking expedition top-side and glass-tamed. it also pours thick, more like plasma than liquid. the head holds the darkest brown cap i have ever seen on a stout, more kin to a fudge brownie than most of the frothy-cappuccino tan heads i have normally seen. this beer screams the absence of hope.
ryan swears, right off the bat, that the stuff smells like olives - and green olives at that. oddly enough, his wife confirmed the aroma. i never noticed a single olive whiff in the whole batch. after a few more sniffs, ryan declared a significant molasses aroma, cooked and maybe smoky. in the meantime, i immediately smelled raisins and anise - and tons of both. this thing smelled like a licorice bomb with a burning fuse. there may have been hearty rummagings of fig and prune notes wolloshing about in there, as well. we both agreed that this aroma was huge and somewhat threatening.
the first sip, for both of us, was overwhelming and ash-trayish. all the possible complexities and enjoyment were burned out by an intense throat-bottomed alcohol burn. ryan suggested flavors of smoked gouda lingering in the aftertaste. i agreed, but maybe more out of concentration than actual taste-budderings.
my overall verdict for otter creek russian imperial stout is that this may be a fantastic cellar beer. those uber-hops, as declared by the label, may need 3 or 4 years to mellow out. i'm sure that in time, seasoned in dark and discipline in someone's basement, this beer could eventually emerge as a beautifully enjoyable celebration stout. however, until then, this bottle is not worth the required $7. it did not even pair well or simmer its offensiveness next to cookies-n-cream ice cream. as a result, ryan and i both agreed that this beer tasted more like a punishment than a treat. otter creek russian imperial stout lived up to its bottle-printed claims (more than i could have expected) and left me feigning for a bright and fizzy pale ale: something on the lighter side, for heaven's sake.
in the meantime, i'm chomping at the bits to break into the 2008 sam adam's longshot sixer, newly released in these parts. that review will come very soon.