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Wolaver's Brown Ale - Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's

Not Rated.
Wolaver's Brown AleWolaver's Brown Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

361 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 361
Reviews: 222
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 13.43%
Wants: 4
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  5.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: pezoids on 04-01-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 361 | Reviews: 222 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Enola
4.05/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A fairly aggressive pour resulted in a decent sized head. The color is a deep brown. The smell is of brown sugar and caramel. The taste is semi-sweet with caramel notes. The mouthfeel is smooth with a bit of sweetness. The drinkability is good as well. I am always impressed by this brewer. Another fine offering.

Enola, Apr 05, 2006
Photo of akahn
3.38/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice deep red orange amber colol with a firm, somewhat sticky beige head.

Smell is reminiscent of Otter Creek Copper Ale, which I didn't particularly fancy. There I didn't like it, but here Tettnang and Hallertauer hops are just out of place. English or American hop varieties would do much better, I think.

Taste: Munich malt is an interesting choice here and makes for a rounded finish, but I'd appreciate more emphasis on the caramel malt. Mildly sweet, with some chocolate nates. The noble hops show up here tangily, but not too much, and not as off-puttingly as in the aroma.

Mild carbonation, thin to medium body. I could down a few of these, and its quirks, though not completely successful, are interesting. I'd like this beer to be a bit more bold and I wouldn't miss the German hops.

akahn, Mar 18, 2006
Photo of apintofknowledge
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear medium light warm reddish brown (seems a little light in color for the style) with a thin white head. This one has a wonderful caramel and roasted aroma with subtle hints of chocolate. As for the taste, an intial sweetness is quickly followed by bitter, woody, charcoal and earthy flavors... unsweetened cocoa and roasted peanut shells are in there too. A dry but not lingering finish. A little light in body for my taste.

Overall, this one is an extremely dry rendition of this style that thankfully becomes somewhat sweeter and smoother as I drink more and the beer warms a bit. Like it or not (and it took a little while to grow on me), the dryness makes it a very unique take on the style.

apintofknowledge, Feb 22, 2006
Photo of Naes
2.98/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one pours a light brown with a small white head. Lacing and retention are minimal.
The aroma really lets the caramel malt surface nothing else is really present.
The flavor is caramel malt with a bit of brown sugar and a trace amount of hops near the finish. This one is alright, but nothing exceptional.
The mouth feel is medium bodied and generously carbonated.

Naes, Feb 08, 2006
Photo of dbalsock
4.53/5  rDev +29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: pours a brown tone with a dark copper tint with a white head that quickly laces the side of the glass.

smell: the smell is quite sweet and the main characteristic that i noticed was a honey odor. there are sweet light floral undertones that help balance the smell and provide a nice complexity.

taste: very sweet with the honey odor becoming even more clear in the taste. there is also an accompanying floral taste from the hops that provides a slight bitterness and create a perfect balance with the sweetness.

mouthfeel: as i said above, there is a light bitterness, but mostly this beer coats the palate very smoothly.

drinkability/notes: the mouthfeel, taste, and smell all make this a very smooth and quaffable brew. it is also lighter bodied than other brown ales i've had and is not too filling. this may be my new favorite beer. as i was drinking it, i kept thinking how i didn't not want the experience to end.

dbalsock, Jan 30, 2006
Photo of NEhophead
3.45/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Creamy off white head that gives way to an intact sheet after a moment. Trails of light lacing that have trouble lasting. Deep copper with shades of dark amber.

Semi-sweet caramel, honey cream, and musty toffee. Some floral hops giving a spiced and earthen, wheat aroma.

Mild caramel and coffee roasted sweetness. Perfume-like floral hops; earthy grain and wheat yet brigh; hints of lemon and orange peel. A musty, lightly bitter chocolate that adds to a dry finish. An airy and earthen caramel aftertaste.

Medium bodied; slightly creamy and grainy on the palate.

A decent offering. Creamy yet very muddy and earthen tasting. Not a Brown that I will return to.

NEhophead, Jan 29, 2006
Photo of wedge
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep amber brown color with a loose, bubbly, off-white head. Smells primarily of caramel and chocolate malts with some spicy hops underneath. Nice, rich, solid malt flavors - lightly chocolatey, nutty, and well balanced. Medium mouthfeel with a dry, bitter finish.

The spicy hops don't seem to take control over this one as they do in other Wolaver's products. A solid brown ale and a good session beer overall...second only to the oatmeal stout in the Wolaver's lineup.

wedge, Jan 23, 2006
Photo of charlatan
2.98/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This had a red to chestnut hue and a healthy head. It had a rich fruity smell which reminded me a little of plum and the best way to encapsulate the taste is to say that it tastes healthy. A grainy feel coupled with the flavour of overcooked brown bread made for a decent beer but not a particularly drinkable one. This is more for the one beer night by the fireside than a drinking session (or a brewpub crawl).

charlatan, Jan 20, 2006
Photo of walleye
3.13/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

from the bottle which I got in a trade and I still cannot find my papers on who sent me beers at last yea. so thanks to the one that sent it. poured a amber to brown with off white head that didn’t last. aroma, malts and cherries had a hard time finding the black currant, but there was some other fruit in there. flavor, malts and tart cherries, and a touch of hops. not to bad.

walleye, Jan 18, 2006
Photo of ColForbin
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wolaver's Brown pours a red-brown color with a light tan head. Great head retention. Aroma is slightly hoppy with some spicy notes as well as some caramel. Taste is mostly sweet caramel maltiness with some nutty flavors as well, with a slightly bitter finish, but not one that wipes away all of the sweetness. I would prefer a drier finish, but that would probably make this an American Brown Ale. Very smooth and drinkable. Excellent session beer, although I guess it should technically be lower in alcohol to fit that definition.

You may pay a little more for this beer than some others, because it is organic, but it is a tasty brew, so don't hesitate.

ColForbin, Jan 09, 2006
Photo of rousee
4.05/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 11/2/05-- Should be plenty fresh.

Pours red-brown with a 3 mm head.
Smell is an up front maltiness followed by a slight sour fruitiness. There is definitely a noticeable hop presence too.
Taste is maltiness first with some caramel notes-- finishes with a bit of woodiness. Mouthfeel is smooth and somewhat bubbly--quite nice. Pretty easy to drink.Nothing fancy here but a good interpretation of a style that everyone seems to do.
A nice local beer.

rousee, Dec 29, 2005
Photo of LarryV
3.98/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a head that's not too impressive and fades quickly. Aroma of toasted malt hits the nose, a little bit of nuttiness in the aroma as well. Taste is also toasty, nutty, malty with just a slight twang of hops playing catch up in the background. Mouthfeel is on the creamy side, but just barely. A pretty nice brew for the style and one that I would recommend.

LarryV, Dec 21, 2005
Photo of Hibernator
3.83/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wolaver's Brown Ale
12 oz brown bottle
Bottled on 03/16/05
Batch # is blurred on the label
Served in a 20 oz tulip pint glass

Pours a copper brown color. Darker brown towards the top of the beer with light brown, almost orange highlights on the bottom. Some sticky lacings on the side of the glass.

The nose is malty, bready and nutty.

Chewy malts with a creamy mouthfeel quality. A touch of milk chocolate flavors and caramel sweetness. Very slight hop presence on the finish. A very smooth and drinkable brown ale.

Hibernator, Oct 13, 2005
Photo of brentk56
3.03/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours an unexpectedly light, clear amber body with a bit of a head and lacing; would score higher if it was appropriately colored

Smell: Bready nose with a bit of caramel and toasted malt in the background

Taste: Not a great deal of taste; starts out with a bit of hop tang along with some malty sweetness; finishes with a bit of tobacco bitterness

Mouthfeel: Thin and watery; not much carbonation

Drinkability: Kind of disappointing; organic, schmanic, give me some taste, Wolaver's

brentk56, Sep 23, 2005
Photo of Citadel82
3.43/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is a light ansd sweet brown ale. Aroma of caramel and sweet malt, faint yeast.

Pours clear caramel broen with a short-lived white-head that left no lace.

Taste was mild to slightly sweet with a short dryish finish.

Thin on the mouth and tongue, very easy going down, session brow.

Too much like Newcastle in my opinion to spend the extra coin on however.

Citadel82, Sep 21, 2005
Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.03/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a single at Whole Foods Market here in Madison for $1.69. Certified Organic....yummmy...

Pours a dark amber/light mahogany with not much more than a wispy coating of off-white bubbles. Smell is rather lively for an English Brown, caramel malts, warm spice and vanilla. Taste is pretty complex for an English Brown as well, caramel malts, vanilla, a healthy hop bitterness to balance, some nutmeg for character. Mouthfeel is a little thin, carbonation is a little low as well. Overall a pretty tasty brown. The whole certified organic thing is neat I suppose, I was afraid it would be on the bland side, but I could definitely down a couple of these in a session. Try it.

Golden2wenty1, Sep 20, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.6/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Rust orange with bright amber accents. The ecru cap is several fingers in height after the pour and has yet to lose a full finger by the three minute mark. Although it looks like a fair amount of lace will end up on the glass, very little does. The beer looks more like an ESB or an APA than a brown ale.

I'm still not buying the style designation. Brown Ale smells nothing like a brown ale, nor does it smell very good. While it isn't as nasty as some beer from this brewery, I can detect the same off-aroma. Infected house yeast strain? Surely they didn't design their beer to smell (and taste) like this?

The flavor is tolerable at best. That odd, 'off' characteristic, whatever it is, prevents me from fully enjoying the beer (without completely ruining the experience). It tastes like I'm drinking an amber ale more than a brown. The beer is lightly malted with virtually no flavors gained by the use of chocolate malt.

There's much more hop bitterness (thanks to a lack of malt sugars) than hop flavor. I have to bump the taste score down another notch. This medicinal, quasi-phenolic flavor is wearing on me more and more as the ounces pass. Even though the finish is short, the worst aspects of the flavor profile linger the longest.

Wolaver's Brown Ale is yet another sub-par offering from a brewery that has provided me with so many sub-par offerings over the years. I enjoy Pale Ale and Stovepipe Porter, but have no interest in drinking most of the rest again. I'm sure this bottle is fresh and I know it has been well cared for since I'm the one who's been caring for it since soon after it was brewed. Sometimes I wonder how these guys stay in business.

BuckeyeNation, Sep 10, 2005
Photo of far333
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice fat frothy beige head that sits atop for quite a while, and then slowly recedes, but I feel I have to rate appearance slightly lower due to the pale color. Looks too light for the style, more like a standard issue pale ale. Aroma is inviting, a little sweet, not cloying, with lightly toasted malt and cinnamon. Flavor is light, not too sweet, a bit tinny and thin. No hop profile, which seems truer to the brown ale style. Mouthfeel is somewhat watery, light carbonation, but a slight tingle comes out in the finish. Pretty average tasting beer overall, and not really true to the style.

far333, Jul 01, 2005
Photo of merlin48
3.9/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This organic brown ale pours a clear copperish amber body with a longlasting, one finger beige. Attractive patchy lace is left on the glass. Aroma is dominated by chocolate malt, with some spicy and grassy hops in the background. Mouthfeel is light medium bodied with crisp carbonation, almost creamy. Chocolate and Munich malts are very evident in the taste which is nice and roasty. Some weak notes of red apples and nuttiness add a nice touch. Grassy and spicy hops provide an adequate bitterness for balance. A very drinkable brown ale. Not my favorite style, but quite tasty when executed as well as this one. Thanks go to mtnlover for leaving me this bottle.

merlin48, Jun 09, 2005
Photo of Fish113d
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served at room temp and poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass, it pours an dark amber color with a 1" light, tan head that appears to be very sponge-like, but light in density. However, it does have nice head retention overall as it leaves some nice clinging layer on top of my brew.

Aroma is of bright brown malts, some caramel that comes through rather nicely, and some underlying chocolate that pops out a little as well. Even some underlying grassy hops pop through just a smidge. Pretty nice overall.

Taking the first sip, this ale reveals an interesting mix between some slight bakers chocolate mixing with some roasted brown malts and some earthy hops. The balance is nice for all the flavors hitting almost at once; nothing is overshadowing another. The carbonation allows a lot of flavor to come through as it is not overbearing at all like some other ales that I've tried in the past.

Mouthfeel is rather creamy overall, and medium-bodied. Again, the carbonation is well-balanced, and even some slight alcohol comes through at the finish to tingle my tongue just a bit.

Overall, nicely crafted. I am a fan of the "organic" series from Otter Creek. This is a great tasty and fun brew that would keep me coming back for more and more!

Fish113d, May 08, 2005
Photo of ppoitras
3.15/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle purchased as part of a mixed-6 pack at Winooski Beverage Warehouse, Winooski, VT.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" beige head over the clear copper brew. Head is dwindles rather quickly, but never quite disappears, with average lacing. Aroma is light grain husks with a bit of a fruit tartness. The taste is is nice brown maltiness throughout, but fighting tooth and nail the entire experience with the bitter, slightly tart fruitiness. Just too busy with competing flavors for a Brown, in mind, esp an English Brown. Mouthfeel are average for the same reasons. Not quite what I was hoping for from this one.

ppoitras, May 01, 2005
Photo of BrewMaster
4.35/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This 12 oz bottle aged for about 7 months. Bottled on 9/29/04 and consumed today. Batch number looked like 1626 but it may have been 41626. Part of the label was scratched.

Appearance: Poured from the bottle into a tall but wide 14 oz crystal glass. The beer is a clear amber with reacily visible carbonation. The fluffy tan head is a sticky 2 centimeters that holds tight to the glass and lasts a long time. This beer is splendid to look at in one of my favorite pieces of glassware.

Smell: Malty, fruity nose with a nice layer sesame oil scent and a bit leather scent.

Taste: Malty (caramel malt?) and diacetyl fruitiness open it up but it is quickly overtaken by a light but distinct hop bitterness. It is sandy, earthy, woody, and dry. The hops are also floral. There is a marvelous combination of hops in this beer that give it a lot of character. The maltiness that supports the crisp hop flavors is fluffy and readily relinquishes the spotlight. This beer is good because it has a good malt profile to stand on. This beer is great because it is well hopped to balance well with the malt profile. I don't know what effect the aging had on this beer, but I suspect it served to mellow out any unruly flavors and make this beer into something fabulous. I certainly enjoyed every sip of it.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and sandy on the palate with a nice, chewy malty aftertaste.

Drinkability: Very nicely hopped to balance out the malt. Enjoyable and very good. Quite honestly this is more like a pale ale than a brown ale in my opinion. It loses some for missing the mark on the style, but still this is a fantastic beer, whatever style one wants to group it with. Give it 7 months in the fridge and it is a winner.

BrewMaster, Apr 16, 2005
Photo of mntlover
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light brown mixed with some copper hues a lighter looking brown. Has a small tan head that falls quickly to a ring and leaves some decent lacing.
Aroma is Caramel malt sweet some roasted nutty aromas in the mix along with some spicey herbal like hopping.
Taste is pretty much on for aroma caramel malt sweet some lightly roasted chocolate malt adding a little nutty bite that peaks with a burst of carbonation. The hops take over here adding a little grassy flavors along with some herbal spiciness.
Mouthfeel is not bad, a touch too light but I think its partly due to the zesty carbonation on this one.
Drinkability is good not the best brown ale but it is enjoyable and easy to drink. One of thise beers you wouldn't mind drinking but if your at a store with nice selection probably wouldn't purchase, to much better stuff out there.

mntlover, Apr 12, 2005
Photo of bditty187
3.1/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear. Orangey-bronze in color, odd I say, I like my Brown Ales to be, well, brown in color. I’m up for new things. Light animation was noticed. The head was khaki colored, at the apex this foamy mass was about one finger in height, it faded fairly quickly to a thin, soapy cap. The subsequent lacing was spotty and not pervasive at all. The appearance does intrigue me but it doesn’t warrant much attention. The nose is lightly earthy with kisses of nuts and a splash of toasted grains that leave a hint of acidity. At the back I get the weakest suggestion of hoppy spice. There might be a light twang of fruit (dark but uninteresting) but I might be imagining it. The potency is low but it isn’t saying much anyway. Apathetic but not bad. The palate is slightly more interesting than the nose; at least the flavors are fairly boastful. While the color isn’t typical of the style and the bouquet was too shy, the palate does confirm this beer is indeed a Brown Ale. There isn’t much to this beer, it does taste sweeter than I was expecting (the nose doesn’t say much about the malt), and I like it. There are kisses of caramel, toasty grains, and some slight earthiness. Throughout there are nutty flavors, fairly light but easily detectable. The finish is earthy and the hops also add a nice jolt of spiciness. Light acidity is found throughout. The aftertaste is nutty, sweet, with a kiss of chocolate. I like how this beer ends, at this point I would say this beer would be nice with a cold cut sandwich but I can’t see the need to drink this solo, there isn’t much to it. Overall though, this beer leaves me with an empty feeling. I wanted more. Medium-light in body, the carbonation is moderately low, the mouthfeel does little for me. It is dull. Lifeless. Just like the rest of the beer. Drinkable? Sure. I could pound these suckers. I don’t pound beer through. Do I want to quaff this? Not really. What is the point of this beer, I fail to see one. It is an okay English Brown Ale. Average at best. I seen this beer in KC but I passed on it, when I was last in Iowa City I purchased a 12-ounce bottle for $1.60. I think this will be a onetime purchase.

Bottled on: 11/01/04

bditty187, Mar 04, 2005
Photo of edchef1850
2.85/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am a big fan of the Otter Creek Brewery, good beer, nice lineup,overall a quality microbrewery. I had always wanted to try some of the wolavers stuff, but never had the chance. I finally got to try the english brown ale from the certified organic line. This beer poured a clear , slightly dull brown, with a light creamy head.The smell was strange to me, i struggled to come up with a description, finally the smell that struck me was dried seaweed. Not exactly the most desireable smell in a glass of beer. The flavor started with the richness of a classic nut brown ale, but it finished a little flat. I didnt like this one to much, too much vegetal in the nose and a short finish, being the standouts. Ill try it again though, everyone deserves at least 2 chances afterall, and ill definitley try some more wolavers products, theyre in good company with Otter Creek

edchef1850, Feb 25, 2005
Wolaver's Brown Ale from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
80 out of 100 based on 361 ratings.