Otter Creek 20th Anniversary Ale - Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's

Not Rated.
Otter Creek 20th Anniversary AleOtter Creek 20th Anniversary Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

193 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 193
Reviews: 91
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 16.34%
Wants: 3
Gots: 28 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Brad007 on 09-24-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

55 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 193 | Reviews: 91
Photo of greenengineer
4.45/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle to my Pretty Things pint glass, while watching live streaming of the Tar Sands Action - No KXL!

A - deep brown color, loses head very quickly. Looks like a coke if you let the ice cubes melt.
S - alcohol smell, not surprising considering the content. nice hops coming through, a little caramel malty
T - Yummy. deep malty flavor. Alcohol not overpowering, more malty. Hops are there, but not coming through.
M - sticky and thick - I love it. Very similar in feel to Oskar Blues G'Knight, which is my favorite.
O- I like this beer a lot. A little more hops and it would be my favorite. Very tasty, and drinkable considering the alcohol content.

Photo of jondeelee
4.25/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Otter Creek's 20th Anniversary Ale opens with a rich, malty, yeasty nose that is perfectly appropriate for a 12% ABV beer brewed with four times the hops and malts of Otter Creek's Copper Ale (the beer to which this edition pays homage). The aromas drifting from the bottle are heavily yeasty, mixed in with the distilled aromas of several pounds of fresh wet grains, smelling in this sense much like rising bread dough, only more concentrated and potent. Deep beneath this, and barely noticeable, are brown sugars and hints of cherry, apple, and apricot.

On the tongue, the beer continues its yeasty, malty slam, the opening flavors tasting much like concentrated bread dough, or perhaps raw wheat bagel dough, being yeasty and full of grain flavors, as if your entire mouth was full of stalks of raw wheat mixed with Grape Nuts cereal and toasted wheat bread crusts. The hops kick in only a half-second or so after this opening onslaught, adding grapefruit and pine layers to the beer in sufficient quantity to make themselves noticed (which is difficult, given the strength of the grain flavors). Strong brown sugars help temper the beer somewhat, and the malts do bring a good plateful of fruit esters to the mix, including fig, black cherry, apple, and raisin. The high alcohol content mixed with some of these fruit and grain flavors makes the brew seem cognac-like in certain aspects, moving slightly towards a harsher bourbon profile, though touches of vodka-like alcohol kick somewhat spoil the effect. The aftertaste is a continuation of the pure grain and yeast flavors, with fewer sugars, and a lingering, but lighter grapefruit hop presence. Mouthfeel is medium-heavy, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is good beer, though the high ABV does somewhat detract from the overall effect, making the beer not only slightly harsh, but medicinal. Still, the flavors in here are just about as intense as you'll find in any brew, and it's obvious that huge quantities of malt and hops go into every bottle. When young--as is the bottle that I opened--these quantities produce a brew that is somewhat harsh and demanding, but I suspect that time will be very kind to the beer, mellowing the spiky bits out until, a few years from now or so, what will pour out is golden and smooth as silk. Personally, I'm cellaring the rest of my four-pack for at least two years.

Photo of puboflyons
4.24/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on November 11, 2011. The pour is dark amber with a smallish head that becomes a long lasting ring. Sweeter malts are up front in the aroma along with plum or prune, raisins, and Otter Creek's own strain of yeast. With its high ABV I expected a more boozy aroma but that was not the case. The body is medium to heavy with decent stability. Although there is a fizzy acidity that I cannot quite explain but it is just there and not terribly important. As for the taste, I am getting that same malty character aqs the aroma with virtually no alcohol noted. So in that regard it is quite smooth. I bought a couple of these and will be cellaring one of them. I am interested in knowing how it will taste at this time next year.

Photo of Knapp85
4.2/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a deep amber color with what looked like a rather thick looking body to it. The head was average sized and didn't create much lacing. The smell of the beer was nice and boozy with loads of sweet caramel and hops on the nose. The taste of the beer has a really big kick to it, heavy amounts of bozze and hops in this beer. It also has a really nice amount of sweetness too. The mouthfeel of the beer was rich and creamy, had a nice thick warming body to it. Overall I was very impressed with this brew. This was far better what I expected.

Photo of TheBigV
4.18/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I just opened this a few minutes ago, and am impressed, to begin with. The beer is a rich amber to reddish brown and with a minimal head, which fades quickly.

(Un)fortunately, this beer is still very young, but at 12% it is where it should be for a barleywine. Rich malt sweetness and vanilla notes on the palate fade to a bit of alcohol bitterness on the finish. I really look forward to putting some of this away for a few years. Barleywines are meant to age, and this is no exception. I expect the sweetness to moderate, the alcohol to blend in and this beer to just get better and better for several years to come. This isn't drinking it's best, but it is what I expect for what it is at this point in its evolution.

And now, off to tilt the rest of this back and start my afternoon right. Beer ...it's not just for breakfast, anymore.

Photo of JTSbeerislife
4.12/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Marked on neck 3080091311 (Bottled 9/13/11?), purchased 11/2011 and well stored.

12 oz bottle poured into a Dogfish Head Signature Snifter.

Pours a rapidly diminishing, light, tan colored/off white head with fair to good lacing.
The color is deep amber/brown, clean and clear of debris.

The aroma hits you with distinct, aggressive, spicy, herb and resin smelling hops followed by medium distinct malt with some depth, yeast, dried fruit, dark bread, and a slight medicinal quality finish.
The hops and malt battle for dominance but the hops win.

Crisp, somewhat aggressive entry on the palate of herbal resin flavored hops, bitter, spicy, distinct and long lasting. Medium sweetness but not overdone. The malt is pronounced, rich, yeasty and has a tinge of caramel. As the ale warms you do get a touch of alcohol but it is balance by the aggressive flavor profile. There is a distinct, crisp acidity, full body and fine carbonation.

Long bitter finish of hops and some malt. The hop oils linger forever.

This is a big ale. The resin and herbal hops are quite different, very powerful and aggressive, perhaps a little to much.
The 12% ABV is noticeable but well within the style of this big aggressive ale. At its best at 55 degrees when everything explodes from the glass. Wow. Points given just for the brewery to have the balls to produce something this unique and probably without broad appeal.
That being said it is very, very tasty.
Recommended though one is probably enough.

Photo of ericlawton007
4.1/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a golblet, appears brownish amber with very little carbonation. Smell and aroma are both pretty sweet, and unbalanced at first. This beer definitely needs to warm up a little bit to be fully appreciated. Approaching room temp this beer gives off qualities of figs and brown sugar. Kind of reminds me of a dubbel without the belgian yeast. Alcohol is present in the mouth feel, but not in a bad way. Will cellar a couple of 4packs for sure.

Photo of alpinebryant
4.1/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

To start off, I am a sucker for strong ales. This beer is by no means an exception. Anybody who appreciates Samichlaus would love this beer although there is less sweetness and quite a bit more maltiness.

A: Dark clear copper color with a strong tan head. Light lacing

S: Deep roasty malts mixing with booze and caramel. Tons of sugar caramelization here. Plenty of bitterness.

T: Wow, nailed the American Strong Ale category. I was excited when I saw Otter Creek was releasing this and they did not let me down. Lots of toffee, booze, caramel and maltiness to go around. Very impressed to see this coming out of Otter Creek. The booze is strong, but with some age it will clear up and have more of the nutty flavors an ASA with age has. The hopping is also done pretty tastefully while not overdone to match the booze.

M: Light carbonation with a medium body.

O: color me impressed. Id drink it again. Throw some in the cellar this brew is a keeper. Collectively this beer comes together very nicely

Photo of TubaManJack
4.05/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A solid brew that needs a bit of time. I got a pair of four packs and the beer is just cooling off and evening out from the strange hop combo they started with.

It be honest I didn't like the beer when it first came out about 3 months ago. The beer now exhibits the creaminess and sweetness that I assumed the brewer was going for. Just give it some time and you will be rewarded.

Photo of threeviews
4.05/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured (at about cellar temperature) from a 12oz bottle into a mini-cocktail snifter

A- Poures a deep amber color with very minimal head which dissipates quickly. Booze laces the glass when the vessel is tilted.

S- Quite complex...starts out with sweet caramel, toffee and vanilla esters. As the brew warms, (pink) bubblegum is noticeable.

T- Sweet and a bit peppery. The booze is noticeable...reminiscent of a spirt like a bourbon or cognac.

M- Slick and boozy. Low-to-moderate carbonation allows this robust malt bill to linger for a few minutes. Earmarks of a true sipper.

O- Due to all of the negative reviews I have read thus far, I felt inspired to shed some positivity on this beer. This beer is good...excellent, as a matter of fact. I do, however, agree with the statements of this not being a good representation of an Alt Beer. Instead, I would categorize this libation as nothing other than a Strong Ale...and a very good one at that. I would suggest you reading the reviews of Long Trail's 'Triple Bag' which is classified on this website correctly (Strong Ale) and quite close to this brew. Please, don't let this one pass you up!

If a mighty malty beverage at 12% ABV is what you are looking for, you better pick some of this up before it disappears.

Photo of krasnoludek
4.05/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I bought a four-pack in late 2012, when it was already a year old and the last pack in the store. I drank them very sparingly and now, at the end of 2014, when it's 3 years old, I'm having the last bottle and writing the review.

Pours with little head and has a pleasant medium brown color. It was fairly opaque due to all the particulates floating around after the pour. They still hadn't settled after a minute. Scent is very toasty and malted, with a "tingly", yeasty sensation you get from freshly baked bread. Taste of toasted sesame, followed by a light caramel sweetness and a bitter finish. It's very particular, and my spouse hated it, but for me it's just the right mix of sweet and bitter. Alcohol content not noticeable in the taste.

Photo of Flounder57
4.05/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer was poured into an Allagash tulip glass.

Apperance: The beer poured a half finger head that has reduced to a thin layer. Carbonation is coming up the side of the glass. The beer is a nice red/brown/mohogany color and slight visibility through the beer.

Smell: bananas, molasses, boozy alcohol, dark fuits, and sweet caramel malts. Can't really notice the hops too much.

Taste: Same as above, but better. Alcohol is somewhat noticeable and up front, but the bananas, dark fruits, and caramel are all delicious. Booze probably could be more toned down if bottle aged. Too late now.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth and delicious. Not really too carbonated. Somewhat on the low to medium side for carbonation. Medium to full bodied.

Overall: This beer seems to be a stepped up version of their flagship copper ale that I have loved over the years. Will have to get my hands on a few bottles to store. The beer should smooth out more and become more malty with time. Will have to enjoy one in a year or two.

Photo of DrDemento456
4.02/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well I had to drink it eventually. Picked up a bottle at The Gateway Grill for $3.25 not bad for a massive old ale.

A - I poured hard to release any smells or flavors and got a half inch of opaque head atop of a hazy amber brown with sediment floaties throughout.

S - Actually quite impressed that there is not boozy notes in the smell. Dry cherries, figs, and caramel mostly. Smells kind of musky.

T - Pretty boozy but balanced as well. Drinks like a smooth sherry with a touch of wood and caramel flavors. Finish is sweet as well with a nice warming aspect.

M - Medium to heavy mouthfeel, not very creamy, but pretty smooth.

Overall this is actually quite good in fact very smooth without any age needed. May pick up a four pack since this is quite a good high gravity beer.

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.02/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium brown color. Smell is of grapes, figs, and a pretty strong alcohol smell. Taste is medium bodied, very boozy. Raisin flavors come in along with a nice dose of hops and a good dose of maltiness. Beer actually gets smoother as you drink it, alcohol kind of wears off. A nice sipper beer, a bit strong at 12% and not the best "high alcohol" beer I've had, but a nice effort and enjoyable brew.

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

Our group of 4 Beer Advocate members did a recent small bottle tasting of high alcohol brews.
Among the 12 brews tasted was; Otter Creek's 20th Anniversary American Strong Ale (Retired).
The 20th tied for our 8th highest average score of the 12 brews tasted at 4.06.

Photo of jtierney89
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, opaque, amber color. About a half inch of vanilla head is present but it recedes quickly to a thin lace. I got no expectations of this beer, I've never tried anything otter creek but I was attracted to the abv.

Smell is nothing but chocolate and caramel malts but it comes through nice and cleanly.

Fizzy and thick mouth feel. A ton of rich chocolate and caramel flavors. For such a high abv the sweetness is mellow and nice. Kind of drinks like a stout flavor wise. What's unique though is a mild hop presence on the back end to balance out the flavors. Both the malt and hops go together excellently. Some sweetness lingers in your mouth afterwards but it's not terrible.

I dont know why this doesnt have a higher rating. . It's suprising balanced and rich in flavor. I couldnt drink more than one at a sitting, but definately a good brew!

JUST TRIED THIS BEER AGAIN WITH A YEAR OF AGE ON IT:

Held up pretty nicely. Body lightens, becomes very champagne like, flavors mellowed. Slight sweetness but an odd bitterness that might come from the now more prevalent alcohol. Starting to drink like a sherry but a good one, if you have one have it with a meal, its pairing awesome with some salty pork right now

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

Nice celebratory brew, sweet, fruity, a bit compact but nicely rounded.

Presentation: 12 oz brown capped bottle. Simple and elegant black and copper label highlighting name of brew and branding. Brief side and neck notes with history of the brewery, occasion, and intent (Boxed 4 pack offered a longer narrative about the characteristics of the brew and celebration). Shows 12% Alc. by Vol. Served in a snifter.

A - Deep amber brown pour with a creamy head fair retention and surface memory, and some nice touches of lacing.

S -Sweet caramel range, honey, touch of pecans and dates, soft spiced hop in the second layer… Sweet all in all but rather nice and the smells shines from bottle compared to the cold tap…

T - Similar rhythm from the bottle… Early sweet notes finish on a bitter sweet touch… Caramel, honey, dates… and a dash of a herbal bitter hop in the end.

M - Medium-full body with moderate tingly carbonation, creamy and syrupy flow with alcohol providing a nice warmth in the finish.

O - Sure enough, maybe a tad rough around the edges but a nice sipper and potentially a nice brew to cellar.

Notes: Not so much hot at this point but with a lingering tingly even spicy hop in the tongue once it is done… Still a rather sweet brew, best suited for dessert, night-cap kind of thing… Despite the controversy from the style branding I wonder what were the general expectations. It is quite approachable now if one know what the range is going to be like, and with some time on it this has potential to age very graciously. (And btw, given quality-abv and all else surrounding it, the price-quality ratio of this four-pack is pretty nice…)

Photo of jeremy13586
3.98/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

3080091211bottle code. Poured in to a pint glass.

Hazy and translucent copper color. Left behind a one finger tan head that vanished into a thin layer of foam rather quickly. Didn't leave any lacing.

Sweet malt and caramel. Some dark fruits. Not too much going on in the nose.

Malt hits you up front, followed by some caramel and toffee. There is a subtle taste of orange peel and cream. It's rounded out with some sharp bitter hops and some minor booze.

Smooth, but a little bit syrupy. Medium bodied and finishes pretty clean with a bit of alcohol warmth.

The beer took on more fruity tones as it warmed, which made it very interesting. The alcohol became more apparent as well with a little bir of warmth, but it didn't get super hot or anything. A very awesome brew that I might have to try and seek out.

Photo of pisano
3.97/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into tulip glass

a: pours a deep orange brown/dark caramel color with little to no head and some spotty lacing on the glass

s: caramel, dark raisins/prunes, brown sugar, some spices, slight booze

t: malty sweetness, dark fruits, the sweetness is well balanced by the hop bitterness. some dark bready notes on the finish. alcohol is well-hidden for a 12 percenter

m: medium body, moderate carbonation, a bit of alcohol burn at the back of the throat, as to be expected

o: this is my first time having this one and i really like it. thankfully i was able to get a four pack and i'm anxious to see how the other three do over time.

Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.97/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a plain tumbler pint at Wood-n-Tap in Southington, Conn.

A: Reddish, cloudy bronze color with a thin cap of bone-white foam which hung around a good while before leaving a thin veil of off-white lacing.

S: Fruity, spicy and herbal, with hints of smoked meats, chocolate and a litany of zesty, candied and dried raisin aromas.

T: Sweet, boozy doses of caramel and toffee malts rush over the front of the palate, ushering in a spicy, hoppy and biting fruity esters. The phenol flavors crash with ripened berries, figs, plums raisin and candied citrus rinds. The finish is almost sugary-sweet, hot and boozy with some lingering, spicy booziness.

M: Rich, full-bodied with an almost chewy malt profile, this brew is a sipper and one to warm you up on a cool, early spring evening.

O: Otter Creek celebrates 20 years in style with this 12% ABV monster of an American Strong ale. Blurring the lines between malty double IPA and super fruity barleywine, this sipper has something for everybody. As long as everybody like robust, complex and dank strong ales.

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.96/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark bourbon brown with a thin Georgia clay colored head. Foam is quick to flee and doesn't but up much of a foamy fight.

Smells like chocolate muffin, vanilla, fig and some restrained alcoholic allure. Fruity hard candy comes forth as it warms up.

Taste is appropriately complex for a 12% strong ale. Lots of chocolate. Contrary to other reviews I've read I found the booziness appropriately warming and not detrimental. As it warms some neutral hops emerge with fruit basket esters.

A beautifully complex and immersive beer. One of those beers that the sum of it's parts is greater than any particular thing I can pick out. Exactly what I'm in the mood for this snowy Saturday.

Photo of Bierman9
3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a 4-pack of this today at Ayotte's ($10.49) and am draining 2 of them now, after a bit of snow-shovelling.

I poured the first 12-oz bottle into an imperial nonic. The color is a deep copper, with an ever-so-slight bit of haze from a touch of bottle sediment. Carbo is scattered far and wide, a few bubbles slithering through the brew. The head is a light beige hue, very fine bubbles clinging to the glass edge. There's a bit o' lace, but not much. The aroma has some toffee and caramel, with intimations of rum-soaked brown bread. The body is a solid medium-plus, and it feels like satin as it traverses the tongue.

The flavor also exhibits toffee, with some toasty grains and caramelization. Importantly, it is quite "hot", without a doubt. There are suggestions of dark fruit here, and the overall impression is, like the aroma, of a rummy fruit-cake or brown bread. Some hopping is present, and the florality is a welcome diversion from the malty sweetness. If it wasn't so hot the drinkability might be higher. All in all, it's pretty good, but could probably use a bit of aging. Two gone today; the other two somewhere well down the road. Prosit!!

3.95/5 rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

1432

Photo of templar316
3.92/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep rich cloudy amber, thin head no lace. Smells of lovely caramel malt, cinamon and candied fruit. This has really aged well; wish I would have kept more for next year. The alcohol burn is 25% and deep malt flavors bounce back and forth across the tongue with each sip. Still a bit of burn at the end. But a great coming of age beer...

Photo of jjboesen
3.91/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter, this heavy hitter is dark ruby red, impervious to natural light, and completely foreboding in appearance. The body is still and deep - no carbonation; it is crowned with a thin vanilla crown.

The nose is inundated with subtle whiffs of bubble gum, honey and wax; the palate is overwhelmed by intense maltiness supplemented by the aforementioned honey. The body is rather syrupy and sweet. A deceptive beer, this one lures in the victim with a taste of honey until a harsh blast of alcohol arrives to finish them off.

Certainly not a session beer as I can see how difficult it would be to quaff more than one. In any case, Happy Anniversary Otter Creek!

Photo of Billolick
3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle purchased a month ago in Vermont (Pearl st. Burlington)

Pours: super clear, glowing, auburn tinged darker honey. Medium tan head, frothy and loose, better then decent retention, very slowly going to a loose and blotchy film, thin collar and a moderate amount of bits of fine lace.

Nose: heavy caramel

Taste: sweet, caramel malty, smokey, with some peat, tastes similar to a nice smooth glass of single malt scotch.

Mouthfeel: smooth and pleasing on the tongue and flowing around the mouth

overall: After reading the earlier reviews I was expecting an overheated, young and alcohol laced brew...maybe a month or two in the bottle, has been enough or to cool this one down a bit. I found it to be a strong, bold, flavorful and pleasant sipper/night capper type of brew. Probably will continue to improve/soften/mellow with some more age in the bottle, but drinking quite well right now IMHO

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Otter Creek 20th Anniversary Ale from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
82 out of 100 based on 193 ratings.