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

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

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191 Ratings
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Ratings: 191
Reviews: 91
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 16.34%
Wants: 3
Gots: 29 | FT: 1
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: 191 | Reviews: 91 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brown body with thick head. Malty and boozy aroma. Fuller mouthfeel, a sipper. Toffee-ish, hop bitterness comes through in finish. A spot of fruit. A little like an old ale, though at 12% I would call an American strong, although can accept it being called a barleywine.

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -3%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Texasfan549
3.5/5  rDev -3%

Photo of kjkinsey
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of metter98
3.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is a very hazy caramel brown in color. It poured with a half finger high beige head that gradually died down but consistently left a thick ring of large bubbles around the edge of the glass and a film of bubbles in the center.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of brown sugar and caramel in the nose along with hints of fruit.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has additional notes of toffee. There is lots of malty sweetness in the initial taste along with some hints of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels full-bodied and a bit boozy on the palate with a low to moderate amount of carbonation along with warming from the alcohol.
O: This beer definitely tastes strong, but the alcohol is relatively well hidden from the taste. However, it’s a slow sipper due to all of the malty sweetness.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.45/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Intense maltiness and alcohol heat set the stage for Otter Creek's 20th Anniversary- this is not exactly a session ale.

Pouring a dark and viscous hue, the beer takes on Barleywine proportions with a rich, velvety look, low-lying carbonation and thin, fleeting head of creamy tan traces. No lacing further reinforces an English-like heavily malted ale- except for the exceptionally dark and opaque brown color.

Very strong aromas of molasses, deeply caramelized malt (nearly Scottish in depth and complexity), booze soaked fruits, and chocolate all supply the focused and at times, simplified nose. Complex alcohol and fruit notes rise as the beer warms. The beer just smells boozy.

Rich toffee, molasses, chocolate, and burnt caramel flavors set the tone and provide the malt-forward balance. A rebuttal from cherry and berry esters begin the transition toward minty and grassy hops for a mild offset of sweetness and a slightly complex herbal tone. Mild chocolates and woods begin to rise as the palate acclimates to the alcohol finish of non-descript booze. Again, simplified in its recipe formulation, the beer gets the supple complexities from the sheer enormity of the beer.

Full bodied, largely due to heightened malt development and unresolved malt sweetness, the beer carries its viscous nature deep into the finish where alcohol closes with a hot and spicy aftertaste and with little challenge from hop bitterness.

Otter Creek's 20th Anniversary ale reminds me a lot of New Holland's Dragon's Milk where flavors of bourbon ball candies abound. But here, the toffee flavors surpass the chocolate tones and the alcohol seems of booze rather than bourbon. A very rich ale that departs from Strong American Ales of Stone and Great Lakes.

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 JAHMUR
2.5/5  rDev -30.7%

Photo of nickfl
3.81/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - pours with one finger of off white foam on a slightly hazy, reddish brown body. The head fades slowly and leaves thick lace.

S - toffee, brown sugar, and some raisins.

T - raisins and brown sugar up front with a bit of clove and pepper in the middle. Finishes with more dark sugar and some spicy alcohol as well as a hint of mustardy hops and hostage bitterness.

M - a thick body, moderately low carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - lots of dark, complex sugar but it is a bit disjointed in the end. I could see this improving vastly with age, but at this point it definitely hasn't realized its full potential.

Photo of jlindros
3.32/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours a small fizzy head that fades quickly doesn't even reach a finger and no lacing, dark murky brownish caramel burnt sienna color.

Nose has fruits, light apple, fig, date, brown sugar encrusted raisin, molasses, candied apple, caramel, candi sugar, all the sweeteners balance out the hint of booze that also comes through. Light esters, and brown malts round it off.

Taste starts with some warming and tingly booze, sweetness again with lots of brown sugar, molasses, candi sugar, toffee, cola sugar, etc. some fruits, apple, raisin, fig, etc, with an estery flavor. Then bitterness comes through, with a light earthy hop and some dark malt roast flavor, also a light soy sauce briny bitterness and tannins galore that really clashes with the bitterness and sweetness and it becomes a mess. Finishes with more of the bitter boozy briny sweet mess, sticky, more earthy hops and the briny bitterness almost make it astringent.

Mouth is med to a bit heavier bodied, decent carb, quite a bit of booze.

Overall starts nice but finishes a mess. Booze is a bit too big, sweet, astringent bitterness, briny charred malt, all those flavors taste like theyre at war with each other and my taste buds are on the losing end.

Photo of Slatetank
3.15/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had this on tap at the Batdorf, served chilled in a pint. Allowed to warm gradually in a tulip.

the color is murky copper with an opaque clarity and thick two finger cap of tan with tight bead and copious lace. the smell is candy like with a toasty caramel hint and slight malted milk odor with slight alcohol aroma. The feel is thick, viscous and mildly carbed with moderately sweet feel and slightly cloying finish the carbonation below what I prefer.

the taste has a very light flavor besides the caramel malt with mild toasted grain and subtle creamy taste which is lightly lactose w/ that dry milk note that I find odd. the subtle biscuit note is ok with the gentle yeasty tinge in the finish with a lot more alcohol than I like in the flavor. There is a gentle malt presence but it lacks depth beside the creamy flavor as it finishes. This was a dissapointment based on my experience with other Otter Creek products. It was just passable and pretty basic as far as the style goes, not that drinkable.

Photo of DrunkinYogi
3.5/5  rDev -3%

Photo of Rifugium
3.62/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Capone's, Norristown, PA

I was a bit confused by this one. BA calls it an altbier, the list at Capone's called it an "imperial copper ale," but when it was poured and presented to me, it appeared and smelled like a coffee stout, and tasted altogether different, more like an old ale or barleywine. Actually, I asked the bartender if she had poured me the correct beer, and another gentleman at the bar did the same about a half hour later. So I guess this one is up to the individual's experience.

Poured a dark black with mahogany highlights around the edges, only when head up to the light. No head whatsoever. Nary a bubble to be seen anywhere. Smell rich with dark malts, coffee, and a bit booze-laden, notes of caramel and peat. Taste was definitely closer to a Scotch ale or barleywine--enough so to make my wife squint in disgust when she sampled it. Malty, roasty, caramely, cocoa and some coffee notes, but not nearly as pronounced as was in the aroma. Somewhat smokey, with tinges of dark, bourbon-soaked fruits. Heavy-medium mouthfeel, and good, but not exceptionally drinkable. I'm still a bit baffled as to what this really was....but it wasn't an altbier, that's for sure.

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 smcolw
3.67/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Little head that dies almost immediately to only rim bubbles. Deep brown amber color. Light passes easily; appears clear.

Darker caramel aroma, lightly sweet. Notable alcohol nose.

I would not call this an Altbier. The alcohol is huge--definitely a Barley Wine. There's a powerful dollop of hop bitterness. The beer is dryer than the smell suggests. The aftertaste is similar to a malt whiskey with a touch of white pepper. Almost oily in the mouthfeel.

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

Photo of Huhzubendah
2.79/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle gifted by jayhawk73. Thanks Jeff.

The beer appears copper hued, displaying an inch and a half of dense, khaki colored head. Excellent lacing and retention. The aroma brings alcohol, malt, honey, fruity esters, spice. The flavor is sweet and strong, with prominent alcohol throughout. Fruity, boozy, raisins, dates, and just overbearing. These days, there are many fine examples of barleywine and strong ale, with high alcohol content gracefully integrated into the flavor profile. Unfortunately, this is not such a beer. It's a bit harsh and way too sweet. This is a headache in the making. I think I'll quit while I'm ahead. Not a repeat for me.

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.2/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Otter Creek 20th Anniversary Ale

Pours a hazed amber color, off white head and little in the way of lace. Aromas of fruit, some brown sugar and alcohol. In the taste, cherry, light malts and candy sugar are all prominent. Very light hops and little bitterness. A Belgian yeast strain was probably used, as there are fruity esters and some spicy alcohol. Mouthfeel was medium to full bodied, very smooth with a clean finish. Overall, did not realize this beer was so strong until it was half gone. Hides the booze like Capone, but still lacking.

Photo of jdhilt
3.76/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a three finger dark cream head that fades very slowly leaving a good lace. Opaque amber/brown color. Good carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Alcohol nose and flavor is sweet vinegar and alcohol, lingering alcohol aftertaste. $3.45 for a 12oz bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

Photo of BillRoth
4/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of Kelp
3/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of ppoitras
2.78/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

129oz bottle purchased as a single from somewhere localish probably.

Poured into a small Mayflower nonic, formed a 1/4" tan head over the slightly cloudy orangey brown brew. Thick skim of a head lasts well, with leggy, slow-falling lace. Aroma is sweet and strongly alcoholic.

Taste starts syrupy sweet, fruity in the middle, then bitterness and strong tannins take us to the close. Aftertaste and alcohol burn not particularly enjoyable. Mouthfeel is soft over the tongue, but then the tannins and booze rip off your tastebuds, and as such, drinkability is not so great. Not much of an anniversary party here in my mind.

Photo of Latarnik
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of beerthulhu
3.67/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: A dense burgundy red shows some chunky particulate yeasty matter floating about. A bronze-tan head is slight and frothy, with a low to moderate retention rate. Some spotty speckled lacing adheres to the glass.

S: Dark fruit of plums and prunes with some boozy sweet caramelization with spicy herbal notes of tarragon and parsley. Some sweet figs are also well noted here.

T: The flavor was lighly boozy, not as strong as the 12.0% you would think, the sweetness hides most indication. Some plums and cocoa and again spicy herbal notes of tarragon are evident along with the sweet sugary figs.

M: The mouthful had a gentle warming of sweet dried boozy fruit with a syrupy texture and an average rate of carbonation.

O: Overall the alcohol is very managable here hidden behind its malt sweetness and sweetened dark fruit. Good mid range offering.

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Otter Creek 20th Anniversary Ale from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
82 out of 100 based on 191 ratings.