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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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187 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 187
Reviews: 90
rAvg: 3.6
pDev: 16.67%
Wants: 2
Gots: 28 | FT: 2
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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

55 IBU

(Beer added by: Brad007 on 09-24-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 187 | Reviews: 90 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of morebeergood
3/5  rDev -16.7%

morebeergood, Nov 22, 2011
Photo of jjcote
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

jjcote, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of kaelingirl
4/5  rDev +11.1%

kaelingirl, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of bacher468
3/5  rDev -16.7%

bacher468, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of richbrew
4/5  rDev +11.1%

richbrew, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of DrinkingDrake
2.73/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Dark golden brown that has a reddish hue when held up to the light. Thin layer of bubbly head. Retention is short. Dark fruits and rich toasty caramel malts. Alcohol is present as well. No real hop aroma. Syrupy mouthfeel. Raisins and burnt caramel. Bitter earthy hop kick in the middle and finish. Malty, medicinal cherry/grape finish that drys out pretty hard. There is also a layer of metallic sourness but it is very light. The regular copper is good this version of it not so much.

DrinkingDrake, Nov 13, 2011
Photo of puboflyons
4.25/5  rDev +18.1%
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.

puboflyons, Nov 11, 2011
Photo of GarthDanielson
3.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a four-pack from the local bottle shop. The guy there suggested cellaring might be successful with this brew, so I'm going to give that a try. That being said, I cracked one to try fresh. The beer pours without the slightest trace of head. The brew is a deep, vibrant auburn-copper color, with a slight hazing. It's almost black in the depths. Aromas are light, with a definite boozey backbone, and some caramel sweetness with a roasted highlight. Mostly booze in the nose, though. The beer is oily slick in mouth, with a heavy booze presence that is almost astringent as it clears the palate. There is a deep, dark sugary, syrupy flavor throughout, with some dark, old world fruit highlights. Extremely rich flavors on a slick, rich, full body that leaves a tangy sweet, slightly booze astringent aftertaste that leads to a lingering, almost cloying finish. Strong brew, and it will be interesting to see how it does age. As for fresh, served at cellar temperature, it's not a bad brew at all.

GarthDanielson, Nov 08, 2011
Photo of Rifugium
3.6/5  rDev 0%
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.

Rifugium, Nov 07, 2011
Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
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.

Sammy, Nov 07, 2011
Photo of greenengineer
4.53/5  rDev +25.8%
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.

greenengineer, Nov 06, 2011
Photo of smcolw
3.7/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

smcolw, Nov 06, 2011
Photo of Billolick
3.9/5  rDev +8.3%
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

Billolick, Nov 06, 2011
Photo of SawDog505
3.25/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into 13 oz tulip. Pours a reddish brown, with a one inch off white head, with a very aggressive pour. Solid lacing. Smell is very bready, carmel, dark fruit, some wood,and booze. Taste is all that, with some candy apple in the finish. Body is medium, to heavy. Light carbonation and not the easiest drinking. It is't bad, just not my favorite flavors.

SawDog505, Nov 06, 2011
Photo of Gobigvt7
3.9/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from Grape & Gourmet in VB, VA.

rich mahogany color with a light, thin head. No legs to speak of.

very light aroma, slight malt and yeast and not a lot else.

a boozy malt bomb, for sure, with a nice fruity character also. This is apparently an homage to their copper ale and it seems a fitting one. Toffee, hazelnuts, caramel, brown sugar. Slight bitterness on the finish, a very welcome resolve.

hot and sticky, coats the mouth. a sipper, for sure. Don't mind it.

Really surprised by how much I like this beer. Almost like an imperial dopplebock in flavor. The perfect amount of sweetness. A great balance of nutty, malty flavors. Bravo!

Gobigvt7, Nov 06, 2011
Photo of kennylopez
3.7/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: a dark red copper color that is dark and slightly hazy. pours a finger thick head that fades to nothing and leaves the smallest amounts of lacing as I drink it.

Smells: I smell kind of a caramel and candied plum sweetness through the thick malt backbone.

Tastes: not as sweet as the nose insisted but there is a cherry and plum hint behind the upfront malt characteristics that are bold and assertive over everything else. I do taste the hops, but they are more relevant in the middle and end while staying subtle.

Mouthfeel: the 12% does leave a burn, but it is a fresh ale and should mellow as they sit. Although there wasn't much lasting head as I drink it the carbonation comes back to life in my mouth.

overall: this is a flavor packed brew. I enjoyed it fresh and look forward to seeing what some time will do to them.

kennylopez, Nov 05, 2011
Photo of gabedivision
3.9/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured At Conlon's in South Buffalo.

Pours a deep reddish brown, dark chestnut color, with little to no head retention after the initial pour. Smells of deep Malt, brown sugar, slight toffee and chocolate notes. The taste is big on the malt, brown sugar, chocolate, vanilla, cherries, very sweet and tasty. This beer is intensely complex for an Altbier, lots of nice flavors floating around. Full bodied and rich on the feel. Overall this beer is great, very subtle 12% abv, was expecting more aggressive booze but not the case, very drinkable glad i had a chance to enjoy it.

gabedivision, Nov 04, 2011
Photo of Viciousknishs
3.18/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a deep copper with half a finger of light tan head. Poor head retention with no lacing.

S- Oy this is a messy brew. Starts out with a doughy bready malt aroma with notes of dark fruit that brings to mind fig and date. Big spicy phenolic alchohol soon takes over and dominates the aroma.

T- Booze soaked dark fruit with a raisin characteristic at first. Doughy rum cake like maltiness in the middle. Finish is a very disjointed hot alchohol with a touch of gritty grain.

MF- sticky syrupy mouthfeel with a medium body and light carbonation.

D- low drinkability.

Overall a very disjointed hot brew that I think with a couple of years in the cellar could become something delicious.

Viciousknishs, Nov 04, 2011
Photo of benbking
3.28/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I am a big fan of the Otter Creek Copper Ale, so I was very curious about this one.
I bought a 4 pack and came home and read reviews. Then I put the 4 pack away. And now I've learned a little more.
This beer needs some age, and I expect spectacular results. I'm planning to put away two additional 4 packs. A one year and a two year cellar.
Coming out of the bottle it looks great, deep amber color and a strong malt smell that you would expect from a 12%.
As others have noted, it's a little thick in the mouthfeel. I hope this improves with age.
The taste: it's too jumbled up. There's malt, fruit, and wheat.
I get a bit of a boozy kick in the swallow, I also hope that mellows with age.
Overall, age this one. If you enjoy the regular Copper Ale, I think you'll appreciate what this could be in time.
Fresh out of the bottle, it's some weird half diamond half coal creation. I will report back at a later date.
I'm still drinking it now, out of a 16 oz pint glass. I've been working on it for about half an hour. I'm excited for the future, but couldn't recommend currently. Hope this helps you out.

benbking, Nov 02, 2011
Photo of steve8robin
3.35/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Now this one sounded interesting, so I'd figure it's worth a try. 12oz bottle...

A: A nice clear super deep ruby red with a 1 inch tan head that fades at a decent pace. The head retention is surprising for the ABV %. Very good.

S: I get some very sweet sugary malts upfront with not much else. Nothing special.

T: I get a wheat blast upfront quickly followed by a bitter hop and then overcome quickly by an alcohol burn. A lingering rye taste on the palate. The flavors happen so fast that it's hard to pinpoint. Decent.

M: Medium body with a good carbonation. A dry finish. Decent.

O: All in all, this beer is ok. It's not really anything special. The aroma is very subdued so it's hard to pull anything from that. Plus, the lack of flavors makes the 12% ABV very hard to hide. It's definitely very evident. Good to try if you want something strong.

steve8robin, Nov 02, 2011
Photo of jzeilinger
3.4/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a copper chestnut color with a thick lacing ring around the top and mildy sluggish carbonation.

S - Candy rum, dark fruit of raisons, dates, figs, and doughy with boozey effervescence, high octane like this is pretty hard to hide.

T - Up front it kisses the tongue with sweet doughy malt sweetness, some dark fruit, and immediately followed with a noticeable pine and grapefruit bitterness. The hops stick around to the end keeping the massive amount of malts in check. Midway when the sweetness and bitterness collide, they eventually blend to end the sip with a very healthy dose of rum/bourbon effervescence and a wall of heat. As I work through the bottle, my throat gradually adjusts to the heat and it becomes much less noticeable.

M - Thick, creamy, and velvet smooth on the tongue, lip smacking sticky, and heavy, I don't know what more I can say.

O - This is a serious beer from Otter Creek, it's nice to see "they have it in 'em" to brew such a big monster. It's young at this point which explains the edgy and green harshness which is why I will be going back to the same bottle shop tomorrow to buy a few more and stash them away in my cellar to see how they mature. At 12%, this puppy needs to be laid down for awhile. It's a butt kicker that is best sipped from a snifter. I need to educate myself more on the Alt Bier style because this one reminds me more of an American Strong Ale and perhaps flirting with Barleywine.

jzeilinger, Oct 31, 2011
Photo of jtierney89
4/5  rDev +11.1%
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!


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

jtierney89, Oct 31, 2011
Photo of Cylinsier
3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz.

Pours a deep dark brown with a cherry hue when held to light. Yellowish head at about a half inch, dissipates to a film and holds there.

Smells of oak, cherries, caramel and cloves.

Tastes of rich caramel and apple sweetness along with some bready notes and some cinnamon spice. Extremely mild hop resin only becomes apparent after a few sips.

Feels medium-bodied, a bit syrupy, with a slight tingle of carbonation and both an alcohol bite and a bit of warming going down.

Overall an enjoyable strong ale, good for sipping and enjoying slowly, loses a bit in the body for me. Also, the different flavors in the taste don't quite mesh. But these are small complaints. Definitely worth trying once.

Cylinsier, Oct 31, 2011
Photo of kingcrowing
3.38/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap poured into a pint glass.

Pours a muddy dirty brown, almost no head, no lacing, and it's just an odd color. Nose is malty, slightly boozy boozy, and that's it.

Taste is complex, caramel and dark chewy molasses, it has a full creamy Mouthfeel and a sharp finish. Hard to describe but still good!

kingcrowing, Oct 29, 2011
Photo of jondeelee
4.28/5  rDev +18.9%
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.

jondeelee, Oct 28, 2011
Otter Creek 20th Anniversary Ale from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
82 out of 100 based on 187 ratings.