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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

191 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
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 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!


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 Cylinsier
3.6/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.34/5  rDev -7.5%
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!

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 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 redleaves
2.45/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Looks good, no head, rather thick. Nice color though. Smell is alright, sweet and malty. Not alt at all though. The sip is thick and cloying. Like I'm drinking pure malt extract. Then a bitter from a hop that doesn't belong here. Completely wrong hop, whichever one they used, it does not complement. Overall not good took a good hour to make it through the glass. This is not an alt, this is a nasty attempt at a quad by a company who makes alts. Not recommended and it rare that I not like a beer this much.

Photo of Bendurgin
2.44/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a pint glass. Pours a slightly hazy caramel brown with about a finger of biege head. A little bit of runny soapy lace.

Really just smells like candy such as Pez. Maybe some fouride. Perfumy and somewhat floral but this just has a sweet aroma; but not really a pleasant sweet. I'm actually a little bit afraid to taste this. Caramel malts on the pallet but I can't shake that fake sugar flavor here. A little bit of a brown sugar and raisin flavor here.

Medium body with good carbonation here. Overall a little dissapointed here. This one is just a little to sweet in the wrong ways.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.03/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled 9/13/11.
In a pilsner glass this beer was a mohogany color with a small tan head and a little lace. It had a viscous appearance.

Aroma of dark fruit and caramel. Very sweet. Alcohol noticeable. Very hot.

Toffee and caramel taste. Raisins. Booze.

Not bad, will probably age . A little too sweet and a little too hot.

Photo of BigPlay1824
2.96/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Enjoyed in a mug

A: pours a nice thick medium brown with a slight reddish tint to it, pours with a finger of head that dissipates immediately and leaves almost no lacing
S: smoked wood, slight caramel and maybe a bit of liccorice
T: interesting taste, begins with a bit of woodsy notes and whiskey, slight liccorice in the middle, leaves with a bit of gentle whiskey
M: gentle carbonation tingle, thick on the pallet, leaves a slight alcohol burn at the end
O: a decent brew, a bit complex and almost too much so to dicern any flavors, nice but just too much to get again

Photo of BeerImmediately
3.4/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a very short, and quickly fading off-white head over a deep, dark maroon body.

Aromas are pretty faint for the ABV. Rich, mulled spices and dark fruit - not dissimilar to a BSDA.

Comes through fairly thick, as expected, but not Impy Stout like. Flavors carry a dull syrup, charred caramel, tree bark bitterness, faint bittersweet chocolate, and oatmeal. Nearly all malt, as it should be. Did not notice the alchohol, though, so points for that.

Mouthfeel is very chewy, sticky and cloying. Leaves a film on the tongue.

Sure, it's not representative of the style, cause it's as Imperial as you can get. Good for them for going deep on their 20th. After all, who DOES an Impy Alt? Good for you Otter Creek.

Photo of LtCracker20
3.28/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a deep brownish copper body with a good 2-fingers of an off white head that shows good retention, but little lace.

S- A little buttery, pretty sweet, some huskiness, slight alchohol/grainy aroma.

T- Pretty damn sweet, but just a touch below over-powering. A slight touch of the 12%, but nothing overwhelming. The grainy/husky flavor is in the finish.

MF- A little on the thicker side. I can't even call it heavy bodied, but it's definately thick.

O- Not sure what exactly they were going for here, but it doesn't really fit an altbier style. Not saying it's bad, cause it's not, just not sure what it wanted to be: An "extreme" alt, or just their copper ale juiced up.

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 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 jmerloni
1.79/5  rDev -50.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

A - An impressive, thick pour. Dark copper, rich and vibrant looking with ridiculous off-white head.

S - Very fruity, smells fairly tart.

T - Oh my lord, I didn't expect a disaster like this. Unbelievably sweet; almost tastes candied or pralined. Maple'ish tasting dried fruits. Sip comes totally apart as you swallow it.

M - Thick like imitation maple syrup. The sip totally collapses as you swallow it into a mess of sweetness that has the body of flat pepsi. This is one of the worst things I've ever encountered.

D - Awful. Wouldn't ever get this again and I would stop others from buying it if I ever saw that they were in the store. Atrocious.

Photo of johnnnniee
3.27/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a deep reddish copper color with a stingy beige head that dissipates almost instantly. Very lackluster aroma. Smells like caramel, brown sugar, butter, and rubbing alcohol. This is going to be harsh. Wow, yeah, this one tastes just like it smells. Caramel dark sugar and a hint of dark fruit hit up front then the ethanol comes at you in spades. I can feel the alcohol start to burn on my tongue then I can trace it's route into my stomach. Surprisingly light body and carbonation level with a sweet paint thinner mouthfeel. This one is harsh like someone spiked a beer with vodka, I wish I hadn't bought the 4 pack.

Reddish copper color with a quickly disappearing head. Aromas of caramel brown and burnt sugars, lots of apricots and cherries with a faint alcoholic nose. The flavor is sweet with lots of fruity sugars and a present warming alcohol note. Medium body light level of carbonation and a sweet almost sticky mouthfeel. Aged has done this beer some good, the alcohol is not nearly as overpowering and now simply provides a nice warming. The beer feels like a triple with some caramelized sugars added, its an odd beer that I enjoyed a little tonight.

Photo of Brad007
3.87/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had heard the buzz about this ale from my friend, a Middlebury native and dedicated fan of Otter Creek Brewing. This beer is now available in 4 packs.

Pours a reddish brown color with a thin head into my glass. Not the similarities between it and Copper Ale (of which it is based off of).

Sweet, chewy malt greets the nose followed by a bit of alcoholic heat. It is a young beer after all.

Alcohol burn persists in the mouthfeel followed by sweet, chewy malt.

What we have here is a solid beer. What we need is to age it in order to allow the true flavors to supersede the alcoholic heat. I would recommend doing so.

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