Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

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
81
good

91 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 91
Hads: 195
rAvg: 3.55
pDev: 13.52%
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 91 | Hads: 195
Photo of nickfl
3.81/5  rDev +7.3%
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. (619 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.35/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to korguy123 for this beer!
Bottle code 3080091311. Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Poured a dark copper colour. Murky. Opaque. Only a ring of white head formed around the edges of the glass.

S - Bready malts, toffee, dark fruit and dark caramel. A touch of chocolate and a noticeable alcohol aroma are present in the background.

T - Sweet bready malts, toffee and caramel with a huge alcohol presence. The background has some dark fruit and brown sugar flavours but they are buried beneath the alcohol burn that seems to intensify with ever sip. I think this one needs to age a little.

M - Medium body with a big chew. Light to moderate carbonation.

O - Would be interesting to age one of these for a few years but not very pleasant fresh. (754 characters)

Photo of rwrk42
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour: Dark caramel color. Looks like apple cider. Light head
Smell: Caramel, malts and some faint fruit smell similar like raisins
Taste: Very malty, caramel and hints of raisin type flavor. Alcohol taste is strong. Mild hop bitterness.
A very strong ale. A bit too strong in flavor. Wonder if this would do better with age. (324 characters)

Photo of schoolboy
3.57/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Wow. This is about what I thought it might be, and more. Way too nasty strong. They must have used an insane amount of malt for this.

As this sits in my glass, it is barely drinkable. Oddly enough, I will buy more of this not bery good brew, so I can sit it in my aging bin for a year and see if it is any better. This definitely should not be consumed the way it is. (368 characters)

Photo of DrJay
3.63/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear tawny colour with coppery highlights. A rocky collar formed after the pour, along with a skim of fine beige bubbles. A bit of streaky lacing early on. Caramel aroma, ripe fruit, bread, alcohol. Caramel and brown sugar flavour, bready, plenty of alcohol starting mid-palate that lingered, fruity. Bitterness was apparent just beneath the sweetness. As it warmed, there was a slight floral character, a bit rose like, in the aroma and flavour. Full bodied with lowish carbonation, alcohol warmth that was a little on the hot side, slightly sticky. Overall, I enjoyed it -- it had an old ale vibe that was pretty decent. (623 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
2.79/5  rDev -21.4%
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. (654 characters)

Photo of jayhawk73
3.18/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark auburn/brown color w/ only a sliver of an off white head. Minimal lacing appears on my snifter glass. This beer has nice copper highlights when held to the light. I mainly get caramel, some toffee, orange, and some mild hops in the background. Maybe a little honey in there too. Not bad, but it's a little on the weak side. I'd also like a little more malt in there. The taste isn't as good as the nose (even though I scored them the same). You still get caramel and honey, some slight hops and maybe a hint of coffee in the taste. This beer is pretty dry though- way more than I'd like for this style. 12% alcohol makes its presence known just a tad on the aftertaste. Overall, this is a decent brew, but there are better beers in the style. Cheers. (763 characters)

Photo of HopsYeast
3.74/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-pours a half finger head that slowly fads to a very thin layer. Has decent amount of lacing. Body is dark bronze to an almost mahogany color. Semi cloudy body.

S-black cherries, malt and an almost buttery aroma. Caramel. There is a pleasant hop smell that mixes with the subtle alcohol notes near the end. Also smell granny smith apples and burnt sugar.

T-nice dose of hops up front that hits and then fads right away. Maltiness with a doughy flavor like that of raw dough. Lingering notes of dark fruit like the skin of a purple plum, and then a sour but pleasant alcohol taste that warms the chest in the end.

M-nice mouthfeel with little to no carbonation. Very heavy body like that of a scotch, almost syrup like. Sticks to the tongue and weighs down on the palate after each swallow.

O-I like this beer but the abv is very noticeable. It is definitely a sipper and something I can drink in front of a fire during a blizzard. (939 characters)

Photo of Flounder57
4.05/5  rDev +14.1%
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. (1,010 characters)

Photo of DrinkingDrake
2.75/5  rDev -22.5%
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. (486 characters)

Photo of puboflyons
4.24/5  rDev +19.4%
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. (731 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.43/5  rDev -3.4%
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. (1,004 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
3.62/5  rDev +2%
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. (1,209 characters)

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. (278 characters)

Photo of greenengineer
4.45/5  rDev +25.4%
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. (660 characters)

Photo of smcolw
3.67/5  rDev +3.4%
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. (455 characters)

Photo of Billolick
3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
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 (909 characters)

Photo of SawDog505
3.28/5  rDev -7.6%
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. (358 characters)

Photo of Gobigvt7
3.86/5  rDev +8.7%
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! (660 characters)

Photo of kennylopez
3.67/5  rDev +3.4%
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. (884 characters)

Photo of gabedivision
3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
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. (578 characters)

Photo of Viciousknishs
3.18/5  rDev -10.4%
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. (693 characters)

Photo of benbking
3.28/5  rDev -7.6%
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. (1,105 characters)

Photo of steve8robin
3.32/5  rDev -6.5%
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. (855 characters)

Photo of jzeilinger
3.37/5  rDev -5.1%
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. (1,449 characters)

Otter Creek 20th Anniversary Ale from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
81 out of 100 based on 91 ratings.