Otter Creek Black IPA - Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's

Not Rated.
Otter Creek Black IPAOtter Creek Black IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

857 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 857
Reviews: 275
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.02%
Wants: 9
Gots: 85 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: jlpower on 10-25-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Traditionally untraditional, Black IPAs—also known as Cascadian Dark Ales or American Black Ales—originated here in Vermont under the auspices of American craft brewing pioneer Greg Noonan. This rich, delicious brew fuses pronounced hop aromas and darkly roasted malts in a style born in the Green Mountains.

60 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 857 | Reviews: 275
Photo of beer2day
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark ruby pour with a pillow top 2 finger tan head. Very nice retention and excellent lace.

Nose is burnt citrus and toast. Mix of chocolate malt and a bit of vanilla underneath that. Decent balance of hop and malt character.

Smoky porter feel dominates the taste. Getting lots of vanilla and tannins on the back end. Smoke comes in with the initial draw and stays through the finish. Starting to get a bitter feel in the finish 1/3 of the way into the glass. Citrus and bitter chocolate combined. Molasses coming out later in the glass, right up front. All the way through, though, that smoke really dominates.

Feel is very light for the flavor. Hard to get used to that in this style of beer. Getting a bit chalky towards the bottom of the glass.

Overall, not bad and probably decent for the style.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.52/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This bottle doesn't include the word "Alpine" anywhere, but otherwise looks very similar to the bottle pictures, same ABV, same style. I'll assume it's the same thing.

This one has it in the looks department, "it" being a nice chocolate/root beer brown color, glassy and with lots of bubbles marching in neat rows up to a fluffy, long-lasting, mocha-cream/ice cream type head. Mmm mm mm, sista.

Aroma-wise, it leans on the weaker side for the style. Sometimes these black ales' hops vs. malt struggle ends up smelling rather chemical/mineral, and this one does that. A stony smell. Maybe the taste buds will sort all this out...

While tasting slightly chalky, there's a good balancing act done here between malt and hops. The malt is very roasty and smoky, almost like a porter, but never overtakes the hops, which are citrusy but hardly West Coast Citrusorama, and they remain complementary as well. Some grapefruit/citrus peel does peek through, though.

A fairly dry beer, gives a bit of a pucker with some pronounced chocolate notes hanging out in the finish, and that mild grapefruit personality lingering.

Not overwhelmingly amazing, although enjoyable enough if you like this style.

Photo of jtingue
3.79/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an american style pint glass.

Appearance. Pours a deep black with no light passing through. The head on this beer is gorgeous, thick and creamy with a hazelnut color. Retention is great, as is lacing.

Smell. Roasted barley and nuttiness are present, but not overwhelming. The nuttiness is reminiscent of some yeast esters found in other styles of beer, though I can't say that is the source. Very little hop aroma.

Taste. Huge roasted barley up front, as well as a smokey malt presence. This if followed by a pleasing hop bitterness. Not much hop flavor though.

Mouthfeel. Nice heavy body with the perfect amount of carbonation.

To be truthful, I did not enjoy this brew the first two times I had it. This third time, though, I really appreciated the equally considered malt and hop characters.

Photo of RyeIPA
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Came in a summer sampler 12 pack. Poured dark with a good about of head. The color was near pitch black and the head was a brownish color. As a black IPA the IPA taste came first, hoppy, but a stout-coffee-type taste came after and lingered much longer. Never seen this style before so was curious but a very good choice and glad that I got it.

Photo of angrybabboon
3.74/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review adapted from notes taken 2/28/11

Appearance: Very dark brown/nearly black, with some hints of red around the edges when held up to the light - head starts off on the thin side, and lacing is good, but not really impressive

Smell: Burnt malts and bitter, citrusy hops - some floral hops, too - very on-par for the style

Taste: A good mix of flavors - hops are grassy and citrusy - malts are burnt, bitter chocolate malts - some sweetness - the flavors are good, but they are a bit on the weak side (I wouldn't say "watery," but it's not a stretch)

Mouthfeel: Smooth, on the light side, well-carbonated

Overall: A good, but not great, example of an American Black Ale/India Dark Ale

While this is not particularly exciting, it's not bad. It's definitely worth a try. Very drinkable, and it's kind of sad that it is only available in the winter.

Photo of rtepiak
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks much for all the otter creeks SFLpunk

the appeal of a good porter with a over hopped fruit to it. there is some back note of chocolate and coffee that are blended with the front of mouth hop dryness. not tannin sticky. sort of has a quick finish with some porter notes that fade faster than a porter. a hint of grass. a hint of chocolate.

Photo of MrOH
3.04/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A five month old bottle, so I'll be gentle.

black with a two-finger tan head. Streaks of lace.

Grapefruit, pine, and some chocolate and coffee. Nothing too bold though.

Grapefruit, weak coffee and milk chocolate. Not too pleasant. Nothing really too gross, the flavors just seem to clash a bit too much for my tastes.

Medium bodied, good carb.

It was better fresh on draft when I had it a few months ago. Now, just kinda "meh".

Photo of Kitt
2.59/5  rDev -32%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Deep, dark chocolate, with a thin brown head. Weak but persistent lacing.

Aroma, thick, rich, humid, and heavy malt with a licorice undertone.

Stout-like more than IPA-like. Heavy malts. A slight bitter linger.

Full bodied and heavy, goes down slow.

This is a stout beer with some extra hop kick. This is not an IPA. Let's stick to stouts being stout and IPAs being IPAs. Please don't try to mix -- each is terrific in its own right, but they aren't made to be married. The flavor just isn't doing it for me.

Photo of Hibernator
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Otter Creek Alpine Black IPA
12 oz brown bottle
Jet ink #2954041511
Served in a hotel mug

Pours a pitch black with a khaki colored head on top. I see some trails of sticky lace.

Pleasant nose with whiffs of dark malts, sweet dairy and hops.

Dark roasted malts with some chocolate and coffee flavors. Nicely robust and flavorful with a significant malt backbone. The finish showcases a nice hop snap with hints of pine, black pepper and citrus.

This is a tasty brew from Otter Creek. One of the better offerings that I've had from them in recent memory.

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

Picked up a sixer at the Francestown Village Market yesterday for $8.99.

Brew poured black with a nice cola brown head that is leaving lacing behind.

Nose is fresh citrus hops and roasted and slightly smoked malts.

Taste is roasted malts, hint of bitter chocolate and coffee, finishing with a strong citrus hop.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, somewhat creamy, leading to a smooth finish.

Overall i really like this brew, the roasted malts and the strong amount of hops play well together. This is not for every palate but give it a shot if you like the above qualities!

Photo of 9InchNails
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Light brown fluffy head dissipating relatively quickly. Black body from the center and the edges are the darkest of crimson red. The head turns into a brown film as it sits.

Very nice balance of roasted dark malts like chocalate and some coffee, citrus and piney hops. Smells quite nice.

That's a very nice taste! Much like the aroma, dark roasted flavors mixing with the citrus. Slightly bitter from the hops and roasted chocolate. Tasty.

Approaching medium body, carbonation is noticeable, it feels okay going down; its lacking feel.

Overall, tasty brew; I am really becoming a fan American Black Ales, Black IPA's, whatever you want to call them. It doesn't appear many BA's seem to favor this style. I love Porters, Stouts and IPA's and what's better than a beer that represents all those styles? I get a very nice balance of those styles in this brew; I have had better of course but certainly worth checking out this Black IPA.

Photo of BLove
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on-tap at Rupununi in downtown Bar Harbor, ME. I've only had a few of this new style, but all have been delightful.

A. Deep-dark black, thick creamy tan head fades rather quickly
S. Intense hoppy, citrus/pine aromas; surprisingly little to no roast aroma
T. Big citrus, pine resin, grassy hop flavors throughout. Then mild roast aftertase.
M. Thin-Med mouthfeel, overall thinner than I expected
D. I thought it was very good overall. I would drink this again..and again. :)

Photo of PhageLab
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a standard pint glass.

A - Deep brownish black hue, opaque. Poured a violent head of froth, took the poor girl a few minutes to fill the glass. Eventually settled to a thin layer and left some spotted lace.

S - Hoppy, and yet also sweet, almost candy-like.

T - Blackberries, toasted malts, a good hop bite, and yet well balanced. Or rather, I should say both are present, but they don't work for eachother. There is a sharp bitterness and a cloying sweetness together, nice flavors, but slightly distracting.

M - Creamy medium body, dry finish leaves some roasted malt characteristics behind.

D - Pretty good, other than a few flaws. Nothing that would prevent me from having another though. I like this emerging style we have here.

Photo of Eriktheipaman
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured a solid black with large khaki head.

The smell is citrus hops with a hint of smoke. No roast is detectable.

The taste at first is of a normal IPA with fruity flavorful bitterness then an ever so slight roast on the back. The roastiness on the back soon turns to a smokey flavor and compliments the bitterness very well.

A very good Black IPA and not to intense or high in ABV to where you couldn't have a few!

Photo of woodychandler
2.44/5  rDev -36%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

This Black kick is thanks to tone77 who wants to see me keep my bottle numbers in line with The CANQuest (TM). I postulated in my last review that an addictive personality such as mine might have difficulties with the adage "Once you've had Black, you won't go back" and sure enough, here we are! I'm doomed.

From the bottle: "A rich and delicious Black India Pale Ale featuring a pronounced hop aroma followed by darkly roasted malts topped with a mocha head."

I wonder why these black beers have such a propensity to created such a big, dense head. Here, it was two rocky fingers of deep-mocha head with enviable retention. Color was ... talk about truth in advertising ... jet black. There was no light penetration whatsoever. That's OK since some of my friendliest beers are Black. They CAN come over to my house any time. In fact, some of them are really liked by my sister. She's into Black. Nose was initially bursting with piney hops, but a second whiff gave me smoke and dark chocolate. This is what bothers me about the style - it is like the old Reese's commercial - "Hey, you got your chocolate in my peanut butter! No, man, you got my peanut butter on your chocolate!" with the tag line being "Two great tastes that taste great together." Yeah, well, keep your roasted malts OUT of my AmeriCAN IPAs, dang it. Mouthfeel was medium but there was a fistfight on my tongue. Smoke then bitter then chocolate then more bitter until the melange tasted like a hangover morning. This is NOT my bag, baby! What happened - some genius got bored and thought that this would be a good idea? Epic fail! The finish left me gasping for breath and not in a good way. It tasted like the fire in the hops plant that caused the dry spell a few years back. Jeez-O, man. Color me not a fan.

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

First had: on tap at Pinocchio's, Media, PA this beer, and this relatively new style of beer. Looks like a black lager, tastes like an IPA.

Pours black-hole black and hazy, with a nice off-white head that recedes to just a thin layer. Big pine hop scent up front, with roasty malts in the background. Taste of bitter, piney hops up front...if you weren't expecting such a dark ale to be hoppy, you will be surprised. Mild essence of citrus zest just noticeable, pine resin, grass, and a good malt roastiness to follow, but with the hops ever-present throughout. Rich and flavorful, medium mouthfeel, and very drinkable, mainly if you like your hops, which I do.

Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh Growler from the brewery had several pours into a Duvel Tulip Style glass. The beer comes out black in the deeper parts of the glass with brown highlights and edges. A light tan head that erupts during the pour. As you take each sip, the beer provides excellent lacing.

Good smelling beer for the style. Like most of this style there's a lot going on. Lots of dark roasted malts detected, chocolate mostly. Also well hoped, both earthy and cascade/citrus.

The taste is equally as good with just as much going on in the smell. Malts have come out first, bitter chocolate chocolate mostly with some earthy roasted grain flavors, touch of sweetness. Hops come out again, citrus/cascade present, but the taste is a little more earthy/pine than in the smell. All the flavors are blended together very well.

Mouthfeel is very good, obviously full bodied. Smooth beer, with a great carbonation level. It has a strong earthy finish from the hops at the end. Very drinkable, easy going down. Very good for the style and a great new addition to the Otter Creek lineup in my opinion.

Photo of SummitVA
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Black pour casts a reddish glow along the sides of the glass. Light, frothy head that lingers.

S - Citrus hop character is fantastic--big grapefruit, especially. Some dark malt character, but hops are the order of the day here.

T - Solid citrus-y hop flavor with fantastic malt complexity. Breadiness and chocolate blend exceptionally well with this, making the beer still drink very "dry" overall. Nice crisp hop finish, as expected.

M - Light bodied.

O - Don't know what I was expecting with this, but I was thoroughly impressed. Nice big, citrus-y Black IPA. Will definitely seek this out in the future.

Photo of number1bum
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown color, appears black once fully poured, with two fingers of tan head. Keeps a semi-full, somewhat patchy lace with some good webbing on the sides.

Smells pretty much just like a Black IPA should. Has nice aromas of grapefruit and pine hops, along with roasted malt and a bit of chocolate too. Quite nice.

Taste also consists of a nice roasty flavor with pine and grapefruity hops. Just a touch of chocolate, more cocoa-like really as the sweetness here is pretty low and it's more on the earthy side. Hop bitterness is moderate I'd say for a Black IPA; it'd be more like modest for a regular IPA. This has nice balance between the hops and darker malts.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice creaminess to it. It's pretty smooth, a touch chalky perhaps but still a pretty nice feel.

This is a well done Black IPA and definitely one of the most reasonably priced. Glad to see this is year round as it's definitely something I could see myself buying again. Good stuff.

Photo of CHickman
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black in color with brown around the edges where a little light shine through and sits under a massive 3 finger foamy tan head that looks like a perfect Guinness poured on tap, or a chocolate shake all frothed up; the head lasted a long time and left great foamy lacing, and this was a great looking beer.

Smells of sweet floral hops, citrus hops, grapefruit, orange peel, roasted malt, caramel and light charcoal or smoked grains; a nice blend of malts and hops, and really enjoyable.

Tastes like it smells, with sweet floral hops up front, flowers, citrus hops, grapefruit, orange peel, roasted malt, caramel, brown sugar, toasted grains, cocoa and toffee; the hops tingle up front and give way to nice sweet malts, which makes for a great balance and flavor variety. A really tasty beer that has great roasted malts and coffee to subdue the floral and citrus hops.

Mouthfeel is creamy and oily slick, with light carbonation, a medium body and a light and almost watery feel. Highly drinkable, this was very good and a very tasty beer.

Photo of DrJay
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown, nearly aque with just a hint of lit making it through the beer. Fine, dark tan bubbles coated the top of the beer, leaving solid sheets of lacing on the glass. Good head retention. Nice aroma, caramel and chocolate underneath grapefruit and citrus pith. Solid bitterness, nicely balanced with the malt sweetness and citrusy hop character. Caramel, chocolate, creamy texture, medium bodied, slightly dry with a bit of spiciness in the finish. A good take on the style, well balanced and quite drinkable.

Photo of OldIronLungs
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass a dark brown/black, a big puffy lump of grey/tan head.

Nose is both lightly citric and piney; grassy and roasted. Cascade? Probably.

A sip is smooth and lightly carbonated, most obviously an earthy roasted pine flavor, medium to lighter body, some slightly sweet malt and a light bitter chocolate note on the finish.

Solid offering - pretty straight forward and approachable for the odd style. Perhaps a little too smooth a mouthfeel - I think it could be a little more prickly.

Photo of engagechad
3.71/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased as a single from Whole Foods in Short Pump/Glen Allen, VA - Poured into DFH snifter - no freshness

Pours a deep dark black with garnet highlights. MASSIVE head from an aggressive pour, twas quite nice. Lacing was awesome.
Smells vigorously of cascade hops and grass, it smells like you're putting a hop pellet up your nose. The grassiness bothered me a little but it was really nice. Taste followed with the earthy grassy hop flavor, nice feel, quite sharp and bitter on the finish.

Great beer, only the second of two BIPAs that i've tried and this was pretty dern good.

Photo of ColForbinBC
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint

A touch shy of ink black with a foamy cola colored cap that rose two fingers before falling slowly. A soft aroma of roast pokes through first before spruce tips and mint take over. Not an overwhelming aroma, but soft and pleasing. The flavor profile is very similar to the nose. A light roast that has a touch of char to it with some cocoa powder leads off with a minty, spruce, herbal hop profile taking over down the homestretch. The finish is minty with a touch of lingering char. Overall I found this to do everything pretty good, but nothing great. A solid example of the style that I would seek out again.

Photo of JamnesCameron
3.96/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle received from mikesgroove in my Birthday BIF box. Thanks, Mike!

Poured into a New Belgian Globe. Pours a jet black, with about two fingers of tan head that drop fairly quickly, leaving a creamy wisp and lots of lacing.

Aromas of light roasted malt and citric hops. A little subdued based on what I was expecting.

Flavors of anise, roasted malt, light cocoa, citric hops bitterness (grapefruit?) not as big as I was expecting. Finish is long, bitter, and leaves hints of licorise.

Mouthfeel is full, creamy, like an oatmeal stout. Some hop bitterness that just barely begins to pull in the cheeks.

Overall a very nice, balanced black ale. Not a homerun, but that may be due to age. Hops were a little subdued for my liking.

Otter Creek Black IPA from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
86 out of 100 based on 857 ratings.