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

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Otter Creek Black IPA
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very good

837 Ratings

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Ratings: 837
Reviews: 273
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.02%
Wants: 9
Gots: 66 | 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

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: 837 | Reviews: 273 | Display Reviews Only:
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

Mmm...love 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.

Photo of kwjd
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown colour with some hints of amber. Thick tan head that takes a while to dissipate, some streaks of mild lacing on the glass. Smells of roasted coffee with citrus hops and roasted malt. Nice bitter flavour, lots of sweetness as well. Some chocolate in the aftertaste I think. Medium bodied mouthfeel. Quite a nice Black IPA.

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

12oz bottle poured into a Dogfish Head Signature glass. Bottle generously provided as an extra by CharlieMurphy, thanks a lot!

A - Pours fairly dark, a few shades lighter than black and has some deep chocolate highlights. There is a light tan head on here, 2-fingers in height, that has nice retention. When it fades it leaves a thick cap that still continues to obscure the darkness beneath. Lacing is very nice as well, with thin strands of foam covering most of the glass.

S - The smell I get at first is a slight roast with caramel in it. This is quickly contrasted with bursts of citrus and grapefruit. Smells pretty hoppy, but I feel that the two smells clash a bit and leave you hanging somewhere in the middle of both styles.

T - The taste comes together much more smoothly than the aroma and is a breath of fresh air after having numerous examples of both of these styles lately. The hops give off a nice orange flavor that when combined with the roast, gives a flavor similar to drinking a coffee with an orange sorbet or orange-flavored creamer. It's well-integrated and smooth, especially when getting the toffee and caramel as well. It's fairly resiny, and the finish is almost pure hops with a bittersweet chocolateness to it.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately light-bodied with good carbonation. It leaves a lasting bitterness that is part roasty and part hoppy. Definitely an interesting feeling.

D/O - Drinkability is moderately high. For my first beer in the style, I have to say it came off a bit better than I was expecting. Smelling a dark beer and getting crisp hops is definitely a strange feeling, but I just see it as taking the hoppy stout to the next level. I will definitely be seeking out some other Black IPAs now!

Photo of farrago
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big, close to three finger head, rich mix of varied bubble sizes, even dissolve without much dimpling, dark tan in color, lacing more along the lines of broad splotches than streaks, very good stick, barely moves long after the head settles. Liquid color certainly lives up to its billing, black and opaque, even if not “dense” in appearance, thin orange rust influence at the glass bottom. The nose is a pleasing mélange of malts and hops with cocoa powder, mocha, ginger snaps, walnuts and then tangerine zest, green hay and grass, wildflowers and a glance of apricot, red apple, cherry fruit scents, good stiffness and length. Medium-bodied, too tightly woven to be heavier, plus the carbonation has a steady, lifting quality which prevents too much soaking in. More overt roast here, at once plays up its overall bitterness while emphasizing mocha, cocoa, molasses, dark chocolate. That tangerine to white grapefruit element keeps the energy high while adding a bit of needed sweetness. Pepper and clove spice keep it lively, the herbaceousness stays in check. Not as floral here, however, the apricot, peach, apple fruit a tick higher. Dry finish with good grip and palate coverage. Excellent example of a category growing in popularity.

Photo of gabedivision
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a growler to a standard Otter Creek pint glass.

This fine brew pours a solid black with big frothy head, this looks very delicious and tempting, has the look of a big time stout. The distinct smell of fresh bittering hops blasts through the nose and teases the brain with delight. Very sweet and mild malts mixed with a bit of roasted malts. Taste big citrus hops with a big toasted malty over tone that ends with a nutty and/or chocolate finish. Lite to medium mouth feel, watery, a tad bitter. Overall, this is a really nice black ipa, a nice mix of almost a porter/stout and a ipa. A fine blend.

Photo of koolex11
4.8/5  rDev +26%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is awesome. Truly the best of both a stout and an IPA.

Starts like the tastiest of chocolate dark roasted stouts, but finishes slow with a strong kick of hoppy goodness.

From beginning to end, it is really like drinking two completely different beers. This is one of the most creative brews I have tasted, truly a masterpiece.

If you only feel like having one beer, but can't decide on malt or hops, definitely reach for this one. But good luck having only one!

I do not work for Otter Creek or its affiliates :)

Photo of devinoconnor
4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice take on the dark IPA from Otter Creek.

Pours a pitch black, stout color yet reeks of hops you'd expect with an IPA.

Taste is hoppy, citrus orange, and subtle malts.

You'll like this beer even if you don't like 'dark' or 'heavy' beers. Easy drinking and very enjoyable.

Perfect example, don't judge a book by its cover. Tastes nothing like it looks.

Photo of 05Harley
4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 11/17/10

Pours near black as the name implies with a creamy beige head that hangs around for a while. Man, this beer looks fresh. Polka dotted lacing sticks to the glass and when held up to the light one can see it's unfiltered.

Roasted malts and citrus hops, nice.. Aside from that, not much else in the aroma.

Bitter chocolate gets the party started however in the end the generous amount of hops have the last word. Pretty well balanced and low on the sweetness scale.

Smooth with a lite to medium body and average carbonation. As it warms, it takes on a more bitter and dry character but still very pleasing.

This style is fast becoming a favorite of mine and this is a solid example. Low on the alcohol but rich in the flavor. Dare I say almost sessionable ;)

Photo of ggilman
3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Funky Red Barn in Bethel. Poured into a pint glass.

A - Almost solid black with a mocha tinge around the edges. Very little head, most likely due to the way it was poured.

B - Roasted coffee grounds, hops in the background

T - Coffee beans, molasses, with a hard to find hop finish. I've had this bottled before, and the hops were more present. An inconsistency between batches maybe? Would've liked a stronger hop presence. No bitterness. Some spicy notes, along with a hint of alcohol.

M&D - Creamyish and very smooth, light bodied, and strong carbonation. Not exactly what you'd expect, but it's decent. I'd order it again. Not a style I have a lot of experience with, but something I think I'd like with a bigger hop bite.

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

Pours a dark brown with absolutely no light showing through except a sliver at the bottom of the glass. Big pillowy light tan head with good retention and thick sheets of lacing.

Good hoppy aroma, strong and very pleasant.

Good bitter taste up front and then a roasted malt presence. Beautifully blended malts and hops.

Mouthfeel is rich and crisp. A real easy drinker.

Overall a good solid beer. Very drinkable with a big flavor. A bit high octane for a session beer, but I could see myself drinking a few of these. This is a really good every-day type of beer.

Photo of MaltsOfGlory
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice one finger head. The colors are very interesting, because the body is not black (like the bottle indicated it would be), it's like a dark dark dark brown, it's very close to being black, but it is brown. I say the color is weird because the head is pretty dark, I usually only notice dark heads in pitch black beers, oh well. The head has faded a little bit now, it looks like it's leaving good lacing though. It looks like a very yummy beer, I would like a bigger head, but whatever. Man, I love black IPA'S, this beer smells like it has just a perfect balance of hops and malts, as perfect as you can get, they smell just so well blended together, no aroma dominates. On some sniffs you get that chocolate malt smell, and on other sniffs you get that crisp hop smell. I'm excited to taste this because it smells so good, but then again, most black IPA's smell good. The only thing not great about the smell is that it's not too complex, but who cares? It smells great. The first thing I notice is a nice big mouthfeel on this, I love it when my beers have a big body and mouthfeel on them. Is it the biggest mouthfeel ever? No, but it's an IPA, so a good mouthfeel, however big it is, is impressive. I then notice the taste, which is just like the smell, perfectly blended hops and malts, really really tasty. I mean it's very simple, but it's just really well done. I can't give it style points, but I can give it plenty of brew points! There is absolutely nothing wrong with this beer, at all. If it were a little more complex, I would consider giving it a few 5's. As it is though, great beer, great flavor, super well done!

Photo of claytri
4.09/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured black with a tan head. The aroma was of sharp floral hops, while simple it was very enticing. The taste is of lightly toasted malt with a nice floral hop overtone. The feel is medium and wet. This was a most pleasant beer, and one I will seek out in the future.

Photo of Casey10
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a nice brew I was not sure what to expect when I picked it up was quite happy I did. If some one had said this was a american stlye stout like caddilac mtn stout it would not surprise me either.

Nice flavorful beer nice mocha colored head with a dark body with lots of lacing on the side.

Full resiny taste come with a mouthfeel of dark chocolate.

Overall I thought this was a really good beer.

Photo of oberon
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Iam 50/50 on American black ales,some I have really liked,some didnt work very well for me,this was great.Poured into a stansard pint glass a deep cola color with a thinner but retentive beige colored head.Aromas of black malt and a big grapefruit rind shot,not much sweetness was detected.A real nice mix of in your face citric hops and unsweetened bitter chocolate,I was surprised at how well the dry chocolate held up to the hops,the malt profile is quite dry.With the big hops and sweetness in check this a very drinkable and very well made beer,I really liked this one.

Otter Creek Black IPA from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
86 out of 100 based on 837 ratings.