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Otter Head - Otter Brewery Ltd

Not Rated.
Otter HeadOtter Head

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

42 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 42
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 10.6%
Wants: 4
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Otter Brewery Ltd visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Strong Ale |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: rastaman on 10-02-2003)
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Ratings: 42 | Reviews: 37 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by FLima:
Photo of FLima


4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy copper color with practically no head.
Aroma of caramels, licorice, mild pine, roasted malts, earthy hops just on the background and dark fruits. It reminded me of a malty Scottish Ale.
Though its flavor is rather different, inversing weights between malt and hops, it is actually refreshing with nice notes of English earthy hops, spices, tangy citrusy, mild herbal, tobacco, caramel, dark chocolate and figs. Dry and bitter aftertaste.
Tricking body, it feels light but it is actually bordering medium. It has an appropriate carbonation with tiny bubbles.
Surprisingly good beer and deceiving beer. Interesting that based on the aroma I was expecting a more malty beer with bare hops, but it resulted in a very well balanced brew, tasty with good drinkability and increasing complexity. Highly recommended if you like English Ales.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2014 20:40:13 | More by FLima
More User Reviews:
Photo of ejimhof


3.25/5  rDev -11.7%

10-04-2013 13:15:49 | More by ejimhof
Photo of MacStinson


3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

08-17-2013 16:21:00 | More by MacStinson
Photo of mrfrancis


3.25/5  rDev -11.7%

07-13-2013 16:12:17 | More by mrfrancis
Photo of cliff1066


3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

12-17-2012 05:24:48 | More by cliff1066
Photo of ltdantheman


3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

02-25-2012 22:31:32 | More by ltdantheman
Photo of MbpBugeye


3.43/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- A muddy copper color with really no clarity. I was a bit surprised by both the darkness and the murkiness of this beer. Not much at all in the way of a true head. Just loose, soapy bubbles that dont ride.

S- Quite malty. Its approaching Scotch ale territory with all the raisin sweetness.

T- Again, lots of maltiness. Sweet dark fruits like raisins and figs. Brown sugar as well.

M- Super low carbonation makes for a really smooth, cask conditioned replication. Very dry on the finish.

D- Quite drinkable, but I would like a touch more balance rather than a flash of bitterness at the finish.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2010 22:45:57 | More by MbpBugeye
Photo of jadpsu


3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

It's Christmas day and I purchased several English Ale's as a sort of self gifting.
Poured from a 16.09 ounce. Pours a hazy amber orange. Very thin with an unappetizing loose, thin head that has poor retention and poor lacing. Appearance is at best mediocre.
Smell is not particularly malty, citrus is evident along with some earthy tones. Mildly floral hops are more evident.
Low carbination, watery, thin but some aceytel, citrus flavors do peak thru. On the sweet side, has a slight bitter dry after taste.

This was $3.99 for a pint, or basically about $18.00 for a six pack. At that price level this beer should have me saying WOW. At that price, however, it only had me saying GEE!

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2009 18:46:29 | More by jadpsu
Photo of kylesobrien

Quebec (Canada)

3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a moderately translucent deep amber with orange-brown hues. Almost no visible carbonation and nearly zero head. Scent is very malty, with faintly alcoholic character -- and earthy and peppery notes from the aroma hops.

Flavor is malty, with a long sweet caramel taste and a moderate but slightly astringent bitterness in the finish. There's a bit more sweetness in this ale than I expected. Initially, the hoppy aftertaste is a nice counterpoint to the deep malty character, but nearly halfway through the pint, as the hop taste grows more intense, something seems out of balance between the two flavors. It's hard to describe; while I do enjoy the hop flavor itself, it doesn't seem to meld well with the sweet side of this beer.

While I found this one interesting, it's not one of my favorite English ales. I'd love to try it again on tap and see if the taste is different in draught form, but maybe I'll try other Otter beers and see if those are more my speed.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2009 05:42:34 | More by kylesobrien
Photo of puboflyons

New Hampshire

4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 1 pt. 0.9 fl. oz. bottle and sampled on July 11, 2009. It pours amber-brown with a thin beige head. The carbonation bubbles clung to the side of the pint glass and gave off an appearance not unlike tiny ice crystals although it was served at about 40 degrees. They say that it is brewed with spring water and perhaps that was the reason for this unique look. The aroma was sweet and malty with a tinge of fruit in the background. The mouthfeel was in the medium range with the smooth texture of honey. A good English bitter taste with a slightly dry finish. Overall tasty and true to my favorite style.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2009 00:59:49 | More by puboflyons
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brewed with spring water, marris otter malt, and challenger/fuggel hops.

A: Pours a very hazy ice tea color with no visible head.

S: A nice smooth and sweet malt is detected on the nose with some sugary ice tea hints.

T: Very spicy hopping from the challenger and fuggel hops combine nicely with the dry british malting. The palate is very smooth, slick, and pleasing on the tongue sliding effortlessly down the throat. Very well balanced with a distinct dry bitterness in the finish. The malting truly highlights this beer very well with some sweet caramel backing.

M: smooth, crisp and good per style.

D: Very good per style and very good drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2008 02:44:18 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of gabeerfan


3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, orangy brown. The bottle cap didn't seemed sealed very well, so I didn't get a head on this even after a vigorous pour.
First aroma impression is of a fruit cake. Lots of sweet breadiness, dried fruits mascerated in sherry, dark caramel, brown sugar and molasses.
Flavors very similar to the aroma. Very reminiscent of fruit cake. Bready/bicuity, fruity, lots of brown sugar and molasses. Not as boozy as in the aroma, but the sherry flavor is still present. Earthy hops give a nice balance to the sweetness.
Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation was still present, but on the very low side because of the bottle cap issue.
Pretty good drinkability. Very good flavors make this a good drinker. Maybe not a session beer, but a couple of pints would make for a nice evening.
This may make it's way into the rotation more often. I like this a lot.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2008 03:05:57 | More by gabeerfan
Photo of Gueuzedude


2.88/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A very vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass barely summons forth a bit more than a finger-thick head. The beer is a dark red color that shows a brilliantly clear, pale cranberry hue with just a touch of copper when held up to the light. The aroma is at first quit malt focused with an almost molasses like note. A touch of earthiness is here as well contributed by both the hops and a somewhat overly caramelized malt character (is it starting to show signs of oxidation?). Some slight fruity hop notes are here in the aroma too contributing a mix of light, but sweet citrus and a soft berry note.

Sweet tasting and only slightly carbonated, the beer finishes with an oxidized sherry like note that definitely shouldn't beer here this soon. A touch of herbal hops, some light bitterness and a touch of berry character struggles to be noticeable through the oxidation and the malt character, that should be so vibrant, is just muted and dead.

Definitely disappointing, this is a fresh to AZ beer as far as I know and should be in much better condition than this. It seems that something likely happened at bottling time with this as it doesn't even reach an English level of carbonation. Perhaps this is a single off bottle, but at $6 it is hard to justify buying another one to test that theory out.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2008 02:47:42 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of hustlesworth


4.18/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- slightly hazy orange copper with honey amber highlights and a scarlet trim. foam is damn near perfect for an english beer: dense and rich with a nice thick skin, beige in color, rubbery and easily built into a towering biscuit that lasts and lasts. nice spotty baby swiss lace too. looks and feels heavy.

S- fruity and alcoholic, surprising for such modest abv. densely malty, toasted grains and near burnt caramel, dark rum, brown sugar, light molasses, creamy fruits, peach, strawberry, slightly floral hop aroma and aromatic sandalwood and a chocolatey cedar. very malty and nutritious aroma with some earthy hop spice.

T- caramel cocoa mocha deeply toasted malt first them a wave of bitter fruitiness like berries and figs soaked in whiskey and cognac. amazingly alcoholic for a beer of this caliber, i get woozy on the first sip, even at 5.8%. a ton of malt sweetness is balanced out by the familiar earthy herbal flavor of fuggles hops and an acrid challenger bitterness. woodsy, tobacco, sherry wine cask, milk chocolate, black cherries, fermenting apple cider, and oatmeal all kinda melt together. instead of creating distinguishable 'layers' of flavor, it's more like a giant melange of subtleties that quickly blur the lines making everything a little fuzzy.

MF- tip-top, rich, full, creamy, low carbonation just as i like from this style and i'm drinking it piss warm because it brings out more flavor. ok maybe not piss warm but about 60*F. in this state it's bursting with strong overall flavor and leaves the palate with a thick coating of malty goodness.

D- ice cold it may be quenching and un-noticeable but i'm goin british tonight and this otter is rife with character and nutritious goodness. my only gripe is the addition of wheat, oats, and spelt which add more flavor but ultimately blend things together a little too much for me. i like crisp lines. for what it is though, a superb pub drink.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2008 06:13:01 | More by hustlesworth
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a two finger cream head that fades slowly to a thin layer, leaving some lace. Cloudy amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Caramel nose. Flavor is sweet caramel that changes to a slight bitter finish. $4.35 for a 500ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma. Style is more like a sweet ESB than an English strong ale.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2008 22:31:28 | More by jdhilt
Photo of cvstrickland

North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Imperial pint bottle poured into an imperial pint seidel yields a murky reddish-brown-amber body topped with a finger of off-white head that shrinks to a broken sheet and leaves some thin patches of lacing.

Smell is sweetly malty with floral hops.

Taste is richly sweet and malty; floral and spicy hops bring twang and bitterness to the finish. A slight alcohol presence.

Smooth and slippery in the mouth, broken up by a zing of carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2008 22:38:50 | More by cvstrickland
Photo of yelterdow

New Jersey

3.33/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served at a few degrees above refrigerator temperature in an imperial pint glass. Purchased at Bottle King in Hillsdale, NJ on 4/18/08.

Appearance- On a traditional pour, this beer is deep amber, almost russet in color. Only about a finger-and-a-half's worth of head emerges, it's real tight and off-white. This drops to just a thin mat over a few minutes' time. There's certainly some haze in the beer, and not much lacing at all.

Smell- Exceptionally malty and sweet, with pounds of molasses, vanilla, caramel, and sugar on the nose. Reminds me almost of the first time I had North Coast Old Stock Ale back in '04... This really smells great. Dessert in a glass.

Taste- The ingredients tell it all... a straightforward malt driven experience that imparts a clean, English hop finish that is a bit heavy on the alcohol presence. The stronger "old ale" qualities here are coming through as the beer warms up.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- although thinly weighted, the beer's carbonation is a bit rough... especially in the swallow. At $4.50 a bottle, this doesn't warrant another purchase. Glad to have tried it, though.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2008 02:49:19 | More by yelterdow
Photo of NJpadreFan

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Otter Head

A- Deep ruddy brown with a small but sticky head.
S- Deep dried fruits like prune and raisin.
T- Immediate sweet fruit flavors like raisin, prune, and fig blend in nicely with a molasses malt.
M- Sweet and a touch sugary at first but quickly mellowing out. Smooth and creamy finish. Solid flavors with a touch of alc. in the end.

Overall- A tasty Ale that seemed stronger than the 5.8% abv. This following a Hoppy Otter is nice!

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2008 23:39:10 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of bluejacket74


4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours an orange/brown color with a Head retention and lacing are both low. Aroma is nice, it smells like caramel, bread/dough, toffee, and dried fruit. Taste is similar to the aroma, starts off malty and then the hops come out in the finish and linger around for a while. Mouthfeel/body is medium and creamy, with low carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good, it's very smooth and easy to drink. I don't know if I'd call this a Strong Ale, but I'm not complaining. Overall I think it's a good beer, I'd definitely buy it again.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2008 00:17:07 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of sulldaddy


3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ding and Secret Santa 07 for the hookup!

I am pouring at cellar temp into a large snifter.
The beer pours a dark and hazy chestnut hue with a frothy eggshell white head fading quickly to an edge layer of large diameter bubbles.
The aroma is slightly fruity with some red grape and a bit of doughy yeast. Sort of like a scone. Very malty nose with no hops to speak of. A little brown sugary too.
First sip reveals an average body with very fine and tingly carbonation that frothes up upon swirl in my mouth.
Flavor is similar to nose advertisements. All malt with brown sugar and some dark fruit again, plums and red grape. Not very robust flavor but some lingering roasted malt notes.
The beer is fairly easy to drink and not really any booziness to speak of anywhere.
A decent brew for a malty.

the label claims brewed with oats and rye, I didnt find those anywhere in the beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2008 02:37:15 | More by sulldaddy
Photo of dsa7783

New Jersey

3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1 Pint, 0.9 fl oz bottle just recently copped from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield... Special thanks to Chris for recommending this one to me...
"Brewed with spring water" on the front, blue logo sticker...
An aggressive pour yield hardly any head at all, but with a noticeable murky, cloudy, ruby-red, mahogany brown colored-hue...
Smell was subtle and almost non-descript, without too many suggestions except for a slight hint of malts...
Taste in fact, was dominated by malts, much more so than hops, with strong nuances of caramel, toffee, vanilla, yeast, cream, vanilla, and slight sugars...
For an English Strong Ale, this sample was very sweet-tasting and rather mellow...
Nice, sweet, creamy mouthfeel leads to a moderate level of drinkability...
This one was completely new to me, but I am glad I tried it... Worth a shot, although it is certainly not the best depiction of the style out there...

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2008 00:37:01 | More by dsa7783
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Coppery orange with a reddish blush and perfect clarity. The smallish crown is equal parts khaki and pale tangerine. It's microbubbly on its upper surface and is beginning to leave a good bit of lace on the more northerly reaches of the glass.

The aroma is herbal and musty and just a little dried fruity. There isn't an abundance of personality here, unfortunately. It doesn't smell like the Challenger or Fuggles hops are making much of a contribution. Maybe they'll be more forthcoming on the palate.

Otter Brewery's Otter Head is a decent English strong ale, but is really nothing to get excited about. The term 'Strong' in this context is almost quaint given what passes for strong these days. In American terms, the flavor strength is akin to a robust APA, but short of an IPA.

I'm enjoying the beer a little more as the ounces pass. The malt bill consists of Maris Otter (of course) and Golden Promise, although the label lists an interesting lineup that includes barley, wheat, oats, rye and spelt. Rye is appreciated, as it adds a background earthy quality that doesn't seem hop-related.

The flavor profile includes lightly toasted grain, a subtle rye breadiness, orange peel and a woodsy, herbal, tea leafy quality that many English ales possess. This is an interesting beer and is, by the bottom of the bottle, a pretty damn good one. Looks like this otter just had to find his sea legs. Or my taste buds did.

The mouthfeel is light-medium with a laid back feel to the carbonation that is probably the brewery's attempt to mimic cask-conditioning. Not bad, but a little more life and a little more expansiveness would have been good. Either that or a hint of viscosity.

For my money, Fuller's 1845 and Adnams Broadside Strong Original are still the cream of the English strong ale crop. Otter Head, while good, isn't a beer that I'm tempted to give another go 'round. It's still worth a look for anyone interested in the style.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2008 14:13:26 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color with a rocky head that retains well and leaves a few shards of lace

Smell: Rich caramel aroma with more than a hint of earthy hops; a touch of diacetyl

Taste: Opens with a rich bread and caramel blend that has nice fruity plum and pear elements, too; herbal tea and earthy hop bitterness builds by mid-palate; after the swallow, the hop tea character continues to build and provides a nice foil to the caramel and fruit backbone

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: More an ESB than an English Strong, this is one of the best examples of the style that have crossed the pond in recent years; too bad the weak dollar is working against bringing in the better brews of the UK

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2007 17:57:18 | More by brentk56
Photo of Backer2004

North Carolina

3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice copper color with avergage head retention and carbonation. A bit on the hot-alchol side for 5.8%. Malty sweetness is the first quality noticed with its smell and taste. Some caramel hints as well. Easy to consume for a Strong Ale. Enjoyed this one at the Charlotte Oktoberfest and would definitely try again.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2007 01:44:00 | More by Backer2004
Photo of Minkybut


2.6/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I poured this beer from the bottle to a tumbler at 50 degrees. The beer was a little cloudy with absolutely no head at all. It was a nice amber color I guess.
It smelled a little like apples actually and was slightly bitter and a little malty anvery flat tasting. Will not buy again.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2007 15:44:17 | More by Minkybut
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Otter Head from Otter Brewery Ltd
83 out of 100 based on 42 ratings.