Otto Ale - Victory Brewing Company

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Otto AleOtto Ale

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312 Ratings
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Ratings: 312
Reviews: 137
rAvg: 3.58
pDev: 16.76%
Wants: 6
Gots: 28 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Smoked Beer |  8.10% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerLover99 on 10-12-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 312 | Reviews: 137
Reviews by VinnyA:
More User Reviews:
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper-colored with a small tan head.

Aroma of brown bread and smoke. Almost peaty. Some dark fruit.

It tasted like a smoked fruitcake that had been kept in a whiskey barrel (and I mean that in a nice way).

A bit of tickly carbonation, otherwise a medium-bodied beer.

Photo of Beaver13
3.3/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle. Pours a clear reddish amber with a big frothy off white head that retains fairly well and laces the glass.

The aroma is strong smoke - some meaty peat, with a little belgian yeast.

The flavor is a little sweet malt followed by a big spicy smokiness (liquid smoke). There's a little belgian yeast and a lot of bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with sharp carbonation.

Overall, strong smoke, but not quite what I had hoped for. The smoke and dubbel aspects don't quite blend well to me.

Photo of Fcip78
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Otto is a great example of the quality and depth of Victory's brewmasters. This is a great hybrid of the famous German smoke beers and Belgian dubbels.

It pours a beautiful rich, dark roasted amber in a tulip glass with a small off-white head. Plenty of smoky notes in the nose and with each sip. If you never had a smoke beer, think of the aroma of a BBQ bottled. The kicker with this beer is the opening taste of smoke and the finish of a Belgian dubbel. Some folks have noted that that the beer does not contain enough smoke, but I believe they stuck a good balance.

There is a noticable amount of candi sugar, figs, and ripe fruit - perfect for the dubbel style.

Overall the beer is balance, a bi-partisan compromise, if you will, between beer geek adhenance to strong smoke beers and super ripe dubbels and an understanding that sometimes too much is too much. Otto is a sophisticed beer without being over the top; drinkable but complex. Well-done.

Photo of Billolick
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large bottle, caged and corked, Brewed on 9-29-11, and the rear label tells the consumer that this one might improve for up to 5 years.

Pours a nice warm shade of darker amber, murky under a light tan head, leaving some low sheeting and ample strands and elongated bits of lace.

Smoke jumps out on the sniff, with some darker malts also glimmering.

Smoke also comes through on the palate, a moderate bacon infused experience. I get the smoked beer aspect, but the Belgian dubble character seems to be on the muted side.

Enjoyable if confused winter type offering. Worth a try if you like a beer with moderate smoke character overiding a wintery darker ale.

Photo of tigg924
4.32/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1 inch head, clear, reddish-brown in color, moderate carbonation

Smell: smoked wood, Belgian spices and candied fruit

Taste: smokey wood, maltiness in the back, caramel at the end. Throughout there is light cardamom, coriander, and other Belgian spices. Alcohol is noticeable.

Mouthfeel: medium-light bodied, bitter start with sweet smoky end, medium carbonation

Overall: Enjoyable and interesting. I wish this one did not have the alcohol heat, but otherwise it is a solid beer. This one plays out more rauchbier than Belgian which is fine by me. The Belgian elements give a wine type of taste as it warms though which adds to the complexity. One of Victory’s better beers. I would get this again.

Photo of Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a medium amber color with a white head. The aroma has a little bit of toffee, but there is also some nice smoked malt notes. The flavor is quite a bit stronger than the aroma, with a lot of heavy smoke and some charred malt and ash notes. Definitely all about the smoke. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.13/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a glowing deep ruby brown when held toward the light, almost a glowing crimson color with a nice full beige head, creamy texture with more than ample chunks of lacing down the sides of my nonic pint.

Aroma has a nice smoked malt character going on very timid compared to some of the beers out of Bamberg that the label talks about. This is a blend of a Belgian style dubbel with a rauchbier inspired by their trips to Orval brewery and the city of Bamberg. Interesting marriage of two distinct styles. Minimal dark fruits, hints of roasted malts, distinct nutty character, and toasted bread.

Flavor has a tame sweetness with distinct waves of smoked malts, not much in the way of smoked meats, but it interweaves with the dark fruits/raisins/red apple from the dark malts and Belgian yeast phenols. Finishes very dry with a bitter smoked finish, pretty interesting beer being a hybrid, from one of my favorite breweries. Alcohol is well hidden, maybe it's the smoked malts but there's no off putting booze in the flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied ample carbonation doesn't seem overdone, bitter smoked flavors really dry the palate off, quite the interesting beer.

Overall this beer sets out to be a dubbel/rauchbier the smoke comes through but it's hard to identify a Belgian dubbel as the base beer. It isn't the smokiest rauchbier, and it lacks the heavy fruit and yeast phenols that a typical dubbel has landing somewhere in the middle, I think it's definitely a nice hybrid beer.

Photo of chinchill
2.99/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

The large corked bottled looked very appealing, but I should admit I do not like many smoke beers, especially those with a strong smokiness that overpowers the other aromas and flavors. Unfortunately, this is striking example of an overly smokey brew.
There is so much smoke flavor and aroma in this that the experience was somewhat more like eating a heavily smoked meat than drinking a beer, and an aftertaste that made me feel like I had tried a cigar while drinking. Of course, the texture was entirely different: In fact, the mouthfeel was exceptional. Otto Ale is smooth, with excellent carbonation and a medium-full body.

O: Drink again? ... no thanks. But I'd be happy to use this for cooking meats and sauces.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.1/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a dimple mug)
bottles Sept.27th 2011
A- This beer pours a clear slightly dense mahogany brown with a sea of microbubbles swirling around supporting a thin bubbly head that is soon gone.

S- The bacon smoke aroma is full with some dark fruit ester notes underneath in the finish.

T- The hickory smoke is followed by a touch of cold ash with some dark dried fruit esters to follow and a finish that is of smoked meat. There is a hint of band-aid in the finish but it is very soft.

M- The medium-light mouthfeel has a big fizz and a soft alcohol warmth that compliments the smoke.

O- The dubble character is lost a bit with the big smoke which is very good and takes on a hint of bourbon wood as it opens up. The smoke is nice and meaty and no offensive like many peaty smoked beers yet it is a much different smoke than the alder smoked beers. It will be interesting to see what age does to this?

Photo of Metalmonk
3.92/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on Sept. 28, 2011. A smoked dubbel, according to the label. Interesting.

Kind of a wispy head that crackles down to nothing quickly. Liquid is an autumnal auburn brown.

Really appreciate the smell, simply because it's a rare smoked beer that offers smoke but also makes way for the more beer-y aspects. And you get plenty of dubbel-ish traits in the aroma along with the smoke. A good bit of red apple, grape/raisin, and currant pushes through, as does the slightest kiss of milk chocolate. Belgian-y yeast tucked away deep in here too.

Thankfully, it tastes as balanced as it smells. In fact, the smoke just provides a bed upon which the dubbel aspects do their thang: lots of dark fruits appear, along with a hint of chocolate, sweet spices, some honey, an earthy/mineral flair from the yeast, and grilled meats, which gets us back to the smokier aspects. I don't eat fish, but I can imagine this beer pairing incredibly well with some sort of smoked fish.

No real feeling about the texture one way or the other; it's medium bodied, generously but not overwhelmingly carbonated, slick and smooth, and basically does a fine job.

Not terribly complex, but what I like most about Otto is that the smoke never overtakes the base style of the beer (dubbel). And so few smoked beers achieve that balance, so I give kudos to Victory for coming up with the goods here, and also providing a beer that really is like no other that I can recall. Nice one.

Photo of Sammy
3.81/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very drinkable smoked beer, with complexity. I think having for 1.5 years helped (note on bottle said 5 year shelf life). Smokey grey colour to it. Moderate smoke aroma. Smooth mouthfeel.Nutty, nicely crafted. Lasting small head on reddish hued body.

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Victory Otto Ale
25.4 fl. oz bottle, corked & caged.
Bottled on date appears to be SEPT 28 2011
$8.49 @ State Line Liquors, Elkton, MD

Otto is an interesting beer, I'll give it that. Combining a Belgian-style dubbel ale with German smoked malt should yield great results...

Unfortunately, I feel that it leaves an undefined beer. It's very smokey, and at first taste I thought it more a rauchbier than a dubbel. And yet the Belgian character was there all along behind the smoke. Odd. I smell the smoke, and then I taste it upfront and I yearn for the maltiness behind it in a rauchbier, but what I find is malt that's peppered with yeasty clove and spice.

So, OK, let me go the other way. I'm going to taste it with a Belgian-style dubbel in mind, and it certainly looks like one so that helps. I get the smoke in the nose, and there's some Belgian character as well. They never quite come together, and in fact they kind of fight each other. That then follows in the flavor. I will say that as it warms the malt widens and the smoke isn't as prominent, but at the same time, the smoke does still linger at the back of the mouth.

Or perhaps I'm completely wrong. Perhaps I just can't see the forest for the trees because I'm so familiar with each of the two styles, and that someone new to all of this would find it amazing.

Photo of zaphodchak
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Two finger sudsy off-white head. Decent retention and lace.
Relatively clear lightish brown body.

Rich, sweet smokey smell. Maybe barbecue.

Taste is a knockout. As a rauch-lover, there are a lot that disappoint, this is not one. Full, rich smoke, and actually a fairly hoppy finish, which is surprising but not objectionable. You have to really think about it to perceive it as a dubbel... it doesn't come across as one. I'm looking forward to cracking my second bottle in several months once the hops have calmed down. I get a hint of orange, too... I'm really hoping it's not my dishsoap, but it's not objectionable.

Mouthfeel is a lively texture, but even and works well with the style and taste.

My hopes were high on this one and it didn't disappoint. Among the better rauchs, if a tad bitter.

Photo of prototypic
3.41/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Otto Ale is a darker copper color. It’s very clear. Backlighting reveals a really strong crimson tint. Looks almost red in color. A tan head covers the top and stands about a finger and a half tall. Retention is pretty good. It holds at just above a surface covering for a long time. Lacing was spotty and rather light.

The nose is rather average. A distinct smoky scent hits the nose first. Comes through loud and clear. Beyond that, things are a bit muddled. It has some sweet caramel notes. Seems like there’s a bit of a spicy/herbal quality to it. Smells a bit like clove. I’m not getting much that suggests it’s a Dubbel. No Belgian yeast or anything. Perhaps it’s covered by the smoke. Alcohol is blended pretty well. It’s okay.

The flavor is a bit better. It does have a bit of sweet, caramel base. Smoky flavors certainly jump into the mix and are rather strong. Fortunately, there’s more to notice and appreciate in the flavor. There is a bit of a Belgian yeast taste. It works pretty well with the smoky flavor. It also features secondary flavors of spicy clove, fig, light raisin, and light cocoa. Alcohol is masked well. All in all, it tastes pretty good. The strong smoky presence does tend to outshine some of its other flavors.

Otto Ale has a body that’s on the lighter side of medium. Carbonation is light. It’s nearly smooth, just needs a little more body. Not bad. It’s relatively easy drinking…if you can handle a little bit of smoke.

Otto Ale is interesting beer. It’s basically a smoked Dubbel. For what it is, it’s not bad. The smoky flavor works pretty well with the Dubbel elements, although perhaps overshadowing them. I think I’d prefer a little less smoke and a little more Dubbel. It’s not bad though. If you can handle smoky beer, check it out.

Photo of russpowell
3.32/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 09-28-11

Pours auburn with 2+ fingers of khaki colored head. Minimal head retention & lacing

S: Faint smokeyness, some brown bread

T: Oaky smoke with, bready sweetness, a touch of pears & wppdy hops up front. Big time oaky dryness as this warms along with beech & oak smokeyness & a booze warmth. Some herbal hoppyness in the finish along with much woody/oaky dryness & firm smokeyness

MF: Medium bodied with soft cabonation, thins out a touch as this warms

Not a bad smoked beer, but not as good as I was hoping for, the oaky character of this is a bit overwhelming. I like most victory beers, this was a letdown

Photo of Kegatron
3.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml corked and caged bottle into a couple of tulip glasses.

Pours a deep clear amber, with a finger of foamy off-white head. This retains with a smooth richness and robust edging, leaving back a soapy looking cascade that drips down the sides of the glass into a smattering of light spotty lace. The aroma honestly feels very similar to a Rauchbier, with a smoky campfire character that is full smelling throughout the whole nose. You can barely pick up some softer fruit and a touch of sweeter sugars underneath but yeah, the smoke pretty much dominates this here.

The taste fairs better, with much more of that Belgian-style Dubbel presence to it, with notes of fruit and doughy sugars having a place here. This definitely has a touch of aggressiveness to it though, which is maybe coming from a combination of lightly roasted accents and spice from the yeast. The smoke is much more subdued and complimentary here than it was in the nose and just hangs on the breath a bit after each sip. The finish is fairly dry with a touch of lingering spice and earthy bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, maybe a little fuller, with a firm and prickly feel up front that then gets a bit more creamy feeling along the back as this works itself around in the mouth. That 8% ABV is well hid.

Despite maybe the over smokiness of the aroma, I think that this came out about as good as you would expect for what they were attempting here. Some Belgian character is present but the complete package just came off to me as very German feeling, with tightness to the profiles and the overall Rauchbier-style slant to this. This was unique and I quite liked it.

Photo of Kinsman
3.83/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice mahogany reddish brown with some lighter ruby highlights and a slight bit of haze. Dense and frothy tan head fills the upper third of the glass.

Nice wood smoke aroma initially. A bit of caramel and some fruity sweetness. Slight hint of spicy yeast character.

The wood smoke character did not carry over into the taste as much as expected. Strong malt presence with a nice toffee/caramel sweetness and some hints of raisin or figs. Smokiness does linger a bit in the background.

Mouthfeel is smooth with a medium body feel. Overall, I'm really enjoying this beer. Smoked malt did not provide as much punch as I expected but was still plenty tasty.

Photo of Bung
3.98/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml. Dark amber pour, ring of off white bubbles.

Aroma, malty, fig/prune with some smoke. Lends to darker grain aroma than normal for the style this is listed under. Strange, but I find it interesting.

Taste, a smoked belgian. Toffee, light brown sugar. Large and equal amounts of smoked peat/bacon and yeast. Again, an interesting combo, I thought they really worked well together. But then again, I don't enjoy Dubbels that much.

Lighter side of mid, good carbonation. Drinks well, for those who can enjoy the flavors.

An inbetween style brew, if judged by "style" it may not be good, if you just take it for what it is, it is well done. Of coarse, you will need to enjoy some smoked brews.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

- Labeled as a smoked Belgian dubbel.

A: Beautiful burgundy coloring has a creamy/frothy khaki tinted head with a strong showing of effervesce within. Retention is good with a moderate show of lace coverage.

S: Smoked meat, smoked jerky, moderate in terms of strength. Decent level of smokiness, a bit subdued, and noticeable, but falls a bit short for my personal appreciation.

T: Smoked meat and toasted grains with a hint of scorched wood. In terms of yeastiness not as strong as your dubbel expectations but noticeable content of sweet figs and raisins come out as well fresh moments of fruitiness sneaking out every now and then. There is on the other hand a noticeable trait of vinyl that is hard to ignore, not sure if its from a inperfection in an isolated brewing process or a result of its young drinking age. Bottled 9/11 consumed 2/12 and stated suitable for aging. A smoky trail with a soft but forgiving note of sterile alcohol.

M: Bubbly frothy mouthful is highlighted by a strong nature of carbonation well suited per style. Body is light per dubbel standards, average for smoked beer status with more toasted caramel sweetness at times then smokiness on the hold.

O: Overall liked the ideal and experimentation of combining a smoked beer with a dubbel, except the smoked beer quality is soft and a bit underpowered while the dubbel qualities get lost in the combinantion particularly the Belgian yeastiness. Feels like a smoked beer with a pilsner malt base, decent flavor, but a bit shallow complexity wise and lacks that noticeable smoked nature of rich burnt roasted nature. In the end it kinda misses the mark as a hybrid, as a smoked beer on its own has enough mustard to pass with worthy standards, but nothing I would recommend to the hearty smoked beer drinker. A tweener more aptly suited for the light casual drinker.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.62/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml caged and corked bottle, bottled on September 27, 2011. Served in a mug, the beer pours a mostly clear reddish/copper color with a half inch light tan head. Head retention and lacing are both decent enough. The brew smells like smoked meats, bready and caramel malt, nuts and dark fruit. It tastes pretty much the same as the aroma, but there's also a slight herbal bitter flavor noticeable that I think hurts this beer a bit. Also, the smoke character isn't overpowering at all. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and has good carbonation. I prefer my smoked beers to be smokier than this one was, but it's still a decent brew overall. I'd try this again in the future. $9.99 a bottle.

Photo of jsanford
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml C&C bottle poured into a Victory Tulip.

Poured a clear, dark mahogany with a creamy ivory head that settles to a thick cap. Nice aromas of sweet, bready malt, slightly meaty smoke, candi sugar, and a bit of spice. Very inviting, especially given the "smoked" kick I've been on lately. Taste is similar to the nose, an excellent melding of a Dubbel and a Rauchbier ; sweet caramel, malt, and brown sugar meets meaty, smoky goodness. Very nice. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with a medium body and fairly sharp carbonation. Overall a solid brew, makes for a nice Fall sipper.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.3/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a dark reddish brown amber, nice, fine, one finger very light tan head that with superb retention and great lacing. Mild aroma of dark fruit and caramel malt with decent smoked overtones. Flavor is well integrated light and dark fruit, caramel malt and mild smoke with hints of bacon. The Belgian origins are obvious here and make this a quite unusual and pleasant take on a smoked beer. Medium mouth feel. The Belgian yeast and light flavors are very different from rauchbiers, which I also really like. I half wished for a bit more intense flavor, but this works nicely as it is, with a pleasant, well balanced mixture of malt, fruit and smoke. I hope this is available again in the future. Nice job, Victory.

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.12/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: Bronze, mostly clear with steadily rising bubbles.
smell: Very nice, unique, interesting. The smoke punches through, resting on a solid Belgian spice and fruit.
taste: Doesn't quite live up to the nose but the same qualities are there.
mouthfeel: medium creamy, nice carbonation.
overall: An interesting, unique beer. Nicely done.

Photo of Immortale25
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Dogfish signature snifter. Label says bottled on Sep 28 2011

A- Pours a dark brown color with a 1/2 inch head that soon dissipates to a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a sheet of surface foam. Nice, trickly lacing.

S- Campfire smoke with a bit of a band-aid smell behind it. Both aren't overly pronounced so it's not unpleasant.

T- Actually the smoke flavor and the medicinal taste are both quite mild, all things considered. Good thing for me, because I can't stand a lot of smoke in my beer. The malts and small use of hops provide a good template. Stale smoke aftertaste.

M- Drying and heavy. Medium carbonation.

O- I'm always wary of buying smoked beers because I'm usually not a fan, but this is one I can deal with.

Photo of Proteus93
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Rich mahogany, topped with a rather stark white head. Retention is decent, maintaining a creamy collar.

S + T: Some of the sweetness in the malts that I would often associate with the dubbel, though not as heavy on the dark fruits. Nice caramel notes, and just enough smoke. The flavor profile is actually quite similar. I was a little unsure about the two styles together, as it seemed very easy to screw it up. Victory did an incredible job with this one, though, and I find that the balance makes it a very pleasant experience.

M + D: Medium bodied--appropriate for this beer. Often time, dubbels and their big brother quads have that rich and sparkling body that suits their flavours well. This one has a hint of the sparkling feel, but it has been subdued and I feel it ultimately works out a bit better. A well crafted beer, and one I can see myself returning to in the near future, as long as it's on the shelves.

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Otto Ale from Victory Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 312 ratings.