Otter Creek Imperial India Pale Ale
Otter Creek Brewing

Otter Creek Imperial India Pale AleOtter Creek Imperial India Pale Ale
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IPA - Imperial
3.92 | pDev: 14.8%
Otter Creek Brewing
Vermont, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Otter Creek Imperial India Pale AleOtter Creek Imperial India Pale Ale
Reviews: 120 | Ratings: 137 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Boto
Boto from Connecticut

3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber: This one pours a clear, orange hued amber color. There was a small off-white that doesn’t linger long but does leave some lacing. Hint of sweetness to the nose. Caramel, fruits on top, but there is a large amount of underlying hops. Some spices also. Good taste. Definitely a good hop bite to it. Mainly citrus and pine. A bit of sweetness peeking through in the finish. Lacking a bit of smoothness, however. It is good, but a touch on the harsh side with taste. Worth trying.

May 27, 2012
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tobelerone from New Jersey

3.28/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

First let me say that I have a strong affinity for Otter Creek. The brewery is very close to my parents' country house and I've visited many times. They're always very nice and I feel like they're my "home" brewery and one of my introductions to craft beer. That said, I think this one wasn't very successful.

It's a somewhat cloudy, dark colored amber with a big head. Smell was hoppy and boozy, continued in the mouth. The booze was very hot on this one and dominated the flavor way too much for me. Little balance at all...just way too big overall and kind of unpleasant to drink. Finishing the bottle (shared with the missus) was a real chore. Bitter and highly alcoholic. Drinkability very low.

I like IIPAs but this was just kind of a bitter, boozy mess. No subtleties of flavor, it just hits you over the head in brutal fashion. Just because you can make a monster IPA doesn't necessarily mean you should or that it will be much fun to drink. Big beer is cool but I feel it should still have some balance between the malt/hop characteristics and not just blow your mouth up with booze. Won't be buying this one again. So many better examples of the style. Sorry OC.

Jul 15, 2011
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SkeeterHawk from Texas

2.51/5  rDev -36%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

This is a relatively new offering in Houston, so let's give it a shot.

Appearance: Pours a pretty cloudy burnt orange color with a 1" head of off-white bubbles that was thick and creamy and looked like it wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. On the side of my glass, I can see that there are numerous bubbles rising to maintain the head, and it does. A couple minutes after the pour there was no significant difference in the height of the head. There is a ton of thick lace left on the glass after drinking the beer. If it was a bit more clear, this would be a well presented beer.

Aroma: The aroma is stupidly hoppy already with a dry chalky aromatic that is characteristic of the bittering hops reacting with the water. I am sad to smell this as it most likely means that this beer is way out of balance. There are some mild oxidative effects coming out as the beer sits a bit which seems like it is reacting with the alcohol. Overall, I am pretty disappointed in the aroma of this beer. It is unusual that the oxidation and other dry aromatics are changing and taking on a kind of wood aging character as the beer warms up some.

Taste: Right in line with the aroma, the flavor is absolutely dominated by the hops and the bitterness is reacting with the water big time so that you are getting a blast of hops on the palate in the beginning and they never let up just to end up as a dry bitter, unbalanced mess on the back of the throat to linger only to get washed away by the intense alcohol that sets in late considering how big this beer is, and it essentially "solvent washes" your throat to make the already dryness heat up. Subsequent sips are a little easier to take after the palate numbs to the excessive hops in this beer, but it still never really gets drinkable.

Opinion: Sometimes I wonder about brewers...being one myself. I wonder what drives them. For some, like me, it is ALL about the flavor and overall presentation regardless of the cost or time to make it. For some, it is all about the profit so most of their beers will be dry with at least a few adjuncts. For others, it seems to be about "making your mark" in the logs of brewing history, and that is where I think this beer fits. This brewer apparently just wanted to have a stupidly hoppy and strong beer to challenge the statistics without any real regard for the drinkability of the product. The bitterness is probably double what it needs to be, and the water sucks for what they are trying to do with it. I would put this beer in the "utter failure" of a craft beer category and it shouldn't have made it past the pilot stage tasting like this. Even a hop-head probably can't take this. I'm sorry, but I probably won't be able to finish my glass and I will never go back to this one again.

Jun 07, 2011
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htomsirveaux from Texas

3.52/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle tried 2 Aug 2010. Batch 247697. Served in the 0.5 L Adambrau becker.

Large cream colored head. Lightly carbonated. Hazy copper color. Floral, resin, orange and toffee aroma. Lots of bitter orange peel throughout, somewhat balanced by caramel and fruity-juicy sweetness. Pithy bitter finish and aftertaste. Somewhat flat in body. Ethanol is hot.

A liked this a lot more than I did.

Jan 23, 2011
Photo of Sammy
Sammy from Canada

3.67/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

a lot of hops, giving a good hop fix, but not a great entry into the style. The bitterness beyond the so-called theoretical 100 IBU limit that I cannot taste any further bitterness. Rather astringent, that builds as I drink it. I cannot give every attempt at a DIPA the Sammy 4 and it was not that enjoyable. I can only take so much grapefruit rind. Murky grapefruit colour with decent head. Mild hoppy aroma.

Dec 12, 2010
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megahurts4 from Louisiana

4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Otter Creek Imperial IPA

Appearance: Copper, medium head, and good lacing.

Smell: Flowery hops, spices, and slight malt.

Taste: Malty hop goodness and slight citrus.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy.

A heavy hopped IPA that is fairly powerful and thick.

Nov 03, 2010
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Metalmonk from North Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A couple interesting specs on the label: 4 hop varieties used, two of which you don't hear about often: Bravo and Apollo. And this has an estimated 135 IBU! Couldn't wait to get down to business with this one...

Quintessential double IPA look here: cloudy dark orange/sunset red color, with a frothy, foamy, creamy dirty white head on top. Looks pretty serious.

While there are some big hops in the aroma, it seems they threw an even bigger portion of malt into this beer, as the rich, robust caramel/toffee smell very much carries the overall aroma. Bit of spicy and herbal impressions come in, thanks to the hops, but it's actually all about the malt in the nose. Interesting.

Wow, this is certainly one of the most well-balanced imperial IPAs I've ever had, in terms of the malt, hop and alcohol levels...everything performs like a well-orchestrated symphony. As in the aroma, malts are bigger than in many beers of this type, and they're chewy, candy-like and totally enjoyable in their big caramel/butterscotch essence. Hops are citrus rind-like in their bitterness, the stuff of pithy grapefruit peels, but very much controlled, the malt likely responsible for taking just a little edge off, yet their personality is totally intact. Alcohol, at 11%, is remarkably well-incorporated, providing an underlining of cozy warmth and never wearing out its welcome. That 135 IBU shows up most in the finish--total pithy citrus rind wonder, a long, bitter, very bright finish. Overall, there's one word for this: fantastic. Unless you don't dig hops, of course.

Texturally this is wonderful. Just as creamy as you want a beer of this style to be, and also round, silky and ever so slight tingly. Oh yeah.

If it weren't for the 11%, which is total stealth in this particular beer, the drinkability would be way high. Just a total comfort beer, and one of the most balanced in its class. Great stuff.

Oct 14, 2010
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MoreThanWine from Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What a gorgeous creation. Pours a large 2" light gold head which eventually fades to 1/8". Amazing lovely golden caramel color - almost electrifying. Smell and taste match-up with a decadent array of hops and malt and sweetness. Plus unlike some IPAs in which the strength of the hops kind of comes secondary to the richness these hops (which are itemized on the bottle) shout out strong to be heard. Just a classy IPA all around, and not even one of the more expensive out there. A definite repeater for me.

Sep 18, 2010
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beerthulhu from New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11%abv with a theoretical 135 ibu.

A: The coloring was a medium orange with soft sunset reddish hues. A low turbidity rate shows some faint and lightly dense spacing of floaties that were barely visible unless you closely investigate. The head was dense and spongey, buff in color, and retained well with a shellacking of the glass of generous and ample amounts of foam and lace. The topping sticks around for the whole drink.

S: Piney and lemony flower hops appear on the open with a mixture of grassy oranges. Dried orange peels and grapefruit with some sweetly toasted grain rounds things out.

T: Bitter from the get-go, with a brutal display of dry pungent grapefruit and dried lemony citric hops parching the tongue. Flowery grapefruit and grass lay the groundwork for an assertive hop based ipa that is easily in the top tier by class when it comes to all out dryness and bitterness. There is some glimpses of toasted munich grains but feels weak, most likely intentionally to let the hops out. A finish finds floral citrus, bitter grapefruit and a bite of dry grassy hopcones that slowly fades on the tongue. The hops are truly amped up here a bit and as pungent as you can hope and ask for.

M: Nice crisp factor, always a plus per style, with some maltiness but again seems to falter and fall under the pressure of the hops. Noticeable warming of alcohol and grapefruit come about on the tongue.

D: The first few sips will certainly take you back a bit by surprise, it's been a while since I've had a imperial ipa that actually lived up to its standards. Dry hopped with an obscene amount of hops this should get respect even from the diehard hopheads who chew on hopcones for fun.

Sep 16, 2010
Photo of TheHoppiest
TheHoppiest from Ohio

3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into an oversized snifter.

Pours a hazy amber with a mild amount of sediment floating. Moderate ivory head quickly dissapates.

Has a sharp pine scent mildly tempered by malt. Some alcohol notes as well.

Strongly bitter, this one bites hard in the beginning. Quite astringent, its almost sour, like the pith of a lemon. Interestingly, it does not have a lingering bitterness that dries out the tongue.

Mouthfeel is sharp, and not too thick.

While I like a good hoppy beer, this one is almost too much for me. When I'm done with this bottle, I'll be done with this beer.

Aug 25, 2010
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whoneeds8 from Texas

4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into duvel tulip golden orange with a thick froathy white head. Great retention and lacing all the way down. The scent has floral hop scents and a strong amount of sugars mixed in. The taste is very sweet up front that quickly becomes bitter from a strong hop bite. Done very nicely. The mouthfeel has a nice tingle on the tongue and no noticable alcohol burn especially for this high abv. That makes this a very drinkable IIPA for the price.

Aug 12, 2010
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Durge from Connecticut

4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A light amber color with a decent off-white head and very nice lacing. The aroma has full floral pine hop and some brown sugar malt. Quite nice. The flavor offers maple malt and more pine hops in a medium-plus bodied brew with modest carbonation. It's sort of butterscotchy with a slightly viscous feel. Pineapple and juniper with herbal nuances with some alcohol noted but not at all dominating. A pretty drinkable "big" beer, I'd say. Overall it's definitely a satisfying, quality brew. Nicely done and worth a try for sure.

Aug 09, 2010
Photo of chaz410
chaz410 from North Carolina

3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful contrast of amber and orange body with a full finger and a half length white head.
Smells of thick caramel, toasted malts, biscuit malt and a little wheat... all laced over by lemony and earthy pine notes from the apollo and bravo hops.
Taste like the smell but more intense on the hop notes. There's also the hint of cat urine (not as a bad thing, just the closest thing to Symcoe you can find) and some grapefruit on the finish.
A smooth and malty finish, I almost wish they didn't use the same amount of the malt variety, it's a great blend but I think if they reduced the specialty malts just a little, it would make the wonderful hops ring out more.

Aug 03, 2010
Photo of chickencoop
chickencoop from California

4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Maybe it's just the over-abundance of DIPA's on the market, and I know this is an "imperial IPA", but this fell a little short in the style. I just couldn't get past the 11%, it was all over the taste and finish and barely covered up by a tinge of maltiness. Good beer, don't get me wrong, but not to my personal balance, but what am i to say.

Jul 30, 2010
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pwsoldier from Minnesota

3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a gorgeous cloudy amber with an impressive off-white head that shows great retention. Lacing is plentiful.

S - Citrus dominates, with some pine and a touch of alcohol lingering in the background. Maybe some pineapple as well. Sweet malt aromas are noticeable, but don't get in the way of the hop bouquet.

T - Bitter grapefruit up front leads into a semi-balanced finish as the malt backbone tries to make itself known, along with a hint of spicy wood. The hop bitterness is harsh without being overpowering. The hops leave a bitter citrus aftertaste.

M - Medium-bodied with plenty of carbonation. The alcohol has a bit of a warming effect.

D - A treat for hopheads and an enjoyable beer overall, but a bit too off-balance to drink on a regular basis.

Jul 19, 2010
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DavoleBomb from Pennsylvania

4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter. Big thanks to shaebs99 for this.

4.5 A: Semi-hazy dark orange/light amber color. Two fingers of thick creamy beige head with good retention and plenty of lacing.

4.5 S: Not the hoppiest of DIPAs, but this one smells great. Big orange citrus and herbal hoppiness. Malts are an equally pleasant and strong portion of the nose. Lots of caramel malts that mixes elegantly with the hops. Slight tinge of alcohol.

4.5 T: The first thing I noticed was a harsh everlasting bitterness in the aftertaste. I was truly surprised considering how many DIPAs I've been drinking lately. But, part way into the first glass, my tongue got used to it and it wasn't so bad. Weird, I assert, but I digress. Like the nose, this isn't the hoppiest of DIPAs. Also like the nose, the taste is wonderful, with malt and hop playing equivalent roles. Lots of orange hops with some grapefruit and pine in the background. Malts are again full of caramel malt taste, but otherwise very clean. Not super complex, but super tasty.

4.5 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation, very creamy, and very smooth (after the initial super bitter aftertaste thing).

5.0 D: This only gets better as you drink it. Great taste, great mouthfeel, no problems at all. Quite a brew, I do declare.

Jun 09, 2010
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Naugros from New Jersey

4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The pour of this beer is amazing. A rich, foamy head that settles down to a finger's width layer of dense suds. The first sip will dissipate most of this head and the bands of lace continue all the way down. The color is that of honey; it's a bit cloudier than I expected an IPA to be.

On the nose the hops attack immediately and joyfully! Grapefruit with a tinge of orange predominates (a collaboration of the Simcoe, Amarillo and Apollo hops). You can get some of the yeast, but very little of the 5 types of malt come through...perhaps a whiff of wheat used, but maybe that's just the grassiness of the Bravo hops that I'm getting.

The taste brings through what you smelled: grapefruit, orange and grass. The malts seem to be outfought by the hops, but their sweetness does come through on the tip of the tongue momentarily. The level of alcohol in this brew is very well masked, making this a bit dangerous.

This goes straight to the back of your throat...not my favorite place to experience the bulk of the flavor. The wash leaves an astringent feel as the acidity and hence bitterness of the hops assert themselves and this lingers as an strong aftertaste.

Imperial = strong, and that holds true here. At 11% abv, finishing the 22oz by myself would have rendered me incapable of typing many of the words in this review. I don't consider this beer "refreshing" due to the aftertaste or it's alcoholic content.

A good example of the Imperial style but many single and double IPAs are far preferable, if not less alcoholic. One glass was enough for me; time to move on to another beer.

Apr 27, 2010
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Overlord from California

3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden yellow. An inch or so of off-white foam head. Sudsy, long lasting.

Smells like ... floral notes and a heaping dose of acrid pine. Whoa. Hoppy.

Taste is one-note, searing, and sledge-hammer esque. But maybe not in a particularly good way. No malt. Zero. Just blasting, scorched/acrid pine with maybe a hint of grapefruit rind. Hmm. Well, I do love me some hops, but this is palate wearying in its singlemindedness.

Not particularly drinkable, but pretty good. Nice juicy mouthfeel.

Apr 17, 2010
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ClockworkOrange from Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A foil wrapped 22 ounce bomber bottle picked up at Abe's in Bethlehem for $5 and change. Uncapped and poured into my nonic piny glass. The ale appears a hazy, particle filled honey amber color with about an inch of fluffy, sticky off white foam. Nose and flavors consist of resinous pine, caramel malt, very bitter, a bit of lemon pith, white grapefruit, alcohol. Medium to full bodied with adequate carbonation. Aftertaste is quite bitter and the alcohol heat is not as overpowering as I thought it would be for a relatively fresh 11% DIPA. Not bad for the price.

Mar 13, 2010
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allergictomacros from Canada

3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy amber with a monumental head. Big hoppy aromas quickly waft out. Nose is also substantially sweet from malt, with heaps of tropical fruit. Very intensely bitter - maybe even a bit too much. Big balancing sweetness and some grassy hops. Very syrupy mouthfeel weighs this down as well. Lots of flavour but a bit over the top.

Feb 28, 2010
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Seanibus from California

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours hazy orange with a huge. Dense tight head. Aroma is carmelly and hoppy with citrus and a whiff of pine. The flavor is citrusy with smooth caramel and a surprisingly smooth mild citrusy bitterness. The mouthfeel is quite creamy, rather milky in fact. Little evidence of the intense alcohol. Delicious and well balanced.

Feb 26, 2010
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cdpike from Michigan

3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured into stemmed tulip glass.

With tons of lasting foam clinging to all sides of the glass, it pours a slightly hazy bright burnt orange. The aroma is very bright with lots of resiny hops and some earthiness in the background. For the big blast of hops in the nose, this full-bodied beer has a little more to it than that. There's lots of chewy caramel and a touch of toffee wrapped in resiny hop goodness. This is balanced fairly well, especially since expecting nothing but a hop explosion. Overall, it's enjoyable, but quite heavy-handed--on the the edge of clumsy. Tasty, but I would definitely split a bomber.

Feb 15, 2010
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DawnL from New York

4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew was a deep golden color with a head that had great retention. Very nice to look at.

Hops on top of hops - piney, citrusy, fruity - really nicely layered - delicious stuff.

The palate was surprising. I was absolutely thinking 120 minute territory, but the malt was clean and really balanced the hops creating a very round beer. It was a pleasure to drink.

Highly drinkable - one of those dangerous brews where you forget the alcohol content due to the great balance of alcohol, malt and hops. The hops are still in your face, but there's less of a bitter bite on the backend. That's where those malts come out of nowhere and encourage you to drink more.

This is a great beer.

Feb 04, 2010
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brewdlyhooked13 from Ohio

3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - slightly hazed bright caramel amber. Four fingers of sticky lace leave a thick net of webbing around the glass.

Aroma - caramel up front, plenty of spicy, piny hop aroma to go around. Smells intense with grapefruit rind setting up after a minute or two.

Taste - some early caramel/biscuit sweetness. An early presence of some fruity, mango/grapefruit flavor, but overrun at mid-palate by some very spicy, prickly, and somewhat medicinal hoppage. A pleasant abv warmth hits on the aftertaste that smooths things out a bit, but doesn't quite displace the harshness of the cones. A legit IIPA, but made for the uber-bitter fans.

Mouthfeel - crispy enough for the style, certainly smooth. The body is in range but could stand an even bigger footprint. The palate feels rather ravaged after a third of the bomber, like little hop knives have diced up my roof of my mouth.

Drinkability - wouldn't mind trying one after a few years to mellow the sharpness out, but not one I'd seek out fresh.

Feb 03, 2010
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jjboesen from Maryland

4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

During a recent trip to Vermont, I took the opportunity to purchase a bomber of this fine brew, an entry in Otter Creeks' new series of "Imperial" beers. The initial pour (into a tulip glass) results in a glass of froth that is slow to settle; after five minutes, one beholds in their hand, a glass containing an opaque amber colored liquid that is populated by a swirling school of carbonation bubbles. The lacing is heavy and consistent.

The nose detects sweet lemon drop notes while the palate is overwhelmed by a thick doughy blanket of hops that leaves an intense alcoholic aftertaste. Add to this, some assertive maltiness in the back. At 135 IBUs, this is your typical hopbomb that is brewed for a slow savoring.

Jan 19, 2010
Otter Creek Imperial India Pale Ale from Otter Creek Brewing
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 137 ratings