Otter Creek Quercus Vitis Humulus | Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's

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Otter Creek Quercus Vitis HumulusOtter Creek Quercus Vitis Humulus

Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
Vermont, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-30-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 106 | Ratings: 133
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.31/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep golden brown color, with a large off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains grapes, champagne yeast, caramelized malts, oak essence and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out mild burst of grape sourness followed by some caramel sweetness. Then a significant alcohol sting comes in along with a hearty malt character. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a little balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Not very tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, very strong kick, decent representation of style, I appreciate the concept but the beer just doesn’t work well for me.

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Photo of jondeelee
3.77/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Quercus Vitis Humulus opens to a light, sweet aroma that is most immediately noticeable for its range of fruit esters: pear, orange, berry, grape and grape juice (both white and purple), lemon, and even touches of fig, raisin, and prune. These sugars are matched by a nice brown sugar and light molasses base, bolstered by wildflower honey, and altogether these sugars give the beer a mead-like overtone. But there is also a good layer of oak and vanilla that adds complexity, as well as solid pink grapefruit and pine resin from the hops, and even hints of floury baguette and yeasty bread dough near the base. As a whole, the nose is very intricate, and while it comes across as delicate because of the lighter nature of the fruit esters, it still manages to be strong and long-lasting. And above all, it’s quite enticing, coming across like a fruity sweet champagne mixed with grapefruit, molasses, and vanilla oak, and is thus one of the more unique aromas on the market.

On the tongue, the beer opens with a shot of sugars and unexpected bitterness, the fruit esters here swinging from lemon, berry, pear, orange, and white grape to purple grape juice, raisin, date, fig, and lychee nut, and the bitterness coming across like concord grape skins, grapefruit rind, lemon zest, lemongrass. The immediate effect is discordant, with both light and dark fruit esters, as well as bitterness fighting for attention, and below this a thick runnel of brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, and wildflower honey adding to the confusion. Hops bring in more lemon and pink grapefruit, as well as grapefruit zest and pine resin. The champagne yeast adds a considerable amount of carbonation, but also adds to the champagne-like quality of the beer, bringing in a touch of dryness that plays strangely off of the sweet and dark fruits, somewhat like a slightly over-vermouthed berry martini. The oak chips do add a good layer of wood, which adds a plant-like fibrous bitterness to the mix. Late in the mouthful, as the sugars die off, a stronger champagne and merlot wine flavor comes through, as well as a surge of Welsh’s grape juice. The aftertaste is a fast-fading berry, grape, hops, and bitter oak mix, that ends up leaving a grapeseed and wood mixture coating the tongue, this latter coat lasting much longer than the initial aftertaste flavors. Mouthfeel is a dry medium, and carbonation is medium to medium-high.

Overall, while I can appreciate the effort that went into this brew, it seems to me that it suffers from simply having too much going on at one time: there are dozens of flavors fighting for attention here, some of them complementary and some of them strangely jarring, and the overall effect reminded me of champagne-based jungle juice, with a few shots of sherry and vermouth thrown in for good measure. The beer is by no means undrinkable, and it does say much for the brew that the 12% ABV is barely noticeable, but in the end I found myself wanting something a bit simpler and more focused.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.92/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle. This one has been in the fridge for quite a while, so I'm sure it has some age on it. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a reddish/amber color with about an inch light tan head. Head retention is good, and there's a small amount of lacing. There's also some sediment floaties noticeable. It smells like dark fruit (raisins, grapes), caramel, oak, candy sugar and some apple. The taste is similar to the aroma, it tastes like grapes, raisins, oak, white wine, and caramel. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and has moderate carbonation. I liked this brew, but I'm thinking I probably should have drank this one sooner.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.41/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy brick red color with some orange hues. Still hanging onto a retained ring of foam after half-an-hour (I'm letting this one warm up).

Pungent sweet and semi-metallic malts with some raisined grape aromas. Stale caramel, like an old IPA, with a nose hinting at oxidation (not sure when it was bottled).

Barely picking up the grape juice. Definitely the sweetness to match a fruit juice, but it's musty like an English Strong Ale. Tastes a bit like Cooper's Vintage Ale, but sweeter and stickier and fuller. Picking up some spiny woodiness from the Chardonnay barrels. Finishes a little astringent, and much drier than the opening and middle. Rich and malty, for the most part. Hints of medicinal hops. Lingering booziness. Too simple to be messy, too bumbling to be truly good. Once tasted, the grape juice comes out in the nose more. Better warm, as it's criminal when cold.

Feels like carbonated grape juice. Tacky and full with sparkling carbonation. Well, maybe the carb is a bit brushy, after all. Big 12% alcohol strength. Ok feel.

I like the subtle woody notes of barrel aging, and how the fruit comes out in the nose after tasting it warm for awhile. Still not a fully-realized beer. Lacking much complexity. Lacking drinkability. One and done for me.

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Photo of taigor
2.63/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from growler into tulip glass.

A - Poured cloudy dark amber color with huge off white head that slowly dissipated leaving moderate lacing around the glass.

S - Mostly malts, grapes with hints of oak and very boozy.

T - This is where it pretty much went downhill. Very sweet with malts, brown sugar and caramel with slight oak and spicy flavor. Alcohol just comes through and takes over everything and makes a very boozy finish.

M - Medium bodied with high carbonation.

O - Very unbalanced and boozy ale. The flavors are all over the place with alcohol completely destroying the taste. I would not recommend it.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.62/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer pours amber in color with a couple fingers of white head.

S: The wine/grape aroma really stands out on this. It's fairly sweet with some oak and vanilla notes coming through. Some citrus aromas as well as an almost Sauvignon blanc sort of scent. Also a hint of peaches. Really complex.

T: The flavor, however, does not quite match up. The grape is still there, as is the oak. But there is a definite oxidation to the flavor. A bit of booze along with brown sugar, bread, and toffee to round things out.

M: Medium in body with medium carbonation.

O: The aroma on this was fantastic, unfortunately the flavor did not even come close.

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Photo of jtingue
3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

Appearance. Reddish amber in color. Pours with about a finger of off white head, which quickly reduces to a layer on top of the beer.

Smell. Very musty overall. Underneath, though there is some raisin and dark fruit. The nicer elements of the smell are, unfortunately, overwhelmed by a resinous, very oaky smell.

Taste. The mustiness is not as present in the taste as it was in the smell. Rather, there is a lot of fruitiness and pleasant malt notes complemented well by lighter oak flavors with vanilla and hazelnut. Grape flavors are dominant throughout, but tending more toward the sweet side. A slight fruity bitterness comes after these sweet flavors. The finish is dry and full of white grape flavors.

Mouthfeel. Nice full body that is slightly creamy. Carbonation is low, but not missed very much.

Reminds me a lot of Southern Tier Cuvee 1. Starting to see a trend with beer aged in French oak.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
4.45/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 3" lovely light gold head. Showed a rich and thick cloudy copper gold body. I immediately can smell the grapes. Taste is rich and raisiny with a moderate grapey finish. Really a classy and oppulent beer, which is exactly what I've come to expect from their Imperial series.

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Photo of mjaskula
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed Fresh (purchased 7/30/2010, reviewed 10/14/2010):
Served in a tulip. The beer pours orangish copper with a thick light tan head. The head thins to a ring and leaves a bit of lacing.

The aroma is strong, immediately sweet and fruity with honey and apple aromas. Flavor is a bit strange, it starts off mimicking the aroma, sweet and strong. The grape juice definitely adds a unique character and is the main force in the flavor. There is a bit of hop bitterness that seems to clash with the grape flavor, and some spiciness. I was surprised to find dark prune like flavors and little alcohol presence. The finish shows a little bit of the oak flavor.

The mouthfeel is a little viscous, but high carbonation seems to lighten it. I have another bottle of this, I'll see if a year of aging helps to round the flavors out a bit.

After about a year in the bottle (7/25/2011):
Same glass. The head is thick and dense and sticking around more now, leaving a film and lacing. Color is darkish amber and clear, not really orangish. (The second half of the bottle brought some haze, oops)

Aroma has the same qualities, but now has a thickness to it, very inviting. The flavor has really come together and rounded out. Both the hops and the grape juice flavors have faded, melded and balanced. It's smoother, but still complex. I'm not getting prune flavors any more and the alcohol is still well hidden.

Mouthfeel is thinner and carbonation feels lower. Overall I really like where this beer has gone in a year.

Score reflects the 1 year review.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into a HF tulip. 2009 Vintage, why haven't I reviewed this yet? I was at the release party for FSM sake!

Pours a nice fairly clear amber, quite light for an ASA (although I thought it was a barleywine...), the head is very thin and small but white with a bit of lacing. Nose is still a bit boozy, sweet and caramel, there's a bit of a winey grape/oak note as well.

First off the mouthfeel is fairly light and creamy, a bit chewy and at the end it reminds me of a Belgian dubbel which is a bit surprising. Carbonation is perfect, light and smooth. The taste is still a bit odd, when released I think everyone thought it was still a bit too hot and boozy, it has really mellowed out in the past year or so. There's a nice spiciness to it with a very distinct grape flavor at the finish that is sweet and almost a tiny bit tart.

Certainly a unique beer and age has helped a lot. I think it's really too bad Otter Creek stopped their Imperial Series when Mike was just getting into the groove of things.

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Photo of HopeinHop
4.33/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz bottle into graduation glass.

Bought this because I was interested in this variation of a barleywine. The ale has a moderate amount of hops packed with a smooth caramel malty taste and feel. Although its brewed with champagne yeast this was not too bubbly.

The hops are citrusy (like grapefruit and orange).

The grape juice comes through a bit. Just a bit of white grape at the end, almost a wine-like touch.

I think this beer's a success, something a bit more creative than the straight-forward barelywine recipe.

High drinkability..maybe not, but a bomber is great!
Must try my 2008 3 Floyds Behemoth Barleywine soon.

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Photo of mikeg67
3.89/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A bomber. Pours hazy orange with a short-lived, small, white head. Aroma is of ripe fruit, vanilla and French pastry. Medium-full, crisp body. Taste is yeast, sweet caramel malt, good amount of citrus hops and some alcohol notes. Long, dry finish. Enjoyable brew.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: hand pump at ... Johnny Brenda's?

Poured from a cask into a goblet, a hazy orange-brown with a frothy two-finger head, that slowly dissipates to a patchy layer. Malty, bready aroma, with notes of grapes and floral hops. Strong, with a lot of flavor, and at 12%ABV, packs a pretty good punch. Hoppy and sweet, and just right at room temperature. Tastes of light malts, grapes (but not really wine), citrus and floral hops, alcohol bite. Turns a bit sour near the end, and more woodiness comes out. Medium mouthfeel, and quite complex and drinkable.

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Photo of Franz4
3.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22.9 oz bottle split with several friends

poured a nice golden color with just a slight head on it that faded quickly with no lacing, Nose consisted of strong grape notes which were balanced in the taste by a nice, even bitterness. This beer was one for sipping and savoring, I wasn't sure quite what to expect, but the brew was nice and it was a wonderful change of pace. For a 12% beer the alcohol wasn't noticeable at all.

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Photo of ffejherb
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bomber shared with brewslut and Deuane on 3/20/11.

A - Poured a hazy amber/orange liquid with reddish hues and well over two fingers worth of milky beige foam on top that retained as a healthy quarter inch head and deposited stringy lacing about the tulip.

S - Initial aroma is quite vinous with juicy grape notes offering a very sweet base. Leafy grassy and herbal hop notes are also apparent, as well as toasty oak and woody tones. However, given all of the subtle complexities, the aroma remains very sweet and sugary akin to hard candy.

T - Sweet and sugary candy-esque flavor up front with a hint of toffee and plenty of white grape character. A subtle hop presence emerges in the backend, which lends some bitterness, albeit rather dull and non-descript. There is also a hint of oaky tannins and woody notes, although it is more evident in the aroma.

M - Medium bodied with a syrupy texture, which gives the mouthfeel a fairly thick, rich character. Finishes very sweet on the palate with only a hint of subtle bitterness. Also, this wasn't as bubbly as I was anticipating, given that this was brewed with Champagne yeast.

D - I would have guessed this was a Tripel due to the sweetness. For 12%, I will say that the alcohol was well-concealed. However, I would have liked some more oaky dryness and less sweetness. Still, this was a pretty well-done brew with lots of complexities that made for an enjoyable tasting.

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Photo of DoctorDog
4.2/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22 oz bottle into a nonic. I've been sitting on this one for about a year or so.

A- Clear reddish/amber. 2nd pour disturbs the heavy sediment layer in the bottle a bit and adds a touch of cloudiness. Pours with 2+ fingers of light brown head, which fades slowly to a thin cap.

S- Sweet, grape / vinous fruitiness, oaken notes, and slightly funky, spicy Belgian-esque essence.

T- A veritable explosion of prominent flavors. Grape, tannic notes, malty sweetness....Oak / vanilla notes are solid but not overwhelming, and provide a nice bitter touch on the finish. Spicy, Belgian yeast notes. On the whole, leans to the sweet side. The 12% ABV is extraordinarily blended in the wash of flavor.

M- Moderate carbonation with a nice full feel.

D- Very good- Surprisingly easy to drink given it's ABV, bold flavor profile, and full feel.

Future outlook: This beer exceeded my expectations. Complex and flavorful in an extremely enjoyable way. I'm actually a bit surprised this beer isn't rated higher. Perhaps the ~year in stow has done the one well. Too bad it's a one-and-done....I'd like to see how this one fared with even more time under it's belt.

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Photo of velosuds
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes 12/26/2010. From a 22oz. bomber into a clear pint glass. Shared with my sister-in-law who brought this out from Ohio on her trip to CA for Christmas.

A-pours an orange red brown hue with two finger cream-colored head with good retention. Light lacing is even all the way down the glass.

S-This is an odd brew. To me it is more like a grape infused barleywine. Fruity and oaky, with caramel sweet malts. At 12% ABV I was surprised not to notice alcohol in the aroma.

T-Better than I expected after reading the label. Not bad at all, but still difficult to appreciate all the trouble the brewer incurred to produce this beer. The French grape juice compliments the high alcohol barleywine nicely, although the alcohol is surprisingly absent from the taste too.

M-Smooth but a bit light for such a big beer. Expected a more luxuriant feel that was absent.

D-At 12%, this may have had more wine attributes than beer, although hops and barley are clearly present. Seems the brewery was too enamored of producing a "novelty" than a truly great beer IMO.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.83/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 4/16/2010. Bottle. Pours a clear amber with a thick light tan head. Aroma of sweet fruits (grape, apple, cherry), raisin, sweet caramel malt. Flavor is quite sweet, cloying, and malty. Just a hint of Belgian yeast. I don't get any oak and not much Belgian character. I'm disappointed because this one had a lot of potential but it fell quite short. A sweet mess, in sum.

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Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours hazy amber into my pint glass with about two fingers of off white head, decent retention and some lacing.

S - Sweet malts, grape skin, oak, bubble gum and cloves.

T - This really has a unique taste as one would expect. Sweet malts and grapes are all swirled together. Somewhat white wine like in character. There are dark fruits present as well as some brown sugar and toffee like malts, and finishes with a touch of bitterness.

M - Pretty creamy, but a bit too dry for my palate.

D - Very complex, maybe too much so because each sip I take my opinion varies on how I feel about this brew.

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Photo of artruism
3.04/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

There is a strong citrus grapefruit scent and a deep orange amber color upon pouring, a nice foam head lingers and sticks to the sides of the glass. A light bitterness greets me, but as it warms up I get more grape sweetness.

I found myself wishing I would have drank it as a whole warm.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
3.3/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a New Belgium glass.

Pours a hazy amber hue, with about three fingers of light tan head from a tall pour. Lots of lacing on the glass from this one. Head drops after a few minutes.

Aromas of wood tannins, sweet malt, white wine, and earthy hops. Just an edge of alcohol on the aroma.

First sip is of an earthy, slightly puckering bitterness. Some astringency. There's a funky play between the beer component and the 'wine' component that is not exactly pleasant. Some dryness from the wood. This is a very complex beer, but I'm not too sure that it works, at least not for me. There is tobacco and cloying malt background note here like a big barleywine that finished at a tad too high gravity. Wow, this is all over the place.

Mouthfeel is huge, chewy, some light pulling at the cheeks from the dryness, tannins, and hop bitterness.

Drinkability is in question. I'll let this warm up a bit and come back. About halfway through the bottle, the alcohol becomes more noticeable and more effective. Still not sure whether I love or hate this beer. So much going on, it's difficult to pin down. I don't think I'll seek this out again. Apreciate the opportunity to try it out, but don't see this coming back as an addition to my cellar.

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Photo of PSUDREW
4.02/5  rDev +11%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours and orangey amber. bone colored head, not heavy, not overly frothy.
S: Warm boozy odor with citrus hints and other fruits as well
T: wow, this is a really interesting combo of flavors. There is the distinct grape/champagne taste, with a solid barely wine following, and a clean dose of oak at the end. Lots of wood finishes this taste off. but honestly, the mix of flavors really impresses me
M: well carbonated and not overly heavy
D: considering the style and abv, higher then expected

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Photo of DrJay
3.18/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear, bright coppery colour with a reddish tint and an inch of fine, beige foam. Lots of thick lacing, decent head retention. Looks viscous -- the bubbles rising from the etching at the bottom of my glass are moving pretty slowly. Caramel aroma, berries and grapes, quite fruity, slight grain husk and oak, faint burnt sugar. The flavour was all over the place. Up front were some musty grain and grassy hops notes. More caramel, bitterness, slightly fruity mid-palate, toasty and woody. A bit spicy with alcohol warmth towards the end, light grape flavour. Tannin astringency lingered and overtook a lot of the taste in the finish, just leaving the oak. Thick body, lowish carbonation, alcohol warmth, fairly smooth until it dries out in the finish. This was an interesting experiment, but it just didn't work that well for me. It felt like there was too much going on that wasn't meshing well. Overall, it sounded good on paper, but produced an average experience.

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Photo of brewandbbq
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle.

Pours cloudy amber with a thin, tan foam cap. A few torn ropes of lacing and a partial skim coat linger for the duration.

Aromatics lead off with sweet malt, honey, candied grapes, and some serious fruit. Quite estery with hints of bubblegum, cloves, and burnt styrofoam.

On the full side of medium bodied with a syrupy, tacky, gummy mouthfeel. Rich and lingering.

Juicy, sweet malt and grape Jolly Ranchers start the palate. Lots of sweet honey, citrus fruit, and a decent amount of booze follow through.

Finishes with lingering sugars, citrus, alcohol, and sugar-dusted grapes.

This is an interesting beer which would have been much better if were fermented out more fully. An aggresive Belgian strain would have done the trick.
Just too sweet for me.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle purchased somewhere local in MA. Gold foiled cap.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" beige head over the slightly cloudy coppery amber brew. Head last pretty well, with sticky lacing. Aroma is bubble gum, banana, and sweetness.

Taste is fruity to start, shows some light grape flavors in the middle, and closes with a rounded sweetness and moderate alcohol warmth. Mouthfeel is reasonably smooth, with some sharp alcohol corners here and there, and drinkability is okay as well. Not what I expected, but an enjoyable brew that has come room in my mind to come around a bit to a more approachable and enjoyable experience.

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Otter Creek Quercus Vitis Humulus from Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
3.62 out of 5 based on 133 ratings.
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