Otter Creek Quercus Vitis Humulus | Otter Creek Brewing

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Otter Creek Quercus Vitis HumulusOtter Creek Quercus Vitis Humulus
134 Ratings
Otter Creek Quercus Vitis HumulusOtter Creek Quercus Vitis Humulus

Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing
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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 134 |  Reviews: 107
Reviews by morebeergood:
Photo of morebeergood
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from the bottle into tulip glasses. Dull orange color, with a small head that faded quickly. Smelled like a glass of chardonnay. Taste was an interesting experiment. The barleywine flavors were really muted by the oak aging. I wish this brew held onto more of the hop profile that I was expecting. Reminded me more of a Belgian ale aged in a wine barrel. That said, I did think it was tasty beer though. The champagne yeast gave it a bit of an effervescence. High abv made a bomber just enough to drink with our dessert this night. Not a bad beer, but different than advertised.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of generallee
4.25/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of Billolick
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Large bottle, gold foil makes it look fancy, but I never understand why brewers waste the time and $ for this little embelishment. Pours clear reddish/orangy amber. Typical light khaki head, that leaves a thin collar and just a few slippery smudges of lace. Sweet fruity nose, leads to a sweet and strong brew. On the hot side for my liking. Alcohol too warm in this one for me. The mouthfeel is super smooth. More sweat fruit, light malts and unfortunatly..alcohol..I know its 12% but I'm not real impressed with the brewing that created this one. Might benefit from some time in the bottle to let things cool down and gel together.

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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 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 far333
3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear orangey/tea colored with a firm off-white head of meringue that lingers long and sends sheets up the sides of the glass.

Aroma has sweet, phenolic, yeasty notes. Full and rich and silky and luscious mouthfeel leads to a semi-sweet flavor that matches the nose. Phenolic and yeasty, bready with notes of clove. Alcohol strength is well-hidden. Seems off style, comes across as a Belgian style ale.

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

The worst offering I've had from Otter Creek. Not a beer I would like to revisit ever again I don't know how I can make it through 12 ounces let alone a whole bomber. Pours a deep ruby slight copper body, head forms thick off white light khaki hued, fine even bubbles very champagne like with the secondary fermentation that took place before barrel aging. Quercus aka Oak, Vitis aka Grapes, and Humulus aka hops. I don't mind grape juice but this one is sweet like Diabetes inducing sweetness you may need to schedule an appointment with both your dentist and somebody in internal medicine. Nose is nice a strong acidity/sweetness from the grapes with a touch of vanilla earthy wood feel from the oak. Hops are pretty well hidden amongst the rest of the fireworks. Alcohol is not well hidden it grapes the nose air and sends fusel alcohol tingling the nares. Harsh as all hell in the flavor department sour grapes, backend acidity makes you feel like you are dry heaving. Heavy oak charcter pretty much ruins the beer. Sweet sticky layers of residual sugars collide with oak charred flavors and a sour malt edge bittering hops explode without any finnesse yeah it's a strong ale without any balance. The burning alcohol sensation doesn't help anything this brew is crazy. Mouthfeel is cloying light reduced syrup quality about it. Goes over the edge full bodied moderate carbonation sticky sweet residuals ruin it for me hot alcohol finish burns my throat, this is booze. Drinkability, wow what a harsh and unpleasant experience my stomach is hot and the brew is only halfway done it came in a gift pack with the RIS and DIPA both were amazingly easy drinking and aggressive yet balanced. This one is a clusterfuck of a beer, it doesn't know where it's going it may get better and cool down years from now.

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Photo of glid02
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by a kind soul at a recent tasting - much obliged!

Pours a hazy amber color with a one-finger off-white head. The head dissipates into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of sweet pale malts with large amounts of white grapes and much lighter amounts of leafy hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Pale malt flavors with hints of darker caramel malts kick things off. Sweet grape flavors enter into things shortly thereafter. The flavors turn slightly bitter midway through the sip with the addition of hints of earthy hops and lighter hints of oak. The ending is on the sweeter side of things.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is OK. I finished my glass without a problem however I'm not sure about another.

Overall this was a unique beer but I'm not sure I was a big fan. Still, it's worth a shot to decide for yourself.

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Photo of BetterDarker
2.89/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bomber into snifter glass

A: Light amber with a cream-colored head, very little lacing, a good looking beer. Evidence of champagne yeast from the small bubbles.

S: Faint sweet fruit, not exactly grape, but not citrusy either. Not picking up any hop aroma but there is a bit of boozy aroma.

T: This was a tough one for me. First taste that hit was sweetness, can not tell if it's from the malt or fruit, but this gives way to a tart bite, almost puckering. More tart than bitter, but this is to be expected from the description. A nice oak presence.

M: A bit chewy for me albeit nicely carbonated.

D: One and done for me, I managed to drink 12 ounces or so, but couldn't finish the bomber.

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Photo of Varkias41
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.8/5  rDev +32.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

O.k here's the scoop on this brew: This starts out as A Barley wine Style ale brewed with a Bavarian yeast, French Grape juice, and then fermented with Champagne yeast! This is a liquid ode to the Oak tree.

A totally clear, darker shade of amber, very bubbly and active, which is expected with the addition of Champagne yeast. I've used Champagne yeast many times to jazz up my homebrew's. A tan colored head rises 2" high and looks fluffy and stable, but the lively liquid doesn't let it settle in for the long haul, it dissipates fast which is pretty standard for a Barley wine type ale with a big abv.

A very nice aroma of slightly fermented red grapes, sweet caramel malt, spicey herbs in the lager yeast, and some earthy notes along with a champagne zippiness and only mild heat in the back. Obviously complex from the aroma.

I'm very impressed on many levels when I take the first sip, complexity of flavor's is off the charts, with a lucious sweet and smooth malty profile with a bit of oak-aged woody flavor that mellows and smooth the malt out even more. To find such rightous balance with all of these ingredients is a amazing; The lager yeast flavor's ride in next with earthy, spicey-herbal effects. The vienna malt smooth out the body even more. One part Barley wine ale, one part earthy lager and then comes the blast of jazzy champagne yeast which adds a certain dryness and zippy feel to the arleady smooth malty full-body. The key to a fine beer for me is BALANCE, and these flavor's all meld together in perfect harmony, no small feet concidering the ingredients list. The abv is a large 12% but after being aged for a bit it's only warming and not at all hot. The alcohol combines with the lager earty flavor's and bitter hop flavor's right at the end.

The Dry lager flavor's with the champagne yeast is a bold liquid statement of experimentation with balance in mind!!! "Far-out" but down to earth! Otter Creek is on a roll with this Imperial series, i loved the Imperial Stout and now this! I'm really into brews that are complex and interesting without the huge alpha highs of big hops. I love this beer. A great value too at only $5.99 per bomber. This is the kind of brew that trancends a certain "style".

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

Big thanks to ShogoKawada for this unusual extra. Been sitting on this a while. Poured from a 22oz bomber into my oerbier tulip.

Hazy mahogany body with burnt and safety orange highlights. An enormous ebullient papaya whip head recedes slowly to a dense raft crested by a smalle isle of large bubbles. Dense spackled lacing is surrounded by shimmering rivulets of legs. Superior retention considering the ABV.

Prunes, leather, light oxidation, and a vinuous aroma join together to suggest a well aged barleywine. Esters are potent and complex, and the alcohol serves as a vector rushing the scents into your nose without getting in the way itself.

Deeply fruity on the palate, backed by a wave of malt. Dark bread, toasted rye, burnt sugar, and dates in the finish. The alcohol delivers an uppercut of eucalyptus, while the oak sews the disparate elements together suggesting Earl Grey tea, and an almost root-vegetable-like sweetness (not DMS). After a while, a fruity minerality emerges revealing the champagne yeast. Quite unusual, though reading earlier reviews, I think this has benefited from some age...dial up the hops and dial down the alcohol and I'd bump the taste score a half-point.

Medium-bodied, chewy, and thick. Quite warming, border-line hot.

If you have one of these, you might want to continue cellaring it as this would make for a good winter warmer. Different from anything I've tried before without coming across as excessively experimental.

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Photo of prototypic
3.31/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Quercus Vitis Humulus is an interesting looking copper color. It's very clear and has a rose tint when held to light. It's topped with an off-white head that stands about two fingers tall. Retention was good given the abv. Light strands of sticky lace clung to the glass as it descended.

The nose is alright. It's a bit interesting, to say the least. It's a little weak in terms of strength. It's very vinous. That's not a bad thing, in and of itself. But, when it's the focal point of a beer? Eh. Not my favorite thing. Oak is certainly prominent in the mix. That aspect is alright, but it's not enough to carry the day. Light fruit scents of apple and pear are noted. There are some earthy notes, and some evidence of floral hops. Alcohol is noted, but doesn't smell like 12% to me. All in all, it's very average. It smells a bit convoluted, but isn't overtly bad.

The flavor is a little better, but not a great deal. Probably enough to warrant a score bump. White grapes are predominant. It's extremely vinous and really blurs the line between wine and beer. Oak is noted and works pretty well with the grape flavor. I don't mind that. It's a little earthy. Floral hops are noted, but aren't very strong. Fruit flavors of apple and pear are secondary, but add some depth. Alcohol is somewhat prominent and warm. That doesn't surprise me too much for a 12% beer. It finishes earthy and a little dry. It's above average, but isn't great. The flavors never seem to synergize or really impress.

QVH has a body that's on the lighter side of medium. Carbonation is light, but it doesn't feel smooth. Perhaps it's just too thin. Drinkability is very average. The flavor's okay, but isn't very good. It's strong and a little too warm. I'll probably finish the bomber, but that's way more than enough for me.

I haven't had many experiences with Otter Creek/Wolaver's beer. This one hasn't been particularly good. There are a litany of problems with QVH. I get that it's an experimental beer, but a few tweaks would make it a good, experimental beer. The biggest problem is that it's all very convoluted. Maybe it's too complex. I don't know. Alcohol's a little too warm and the body's too light. I could go on, but you get the picture. It's probably worth a try, but stick with a single bomber.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%

Photo of bum732
3.2/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear burnt orange, decent creamy head. Smells of citrus fruits, some grape, touch of caramel, touch of oak, slight alcohol, apple and pear perhaps. Tastes of sweet caramel malt with a grapy winey undertone. Big tea-like herbal notes leads to moderate bitterness. Finish is fairly clean with some more wine notes and some alcohol. Decent mouthfeel, moderate carbonation.

An interesting beer. Not sure how well the wine components worked in this beer. I found it quite sweet and the alcohol was very apparent. Interesting experiment, but wouldn't probably try again.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.28/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

French oaked aged ale brewed with French grape juice, fermented with Champagne yeast.

A: A flat muted orange has a sharp clarity with a light cream head that was smooth, yet frothy while being solid in retention. Visible effervesce is light, with isolated instances of bubbles rising softly at any given moment.

S: The nose was washy with some dried orange peels and light instances of fruit juices can be picked up but was vague and light in strength.

T: The flavor was tart with some oranges, slightly musky, with some damp toasted grains. Tart grape skins, with some musky citrus tones come around that were moderate strong in terms of bitterness.Some vanilla, dry tart grape skins and oak chips are clear along with evidence of alcohol, though felt more like in the 8%-9% range rather its true 12%abv. Toasty oak and damp toasted sweet grains and musky citrus appear on the close. Overall dry tart fruitiness from the grape jucie, decent level of complexity, though an odd combination at that.

M: The mouthful is medium bodied, a bit vinous, softly carbonated. Dry tart fruity fade on the tongue.

D: At 12% it drinks much softer in nature alcohol wise. Dry tart fruity flavor is more suited as a slow methodical sipper and more wine cooler-ish then beer. Best if a bombe is split. kinda odd.

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Photo of trekbiker3000
3.48/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A dark amber color, with a nice yellowish-tan head some bubbles rising to the surface. The head retention was good, not disappating completely, but leaving a slight film over the top of the brew. Tha aromatic and crystal malts are present in the aroma. The taste is OK, the barleywine base comes through but I'm not sure how much the french grape juice adds. It would be helpful to know the type of grape used. The carbonation is present on the tip of the tongue but disappears on the palate. Overall a good complex beer. I've had one other grape infused beer in the Finger lakes, the grape juice was much more noticable in that beer, which is what I expected with this beer.

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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 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 Docer
3.42/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Acquired in a trade from Ranbot... looking forward to trying this one.

- Dark clear copper with a quick bubbly head... left a very thin sheet of spotty fizz on top.

- Very oakey wine... roasted oak, burnt caramel malt... fresh white grape juice.... perfume... floral.. light bitter hop. Overall kind of interesting.

- Throat opening medicinal fumes pave the way for a funky roasted oak and grape brew. Sweet caramel backbone and a very esb-like english malt resin... very hard to explain. Unique, but not my cup of beer.

- Little syrupy, but not too heavy... carbonation is great... bit sticky and chewy.

- Overall it is a very unique brew.... it's just a certain funk sits in it that I don't really care for. A funk I also found in AleSmiths Anvil ESB. Perhaps it's a certain kind of malt I don't like. Overall the oak is nice.

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Photo of u2carew
3.38/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz. Bomber
A) Pours with a thin creamy head. Slight haze. Upward carbonation. Bronze in color.
S) Fruity - citrus and apple. Subtle woodsy aroma. Some candy tones.
T) Tart up front mixed with subtle malts and alcohol. Moves to a pungent and earthy taste. Finishes strong with alcohol.
M) Fizzy. A bit syrupy. Dry nearly pucker-esque. Alcohol effervescence.
D) Not a favorite but very interesting concoction.

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Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of berkey
2.65/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

1 pt 6 fl oz bottle poured into a Bruery tulip.

Pours an almost rosy amber color with a slight haze topped by a fairly persistent white head. Leaves some filmy lacing but it fades quickly.

Smells strongly of grape juice. I expected this one to be slightly vinous based on the ingredients but there's nothing wine-like so far. I almost want to say it smells slightly of apples and even apple juice. I think the way the sugars in the grape juice are playing off the malts must be throwing me off. The "Humulus" part of the title isn't ringing true so far as I'd really be reaching if I said I could pick out any clear hop aromas. Odd mix, but not necessarily in a bad way.

Slightly more complexity on the palate with the malts making themselves known but the fruit juice elements are still slightly too harsh. Not just grape juice but it seems like there's an entire fruit cocktail in there. Think Del Monte fruit cup spiked with gin. Slightly spicy herbal hop character is just present enough to remind me I'm drinking a beer and not some bizarre fermented juice. Unique, but not necessarily in a good way.

Carbonation is soft and subtle but also very active which works well enough but the alcohol heat is much too obvious which really hurts the drinkability. Couldn't finish the bomber.

Overall I hope this brewer keeps experimenting but this was a dubious concept to start and didn't really work in my opinion. I'm not coming near this beer again but would be willing to give this brewer another go if I come across something else from them.

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Photo of london1o1
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of mikesgroove
3.23/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I recieved this one in a box from somewere recently, not really sure when, but saw it in the fridge and grabbed it out for the taking,. Served chilled and poured into a taster glass, this one was consumed on 12/25/2009.

The pour was easily the most alluring part of this beer, and that is not saying a ton. Pours out a hazy white wine color with nice carbonation and a small head of white capping off the top of the glass. Aroma is mess, tons of grape coming through right away with a medicinal, acrid aroma of alcohol that starts to pop up right away as well. Not much at all in the way of hops at first. Took a sip and just way too much going on here. No real direction at all, just a mess of flavors that seem to be hap hazardly thrown together. Hot, boozy alcohol mixed with ripe grape juice and an off, woody sort of aroma. The whole thing seemed rushed and confusing. Each sip coming on the heals of a worse one. Not really sure the direction again. Slightly slick feel and a heavy hitter at 12 percent did not help it much.

Overall this was a mess. Not really sure what they were going for here, but I doubt the result is what was intended. I would not go here again.

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Otter Creek Quercus Vitis Humulus from Otter Creek Brewing
Beer rating: 3.62 out of 5 with 134 ratings