Twentieth Anniversary Ale
Otter Creek Brewing

Twentieth Anniversary AleTwentieth Anniversary Ale
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American Strong Ale
3.63 | pDev: 16.25%
Otter Creek Brewing
Vermont, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Twentieth Anniversary AleTwentieth Anniversary Ale
Notes: 20 Years * 1991-2011 - Mike Gerhart, Brewmaster

55 IBU
Reviews: 94 | Ratings: 198 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of woodychandler
4.47/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody continues to unearth some hidden and forgotten gems! This one has been in the reefer since I bought it, to the point that the glue has failed & label has fallen off ! I am just glad that I am still identify the beer. I had meant to drink this 20th Anniversary on 4-20 Day, but time got away from me, as it is often wont to do.

From the bottle: "20 Years * 1991 - 2011 [undersigned} Mike Gerhart, Brewmaster"; "Located in historic Middlebury, Vermont, Otter Creek Brewing is the proud brewer of the finest quality, handcrafted ales since 1991.".

In Pop!ping the cap, there was no question but that I would be going with a VERY gentle pour afterwards. An in-glass swirl raised a brief finger of foamy, light-tan head with modest retention that reverted back to wisps, leaving nice lacing in its wake. Color was Coppery-Brown (SRM = > 17, < 22) with NE-quality clarity. That is an understatement! It was filament-bright! Nose was bready, very malty sweet, with notes of maple, honey & even a light mintiness, the latter of which was completely unexpected. The fusel heat had still not subsided & tickled my sinuses with its presence. Mouthfeel was thick, not quite viscous, but it laid on my tongue like a beached whale. The carbonation was beginning to wane with time & so it was like a dollop had been scooped onto my tongue. I let it roll around to further warm before swallowing. I will bet that this was hot as hell as a young beer! Even now, the warmth suffused the beer, giving it a brandy-like quality. The taste was bready, at base, with notes of dried, dark fruits; leather; dark, but not burnt, caramel; drying tobacco; toast and honey. Whew! OMFG! I wonder if I read that it was hot & needed to age when I originally purchased it or if it were just a happy accident to have had it around until now. They might be calling it an American Strong Ale, but arguments could be made for English Barleywine (no evident hops) and/or Old Ale. This had aged beautifully. Finish was dry, mainly due to the residual heat that lingered well after the swallow. Phew. I might even amend my last to include American Barleywine as I did get a cool mintiness on the extreme finish. Wow! Get the sensation.

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Photo of colts9016
3.41/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A muted murky copper color with some carbonation bubble. The head is two finger and is light tan. The head quickly dissipated leaving a little ring around the glass.

A rich malty aroma with caramel, biscuit and bready. Some yeast floral, alcohol, and earthiness is present.

A nice toasty malty flavor with caramel biscuits, and some bread. Yeast, floral, vanilla, earthiness, and some phenols round off the taste

The mouthfeel is carbonated, and warming.

This beer still packs some heat with the alcohol despite the age on it. The flavors in the beer are ok. i was not impressed or unimpressed with it. A decent offering.

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.05/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip style glass. Beer comes out a dirty, cola brown color with lots of sentiment and particles. Small bubbles in the head and they fade away pretty quickly. Leaves a small ring round the edge of the glass. Not a ton in the way of lacing, a little bit of retention from the liquid.

Smell is pretty good. Smells of leather, wax, vanilla, both read and black licorice, and maybe a slight touch cinnamon. It's all there, but it's not very strong.

Taste is great. Great malt backbone. Sweet brown bread. Both red and black licorice again, and flavors similar to the candy of wax soda bottles at the penny candy store. Again there are strong notes of vanilla but now with brown sugar, honey, and a bit of cinnamon. Tastes very good, but very sweet.

Mouthfeel is good, full bodied beer with a nice long lingering flavor. Modest carbonation level, slightly tickles your tongue. Some heat from the alcohol, but I still wouldn't have guessed a 12% beer. Very drinkable, a nice sipper. I good representation of the 20th Anniversary of a great brewery. I love the fact that it's a 12 oz bottle too.

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Photo of krasnoludek
4.05/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I bought a four-pack in late 2012, when it was already a year old and the last pack in the store. I drank them very sparingly and now, at the end of 2014, when it's 3 years old, I'm having the last bottle and writing the review.

Pours with little head and has a pleasant medium brown color. It was fairly opaque due to all the particulates floating around after the pour. They still hadn't settled after a minute. Scent is very toasty and malted, with a "tingly", yeasty sensation you get from freshly baked bread. Taste of toasted sesame, followed by a light caramel sweetness and a bitter finish. It's very particular, and my spouse hated it, but for me it's just the right mix of sweet and bitter. Alcohol content not noticeable in the taste.

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Photo of ricknelson
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Our group of 4 Beer Advocate members did a recent small bottle tasting of high alcohol brews.
Among the 12 brews tasted was; Otter Creek's 20th Anniversary American Strong Ale (Retired).
The 20th tied for our 8th highest average score of the 12 brews tasted at 4.06.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.37/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

a deep amber pour, a finger of off-white head which quickly dissipated. smells of barley, caramel, brown sugar, lots of sweet grains. a bitter-sweet malty flavor with a huge alcohol kick. slight roasted flavors give off nutty like taste, mixed with what seems like pure barley juice. it feels like there's rye in here as well - almost a chocolatey flavor. full body with low carbonation.. somehow it feels a bit watered down for its strength, which makes it easy to drink - and dangerous.

there is an overall sense of booze in this beer, which is a bit intimidating. the taste is much bitter than the aroma given off by the sweet sugars of the grains. the mouthfeel wasn't all there.. for an anniversary beer, this is kind of a disappointment. otter creek is capable of much more, i think.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.67/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: A dense burgundy red shows some chunky particulate yeasty matter floating about. A bronze-tan head is slight and frothy, with a low to moderate retention rate. Some spotty speckled lacing adheres to the glass.

S: Dark fruit of plums and prunes with some boozy sweet caramelization with spicy herbal notes of tarragon and parsley. Some sweet figs are also well noted here.

T: The flavor was lighly boozy, not as strong as the 12.0% you would think, the sweetness hides most indication. Some plums and cocoa and again spicy herbal notes of tarragon are evident along with the sweet sugary figs.

M: The mouthful had a gentle warming of sweet dried boozy fruit with a syrupy texture and an average rate of carbonation.

O: Overall the alcohol is very managable here hidden behind its malt sweetness and sweetened dark fruit. Good mid range offering.

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Photo of templar316
3.92/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep rich cloudy amber, thin head no lace. Smells of lovely caramel malt, cinamon and candied fruit. This has really aged well; wish I would have kept more for next year. The alcohol burn is 25% and deep malt flavors bounce back and forth across the tongue with each sip. Still a bit of burn at the end. But a great coming of age beer...

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Photo of jjboesen
3.91/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter, this heavy hitter is dark ruby red, impervious to natural light, and completely foreboding in appearance. The body is still and deep - no carbonation; it is crowned with a thin vanilla crown.

The nose is inundated with subtle whiffs of bubble gum, honey and wax; the palate is overwhelmed by intense maltiness supplemented by the aforementioned honey. The body is rather syrupy and sweet. A deceptive beer, this one lures in the victim with a taste of honey until a harsh blast of alcohol arrives to finish them off.

Certainly not a session beer as I can see how difficult it would be to quaff more than one. In any case, Happy Anniversary Otter Creek!

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Photo of ppoitras
2.78/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

129oz bottle purchased as a single from somewhere localish probably.

Poured into a small Mayflower nonic, formed a 1/4" tan head over the slightly cloudy orangey brown brew. Thick skim of a head lasts well, with leggy, slow-falling lace. Aroma is sweet and strongly alcoholic.

Taste starts syrupy sweet, fruity in the middle, then bitterness and strong tannins take us to the close. Aftertaste and alcohol burn not particularly enjoyable. Mouthfeel is soft over the tongue, but then the tannins and booze rip off your tastebuds, and as such, drinkability is not so great. Not much of an anniversary party here in my mind.

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
2.83/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a slightly hazy amber/caramel color with a very small quickly dissipating tan head. Smells of overly ripe dark fruits, booze, and sweet malts dominate the nose. There are some familiar aromas hinting of age. First sip is boozy, showing age – though it is only 1 year or so old, super sweet malts, ripe plums, figs, no hops present. The 12% ABV tastes like 15% and is in your face and not very well hidden. Thin bodied. This is just an OK beer - hardly the quality what a 20th anniversary should be. Disappointed.

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Photo of JayQue
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big, Big beer!!!! Pours a fairly dense amber color with a lot of light coming through. A regular pour provides no head or lacing. A pretty violent pour gives a big tan head with fairly good retention and a bit of lacing.

Smell is fairly mild, a little dark fruit (raisins), sweet caramel malt and alcohol.

Taste is very good. Not all that complex, sweet caramel malt, warming alcohol and dark fruit. Expertly blended, the sweetness and alcohol are not overdone.

Mouthfeel is rich and smooth with just the right amount of warming alcohol. Seems light (dangerously so) without being watery or weak.

A nice simple slow sipper.

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Photo of tobelerone
3.8/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the brewery. Pours a deep amber color, very clear, with a small cream colored head that settled quickly. Slippery alcohol legs rather than lacing per se. Smells like a barleywine; quite sweet, syrupy, malty, lots of brown sugar and booze. Vague flowery hops underneath.

Big sweet flavor; again tons of syrupy brown sugar and toffee, booze bordering on fusel; caramel and mild floral hops. Low bitterness, big time sweetness. Some dark fruity flavors of raisin and prune. Dries up a little in the finish, thankfully, and has some residual bitterness as the aftertaste fades.

Full bodied, sticky, low carbonation. Beer syrup. I kinda liked it but a shared glass was plenty. A bit simple and one-dimensional, a hefty and sugary strong ale to be sure.

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Photo of jeremy13586
3.98/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

3080091211bottle code. Poured in to a pint glass.

Hazy and translucent copper color. Left behind a one finger tan head that vanished into a thin layer of foam rather quickly. Didn't leave any lacing.

Sweet malt and caramel. Some dark fruits. Not too much going on in the nose.

Malt hits you up front, followed by some caramel and toffee. There is a subtle taste of orange peel and cream. It's rounded out with some sharp bitter hops and some minor booze.

Smooth, but a little bit syrupy. Medium bodied and finishes pretty clean with a bit of alcohol warmth.

The beer took on more fruity tones as it warmed, which made it very interesting. The alcohol became more apparent as well with a little bir of warmth, but it didn't get super hot or anything. A very awesome brew that I might have to try and seek out.

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Photo of TubaManJack
4.05/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A solid brew that needs a bit of time. I got a pair of four packs and the beer is just cooling off and evening out from the strange hop combo they started with.

It be honest I didn't like the beer when it first came out about 3 months ago. The beer now exhibits the creaminess and sweetness that I assumed the brewer was going for. Just give it some time and you will be rewarded.

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Photo of bruachan
1.98/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

i see this weighs in at 12%. no wonder the head fizzled in a jiffy!

the color is decent, partly rescuing the headless mein

smells boozy and fruity. smells like it was fermented fairly warm

very hot on the finish. in fact, very hot on the start. in between it tastes like booze with some raisiny backup

i have to think this is not what the brewer intended. tough to drink, in fact

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Photo of pisano
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into tulip glass

a: pours a deep orange brown/dark caramel color with little to no head and some spotty lacing on the glass

s: caramel, dark raisins/prunes, brown sugar, some spices, slight booze

t: malty sweetness, dark fruits, the sweetness is well balanced by the hop bitterness. some dark bready notes on the finish. alcohol is well-hidden for a 12 percenter

m: medium body, moderate carbonation, a bit of alcohol burn at the back of the throat, as to be expected

o: this is my first time having this one and i really like it. thankfully i was able to get a four pack and i'm anxious to see how the other three do over time.

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Photo of metter98
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is a very hazy caramel brown in color. It poured with a half finger high beige head that gradually died down but consistently left a thick ring of large bubbles around the edge of the glass and a film of bubbles in the center.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of brown sugar and caramel in the nose along with hints of fruit.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has additional notes of toffee. There is lots of malty sweetness in the initial taste along with some hints of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels full-bodied and a bit boozy on the palate with a low to moderate amount of carbonation along with warming from the alcohol.
O: This beer definitely tastes strong, but the alcohol is relatively well hidden from the taste. However, it’s a slow sipper due to all of the malty sweetness.

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew was served from the tap at The Old Toad in Rochester, NY. It arrived in an unmarked goblet. The beer showed a deeply rich looking maroon coloring. It sported a half finger tall head of tan bubbles that showed medium retention. No lacing was left around the glass. Carbonation appeared light, and there was a slight haze to the liquid. The nose opened with huge booze-soaked cherries, figs, and plums. A cotton candy sweetness effectively cut this flame. Helping this additional sweetness was the malts, which were roasty, caramel, and in themselves, very sweet. Our first impression upon sipping was in regards to the deep complexity of the malts. The flavoring began with coffee malts which became deeply coppery with warmth. Plum and lime sweetness crashed in to help balance the bitterness of the grain. The middle peaked immediately with huge fusel booze, with black pepper and fire. A big mix of pale, barley, and caramel malts attempted to curb this explosion, along with some toffee sugar and more of the fruit from the front. These all clashed, bringing us to a syrupy sweet finish of strawberry and black cherry extracts. The aftertaste burned of fusel vodka alcohols, crystallized strawberry, white sugar sweetness, and coffee malts, to play off the insane bitterness of the continued malts through the end. The body was thicker, full, and syrupy, and the carbonation was medium to high. Due to the bitterness, booze, and sweetness, this guy puckered the mouth hard, with a sugary coating left around the mouth. There was nice slurp, but little creaminess to the sip. The abv was high, but appropriate, and this beer drank s a definite sipper.

Overall, what we found to be most enjoyable about this brew was the fruity inclusions, and the syrupy thickness to it. The sweetness really helped to cut the insane amount of booze flavoring that got through. The malts showed a surprising number of faces, with deep complexity to each layer. This, however, became lost in the overwhelming booziness which, in the end, was too hard to balance out.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a plain tumbler pint at Wood-n-Tap in Southington, Conn.

A: Reddish, cloudy bronze color with a thin cap of bone-white foam which hung around a good while before leaving a thin veil of off-white lacing.

S: Fruity, spicy and herbal, with hints of smoked meats, chocolate and a litany of zesty, candied and dried raisin aromas.

T: Sweet, boozy doses of caramel and toffee malts rush over the front of the palate, ushering in a spicy, hoppy and biting fruity esters. The phenol flavors crash with ripened berries, figs, plums raisin and candied citrus rinds. The finish is almost sugary-sweet, hot and boozy with some lingering, spicy booziness.

M: Rich, full-bodied with an almost chewy malt profile, this brew is a sipper and one to warm you up on a cool, early spring evening.

O: Otter Creek celebrates 20 years in style with this 12% ABV monster of an American Strong ale. Blurring the lines between malty double IPA and super fruity barleywine, this sipper has something for everybody. As long as everybody like robust, complex and dank strong ales.

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Photo of JTSbeerislife
4.12/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Marked on neck 3080091311 (Bottled 9/13/11?), purchased 11/2011 and well stored.

12 oz bottle poured into a Dogfish Head Signature Snifter.

Pours a rapidly diminishing, light, tan colored/off white head with fair to good lacing.
The color is deep amber/brown, clean and clear of debris.

The aroma hits you with distinct, aggressive, spicy, herb and resin smelling hops followed by medium distinct malt with some depth, yeast, dried fruit, dark bread, and a slight medicinal quality finish.
The hops and malt battle for dominance but the hops win.

Crisp, somewhat aggressive entry on the palate of herbal resin flavored hops, bitter, spicy, distinct and long lasting. Medium sweetness but not overdone. The malt is pronounced, rich, yeasty and has a tinge of caramel. As the ale warms you do get a touch of alcohol but it is balance by the aggressive flavor profile. There is a distinct, crisp acidity, full body and fine carbonation.

Long bitter finish of hops and some malt. The hop oils linger forever.

This is a big ale. The resin and herbal hops are quite different, very powerful and aggressive, perhaps a little to much.
The 12% ABV is noticeable but well within the style of this big aggressive ale. At its best at 55 degrees when everything explodes from the glass. Wow. Points given just for the brewery to have the balls to produce something this unique and probably without broad appeal.
That being said it is very, very tasty.
Recommended though one is probably enough.

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Photo of AleWatcher
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Blind beer #11 from Shogo.
Calls for a pint... Served it into a nonic pint.

Reviewed completely blind, without knowledge of brewery, style, or beer.

I'm already thinking barleywine or strong ale... This is dark, rather murky, slightly purple, reddish brown. Low carbonation level with a loose soapy head.

Smells of molasses, treacle, caramel, and toffee. The toffee is even more prominent on the tongue than in the olfactory. Very dry finish...

Oily medium body with some sweetness up front before the English toffee flavor dries it out.

Overall-- I'm assuming this is a strong ale... And I isn't one that really blows me away. As we warm more; the beer has a pronounced boozy warmth that, while not entirely unpleasant, is a bit overdone.

--REVEAL-- Otter Creek Brewing's Twentieth Anniversary.
This is in fact an American strong ale. And it isn't one I've ever heard of before. At least I honed in on the right style!

Now that I know what it is, I'm going to go ahead and give it some numbers;

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.02/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium brown color. Smell is of grapes, figs, and a pretty strong alcohol smell. Taste is medium bodied, very boozy. Raisin flavors come in along with a nice dose of hops and a good dose of maltiness. Beer actually gets smoother as you drink it, alcohol kind of wears off. A nice sipper beer, a bit strong at 12% and not the best "high alcohol" beer I've had, but a nice effort and enjoyable brew.

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Photo of thain709
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured with a ruby tinted, copper body that was semi-clear...a tan, one finger head formed and fell to a thin eventually became a bubbly ring, but left some lacing

S - As soon as I cracked the bottle, strong hops were present...once in the glass the hops had subsided and sweet aromas of burnt sugar, brown sugar, caramel, and toffee became very predominant...grapes and wine characteristics were also lingering

T - First sip actually brings forward some Belgian spices...a little pepper and some nutmeg...deep, dark fruit flavors add some body to the beer as well as contribute to the sweetness...they pair well with the alcohol that is very present...the sweetness levels did not drop off from the nose...caramel and toffee are the forerunners with hints of brown sugar lingering in the background

M - Medium bodied...leaning towards the thicker side...sweet with a hint of spiciness...alcohol heat

O - There were some nice flavors in this beer, but the alcohol became very did pair well with the dark fruit flavors in the middle...not a bad beer for 20 years of brewing

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.45/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Intense maltiness and alcohol heat set the stage for Otter Creek's 20th Anniversary- this is not exactly a session ale.

Pouring a dark and viscous hue, the beer takes on Barleywine proportions with a rich, velvety look, low-lying carbonation and thin, fleeting head of creamy tan traces. No lacing further reinforces an English-like heavily malted ale- except for the exceptionally dark and opaque brown color.

Very strong aromas of molasses, deeply caramelized malt (nearly Scottish in depth and complexity), booze soaked fruits, and chocolate all supply the focused and at times, simplified nose. Complex alcohol and fruit notes rise as the beer warms. The beer just smells boozy.

Rich toffee, molasses, chocolate, and burnt caramel flavors set the tone and provide the malt-forward balance. A rebuttal from cherry and berry esters begin the transition toward minty and grassy hops for a mild offset of sweetness and a slightly complex herbal tone. Mild chocolates and woods begin to rise as the palate acclimates to the alcohol finish of non-descript booze. Again, simplified in its recipe formulation, the beer gets the supple complexities from the sheer enormity of the beer.

Full bodied, largely due to heightened malt development and unresolved malt sweetness, the beer carries its viscous nature deep into the finish where alcohol closes with a hot and spicy aftertaste and with little challenge from hop bitterness.

Otter Creek's 20th Anniversary ale reminds me a lot of New Holland's Dragon's Milk where flavors of bourbon ball candies abound. But here, the toffee flavors surpass the chocolate tones and the alcohol seems of booze rather than bourbon. A very rich ale that departs from Strong American Ales of Stone and Great Lakes.

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Twentieth Anniversary Ale from Otter Creek Brewing
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 198 ratings