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
Reviews by lordofthewiens:
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.03/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled 9/13/11.
In a pilsner glass this beer was a mohogany color with a small tan head and a little lace. It had a viscous appearance.

Aroma of dark fruit and caramel. Very sweet. Alcohol noticeable. Very hot.

Toffee and caramel taste. Raisins. Booze.

Not bad, will probably age . A little too sweet and a little too hot.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of mschofield
5/5  rDev +37.7%

Photo of sulldaddy
3.72/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

SPlit a bottle of this beer with Stopper. Poured at cellar temp into a snifter the beer pours a clear rich mahogany color with minimal offwhite head of 1 cm fading quickly to nothing.
Aroma is caramel and brown sugar with a bit of warm booze. Smells like a big beer, no real hop presence to note.
First sip reveals a slightly sticky syrupy texture and almost no carbonation. The body is kind of thick and chewy. Flavor is all malt with toffee and caramel and general sweetness mixing, but no overly cloying notes to affect drinkability on this beer.
There is some boozy notes and definitely warmth on each finish, this is a straightforward malty brew with quite a bit of "umph" to get you rolling on your way.
I wish it was a little more complex and I think the beer benefits from aging about a year to relax the booziness a bit. No flaws, but not outstanding either. Worth a shot. I will get a few more and age them I think.

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Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brown body with thick head. Malty and boozy aroma. Fuller mouthfeel, a sipper. Toffee-ish, hop bitterness comes through in finish. A spot of fruit. A little like an old ale, though at 12% I would call an American strong, although can accept it being called a barleywine.

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Photo of Billolick
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle purchased a month ago in Vermont (Pearl st. Burlington)

Pours: super clear, glowing, auburn tinged darker honey. Medium tan head, frothy and loose, better then decent retention, very slowly going to a loose and blotchy film, thin collar and a moderate amount of bits of fine lace.

Nose: heavy caramel

Taste: sweet, caramel malty, smokey, with some peat, tastes similar to a nice smooth glass of single malt scotch.

Mouthfeel: smooth and pleasing on the tongue and flowing around the mouth

overall: After reading the earlier reviews I was expecting an overheated, young and alcohol laced brew...maybe a month or two in the bottle, has been enough or to cool this one down a bit. I found it to be a strong, bold, flavorful and pleasant sipper/night capper type of brew. Probably will continue to improve/soften/mellow with some more age in the bottle, but drinking quite well right now IMHO

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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 smcolw
3.67/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Little head that dies almost immediately to only rim bubbles. Deep brown amber color. Light passes easily; appears clear.

Darker caramel aroma, lightly sweet. Notable alcohol nose.

I would not call this an Altbier. The alcohol is huge--definitely a Barley Wine. There's a powerful dollop of hop bitterness. The beer is dryer than the smell suggests. The aftertaste is similar to a malt whiskey with a touch of white pepper. Almost oily in the mouthfeel.

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Photo of Varkias41
4.5/5  rDev +24%

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 DrJay
3.63/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear tawny colour with coppery highlights. A rocky collar formed after the pour, along with a skim of fine beige bubbles. A bit of streaky lacing early on. Caramel aroma, ripe fruit, bread, alcohol. Caramel and brown sugar flavour, bready, plenty of alcohol starting mid-palate that lingered, fruity. Bitterness was apparent just beneath the sweetness. As it warmed, there was a slight floral character, a bit rose like, in the aroma and flavour. Full bodied with lowish carbonation, alcohol warmth that was a little on the hot side, slightly sticky. Overall, I enjoyed it -- it had an old ale vibe that was pretty decent.

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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 morebeergood
3/5  rDev -17.4%

Photo of jzeilinger
3.78/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a copper chestnut color with a thick lacing ring around the top and mildy sluggish carbonation.

S - Candy rum, dark fruit of raisons, dates, figs, and doughy with boozey effervescence, high octane like this is pretty hard to hide.

T - Up front it kisses the tongue with sweet doughy malt sweetness, some dark fruit, and immediately followed with a noticeable pine and grapefruit bitterness. The hops stick around to the end keeping the massive amount of malts in check. Midway when the sweetness and bitterness collide, they eventually blend to end the sip with a very healthy dose of rum/bourbon effervescence and a wall of heat. As I work through the bottle, my throat gradually adjusts to the heat and it becomes much less noticeable.

M - Thick, creamy, and velvet smooth on the tongue, lip smacking sticky, and heavy, I don't know what more I can say.

O - This is a serious beer from Otter Creek, it's nice to see "they have it in 'em" to brew such a big monster. It's young at this point which explains the edgy and green harshness which is why I will be going back to the same bottle shop tomorrow to buy a few more and stash them away in my cellar to see how they mature. At 12%, this puppy needs to be laid down for awhile. It's a butt kicker that is best sipped from a snifter. I need to educate myself more on the Alt Bier style because this one reminds me more of an American Strong Ale and perhaps flirting with Barleywine.

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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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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 mikehillman
2.75/5  rDev -24.2%

Photo of ghostwalker
3.76/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is very nice, with a thick frothy off white head on a reddish-brown body. Beautiful in my New Belgium snifter.

Nose is minimal. Very little here. A very light sharpness with a little malt, then nothing.

Flavor is quite good, but not huge. A muscular smoothness on first sip subsides into a coppery malt finish. Much like the Copper Ale it's based on, there is less hop presence and a metallic maltiness. It's good, and in this guise, approaches a barleywine or old ale more than anything else, but it's not a flavor bomb of any type.

Mouthfeel is slightly thick and astringent. It has a bit of bite. I like that.

Overall is good. I won't rank it down too much for the lack of nose, it is right out of the fridge. Sipping it as it warms may reveal more. I enjoy running across special anniversary brews like this one, even if they would never really make it as a year-round offering. It's variety that matters!

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.5/5  rDev +24%

Photo of Tyrawlings
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of BillRoth
4/5  rDev +10.2%

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 Latarnik
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of MaltRoomAssoc
5/5  rDev +37.7%

Photo of schoolboy
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Wow. This is about what I thought it might be, and more. Way too nasty strong. They must have used an insane amount of malt for this.

As this sits in my glass, it is barely drinkable. Oddly enough, I will buy more of this not bery good brew, so I can sit it in my aging bin for a year and see if it is any better. This definitely should not be consumed the way it is.

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Photo of ericlawton007
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a golblet, appears brownish amber with very little carbonation. Smell and aroma are both pretty sweet, and unbalanced at first. This beer definitely needs to warm up a little bit to be fully appreciated. Approaching room temp this beer gives off qualities of figs and brown sugar. Kind of reminds me of a dubbel without the belgian yeast. Alcohol is present in the mouth feel, but not in a bad way. Will cellar a couple of 4packs for sure.

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