Otter Creek 20th Anniversary Ale | Otter Creek Brewing

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Otter Creek 20th Anniversary AleOtter Creek 20th Anniversary Ale

Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing
Vermont, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
55 IBU

Added by Brad007 on 09-24-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 93 | Ratings: 197
Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev 0%
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 Knapp85
4.2/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a deep amber color with what looked like a rather thick looking body to it. The head was average sized and didn't create much lacing. The smell of the beer was nice and boozy with loads of sweet caramel and hops on the nose. The taste of the beer has a really big kick to it, heavy amounts of bozze and hops in this beer. It also has a really nice amount of sweetness too. The mouthfeel of the beer was rich and creamy, had a nice thick warming body to it. Overall I was very impressed with this brew. This was far better what I expected.

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Photo of metter98
3.65/5  rDev +2%
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 oriolesfan4
4.02/5  rDev +12.3%
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 BEERchitect
3.45/5  rDev -3.6%
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 nickfl
3.81/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - pours with one finger of off white foam on a slightly hazy, reddish brown body. The head fades slowly and leaves thick lace.

S - toffee, brown sugar, and some raisins.

T - raisins and brown sugar up front with a bit of clove and pepper in the middle. Finishes with more dark sugar and some spicy alcohol as well as a hint of mustardy hops and hostage bitterness.

M - a thick body, moderately low carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - lots of dark, complex sugar but it is a bit disjointed in the end. I could see this improving vastly with age, but at this point it definitely hasn't realized its full potential.

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Photo of jlindros
3.32/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours a small fizzy head that fades quickly doesn't even reach a finger and no lacing, dark murky brownish caramel burnt sienna color.

Nose has fruits, light apple, fig, date, brown sugar encrusted raisin, molasses, candied apple, caramel, candi sugar, all the sweeteners balance out the hint of booze that also comes through. Light esters, and brown malts round it off.

Taste starts with some warming and tingly booze, sweetness again with lots of brown sugar, molasses, candi sugar, toffee, cola sugar, etc. some fruits, apple, raisin, fig, etc, with an estery flavor. Then bitterness comes through, with a light earthy hop and some dark malt roast flavor, also a light soy sauce briny bitterness and tannins galore that really clashes with the bitterness and sweetness and it becomes a mess. Finishes with more of the bitter boozy briny sweet mess, sticky, more earthy hops and the briny bitterness almost make it astringent.

Mouth is med to a bit heavier bodied, decent carb, quite a bit of booze.

Overall starts nice but finishes a mess. Booze is a bit too big, sweet, astringent bitterness, briny charred malt, all those flavors taste like theyre at war with each other and my taste buds are on the losing end.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.62/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Capone's, Norristown, PA

I was a bit confused by this one. BA calls it an altbier, the list at Capone's called it an "imperial copper ale," but when it was poured and presented to me, it appeared and smelled like a coffee stout, and tasted altogether different, more like an old ale or barleywine. Actually, I asked the bartender if she had poured me the correct beer, and another gentleman at the bar did the same about a half hour later. So I guess this one is up to the individual's experience.

Poured a dark black with mahogany highlights around the edges, only when head up to the light. No head whatsoever. Nary a bubble to be seen anywhere. Smell rich with dark malts, coffee, and a bit booze-laden, notes of caramel and peat. Taste was definitely closer to a Scotch ale or barleywine--enough so to make my wife squint in disgust when she sampled it. Malty, roasty, caramely, cocoa and some coffee notes, but not nearly as pronounced as was in the aroma. Somewhat smokey, with tinges of dark, bourbon-soaked fruits. Heavy-medium mouthfeel, and good, but not exceptionally drinkable. I'm still a bit baffled as to what this really was....but it wasn't an altbier, that's for sure.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.15/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had this on tap at the Batdorf, served chilled in a pint. Allowed to warm gradually in a tulip.

the color is murky copper with an opaque clarity and thick two finger cap of tan with tight bead and copious lace. the smell is candy like with a toasty caramel hint and slight malted milk odor with slight alcohol aroma. The feel is thick, viscous and mildly carbed with moderately sweet feel and slightly cloying finish the carbonation below what I prefer.

the taste has a very light flavor besides the caramel malt with mild toasted grain and subtle creamy taste which is lightly lactose w/ that dry milk note that I find odd. the subtle biscuit note is ok with the gentle yeasty tinge in the finish with a lot more alcohol than I like in the flavor. There is a gentle malt presence but it lacks depth beside the creamy flavor as it finishes. This was a dissapointment based on my experience with other Otter Creek products. It was just passable and pretty basic as far as the style goes, not that drinkable.

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Photo of smcolw
3.67/5  rDev +2.5%
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 Huhzubendah
2.79/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle gifted by jayhawk73. Thanks Jeff.

The beer appears copper hued, displaying an inch and a half of dense, khaki colored head. Excellent lacing and retention. The aroma brings alcohol, malt, honey, fruity esters, spice. The flavor is sweet and strong, with prominent alcohol throughout. Fruity, boozy, raisins, dates, and just overbearing. These days, there are many fine examples of barleywine and strong ale, with high alcohol content gracefully integrated into the flavor profile. Unfortunately, this is not such a beer. It's a bit harsh and way too sweet. This is a headache in the making. I think I'll quit while I'm ahead. Not a repeat for me.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.27/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a deep reddish copper color with a stingy beige head that dissipates almost instantly. Very lackluster aroma. Smells like caramel, brown sugar, butter, and rubbing alcohol. This is going to be harsh. Wow, yeah, this one tastes just like it smells. Caramel dark sugar and a hint of dark fruit hit up front then the ethanol comes at you in spades. I can feel the alcohol start to burn on my tongue then I can trace it's route into my stomach. Surprisingly light body and carbonation level with a sweet paint thinner mouthfeel. This one is harsh like someone spiked a beer with vodka, I wish I hadn't bought the 4 pack.

Reddish copper color with a quickly disappearing head. Aromas of caramel brown and burnt sugars, lots of apricots and cherries with a faint alcoholic nose. The flavor is sweet with lots of fruity sugars and a present warming alcohol note. Medium body light level of carbonation and a sweet almost sticky mouthfeel. Aged has done this beer some good, the alcohol is not nearly as overpowering and now simply provides a nice warming. The beer feels like a triple with some caramelized sugars added, its an odd beer that I enjoyed a little tonight.

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Photo of Billolick
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
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 GarthDanielson
3.43/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a four-pack from the local bottle shop. The guy there suggested cellaring might be successful with this brew, so I'm going to give that a try. That being said, I cracked one to try fresh. The beer pours without the slightest trace of head. The brew is a deep, vibrant auburn-copper color, with a slight hazing. It's almost black in the depths. Aromas are light, with a definite boozey backbone, and some caramel sweetness with a roasted highlight. Mostly booze in the nose, though. The beer is oily slick in mouth, with a heavy booze presence that is almost astringent as it clears the palate. There is a deep, dark sugary, syrupy flavor throughout, with some dark, old world fruit highlights. Extremely rich flavors on a slick, rich, full body that leaves a tangy sweet, slightly booze astringent aftertaste that leads to a lingering, almost cloying finish. Strong brew, and it will be interesting to see how it does age. As for fresh, served at cellar temperature, it's not a bad brew at all.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.35/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to korguy123 for this beer!
Bottle code 3080091311. Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Poured a dark copper colour. Murky. Opaque. Only a ring of white head formed around the edges of the glass.

S - Bready malts, toffee, dark fruit and dark caramel. A touch of chocolate and a noticeable alcohol aroma are present in the background.

T - Sweet bready malts, toffee and caramel with a huge alcohol presence. The background has some dark fruit and brown sugar flavours but they are buried beneath the alcohol burn that seems to intensify with ever sip. I think this one needs to age a little.

M - Medium body with a big chew. Light to moderate carbonation.

O - Would be interesting to age one of these for a few years but not very pleasant fresh.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.2/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Otter Creek 20th Anniversary Ale

Pours a hazed amber color, off white head and little in the way of lace. Aromas of fruit, some brown sugar and alcohol. In the taste, cherry, light malts and candy sugar are all prominent. Very light hops and little bitterness. A Belgian yeast strain was probably used, as there are fruity esters and some spicy alcohol. Mouthfeel was medium to full bodied, very smooth with a clean finish. Overall, did not realize this beer was so strong until it was half gone. Hides the booze like Capone, but still lacking.

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Photo of tobelerone
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
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 puboflyons
4.24/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on November 11, 2011. The pour is dark amber with a smallish head that becomes a long lasting ring. Sweeter malts are up front in the aroma along with plum or prune, raisins, and Otter Creek's own strain of yeast. With its high ABV I expected a more boozy aroma but that was not the case. The body is medium to heavy with decent stability. Although there is a fizzy acidity that I cannot quite explain but it is just there and not terribly important. As for the taste, I am getting that same malty character aqs the aroma with virtually no alcohol noted. So in that regard it is quite smooth. I bought a couple of these and will be cellaring one of them. I am interested in knowing how it will taste at this time next year.

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

Pours a three finger dark cream head that fades very slowly leaving a good lace. Opaque amber/brown color. Good carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Alcohol nose and flavor is sweet vinegar and alcohol, lingering alcohol aftertaste. $3.45 for a 12oz bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.67/5  rDev +2.5%
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 jzeilinger
3.78/5  rDev +5.6%
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 ppoitras
2.78/5  rDev -22.3%
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 DrDemento456
4.02/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well I had to drink it eventually. Picked up a bottle at The Gateway Grill for $3.25 not bad for a massive old ale.

A - I poured hard to release any smells or flavors and got a half inch of opaque head atop of a hazy amber brown with sediment floaties throughout.

S - Actually quite impressed that there is not boozy notes in the smell. Dry cherries, figs, and caramel mostly. Smells kind of musky.

T - Pretty boozy but balanced as well. Drinks like a smooth sherry with a touch of wood and caramel flavors. Finish is sweet as well with a nice warming aspect.

M - Medium to heavy mouthfeel, not very creamy, but pretty smooth.

Overall this is actually quite good in fact very smooth without any age needed. May pick up a four pack since this is quite a good high gravity beer.

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Photo of DrJay
3.63/5  rDev +1.4%
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 Brad007
3.87/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had heard the buzz about this ale from my friend, a Middlebury native and dedicated fan of Otter Creek Brewing. This beer is now available in 4 packs.

Pours a reddish brown color with a thin head into my glass. Not the similarities between it and Copper Ale (of which it is based off of).

Sweet, chewy malt greets the nose followed by a bit of alcoholic heat. It is a young beer after all.

Alcohol burn persists in the mouthfeel followed by sweet, chewy malt.

What we have here is a solid beer. What we need is to age it in order to allow the true flavors to supersede the alcoholic heat. I would recommend doing so.

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Otter Creek 20th Anniversary Ale from Otter Creek Brewing
3.58 out of 5 based on 197 ratings.
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