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 dogfishandi
3.23/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle at about cellar temp poured into a goblet. split with a friend.

pours a deep brownish, reddish color, the slightest bit hazy, some sediment. a thin, skim layer of off white head, average retention, no real lacing.

very sweet, astringently fruity malts, lots of fruity esters. pretty boozey, somewhat solvent like. grapey and vinious as well as some toffee and caramel malts.

again, lots of astringent fruity sweetness. im usually a fan of sweetness in a beer like this, but this is just a totally bad kind of sweetness. lots of fruity esters and slightly solvent booze. toffee, caramel, and vinious fruits, a bit of apple.

astringent, hot, feel a bit thick and syrupy. drinkability is really low. and did i mention super sweet?

i did not enjoy this beer at all, but i still didnt have it in me to drain pour it. this really needs a lot of age to become drinkable, but its still a longshot.

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Photo of axeman9182
3.42/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, received as part of Amanti Vino's December package for the Beer of the Month club. This one was allowed to warm a little bit before being poured into my Duvel tulip.

Otter Creek's 20th Anniversary Ale pours a hazy maroon, with some cherry highlights tracing the edge of the glass. About two fingers of cream colored foam rise up to sit atop the beer. Lacing and head retention are both just OK. The nose has some interesting things going on, but doesn't ever really excel. Sugary caramel is what immediately jumps out, but booze and herbal hops are also present. Caramel and toffee are the centerpiece of the flavor profile as well. There's a pronounced hop bitterness that blends with a slightly hot alcohol note mid palate. The close is a hoppy note that's sligtly floral, but much more aggressively herbal. The mouthfeel verges well into syrupy territory, with a viscous body and a low level of carbonation that doesn't come close to cutting through the beer. Otter Creek's 20th Anniversary Ale is just OK, I'd say it's a bit under-attenuated all things considered.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep, deep copper. Head is almost non-existent. Tiny bright-white ring at edges of glass. Slightly hazed. Pours on the heavier side.

Smell: Sweet caramel malts. Nice hit of booze. Caramel, hints of toffee and molasses. Vestiges of citrus hops add a nice layer. Beefed up amber ale indeed. Alcohol is sharp and acts as a solid counterpoint to the decidedly sweet malt base. Notes of brown sugar.

Taste: Malts, malts, and malts. Super sweet, borders on raw sugar at times. Brown sugar, molasses, and caramel in equal measure. Hops come through the back, adding a nice citrus rind/grapefruit note that helps to balance some of the malt sweetness. Alcohol is sharp and upfront.

Mouthfeel: Borders on full, but doesn't quite get there. Carbonation is on the mellow side and it works well with the huge malt base. Booze dries it out on the end of the sip.

Overall: Solid. It really tastes like an imperialized version of Copper Ale. Very well crafted with a nice amount of depth. With a year on it, it'll probably be amazing.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.96/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark bourbon brown with a thin Georgia clay colored head. Foam is quick to flee and doesn't but up much of a foamy fight.

Smells like chocolate muffin, vanilla, fig and some restrained alcoholic allure. Fruity hard candy comes forth as it warms up.

Taste is appropriately complex for a 12% strong ale. Lots of chocolate. Contrary to other reviews I've read I found the booziness appropriately warming and not detrimental. As it warms some neutral hops emerge with fruit basket esters.

A beautifully complex and immersive beer. One of those beers that the sum of it's parts is greater than any particular thing I can pick out. Exactly what I'm in the mood for this snowy Saturday.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
3.3/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter: Deep, hazy garnet with some lighter crimson highlights under a thin dusting & collar. A few cool little tendrils of lacing.

A little hoppy, a little sugary, a little caramel, a little fruity - it took a while to put my finger on it, but this all adds up to the aroma of a cream soda lollipop. A cream soda lollipop with some boozy heat, at that.

Leads off with some dark fruit & a little spiciness, then in comes an assertive fusel alcohol that kinds of steamrolls the other flavors - hot & dry, pretty much muddles all the other flavors. Some fruity sugars in the aftertaste, but still overwhelmed by the booze.

The taste paves the way for the mouthfeel: lightly sugary & pricly at first, then heavy, dry, & alcoholic.

Some good flavor notes going on here, but the booze is way out of proportion & flattens most of the highlights. Not wholly unpleasant, but could use some work.

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Photo of Bierman9
3.95/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a 4-pack of this today at Ayotte's ($10.49) and am draining 2 of them now, after a bit of snow-shovelling.

I poured the first 12-oz bottle into an imperial nonic. The color is a deep copper, with an ever-so-slight bit of haze from a touch of bottle sediment. Carbo is scattered far and wide, a few bubbles slithering through the brew. The head is a light beige hue, very fine bubbles clinging to the glass edge. There's a bit o' lace, but not much. The aroma has some toffee and caramel, with intimations of rum-soaked brown bread. The body is a solid medium-plus, and it feels like satin as it traverses the tongue.

The flavor also exhibits toffee, with some toasty grains and caramelization. Importantly, it is quite "hot", without a doubt. There are suggestions of dark fruit here, and the overall impression is, like the aroma, of a rummy fruit-cake or brown bread. Some hopping is present, and the florality is a welcome diversion from the malty sweetness. If it wasn't so hot the drinkability might be higher. All in all, it's pretty good, but could probably use a bit of aging. Two gone today; the other two somewhere well down the road. Prosit!!

3.95/5 rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5


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Photo of Vierenner
3/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Taste seemed interesting at first, but after a few sips became the opposite. Really not sure what to make of it ... seems like an unbalanced mess. Lots of flavors, but not a coherent story. Seemed to become more bitter as it warmed. My first OtterCreek.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.26/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: I don't know what it is, but I find the color kind of off-putting. It's a muddy brown with no head whatsoever.
S: Tons of chocolate, caramel, and bread.
T: Pick your sweet chewy candy: Personally, reminds me of a Mary Jane or Sugar Daddy, with some hops on the finish.
M: Full-bodied and thick.
O: Interesting for sure. I'm glad I tried it, but it's a bit one dimensional and so heavy/thick I couldn't finish the bottle.

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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 DustinSmall
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured into a tulip glass

A-dark brown, amber, some copper tones along the curve of the glass, 1 finger head went away fast

S-Sweet malty, slight hop smell, but super sweet like beer bread, dark fruits

T- malty slight hop after taste, dark fruits like plum or something, boozy aftertaste kind of a let down after the nose on it

M- Average good carbonation, a little syrup like though

O- good beer, but i feel like its missing something

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Photo of siege06nd
3.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Courtesy of GoSox8787. Poured into a British pint.

A. Pours a super cloudy reddish brown. A quarter finger of cream colored white head with good retention. Minimal lacing.

S. This smells like bubble gum. Seriously, it's Big League Chew here. Swirling it I get a little dark fruit, some booze, some vanilla. Unlike any beer I have ever smelled. Not bad, just different. It's bubble gum in a glass.

T. Again, a weird spice like cinnamon, licorice, bubble gum. Lots of wood on this and vanilla. Also some booze, but not as much as expected for this abv. I havent read a thing about this beer and I have to say I have no idea what the hell is going on here. But again, it's not bad. Just weird.

M. As weird as some of the flavors are, the balance is top notch. Creamy and smooth with a nice vanilla, caramel, and barrel character.

O. A good, but unique, beverage. A bubble gum bomb to me. Good, but weird.

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Photo of alpinebryant
4.1/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

To start off, I am a sucker for strong ales. This beer is by no means an exception. Anybody who appreciates Samichlaus would love this beer although there is less sweetness and quite a bit more maltiness.

A: Dark clear copper color with a strong tan head. Light lacing

S: Deep roasty malts mixing with booze and caramel. Tons of sugar caramelization here. Plenty of bitterness.

T: Wow, nailed the American Strong Ale category. I was excited when I saw Otter Creek was releasing this and they did not let me down. Lots of toffee, booze, caramel and maltiness to go around. Very impressed to see this coming out of Otter Creek. The booze is strong, but with some age it will clear up and have more of the nutty flavors an ASA with age has. The hopping is also done pretty tastefully while not overdone to match the booze.

M: Light carbonation with a medium body.

O: color me impressed. Id drink it again. Throw some in the cellar this brew is a keeper. Collectively this beer comes together very nicely

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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 Daniellobo
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice celebratory brew, sweet, fruity, a bit compact but nicely rounded.

Presentation: 12 oz brown capped bottle. Simple and elegant black and copper label highlighting name of brew and branding. Brief side and neck notes with history of the brewery, occasion, and intent (Boxed 4 pack offered a longer narrative about the characteristics of the brew and celebration). Shows 12% Alc. by Vol. Served in a snifter.

A - Deep amber brown pour with a creamy head fair retention and surface memory, and some nice touches of lacing.

S -Sweet caramel range, honey, touch of pecans and dates, soft spiced hop in the second layer… Sweet all in all but rather nice and the smells shines from bottle compared to the cold tap…

T - Similar rhythm from the bottle… Early sweet notes finish on a bitter sweet touch… Caramel, honey, dates… and a dash of a herbal bitter hop in the end.

M - Medium-full body with moderate tingly carbonation, creamy and syrupy flow with alcohol providing a nice warmth in the finish.

O - Sure enough, maybe a tad rough around the edges but a nice sipper and potentially a nice brew to cellar.

Notes: Not so much hot at this point but with a lingering tingly even spicy hop in the tongue once it is done… Still a rather sweet brew, best suited for dessert, night-cap kind of thing… Despite the controversy from the style branding I wonder what were the general expectations. It is quite approachable now if one know what the range is going to be like, and with some time on it this has potential to age very graciously. (And btw, given quality-abv and all else surrounding it, the price-quality ratio of this four-pack is pretty nice…)

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Photo of 57md
3.77/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark copper in appearance with about one finger of head that had very little retention but some lacing. The nose is mildly floral. There is a heavy malt flavor up front with a sweet finish. A bit of alcohol warmth is present in the finish as well. A decent effort all-around.

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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 DavoleBomb
3.47/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

3.0 A: Medium brown color. Two fingers of frothy beige head. Retention is lacking, but the ABV on this will do that. No lacing.

3.5 S: Pleasant mix of caramel and fruits including fig, apple, plum, and apricot. There's also a notable spiciness to this, almost as if it were half Belgian. Booze is well hidden.

3.5 T: Again lots of fruit and caramel. Hints of toffee and toastiness. Surprisingly spicy again - maybe from the hops. There's also some herbal hop flavor. Booze is detectable, but well in check. Mildly bitter aftertaste.

3.5 M: Heavier body. Good moderate carbonation. Slightly chewy and reasonably smooth with a light creaminess.

3.5 D: Not a bad brew. Good nose and taste. I wouldn't want to drink this too often, but I'm glad I tried it.

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Photo of SolipsismalCat
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

A: Slightly hazy dark amber with a few small particles and half-finger, off-white head that quickly diminished to a nice film. Some lacing.

S: Dark fruit, cherries, caramel malt.

T: Moderate sweetness and light bitterness. Pretty spicy. The dark fruit and caramel malt from the nose pops up, but is immediately overpowered by the taste of alcohol. The alcohol flavor in this beer is just too much, which is a shame.

M: Medium bodied with soft carbonation. Smooth, dry, and quite warm.

O: Overall, this was a good American Strong ale, but I think the strong taste of alcohol was a bit off-putting.

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Photo of ghostwalker
3.76/5  rDev +5%
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 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 OWSLEY069
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clean orange-ish to brown color with a light tan head. In the aroma, oaky and small bourbon notes. In the taste, big alcohol with bourbon like flavors. A light smoothness and a medium bodied mouthfeel,, with a small dry bourbon like flavor in the aftertaste. Nice bourbon like flavors and nice booziness to it as well.

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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 sulldaddy
3.72/5  rDev +3.9%
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 Thads324
2.93/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A : pours thick and syrupy pour. Dark bronze in color with a little white foam top that appears seconds after the pour and disappears right after.
S : super sweet. Caramel, booze, apple cider
T : starts very sweet. An apple cider like taste followed by booze and then a nice caramel toffee flavor. There's a pleasant citrus hop in the middle that adds a nice balance and bitterness in the end. Finishes with heat.
M : syrupy and smooth. Almost no carb.

Flavorful brew that desperately needs age. I'm sure it'd be enjoyable in a few years

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Photo of keanex
3.17/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From a 12 ounce bottle with no freshness date. Poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

A: Hazy garnet with a quickly dissipating light tan head, little signs of carbonation.

S: Sweet, almost barleywine like. There's dark fruits in here with some toffee and molasses hints, light booze notes.

T: Very sweet and complex. There's a lot going on here, but it's not very well balanced, it's a bit messy on the palate. There's some dark fruits with a lot of sweetness with molasses and toffee hints all with a slight boozy feel throughout. The finish is dry with a more boozy taste than it should.

M: Syrupy with light fizzy carbonation.

O: For the price this isn't a bad booze bomb, but I can't imagine sitting through more than one of these at a time. This could have been a great beer, but it wound up being a mess.

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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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