Otter Creek Black IPA | Otter Creek Brewing

very good
270 Reviews
Read the review
Otter Creek Black IPAOtter Creek Black IPA

Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing
Vermont, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Traditionally untraditional, Black IPAs—also known as Cascadian Dark Ales or American Black Ales—originated here in Vermont under the auspices of American craft brewing pioneer Greg Noonan. This rich, delicious brew fuses pronounced hop aromas and darkly roasted malts in a style born in the Green Mountains.

60 IBU

Added by jlpower on 10-25-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 270 | Ratings: 861
Photo of AgentZero
1.72/5  rDev -55.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A - Black beer with a tan head. Bottle was a slow gusher, not a good sign, particularly on a 12 oz bottle.

S - Might smell like a black IPA, if it didn't smell infected. There's some crystal malts, and some hops, but infection overwhelms.

T - Tastes infected. Fuzzy infection taste, some black IPA characteristics. Not going to drink much of this though.

M - Over carbonated, medium bodied.

O - Well, I'll re-review if I ever get a better bottle. The infection kills this one. It tastes bad, and that's why.

 511 characters

Photo of q33jeff
2.4/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 3 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5


Parking lot, Post Hockey. Bottle.

AROMA: Hops,Petrol
LOOK: didn't see much…..drank from bottle.
TASTE: Tar. Bread. Pretty flavorful and alcohol is masked well for an IPA.
FEEL: Medium body . some Liveliness


 236 characters

Photo of woodychandler
2.44/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

This Black kick is thanks to tone77 who wants to see me keep my bottle numbers in line with The CANQuest (TM). I postulated in my last review that an addictive personality such as mine might have difficulties with the adage "Once you've had Black, you won't go back" and sure enough, here we are! I'm doomed.

From the bottle: "A rich and delicious Black India Pale Ale featuring a pronounced hop aroma followed by darkly roasted malts topped with a mocha head."

I wonder why these black beers have such a propensity to created such a big, dense head. Here, it was two rocky fingers of deep-mocha head with enviable retention. Color was ... talk about truth in advertising ... jet black. There was no light penetration whatsoever. That's OK since some of my friendliest beers are Black. They CAN come over to my house any time. In fact, some of them are really liked by my sister. She's into Black. Nose was initially bursting with piney hops, but a second whiff gave me smoke and dark chocolate. This is what bothers me about the style - it is like the old Reese's commercial - "Hey, you got your chocolate in my peanut butter! No, man, you got my peanut butter on your chocolate!" with the tag line being "Two great tastes that taste great together." Yeah, well, keep your roasted malts OUT of my AmeriCAN IPAs, dang it. Mouthfeel was medium but there was a fistfight on my tongue. Smoke then bitter then chocolate then more bitter until the melange tasted like a hangover morning. This is NOT my bag, baby! What happened - some genius got bored and thought that this would be a good idea? Epic fail! The finish left me gasping for breath and not in a good way. It tasted like the fire in the hops plant that caused the dry spell a few years back. Jeez-O, man. Color me not a fan.

 1,784 characters

Photo of Kitt
2.59/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Deep, dark chocolate, with a thin brown head. Weak but persistent lacing.

Aroma, thick, rich, humid, and heavy malt with a licorice undertone.

Stout-like more than IPA-like. Heavy malts. A slight bitter linger.

Full bodied and heavy, goes down slow.

This is a stout beer with some extra hop kick. This is not an IPA. Let's stick to stouts being stout and IPAs being IPAs. Please don't try to mix -- each is terrific in its own right, but they aren't made to be married. The flavor just isn't doing it for me.

 513 characters

Photo of brewcifix
3.04/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- Otter Black IPA pours black-brown with an ample, fluffy off-white head.

S- The nose is pretty much espresso and SUPER piney hops.

T- Nice coffee, and piney hops play nice. Espresso lingers.

M- Medium carb and light weight make for easy drinking.

Overall, this is a nice Black IPA. Nothing "swept me off my feet", but, it was still very enjoyable.

 354 characters

Photo of MrOH
3.04/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A five month old bottle, so I'll be gentle.

black with a two-finger tan head. Streaks of lace.

Grapefruit, pine, and some chocolate and coffee. Nothing too bold though.

Grapefruit, weak coffee and milk chocolate. Not too pleasant. Nothing really too gross, the flavors just seem to clash a bit too much for my tastes.

Medium bodied, good carb.

It was better fresh on draft when I had it a few months ago. Now, just kinda "meh".

 432 characters

Photo of thedoubler55
3.08/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown in color, with a little bit of a tan head at the top and no lacing at all.

S: Roasted malts, a bit of hop notes and not much else, slight scent of coffee.

T: Almost exactly like the nose with a bit of booze up front, and some chocolate notes.

M: Smooth, mid carbonation.

O: This beer was OK, nothing to brag about. It tasted good but was very watery and not to hoppy.

 385 characters

Photo of greenengineer
3.11/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

n.b. -Bottle does not say "Alpine"
12 oz bottle in my Paddy's Shillelagh Shuffle Pint Glass
A - Robust, thick head. Opaque black color. Looks darker in the glass than it did in the bottle
S- Not much there. faint wisps of hops and malt. You'd be hard pressed to say there's beer in the glass, if you couldn't see it.
T - malt and burnt malt taste, with a little hops bitterness on the finish. Slighty nutty taste stays with you.
M - good fizz, slightly sticky.
O - decent, wonder why they call it an IPA - I expected more hops. Instead it's closer to a porter, I think.

 570 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.11/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a three finger khaki head that fades slowly, leaving a good lace. Totally black color, no highlights. Light medium carbonation and medium bodied. Pine hop nose and flavor is resin/pine hops that the malts almost balance, ends with a slight bitter aftertaste. $1.25 for a 12oz bottle from Northend Superette Manchester, NH.

 328 characters

Photo of AdamBear
3.14/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A-black, light tan head

S-smells like sweet hops, not as malty as the other "black" IPAs that i've had. there is some mocha in there as well.

T-i'll be honest...for this style...this is not a winner. its not too great at all. the hops presence is minimal and weak at best. other than that, the main taste that i'm getting is a blast of molasses sweetness. over all this is a disappointment.

M-medium to heavy carbonation with a dry finish

D-well its not that bad but i kinda want it be gone already. its just not a beer i can drink a lot of. as i will put tastes weird...

 583 characters

Photo of MusicaleMike
3.15/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Consumed on 1-29-2011
Presentation: 12oz. bottle with no indication of alcohol % or freshness date.

The beer is black. Ok, it lives up to its name. I give credit for that, however, I can tell this is a murky, muddy brew. There are lighter chunks of yeast sediment floating around in the bottom of the glass, so pourer beware! The head was also a big letdown. If this is a hoppy beer, I expect the most from the head retention, but the foam on Alpine Black IPA just didn't want to hang out for the party.

The smell is good. Hops are dominant and in your face. Robust smell of pine right after pouring into the glass. The aroma is spot on, with a strong background of dark, heavily roasted malt that has a prominent coffee smell. It could only get better by having some more complex aromas within the style guidelines.

The taste is not the best, and it is certainly not the worst. A good balance between hops and malt is met, and the resulting flavor is pretty much where I think a Black IPA should be at a minimum. Bitter hops meet dark roasted malt...isn't that the point? I find notes of coffee, pine, and it seems a bit chalky to me.

Mouthfeel is soft, supported by lively carbonation. Excellent body for the style; though some people might want a heavier body for this style, I think the thinner body allows this beer a more quaffable quality.

Unfortunately, though I love the smell, I don't think I would really have another one. I liked it when I was drinking it, but I have found other beers far more memorable, and I think I will just keep looking for better Black IPA's out there. I'm sorry....American Black Ales.

 1,629 characters

Photo of Brewsky29
3.16/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours out black with an inch of tan head.

Smell is of roasted malts.

The taste is good more roasted malts and some bitterness in there.

It is smooth light carbonation.

Overall nice beer not as good as other black ipa's. The taste is a little off for the style more stout or porter like. Still a good beer though.

 327 characters

Photo of seeswo
3.17/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours blackish with a small tan head that goes quick. Smells like almost nothing. I'm not even kidding. A vigorous thrashing gives me just a touch of roast, I guess. Moving on...a touch of roasted malt accompanies a generic IPA. There are some hops and bitterness that was not detected in the nose. It makes me wonder what people would think of the style if they had it with their eyes closed, totally blind. It often tastes to me like a cover for a crummy IPA. But what do I know. Anyway, there is nothing wrong with the flavor of the beer, but it doesn't do too much for me. The mouthfeel is fairly thick for the ABV with a pretty solid carbonation. I think they got this part right. Drinkability, errr...overall...well, this beer is what I like to call a generic craft beer. It is fine, made correctly and I would have no problem drinking it, but it doesn't do too much for me. Solidly average.

Edit: I was a bit too harsh.

 927 characters

Photo of TheRougeBastard
3.18/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Having a small yet growing appreciation for the Black IPA's, I came across the Otter Creek Brewing (OCB) edition while "making" a six-pack for the weekend. First taste was actually a little rough as the hops actually flew out of the bottle and assaulted my poor taste buds. Drinking straight from the bottle, about a quarter of the way in, the taste softened a bit (or my tongue was numbed) either way, the OCB was evolving into a very drinkable beverage. Not quite sure what the aftertaste reminds me of but it is pleasant and does not leave the harsh wash some IPAs do. I imagine it would go well with a peppered cheese snack if you’re into that kind of thing. Overall, an above-average entry and one I wouldn’t hesitate to enjoy again!

 742 characters

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.19/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass. Keep in mind that I openly hate the style.

4.25 A: Black color. Two fingers of frothy tan head. Retention is good and lots of lacing is left.

3.25 S: This isn't as hoppy as most of its brethren. It's still hoppy, but it doesn't have the major clash between citrus and roast that most have. Hops give a combination of floral, herbal, and citrus. Light coffee roastiness from the base. Not too exciting, but not offensive either.

3.0 T: The taste is pretty much like the nose. Citrus, herbal, and floral hops clash with coffee and roastiness of the base. Like others of the style, the flavors don't work together. However, in this neither side of the flavors is overly powerful, so it's at least a little less at odds. In any case, it's still kind of boring.

3.5 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Reasonably creamy. Good enough here.

3.0 D: I guess I was wrong about the black IPA thing just being a fad. It pains me to see "now year round!" on this label, but that's okay, I'll just pass over it year round at the beer store.

 1,072 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.19/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Bottle from The Lazy Dog
Pours a solid dark brown with faint garnet highlights at the edges and a decent sized creamy beige head that persists for a good long time before sticking lots of lace to the sides. Aromas of roasted coffee with a hint of caramel and some light earth and citrus notes. The flavor follows the aroma to a T. Roast and light chocolate and caramel with a light earthy hop flavor. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a slick almost gritty mouthfeel. Virtually non existent hop aroma makes me want to call this a porter or dry stout. The flavor has some hop to it, but the beer in this bottle is either old or there aren't enough hops in here to call this an IPA. MEH!

 704 characters

Photo of alcstradamus
3.2/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes

Pours black with a finger of quickly dying head. Aroma is hop forward with a citrus and floral mix. The flavor is toasted malt and a strong pine/floral hoppiness. A bit of a clash in flavors. The body is light and carbonation is a bit too high. Overall this is a decent offering in the style, meaning an average beer overall.

 346 characters

Photo of Brad007
3.23/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Somehow, I managed to miss out on reviewing this Black IPA.

Pours a dark brown/black color with a brown head that leaves lacing on my glass. Colorwise, it leans more towards a porter than a stout.

Juicy hop aroma punctuates the nose. A bit of cocoa, dark coffee as well.

Toasty with a weak citrus hop bite. Malt shines through more. Not very memorable.

Ditto for the mouthfeel. It's missing anything other than the remnants of the hops and the toasty malt bill.

I think my tastes either changed over time or I grew tired of this newer style. This bottle came out of a mixed 12 pack bottled in early January. Either way, don't let my opinion stop you from trying this beer. It's a great start for those who wish to explore American Black Ales.

 748 characters

Photo of hophugger
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%

Good color, almost black. Head was about 2 fingers, maybe a little more. Head developed quickly and held for a decent amount of time. Flavor is malty with a little amount of hop bitterness to balance it out. Just a tad too sweet for me as far as IPA's go, but overall, a very nice, drinkable beer.......

 303 characters

Photo of anthony23cippy
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%

Poured from bottle into snifter, pours a dark brown color with almost no head, good lacing 5 minutes after the pour. Smell is typical of a black IPA, though less inviting than most I've had. Smells of the dark malts used and of hops (thats all I got anyways). Taste is of pine and smokiness, again typical of a black IPA. Mouthfeel is light and watery, Carbonation is just right (a hint more could even be taken). Overall, nothing great, but with a limited craft beer selection at the local gas station it'll do.

 512 characters

Photo of Ryan011235
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an E&J Cask & Cream glass on 11/24/10

Medium brown color that's pretty dark in the glass. Highlights of ruby. One & a half fingers of light tan head. Retention is thin & bubbly; pretty good lace remains.

Earthy, piney & faint hints of citric hop aromas. Solid roasted malt backbone of coffee beans, notions of unsweetened & a slight breadiness. Balanced, maybe leaning toward the malt side.

Piney bitterness greets the tongue with an air of earthiness. Maybe a touch of orange peel. The malts are as with the nose: roasted coffee & a hint of cocoa powder. Similarly, the balance is shifted such that this is comfortably in hoppy porter territory.

Medium bodied with carbonation of the crisp-but-not-overly-prickly variety. Finishes dry with roasted residuals.

Pretty good overall but since it's more of a hoppy porter, it doesn't quite whet my appetite for a CDA/Black IPA. Not bad for what it is but I have to dock it a bit for style.

 952 characters

Photo of Smurf2055
3.32/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Trade thanks to TWStandley.

Pours dark with about a finger of off white head.

Smell is malt forward, slight coffee hints.

Rich and roasty flavors in the taste. Coffee is present, and hops are pretty strong. No real malt sweetness.

Easy drinking and medium bodied. Pretty good beer.

 289 characters

Photo of mikereaser
3.33/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a pitch black with an inch of tan foam that seemed to stick around for quite a while.
S - picking up roasted malts, hints of chocolate, and light earthy hops
T - bitter roasted malts, bitter chocolate, finishes with a very burnt malt flavor. Its not bad until the finish, it just has a charred flavor. The hops try to fight through but only show a hint of flavor.
M - medium bodied with a bit of creaminess, nice carbonation with a bitter finish
D - The flavor starts out good but finishes somewhere I don't want to go. It just has a charred flavor.

 559 characters

Photo of andrewm190
3.35/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It's only the second black IPA I've tried, and for the second time I'm not overly impressed. A fine beer I suppose, but I don't think its particularly brilliant. It kicks around some hops here and there, and is a little more strong on the roasted malts. This is also my first time with Otter Creek, I think. I got it pretty cheap at Trader Joe's, so not the massive investment that comes occasionally with some others. In general I'd say it more or less met my expectations, but I'd have been a little happier with something a little stronger and a little bolder. It's now advertised as year round; I'll probably look elsewhere though for some variety.

 652 characters

Photo of begforme4484
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours an extremely dark brown, almost black unless pierced by light. 2 fingers of tan head and decent lacing.

Good amount of hops in the nose. Citrus, floral, and earthy.. much stronger as it warms. Lots of roasted malt in there too represented by a caramel and roasted coffee scent.

Flavor is pretty good. A tad mild and watered down. Decently bitter with earthy and pine hops notes coming through. Smokey and bittersweet.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and somewhat under medium carbonation. Doesn't linger long.

Drinkability is good for the taste to price ratio. 8.99 a sixer, and still pretty good taste. Low abv allows more consumption if you feel like it.

 661 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Otter Creek Black IPA from Otter Creek Brewing
3.86 out of 5 based on 861 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.