Otter Creek Black IPA | Otter Creek Brewing

very good
270 Reviews
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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.

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Reviews: 270 | Ratings: 861
Photo of BMFR1811
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 12oz bottle while in Stowe vt on a heady topper expedition.

-Appearance- dark, dark, almost black, one finger tan head that quickly dissipated. Only light lacing

-Smell- very light citrus, I get almost a smoky malt aroma- not anything I have smelled before, kind of odd

-Taste- initial malt, a slight astringency (not unpleasant) from the dark malts, chocolate, coffee but a slight smokiness too. Finishes with citrus, grapefruit, lingering bitterness

-Mouthfeel- a little bit too much carbonation, with the hop and malt bite, foams a bit too much in my mouth

-Overall- my introduction to black ipa's, different for sure, not unpleasant but different. I wouldn't go out of my way to pick up this style again but it's good, -BMFR-

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Photo of mvanaskie13
3.59/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a standard pint glass: color is dark brown to near black, head is light tan, small bubbles and presents about 1/2 inch thick then dissipates to a thick ring and top.

Smell is very enticing: nice malt forward aroma, good roast, toast and some chocolate, not too sweet, grassy and subtle fruity hop aromas.

Taste is a little thinner or maybe dryer than expected: malts are roast and some chocolate, maybe some toffee and touch of caramel; hops are subtle, grassy, not overpowering in flavor but some noticeable bitterness.

Mouthfeel is where it seems to trend towrads IPA status instead of stout, it maintains the dryness and bitterness from the taste.

Overall, a solid brew, not too sweet for dark ipa but not quite enough hop presence to get it too stand out, yet very drinkable.

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Photo of fscottkey
4.06/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Whoa! I did a non-aggressive pour into a 20 oz nonic pint producing 5 fingers of head and a near foam over. I had to cease pouring before I got all 12 oz. That being said it is a nice black color. The head is foamy tan - but excessive in size. (After reading other reviews I have to assume the head was an anomaly - perhaps there was something in the glass).

S: hops and fruit smells. Some citrus and pine.

T: Really pleasant taste - no bitter at all. Hops and light pine up front and a hint of cocoa on the finish.

M: Very smooth. Carbonation is just right. Highly drinkable and easy on the palate. No lingering dryness or aftertaste.

O: After the disaster of a pour I expected things to continue to be bad for this one. However, everything is in balance. Nice balance of hops, low bitter, some smoky cocoa on the finish and really smooth mouth feel. I would like to drink this one again.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - pours opaque, a thin but solid cover of light mocha. Complete lace covering across the pond.

Aroma - nice blend of grapefruity citrus and coffee. Goes a little light on setup but still maintains good roastiness.

Taste - good roasty opening, coffee notes in support. A citrusy edge but mostly the hops provide some balancing bitterness. The swallow and aftertaste continue the great balance between the malt and hops. Finishes clean, a trace of espresso, very nice.

Mouthfeel - crisp, medium-bodied, on par.

Overall - excellent session beer, lots of flavor in an all-season style.

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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!

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Photo of u2carew
3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz longneck bottle
A) Pours with a big tan head that settles slowly leaving a sticky lacing around the glass. Opaque body. Semi-sticky lacing on the drink down.
S) Bready. Subtle roasted coffee tones. Not overly aromatic.
T) Toasted grains. Mellow hop bite throughout. Pleasant balance of malts and hops.
M) Medium body. Slightly dry in the finish.
O) A good brew. I'd have another one.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A deep brown almost black pour with 2 fingers of fluffy tan head, great lacing and slow dissipation. The aroma is a bit off putting - rust, coconut, soap, coffee.. Definitely intriguing. The flavor is much better thankfully. A mellow arrangement of chocolate, roasted grains and grassy hops. Medium in body with a good amount of carbonation to distinguish it from a stout. A bit too herbal for my preference, but not a bad example of the style by any means.

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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.

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Photo of NedShakeshaft
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12-oz bottle into a pint glass. And what a pour it was. Dark brown, near black body upon which sat a billowy, white-brown head that lasted quite a while and left pretty, intertwining lacing. Gorgeous.

Despite me serving this beer fairly warm (55-60 degrees?), the nose was understated. What was there was enticing. Roasted chocolate malt with pine notes as well as something smoky and fatty (bacon?) beneath. Maybe a faint note of dark citrus.

The taste was surprisingly complex. The piney, grapefruity hops hit right away, but they quickly give way to the malts. A lot of malt character here: bitter chocolate, cocoa, caramel, black cherry, and that smoky (bacony!!) hint. Some peppery spice hits on the way down. It sounds like there might be too much going on, but that's really not the case. The flavors blend together quite well for the style.

It has a velvety, porter-like texture, yet is well-carbonated. Finishes dry. Some coffee bitterness at the end, as well as a moderate hop sting. Again, sounds like a load of contrasts, but it is remarkably easy-going.

This beer sits somewhere between a porter and a black IPA, but finds a way to work. It's certainly challenging enough to take your time with, yet drinkable enough to put several away. Well done.

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Photo of rgturtle
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Not quite black, but nonetheless opaque.
S - Had a pretty steady alternation between malt and hop; neither overpowered the other, nor overwhelmed in general.
T - Big mouthful of coffee; didn't pick up as much on the hops as I thought I would, based on the nose. Bitterness lingered a while.
M - Pretty heavy; warming.
O - A really solid beer that stands out more with food. Paired it with shepherd's pie on a second tasting and it matched up well on a cold, rainy New England night with comfort food.

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Photo of philbe311
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A full three fingers worth of slightly late to develop densely packed light mocha colored frothy goodness with a bit of a rocky top... Very nice retention... Almost completely still with just a stray carbonation bubble here and there with a few bubbles just clinging to the sides of the glass... The color is a dark deep brown, not quite black... A good bit of lacing clings to the glass...

S - At the forefront is a nice mix of light sweet chocolate and roasted malts... The hop presence if fairly subdued and takes on a very earthy presence... Much more reminiscent of a Milk Stout... Not bad by any means, but not quite right for the style...

T - Toffee... Roasted malts... Light milk chocolate... The hop presence really doesn't rise until the deep finish... They take on a muted mix of earthiness and pine...

M - Medium bodied... Limited carbonation... Clean and crisp... A touch of lushness...

D - Average at best in terms of both style and overall beerdom... Not a bad beer, but it's just kind of there... I would have never known this was an American Black Ale if it weren't listed on the able... Seems to closer resemble either a Milk Stout or Foreign / Export Stout... I would neither recommend nor revisit...

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Photo of JMScowcroft
3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's - Otter Creek Black IPA, poured into an Otter Creek pint glass.

Look - Pours a thin brown-black with a huge fizzy mocha head that dissipates slowly and leaves good lacing.

Smell - Aroma is roasted malts with just a touch of hops. Slight dark fruits.

Taste - Same as the nose but definitely more noticeable hops here, shoulda dry hopped it a little.

Mouthfeel - This brew excels here for sure. A light-medium body and moderate carbonation. Dry and exceptionally drinkable, almost sessionable, and the 6% ABV is nowhere to be seen.

Overall - This is one of the better black IPAs for sure. Easy to put down several of these, but of course with such drinkability often comes a lack of richness, body, and flavor. Still a solid brew though.

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Photo of NiceTaps
3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

A- Opaque- dirty motor oil like- almost black. Big fluffy mocha-tan colored head, tapers to film, decent lacing.

S- roasted coffee malts and cocoa. Earthy hops, but less than I'd expect from an IPA.

T- Roasted coffee, roasted malts, dark chocolate. Sight hop pine.

M- Medium body, tingly carbonation; hop and chocolate bitterness.

O- It was fresh, but the hops don't make it to IPA grade for me. Pale ale, perhaps. Still a decent drink.

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Photo of beyah
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into Belgian goblet.
A- As dark as you can get and not be black, head is medium tan lacing is good.

S- Roasted malts, not very malty, hops take a back seat.

T- Roast malt flavor, but not overly so, needs more hops to be an IPA in my book.

M-Medium mouthfeel, carbonation a bit high.

O- Beer was good and nothing was wrong with it. I could not call it an IPA needs more hops.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is better than most, a rich and decadent brew, now available year-round. it has a nice chalky dark brown color to it with a fluffy lighter brown head and a nose of chocolate malts, cocoa, bitter hops, and oatmeal. the hops balance but do not dominate as they usually do in this style, and I find this to be a real nicely put together beer, very approachable. my palate is greeted by warming chocolate notes from the malt long before I get any hops, which in the end turn out to be more bitter than flavorful, which I think works well with the dark roasted barley. full bodied creamy feel to this, thick and delicious, down easy for what it is. one of otter creeks better beers, I was impressed by this one from the first sip.

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Photo of hopsolutely
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A solid black IPA, which is a style I don't find nearly as often as I'd like...

Pours a clear, near-black with auburn highlights at the edge of the glass and an impressive amount of cappuccino-coloured foam. Excellent retention and decent lacing; a good looking beer. For me the aroma is its weakest element; a rather flat "caramelized dark malt" with only a hint of the hops that are more evident in the taste. The flavour has much more depth, with early malt sweetness entering a wider spectrum of roasted dark malts before an impressive coffee bean and hop bitterness in the finish. That lingers...

None of the tropical fruit tones which I typically associate with "Cascadian" and this style, but enough going on that I'll definitely buy it again.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with dense beige head, sinks evenly with small bubbles around the edge. Looks nice.

Smells quite caramel malty. Big hint of vanilla. Some tangy hops, mildly citric but also slightly grassy. Smells intriguing and pleasant, not sure really how black IPA it is though.

Taste is very roasty and bitter. Lots of toasty, charry malt, a hint of black cherry in there, some leather and mint. Spicy, then herbal bitterness on the back. Big resiny oily hops that don't contribute much flavour, mostly just a bitter finish.

A bit of Carbonation fizz, dries up a little on the back. Could use more malt padding.

More of a hoppy porter, I'd like more hop flavour in a black IPA.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.56/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my trusty becker pint glass; beautiful jet black with a fluffy dark brown head that fades relatively slowly but leaves lots of lacing. Smell is malty, with coffee and chocolate; smells more like a stout than a cascadian dark ale. Only some slight grassy/herbal hops in the background. Hopefully the taste will be a little more balanced towards the style...and it's not. While this might be able to fall under the category hoppy black ales are put on here, this is certainly not any sort of IPA as the bottle says. No hop flavor at all, save for a very slight grassy/minty/herbal flavor in the aftertaste. Other than that, you could tell me this was a stout/porter and I'd believe you. It's almost like they put one of their stouts in the wrong bottle, that's how off this tastes.
It's not a bad beer, but it is no Black IPA. The fact that Black IPAs are put under the style American Black Ale on here muddies the waters even further. I'm wary of falling into the trend of calling every hoppy beer "India ___," but there really needs to be two separate styles; if it were up to me, I'd call any regular black ale an ABA, and call hoppy black ales Cascadian Dark Ales.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of mtomlins
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: A black and opaque beer that pours to a huge mocha head which, as it settles, leaves tons of lacing.

S: The nose is present but not huge, especially for an IPA and is dominated by roasted malt, chocolate and coffee. In the back, there are hints of spicy American bittering hops.

T: This beer is very malt forward tasting of bread, biscuits, roasted malt, cocoa nibs. There is a hop component featuring primarily American bittering hops helping balance out the sweet malt profile.

M: Full and round; normal/moderate carbonation and medium body.

O: Much more malt forward, featuring all the aspects of a dark, malty beer. There are lots of bittering hops, but very low for an IPA. I love big malty beers so this is OK, but seems to miss the mark stylistically. To me, this beer drinks more like a porter, and a very good one at that.

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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.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured chilled in ribbed ale glass

A: solid black; one-finger head; avg carb action
S: sweet molasses, oak; pepper; borders on porter aroma
T: semisweet chocolate, roasted barley; nicely hopped to give it complexity; booze is hidden well

Not a bad black IPA

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Photo of chinchill
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle; code may indicate Sept. 2012 bottling.
A: Pours clear, very deep and dark mahogany in color, looking almost black in the glass. There’s a very short-lived tan head that reduces to some very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. A bit of spotty lacing is left on the glass. Some sediment in the bottom of the bottle (mostly added to the pour).

Aroma: Very dark roasted malts and fruity/earthy hops fight for dominance. Hints of chocolate, charcoal, peat, and citrus fruit: Complex but, like most black IPAs, lacks integration and finesse.

T: Loads of dark and very dark roasted malts with a trace of smoke. Hints of dark chocolate, pine, grapefruit, caramel malt, and bitter chocolate. Mild bitterness ramps up a bit, but is well controlled, in the finish. A rather pleasant smokey-earthy-grapefruit aftertastes lingers on and on, with hops and dark malts in good balance.

M: Medium+ body and carbonation. Clean with light amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: A tasty black IPA featuring more darkly roasted malts, yet with only a limited and quite acceptable burnt quality. Rich and moderately complex, this is a very big beer for 6% ABV.

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Photo of Omnium
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle > Pint Glass
A - Pours black, not dark brown, absolute pitch black. thick two finger khaki head, lacing all through the glass.
S - Roasted caramel malts, some coffee beans, toasted hazelnuts, earthy dark hops, some grilled pineapple.
T - Big robust dark flavor up front with some hop bite that follows, rich feeling, not super hopped up but just enough.
M - Creamy smooth texture, well carbonated, sticks to your mouth, hops come in at the end and leave you with just the right bitterness.
O - This is a great blend for a Black IPA, while this could use more hops, its one of the better Black IPA's I've had. This is extremely drinkable, and full of good flavors.

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Otter Creek Black IPA from Otter Creek Brewing
3.86 out of 5 based on 861 ratings.
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