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 Billolick
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, w/o freshness indication

Pours black, with a mocha head that goes to a thick film, then blotchy foam, and leaving plenty of scattered bits of lace.

I'm getting mostly dark malts in the nose with a hint of spruce infused hops.

Hopped up ale, plenty of dark malts, dark chocolate, and some smoke. Hops dry things out, but dont leap out all over the malts. Balance is the deal here and I'm liking it. Nice job here by the Otter Creek crew.

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Photo of sprucetip
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black upon initial inspection, but not thick like a stout. Translucent with some reddish color when backlit. Good clarity, active, with thick tan head, good retention, and patchy lacing.

Smells primarily of floral, earthy, and fruity hops. Some mild roast and malty sweetness sneak in there, but stay in the background.

The flavor is hop driven as well, with floral and earthy/grassy hop presence playing the lead. But there is also a slight fruity hop element, and the mild roast is a subdued player. Mild to medium hop bitterness reminds me that this is an IPA.

While this aspect faded later in the sample, there was a burning sensation from the strong carbonation that detracted from the feel. Otherwise it had a light/medium body, mild warming, and a pretty clean finish that was slightly bitter.

This is a good beer and a good take on the style. It's a relatively light, easy drinking brew that sells for a very affordable $8 a sixer.

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Photo of mikeg67
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours brown with a thick, creamy, long lasting head and much lacing. Aroma is of citrusy hops with some hints of milk chocolate. Medium, tangy body. Citrus fruit and peppery hops dominate the palate with chocolate, roasted malt and hints of vanilla and cocoa provide some balance. Not a bad brew at all.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Looks pretty decent. I get a solid black color and a half inch of head that laces and hugs the glass for a pretty looking ring.

S - Smells kind of good. Slight roast, hops, and a bit of sweet malts.

T - Slight roast with a touch of citrus hops and a bit of sweet toffee malt. Better than expected!

M - Light to medium. Easy drinkin.

D - I would consider getting a six pack. Otter creek has earned my respect on this since it is a fairly good black IPA. Roasty and piney good!

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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.

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Photo of Mancer
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle poured out a dark brown body with light brown highlights and a one finger high head. The head dissipated into a sticky lace that remained to slightly coat the top of the beer. The initial aromas were dominated by a very distinct pine and resin smell, with a light citrus. The scent progressed to a super light roast and a hint of sweetness. The initial flavors were dominated by a heavy upfront hop attack of pine, resin and light citrus. Following the attack were the malts adding a light sweetness to the finish. The brew was slightly dry and slightly bitter while maintaining a medium body with light carbonation.

Overall this is a good brew. I think there is too much hop on the initial nose and palate. The flavors seem slightly off balance by coming in contact with two extremes of hops and then malt. There doesn't really seem to be much middle ground there. However, given that this is a progressing style, it is an interesting take on it.

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Photo of BeerNinja007
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up this 12oz single yesterday for $1.50 at Green Mountain Boys in Rutland VT. Code LOT2859122710... possibly date = Dec 27, 2010? Served cold in a chilled pint glass.

A: Pitch black brew gives only a faint red glow around the edges when held to a light. Frothy but stable mocha-colored head settles from 1" to a thin whispy layer that revives itself with each sip and leaves decent lace on the glass.

S: Smell leads with a big dose of soft piney hop which soon mellows to a more well-rounded resiny mix of pine and various citrus rinds. A bit of starchy roasted grain adds body to the nose. Also a hint of vanilla and/or caramel.

T: Leads with a big bite of fruity berry tartness on the front half of the tongue that morphs to a bitter blend of citrus pith in the back. Citrus and pine hop linger in the finish and are joined by a bit of roasted grain. The "black" part of this black IPA is practically non-existent until making a humble showing in the finish.

M: Brew is mostly dry but some oily resins give it a slick feel and finish. Carbo is appropriately on the aggressive side. I discern a bit of EtOH heat lurking in the finish.

D: Decent, I'd have it again. But not spectacular, not really anything special. I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

Based on taste alone I might've taken this to be a regular IPA. The hops mostly cover up the dark stuff.

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Photo of tone77
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pourede from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1 inch head. Smell is dominated by hops, some hints of citrus. Taste is also very hoppy, some citrus notes. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has average drinkability. Overall this is a pretty solid brew.

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Photo of cavedave
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A one finger,dark beige head tops an opaque, darkest brown beauty of a Black IPA. Mountain ranges of lace decorate the glass.

Medium aroma full of citrus and sweet, with lesser notes of roasty malt and even some coffee in there. Nice bouquet, it sets off my saliva glands like firemen by an alarm.

Taste is like the nose, with lemony, grapefruity citrus and neutral sweet leading the charge. Deep roasty notes, very clean ones, join in, enlisting light hints of coffee and bitter chocolate to guard the flanks of the sip. It finishes with citrus pith advancing to meet char and a small pine contingent for a dry, satisfying finish.

Mouthfeel is perfect low carb., but a bit thin, even for style, and not quite resinous enough to compete against the best in this style. Very good finish, but a more resinous hop presence would make it even better.

Drinkability, due to it's nicely light body and delicious taste, is quite good. I can't wait for my next sips straight through the glass.

Impression: Value isn't supposed to enter here, but for the money this is the best Black IPA out there. I wish I could get more. Wait. I can. I will. Suggest you do the same.

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Photo of vtblackdog
4.95/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Almost black as night, nice head

S - Awesome in the hop category, has some balance though

T - Balance is in check for my preference, at the brewery yesterday, this will now be a year round brew.

M - Not heavy but easily down the hatch.

D - One of my favorite beers.

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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.

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Photo of beerphan
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle -> sa taster
no date

Pours almost black, but more of deep dark brown. A huge 4 inch head sits atop and rescinds ever so slowly leaving a lopsided pillow of tan goodness. Some half rings of lace and lots of dots all over the glass.

Nose: A real mix of hops and malts from the nose, quite the rare happening in my experience. Roasted malts mingle with citrus rind hops.Also some cocoa peeks through. Delightful.

Smooth and creamy body. Roasty malts give cocoa, dark chocolate. Resiny hops come in strong with citrus rind and a little crap apple. Good balance. Finishes with bitterness both from the hops and from the roasted malts.

Feels more like a porter than a BIPA, but who am I to judge. Hmm, looks like BA is too judge, as I just noticed this is listed as a Black Ale. Wish i had more than just one, seek this one out if you can.

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Photo of Buggabeer
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A Pours in a glass dark with a red hint when held to the light. It has a thin light brown head that laces nicely down the glass

S. Very nice grapefruit, hops smell. I wish it had a little more punch.

T. Very good flavor! However I would call it an Mild to Pale Ale. Not as hoppy as I would have expected but a very nice drink

M When poured I thought it had the look of a very carbinated brew but was I wrong. I am really enjoying this beer.

D. I am glad i picked up two of these beers to try. I am totally into this beer. Otter Creek surprises me again!! I'm really starting to like there brews.

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Photo of Jason
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

In the mixed 12-pack, no freshness date.

Head reaches four fingers high and nearly spills over but it has the integrity to hold strong and not dribble down the side of the glass. A shade or two away from complete darkness. An ever so soft nose of roastiness meets a thicker hop resin minty smell. Smooth and creamy with a lush medium body. Oily hoppiness to kick things off, mild roasty / toasty maltiness brings cocoa, chicory and bread crust to the palate. Hop bitterness gives a quick sting though the flavor seems to blanket the palate with a more subtle oily coating. Finishes bitter and a little sweet with that long linger of hop oil.

A good run at this new-ish style, slightly above the middle of the pack IMO and I am glad I tried it.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm still not sure what to make of this style; it seems schizophrenic to me. However, I do like beer, and this is a likable beer.
In a pint glass the beer is so very dark brown it's nearly black. Some red at the sides when held up to the light. A small mocha head with a bit of lace
Roasted malt aroma. Both floral and citrus hops. Peppery in the nose.
Kind of a nutty caramel taste. Hops came through nicely, both pine and grapefruit.
A little thin in the mouth, but still an enjoyable beer.

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

Had on tap at O'Hara's in Newton, MA. Reviewed from notes.

A - Black. Thick, dark brown head, looks like a stout and served in a Guinness glass!

S - IPA smells with a bit of roasted malts, like a stout.

T - Tastes much like it smells but fruitier. Fruit with a lot of malt character.

M - Creamy and delicious.

D - For a bolder beer, totally drinkable.

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Photo of Neecee513
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Hop Devil Grill in NYC

A: Deep brown, nearly black I suppose. The bartender served my beer alongside my friend's Keegan's Mother's Milk and they looked nearly the same beer. Slight head. Lacing on the glass.

S: Piney hop aroma, did not distinguish another scent.

T: Roasted malt backbone, slight hop bitterness.

M: Moderate-low carbonation, thin body, slightly dry on the finish.

D: This beer smells much more hoppy than it tastes, so I was surprised by that. The roasted malt character is more prevalent, so balance leans much more this way. If I saw it again on tap or in the bottle, I'd have another for sure.

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Photo of smcolw
3.41/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours near black where a minimal amount of light makes it through. Leaves a good blanket of lace on the glass. The beige head starts well and settles to a thin dome.

Smells like burnt toast--harsh and charred. The only other smell is a faint level of "band-aid".

Tastes like a thin stout with an extra dollop of hop oils. The taste is a continuation of the burnt flavor. Close to being a one-trick pony due to the large amount of black patent malt. There may be hop but it is lost. The flavor is short-lived after the swallow.

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Photo of Kendo
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Body is black with a small khaki-colored head, which leaves behind good curtains of lace.

S: Pleasant - roasted coffee and citrusy hops. Also something metallic (I find this with Otter Creek beers sometimes - especially their copper ale; I always say it smells and tastes like copper); otherwise this would get a higher score for the nose.

T: Roasted malt up front, with a good taste of coffee. Then dry hop bitterness. Finishes with that metallic twang.

M: A tad bit too thin. Call it light-to-medium in heft, but it feels slightly watery.

D: Solid. Goes down pretty quickly.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Black in appearence but really super dark brown when held up to the light. A quarter finger of brownish white head. Quite a bit of lacing as well.

S: The nose is a wonderful mix of roasted malt with a touch of chocolate to it and a slight citrussy aroma of oranges. Unlike most other beers of the style it is not just a dark colored IPA.

T: The taste is a nice mix of roasted malt. A touch of coffee and just the slightest hint of the hops. Perhaps a little too astringent but the balance between the two elements that make this beer what it is are impressive.

M: The only area I can really knock this beer. It is a little on the watery side. The carbonation is good though.

D: Really nice drinker and it cannot be beaten for the price. Probably the most balanced example of the style out there.

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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.

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Photo of RyanWo
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very drinkable black IPA served from the bottle into a pint glass, not too hoppy, not to roasty, not too strong and not too malty. It's aroma is of pine and citrus, and the appearance is black. Moderate carbonation, and good balance. Very easy drinking beer.

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Photo of jlindros
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A big frothy 2 finger head rises and fades at a medium pace, over very dark hazy essentially black colored beer. A ring of lacing.

Nose was wafting out on the pour, bringing some roast and coffee aromas, actually quite a bit of fresh roasted coffee, some dark crystal malts, as well as a touch of chocolate and some earthy dark malty aromas, with all that comes some hops as well, plenty of earthy hops, lots of grapefruit, a bit of pine, and more citrus fruits like tangerine.

Taste is similar to the nose, but a little more subdued. Some malts hit first again, and again loaded with coffee, fresh roasted coffee, some roasted malts, a bit of chocolate and earthy malt flavors, very similar to the nose. The hops also bring more of the same but even less subdued in hop flavor, but adding some bitterness, again bringing a bit of grapefruit and tangerine, touch of pine and some earthy hops, and a musty hop resin. The bitterness comes through at a decent rate at first, and increases a bit as it finishes. It dries on the finish a bit too, leaving plenty of coffee flavors, and some tangerine and grapefruit. It's like breakfast without the oatmeal, bringing my grapefruit, orange juice, and coffee together. I gotta say normally I wouldn't think these flavors would combine, but they seemed to go well here. If I could call this anything, I would say it's like a black and tan with a nice coffee porter and great citrus fruit IPA.

Mouth is medium bodied with good carbonation, pretty smooth.

Drink is decent, not quite sessionable with the bitterness and coffee flavors lingering, but a decent dry finish and goes down well.

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Photo of birdyone
4.68/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with little no no head, no visible carbonation, very dark, almost back. Nothing too exceptional

The smell!!! I haven't had much to say about the smell of a beer in a while, and thought I was just loosing my sense of smell. My nose has been awakened! The wonderful citrusy smell of an IPA, but a subtle mellow tone. It was a surprise; the color of the beer totally threw me off.

Taste was great! I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. Some IPAs can have a very bitter finish, but not this case here. Other times a less bitter IPA lack flavor, but again not the case. Just great.

Mouthfeel is better than average, but it's not overly special.

Great drinkability. Smooth, great taste. Otter Creek isn't always the easiest to find, or cheapest to buy though.

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Photo of birderbeerer
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black/dark brown with an off-white, almost tan, frothy head. Persistently sticky lace.

Aroma is sweet, fruity hops. Tropical fruit and floral aroma. Mango, pineapple, and citrus. Little pine in the background but dominated by a tropical scent.

Very hoppy. Taste is less juicy and more bitter than the aroma indicated. Still, quite sweet. Tropical flavors persist, but citrus is most dominant. Sweet malt flavors (subtle molasses) back up the hop. Syrupy and sticky texture and the carbonation is a little sharp.

Great beer.

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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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