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 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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Photo of Utica_Brew_Review
3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dead black IPA. One of the darkest IPAs we've reviewed. Decent head. Hoppy IPA aroma. Hoppy, chocolate, toasted caramel notes in taste. Mix a porter and an IPA. If you love IPA and wish it was darker this is the beer for you. Really strikes as a dark pale ale or IPA. Would go great with a cannoli or a sweet dessert. Would definitely not work historically, however is a great dark variety.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz beer was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a huge mocha head that reduced to a thin layer and left some nice lacing on the glass. It is a pitch black color with no clarity or bubbles seen coming up through the glass.

Smell: roasted, chocolate, and Smokey malts. Some piney and citrus hops in there too.

Taste: Same as above. The malts are the dominant flavor on the palate with the hops bringing up the rear. Some lingering bitterness in the end from the ash, smoke, and hops.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, full bodied, medium carbonation, and a little bitterness.

Overall: Pretty nice black ale. Will look for more of this in the future.

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

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a black color with a half finger head nice lacing.

S: Roasted malts, smoke, slightly sweet and a little hoppy. A little subdued.

T: Smokey and slightly hoppy. A little coffee flavor hidden in there as well.

M: Medium bodied with decent carbonation. Pretty smooth.

O: Not bad at all. It's a little less complex than the Black IPA's I really like, but I'm very glad I tried this one.

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Photo of brewtus
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- pours jet black with a single finger light tan head that doesn't stick around much

S- smell is hoppy,piney, smokey, some sweet dark fruits.

T/m- starts with a dry smokey flavor that opens up to a little bit of hop bitterness. It tastes pretty dry. There's a nice coffee taste to it too.

O- this was enjoyable but bit super complex you decide whether that's good or bad but I liked it. Definately worth a try, but not the BIPA I've ever had.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tumbler pint, the beer is a very dark amber-brown into black coloring with a frothy, filmy, low profile, light tan head that quickly disipates across the surface. Aromas of roasted grains, citrus highlights of grapefruit and tangerine, and a resiny, rich hops presence. Not overpowering on the nose, and very well balanced. Flavors of roast and hops hit the palate at the same time, with a bitter campfire balancing the bitter, floral, and tree sap punch of the hops. Some of the citrus shines through on the mid-tongue, allowing a break from the more intense flavors you get on the first sip. The aftertaste is more bitter, and slightly tangy, with the citrus and hops now taking the driver's seat. Smooth bodied, with a clean, slightly drying finish. Very tasty brew!

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Photo of brother_rat
4.06/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: The beer pours out very dark, a thin black, with a lumpy brown head that reminds me of boiling caramel. The head had lots of very irregular bubbles, and highly pronounced lacing. 4/5

S: When opening, the beer smelt very citrusy and hoppy. After the head died down, the citrus smell was still fairly obvious. 3/5

T: Very interesting--a very hop-forward opening melts into a malty, nutty aftertaste. Lemons and apricot at first, then more of an oaky, caramel, coffee-ish sweetness. 4.5/5

M: Very smooth, and mildly carbonated. Couldn't ask for anything more. 5/5

O: I liked this, as it was almost two beers in one as the hop flavor melted into more of a brown ale. I do not like overhopped ales, and this one had a quick-hitting hop flavor that dissipated pretty quick. I found this very drinkable, and yet another smooth offering from Otter Creek. I will definitely try again. 4/5

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Photo of dbrauneis
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear very dark amber to dark brown in color (almost black) with some lighter reddish brown hints when held up to the light and moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall light beige head that reduces to a medium sized patch of very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of charred wood with some dark roasted malts. In addition, there is a light to moderate aromas of citrus/grapefruit and pine hops as well as coffee.

T: Moderate flavors of roasted malts with just a hint of caramel sweetness. Notes of charred wood/oak and coffee. The finish has solid grapefruit/citrus and pine hops which lend some bitterness that fades eventually.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Clean with light amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: While the taste is not quite as complex as the smell, this is a very enjoyable beer - nice roasty malts with not overpowering IPA hops. Relatively easy to drink and a great deal considering how inexpensive it was...

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

A- Jet black with no light shining through. An off white creamy head fades into some big bubbles.

S- Lots of strong smells: charred wood, licorice, alcohol, medicinal/tape, and a bit of caramel.

T- Not nearly as complex as the nose, but the medicinal off flavor also doesn't carry over. Starts off with a bit of hops and caramel, which gives way to woody bitterness and a touch of roasted coffee flavor.

M- A medium bodied with some carbonation, not quite IPA characteristics but I like this in a black IPA.

O- This is a touch roastier and a touch lower in hop aroma and flavor than I would have liked but all around this is a nice black IPA. A style I enjoy and one of the better ones in the style that I have had.

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Photo of TheSarge
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured this brew into a 12oz pilsner glass, and the brew makes a three finger thick milky brown head, with good retention. The body is black and opaque with reddish hues on the outsides of the glass.

The aroma is cola, coffee, dark chocolate, metallic, and mildly earthy.

Taste wise it's leaning more towards coffee, and a little subtle hint of dark chocolate.

Feels medium in body, and dry to the palate.

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Photo of mpedara429
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Color was similar to cola. Poured into a glass it gave about a finger's worth of head with a very small amount of lacing that were spread out into a few small dots around the side of the glass.

S: At first, there was a robust smell of citrus, primarily grapefruit, and pine. In the background I got some light roasted coffee and malt notes.

T: Very much in tune with the smell. Some bitter hoppiness but not too much. It wasn't too malty either. It felt truly balanced for the style.

M: Medium body that finished clean. No harsh aftertaste. Not super sweet giving it a bit of a dry feel. Medium carbonation.

O: A very good and affordable black IPA. It's not the best, but for the price it is a steal. This has the potential to be a "go-to" beer or something that can be drank for an entire evening, not just one or two.

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Photo of GuyIncognito
4.73/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my new go-to beer. Very reasonable at $8.50 per six-pack. It is as black as a trojan horse at midnight, with a beautiful coffee colored head. Malty attack, with a nice dry hoppy finish. Wonderfully balanced, with enough intrigue to keep you coming back for more. In an age of extreme beers, this one has just the right blend of restraint vs. excitment. I could drink this beer everyday (and I just might).

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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.

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Photo of duracell
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in a tulip glass. 6% ABV.

A - Pours a black color with walnut hues. Beautiful, large, brown, rocky head with a good retention and a limited lacing. 4/5

S - Excellent balance between the hop (herbal and piney) and the malt (roasted, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, a hint of bunt). Nice and complex! 4.5/5

T - Flavor starts with aromatic hop to derives to roasted notes of malt. Dark chocolate completes the experience and lingers next to a hint of spiciness from the alcohol. A complex, delicate and sofisticated blend. 4.5/5

M - A bit thin on the palate but very smooth mouthfeel. 3.5/5

O - Really solid black IPA, well thought out and with an excellent drinkability. Seek it out! 4/5

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Photo of mikem0487
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Poured into a standard ale glass. Gives a nice 2 finger brown head that contrast nicely with the pitch black body. Some lacing going on in the edges of the glass. Looks appealing!

S-Milk chocolate, dark toffee, malty-goodness. Get some citrus notes coming through from the hops. Somewhat subdued hop presence from a IPA variant but otherwise smells great!

T-Sweet roasted chocolate, mild bitterness in the back end. Earthy citrus definitely comes through from the hops. Like the aroma, the hop profile is subdued but goes great with the overall presence of the malt bill.

M-Good unfiltered mouthfeel. Good carbonation.

O-Highly enjoyable and drinkable beer. Fuses two of my favorite styles, Ipa's and Stouts into one great beer. Would get a higher rating if the IPA part of the name would come through more in the overall aroma and taste. Great beer none the less.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up in Totowa last week as this was the only Otter Creek offering in stock that I hadn't tried yet. While this wasn't memorable, it was a decent example of the style and probably the most easygoing Black Ale/Black IPA that I've rated, as this almost reminded me of an Irish Dry Stout.

Of course, the pour was dark to this to the point of just a few shades away from being black. The head was tan, somewhat large, and quick to dissipate. Not a lot of lacing here and the nose was of a smoky, burnt feeling with some pepperjack cheese thrown in for good measure. The roasted aspect took hold in the taste, backed up with lots of malt and a creamy mouthfeel. The aftertaste was somewhat weak with just a bit of earthy and metallic hops and stickiness to it, but nothing too heavy or strong or boozy.

This had a slight kick to it but nothing that would knock anyone over. Even though I only bought one bottle, I could probably down a few of these at once, since this was quite drinkable. I like beers of this style to be a bit more bold since this is a groundbreaking category of sorts but anyone who has never tried something of this nature before would be well versed to start with this 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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