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Otto Ale | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

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Otto AleOtto Ale
316 Ratings
Otto AleOtto Ale

Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Smoke Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.10%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 316 |  Reviews: 138
Reviews by ngeunit1:
Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a cloudy red-orange with a finger of frothy off-white head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of sweet caramel malts, dark fruits, Belgian yeast, smoke, vanilla, and some spices.

T - Starts off with a mix of sweet caramel and darker malts with some dark fruits, and some spices. Through the middle, the smoke comes through with some more Belgian yeast flavors including some more spices and some dark fruits. The finish is a mix of sweet caramel malts, smoke, dark fruits, Belgian yeast, spices, and a hint of booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet, smokey, and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Good complexity and balance. The smoke on top of the dubbel is a nice touch.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Zakk
2.5/5  rDev -30.2%

Photo of daveshawley
1/5  rDev -72.1%

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper-colored with a small tan head.

Aroma of brown bread and smoke. Almost peaty. Some dark fruit.

It tasted like a smoked fruitcake that had been kept in a whiskey barrel (and I mean that in a nice way).

A bit of tickly carbonation, otherwise a medium-bodied beer.

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Photo of heddar33
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Beaver13
3.3/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle. Pours a clear reddish amber with a big frothy off white head that retains fairly well and laces the glass.

The aroma is strong smoke - some meaty peat, with a little belgian yeast.

The flavor is a little sweet malt followed by a big spicy smokiness (liquid smoke). There's a little belgian yeast and a lot of bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with sharp carbonation.

Overall, strong smoke, but not quite what I had hoped for. The smoke and dubbel aspects don't quite blend well to me.

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Photo of Fcip78
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Otto is a great example of the quality and depth of Victory's brewmasters. This is a great hybrid of the famous German smoke beers and Belgian dubbels.

It pours a beautiful rich, dark roasted amber in a tulip glass with a small off-white head. Plenty of smoky notes in the nose and with each sip. If you never had a smoke beer, think of the aroma of a BBQ bottled. The kicker with this beer is the opening taste of smoke and the finish of a Belgian dubbel. Some folks have noted that that the beer does not contain enough smoke, but I believe they stuck a good balance.

There is a noticable amount of candi sugar, figs, and ripe fruit - perfect for the dubbel style.

Overall the beer is balance, a bi-partisan compromise, if you will, between beer geek adhenance to strong smoke beers and super ripe dubbels and an understanding that sometimes too much is too much. Otto is a sophisticed beer without being over the top; drinkable but complex. Well-done.

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

Large bottle, caged and corked, Brewed on 9-29-11, and the rear label tells the consumer that this one might improve for up to 5 years.

Pours a nice warm shade of darker amber, murky under a light tan head, leaving some low sheeting and ample strands and elongated bits of lace.

Smoke jumps out on the sniff, with some darker malts also glimmering.

Smoke also comes through on the palate, a moderate bacon infused experience. I get the smoked beer aspect, but the Belgian dubble character seems to be on the muted side.

Enjoyable if confused winter type offering. Worth a try if you like a beer with moderate smoke character overiding a wintery darker ale.

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Photo of tigg924
4.32/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1 inch head, clear, reddish-brown in color, moderate carbonation

Smell: smoked wood, Belgian spices and candied fruit

Taste: smokey wood, maltiness in the back, caramel at the end. Throughout there is light cardamom, coriander, and other Belgian spices. Alcohol is noticeable.

Mouthfeel: medium-light bodied, bitter start with sweet smoky end, medium carbonation

Overall: Enjoyable and interesting. I wish this one did not have the alcohol heat, but otherwise it is a solid beer. This one plays out more rauchbier than Belgian which is fine by me. The Belgian elements give a wine type of taste as it warms though which adds to the complexity. One of Victory’s better beers. I would get this again.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a medium amber color with a white head. The aroma has a little bit of toffee, but there is also some nice smoked malt notes. The flavor is quite a bit stronger than the aroma, with a lot of heavy smoke and some charred malt and ash notes. Definitely all about the smoke. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

 326 characters

Photo of ImFlyerThanYou
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From tasting notes. L: This pours brilliant garnet tinted chestnut under a thin tan film. S: Smokey malt aromas rise from the glass. T: A smoked malt palate gives up some dark sugar flavors. F: Medium full body and medium low carbonation. O: The smoke here is less intense than some of the Bamberg Rauchbiers making it more approachable.

 338 characters

Photo of dogfishandi
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of RyanPS
4/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of wo87810
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.13/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a glowing deep ruby brown when held toward the light, almost a glowing crimson color with a nice full beige head, creamy texture with more than ample chunks of lacing down the sides of my nonic pint.

Aroma has a nice smoked malt character going on very timid compared to some of the beers out of Bamberg that the label talks about. This is a blend of a Belgian style dubbel with a rauchbier inspired by their trips to Orval brewery and the city of Bamberg. Interesting marriage of two distinct styles. Minimal dark fruits, hints of roasted malts, distinct nutty character, and toasted bread.

Flavor has a tame sweetness with distinct waves of smoked malts, not much in the way of smoked meats, but it interweaves with the dark fruits/raisins/red apple from the dark malts and Belgian yeast phenols. Finishes very dry with a bitter smoked finish, pretty interesting beer being a hybrid, from one of my favorite breweries. Alcohol is well hidden, maybe it's the smoked malts but there's no off putting booze in the flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied ample carbonation doesn't seem overdone, bitter smoked flavors really dry the palate off, quite the interesting beer.

Overall this beer sets out to be a dubbel/rauchbier the smoke comes through but it's hard to identify a Belgian dubbel as the base beer. It isn't the smokiest rauchbier, and it lacks the heavy fruit and yeast phenols that a typical dubbel has landing somewhere in the middle, I think it's definitely a nice hybrid beer.

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Photo of chinchill
2.99/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

The large corked bottled looked very appealing, but I should admit I do not like many smoke beers, especially those with a strong smokiness that overpowers the other aromas and flavors. Unfortunately, this is striking example of an overly smokey brew.
There is so much smoke flavor and aroma in this that the experience was somewhat more like eating a heavily smoked meat than drinking a beer, and an aftertaste that made me feel like I had tried a cigar while drinking. Of course, the texture was entirely different: In fact, the mouthfeel was exceptional. Otto Ale is smooth, with excellent carbonation and a medium-full body.

O: Drink again? ... no thanks. But I'd be happy to use this for cooking meats and sauces.

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

(Served in a dimple mug)
bottles Sept.27th 2011
A- This beer pours a clear slightly dense mahogany brown with a sea of microbubbles swirling around supporting a thin bubbly head that is soon gone.

S- The bacon smoke aroma is full with some dark fruit ester notes underneath in the finish.

T- The hickory smoke is followed by a touch of cold ash with some dark dried fruit esters to follow and a finish that is of smoked meat. There is a hint of band-aid in the finish but it is very soft.

M- The medium-light mouthfeel has a big fizz and a soft alcohol warmth that compliments the smoke.

O- The dubble character is lost a bit with the big smoke which is very good and takes on a hint of bourbon wood as it opens up. The smoke is nice and meaty and no offensive like many peaty smoked beers yet it is a much different smoke than the alder smoked beers. It will be interesting to see what age does to this?

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Photo of hubster712
4/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of syntheticwings
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of Metalmonk
3.92/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on Sept. 28, 2011. A smoked dubbel, according to the label. Interesting.

Kind of a wispy head that crackles down to nothing quickly. Liquid is an autumnal auburn brown.

Really appreciate the smell, simply because it's a rare smoked beer that offers smoke but also makes way for the more beer-y aspects. And you get plenty of dubbel-ish traits in the aroma along with the smoke. A good bit of red apple, grape/raisin, and currant pushes through, as does the slightest kiss of milk chocolate. Belgian-y yeast tucked away deep in here too.

Thankfully, it tastes as balanced as it smells. In fact, the smoke just provides a bed upon which the dubbel aspects do their thang: lots of dark fruits appear, along with a hint of chocolate, sweet spices, some honey, an earthy/mineral flair from the yeast, and grilled meats, which gets us back to the smokier aspects. I don't eat fish, but I can imagine this beer pairing incredibly well with some sort of smoked fish.

No real feeling about the texture one way or the other; it's medium bodied, generously but not overwhelmingly carbonated, slick and smooth, and basically does a fine job.

Not terribly complex, but what I like most about Otto is that the smoke never overtakes the base style of the beer (dubbel). And so few smoked beers achieve that balance, so I give kudos to Victory for coming up with the goods here, and also providing a beer that really is like no other that I can recall. Nice one.

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Photo of Sammy
3.81/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very drinkable smoked beer, with complexity. I think having for 1.5 years helped (note on bottle said 5 year shelf life). Smokey grey colour to it. Moderate smoke aroma. Smooth mouthfeel.Nutty, nicely crafted. Lasting small head on reddish hued body.

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

Victory Otto Ale
25.4 fl. oz bottle, corked & caged.
Bottled on date appears to be SEPT 28 2011
$8.49 @ State Line Liquors, Elkton, MD

Otto is an interesting beer, I'll give it that. Combining a Belgian-style dubbel ale with German smoked malt should yield great results...

Unfortunately, I feel that it leaves an undefined beer. It's very smokey, and at first taste I thought it more a rauchbier than a dubbel. And yet the Belgian character was there all along behind the smoke. Odd. I smell the smoke, and then I taste it upfront and I yearn for the maltiness behind it in a rauchbier, but what I find is malt that's peppered with yeasty clove and spice.

So, OK, let me go the other way. I'm going to taste it with a Belgian-style dubbel in mind, and it certainly looks like one so that helps. I get the smoke in the nose, and there's some Belgian character as well. They never quite come together, and in fact they kind of fight each other. That then follows in the flavor. I will say that as it warms the malt widens and the smoke isn't as prominent, but at the same time, the smoke does still linger at the back of the mouth.

Or perhaps I'm completely wrong. Perhaps I just can't see the forest for the trees because I'm so familiar with each of the two styles, and that someone new to all of this would find it amazing.

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Photo of zaphodchak
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Two finger sudsy off-white head. Decent retention and lace.
Relatively clear lightish brown body.

Rich, sweet smokey smell. Maybe barbecue.

Taste is a knockout. As a rauch-lover, there are a lot that disappoint, this is not one. Full, rich smoke, and actually a fairly hoppy finish, which is surprising but not objectionable. You have to really think about it to perceive it as a dubbel... it doesn't come across as one. I'm looking forward to cracking my second bottle in several months once the hops have calmed down. I get a hint of orange, too... I'm really hoping it's not my dishsoap, but it's not objectionable.

Mouthfeel is a lively texture, but even and works well with the style and taste.

My hopes were high on this one and it didn't disappoint. Among the better rauchs, if a tad bitter.

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Photo of prototypic
3.41/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Otto Ale is a darker copper color. It’s very clear. Backlighting reveals a really strong crimson tint. Looks almost red in color. A tan head covers the top and stands about a finger and a half tall. Retention is pretty good. It holds at just above a surface covering for a long time. Lacing was spotty and rather light.

The nose is rather average. A distinct smoky scent hits the nose first. Comes through loud and clear. Beyond that, things are a bit muddled. It has some sweet caramel notes. Seems like there’s a bit of a spicy/herbal quality to it. Smells a bit like clove. I’m not getting much that suggests it’s a Dubbel. No Belgian yeast or anything. Perhaps it’s covered by the smoke. Alcohol is blended pretty well. It’s okay.

The flavor is a bit better. It does have a bit of sweet, caramel base. Smoky flavors certainly jump into the mix and are rather strong. Fortunately, there’s more to notice and appreciate in the flavor. There is a bit of a Belgian yeast taste. It works pretty well with the smoky flavor. It also features secondary flavors of spicy clove, fig, light raisin, and light cocoa. Alcohol is masked well. All in all, it tastes pretty good. The strong smoky presence does tend to outshine some of its other flavors.

Otto Ale has a body that’s on the lighter side of medium. Carbonation is light. It’s nearly smooth, just needs a little more body. Not bad. It’s relatively easy drinking…if you can handle a little bit of smoke.

Otto Ale is interesting beer. It’s basically a smoked Dubbel. For what it is, it’s not bad. The smoky flavor works pretty well with the Dubbel elements, although perhaps overshadowing them. I think I’d prefer a little less smoke and a little more Dubbel. It’s not bad though. If you can handle smoky beer, check it out.

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Otto Ale from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Beer rating: 3.58 out of 5 with 316 ratings