Otto Ale | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

138 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Otto AleOtto Ale

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

Style: Smoked Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.10%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerLover99 on 10-12-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 138 | Ratings: 315
Photo of nickfl
4.47/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with half a finger of off white foam on top of a clear, dark brown body with good head retention and excellent lace,

S - smoke, leather, sandalwood, and dark bread.

T - Peaty smoke up front with lots of dark bread and a bit of brown sugar. Some spicy notes of leather and pipe tobacco in the middle with a finish of brown sugar, toffee, peat, and leather.

M - Medium thick body, moderate carbonation, and a balanced finish.

D - Quite nice, it is robustly smoky, even including notes of peat, but it is done with the practiced touch that I am used to finding only in Schlenkerla smoked beers. Very well done, I can't overstate how much I respect victory for actually being willing to make beers like this.

 718 characters

Photo of Kevin_Connors
4.33/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Opened 1/2/15. Poured into Piraat Belgian tulip.
A: Opaque, murky brown with floating sediment. Essentially looks like a stereotypical dubbel.
S: Belgian dubbel, candied sugar initially hits. Followed immediately by smoked bacon. Such an interesting combination of classic dubbel and rauchbier noses. Awesome.
T: Both the smoke/meaty and the sweetness somewhat diminished on the palate. Dominated by the succulent bacon, brown sugar follows. A dubbel like raison taste finishes. Little to no presence of Belgian yeast.
M: medium minus. Light carbonation. Succulent, light booze.
O: loved it. Love rauchbiers and the sweetness of this one added something new.

 658 characters

Photo of tigg924
4.32/5  rDev +17.7%
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.

 716 characters

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.32/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle pours a dark brown color with a thin cap of tan head. Not much for retention and lacing.

Nose ranks about a 5.5 or a 6 on the smoke-o-meter, it is smoky enough to overpower most of the maltiness, but not all. There is still a sweet, caramely presence underneath.

Taste has a good amount of smoke too...I like it! It is bolder than nearly all of the American-made rauchbiers I have had and incorporates the smoke into the flavor of the beer nicely. There is a mild, nutty caramel maltiness and a dryness that keeps it toasty and smoky. This is way better than I thought it would be and never really procured any hype. I hope Victory makes this again so I can buy another bottle or two.

 700 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
4.32/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle,

A: Pours a clear dark red with a low medium off-white head. Solid retention, limited lace.

S: Sweet smoke, meaty like good bacon. Good caramel type malt.

T: Has an easy going malt character that accepts the smoke like they were old friends. Superbly balanced, the two flavours play off each other so well.

M: I think the Trappist yeast really helped to mellow out the beer and calm the carbonation. Never cloying which is great in an American dubbel. Soft easy going carbonation character, frothy at times with a prolonged but seamless aftertaste.

O: This is right up my alley. Everything works together to make a great beer. Want some BBQ right now.

 670 characters

Photo of FightingEntropy
4.32/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Otto (Victory Brewing, Downingtown, PA)

Picked up a bottle of Otto at the Blue Max on the way home from getting my car worked on. No idea what it was--my trust in Victory was enough to pick up something new. There was a very detailed explanation on the bottle why it was named Otto, but I didn't write it down and didn't find it on the Victory site. Victory calls the beer a smoked malt dubbel.

Brown ale swirled with amber highlights with a dirty tan head that falls to a film. Significant but not overpowering smoke in the nose on top of caramel and sweet malt. There's an earthy spice blended neatly with the smoke. Assertive Aecht Schlenkerla-like smokiness in the taste, but more subtle. Lager-like smooth for a bottle conditioned ale. Earthy spice of the nose comes out more in the taste, but the mouthfeel thins out as it warms. Very good rauchbier, especially if you want it a bit towards the lighter but still unmistakable range of smokiness.

Overall, I thought it was a good bottle and a great introduction to a smoked beer. BA reviews seem a bit lower than my experience, but the warmed thinness and off-centered style may have foiled expectations.

 1,164 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.3/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a dark reddish brown amber, nice, fine, one finger very light tan head that with superb retention and great lacing. Mild aroma of dark fruit and caramel malt with decent smoked overtones. Flavor is well integrated light and dark fruit, caramel malt and mild smoke with hints of bacon. The Belgian origins are obvious here and make this a quite unusual and pleasant take on a smoked beer. Medium mouth feel. The Belgian yeast and light flavors are very different from rauchbiers, which I also really like. I half wished for a bit more intense flavor, but this works nicely as it is, with a pleasant, well balanced mixture of malt, fruit and smoke. I hope this is available again in the future. Nice job, Victory.

 756 characters

Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%
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 beergoot
4.23/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber body with excellent carbonation creating a very thick, dense off-white head. Great lacing on the glass.

Faint smokiness immediately noticeable when taking a whiff of the beer; also a nice, moderate spicy hop nose, too.

A very good mixture of smoked malt flavors well-mixed with your standard Belgian dubbel styled offerings. A fine bitterness wraps things together at the finish.

Smooth and velvety in your mouth; clean and wet.

An interesting combination of beer styles; well-balanced in that you notice both a rauchbier and a dubbel at the same time with neither style overpowering the other. Very drinkable and may be worth aging for a few years to see how the tastes grow and develop. Well worth checking out...

 730 characters

Photo of isitsavage
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass.

Pour is a dark amber red, large white frothy head and soapy lacing, pretty beer.

Smell is smoked herb, the smell you would get from meat being smoked over, thyme, rosemary, etc. Yeast notes are very light, a bit of lemon too I think. Pretty good overall.

Smokey in the taste and this takes me straight to the campfire (looks at label...). The taste is awesome and really takes me back to camping as kid. Once I get past that the smokiness a bit like charred steak and brisket, very pleasing. Again the yeast and citrus are light and along with the mild hop bitterness balances the beer well. This beer really shines here.

Medium mouthfeel, prickly carbonation, not really coating in the mouth. All of this is welcome.

 748 characters

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle served in a nonic pint glass.

L - clear amber color with a foamy off-white head that left a sheet of lacing.

S - yeast and smoke, a nice combination.

T - the smokiness starts things off with a Belgian yeastiness midway leading in to some mild bitterness finishing with a smokey sweetness, very good.

F - medium bodied with mild carbonation and smooth drinkability.

O - a darn good beer.

 404 characters

Photo of Pencible
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This poured a clear mahogany with some quickly dissipating tan head.
S: It smelled like smoky peat and roasted barley, with some coffee and ham.
T: It tasted like smoky peat and earthy toffee, with some roasted coffee and a little ham and Belgian yeast. It had a clean and complex aftertaste that was smoky, bittersweet, and a bit sour.
M: It was thick with lots of carbonation. Nice big body.
D: This was a nice smoke beer with good scent and taste, and an amazing finish. The body was great, and the alcohol was well hidden, so it was easy to drink. The subtle complexity really grew on me, and made this a top quality beer. Not sure how it was fresh, but it was wonderful after a year.

 691 characters

Photo of goblue3509
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish copper color tht is clear and very red when held to the light. Bubbles are also plentiful and rushing to the top of the beer when held to the light. There is a two finger head which settles a little but stays around for the entire pour. There is a little lace left on the glass. The aroma starts out with a big smokey aroma followed by hints of a maltiness at the end. The taste follows suit with a big nice smoke taste and the front and middle before a slightly sweet malt flavor finishes off. The mouthfeel is a little dry. Overall a very good take on the style. Very very enjoyable one of the best in this class.

 631 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

 1,503 characters

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: Bronze, mostly clear with steadily rising bubbles.
smell: Very nice, unique, interesting. The smoke punches through, resting on a solid Belgian spice and fruit.
taste: Doesn't quite live up to the nose but the same qualities are there.
mouthfeel: medium creamy, nice carbonation.
overall: An interesting, unique beer. Nicely done.

 342 characters

Photo of TempeBeerMan
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A – Deep rusty brown color with a nice two finger beige head, lasting a moderate amount of time. Minimal lacing.

S – Smells like a cold weather nighttime campfire. Some additional hints of Belgian yeast.

T – HEAVY smoke flavor upfront, followed by a Belgian sugar kick. Esters of sour mash whiskey, ash, wood, burnt caramel, plum, and toffee. Slightly boozy in the finish. Not overly complex, but quite delicious. Finshes slightly dry.

M – Gently carbonated, which works well to carry the smoke flavor. Body is medium-light, almost lagerish. Maybe a little thin for the style.

O – I’m a big fan of Rauchbiers, and I really enjoyed this. To me, the mix of Belgian sugars and smoke made a unique and interesting combo. I’d definitely drink this again when in the mood , and I imagine it would be great on a camping trip.

 878 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
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?

 911 characters

Photo of ummswimmin
4.09/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up this bottle in my mission to review all 104 styles. I liked the story on the bottle, and I have enjoyed a number of offerings from Victory in the past. I expect to get a tour from their brewery in the near future.

I poured this beer into a snifter. The coloring was brown, and there wasn't a whole lot of foam on the top.

I really enjoyed the smell. There is a light amount of smoke coming off the top. It isn't over-whelming like the rauchbiers that I have had in the past. I also pick up a bit of maltyness.

The flavor also carries the mellow smokyness. It runs opposite of the sucking on a campfire approach. I get some a little bitterness and consistency of the malty smell. This is a very easy to drink smoke beer. It feels like it is below the 8% listed. If you see it on the shelf, pick it up. It is still good.

 834 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lovely clear mahogany with a very thick, if not persistent, light tan head. Malty aroma has smoky, peaty and caramel notes. Flavor fills the mouth with malt, fruit, and barbecue smoke with caramel and floral hints. There is also a whisper of sweetness and a touch of hoppy bitterness. Smooth texture has plenty of body and a good amount of fizz.

 353 characters

Photo of Gavage
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a reddish brown color with a short 1/2" head. No real lacing develops.

Smell : smoke, fruits, and some caramel come through to the nose.

Taste: malty goodness here with some chocolate, plums, cherry, fig, and a load of smokey flavor. Bitterness is moderate and alcohol is lightly noticeable. Spicy yeast arrives late onthetongue.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp throughout.

Overall: an interesting mix of a dubbel and rauchbier and for me it works. Interesting and it keeps you engaged until the bomber is empty. A definite different beer from Victory that is quite tasty.

 603 characters

Photo of Jimmys
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL corked and caged and bottled on sept. 28, 2011.

A: body is brown, with hints of bright red around the edges. busty head at first but the retention is merely OK, not great. good lacing.

S: very woody, very rauch aroma. some dark fruit is able to sneak its way through with notes of figs and raisins. a little bit of toast/roast, but it is easily construed with the smoke.

T: a sugary sweetness mixes with pleasant smokey, campfire flavors. the sweetness is almost hidden underneath the smoke, but not entirely. finish is dry and leaves a lingering smokeyness on the palate.

M: ample carbonation on a medium drinking body, even if the ABV says different.

D: im really enjoying this brew, but then again i am a big rauch/smoke fan. need to double check some other reviews to get to the bottom of why this isnt a brew with some overall better ratings, but in my book this is a great sipping brew on a cool evening.

 923 characters

Photo of drtth
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a large snifter glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As poured the beer is a dark mahogany color with a fluffy 1” light tan head that leaves little lacing as it slowly but only partly recedes. Sipping leaves some spider web patterns of lacing clinging to the side of the glass. By midway through the beer the head is now a nice ring around the glass with most of the liquid still covered. Sipping leaves a sheet of foam and patches of leggy lacing.

Smell: The aroma spreads gently into the room. Thoughout there is a light smoky character riding over a touch of caramel and dark fruits. While at times there is a bit of band aid character to the aroma, that fades as the beer warms.

Taste: The beer has is an interesting mix of flavors, a lot of which are predicted from the nose. The smoke is forward much of the time, backed up by the caramel. The sweetness is there at the beginning and then fades. The dark fruits (figs and cherries) show up once in a while to let the smoke know they are there and part of the show as well.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied and smooth with lots of gentle carbonation. The finish is fairly long and starts with a bit of sweetness. Then the smokiness and bitterness come in to play and dry things out nicely.

Drinkability and Overall Impression: I found this to be quite drinkable. Each sip follows the earlier one quite easily. The smoke is ever present but does not overwhelm and is broken up somewhat by caramel, dark fruits, and a nice touch of carbonation. Two words describe this beer: subtle and complex. My overall impression is that this is an interesting experiment and deserves to be repeated and improved upon. It is definitely worth a try.

Note: This is a somewhat temperature sensitive beer in that I thought the flavors were much better integrated and more enjoyable after the beer had warmed a good bit.

18 Feb., 2014

After just over 2 years in the cellar this beer still has the same character and drinkability as when I first reviewed it. The flavors have smoothed out a bit and are better integrated but it has matured nicely.

19 Jun., 2014

Working on the last bottle from my case. After about 2 and 1/2 years in the cellar this beer has kept most of its character but hasn't improved since the last tasting . Indeed, it may have begun going downhill just a bit. So if I do buy more I think aging for up to 2 1/2 years its fine, but by 3 years it will be on its way downhill.

 2,505 characters

Photo of Oakenator
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber brown with ample head. Good head retention and lacing present on the glass. Finer carbonation than your average beer gives it a nice mouthfeel. Smells like a Belgian dubbel but harder to detect the smokey malts after the first sip. Taste is dominated by the smokey malts - the bigger dubbel part of this beer is less present. The smoked malt is present early and lingers well after you've swallowed the beer.

 427 characters

Photo of BigMike
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Otto has a really cool label. A campfire with some ghost flames in the background..

A: Pours a real pretty chestnut brown color. Clear with a nice fluffy tan head of about 2 fingers. A nice looking beer.

S: Right off the bat i get a lot of smoke. If you've ever sat by a campfire for a few hours and then the next day smelled your clothes. Thats the smokiness you get from this beer. The base beer is a dubble so there are the traditional dark candied fruit notes but you really have to look for them in the background. If you didn't know this was a dubble it would be hard to pick up.

T: They smoke is definitely less forward then it is on the nose. It's mostly on the finish as the dark fruits dominate the front of the tongue.

M: carbonation is light but adequate. Mouthfeel is slightly below medium. It feels soft on the pallet and finishes smoothly.

Overall: I heard a lot of mixed reviews about Otto. Mostly people saying that the rauchbier and the dubble styles dont mix well. I disagree. I really like this bee. I think there is just enough smoke and just enough sweetness to keep everything in balance. A solid Victory offering!

 1,142 characters

Photo of beer2day
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark caramel with lofty 2-finger cream head. Head fades and leaves faint strands of lace all around the glass.

Nose is lots of smoke, with dried fruit and caramel underneath. Figs and dates combined with rich caramel. Thick smoke over the top of that, though.

Smoke translates to the tongue. Sticky sweet caramel malt and a bit of figgy fruit coming through. Lots of roasted and smoked malt, though.

Feel is chewy. Fairly rich, but stands up to the smoke well.

Overall, worth a shot if smoke is your thing.

 518 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Otto Ale from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
3.67 out of 5 based on 315 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

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.