Otto Ale | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

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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.

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Reviews: 138 | Ratings: 316
Photo of projectflam86
2.31/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

750ml poured into a tulip.

A- Pours a mahogany color with a thick slightly off white foam head that leaves great lacing.

S- Definitely picking up the smoked malts in the nose. Sort of a peat quality with a touch of spice. Not getting much of the typical dubbel aromas of dark fruits and candy sugar.

T- Deep smoky flavor initially with an oaky peat malt finish. I don't think I could tell that the base beer is a dubbel. Maybe a touch of sweetness in the finish but very faint and hard to notice anything other than the meaty smoked flavor. Much more like a rauchbier (which admittedly is not a favorite style of mine).

M- Wildly over carbonated with a thin mouthfeel. Sudsy with a lingering smoked aftertaste.

O- This one wasn't for me. I thought a dubbel brewed with a touch of smoked malt sounded good but this was way over done (at least to me). The bottle says it can cellar for 5 years. Maybe by that time the smoke would have died down some.

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Photo of patm1986
2.54/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

light amber color, no head, low viscosity; lacking any character at all in terms of pure body.

smells like liquid smoke, lightly charred wood, and a little, tiny amount of dark fruit, but i think i'm prying on the fruit. the smoke is pleasant, though, much like the scent of a fire burning far off in the bitterly cold night.

it tastes like smoked band-aids. i don't know what it is--maybe the way the malt was smoked, something in contact during the process?--but there's a quality of chemical plastic that has seeped into this, and this is the only way to describe the flavor. smoked band aids.

thin, slick, not much body or slickness in the mouth or finish.

i was hoping this was going to be as complex as it sounded: dark fruit, belgian sweetness, burnt biscuits, liquid smoke. it wasn't like any of it. the flavor was very weird.

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Photo of ShanePB
2.61/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle. Poured into two tulips.

A: Dusty brown/copper colored body with amber hues along the top edge. Off-white or tan head sits atop in a nice fluffy formation and doesn't dissipate quick. Nice retention cap is left behind, mainly a thick ring, but the lacing is good.

S: Lots of smoke, and I mean lots of smoke. Ashtray, charred wood, cigar smoke and a certain meaty quality. Towards the back end is some rather faint Belgian spices and a touch of yeast. Caramel and smoked malts with a hint of pepper. It's okay but seemingly one dimensional.

T: Whoa, that is smokey and not in a very good way. It unfortunately overwhelms much of the taste for me. Lots of burnt wood, ash and smoked malt up front. Mid-palate is more of the same; I'm just waiting for something else to break through. It doesn't... back of the palate has more smoke with a slightest hint of a spicy Belgian yeast flavor. Talk about a one dimensional beer, this is it.

M: Well carbonated, bubbly and somewhat creamy. Really this is nice and nothing wrong here. Perhaps a touch thicker than I'd prefer but not bad at all.

I'd like to think I generally like this style; heck I like Voodoo Doughnut way better than this. For me, there wasn't much past the in your face smoke flavors. It needed some sort of cut in the aroma and flavor, something I unfortunately didn't get at all. Drain poured.

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Photo of corby112
2.74/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark golden ruby/copper color with a one finger yellowish beige head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing left behind.

The smoked malts and estery dark fruit notes combine to create an herbal/medicinal presence in the nose. Slightly earthy with some grassy hops. Subtle hints of smoked malt with charcoal and wood notes followed by some dark fruit. Not smoker enough for my liking and kind of odd smelling.

Medium bodied with an earthy medicinal flavor that dominates the other notes. Faintly smokey creating more of a wooden, dry taste than the pleasant flavors I associate with rauch/smoked beers. This is followed by the dark fruit notes with hints of grape, plum and other berries creating sweetness that counters the dry character. Similarly to the aroma, this creates an odd medicinal, herbal flavor that overwhelms the beer. The ABV is really well masked with very little heat but the odd flavor profile makes this beer a bit unpleasant to drink.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
2.95/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I picked this beer up at the Atoscocita Specs a couple days ago. It looked interesting, a Rauch Belgian beer. I am not sure if this is what I would have blended myself, but I am willing to try just about anything. Let's see what this is like:

Appearance: Initially pours a relatively cloudy reddish brown color with a 1/2" head of mixed size bubbles but mostly small ones. The head was a light tan, and you could see that there are quite a few bubbles rising to maintain the head, but you can already see it falling a bit after a minute. After at least ten minutes, the head never completely fell. The beer cleaned up to be a Garnet color and there were still lots of bubbles rising. There was a good bit of lacing left on the glass after drinking, so overall the beer is pretty nice looking.

Aroma: The aroma is not what I was expecting. I am picking up latex rubber gloves in this beer big time! That is the main thing that I am getting along with a mild medicinal component. So I've got rubber gloves and smells like a clinic...I don't know that this is good. There is a little bit if sweet malt and alcohol starting to come out as the beer warms, but the rubber gloves never goes away, so this really spoils the aroma for me.

Taste: A least the flavor isn't as crazy as the aroma. It actually tastes like beer, and the bacon is more identifiable in the flavor than it got misinterpreted by my in the aroma. The rubber glove thing is here in the flavor, but you can tell that it is an off-shoot from the rauch. The flavor overall is pretty balanced between malt and hops with there being some dryness left on the back of your palate for a little while after this sip, but this is provided as much by the ample carbonation as it is from the dark malts. The hops are pretty reserved in this beer overall. There is a little in the flavoring, but they don't exactly compliment the rauch. The alcohol is very reserved and just adds a touch of spice to the rauch malt.

Opinion: Well, I guess that this is the reason that I have never thought to make a Belgian-Rauch myself...because it is an unusual beer. After I have made it through about half the bottle, it is getting much more palatable, but perhaps this is because of the ABV. Either way, I don't know what to tell you as I don't really know anyone that would think that this beer was "the bomb". It is OK, but certainly not one that I would come back to from the aroma alone.

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Photo of Reagan1984
2.95/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ok, so this starts with an oddity. I open the cage and then pop the cork…. But I notice that there is still something in the neck of the bottle. Not sure what it is I get a flashlight into the top of the bottle. First I have to note that the cork that came out was in pristine condition. What was in the neck of the bottle was the bottom of ANOTHER cork. I can only imagine that in the bottling line the first cork didn’t go in properly and then they popped in another without noticing the remnants of the first one. Interesting.

A foamy 2+ finger head forms that is off white to light beige. Settles to a ½ cap that stays for a while. A decent amount of sudsy lace sticks to the class. Beer is a deep brown amber color with good clarity.

Aroma is a mix of light smoke some grain and a malty sweetness.

Interesting in that I like the initial flavor which I’ll describe as a combination of lightly sweet caramel and nice smoked malt. Nice and smokey mid palate… but then it really drops off with almost no finish. There is some smoke that remains but all other flavors seem to drop out quickly. Man, I want to like this, but the finish is not helping me here.

Reality is that this is medium bodied, but the finish I describe above makes it feel thin.

In the end, I’m not a big fan.

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Photo of chinchill
2.99/5  rDev -18.5%
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 Naugros
3.04/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had a lot of people tell me that this was a phenomenal beer and they must have a completely divergent palate from mine. The look is fine, brown with a respectable head, but the aroma this gave off threw me off. It has a meaty quality and a vegetal quality to it, making it smell of stew, but with liquid smoke added. I know the smoke in this is real, it just didn't come off that way.

Get past that smell and the taste isn't all that bad. There's some chocolate. dark fruit (figs), red wine and smoke. Again, there's a meatiness to it. The taste melds together better as it warms and the smoke doesn't seem as fabricated.

There's a little grittiness in the mouthfeel, like cocoa powder added and not fully incorporated.

I get what they tried to do here and it seems to have met with mixed reviews. I saw many as low as a D and some as high as an A. A little tweaking and this could be improved to make it more homogeneous in acceptance.

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Photo of Neorebel
3.12/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Color is a deep auburn. Head is minimal but clings to the glass. The aroma is sugary and smoky. Hard to imagine experiencing bonfire embers and strawberries hitting your nose at once, but this is it. Interesting though. I found that the smokiness was overdone here - I was wishing for more of a balance, more Belgian Ale coming through with the Rauchbier characteristics. It sounded like a neat idea anyway. It's not terrible by any means, however, I would prefer a Magic Hat Jinx (if they still made it) or a Weyerbacher Fireside as better examples of smoked flavor in beer for the casual Rauchbier fan out there.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.13/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Well, a smoked dubbel...I guess.

Pours a dull amber, a bit faded in color. Head is nice, big and sticky. Pretty good lacing, but looks neither like a rauchbier nor dubbel

Slight smoke and plum in the aroma. Slight spice. Muddled, nothing stands out. Damp smoke...

puny raisin flavor opens up the tasting front. Smoke comes in and just mingles around. Some faint fruits and spice. The taste isn't bad, it's just that there is nothing much here. Not much that screams 'dubbel' and too fruity to be rauchbier. I dunno...

It drank ok, but was a bit hollow and thin on the end.

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Photo of kiddynamite920
3.13/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark red, close to brown with a white foamy head. Head looks a bit sticky and is leaving some lacing on its way down.

S: The smoked malt is strong, unfortunately any dubbel character or trappist yeast character is lost behind it. Victory mentions the use of smoked malt and a Belgian dubbel and why it hasn't been done before. I suppose this is why. All characters of the Belgian yeast are in the background, as this smells mostly of smoked malts.

T: Smokey and savory, very small dubbel flavor. Was hoping this would be a nice balance between dark fruits and some smokieness, but again...the smoked malts take over. There is some fruitiness that struggles to shine through, no sign of a trappist yeast on the palate. Would guess this was a smoked porter if I were blindfolded.

M: Mouthfeel is thin, falls a bit flat. Carbonation is crisp at first, but this really just is average.

O: A Victory beer that I dont like!?? What is going on here? Think they over thought this one a bit, a good idea that didn't turn out that well. Can't blame them for trying though. Interesting beer.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.17/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Split a bottle with Stopper. Poured at cellar temp into a snifter. The beer pours a rich mahogany color with some garnet tints on the edges. The beer actually looked lighter when poured but deepens in the glass. A frothy eggshell white head of .5 cm foams up and fades quickly to islands and a thin edge layer.

Aroma is light smoke but a lot of phenolic band aid scent. I suppose it could be a bacon or sausage note but I get bandaids and that makes me leary of the beer. First sip is some fruity yeast with no bandaids. Alittle caramel mixed in.
I get smoked sausage and just a bit of firepit. Dry on the finish and certainly more enjoyable than the nose had me worried about.

A decent beer that isnt like licking an ashtray and does have some other flavors going on so that is a bonus. Not something I would chase down again, but certainly not a terrible beer.

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Photo of Ratman197
3.17/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle from Total Beverage poured a clear reddish brown with a small lingering tan head. Aromas of smoke, carmel and light fruittiness. Mouthfeel was light to medium bodied and crisp. Flavors of smoe, carmel and light yeast with a crisp lingering smokey finish. Not moch goin on here but smoke.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.18/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Deep, deep copper color with a decent sized head. Cherry wood smoked aroma. Fairly strong smoke flavor upfront though rather chemical and artificial, almost phenolic. Says it is a dubbel, though it lacks the strong malt and sugary flavors of a rich Belgian. Sharp and acrid. Body is ok-comes off a bit thin and lacking in any real sort of "umph". Fairly average overall-certainly no smoked dubbel as the label proclaims.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.18/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I love Rauchbiers, and I'm glad to see this tribute- unfortunately I don't think it hits all the marks, primarily because it's too bitter, and that overwhelms the relatively light smoke. Even a little touch of rubber bands in the finish, which I really don't like. Not my favorite.

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Photo of Kromes
3.29/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured into a Chimay glass. A clear dark amber color with a thick off-white head. Good lacing on glass.

S: A rather strange aroma. For me, the mix of smoked malts and sweet dark fruit ended up smelling sort of like a band-aid or like medicine.

T: Thankfully the flavor has a little bit more depth. The smokiness from the malt hits right up front and mixes with a tropical fruit and raisin flavor. There is a pronounced alcohol flavor and feel throughout. The smokiness doesn't let up.

M: A little thin in the body and high carbonation, but leaves the mouth a little too dry.

O: Neat concept, but for me it didn't pan out to a very drinkable beer. One and done is good enough for me. Worth a try though.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
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 ChainGangGuy
3.31/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750ml bottle - $7.99 at Olde Crabapple Bottle Shoppe in Alpharetta, Georgia. Bottle On: Sept 27, 2011.

Appearance: Pours a clear, bright mahogany-hued body with a full-sized, faintly beige head.

Smell: Displays a myriad of jumbled notes: campfire smoke, cloves, toasted bread, brown sugar, dried fruits (raisins and cherries), bananas, and a recently bandaged finger cut.

Taste: Toasted malts with some sweet additions of caramel, treacle before the phenolic hit of smoke-flavored chewing gum with a touch of banana peel before rolling into some thick-cut bacon, powdered cloves, and Concord grape jelly. Strays, for the most part, on the sweet side of things. Low hop character, bitterness. Some alcohol detected on the lightly smokey, fruity finish with lingering alcoholic heat and clove.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-high carbonation.

Overall: A curious combination (I recall tapping my chin thoughtfully for a moment when I first heard about it), a smoked ale and a Belgian dubbel. I'm not entirely sure that the smoked malt is playing nicely with the clove-producing yeast strain utilized, as there is, sadly, a displeasing hint of Band-Aid on occasion.

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Photo of russpowell
3.32/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 09-28-11

Pours auburn with 2+ fingers of khaki colored head. Minimal head retention & lacing

S: Faint smokeyness, some brown bread

T: Oaky smoke with, bready sweetness, a touch of pears & wppdy hops up front. Big time oaky dryness as this warms along with beech & oak smokeyness & a booze warmth. Some herbal hoppyness in the finish along with much woody/oaky dryness & firm smokeyness

MF: Medium bodied with soft cabonation, thins out a touch as this warms

Not a bad smoked beer, but not as good as I was hoping for, the oaky character of this is a bit overwhelming. I like most victory beers, this was a letdown

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Photo of JayS2629
3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky brown with a nice tan head that fades fast and fizzy but leaves ok lacing.

The aroma has faint woody smoke, cherries and plums and some dark chocolate and earthy elements. Some musty notes.

The flavor is dried by the smoke and cuts off the sweet cherry wanting to come through. Chocolate notes fade in, but overall this dries in the mouth fast.

This gets a little more complex as it warms, but is still missing the impressive mark.

Dry finish, medium body, alcohol hidden.

Overall, Its just ok.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Medium ruby color with a fast head and no foam, film, or lacing. Sparse bubbling.

Medium smokey malt aroma. little fire, charcoal with heavy toasted, and lightly roasted malts.

The flavor starts and finishes with smoke. Smokey malt and smokey hop balance. A smoked Earth flavor and smokey, toasted and lightly roasted malts. Bread crust mostly. The palate is on the lighter side, like a lager or blonde ale. Pretty easy to drink, but a bit on the bland side.

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Photo of prototypic
3.41/5  rDev -7.1%
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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Photo of gford217
3.42/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml cork and caged bottle.

Pours a deep clear brownish amber with a small beige head that reedes quickly to a thin collar.

Aroma is more smokey than dubbel with the smoked malts featuring prominently. There a some sweet caramel malts, candi sugar and faint dark fruits.

Taste has a big astringent band-aid flavor up front. It's not the smoke character that I was expecting, less smoked wood and more burnt ashes. There is a sweetness in the background that lingers a bit in the finish with some figs and raisins.

Mouthfeel is astringent and artificially smokey.

I was looking forward to this one as a smoked beer fan but I think the flavor misses the mark slightly for me. The smoke is of the unpleasant burnt rubber variety. Not my favorite from Victory.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
3.42/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into Chimay goblet in the high 40's.

Pours with a healty tan head over a clear, ruby-to-garnet colored body with some carbonation flowing up. Head stays on as a perma-film. Really nice lacing.

Aromas are pretty light. Slight cherry candy sweetness (Nibs), touch of smoke, caramel malt, and a strange plastic - more of a new diaper than band aid.

Flavors bring it up a notch. Smoke becomes more prevalent, but doesn't kill the Dubbel qualities. Some dark fruit (red grape), tangy hops, angostura bitters, and charred brisket.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for my liking, with a decent level of carbonation.

I always appreciate fresh takes on old styles, and this one is a good idea, but I would have loved some more sweetness, more Belgian yeast quality, and a little richer quality on the palate.

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Photo of argock
3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 750ml brown bottle into a St. Feuillien goblet. Bottled on Sept 28 2011 in white on front-left of label. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $8.99.

A: Chestnut brown with bright garnet edges with wispy light 1/2-finger of light beige head with average retention and only a small comma of lace.

S: A very earthy lightly smoked aroma with some dark fruit components.

T: The flavors are very unique and interesting, but not all that drinkable. The smoked flavor dominates, but there is a strong bitter clove contribution that doesn't mix all that well with the generous smoke. The dark fruity fig and date flavors poke through her and there, but the bitterness of the clove and the smoke cloud much of the malt flavor.

M: The carbonation is fine and active with a nice medium body with a moderately dry finish.

O: It is disjointed and a nice experiment but doesn't really work all that well. Interesting but there won't be another go-round for this brew.

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Otto Ale from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
3.67 out of 5 based on 316 ratings.
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