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: 315
Photo of Sammy
3.81/5  rDev +3.8%
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 kylehay2004
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: half finger head on a relatively clear amber brown body. not a lot of lacing.

S: smoked meat, caramel, hint of toffee and burnt toast.

T: more smoked meat, sweet BBQ sauce, caramel malts and brown sugar.

M: moderate to high carbonation and medium body.

Overall: this is plain and simply a drinkable smoked beer. The smokiness doesn't overwhelm and definitely compliments the base beer.

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

unique and delicious, rauchbier meets belgian dubbel. pours a major sexy deep amber hue, dark like cabernet, jovial tan head which fades away quickly. nose is overly smokey, with just a tiny hint that theres a belgian underneath. alchohol notes, bonfire, and wood. taste is a bit more level, with some vanilla and bright yeast happening. mouthfeel is bubble and true to the dubbel style. this is a one of a kind for sure, and whether you like it or not, its a brand new creation, so lots of extra points for creativity. met my expectations and it is a great buzz. woooo

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Photo of Knapp85
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I never saw this beer as being a Dubbel, I was pretty sure it was supposed to be a Rauchbier. Anyway, the beer poured out as a deep brown color with some nice red highlights in it. The head was foamy and laced the glass pretty well. The smell of the beer gives off plenty of smoked malt aromas along with some lager yeast notes as well. The mouthfeel was prettygood, I found it to be well balanced and easy to drink. Overall I thought that this beer got a little better as it warmed up. I'm not the biggest fan of this style but I like what victory did with this one. I can't say I'd buy it again but it was nice to try.

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Photo of metter98
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is hazy amber in color. It poured with a half finger high beige head that died down but left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of smoke in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste is smoky and has some hints of spices. The flavors you would expect from a dubbel are not very apparent.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is relatively easy to drink because the smoky flavors aren’t too strong and the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

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Photo of brentk56
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear mahogany with a very modest head that fades to a ringlet and archipelago; leaves some splashy lace behind, however

Smell: Caramel, fig, banana and ash

Taste: Opens with the dubbel elements of caramel, fig and pepper, with the banana adding another dimension by mid-palate; the smoked character arrives, after the swallow, and leaves a subtle ashen flavor behind in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with buoyant carbonation

Overall: While the beer is well-balanced, I am not sure that it shows off the best of either style; not something I would seek out again

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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.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
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 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 Kegatron
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml corked and caged bottle into a couple of tulip glasses.

Pours a deep clear amber, with a finger of foamy off-white head. This retains with a smooth richness and robust edging, leaving back a soapy looking cascade that drips down the sides of the glass into a smattering of light spotty lace. The aroma honestly feels very similar to a Rauchbier, with a smoky campfire character that is full smelling throughout the whole nose. You can barely pick up some softer fruit and a touch of sweeter sugars underneath but yeah, the smoke pretty much dominates this here.

The taste fairs better, with much more of that Belgian-style Dubbel presence to it, with notes of fruit and doughy sugars having a place here. This definitely has a touch of aggressiveness to it though, which is maybe coming from a combination of lightly roasted accents and spice from the yeast. The smoke is much more subdued and complimentary here than it was in the nose and just hangs on the breath a bit after each sip. The finish is fairly dry with a touch of lingering spice and earthy bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, maybe a little fuller, with a firm and prickly feel up front that then gets a bit more creamy feeling along the back as this works itself around in the mouth. That 8% ABV is well hid.

Despite maybe the over smokiness of the aroma, I think that this came out about as good as you would expect for what they were attempting here. Some Belgian character is present but the complete package just came off to me as very German feeling, with tightness to the profiles and the overall Rauchbier-style slant to this. This was unique and I quite liked it.

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Photo of mactrail
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A Dubbel with plenty of malt to mellow the smoky flavor. Quite attractive in the little snifter, it even looks a smoky orange. Plenty smoked but not at all harsh. Sweet malt and some roasted flavors. Rather sharp. A little ash in the nose along with the hot oak smell. Hoppy bitterness in the aftertaste. I'm not tasting much in the way of Belgian flavors, but it's a nice concept if they'd try more yeast and less smoke.

I have to admit this is a pretty good smoked beer, though it's not exactly subtle. At least it tastes like real smoke and you could almost put your finger on what kind of wood it is. More enjoyable if you have the bottle around for small doses. A big cheesy pizza, tho, might stand up to it.

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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 dbrauneis
3.72/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a murky deep amber in color with some mahogany highlights and moderate amounts of gentle carbonation. The beer has a two finger tall foamy tan head that slowly reduces to a pebbled thin film covering the entire surface of the beer with a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of smoked malts and smoked peat as well as some light notes of roasted malts.

T: Upfront there are some just shy of moderate flavors of smoked peat and smoked malts over some lighter notes of roasted malts and just a touch of spices from the yeast. There are light amounts of lingering iodine flavors rather than bitterness in the finish (my wife describes them as band-aid like).

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: Overall the alcohol is pretty well hidden in this beer but if you don't enjoy smokey flavors then I would recommend avoiding this one - aromas and flavors of smoked peat have intensified since this beer was initially released and I had it fresh.

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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 billab914
3.61/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle into my CBS glass. It poured mahogany in color with some bright ruby tones when held up to the light. A thin white head was scattered across the top of the beer and clinging to the edges of the glass. Great looking color to it, good lacing as well.

The aroma has a rich smokiness to it with some notes of brown sugar, smoky bacon and a little bit of campfire to it. I get some sweeter, malty, cherry like flavors to it as well. It smells almost like a smoked candy.

The taste also shows a lot of smokiness to it throughout. More of the brown sugar and smoky bacon flavors really come out. I get some big sweeter cherry flavors to it towards the finish as well as some of the belgian yeast spice.

The mouthfeel is leaning towards the heavier side with carbonation being moderate. Overall it was a pretty decent smoked beer. It did feel a little on the malty sweet side and almost candy like at times though. I'm a smoked beer fan though so this one definitely had some things about it I really enjoyed though.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Duvel tulip glass.

Thanks to Hophead101 for this bottle!

I knew I had to have this when I heard it's description a few months ago. Here's hopin' it lives up to my expectations: It pours a hazy sunset amber-brown topped by a finger of bleached cream-tan foam. The nose comprises light toffee, light figs, very light raisins, and plenty of beech smoke, which at times approaches a Band-Aid sort o' quality. The taste continues the smoke-centric theme, with the beech halfway morphing into cherrywood. Beneath this haze, some dry chocolate powder and raisins try to bubble up, but never really make it very far. The smoke is the star, and everyone is made keenly aware of that fact. The body is a light-ish medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly dry finish. Overall, for a dubbel, this thing doesn't get too far with me. As a smoked beer, it's pretty good, but thoroughly one-dimensional. I mean, I love the smoke as much as the next guy, but I always like to have something behind it as a sidekick kind o' compliment. That really doesn't happen here, which is the biggest disappointment. Still, it's a pretty tasty smoked beer, just not one of the elite ones by any stretch.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by drabmuh. Thanks Matt.

The beer is light brown with a half inch of tan head that leaves sparse lacing. The aroma is smoke, peat, campfire. Just what one would expect from a beer of this ilk. Good flavor. A notch below the authentic examples of the style, particularly Aecht Schlenkerla, who reigns supreme. That said, this is a fine rauchbier from an American brewery, albeit one that is about as close to Germany as possible...maybe there's something to that. Medium bodied, with a lasting smokiness on the palate. Recommended.

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Photo of stakem
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to wishuwerebeer for sharing this one. Pours a clear amber to ruby color. A finger of tan froth sits atop. As the cap slowly fades it leaves a webby pattern of lace sticking to the glass. A swirl revives a finger of khaki head. When held to the light, it shows clarity with orange to yellow coloring around the edges.

The smell is mildly smokey and enjoyable. A touch of something plastic-like is evident which is a bit distracting. It mingles with citrus hops and collectively includes some mineral aspects. Towards te back end, it picks up some grassy character. When focusing on the smoke though, it is quite enjoyable and beefy.

The taste is toasty with a grainy sweetness not too far off from caramel malt. A hint of darker sweetness like toffee blends into te smoked flavor. A hint of citrus hops and fruited alcohol hint towards some plastic and minerals which is not completely appealing. As the brew gets warmer, more of an herbal bitterness gains focus. The aftertaste is quite meaty and strangely fruited as well.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. A decent arrangement of flavor with a well hidden alcohol level. I appreciate the attempt here but there are some kinks and drastically clashing character that needs to be worked out before I would attempt to drink this one again.

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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.

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

This beer is classified as a dubbel but be warned rather than surprised like I was, this is a rauch bier, it may be dubbel in some way but to me, this was a straight up rauch.

Beer is brown and mostly clear with a thin tan head of small bubbles, some lacing, looks good.

Aroma is mild, semi-sweet, a little yeast and a little smoke, I'm already confused at this point.

Beer is decent, medium bodied, interesting palate, but the back half is all smoke all the time, the levels of smoke are not overwhelming but it is dominant for sure. A decent little rauch, I'll have to research why this is called a dubbel. Is this is Belgian yeast strain? Anyway, a decent little smokey dubbel. I guess.

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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 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.

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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.

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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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Otto Ale from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
3.67 out of 5 based on 315 ratings.
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