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 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 Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of JayQue
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Definitely a smoked beer...surely not a Dubbel. Purchased at Grape and Gourmet in Va Beach. $8.99 for a cork and caged 750 ml bottle.

Pours a clear reddish brown clear color.. Very red when held to a light. Decent carbonated/delicately bubbling white head on a hard pour. Head retention is average...minimal lacing.

Aroma is smoky and malty....fairly pronounced and pleasant. Taste is smoky peat malt and bready malt. Reminded me of Alaskan Smoked Porter with the intensity of the smokiness, but not the roasted malt aspect of the Porter. The Alaskan is more complex, but both have bold flavors.

Mouthreel is rich and smooth...smokiness is just right, a nice easy sipper. I had half of it with dinner...Salmon Steak and the other half sipping in front of the tv. A great beer for both activities. This one is a winner, I would drink it again.

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Photo of AdamBear
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-dark caramel. transparent. thick light tan head

S-smells like chocolatey malts with a slightly smokey scent.

T-comes in with a bitter taste of dark belgian malts with a smokey aspect to it. its really the most bitter smoked beer i've had. the after-taste is mostly just bitter with some smokiness to it.

M-medium carbonation with a dry finish

O-the more i drink it, the more i like it and start to taste more flavors. the 750mL won't take long with finish by myself.

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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...

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 mL cage-corked bottle into a plain tumbler pint glass.

A: Dark, reddish amber with a two-finger head of frothy white foam, the ample carbonation forms a persistent cap that leaves a bit of sticky lace.

S: Holy smokes! (couldn't resist) Smells like roasted peat malt and fruity malts. Hints of zesty yeast peek through the campfire aroma.

T: Loads of smoky, sweet charred malts hit up front with some bitter, herbal and fruity flavors as well. The effervescent, gummy cloven yeast of the Dubbel begins to break in before the brew washes back a bit boozy with a harsh, smoked meat swallow.

M: Medium-full bodied, well-carbonated and prickly on the palate. Washes down a bit grimy and chalky with smoke resins.

O: As many have said, hard to judge this beer as a rauchbier or Belgian Dubbel. At 8.1% ABV its sort of a boozy nightmare for food pairing, perhaps outside of smoked gouda. As a Dubbel, its got some fruity, herbal pepper qualities I like. The smoked peat and sherry-like malts provide the rauch influence. Together though, its more interesting than good or bad. I might have it again someday.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Sourbatchkid for opening the bottle.

Otto has eluded me thus far, since it's release a mere 8-9 months ago. I thought this was a double, but it appears to be a smoked beer.

Otto in the glass has some brownish tones with some shimmers of dark red up towards the light. A nice inch of layered dark tan foam with legs, and some sticks. Smell is on the malty side with a English yeast strain. The smoke, char is there but may have faded a bit after the sit in the bottle. Some caramel vibe with a faint grassy scent. Taste brings out the smoke flavor moreso than the nose leads on. A nice malty center with English yeast, faint toffee and a lick of coffee roast. Some warming brings out some rye bread flavor and faded cherry. Feel is malty, not bitter, medium in build with some bright bubbles and a crisp carb up front and a smooth finish. Glad I tried this one and a change of pace for me.

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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 dasenebler
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750mL, bottled 9/27/11.

Pours a dark, hazy and reddish brown. Small head sticks around admirably with spots of lacing.

The aroma is very woody and smoky, showcasing the smoked malts. Reminiscent of Rauchbier from Bamberg, though not quite as intense. Touch of dark fruit.

Flavor is very dry and bitter, with a resinous and woody hop flavor. The smoked flavor comes through loud and clear, building up on the palate as the drink wears on. Some hints of caramel malt, but mainly smoke and wood. Some phenolic character from the Belgian yeast. The mouthfeel is very drying, with good malt weight and creamy medium carbonation.

The problem with smoked malts is they tend to dominate a beer if used above a certain percentage. Victory dangerously toes this line, but never quite crosses it, making for an interesting drinking experience. Would like to see the Belgian elements of the beer shine through more readily. Overall good, but not something I'd necessarily buy again.

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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 Chaney
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on September 28, 2011.

Corked and caged; served in a tulip.

A: Poured sort of a ruby red-brown mixture, with a big 1-2 finger head that was fairly dark in its brown-ness as well. Lots of retention here!

S: Sort of reminded me of a very weak version of DFH's "Palo Santo Maron," except this was slightly smokier and had a bit more of that "beef jerky" flair. I liked the nose on this!

T: Not as full in the taste category as I would have liked, but this was just intriguing enough for me to continue exploring. This was quite smoky, and the finish wasn't dry in the least. While I wouldn't exactly call the flavor thin and anemic, I will say that there wasn't much going on here except for fresh water and smoke additive.

M: The carbonation was fine, and even though the texture was on the thin side, I found myself coming back for more. This one goes down VERY smooth.

O: I think that if Victory had made this one as a seasonal in 6-packs, it would have been more successful in its hitting its target audience and generating a better buzz (no pun intended). Once you cork and cage around something, you're making a statement... and to that end, this one good, but lacking overall. :(

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Photo of Fcip78
4/5  rDev +9%
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 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.

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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.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

- Labeled as a smoked Belgian dubbel.

A: Beautiful burgundy coloring has a creamy/frothy khaki tinted head with a strong showing of effervesce within. Retention is good with a moderate show of lace coverage.

S: Smoked meat, smoked jerky, moderate in terms of strength. Decent level of smokiness, a bit subdued, and noticeable, but falls a bit short for my personal appreciation.

T: Smoked meat and toasted grains with a hint of scorched wood. In terms of yeastiness not as strong as your dubbel expectations but noticeable content of sweet figs and raisins come out as well fresh moments of fruitiness sneaking out every now and then. There is on the other hand a noticeable trait of vinyl that is hard to ignore, not sure if its from a inperfection in an isolated brewing process or a result of its young drinking age. Bottled 9/11 consumed 2/12 and stated suitable for aging. A smoky trail with a soft but forgiving note of sterile alcohol.

M: Bubbly frothy mouthful is highlighted by a strong nature of carbonation well suited per style. Body is light per dubbel standards, average for smoked beer status with more toasted caramel sweetness at times then smokiness on the hold.

O: Overall liked the ideal and experimentation of combining a smoked beer with a dubbel, except the smoked beer quality is soft and a bit underpowered while the dubbel qualities get lost in the combinantion particularly the Belgian yeastiness. Feels like a smoked beer with a pilsner malt base, decent flavor, but a bit shallow complexity wise and lacks that noticeable smoked nature of rich burnt roasted nature. In the end it kinda misses the mark as a hybrid, as a smoked beer on its own has enough mustard to pass with worthy standards, but nothing I would recommend to the hearty smoked beer drinker. A tweener more aptly suited for the light casual drinker.

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Photo of Immortale25
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Dogfish signature snifter. Label says bottled on Sep 28 2011

A- Pours a dark brown color with a 1/2 inch head that soon dissipates to a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a sheet of surface foam. Nice, trickly lacing.

S- Campfire smoke with a bit of a band-aid smell behind it. Both aren't overly pronounced so it's not unpleasant.

T- Actually the smoke flavor and the medicinal taste are both quite mild, all things considered. Good thing for me, because I can't stand a lot of smoke in my beer. The malts and small use of hops provide a good template. Stale smoke aftertaste.

M- Drying and heavy. Medium carbonation.

O- I'm always wary of buying smoked beers because I'm usually not a fan, but this is one I can deal with.

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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 Hoagie1973
3.86/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear but deep amber with a nice thick rocky head that retains well and leaves plenty of sticky lacing.

Malty aroma with yeast and a mild smokiness.

Surprisingly light malt character with a decent amount of wood smoke. Not as woodsy as some of the better German Rauchbiers, but not as Band-Aid like as some of the cheaper examples. Bittering in the finish due to the high ABV is a bit much, but not a big deal. Very warming in the esophagus. Well balanced.

Medium body & feel. Good carbonation levels.

Overall a decent effort. I enjoyed the whole bottle myself with some smoked fish and wheat crackers.

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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 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?

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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 Metalmonk
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
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 garuda
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Mostly clear deep crimson with a white head that retains decently with good lacing.

S - Smoke and charred oak in the forefront, with only hints of smoked ham, with an underlying dark fruity sweetness trying to peek through here and there.

T - Smokiness again in the taste, a little more smoked pork flavors than what's in the nose. Balanced a bit better with dark fruity, cherry sweetness. Piney, floral hops very late in the finish adding a touch of bitterness. Even some peanut flavor comes out as it warms for a while.

M - Medium body, medium carbonation, a tad astringent here and there. Growing bitterness as it warms seems a little out of place. Alcohol hidden well, no signs of it.

O - Unique, interesting combination of flavors that overall works pretty well for me. Piney bitterness becomes a little too strong as it warmed. If it had been replaced with a little more cherry sweetness, it would be fantastic.

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Photo of magine
3.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic.

Pours a hazy dark amber/caramel. After the last bit is poured a good bit of sediment is floating around. Lots of nice carbonated bubbles cascading to the top forming an excellent off white pillow like fluffy head. Constant bubbles rise, nice tight bubbles. Wow, huge island remains. Very good lacing and head retention. Excellent looking brew.

Brew smells of big smoked malts, smokey meats and wood ash. In the background you can pick up the subtle sweet yeast strain. Good nose.

Brew is creamy initially and is peppery in the middle. Finishes clean and is only slightly dry. Very good malts here; caramel, figs, chocolate. Can pick up banana and other Belgian yeast strains. Then you have the spicy yeasts towards the back end. Very interesting brew. Cant even notice the alcohol. Great mouthfeel, good flavors. Good stuff.

This one is an odd bag. It is good, mending two styles uniquely together. You have a malty smoked brew married with a spicy yeast Belgian style ale. Good stuff here, just odd. Glad I tried it.

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Photo of jaasen64
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml bottle into pint glass

A- dark brown, fairly hazy but transparent. Average carbonation. Slight head/lacing.

S- Intense smoked malts smell that hits you right away. Smells kind of like smoked meat.

T- Taste similar to smell. Intense smokey flavor, slightly bitter.

M- Pretty smooth. Well balanced smokey flavor throughout. Drinkable, alcohol hard to detect. Slightly sweet aftertaste.

O- This beer was very interesting, definitely the most smokey flavored beer that I've had. I'm not a huge fan of the smoke flavor, but if you are into smoked beers I would recommend it to you.

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