Otto In Oak | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

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Otto In OakOtto In Oak
64 Ratings
Otto In OakOtto In Oak

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

Style: Smoked Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Rifugium on 05-08-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 64 |  Reviews: 17
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a cloudy dark brown color ale with a nice large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of residual sugars is quite dominant with some very subtle light smoky notes and some light oak/bourbon notes also noticeable. Taste is a nice mix between some light smoky notes with some bourbon notes and some heavy caramelized malt with quite a bit of residual sugars. Body is full with good carbonation and alcohol is not very apparent. There is less smoke notes than I was hoping for and bit too much residual sugar s for my taste.

 552 characters

Photo of Rifugium
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

First had: bottle from Victory, Downingtown, PA

There's a more complex story behind the origin of this beer, as told to me by Bill of Victory, but regrettably, I don't remember any of it. Minus the sentimental story behind the brew, Otto in Oak is a smoked Belgian dubbel (Otto) aged in oak bourbon barrels. Bottle date is 4/26/12, with a 5-year cellaring limit printed. No ABV printed, though with the regular Otto at 8.1%, I'd imagine this is somewhere in the 8-10% region.

Poured a somewhat cloudy mahogany brown color with a small off-white head; moderate retention and lacing. Aroma is fairly smoky, with notes of caramel, booze and banana esters. This leads into a pretty complex taste, starting with burnt caramel, ripe bananas, raisins, bready yeast, leading to a ashen smoke mid-palate, accompanied by woody bourbon, vanilla beans, with the finish being earthy and a little bitter. Mouthfeel is medium and chewy. Still pretty hot at this point and needs some time to mellow, which is why I'm going to keep a bottle in the basement for a couple years or so. It's a confusing beer, but once you realize what's going on (basically Belgian yeast + German smoked malts + American bourbon), it's easier to like. Whether or not those elements jive on your palate is, I suppose, a matter of opinion.

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Photo of smcolw
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Starts with a decent, albeit large-bubbled, head. Surprisingly, it has some staying power, but leaves only some spots for lace. The color is deep brown where light shines through.

Smells more like a Barley Wine than a smoked beer. That is to say it is sweet as if molasses was added after fermentation.

This tastes like a Barley Wine. Plenty of sweetness and alcohol warmth. There's an ample amount of hop, but the swallow is sugary with long brandy-like aftertaste. Rich body with a low carbonation level. The smokiness is almost lost in the richness of the other's there but if I hadn't known it was there, I probably wouldn't have identify.

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Photo of mendvicdog
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

Photo of rab53
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of stakem
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml corked and caged bottle into a couple of snifters. The brew pours a clear dark amber brown. When held to the light, it displays some deep ruby clarity and boasts more than a finger of yellowish stained to tan frothy head. The cap maintains with pretty decent retention and a swirl revives the froth.

The aroma is spicy and strikes up thoughts of something along the lines of burning incense. It has quite a spiced appeal to it almost like cinnamon and raw oak more than the expected smoothness and notes of caramel/vanilla you might normally find in a barrel aged beer. There is a backend sweetness about this brew that has some fruity quality that is almost vinous that blends into a bit of caramel maltiness. The smoked aspect of this beer is muted a bit from the barrel aging but it is present across the back as it warms up and provides a nice depth overall to the aromatics.

The taste is a solid combination of everything you would expect based on the description. The dark fruity flavors that are mildly vinous are even more prevalent in the flavor than the aroma. There is a solid alcohol spice and warmth down the back of the throat that transitions into a smoked aftertaste that really works well with the oak flavoring from the barrel aging. A bit of spicy quality from the yeast plays off of the barrel aging to compile layers of interesting character. As it warms up, the spiciness leans a bit towards cinnamon and clove and the alcohol really comes forward.

This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. It is quite complex and I found it to be an interesting and enjoyable experience. The barrel aspect carries a lot of similarities to dark intrigue (the spiciness and tannins instead of smooth vanilla and caramel flavoring.) I was not the biggest fan of the base beer but I was really digging this brew. If the base beer is 8%, this has got to be closer to 10% or more, it really warms you up about mid-way through the glass.

 1,972 characters

Photo of Duff27
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of tobelerone
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A dark mahogany beer that nonetheless has good clarity. Lovely, tight cream colored head with excellent retention; lacing is sticky and clings to the glass in sheets. A great looking brew.

Aroma of charred oak; smoked malt; caramel and burnt sugar; vanilla; bourbon. Meaty and boozy. Flavor follows the nose fairly closely, although the smoked note is perhaps a touch less assertive, with the Bourbon whiskey character more dominant. Moderate sweetness, oak barrel, char, tastes like a shot of whiskey at a campfire.

Medium bodied; with medium to slightly low carbonation. Overall I felt this was a somewhat problematic beer, but I still enjoyed it. If you are a fan of smoked beer you may like it but that flavor combined with assertive whiskey makes it far from an easy drinker. We tried pairing it with foods of different types and came up a little short; even with smoked sausage the booziness made for an odd combination. In the end I actually enjoyed it most with chocolate covered fruits, interestingly.

This is a pretty unique creation, as far as I can tell, but it’s for fans of smoke and bourbon only.

 1,118 characters

Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared by Paul, thanks! I had the unoaked version a while ago and was completely unaware of the bourbon barrel aged version of this. While this beer, and the "regular" version were both good, this beer had ZERO detectable bourbon and / or oak. I still drank it because it tasted good but don't go after this beer because you think it is going to be a smokey bourbon barrel beer, which is a great idea...I have yet to have a good one. Served in a Victory snifter, thanks for the glassware assist Paul. You're a pal.

Beer is brown / ruby and clear with a nice big off white / tan head of small bubbles, some lacing, nice retention, moderate to low carbonation, looks like a beer.

Aroma is smoky and mildly malty sweet. This beer is supposedly a dubbel with smoke in it, pretty decent aroma, definitely a smoke beer, the dubbel fights to be heard in the nose.

Beer is smoky up front and in the back, it finishes nicely with a lingering smoky aftertaste, but the smoke it not over the top. The midpalate is a little sweet with a nice yeastiness, now I get the double. As stated previously, there is little to no detectable bourbon even though that is on the label of the bottle. Oh well, I don't think I'd have this again but it is a good beer in general. Good enough to drink a bottle by myself.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.21/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml corked and caged.
Pours a murky brown color with a slight head. There was relatively little sediment.
Aroma of bourbon, caramel and toast.
In the taste, more bourbon in this aged version then fresh, small meaty smoke but most of the rauchbier qualities have faded.
Caramel, oak, slightly dry and a bit of bubblegum like Belgian yeast, perhaps wheat is used as well. Tannins and earthy, aged and sweet but not too boozy.
Medium bodied, well carbonated, slightly dry.
Overall, this has aged fairly well, but the smokier component was much more pronounced when fresh, which held the beer together more. Quite good, nevertheless, and wonder what it would do it left a lot longer.

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Photo of KAF
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of corby112
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chestnut brown color with purplish/plum hues and a 1.5 finger off-white head that quickly settles into a thin, lasting ring. Spotty lacing left behind.

Smokey, meaty aroma with a subtle barrel character and faint eatery fruit notes. Smokies than the base version with some charcoal, bacon and campfire. Some dry toasted oak but little to no bourbon in the nose. As it warms the malt and dark fruit notes become a bit more prominent. Still, the smoke character dominates.

On the fuller end of medium-bodied with a nice balance of smoked malt, vinous dark fruit and barrel character. The barrel presence us stronger than the nose suggests with a strong dry oak flavor that compliments the smoked malts. Although there wasn't much bourbon in the aroma, it's nicely integrated into the flavor of the beer. Nice boozy, bourbon flavor that compliments the other notes without overpowering or producing any heat. Not the smoke bomb that the nose hinted at but it's still the dominant flavor. Hints of charcoal, smoked meat and burnt malt followed by some sweet vinous fruit. Grape, cherry, plum and raisin as well as some other dark berries/fruits.

I didn't enjoy the base beer very much but this was surprisingly complex and flavorful. I'm not sure how long this spent in the barrel but it doesn't appear to be very long. There isn't a ton of bourbon flavor but whatever they did, it greatly improved the flavor.

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Photo of cbutova
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Good old stores with old bottles, Apr 26 2012 date.

A- Poured into a chalice with a dark brown body, some red hues around the edges. Small off white head forms with decent retention and falls to a creamy ring. Just a bit of lace on the glass.

S- Strong and interesting. Bourbon off the top but it is pretty mellow and rounded out with a great vanilla feel, solid oak too. Smoky malts lend a BBQ meat feel as well as some Scotch hints. Brown sugar, molasses, raisin, some oxidation and caramel.

T- Again, the bourbon flavors here are extremely well rounded and balanced out. Delicious vanilla ice cream feel with the oak, maybe the best vanilla flavor I have experienced in a beer just from a barrel. Nice mellowed whiskey, raisin, smoked meats, camp fire, molasses, spice, dark fruits and caramel.

MF- Pretty dry and moderately thick body. Carbonation is nice and high with a somewhat watery feel. ABV well hidden and everything is so mellowed and balanced.

Awesome to be honest. The vanilla oak feel rules with the smoke and whiskey present. Not sure if better with age but this was a great dusty shelf find.

 1,114 characters

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into snifter

Appearance – Pours a deeper brown color that when in the snifter looks almost black. When held up to the light however a ruby red glow is seen through the beer. Upon pouring there is a rather thin off white that fades quite fast to leave a medium amount of lacing and a thin film on the surface of the beer.

Smell – The aroma is heaviest of a smoky and roasty malt and brown bread smell. Mixed with this is some warming bourbon-boozy aroma as well as a lighter dark fruit aroma

Taste – The flavor is very heavy of malt upfront. A strong brown bread flavor is the first thing detected by the tongue and acts as a base for the beer. Quickly a small amount of dark fruit is detected by the tongue which sweetens the brown bread flavor even more. A bourbon and smoky flavor are the to be sensed. They enter around the same point as the fruit , but are initially weaker , but as the taste moves forward they grow stronger and stronger. At the end there is a increase in roasty and pure alcohol flavor which leave a very warming in the mouth and the body. It is very nice.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the average side with the carbonation level average as well. While the brew likely would have done better with a thicker body and a lighter level of carbonation, really allowing all those roasty and boozy flavors time to sit on the tongue, the mouthfeel is by no means bad.

Overall – A tasty and boozy brew at only ~ 8.1 %. It has a good flavor profile and transitions. Well worth a try.

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Photo of zekeman17
3.74/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

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

A- Deep mahogany body with a light tan frothy head.

S- Oak, smoke, malt, whiskey. Pretty interesting and strong aroma.

T- Tastes like a very oaky brown ale, with sweet hints of bourbon and vanilla. A lot going on, but very good.

M- Pretty thick mouthfeel, but very drinkable. Creamy and well carbonated.

O- Very complex and worth a shot.

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Photo of Casey3236
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of st9647v3
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of muskiesman
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of tommyguz
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of Morey
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of larryi86
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter

A- Dark brown with hints of ruby red and a two finger off white head.

S- Smokey, bourbon, oak, caramel malts, some dark fruits.

T- Dark fruits, caramel malts, great combo of bourbon and smoke in the finish, some oak, some Belgian yeast, good complexity, bourbon is well done and works really well.

M- Smooth, medium body, some creaminess.

O- Victory did a great job with one. I am a fan of regular Otto and I feel the bourbon barrels made this beer better. Really hope I can pick up a few more bottles.

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Photo of hoppymcgee
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of kaelingirl
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%

Photo of brez8791
3/5  rDev -25%

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Otto In Oak from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Beer rating: 4 out of 5 with 64 ratings