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Otter Creek Raspberry Brown Winter Ale

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RATINGS: 141   WEIGHTED AVG: 2.87   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 174   ABV: 5.8%
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COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
This special release is a brown winter ale with a touch of raspberries brewed with chocolate and crystal malts. Rich and tasty with a warming body and light hops. Perfectly fruited and just right for wintertime.


3.6
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
monk191 (929) - California, USA - DEC 14, 2011
Not a bad winter ale. Not too fruity considering the raspberry flavoring. Works well with the brown ale. ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone

3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Thorpe429 (5012) - , Illinois, USA - APR 21, 2011
Thanks to drabmuh for opening this bottle during the Outback Bowl. Pours a reddish-brown color with a thin off-white head without much in the way of lacing or retention. The nose is pretty light with a mild malty sweetness, a bit of caramel, and a faint hint of the raspberry from the label. This comes out a bit more in the taste. Really faint though. Other than that, some sweet caramel malt. Feel is light to medium with sweetness pervading. Nothing really all that good about this beer, though nothing is offensive either. I do like the touch of raspberry. Serving type: bottle Reviewed on: 01-04-2011

2.6
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
Capa (2029) - Manama, BAHRAIN - JAN 22, 2011
Syrupy color with no head. Fruity and malty aroma. Flavor has a light roasted malt tone, lightly raspberry and fruit, with a light fusel alcohol finish. Not a drain pour but I debated it for a second.

3.2
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
DavoleBomb (1467) - Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 17, 2011
Poured into a pint glass. Bought this for a buck at local place. 3.5 A: Hazy dark amber/medium brown color. 1 1/2 fingers of thick creamy tan head with average retention and a decent amount of lacing. 3.5 S: The malt part is just fine. However, the raspberry part is weak and what is there is medicinal. Lots of caramel and darker crystal malts. Slight nutty toastiness to it. 3.5 T: I expected to be disappointed by the taste. Every "regular-lineup-esque" fruit beer I’ve ever had has half-assed the fruit. This beer three quarter asses it. Slight raspberry taste that adds a slight tartness. Malts give a light toasty flavor and a caramel sweetness. Not bad, but would be better with either no fruit or much more. 4.0 M: Medium body. The carbonation is good. Very smooth. No problems here. 4.0 D: One of the few fruit beers that I don’t hate drinking. Serving type: bottle Reviewed on: 11-17-2009 23:28:58

3.5
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Leighton (10987) - London, Greater London, ENGLAND - APR 24, 2010
Bottle. I think this beer is drastically underrated - yet another fruit beer getting discounted. Pours dark - yet clear - brown, with a very slight head. Aroma holds some dark chocolate, raspberries and raisins. Sweet flavor, plenty of chocolate, raspberries and other dark fruits. Faint roastiness, some malty sweetness throughout. Medium body, lively carbonation. Some syrupy sweetness, especially in the finish. Really, this is a good beer. The only complaint I may have is a mild medicinal quality. But the fruit flavor does not come across as artificial (like a lot of fruit beers) and adds a lovely layer to this standard Brown Ale. I enjoyed it.

3.2
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
PorterPounder (5551) - Tallahassee, Florida, USA - APR 10, 2010
Savannah, Ga - Habersham Beverages - 12 oz bottle. Murky dark orange pour, slight white head. Bit of a phenolic aroma with some sour raspberry notes. Flavor has some chocolate notes and a bit of sourness from the raspberries. Mouthfeel is thick enough. Decent.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (1180) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 28, 2010
UPDATED: SEP 30, 2012 When I think of fruit-themed beers I tend to think of summer, casual, and/or light beers. Winter beers tend to be heavier, richer beers so how can they properly incorporate fruit? Otter Creek Winter Ale attempts to do so by combining raspberry with a traditional American brown ale formula. The result is a beer that is undoubtedly original, but also a bit gimmicky.

POUR, COLOR AND AROMA

I was able to pour Otter Creek Winter Ale perfectly on the first try with absolutely no kickback. It formed an off-white, fairly thick, soapy head which lingered for quite a while and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a dark shade of maroon with some carbonation and was fairly clear. The raspberry component made announced itself prominently in the aroma – similar to many fruity summer beers. Some malts and otherwise “roasted” notes were detectable, but only slightly so.

TASTE

I’ve always been a fan of the brown ale style and really appreciate a beer with a deeply roasted taste. In fact, the roastier the better I say. I’d never wondered what fruits or other flavors would compliment such a taste, but having tried Otter Creek Winter Ale I would agree with their choice of using raspberry as a key ingredient.

I was a bit perplexed because the bottle clearly indicates “Raspberry Brown” on the label as if it were part of the beer’s title. The description reads as if it’s intended to be a brown ale that happens to have a raspberry taste. Upon my first swig I felt the opposite was true.

Raspberry is the first and strongest flavor noticeable here, but the standard brown ale taste, complete with authentic roasted quality is also prominent. Raspberry actually compliments the roasted flavor quite well, but I think it’s used a little too strongly. A brown ale with a subtle raspberry finish would have worked much better. As it stands, Otter Creek Winter ale is still a pretty tasty beer, but the raspberry is just a bit too strong which gives it a tart, sweet, almost dry and sugary taste.

FINISH

Since raspberry is the first flavor to jump out, the beer has a flavor and mouthfeel that is initially sharp, but quickly calms down. In fact, after just a few swigs Otter Creek Winter Ale dramatically softens and finishes smooth. It does leave a dry, raspberry aftertaste on the tongue, though.

BODY

At 5.8% ABV it would be easy to call this a “heavy” beer, but I’d say it’s much closer to just a plain old medium body. I drank two bottles after dinner and feel very content, but not overwhelmed. In small servings this beer definitely satisfies, but I think it would be a little too heavy for any kind of session drinking.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This is a very difficult beer to accurately criticize because I don’t think it’s intended to be a gimmicky brew. Had the raspberry flavor been more subtle I think it would have worked as a truly robust brown ale, but as it stands it’s a raspberry-flavored beer on a brown ale foundation. It’s drinkable and satisfying, but is unlikely to impress the craft beer connoisseur.

NOTE: watch the video version of this review at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=669PQevAuLw

2.1
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 1/5   OVERALL 6/20
oOJUXEOo (287) - Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, USA - MAR 9, 2010
Pour is deep brown that still lets light through. Aroma is raspberry and malt. The fruit quickly fades. Taste seems complex and confused. Not very good.

3.3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
kimcgolf (872) - Dacula, Georgia, USA - JAN 27, 2010
Pours from the bottle to a dark brown with medium thick off-white head that fades quickly to okay lacing. I had to work hard to find much scent in the nose, but managed some raspberries, roasted nuts and malt chocolate. Motuhfeel was thin and watery, which unfortunately took away from the fruit and malted flavors in the taste, which were otherwise okay. Finish was longer than I expected, and actually pleasant. Not a bad beer, especially for a fruity seasonal.

2.8
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Narnad (1462) - Wonder Lake, Illinois, USA - JAN 24, 2010
Pours a deep brown with ruby highlights and a tall, bubbly, off-white head that fades down to a really thin film fairly quickly. Aroma is slightly nutty, light chocolate, mild toasted malt notes and some sweet fruitiness but really hard to tell what fruit it is, more like a syrup sweetness. Flavor has a really strong fruity raspberry syrup flavor, strong sourness to it, very low malt toasted notes and a light watery chocolate ending. Body of the brew is light, fizzy texture and finishes with a watery taste. Overall a brew that is really doesn’t have an telling stylistic signs and the low syrupy fruitiness detract from any that are present. Flavors don’t blend together well and the carbonation was bit high for a brown (or fruit beer) styling.


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