Otter Creek – 20th Anniversary

Tasting; October 21, 2011
Style: Ale (altbier)

The Otter Creek/Wolaver Brewery is located in Middlebury, VT. The town is home to the brewery, Middlebury College and what else – a Cabot creamery. The town’s most famous son is John Deere – yes, that John Deere. He was a blacksmith in Middlebury in the early nineteenth century. Since gas-powered engines weren’t invented yet – he obviously didn’t invent the ride on mower or any tractors – but he did develop and sell steel plows.

This beer was brewed as a celebration of Otter Creek’s 20th anniversary. It is a variation of their flagship beer first brewed 20 years ago — Copper Ale. Copper Ale is categorized as an “altbier”. Altbier is a German-style beer originally brewed in Dusseldorf. It translates to “old beer”. It is brewed with Ale yeast – but everything else in the process resembles how they brew lager. It is fermented in cool temperature wort and is additionally aged in cool temperatures for a month or two. It is said to bring out a mellow maltiness of the brew and accentuate the hop aroma.

I’ve had Otter Creek’s Copper Ale before — and it was “eh”. There’s really only one thing that possessed me to buy this one – – 12 % ABV. Must be jacked up with malt to pump up that volume. Pours a dark copperish color — thin head — no surprise. Thick mouthfeel and you can easily pick up the altbier style. I’d call this more of a double-altbier — if there is such a thing. Or maybe more like a doppelbock as I do pick up quite a bit of fruity yeast. I thought alcohol might be dominant here — but they did a nice job disguising it – at least at first. As I work my way through the glass, it starts to build and warm the bones. The malts are dark sweet like roasted toffee and prune and the hops really get pushed around here. I’ll have to call this one “eh” as well. You get yeast, flash of roasted malt and alcohol. I think this one might do better with a little age. I have another bottle and we’ll check back in January. For now, I’ll put it at 80 points.

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