Monday, February 4, 2013

Otter Creek Black IPA

Otter Creek is a brewery that, in my opinion, makes okay to good beers across the board. So when I tried their Black IPA I was genuinely shocked by how great it tasted. This beer could probably pass for something made by one of the more revered craft breweries as it’s got a bold, well-balanced palate and high drinkability. Now why can’t the rest of their line be this good?

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (804) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 4, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Opaque black body. Forms a large, coffee-colored, frothy head which laces and retains very well.

Smell: Plenty of citrusy hop aroma as well as a subtle, but significant amount, of pine needles. Distinct roasted barley scents as well.

Taste: Otter Creek Black IPA is pretty much the embodiment of the black IPA style to the letter. Plenty of hop character throughout, but a strong malty presence as well. The citrusy, West Coast-style hops are strong here. Orange is quite prominent throughout the palate, as well as a milder presence of pine or resin, but without any cloying or sticky characteristics. Roasted barley creates for a strong malty backbone the entire time with a sudden burst of sweet milk chocolate at the apex, followed by what tastes a lot like coffee on the finish and in the aftertaste (though the beer is not brewed with coffee).

For a non-imperial brew it’s quite robust and the flavors here definitely are delectable. This is definitely a hidden gem sitting on the shelves of supermarkets and beer stores throughout the Northeast.

Drinkability: Though extremely flavorful, Otter Creek Black IPA is not an intimidating beer. The mouthfeel is mostly soft with a slightly creamy texture, yet it still has a discernible carbonation presence. It goes down smoothly with a pleasant hop bite at the end, but still has a mostly clean aftertaste. That they got this much body and character out of "only" 6% ABV is quite impressive, as it could mistaken for something bigger. A bit too big to session, but one serving is quite satisfying.
 Grade: 9/10