Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Otto Ale

Today I'm drinking Otto Ale brewed by Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. I found this on the clearance rack at Total Wine a few days ago, so I decided to check it out. The beer is named for St. Otto, once the Bishop in Bamberg, Germany, where Brewmasters Bill and Ron were inspired to make this beer, 30 years after visiting.

Otto is a Belgian-style dubbel made with smoked malt, a hybrid of sorts. The label on this wine-sized bottle depicts a campfire with lots of smoke coming off the top. The dark purples and reds make it seem kind of ominous, and you really need to look closely to even see what the illustration shows. Enjoy within 5 years of bottling, which happens to be Sept. 28, 2011 for this bottle.

Bottle was corked and caged. Heavy duty maple syrup and sweet BBQ sauce for an aroma. There is also an underlying cherry scent, but I don't specifically smell smoke. First sip, sweet and fairly fruity with dark cherries and prunes. The smokiness then shows through at the end of each sip, and a good dose of ashy char comes with it. Now, on your next sip, it's not like starting all over again. That ashy mouthful sticks around from sip one and builds on the palate. So what you have is a building up of that smokey component, adding to each sip afterward.

After about a third of the bottle, the beer really takes a turn toward the meaty and savory side. Personally, I do not dig that in a beer. And with a little excess sweetness there, it turns to a negative. However, I will say that with a little warmth and after drinking about half the bottle, those flavors do start to grow on you. The finish is a little boozy from the 8.1% alcohol, but just a hint. And I started tasting the yeast much more as Otto warmed. Overall, not bad. Just not my thing.

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