Friday, January 20, 2012

Otter Creek Irish Red Ale

Brewery: Otter Creek Brewing
Location: Middlebury, VT
Style: Amber
Brewery Website
Rating: B

Today's tasting is Otter Creek's new winter seasonal, the Winter Red Ale. Thw Winter Red is a deep chestnut-amber in color with a short, off-white head. The nose finds citrus and herbal hops notes. There are also aromas of fresh-baked bread and malt syrup.

On the palate there is a quick taste of fruity hops which moves into a sharp steely/mineral note that is paired with an oily, bitter hops bite that has a touch of pine. A dry, toasted malt note sits in the background. A touch of residual sweetness is hinted at as well. The Winter Red Ale has a medium-heavy body that is a bit heavier than the typical amber. There is also a significant astringent oiliness. The finish sees the strong mineral bite clinging on with undertones of pine, pretzel and malt syrup.

Otter Creek seems like they're going for an amped up version of their flagship beer, their Copper Ale, with the Winter Red. While it does hit the mark on most accounts, the execution seems to be a bit out of balance for my tastes. The hops seems like it's all bite without much in the way of aromatics on the palate, and this ends up drowning out the malt. I also found the mineral note (likely from the resinous hops) to be a bit overpowering. Overall, the Otter Creek Winter Red Ale is worth a try if you're looking for a heavier beer for the winter that is more hops-forward, but personally I'd love to see more aroma hops and malt in the final mix.

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