Brew Review: Otto

22 Oct

Brew: Otto

Brewed by: Victory Brewing Co. (Downingtown, PA)

Style: Rauch/Smoked Ale (8.1% ABV)


Victory has had plenty of success over the years with their exceptional brews like Prima Pils and Hop Devil. I haven’t had any limited release beer from Victory before, only their year rounder’s and seasonal offerings, so I didn’t really know what to think about a limited beer from them.  I was hoping for the best because of the really good beers that I have had from them in the past.  The style, a smoked beer, or a Rauch beer, has not been my favorite in the past.  I tend to dislike the charred taste and the smoke that ends to dominate.  The label on this beer was the name of the beer in the middle of a campfire looking detail so the smoke I was afraid was going to be a major player. 

Otto pours out a dark amber color.  A deep amber would be another way to describe it.  A big puffy light tan head filled up my glass.  I wasn’t totally sure on the style of the beer before I opened it but it was lighter than I expected since I think I was expecting a porter or brown ale that had smoked malts added.  I think it was more of a specialty ale, but definitely something lighter.

The big up-front smell was smoke.  It was an ember in a glass, well not that bad but close.  There were also some leather smells and maybe a hint of fruit way in there.  Mostly smoke, however.   Not much more by way of smell but it was intriguing. 

The first sip yielded a beer that was smooth and not bitter in any way.  I was surprised that there wasn’t as much smoke and char as I was expecting.  I was thinking that this was going to be a smoldering campfire sitting in my mouth but most of the smoke showed up on the back end.  The same hint of fruit or sweet malt shows up again, making me think that this is probably a Belgian style smoked ale.  It had a feeling like I was drinking an abbey ale of some sort mixed with smoke. 

The beer was light in body and it wasn’t cloying or sticky at all.  A very pleasant mouth feel to it, much lighter than I was anticipating.  Once again though I am not a huge fan of the smoke.  I guess I prefer to have fire cook my food not eat the fire itself.   With that being said it was an interesting brew on its own.  If you like smoked beers give this one a shot as it’s complex and I think if you can get past the smoke there is a ton of stuff waiting for you.


Final Grade: B


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