Review: Victory Brewing | Otto in Oak

I smell this thing, and it’s winter again. I’m in Montréal with a good friend and we’re going gangbusters through the
city. It’s that time of the year when the dirt has had a chance to stick and its all cookies and cream on the sides

of the roads, sidewalks and alleyways. The car is toasty, but the bar is toastier. The people are friendlier, and
the poutine is better. Most of all,

a beer like this takes the center stage. This installment in the Victory
catalog, however, could not have been less timely,

for as I sip it now, it is the dawn of summer. The air is bright
and verdant, new and yet so familiar. The temperature is questionable; it’s enough for short sleeves, but long pants.
The women are more daring, sporting dresses which mock the floral bloom

and the tiny little cardigans that serve no
purpose but a mystery to the ogling male (or lady, all things considered).

This beer though is rich, warm, jovial,
and well, sportsmanly(?). It is the beer you lounge around about with in a cabin by wood stove, smoking a cob pipe, playing old Thelonious Monk tunes, losing track of time.

If you get where I’m going with this, it’s a big, smoky beer.

It pours a deep ruby red with twinges of brown as they dance exposed to light.

The off-white head is fluffy, but quickly
retreating, and it leaves a thin film, a milky meniscus atop the crimson. On the nose, it pops with bourgeois
abandon. Fire roasted ham, currant jelly, vanilla, caramel, and shit, while we’re at it, an essence of butter, or
perhaps butterscotch lingers. That’s just the aroma. Caramel continues on the tongue, but there’s some toffee in
there too. You know, it’s kinda just after the caramel. It’s like “caramel… BOOM, toffee busts through the side door. I’ll tell you he’s
buck naked shaking his plums in your face.” Oh yeah, the beer also has a hint of plums, but only a little bit. So
while toffee is smacking his tiny plums in your

face, you get

some big bursts of vanilla out of nowhere, followed
by the woody spice of the bourbon barrel. Only at the end of the gulp do you actually get the smoke. Strangely,
this beer seems just a little light on the smoke factor, which is normally what the Otto is all about.

I honestly
was hoping for a little bit more roasty, smoky notes with this beer, but I really cannot complain too much. It’s
a barrel-aged gem, the mouthfeel is creamy, and it drinks quite well. Sure, it’s a little boozy, but you’d have
to be a naive imbecile to think that

a big beer such as the Otto aged in a bourbon barrel wouldn’t come off a little
strong. It’s warming, inviting, and seductive.

Isn’t that kind of all you need?

To me, this beer’s a solid A-. It’d
be a little bit higher if it just boast a little more smoke, and even a little more hop bitterness. While it’s
not cloying, it does get a bit sweet. That being said, it is most definitely worth your time.

*I give this beer a 9.1/10*


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