Otter Creek Quercus Vitis Humulus: It’s Lost on Me

As a fan of Lost, I have to say last night’s finale was both deeply moving and very, very satisfying.  I wish I could say the same for the beer I chose to mark the occasion.

I was out in the garage last night surrounded by many great beers, trying to decide what I should have. Dragon’s Milk perhaps?  No, need to give that one a rest.  What about a Victory Yakima Twilight?  Naw, maybe as a followup, but not as the “main event” beer.  This is a special occasion and deserves something off the beaten path.

Then I remembered I had a bottle of Otter Creek’s unusual Quercus Vitis Humulus. This was one of the beers I gave to my friend Jill to introduce her to the world of craft beers.  I pulled it out and read the label, which was promising. It read:

QVH is our brewers’ tribute to the mighty oak, luscious grape, and humble hop. The homage begins with a bold 27 degree plato barley-wine, warm-fermented with Bohemian lager yeast, then blended with Sauvignon Blanc grape juice and fermented a second time with a pure culture of Champagne yeast. When this intricate brew was complete, our brewers aged it on lightly toasted French Oak. The six week journey through our brewery results in a deeply complex ale which clocks in at 12% ABV, with 38 IBU.

It had a lot going for it on paper. It was an unusual and seemingly inspired brew, it had spent some time in oak, and it had a high ABV.  Add it up and it seemed to be the perfect sipping companion as I watched the fate of Jack and the gang unfold on my TV screen.

Unfortunately, there was a spoiler that ruined the beer for me.  It was the Champagne yeast, I believe, because even though this beer has a promising deep golden pour and sweet white grapes on the nose, there was a hint of funk in the aroma that I suspected would ruin the party.  And it did.  Big time.

The first sip started sweet, with a gush of white grape goodness and boozy malt character.  But this pleasantness was soon destroyed by an overpowering metallic taste, courtesy of the aggressive Champagne yeast. For the record, I despise tinny-tasting beers, and this took what could be a very enjoyable drink and absolutely ruined it for me.

My first thought was to pour it out, it was that bad.  But I decided to hang in there, hoping the metallic taste would disappear as my palate adjusted to its presence.  This never happened.  Instead, I had to brace myself for every sip, trying to pick out the goodness around the metal monster that was mucking up the brew. Sure there was a lovely lingering grape aftertaste, but the tin taste also hung in there, refusing to share the stage with the other flavors in the brew.  I think I was expecting something like Allagash’s crisp and refreshing Victor Ale, which this beer is not.

So at the end of the night, I was overwhelmed with how extremely well done the Lost finale was. As a fan of the show I couldn’t have asked for more. Actually, I was expecting less and was really moved by last night’s episode.  I might have even shed a tear or two.  Unfortunately, I was crying in the wrong beer. For as overwhelmingly satisfying as the Lost finale was, Otter Creek’s Quercus Vitis Humulus was deeply disappointing in equal measure.

I just hope my friend Jill likes it, as it’s one of the three beers I gave her to try.  In a parallel dimension I’d do it over and replace this clunker with an Allagash Victor or a Victoria.  But as we all know, such things are only possible on TV, and even then, only for so long.


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Categories: Beer, review

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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28 Comments on “Otter Creek Quercus Vitis Humulus: It’s Lost on Me”

  1. May 24, 2010 at 10:54 am #

    I too was very happy with the finale. I haven’t had this beer before but just wanted to chime in that I agree with you on the show. I wrote something about it on my personal blog if you want to check it out. http://www.mikejurewicz.com/archives/2010/05/24/lost-finale/

    • May 24, 2010 at 11:06 am #

      Wonderful write up, Mike. A great recap of the finale and very intelligent take on a wonderful television moment.

      I really enjoy your blog, BTW. Even through it’s not about beer, it’s mostly about beer’s best friend: The tee vee.

      • May 24, 2010 at 11:35 am #

        Thanks Jim. I can be a bit of a smart ass sometimes and just needed to be able to voice my none beer related opinions somewhere and just over all complaining about things. haha

  2. Katie Pizzuto
    May 24, 2010 at 11:01 am #

    I loved the finale, though I agree with Mike on his post about it, and what he was hoping for but didn’t get. In the end, as I mentioned on your other post, I wound up drinking the always-fantastic “Mischief” put out by The Bruery. Not Quite Evil Yet Not To Be Trusted….I thought it very befitting of the show and an appropriate send off.

    • May 24, 2010 at 11:34 am #

      I thought it all made sense at the end, which I wasn’t sure would happen. I thought they might try to set up a movie, etc., but they didn’t – they ended the mutha. Little bits and pieces were left out and there’s lots to think about, but overall I was really satisfied. It makes the whole series a real masterpiece.

      • Katie Pizzuto
        May 24, 2010 at 11:38 am #

        I mentioned this on Mike’s post, but weren’t there people in the “afterworld” that to our knowledge weren’t dead? Why was Aaron there, for example?

      • May 24, 2010 at 11:52 am #

        Aaron was there because his mother died when he was in uetero.

        The folks who weren’t there were largely folks who traveled to the island on their own accord (like Dainel and Charlotte). However, Juliet was there, I guess because she died on the island. But she wasn’t in the Oceanic crash. Was she the only non-survivor who went to meet Jesus?

        Maybe Michael and Walt weren’t there because they hadn’t resolved their earthly issues / hangup like the rest of them. Or they wanted too much $$ to be in the finale…

        There’s a lot to process, and that’s one of the reasons I love the show.

      • Katie Pizzuto
        May 24, 2010 at 11:58 am #

        I thought about it some more, and because Christian said there is no “now” I’m figuring what we saw was just an eventual point, when everyone had died and they were reuniting as they knew each other. But what do you mean about Claire? She didn’t die pregnant…she gave birth. We have to assume that what happened on the island actually happened, and that all the sideways flashes were really just afterlife flashes.

        • May 24, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

          No, everyone died on the flight, including the pregnant Claire. The island is purgatory, where everyone works out their issues and then meets their fate.

          Look what happened to Shannon. She finally found true love with Sayid, and “died” right then. Her journey was finished, her path resolved, and she moved on.

          At least that’s my theory, which I think was supported by last night’s finale. Once they had all resolved their issues (as they existed at the moment of impact) and “let go” they were ready to move on.

      • Katie Pizzuto
        May 24, 2010 at 12:17 pm #

        OK, I can see that view as well….but that part about no “now” led me to believed they died at different times, but time didn’t exist there so it didn’t matter. Oh well, this could go on forever 🙂 Kinda wish it had.

        • May 24, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

          I like your thoughts on time, although if that was the case, Ben would be there, as would Walt, Michael, etc.

          Remember when Ben said he wasn’t ready to go in just yet? If it was a limbo-time catch all, rounding up their spirits as they passed, they’d all be there, right?

          Like you say, it could go on forever!

    • Katie Pizzuto
      May 24, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

      Perhaps Ben wasn’t done resolving 🙂 OK, no more….I swear.

      • Elena
        May 26, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

        I loved the finale too but saw it so much differently than you did. That’s of course one of the reasons this show was great. I don’t think the island or the sideways were purgatory. In my view all we saw on and off the island is what really happened to the characters while they lived their life with the exception of the sideways universe we saw in season 6. I thought what we saw in the sideways was some form of reward for our characters for protecting the island and each other, they did not ‘die alone’. Everyone lived their life as we saw and some of them died and we experienced it as fans while others went on beyond what the show gave us and eventually died. e.g. Locke died when Ben killed him, Jack sacrificed himself to save the island, Hurley and Ben took over until they eventually chose a new replacement, the people that left on the plane completed their life off the island we did not see their deaths etc. I also thought the sideways was a reward not only for the characters but for the fans giving us powerful reuniting scenes of all out favorites. Loved it!!! couldn’t have imagined a better ending.
        I was also luckier on my brew choice, which was a tweaked home brew that was an improvement over the original you gotta love it anytime that happens.

        • May 26, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

          I’ve given up on trying to figure it out at this point. They were all together and I felt warm and fuzzy. Good enough for me.

          But my wife HATED it. Boy was she pissed. What was the island? Who created it? Why input the numbers? Why were “the others” there? On and on and on. Oh well.

          I’m glad your beer selection worked out better than mine, but honestly, it’s not a very high bar – mine was awful!

  3. May 24, 2010 at 11:04 am #

    great post – like how you tied it up there at the end. Sucks about the beer, though.

    • May 24, 2010 at 11:08 am #

      Thanks, Bob. The beer was quite a dud, for sure, but I muddled through. I swear I can still taste the metallic twang this morning. Yuck.

  4. Don
    May 24, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    Whatever! Too bad the beer sucked too.

    • May 24, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

      Too?

      • Don
        May 24, 2010 at 12:53 pm #

        I guess I’m just shallow and pedantic.

        • May 24, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

          Why guess? 😉

  5. May 24, 2010 at 1:25 pm #

    Sad panda! Perhaps the bottle you had had started skunking? I (and the five other craft beer geeks I was with) loved this brew, however, we had it on cask. I know cask beer is much different in process and taste than bottled beer- maybe this brew is just better on cask?

    • May 24, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

      It wasn’t skunked, it just wasn’t for me. I started out loving Belgian beers, but grew weary of the ones with a tinny taste to them, which is a product of the yeast used. The intensity of the metallic taste varies by beer, but I have grown oversensitive, and just a little twinge of metallic flavor now puts me off.

      This beer had more than a little metallic flavor – it was like it fermented in a tin can. Blech! Some dig this flavor, but not me.

      Might be a different story on cask as you say. Everything’s better on cask.

  6. May 24, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

    I stood an looked @ this beer Saturday night but something told me to pass. Perhaps I just knew. I’m not a fan of metallic tasting beers either, especially if they were designed that way. Pass! Sorry I can’t comment on the show – never watched it except for the commercials.

    • Don
      May 24, 2010 at 6:57 pm #

      Good Man! On both accounts.

    • May 24, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

      Good call on the beer. Scott. It’s like it was brewed by the tin man for his woodsmen buddies.

  7. May 25, 2010 at 12:48 am #

    Don’t get me wrong, it sounded like a very interesting beer, and who knows, maybe I’d like it. For now, its not on my list though. I’ll let Don review it first and then I’ll give it a go!

    BTW, like the new pictures! Not overly mug shot-ish at all!

    • Don
      May 25, 2010 at 9:49 am #

      Then you will never drink this beer, because its not on my list either.

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    […] reviewed a beer that had a strange metallic flavor that really was off putting. Otter Creek’s Quercus Vitis Humulus was a very unusual brew, and sounded like it should be great, but there was a flaw in its […]

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