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Judge's Review: 86 Rating - Fluffy Otter by Pontoon Brewing

April, 2021
Judges Rating: 
20 / 24
5 / 6
36 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
17 / 20

Fluffy Otter by Pontoon Brewing was judged as 30A, Spice/Herb/Vegetable beer because of the vanilla. I know there could be some debate about adding it to 31B, alternative sugar beer because of the marshmallow but aside from adding some sugar to the beer the marshmallow itself is not so much a sugar but rather an ingredient that has sugar in it.

The aroma is full of chocolate tones from the roasted grains, and the vanilla and marshmallow do come through well in the aroma. There is a mild husky grainy aroma to the beer as well that just doesn't seem to fit the rest of the tone. Any hop aroma is covered by the chocolate and vanilla notes. The fermentation character in the aroma is clean without any detectable esters, but again the chocolate and vanilla does dominate most of the aroma. 

Off the pour the beer forms a very loose fizzy tan head that dissipates quickly, most likely from the high ABV. The beer is clear and black with nice garnet highlights when held up to the light. 

In the flavor we have a bit more depth than we saw in the aroma. You have a lot of sweet chocolate that is complemented by the vanilla tones. There is a distinct marshmallow-like flavor too, which is is also accentuated by the vanilla and complemented by the chocolate. It's a dessert beer for sure. There is some medium hop bitterness and you do get a little herbal hop flavor as the beer warms. The alcohol is noticeable but not hot or solventy. The balance of the beer is firmly leaning on sweet roasted malt. I know a sweet stout can be highly sweet, but this one is a bit too candied to be able to drink a lot of it. The fermentation, again, is clean. The finish starts out softly bitter, but ends sweet. There is no real palate-cleansing leaving you wanting more, so it tastes a bit syrupy. 

The mouthfeel is full-bodied and very creamy, almost oatmeal-like. There is some roasted grain astringency, but in an imperial version of a dark beer, that can happen. Carbonation is moderate and within where it should be. Alcohol is noticeably warming. 

Overall, even though it's a sweet stout it's a bit too candy-like to really enjoy a lot of it. The sample I had was plenty, and it was too sweet for me to imagine drinking a whole 12-ounce glass. The chocolate and vanilla/marshmallow tones were great, but the amount of lactose added maybe could have been a bit less as a lot of what is going on already seemed on the sweeter side.