Beer Review: Odell Woodcut No. 05

Beer Review: Odell Woodcut No. 05, 4.0 out of 5 based on 8 ratings
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Rating: 4.0/5 (8 votes cast)

Beer Review: Odell Woodcut No. 05

A preface before I begin: I went to school in Fort Collins, CO, where this beer was brewed. I also spent 4 years working there before recently moving. Odell was and continues to be my favorite brewery in town, so yeah, I’m a bit biased in this beer review, however I’ll do my best to keep this objective. Onwards to my Beer Review of Odell Woodcut No. 05

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The Woodcut series is on it’s 6th iteration as of the writing of this review, which is classified as an Oak Aged American Ale. That’s about as vague as it comes, but having had it pretty recently, I can say it’s a well hopped, but not overdone American Strong Ale. Good, but not what I’d call great, however I had a bit more than my share that night. Until today that was the only Woodcut I had tried, these bottles are typically $25+ which, as much as I love beer, is a hefty price tag. However, I stumbled upon this bottle of Woodcut 5 (this one classified as a Belgian-Style Quad Ale), presumably cold aged for the 2 years it’s been since it’s release, for $18 so I decided to give it a shot.

Mine is bottle 0797, dated June, 2011. It’s always a bit of a risk buying an old bottle without knowing how it was aged. I had read other recent reviews saying the corks had dried on some bottles, leaving a flat, oxidized, disappointing beer so it was a bit of a risk. I pulled the cork on mine and got a subtle pop so I think I got lucky. Below is the standard 5 bullet tasting breakdown, however skip to the end if you want the cliffnotes.

Appearance – Served in a Firestone Walker Proprietor’s Reserve snifter. Poured a subtle lightly red amber. Medium lacing, not much head in the pour but a nice, thin light tan ring hung around while I sipped.

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Aroma – Loads of vanilla from the oak. Heavy caramel smell too, I could easily mistake this for a barley wine if I didn’t know better. Dark fruits come through a bit more in the end, more like a traditional quad.

Taste – The oak dominates, light wood characters and the vanilla that was strong in the nose. Tastes a little oxidized, but not unpleasantly so. The traditional quad dark fruits are there but not very strong. They also seem to have brought a bit of tartness to the flavor that comes out when the beer warms. An alcohol warming around the edge of the tongue in the finish, otherwise the 11.3% ABV is quite well hidden.

Mouthfeel – Again, not as thick as I’d expect for the strength. Nice and fat on the tongue in the beginning but it fades to a clean, thinner, mellow finish.

Overall – I have a hard time calling this a quad, there are hints of the style in there but it’s not quite as sweet and malty as I’d expect. Not quite a barley wine either, more along the wide open American Strong Ale vein. All that said it’s quite tasty, this one doesn’t disappoint, I like it a lot more than the current Woodcut. I’m secretly hoping that the retailer that sold me this bottle continues to discount it as it sits. We’ll see, the big chains don’t understand the aging concept yet, so as long as I can catch them at the right time, I’ll be a satisfied customer.

Did you skip down the beer review to get the quick and dirty? Well here it is; if you can find this and you can stomach the price, buy it. It’s very well balanced and highlights the talents of the brewers as well as the nuances of a non-liquor oak treatment and, at this point, a nice dose of traditional aging. If you get a bottle that wasn’t aged properly, I’d encourage you to talk to the retailer and see what they will do for you. Hopefully you get a good one and enjoy it as much as I have. Skål.

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What are your thoughts on this batch? How does it stack up? Rate below.

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Rating: 4.0/5 (8 votes cast)

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