Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Celebrating my 50th with Odell Woodcut No 1

It was time once again to dip into my beer cellar and pull out something special for a special occasion. It's been almost a year since Odell Brewing Company released their Odell Woodcut No. 1 oak-aged beer and I wanted to see how this beer had changed over the last year.

I had the chance to sample this beer back in August 2008 when it was first released. Giving this beer an extra year to condition seemed like the perfect thing to do with this 10% ABV Old Ale style beer. And with the advent of my 50th birthday last month (yes I'm that old) I felt it was a good time to break it open with my poker buddies at a recent poker night.

I split this bottle into 6 separate pours. One for me and 5 for my poker buddies. This bottle came with a cork and a wire cage holder and opened with a loud POP. A wispy bit of cloudy CO2 rose from the bottle but luckily the bottle didn't come gushing out of the bottle.

The only thing I had available to pour this beer into that night were some old mason jars. As I poured the brew into the jars the foam seemed to grow and grow and grow. A couple of the jars overflowed with foam, even with just 3 to 4 ounces of beer in them. It was obviously still well carbonated and was just dieing to be tasted.

Originally in 2008, the Woodcut No #1 had a strong oaky, vanilla scent that reminded me of a strong brandy. It still had the look of a good ol' whiskey shot (dark amber to light brown) with the addition of a head that wouldn't quit. But how would it taste and smell now?

The smell was still very rich with malts and an oaky goodness. The strength of the beer in the aroma seemed to be toned down and wasn't as brandy-like as before. The head was still dominant and left an excellent lacing on the mason jar.

The taste? Simply wonderful. 12 months of additional aging had done this beer good. The harshness of the alcohol had eased a bit but you could still tell it was a strong drink. 10%+ ABV is still nothing to mess around with. I ended up having about 5 ounces of this brew and I simply loved it.

As for my wine-drinking poker buddies, they were quite surprised by this. I'm sure they've never tasted anything like this before. They could certainly pick out the oak in the aroma however. I think I converted at least one of them to want more of this brew.

My host for the evening, Garry, had cooked up some Cajun-spiced ribs for the evening. They tasted wonderful and seemed to work well with the Woodcut. Once the Woodcut No #1 was gone, I finished out the evening with my old standby - New Belgium 1554 Black Ale. A good time was had by all and I managed to break even for the evening.

Sadly, the Odell Woodcut No #1 is all gone and I probably can't find another bottle of this anywhere. It was a limited run and most of the $24.99 bottles sold out within a few months after it debuted in 2008. Luckily for me, there is another Woodcut #2 now in circulation, a Golden Ale which I've heard is even better than the first Woodcut. I may have to pick up a bottle of that and save it for another year. Rumor has it that Woodcut No #3 will be out before the end of this year. So Odell is busy making more oak-aged goodness that I'll look forward to sampling soon.

Update: Odell Woodcut releases Woodcut No. 3.

Related articles:
- Odell Brewing officially taps it's Woodcut series.
- Odell Red Ale review.
- Odell St. Lupulin and the Twitter brew.

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