Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Odell Mountain Standard Reserve review

Odell Mountain Standard ReserveHere's a beer that I've had on the back burner for quite some time and the time was right to bring this one out. Back in October 2009, Odell Brewing Company came out with another in it's first Reserve Series of beers. This beer was named Mountain Standard Reserve '09 - a deep mahogany ale with a distinct hoppy character.

Now while BeerAdvocate qualifies this as an American Brown Ale, I believe this beer to be in a slightly different category due to it's big hoppy profile.

Mountain Standard Reserve came in a big 750ml bottle with a cork and wire cage seal. The label states that this beer weighs in at a respectable 8.5% ABV. I must admit that I had a terrible time trying to open this bottle. The cork was so tight that it literally took me 5 to 10 minutes just to get it out of the bottle. Even before I took my first sip it put up quite a fight.

Appearance: Once the bottle was open I was in for another big surprise. As I poured this into my globe glass the head started building immediately. The head became so big that is quickly expanded and overflowed the glass.

The picture below says it all, this bad boy of a brown ale built up a 5 to 6 finger head with almost no effort at all. It took me a good 10 minutes of waiting for the head to subside to get a full serving poured into my glass.

Once I had a glass full the beer appeared as a definite dark red (mahogany) colored brew with a light tan head. I wasn't able to see through this beer too well due to the darkness. I didn't see much sediment, if any, even though the beer was bottle conditioned. The beer looked adequately carbonated and was evident from the loud pop when the cord finally came out.

Aroma: Here is the highlight of the beer. Mountain Standard Reserve had a big citrusy hop aroma from the generous amount of Cascade and Chinook hops that were brewed into it. It was a very pleasant smell, one that reminded me of an IPA but this one had more dark malt to it than a typical IPA would. I could definitely pick up on some sweet malt in the aroma, somewhat biscuity as well. It smelled "dry".

Odell Mountain Standard ReserveMouthfeel: This beer came with a full bodied taste. It was richer than most brown ales (or IPA's too for that matter). It left a creamy sensation in the mouth and finished dry as I expected. The carbonation felt lighter than it looked but that was OK.

Taste: Mountain Standard ended up being a moderately hoppy amber tasting brew that made my mouth water a little bit upon the first several sips. The beer started out very cold and got better as it warmed up a bit. I'd stop short saying that this tasted like an India Pale Ale. It had plenty of tasty hops but the malts also come out well in the brew as well.

I've been drinking nothing but stouts as of late and this beer was a nice way to begin transitioning into more hoppy beers for the coming Spring. It was still a dark tasting brew but with extra hops thrown in to give it a bit more character.

Overall: This beer was enjoyable right from the start and get better as I went along. Perhaps since I left this beer age for 4-5 months the hop characteristic tapered off a bit but that didn't change the fact that this was a truly good beer. I was able to finish off the entire bottle fairly easily in an entire sitting.

If you like IPAs but are looking for a beer with a darker and a bit more malty taste then you should seek out a bottle of Mountain Standard Reserve while they still exist at the stores. I'm giving this beer a big Thumbs Up.


Related articles:
- Odell controls Mountain Standard time.
- Odell releases an India Barleywine.
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