Thursday, February 16, 2012

Odell Saboteur review

Odell Saboteur Brett Barrel Brown AleTurning a brown ale into something extraordinary is no simple task. Odell Brewing attempted to do just that with their Odell Saboteur, a Brett Barrel Brown Ale. Before I had even tasted it, this beer had won a lot of acclaim from the craft beer faithful. Just knowing this ahead of time made me want to try it all the more. Yet I'll withhold judgement until I finish a full glass.

Odell Saboteur had been aged for months in American oak barrels and soured with Brettanomyces. The beer's label stated that the resulting beer should have some notes of vanilla and pineapple along with the sour background.

This was another in their growing list of Single Serve Series beers. It came in a large 750ml bottle with a wire-caged cork. The brew itself is a strong 10.0% ABV and has been bottle conditioned. This brew has an estimated calorie count of nearly 300 per serving. I knew there was plenty of carbonation in this brew as the cork nearly blasted out of the bottle with a loud POP!

Appearance: Saboteur poured a very dark brown. It was nearly black, yet I could just barely see halfway through the glass. There was a lot of carbonation in this beer and it left a nice big light tan head that just wouldn't quit. It left a nice clingy trace of foam along the glass.

Aroma: In my experience with sour beers, brettanomyces has a very distinctive smell and I could easily find it here. Slightly funky and a bit acidic. The oak barrel imparted a subtle "woody" character as well. The malts smelled slightly sweet and I could pick up a slight earthy tone with a hint of dark fruit in the aroma as well.

Odell Saboteur descriptionTaste: Sometimes when I'm told up front to look for certain flavors in a beer it tends to set my expectations and I end up looking for that right off the bat. I can't really say that I found vanilla flavor here, but that's what oak is supposed to impart. Rather, the first thing I noticed was a light to medium sour tartness with a creamy malty taste of some roasted malts. I could pick up on some fruity notes, but I wouldn't call it grapefruit either, yet more of a "dark citrus" flavor if there is such a thing.

This was a noticeably strong brew that left a trace of sour bitterness in my mouth. It went down easy enough though and I found that I wanted more. I could definitely tell this was made with an imperial-like brown ale base and as it warmed up it got a bit funkier and less acidic.

Overall: Odell Saboteur was definitely a nice slow sipping type of brew. It's a beer that two to four people could enjoy as an after dinner drink or perhaps a before dinner drink to eat with a variety of appetizers. It could be paired with sharp cheeses as well as tart fruits.

On the sourness scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the most sour, I'd put this beer at a level 3. Certainly not as sour as some I've had, yet more sour than some others.

I enjoyed this beer very much. It was well made and had everything I was looking for in a sour ale. I might have even enjoyed this a bit more if the sourness scale had been cranked up to a 4. It's a strong beer that I'm glad I stayed home to sample, otherwise a full glass or two would have had me looking for a taxi ride.

For those of you who have tried this beer, what did you think? Was it sour enough for you? Or perhaps too sour for your taste? How would you compare it to other Odell barrel-aged beers you've had? Send me your comments on this.

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Related articles:
- Odell 5 Barrel Pale Ale review.
- Odell Myrcenary Double India Pale Ale review.
- Odell Friek review.

This article came from - a Colorado beer blog.
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