Odell Brewing Company has a five-barrel pilot brew house that they use to brew test batches and small release beers. One of the things to come out of this brew house is what they call the Single Serve Series. Initially intended only for draft service in their tasting room, some of these beers have been so popular that they decided to do bigger batches and bottle them for markets outside their Fort Collins, Colorado home. I had the opportunity to try one of these recently. Saboteur is a big, drinkable, sour, brown ale that I believe becomes available in the Twin Cities this week. The last time I visited the brewery in Fort Collins, they had just filled a bunch of brand new oak barrels to start a barrel-aging program. I can only imagine that this beer represents what is now being produced in some of those same barrels. Here’s my notes:
Odell Brewing Company, Fort Collins, Colorado
Style: Brettanomyces Brown Ale
Serving Style: 750 ml Bottle
Aroma: A pleasant acidic sourness hits the nose right off, followed by toasty and lightly roasty malt. Some leathery brettanomyces notes. Caramel sweetness comes in as it warms.
Appearance: Dark brown and clear. Appears black. The moderate off-white head persisted moderately.
Flavor: Starts with intense burnt sugar and molasses. Background notes of coffee and chocolate joined by anise and loads of dark dried fruits like raisins, prunes, and cherries. The wild character is almost non-existent at first, but comes in more strongly as the beer warms, displaying leathery barnyard character. After a final shot of bitterness, the sweet finish lingers on raisins and caramel. Rich and sweet.
Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with moderate carbonation. Light alcohol warming. Rich and mouth filling with some creaminess.
Overall Impression: It took a few sips to take this one in. It is a big and complex beer, much bigger than I expected, with light brettanomyces funk balancing thick, sweet malt. The fruitiness is beautiful. I would have liked a bit more of the wild character. I wonder if this would come out more fully with some age. Additional aging might also allow the brettanomyces to dry it out, something that would benefit this beer.