I’m a fan of Odell’s bottle labels. I love the rough, tea-stained looking paper that gives the beer a real artisan feel. The duotone of cream, papyrus colour with a deep crimson is striking, with the image depicting five barrels, one fully visible with the four others flanking behind it take up the bottom portion, whilst the rest is dominated by the name. The 5 from the name takes prominence, in a diamond flanked by leaves and hops.
The bottle gives us some information:
5 Barrel Pale Ale is a nod to our hard working pilot brewing system, where out brewers have crafted and perfected new recipes five barrels at a time.
The distinctive hop character of our 5 Barrel Pale Ale is derived from essential oils of select hops. Four hop additions during the kettle boil, an infusion of choice whole flower hops in the Hop Back, and finally, dry hopping gives the beer a fresh lively flavour and floral aroma.
This is a beer with hops galore. Despite this, it’s only 36 IBU’s, so I’m anticipating full on hop flavour with only a small amount of bitterness.
Visual: A very clear copper colour with no apparent bubbles, but with a closer look there are bubbles through the whole body, just extraordinarily tiny. The had is just off-white, with a fluffy, pillowy consistency. It is retained well and leaves lots of bubbles clinging to the glass all the way down.
Nose: Hoppy, but subtly so. I was expecting much more after reading the label, but it’s quite understated. A faint hint of caramel malt permeate through the marmalade scent of slightly zesty citrus, with a little leafy greenness coming through too.
Taste: A slightly unripe peach flavour dominates. Hints of grapefruit, whilst a mineralized water taste combines with the bitterness of the hops, along with the slightly leafy, hay-like flavour of the fresh hops with a distinct wood note to it. Sweetness comes from the fruity flavours and an ever so slight malty caramel, but the herby, green flavour of the hops cuts through it to leave a light, refreshing bitterness in the zesty aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: On the watery side of medium bodied, which finishes fry and astringent. The carbonation is noticeable, but gives it a gritty feel rather than smooth. Actually feels very flat, but gritty somehow.
This is a decent beer, but really nothing to write home about. The bottle was quick to point out that it featured a number of ways to include hops to the brew, but the aroma and flavour don’t really live up to the little bit of hype. I might have just expected too much, but there just wasn’t a very deep, complex flavour here.
Don’t get me wrong – this is a perfectly drinkable beer. It is refreshing and tasty, but just not spectacular. I love that fruit and spice has been brought out, but it only adds one layer more to what is not a very bitter pale ale. However, the flavours are muted giving the bitterness a chance to really dominate in a way that it shouldn’t with such a low IBU. It is quite watery, with a carbonated, mineralized flavour slightly overpowering the subtle flavours brought out by the hops.
It’s a good drinkable beer, but I don’t think I’d be eager to buy it again. Especially as the price is a little inflated with it being imported. Easy drinking, but just a little too easy for me. And it’s a bit flat.
Odell Double Pilsner
- Odell’s Taster Tray Round Dos (samplingcraft.wordpress.com)
- Day 156, Beer 156 – Odell’s “5 Barrel Pale Ale” (thebottledbeeryear.blogspot.co.uk)
- Odell 5 Barrel Pale Ale (samplingcraft.wordpress.com)
- Odell Brewing Co. 5 Barrel Pale Ale (5.2%) (camrgb.org)