Beer Review: ODELL WOODCUT NO. 9 OAK AGED IMPERIAL IPA

Beer Review: ODELL WOODCUT NO. 9 OAK AGED IMPERIAL IPA

Odell Brewing has been making significant updates to its beer lineup and overall branding, showcasing a range of impressive brews like the Wolf Picker Experimental IPA, Good Behavior Crushable IPA, Sippin’ Pretty Fruited Sour, and Mountain Standard IPA. However, when it comes to the Cellar Series, which features their barrel-aged special releases, things take a different turn. In 2018, I had the pleasure of reviewing their Onolicious Tropical Fruit Sour, which remains the standout sour ale from Odell in my experience. Another noteworthy mention is Woodcut No. 8, sampled back in 2015, an unexpected barleywine that veered strangely towards an Abbey Dubbel, complete with robust carbonation and a yeasty aroma. Given these precedents, I approached Woodcut No. 9, an oak-aged imperial IPA, with a sense of skepticism, as “old IPA” didn’t exactly whet my beer-loving appetite.

Appearance

Woodcut No. 9 is poured from a 12oz bottle adorned with a sleek matte black foil cap. A convenient pull tab simplifies its removal, revealing a vintage date on the label—2019 in my case—though no specific bottling date is mentioned. Given its high alcohol by volume (ABV) and barrel aging, freshness doesn’t appear to be a paramount concern. As it flows into the glass, No. 9 presents itself as a deep, hazy amber elixir, crowned by a towering beige head. This creamy, frothy foam stands tall, extending well beyond the glass’s rim, persisting for over four minutes. An impressive display, to say the least.

Aroma

No. 9’s aroma takes us back to the roots of old-school IPA, evoking sensations of sticky maple, brown sugar, and pine needles. Yet, what truly elevates it is the robust presence of toasted oak barrel notes. Upon delving deeper, the initial impression shifts towards barleywine territory. The taste buds are greeted with a delightful blend of salted caramel, buttery toffee, macadamia nut, and hints of white chocolate. A spicy, piney hop character contributes a commendable balance to what could have otherwise been an overwhelmingly sweet brew. The ever-present barrel essence, featuring vanilla, toasty undertones, and earthy hints, smoothens the edges. The medium-toast oak infusion adds a layer of roasted bitterness and tannic depth to the ensemble. Not only is No. 9 an immensely enjoyable brew at present, but it also exhibits the potential to evolve beautifully with age, unveiling subtle complexities through micro-oxidation.

Overall

Odell’s Woodcut No. 9 is a delightful surprise that defies expectations. Rather than succumbing to the clichés of a sticky-sweet, aged IPA, No. 9 embraces its high gravity base beer and metamorphoses into a hoppy barleywine, enriched with captivating oak barrel nuances. In today’s craft beer landscape, where innovation often takes center stage, this offering stands out as a throwback to the old-school, executed to perfection. Whether you choose to indulge in it immediately or tuck it away for several years, this brew is undoubtedly a keeper.

Similar Beers

For those seeking brews with a similar hoppy barleywine or old ale profile, several options are worth exploring alongside Odell’s Woodcut No. 9. Consider checking out Bell’s Third Coast Old Ale, Stone Old Guardian, 3 Floyds Behemoth, Tröegs Flying Mouflan, Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws, and AleSmith Old Numbskull.

In Conclusion

Odell’s Woodcut No. 9 Oak Aged Imperial IPA challenges preconceived notions with its impressive transformation into a hoppy barleywine. This beer showcases a remarkable fusion of flavors and oak barrel complexity that makes it a standout in today’s craft beer landscape. Whether enjoyed fresh or aged, it’s a brew that warrants attention and appreciation.