Beer and Pavement

Disappointment Leads to Redemption

Posted in Beer by Zac on November 20, 2011

I spend a lot of money on beer. Sometimes, I’ll spend a lot of money on just one beer. One such beer or series of beers is Odell’s Woodcut series. These are special brews that a small batched, one-offs with a hefty amount of booze, flavor, and cost. I assume the “wood” portion comes from the oak barrel aging they do, something they are demonstrating a great aptitude for with this series.

I’ve had a couple of the series in the past. The high price point makes me hesitate, but the rave reviews from beer nerds I trust convinced me to buy number 5 in the series, a wine-barrel-aged Belgian Quadruple. Even in the ballpark of $25, I felt it would be a nice beer to try. Part of me wanted to age it, but an opportunity to share it with a friend who appreciates such beers arose and I popped the cork open to consume.

The only problem was that there was no “pop.” After a slight struggle, the cork simply slid out. This worried me, but I poured two tulip glasses anyway. The first looked flat, so I poured the second aggressively. Yep, still flat. Normally, I would be mildly annoyed, but a beer this expensive coming out this flat was a real disappointment. I ended up finishing off most of it as my friend moved on to something else.

Why didn’t I pour it down the drain? For one, it was $25. Otherwise, it was a pretty awesome beer, even without the carbonation. Figs, raisins, cherries, assorted dried fruit dominated the beer. The oak present in this beer was nearly perfect. Some beers feature too much oak and some are too mild, every oak-aged Odell brew I’ve had is perfectly oaked. That touch of vanilla from the woods is so well-balanced that I nearly forgot the beer’s faults. The booze was there, but it was unnoticeable despite it sitting there at 11%. All this made the experience even more disappointing as it could have been one of the best beers I’ve had this year with a little carbonation.

As I normally do, I reported my beer on Untappd. I asked whether or not the beer should be flat. Some high-end, high ABV beers can be flat. However, this should not have been the case for a Quad. My Untappd reports post on Twitter where Odell picked it up right away. They suggested that carbonation may vary with bottle aging, which as a homebrewer I know all too well. However, they asked me to email them. As of now, I don’t know what they will/can do for me, but just responding to my concern is a good sign. I suspect they’ll make amends somehow. Just another reason why I love the craft beer industry.

I’ll update the story as soon as something happens.

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2 Responses

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  1. Alex said, on November 20, 2011 at 10:37 am

    After seeing your Untappd comment, I checked around and it seems that lots of other people had the same experience. That’s disappointing, since Odell is one of my favorite breweries.

    In the last couple of years they have had their share of quality control issues. They cancelled the release of their Bourbon Barrel Stout one year because of infection, then last summer recalled their Hiverano because of carbonation issues (http://blogs.westword.com/cafesociety/2011/07/odell_brewing_recalls_its_late.php). It doesn’t look like they will recall the No. 5, though.

    If a carbonation lag time is the issue, it looks like I will be sitting on my bottle for a while longer. I hope that they will do something for those of you that ended up with the flat batches. They really don’t need the kind of publicity that a $25 bottle of flat beer provides.

  2. [...] Saturday’s disappointing experience with Odell’s Woodcut No. 5, I decided that I wanted to brew a Belgian Quad. First, I had to figure out what goes into a Quad [...]


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