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5 Barrel Pale Ale

Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
6 / 6
35 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
17 / 20

Fort Collins, Colo., is home to a number of excellent breweries, and Odell is no exception. Their 5 Barrel Pale Ale is a classic interpretation of the English-style Pale Ale, attesting to a restrained hand on the bittering hops and a skillful blending of malts, all producing a wonderfully concordant blend of aromas and flavors. This pale ale pours a honey-ish dark gold, bordering on amber, and is only slightly hazy. The profusion of bubbles rising through the beer help support a dense, enduring and creamy white head. In keeping with the style, 5 Barrel Pale Ale puts forth aromas of spicy, earthy hops backed up by delicate fruity esters and a faint whiff of butterscotch. Lee picked up some tantalizing black cherry notes accented by a delicate spicy “English hop” tinge, and Tom commented on the very traditional mineral and earthy aromatics, deeming them to be “clearly English aromas.” The flavor tended toward maltiness, as is to be expected of the style, with crackery “British” malt notes taking center stage. Still, the judges noted some divergence from the expected malt notes and offered high praise for the brewer’s creativity. Nick particularly enjoyed the “crisp yet crackery” malt, as well as the notably dry and clean finish. As a whole, the panel all commented on the beer’s balance; however, this wasn’t always a positive. Tim enjoyed the caramel notes in the flavor, but felt the hop character got lost in the mix. Odell 5 Barrel is loaded with myriad flavors and aromas, but it’s finessed enough to retain a spot on any discerning beer connoisseur’s session beer roster.