Cigar Aficionado

Odell's Flavorful Bourbon Barrel Stout

It's fall now and I find myself at the store reaching not for a light summer ale but for something to warm my bones—a stout. And seeing as it is officially National Bourbon Heritage Month, it only seems natural that I find myself uncorking a bottle of Bourbon Barrel Stout from Odell Brewing.

Located in Fort Collins, Colorado, Odell Brewing started in 1989 as a draft-only brewery. Six years later, it began selling its beer in bottles and in 1997, the brewery developed the five barrel pilot system, a program that encourages brewers to create, tinker and experiment with beer in small batches. The best of these experimental brews end up on draft at the brewery's Tap Room.

Odell's Bourbon Barrel Stout is a graduate of the pilot program and it is the company's first offering in what is to be a series of single-serve bottled beers.

The imperial stout is corked and caged in a 750 ml. bottle that releases an intoxicating aroma of Bourbon when opened.

To achieve this quality, Odell, like other breweries, ages its stout in Bourbon barrels that have been purchased from a distillery, which by law can only age Bourbon in new, charred-oak barrels. Odell's barrels come from the Buffalo Trace distillery of Kentucky.

Odell ages its stout, which has a 10.5 % ABV, for four months. To achieve consistency, it blends the batches.

The end product is a stout that pours black, but not heavy or thick, with slight browning on the sides and about two fingers of head. The delicate vanilla and maple candy Bourbon aromas give way to a panoply of smells that include chocolate, caramel, roasted almonds and coffee.

The stout is well balanced to the palette as molasses, mocha and chocolate flavors start and then turn to the familiar whiskey taste of wood, vanilla and root beer candy, followed by a finish of coffee and toasted marshmallow. It is definitely an after dinner drink, best enjoyed with a rich dessert of some kind.

However, unlike some other rich stouts, this beer does have some drinkability to it, so a second glass can be poured without remorse.

In addition to creating great brews, Odell Brewing is committed to incorporating green technologies into its manufacturing operations. Among some its initiatives, the company uses wind power for all it electrical needs, packages its beer in recycled glass and cardboard and all its local delivery trucks run on biodiesel fuel.

Odell Bourbon Barrel Stout retails at the suggested price of $14.99-$15.99 for the 750 ml. bottle and is available throughout Colorado, and in Wyoming, South Dakota, Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, Missouri and Arizona.