Odell Brewing Company - 180 Shilling
- ABV: 9.6%
- Serving Temperature: 47–54° F
- Suggested Glassware: Snifter, Chalice, or Bordeaux Glass
Odell’s 180 Shilling is an upsized riff on the flagship beer they opened their doors with back in 1989: the also-delicious 90 Shilling. As the brewery explains it: “Still a favorite today, we’re celebrating our Silver Anniversary with a double version of the recipe that started it all.” We, unabashedly, were totally into this one. An undercurrent of roast meets huge, glorious levels of caramel and dried dark fruits and sherry, with (like Jaunt) a perfect impact from the oak.
This was great freshly popped from the fridge, but do give it a bit of time to warm up for the best results. While roast is ultimately secondary to those (as we tend to refer to them) middle malt characteristics, both features show better when this isn't fridge temperature, with sweet, candied qualities opening up as they should. This pours a rich, dark mahogany, or a deep-set honeyed brown, depending on the mood we’re in. It's a beautiful-looking glassful, topped by a light-tan head that hangs out for a bit despite its so-nontrivial alcohol content. Good stuff.
Much like Odell’s Jaunt, this delightful oak-aged beer is also sort of a triptych. The presence of oak seems to be at a similar volume in the nose: a backdrop of spice and vanilla-nut notes adding structure and kind of setting the stage. Jaunt’s pale-malt entryway is swapped here for the opposite end of the malt spectrum, with a hefty degree of roast at first approach, as well as auxiliary notes approximating coffee and bitter chocolate (though roast remains key). And while the main middle part of Jaunt was Riesling juice, serving as the core of things, here we instead have a massively developed presence of middle malts: caramel, plums, dates, toffee.
While a bit candied at first pour, this came into something transcendent with just a touch of patience. Lively, bottle-conditioned CO2 affords everything enough space to play out. Roast and a touch of pepper and earthy hops hit first, the pepper maybe partly from the oak spice, and hops, while never huge, work well with the tannins to keep this on point. That’s just the front, though, and it's that caramelized sugar and deep, mouth-filling fruit that organized the party here. We found notes of brown sugar, sweet caramel, fruits of all sorts (red apple, ripe pear, dried cherries, plums, dates, and more), toffee, and cola. We could probably go on for a fair bit—but we’ll leave that as an exercise for our fearless Rare Beer Club members. There's a whole lot going on here, to say the least, and the overall structure of buttressing roast, that lift of tiny bubbles, and backdrop of oak allow the curious imbiber to pleasantly take it all in.
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