Tag Archive: Odyssey


Odyssey: Fiendish Breakfast (England: Imperial Stout: 9.9% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Large, solid, creamy brown head.

Nose: Salted bacon. Dry malt chocolate. Peanuts. Light smoke. Cocoa dust. Kippers.

Body: Thick textured, with creamy milky chocolate. Slight bitter cocoa and hop prickle. Light tart black cherries. Salted. Bitter coffee. Smoke.

Finish: Creamy coffee. Very bitter cocoa kick. Smoke. Mildly salty. Brown bread and slight sour cream. Slight chives. Dry roasted peanuts. Some dry treacle notes.

Conclusion: This feels heavy – a very thick, creamy body packed with deep bitter notes- most emphasised in the usual imperial stout notes of coffee and cocoa being delivered in a more bitter fashion than normal. Then a salted character shows through, backed by whispers of smoke that give slight Islay whisky styling.

What I find interesting from this is that some of the special ingredients really show through, while other seem but subtle hints. We have already seen the salt doing its thing, and the smoked malt having a subtle influence – The treacle thought? Not really there that much – a few dry notes coating the tongue in the finish, and I’m guessing it contributes to the sweeter notes of the main body, but not immediately evident as itself. The more evident sweetness is instead given when you get sweeter takes on the coffee and chocolate that acts as release from the more bitter cocoa and coffee that dominates it.

As mentioned the salted aspect does not hide itself, but what I found odd is how the smoked character that is so closely linked doesn’t have the huge bacon stylings that the beer’s name suggests – the aroma does show bacon, but the body and finish is more an inhaled ash kind of light dusting over the beer.

There are light off sets to the heavier notes – hints of tart berries, and yes, that treacle in finish – but generally this is big and grounded in bitter and savoury notes making a weighty imperial stout that goes against the showy sweet trend of the moment.

It is a slow drinking thing, definitely enjoyable, doesn’t wow me like Odyssey’s hop master-works do, but I can’t doubt its quality. It feels like a beer to drink, and the just slip down through the floor with. It just drags you down with its weight. Not one I will rave about, but it is a beer that fills its every moment with heavy set character. Intriguing, if not must have.

Background: I’m more familiar with Odyssey for their hop forwards beers, which are bloody amazing, but this Imperial Stout made with oats, salt, smoked malt, roasted coffee beans and treacle did catch my eye, and money from my wallet. Grabbed from … yes, Independent Spirit again … they have tons of good beer, leave me alone. Went a bit unusual with music for this one – put my player to list tunes by least played and check out some tracks I hadn’t listen to for a while.

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Odyssey: Spottieottiehopaliscious Pale Ale (England: American Pale Ale: 5.4% ABV)

Visual: Very cloudy lemon juice look with a yellow to white head of good size. Some small bubbled carbonation in the body.

Nose: Dried mango. Apricot. Lemon. Creamy. Light hop character. Cake sponge.

Body: Lemon. Gritty hop feel. Tangerine. Good hop character. Peach. Gritty bitterness. Cheese puff touch. Vanilla and light custard. Light syrup feel.

Finish: Lemon. Low level bitter hop feel and hop oils. Shortbread. Apricot. Cheese puff touch. Syrup.

Conclusion: Ok, I’ve had a fair few lemony and slightly creamy pales ales and IPAs recently, which were refreshing but kind of simplistic for the most part. I will admit on pour I thought this was going to be one of them, and it does share some characteristics. However it ends up very different. So, why does this lemony, creamy pale ale appeal to me so much when the others did not impress me that much?

Well, for one it has range – initially the lemon is the main characteristic, but after that you get full on apricot and peach taking over – so, over time you get progression in the beer and you can keep appreciating new nuances each time. The weight of the beer helps as well – the beer starts off quite clean, then a syrup thickness pitted against moderate, gripping, gritty hop character which really helps you get a handle on each flavour. Finally it has a slight funky cheese puff styling, giving just the slightest savoury offset. It all comes together to make a beer a world apart from all the other light, fruity, lemon dominated beers.

Overall it is a very juicy, lemon backed beer, that develops a wealth of fruit in the middle, a beer that uses hop bitterness but is not dominated by it. Easy to drink, but flavoursome and weighty. Again Odyssey manage to knock it out of the park with their hoppy beers. The only reason this is not in the “My favourites” section is because it is competing against other Odyssey beers.

A beer with too high abv to be technically sessionable, yet I still want to session it as it is a delicious beer.

Background: I think I spelt that right. I mean seriously, that beer name was written just to fuck with me. This is an oat infused APA made with Ekuanot, Simcoe, Columbus and Citra hops, then dry hopped with mosaic and simcoe. I knew none of this when doing notes on the beer – I looked it up after. That is a big set of hops. I very much trust Odyssey when it comes to hopped beers, so this was a nigh instant grab when it turned up at Independent Spirit. Decided to go for some big moody classic tunes for this as Odyssey beer deserve it – Mezzanine from Massive Attack.

Odyssey: Deya: Beautiful Blueberry (England: IPA: 6.6% ABV)

Visual: Deep red brown. Raspberry yogurt looking small bubbled head. Cloudy to opaque main body.

Nose: Green hops. Resinous character. Greenery. Blueberry. Fresh cut apples. Raspberries.

Body: Creamy. Hop oils. Blueberry yogurt. Moderate bready bitterness. Greenery.

Finish: Good hop character. Some bitterness but not heavily so. Greenery. Brown bread. Blueberry. Slight gherkin sour note. Resinous.

Conclusion: This is a very different mix to what I expected for this beer – in that the balance between the fruit and the base IPA character works very different to what is usually done. Now it has a heavy use of blueberry flavour, that bit I expected, what I didn’t expect is how it interacts with the hop use against it. I was expecting something creamy smooth, something that emphasised the fruit flavour over the hop bitterness – mainly I was expecting that due to the NE IPA craze at the moment. Nope. Nothing like that.

This dives straight into the IPA side of things – Hop oils, resinous notes, greenery lead and with brown bread touched bitterness. It has a dedication to the bitterness and hops that a lot of fruit IPAs avoid. It results in a clash of two big contrasting flavours in the beer.

Does it work? Not so much early on, more so over time. It isn’t the most complex Odyssey beer, instead it just seems to concentrate on its two big pillars of flavour – the berries and the hop character. Early on it is a bit resinous – a style I usually like but doesn’t work brilliantly with the blueberry character – it feels clashing rather that complementing and contrasting. Time helps, letting the fruit rise and lets the bitter hop notes meld better with them – it feels less prickly resulting in a still harsh, bitter but fruity beer. I’ve seen this described as a milkshake IPA and I would have to disagree with that. It does have some creamy notes, but it is a much more raw IPA than that – especially compared to the current trends in super smooth IPAs currently.

So, a little rough early on, but settles into a super fruity, super hoppy IPA as it goes – not perfect, and not Odysseys best, but neither of those are huge criticisms. Solid, and shows that a fruit beer doesn’t mean you have to go light on the hop character.

Background: Ok, by now everyone knows I love the Odyssey hopped beers, especially their IPAs – not run into Deya before so no opinion on them. However this blueberry infused IPA was one I grabbed quickly – in part as Independent Spirit only had a few bottles so I had to decide fast, and leant towards the grab a beer from Odyssey side of the spectrum. It rarely lets me down. Anyway, I put some Warrenpeace while drinking – probably my favourite find from Scroobius Pip putting up a bunch of free stuff on speech development records.

Odyssey: Left Handed Giant: Left Handed Zombie (England: Amber Ale: 5.3% ABV)

Visual: Ruddy bronze to amber. Large loose bubbled beiged head.

Nose: Peach. Pineapple. Grapefruit. Sweet fruit syrup and fresh fruit tartness. White grapes. Peach Melba.

Body: Lightly brown bread. Peach Melba. Good bitterness and hop character. Pineapple. Slight sour dough and chives. Light charring. Rye crackers.

Finish: Brown bread. Solid hops and bitterness. Light black pepper that grows over time. Sulphur and smoke. Peppermint.

Conclusion: Ok first up – no this is not as good as the showstopper that is the big brother of this – Imperial Hop Zombie Blood. Then again, what is? This is a less clean feeling beer – it has more notes that call towards the heavier real ale style, with bready notes making it a solid drink, with sulphurous notes mid to late on. It feels like a mild concession to make a more sessionable, more standard drinking ale style out of an intense beer, without losing what made that enjoyable.

Now, where it is most like its big bro is in the big bitterness it brings,and the big flavours with that. It bring sweet peach and tart pineapple, mixed with white grapes which makes this a right mouthwatering mix. That is set against that very robust, grounded, bready and slightly sulphurous base. It is an interesting contrast and works better than you would imagine. A very traditional feeling base with the fruit punching right out of the gaps.

It is heavy, almost rye tasting in style with some peppery character, but the fresh notes manages to keep it from getting wearing.

It isn’t a shining wonder like its big brother, but it also doesn’t feel like it is aiming for that. Instead it feels like a new world hopped, rye best bitter that is also an amber ale. Solid, tasty and one to have regularly- rather than a lot of similar beers that are great one offs but not one to have regularly. Not exceptional, but it hits its spots brilliantly.

Background: I learned something with this one. Mainly relating to the word dank. People have started referring to great dank hops a lot recently. Which confused me – as well, dank is “Unpleasantly damp and cold” which is not really something I want from hops. However after hearing a few uses it seemed to relate to those thick, oily, sticky hops. Which makes sense now after a bit of googling as it seems it probably comes from cannabis references – good sticky and oily cannabis being called dank in relation to the original usage. Also explains why everyone calls good memes “Danke memes” as a joke these days. Though it does not explain why and when meme changed so much from its original meaning. Then again that is kind of appropriate giving its original definition. Was completely out of the loop on Danke. Probably cos I’m an old fart now. Also I use muggy hops for a similar, though different style so I can’t really get on my high horse about using imperfect words to try and communicate an experience. Anyway, loved Imperial Hop Zombie Blood – so since this seems to be linked to that I grabbed this as fast as a could when I saw it in Independent Spirit. Drunk while listening to a bit of At The Drive in – seems they are making a bit of a comeback now which is cool.

Odyssey: The Cult (England: IPA: 6.7% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy apricot skin to brown – very dark for a New England IPA. Massive amount of darkened bubbled head.

Nose: Mashed banana. Crisp hops. Milky to creamy. Slightly bready.

Body: Good bitterness. Slight dill pickle and a prickly hop feel. Hop oils. Kiwi. Dried apricot. Muggy, thick hop centre. Slight sulphur. Slight toffee to caramel.

Finish: Dill pickle. Creamy notes. Kiwi. Good bitterness and hop character. Dry peach. Greenery. Bready. Sulphurous. Apples.

Conclusion: Whelp, this is pretty much unlike any other New England IPA I have encountered, which could explain why – in general – I quite like it. Man that sounds like I’m really hating on the NEIPA style – I’m not, I just think I haven’t quite found the one for me yet. Anyway…

From the New England side of the style we have the cloudy main body and with that an accompanying kind of milky character to the beer – generally smooth, but with a slightly rougher, wheaty styled gripping texture at times.

However unlike the generally low IBU NE beers that I have tried, this just shoves in ladles full of hop oils and thick, gripping, heavy and muggy hop bitterness. Which may be against style guidelines best I can tell – still as a bitterness fan I’m not going to complain too much.

This also tries for the big fruity character of the NEIPA style, though on the heavier and drier end of the scale; It uses kiwi, some sourness from a slight pickle like notes, dried apricot and peach. However while they are present they are always close to being subsumed by the oily, thick hop bitterness.

So, as I’ve said, I enjoyed it – for the most part – but it isn’t without flaws. The mugginess of the hops is up to an almost sulphurous level – which may add a bit of spice to the thing early on, but feels wearing and overly charred by the end. The huge oily hops end up overwhelming the other flavours and makes it a bit one note.

So, while I enjoyed it, most of the enjoyment was in the first half rather than the latter – it really could do with being a 330ml bottle at most – it feels too heavy going for more than that.

So – I did enjoy it, but it still isn’t selling me on the NEIPA style over the more traditional interpretations.

Background: Not been quite sold on the New England style of IPA yet, though I am getting a handle on what it is now after some beers and some research. Since Odyssey a) Do awesome IPAs and b) Did a Black New England IPA that was interesting, I thought I would give their standard NE IPA a try and see how it went. So I grabbed this from Independent Spirit, put some Svalbard on the playlist and sat down to see how things went.

Odyssey: The Occult – New England India Black Ale (England: BIPA: 6.7% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown to black. An inch of brown head that leaves suds.

Nose: Fresh. Slight vanilla, kiwi and grapes. Slightly milky. Slight creamy pineapple.

Body: Treacle. Milky chocolate. Creamy and milky. Kiwi and grapes. Milky coffee. Peach yogurt. Light tart notes – grapefruit.

Finish: Grapes. Malt chocolate. Low bitterness and moderate hop character. Peach yogurt to milkshake. Grapefruit. Treacle. Brown bread and brown sugar. Slightly yeastie.

Conclusion: Ok, as I’m still trying to work out where I stand on the whole New England IPA style thing, I have to contend with the fact that we now have a Black New England IPA. I swear I will never catch up with these things.

This is an odd mix – the creamy NE IPA style and the darker BIPA notes interact in unusual ways. When you take a sip it can be either a big boom of treacle, chocolate and coffee – or a soft milky thing that allows the fruit notes to roam more. Ok, in either one there are hints of the other, but it still gives a very different impression depending on which is ascendant at the time.

It is odd – the prevalent treacle reminds me of the notes used to give weight to lower abv dark beers, especially in how it seems to float over the lighter creamy flavours. It seems to be because of that creamy NE style that makes everything seem easier going than the abv or hop usage would otherwise suggest.

Possible because of the contrast between the two sides, the fruit hop flavours feel more evident than a standard NE IPA, and more than most BIPAs. They come across as a kind of fruity yogurt style and light tart grapefruit freshness. The bitterness level is still fairly low – which does make the BIPA style feel kind of odd – usually the higher hop bitterness I what makes a BIPA not just a higher abv dark ale, in my eyes anyway.

Overall – good – actually does more to make me get why people enjoy NE IPAs that most standard IPAs’ take on the style do. However the varied elements are good, but not really coherent. Each element works by itself, but they don’t feel like they all build a bigger whole, just working by themselves.

Still, there are much worse things to be – still interesting and enjoyable, just doesn’t 100% hang together.

Background: Offer me Odyssey Brewing and hops and you have my attention – their work has been pretty damn shiny so far. This one is an odd one – a black New England IPA – ok, someone was going to start spinning off variants of the new England style eventually – my first encounter may as well be from Odyssey. This one was grabbed from Independent Spirit and drunk while listening to B. Dolan – house of Bees vol 2.

Odyssey: Devil May Care (England: IPA: 7.4% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy caramel brown with an apricot hint. Huge beiged frothy head. Moderate amount of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Pineapple. Caramel. Kiwi. Green grapes and crisp hops. Vanilla toffee. Light bitterness. Chocolate toffee. Mild orange and some blood orange. Vanilla.

Body: Tingling hops. Sour and fresh grapes. Fresh cut apples. Kiwi. Malt chocolate. Bubblegum. Lemongrass. Sulphur. Pineapple. Watermelon. Vanilla fudge.

Finish: Grapes. Bitter hops and slight greenery. Bubblegum. Mandarin orange. Lemon grass. Dried apricots. Nettles. Sulphur. Bitterness grows and growls over time. Coffee. Malt chocolate.

Conclusion: Ok, another big hopped, bitterness forwards boomer from Odyssey. Yet again it is different to the ones that came before. I am seriously getting into these brewers!

This one has a much more solid, darker base – dark malt chocolate, with a slightly rough feel and even an old school sulphurous element. It is very different to the ultra sweet or ultra dry IPAs that are very popular these days. There is a greenery touch to this, and high levels of heavy hop bitterness laden out. This is full of different characteristic being pushed out – a lovable mess of hop influences.

Initially you get very American style fruit with some New Zealand style tart fruit – apricot and grapes mixed with pineapple tartness. It then starts just jumping in every direction – from blood orange which reminds me of some of the newer hop breeds – to a bubblegum and lemongrass character that makes me swear this must have some Sorachi Ace in it. I love a good Sorachi Ace beer, so the impression of it being used here is great – Sorachi must be one of the greatest WTF odd hops around. More seriously, while this may be a mixed up mess, it works. You get a huge range of flavour and huge intensity. Not subtle or distinguished – this just keeps pounding you with different flavours.

So – not subtle – not polished – old school sulphur and intensity meets new school flavours..and..erm intensity. Not for everyone, but for me it a beautiful, wonderful mess that I adore.

Background: I have really been digging IPAs from Odyssey so far, so when I saw this small batch release from them at Independent Spirit it was a no-brainer on if I was going to grab it or not. I drank this after (finally) watching Force Awakens. It was ok I guess. Put on some Rise Against while drinking – mainly Endgame album, but added in “Prayer Of The Refugee” – again the whole anti immigrant hated shit going on currently is on my mind.

odyssey-imperial-hop-zombie-blood

Odyssey: Imperial Hop Zombie Blood (England: IIPA: 9.2% ABV)

Visual: Deep black cherry red. Thin off white head.

Nose: Cherry pocked biscuits. Clean hop character and hop oils. Fresh pineapple and pink grapefruit. Caramel shortbread.

Body: Black cherry and red cherries. Caramel. Shortbread. Good hop bitterness. Pink grapefruit. Hop oils. Kiwi.

Finish: Hop bitterness. Clean hop oils. Black cherry yoghurt. Pineapple. Pink grapefruit. Dried passion-fruit.

Conclusion: Fucking yes. 4 days into 2017 at time of drinking. Seven days in by time I upload this, and we have already the first truly awesome beer of 2017. That was fast.

This has super clean hop character delivering solid bitterness and hop oils without any rough characteristics. There is a moderate malt sweetness, but a lot of the impressions come from the hops bringing tart fresh notes in everywhere; Though there is also a big cherries flavour which I am pretty sure is from the base malt. The two mix, cherries and tart grapefruit hop notes, giving a sweet and fresh mix that sparkles.

There are no off notes here, no rough edges – the flavours are big but polished to an inch of their life. Often I miss rough edges in the beer, but this keeps the intensity – bitter, not harsh. It feels like a super cherry touched amber ales meets Hardcore IPA. It really balances the sweet, bitter and tart fresh notes. In fact, on the Hardcore IPA comparison – this feels like what Brewdog wanted to do with their Hop Kill Nazis and similar but never quite reached.

Odyssey have always impressed me in all my, few so far, encounters with them – this is where they really hit the big time for me. If they can keep up this quality then they will become a legend of brewing -if this is a one off high then they have already more than justified their existence amongst the greats.

So, a polished cherry malt beer with solid shortbread weight to keep the base ready to handle everything else – allowing a huge mix of tart fruit flavours to do their thing. Find this. Grab it. Drink it. Maybe even keep the bottle label after you drink it is it is awesome as well. Try this if ever you can.

Background: So, I was wondering if I should shove this under Amber ale or IIPA? It is very Imperial Amber Ale like, but hop style is straight IIPA. They describe it as a *grinds teeth* Double India Red Ale. So, guess IIPA it is then by the “sticking as close as possible to how the brewer calls it rule”. Anyway, my last experience with Odyssey was good, and the bottle label for this is awesome, so I grabbed this from Independent Spirit. Drunk while listening to Dead Kennedys: Plastic Surgery Disasters – something about the album cover seemed to match the bottle label for this – and I do like a good bit of punk.

Odyssey Ego Wars V2
Odyssey: Ego Wars: V2 (England: IPA: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Light hazy banana yellow. Massive large bubbled yellow white head that leaves lace.

Nose: Pumpkin. Peach. White bread. Gentle hop character. Light grapefruit. Light custard slices. Coriander.

Body: Big bitter kick and hop oils. Pink grapefruit. Prickly. Peppery. Peach. Dried apricot. Fresh squeezed raspberry. Light toffee. Kumquat. Slight cloying touch.

Finish: Bitter hops. Hop oils. Resin. Grapefruit. Peppery. Cloying sour dough character.

Conclusion: In Citra vs Galaxy it seems the winner is pure alpha acid bitterness and hop character. Both Citra and Galaxy rock big flavour and aroma from their hop character – lots of fruit notes – this however leads, follows and ends with huge hop bitter kick. Subtle? No. In a way though it is refreshing. Refreshing as a concept rather than a refreshing beer – it is more heavy duty than refreshing flavour wise. No it is refreshing as a lot of big IPAs these days seem to emphasise the fruit, and going with very big sweetness – minimising or heavily counterbalancing the bitterness. It is good to see a non nonsense bitter hop assault of an IPA again.

While the other, fruitier characteristics are secondary they are far from absent. You get a mix of tart grapefruit notes and sweet peach that are the main hop flavours coming through. From memory I would say Galaxy is showing more than Citra. The main flavour is Galaxy – Citra seems to bring the freshness. Very fresh and just enough sweetness – just what I needed to make the hop assault survivable – definitely a good wake up call of a beer.

The malt base is pretty clean and dry – some soft toffee backing, some cloying dough like twisty – but really this just lets the hops run wild – tart and bitter.

A very good IPA – flavoursome but it doesn’t forget to bring the alpha acids that are in the history of the IPA. There is some complexity under the high bitterness, but goes more for intensity. I think many will find its rough bitter edges a flaw. I don’t. In a world of super smooth IPAs this isn’t afraid to be harsh.

I respect that.

Background: Never saw ego wars 1. Hope this isn’t one of the cases when the sequel is worse than the original. Anyway, the name seems to relate that each beer has two hops competing in it. In this case Citra Vs Galaxy. Two good hops there. Not tried Odyssey beers, but the label looks cool and an IPA is a good go to for checking out a brewery in my opinion. Drunk while listening to Against Me! Shape Shift With Me again. Not quite as good as Transgender Dysphoria Blues but still a very good album. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit.

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