Reviewed: Odell Onolicious Tropical Fruit Sour
Product description: Living in landlocked Colorado, we often dream of a tropical beach and a warm ocean breeze. That dream has inspired our newest Cellar Series offering, Onolicious. A blend of tropical fruits creates an intricate flavor profile with powerful aromas of passionfruit and mango, while funky tart notes of ripe guava and sweet tamarind round out the shape of this deeply complex sour ale. Sit back, relax, and enjoy. 6.5% ABV.
Odell Brewing Company – Odell Onolicious Tropical Fruit Sour – 12oz bottle served in lambic tumbler – 6.5% ABV
I’ve only tried a handful of sours from Odell. Their most famous is probably Friek, a dark sour with cherries and raspberries, which I’ve tried in the past but never reviewed formally. Then I’ve reviewed two sour/wilds from them, Piña Agria Sour Pineapple and Ten Paces Huckleberry Wild Ale. I was impressed with the pineapple but the huckleberry had mixed reviews from a panel. Let’s try out Odell’s newest sour and see how it does.
Sampled from a 12oz bottle with a foil-wrapped cap, Onolicious is fully hazy, bright golden in color with aggressively fizzy bubbles like pouring a soda can into a glass. Something that looks like a head of foam erupts at first but evaporates in just a matter of seconds. Grabbing my camera immediately, I could only snap a picture of a beer that looks completely flat like mango juice. (On Odell’s website, I have no idea how they got the beer to generate a sustained creamy head of foam.)
The aroma starts off with rich, authentic nectarine juice with touches of vanilla and buttery wine white barrel. As it warms, weaker notes of sweeter cantaloupe and mango come through, but I keep circling back to nectarine as it seems to dominate. In general, the nose is well-integrated and nicely complex, though I don’t get as much tropical fruit as the beer advertises. Instead, my first guess is that this is some kind of stone fruit sour.
Digging in, there’s more of that nectarine juice with acid nicely outweighing sugar. But overall sourness is dialed back to around a 4 out of 10 intensity while sugar is at 1/10. This makes it nicely enjoyable and possible to down the entire 12oz bottle. That may seem uninteresting, but the truth is that many sour ales are too acidic to really enjoy and must be sampled in small pours and shared around in a group. That buttery wine barrel comes back to give the beer some oiliness while nectarine juice cuts through it with ease. The mid-palate is a touch watery, though, as if the beer was simply watered down to lower the acidity.
The aftertaste is long (several minutes) with lactic acidity building in the back of the throat while citric fruit juice dances around the edges of the palate. Pineapple juice comes to mind at this portion of the experience plus a bit of lemon and unripe strawberry. It’s super clean as far as sours go. It tastes a little green (young) as far as barrel-aged sours go, but it is still far and away the best sour I’ve had from Odell. (N.B. There’s nothing in the official description that this is barrel-aged. That’s simply my assertion after drinking the beer.)
Overall, Onolicious falls short in my opinion of being this vibrant, tropical sour ale. But it does nail the sour ale style in general and nicely integrates barrel flavors with stone fruit juice to the point where I would describe this simply as an excellent barrel-aged nectarine sour. On top of all of that, Odell has clearly been working on balancing final acidity probably through blending of barrels and/or adding in younger, less-sour beer. I’m big on the details and this beer is too.
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