Reviewed: Odell Woodcut No. 9 Oak Aged Imperial IPA
Official description: To celebrate our 30th anniversary we’re bringing back our renowned Woodcut Series. For each release, freshly made barrels provide a blank canvas of oak flavor. Woodcut #9 is an Imperial IPA aged in medium-toast American oak barrels which imparts notes of vanilla, almond and dried fruit, while massive dry-hopping adds vibrant tropical fruit aromas, combining to create a beautifully complex ale. Cheers to 30 years!
Odell Brewing Co. – Odell Woodcut No. 9 Oak Aged Imperial IPA – 12oz bottle served in Rastal Harmony glass – 10.7% ABV
Odell has been busy updating its core portfolio and overall design language. I was seriously impressed with Wolf Picker Experimental IPA, Good Behavior Crushable IPA, Sippin’ Pretty Fruited Sour, and Mountain Standard IPA. The Cellar Series is reserved for their barrel-aged, special releases. Back in 2018, I reviewed their Onolicious Tropical Fruit Sour, which is the best sour ale I’ve had from Odell. I also tried Woodcut No. 8 back in 2015. This was a barleywine that tasted strangely like an Abbey Dubbel complete with high carbonation and a yeasty nose. So, I wasn’t sure what to expect with Woodcut No. 9, an oak-aged imperial IPA. Old IPA just doesn’t sound appetizing to me.
I’m reviewing Woodcut No. 9 from a 12oz bottle with matte black foil on the cap. A nice pull tab lets you rip it off with ease. There’s a vintage date on the label, 2019 in my case, but no specific bottling date. Since these are high ABV, barrel-aged beers; freshness doesn’t seem to be a concern. Into my glass, No. 9 is deep, hazy amber in color with towering, beige-colored foam. Rising up well over the rim of the glass, this ice cream float of glossy foam sticks around for over four minutes. Wow!
No. 9’s aroma is super old-school IPA with sticky maple, brown sugar, and pine needles. Layered atop is powerful, toasted oak barrel. Digging in, the first word that comes to mind is barleywine. You’re rewarded with a brilliant mix of salted caramel, butter toffee, macadamia nut, and white chocolate flavors. Spicy, piney hops add excellent balance to what would otherwise be a lopsided, cloyingly sweet beer. Omnipresent barrel flavors of vanilla, toast, and damp earth help smooth it all out. The medium toast oak seems to add additional roasty and tannic bitterness. Not only is it highly enjoyable now, but No. 9 seems like a beer you could sit on for several years to bring out some extra subtleties through micro-oxidation.
Perceived Specs for Odell Woodcut No. 9 Oak Aged Imperial IPA
Odell’s Woodcut No. 9 is a welcome surprise. Instead of being a sticky sweet, old IPA; No. 09 embraces the high gravity base beer and transforms it into a hoppy barleywine complete with gorgeous oak barrel flavors. It’s an unusual beer in today’s craft beer landscape – old-school to the core – but flawless in execution. Drink it now or put it away for several years; this one is a keeper.
There are several extra hoppy barleywines/old ales out there that match up well with Odell’s Woodcut No. 9. Check out Bell’s Third Coast Old Ale, Stone Old Guardian, 3 Floyds Behemoth, Tröegs Flying Mouflan, Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws, and AleSmith Old Numbskull.
* * *
The Full Pint is a fully independent website dedicated to bringing you the highest quality reviews of today’s craft beer. Our team has no financial conflicts of interest with the beer industry in order to give you the least biased information out there in today’s craft beer world. Please use the comment section below for general comments about this beer and/or our review. If you would like to see a specific beer reviewed or have general comments on reviews, please email info(at)thefullpint.com. For more information on how we review beer read here.