Maine’s Allagash Brewing is a company, in my mind, that really needs no introduction. They’ve been producing some of the best year-round and limited-release Belgian Ales in the U.S. for quite some time now. From their flagship White to my personal favorite Curieux, the company always appears on top of their game.
I’ve seen Odyssey, their barrel-aged Belgian Strong Dark Ale (10.4% ABV), in stores before, but the price tag always seemed a bit too high at the time. Well, lucky me, I had a little birthday money burning a hole in my pocket and was able to spring for a bottle earlier this month. And after having it, I’m kicking myself for not having picked it up earlier.
Odyssey is a Belgian ale that’s a little different. Besides the barrel aging process (10 months in a combination of medium and heavily toasted American oak barrels), the beer is also made with wheat, which I didn’t find out until after enjoying it I didn’t notice it at all in the drinking process. This is a beer of impeccable flavors and refinement that I really must get more often.
Odyssey pours a dark brown with a mahogany edge. A fairly sizable light tan head fell slowly with excellent retention.
The nose on this beer is excellent as hints of spices, fig, raisin, yeast, a subtle wood note, caramel and a hint of vanilla all come together.
A fairly active carbonation and a fuller than expected body move dark fruits, yeast, toasted malt and caramel across the tongue smoothly. As I said, I didn’t notice any wheat, but I think that’s because I was more focused on enjoying the clean wood presence throughout the beer. There’s a lingering touch of hop bitterness late in the semi-dry and warming finish. Despite the style and the higher alcohol content, this beer is incredibly easy drinking.
I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. The oak influence on the beer is subtle and clean, complimenting the rich flavors instead of dominating them like many barrel-aged products. Odyssey is a beer that I would happily spend the money on again and again.