Nov 19, 2014

Sierra Nevada Maillard’s Odyssey

Maillard’s Odyssey is the last of the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across American variety pack. This 8.5% ABV brew sort of fits into the imperial porter category, but also the American strong ale genre. What it is specifically classified as, I don’t know. What I can tell you is this: the collaboration between the California company and Bells Brewing is big, it is roasty and it confuses me.

Part of Maillard’s Odyssey is porterish with it’s earthy roast. Part of it is strong ale like in its sweetness and alcohol content. All of it, especially the burnt caramel character, is named after the Maillard reaction, the “browning” of sugars and amino acids. This reaction certainly gives the brews a strong roasty character, that’s for sure.


Maillard’s Odyssey pours a dark, cola brown in color with a quickly dropping cap of brown foam.

Sierra Nevada Maillard's Odyssey photo


Roasted malt, grain, a slight char, burnt caramel and a distant toffee fill the nose smoothly.


The brew arrives quite roasty with a touch of dry smokiness as burnt caramel, bready malt, light toffee, soft cocoa and a hint of coffee file in behind. It certainly has an intriguing, earthy flavor. It’s fairly full-bodied with a hint of alcohol warmth that is to be expected. The finish lasts a good bit with a lingering, distant char.


I’m not entirely sure what to make of this beer. On one hand, I like it’s earthy tones, but on the other, it’s almost a little too burnt — and not in a good, rauchbier sort of way. Maybe this is one that needs to lay down for a while to let the roast and burnt caramel mellow a bit, but also not 100% confident that it would survive the cellar for an extended period. Regardless, it was an overall interesting drinking experience and one that suits the concept of this variety pack to a tee.

Rating: 3.75/5

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