Apr 2, 2012

Odell Brewing Shenanigans

Odell Brewing Shenanigans photo

There have been very few red ales that I have truly enjoyed over the years. Typically, if they’re over-hopped and of a west coast style, then we’re good to go, otherwise not so much. It’s also a style of beer which I refuse to give up on — continually purchasing a single bottle here and there in an attempt to find one that really wins me over.

Luckily for me, this sample of Odell Brewing’s Shenanigans arrived late last week, offering me the opportunity to try yet another red ale. This one, however, would prove to be wholly unlike any other that I had tried before. Brewed with a “…touch of Brettanomyces…” and then aged in oak barrels, Shenanigans is a complexly layered beer with a myriad of flavors that come and go throughout the drinking experience. It’s lively, at times perplexing and yet fully drinkable and thoroughly enjoyable.


Shenanigans pours a hazy, red-orange in color with a massive, tawny head that fell slowly.


The brewery couldn’t have picked a better name for this beer, as shenanigans are exactly what the Brett is up to in the nose and flavor profile. Within the aroma is a strong malt backbone with a solid helping of oak, a light hint of vanilla from the wood, apple, pear and a touch of acidic tartness from the Brett. The beer has a Belgian flare with it’s funky yeast character.


Oh man, I don’t even know where to start with this beer’s flavor — it’s complex, layered, tart and intriguing. An initial sour tartness from the wild yeast fades gently over the strong malt background as a lingering funk hangs around to play with the effects of oak aging. I’m not entirely sure how long Shenanigans sat in the barrel or the age of the wood, but the beer has a fresh cut oak character — sort of reminds me of freshly sharpened #2 pencils, but without the lead shavings. The tartness isn’t overly strong, but along with the crisp mouthfeel, it certainly can’t be missed as it interacts with hints of apple and pear, along with a light lemony citrus hop presence in the lasting finish. I didn’t pick up any alcohol notes despite the beer’s 9.5% ABV.


I’ve been lucky enough to have a few barrel aged products from Colorado’s Odell Brewery, but this one has got to be the most complex thus far. Friek was appropriately sour with a light wood presence, Bourbon Barrel Stout picked up just the right amount of bourbon and Woodcut #5 certainly lived up to it’s moniker. Shenanigan’s, may not have been my favorite of the wood aged bunch, but the addition of Brettanomyces is enough to turn your tastbuds on end one minute and back again the next. It’s a complexly layered beer that may require a more experienced palate, but for those of you that are fans of wile ales, it hits the spot nicely. It’s also a beer that I bet would only continue to evolve with time in the cellar.

Rating: 4.25/5

This is a review of a promotional sample received from the brewery.

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