Maillard's Odyssey: Imperial Dark Ale (Beer Camp Across America) - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Maillard's Odyssey: Imperial Dark Ale (Beer Camp Across America)Maillard's Odyssey: Imperial Dark Ale (Beer Camp Across America)

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1,354 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,354
Reviews: 187
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 9.16%
Wants: 14
Gots: 104 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: raynmoon on 07-03-2014

Rich, dark, and roasty. That was the concept Bell’s beer guru John Mallett aimed for and, true to John’s vision, Maillard’s Odyssey is exactly that. Its name honors the Maillard reaction—the “browning” of sugars and amino acids—that creates the wonderful caramelized toffee-like and roasted flavors so abundant in this beer.

Bell’s has done a lot to raise the Midwest’s craft beer bona fides. They are masters of many beer styles from their portfolio of top-notch American stouts all the way through to the alpha acid assault of their Hopslam Ale. Bell’s constantly reinvents beer styles and refines recipes with artful mastery and an oddball slant.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,354 | Reviews: 187
Photo of MarkSansone
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Very solid brew. Enjoyed it.

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Utter blackness, toasted tan head, lace leaving, if on the slim side.

Aroma: rich and roasty nose, slight notes of coffee and cocoa, low hop bitterness.
Creamy and just a little chocolatey.

Taste: Hey, here we go. Imperial Dark Ale. What's that mean? That it's strong and it's dark, but we're not in stout category. Is it one of those "black ales", aka "black IPA"? Not hoppy enough. Just a bit of hop bitterness, then the tasty toasty malt rushes in, with all manner of dark malt flavors. Some molasses, a touch of anise. This is becoming increasingly complex and doubly delicious. Once more I'm finding myself wishing it was more than 12 ounces at my disposal, at least a bomber or a six-pack to myself.

Okay, now I'm trying to read the label. Colored letters on a burgundy background. Great, nice and readable. " This robust dark ale is layered with complex malt flavors of coffee, caramel, toffee, chocolate, and dark fruit." Sure, I'll buy that. More? Yes! "Rich, dark, and roasty. That was our shared vision, and Maillard's Odyssey is exactly that, taking it's name in part from the famed Maillard reaction--the browning of sugars and amino acids--that creates the wonderful caramelized toffee-like and roasted flavors so abundant in this beer."

One distinction between their description and mine, clearly, is the missing caramel and toffee flavors that they report and that I failed to recognize. It's far too dry in the finish, and there's not really much caramel flavor to speak of, though rich and delicious it is.

Another contender for top beer of the Beer Camp pack? Maybe, just maybe….

Photo of ER527
3.13/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Hour later and my mouth is still dry. This mouth feel is AWFUL.

Photo of craftaholic
3.07/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Very dry mouth feel, decent but nothing nothing to write home about

Photo of Mitchster
3.24/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Brwed with Two-row Pale, Munich, Caramel, Chocolate, Wheat, Oats, Roasted Barley. Bittered with Magnum, Finished w/Sterling, Cascade
8.5% ABV, OG=20.5P, FG=5.1P, 40 IBU's.

Pours out to a thick deep inky black, forming a modest light tan espresso head with good retention and moderate lacing. Carbonation is moderate. Thin layer of sediment in the bottle. The nose is very interesting, having drank Bell's beers for 20 some years now, I immediately recognized it as such. It has that Bells house yeast character, and they are masters of stout. The nose is like a little expedition stout, with the strong roast, black walnut, soy sauce notes with the herbaceous and sweet hops. Has a nice peppery kick of alcohol in the nose as well. The mouthfeel is thick and chewy with a dense silky body. The taste is kinda weird though...something happened here that is not like Bell's...oxidation....ick...wet cardboard. Finish with black licorice, soy sauce, black walnut. Plenty of roasted, but not burnt, coffee in the aftertaste with a medium earthy bitterness.

This started so nicely, but the oxidation kinda ruins it. It's still drinkable, but just not enjoyable. I feel sorry for the people that bought this getting their first Bells and finding this instead.

Photo of fx20736
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought in the Beer Camp 12 pack awhile ago. Served in a pint at cellar temp.

Look: black with tan head. Nice lacing.

Smell: Roasted barley, touch of licorice and some earthy hops

Taste: choloate, coffee, licorice. Excellent.

Feel: solid, well constructed.

Overall: this is an awesome beer. Wish I had more.

Photo of Jadjunk
3.86/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

"Rich, dark, and roasty. That was our shared vision, and Maillard's Odyssey is exactly that, taking its name in part from the famed Maillard reaction-the "browning" of sugars and amino acids-that creates the wonderful caramelized toffee-like nad roasted flavors so abundant in this beer." Brewed in the style of an American Porter. Available in single 12 oz. bottles as part of the Beer Camp Across America 2014 Variety Pack and on limited draft.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a Sierra Nevada tulip glass. Served above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a foamy cream head of a chocolate milk complexion over a near black body. Retention is good and lacing is light and spotty. 4

(Smell) Mild roast, caramel syrups, unsweet cacao nibs, raw coffee bean and a fruity, nutty yeast profile with notes of grape, walnut and toasted fruit sugars. Fairly clean with a light sweetness overall and more bitterness aside from specialty malts and additives over hop usage, which is soft earth and fruit hops with a mild bitterness. Potency is modest. 3.5

(Taste) The flavor goes into more depth than the aroma allows, with notes of cacao and coffee bean earth forward with a light caramel syrup, molasses and roasted malt profile midsection carrying a delicate but satisfying sweetness and body. Light but substantial with a thin syrupy quality, accented by notes of ripe grape and toasted molasses on the mildly hopped finish. Hop notes of earth and fruit are mild and the bitterness is equally soft but this beer is finely balanced from the coffee and cocoa bean additives as well as the soft acidity and tartness that these and the fruity, nutty yeast profile generates. Finishes mildly dry with a lingering soft tart finish. 4

(Mouthfeel) The texture is softly chewy, slick with a thin viscosity and mildly dry. Carbonation is mild generating a modest frothiness and a softly crisp finish, creamy altogether. The body is medium/heavy for the style and medium/heavy overall. Balance is nearly even with both sweetness and bitterness generating high drinkability. Alcohol presence is mild and there are no notable off characters. 3.75

(Overall) Being as critical as possible I can't find much to criticize with Maillard's Odyssey. It drinks a bit heavier, smoother and thicker than one may expect for an American Porter, although I find it somewhat inappropriate to box this beer into choosing a style as it is a bit more malleable than that, drifting between styles that emphasize robust malt profiles, diverse yeast character and most notably high drinkability through balance and lightened body. Somehow Maillard's Odyssey finds a means to voyage between all of these styles and is one of the more satisfying beers from the Beer Camp Across America 2014 Variety pack for its depth, drinkability and originality. Worth trying at warmer temperatures to experience the rich diversity of flavor, which comes through best in its 60s. 4

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.'s
Maillard's Odyssey Imperial Dark Ale

Photo of StoutHunter
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Short Review. This was good, it was just a nice and smooth malty beer with some nice toasted malts and nutty flavors. I liked it, I wish i would have been able to have review a bottle when they released, I hope it comes out again.

Photo of woodychandler
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I had picked up most of this series as singles at The Friendly Greek and then put them in my reefer awaiting review. The backlog at Chez Woody is phenomenal and so I am now getting around to them.

From the bottle: "This robust dark ale is layered with complex malt flavors of toffee, caramel, chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit."; "Brewed in Collaboration with Bell's Brewery"; "Rich, dark, and roasty. That was our shared vision and Maillard’s Odyssey is exactly that, taking its name in part from the famed Maillard reaction—the “browning” of sugars and amino acids—that creates the wonderful caramelized toffee-like and roasted flavors so abundant in this beer."; "We brew in Chico, CA, and Mills River, NC, to bring you the finest quality beer."

I Pop!ped the cap and began a very gentle pour as it was possible that there may be lees in the bottle's punt. As I poured, I could see a tiny amount and although it probably would not have mattered, I left it there for a final pour. The bartender's trick raised a finger of deep-tan head that fell back down, leaving noce lacing in its wake. Nose held a melange of odors - " toffee, caramel, chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit" and who would I be to disagree? Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing ZERO light penetration. Mouthfeel was dense, creamy, like a dollop rather than a draught. Man, this was one intense festival of flavors. Caramel, chocolate and coffee were immediate on the tongue, followed by toffee and dark fruit. It was difficult to parse all of them, but they were there at one point or another. Finish was semi-sweet, thanks especially to the coffee and dark chocolate flavors. The all-important last pour was like dark chocolate and a tinge of mint, as though the hops had been hiding out all this time. Good stuff!

Photo of TheSSG
3.86/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dense, tan head that has excellent persistence. Nice, sweet/floral aroma with toasted malt underneath. Black. Starts with a sweet, toasted malt flavor. A flash of hop bitterness as acidity builds and combines to form a really nice coffee-like flavor. Finish is lingering hop bitterness on top of citric hops. As it lingers, there is a touch of sweetness that comes back with a pleasant breadiness.

This is pretty nice. I was surprised that it was a touch thin, but it's a nice balance of flavors. Nothing mind-blowing, but very solid.

Photo of elNopalero
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This looks amazing. It pours an incredible dark brown, like a thick cola, with a great creamy coca colored topping. Smells fantastic out of the bottle, with a distinct roasty note, followed by some caramel, toffee and coffee. Yums all around. The flavor was equally delicious, with more of the roasty goodness rounding it out. Enjoyed this tremendously.

Photo of Gregaroo
4.04/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada tap takeover at City Taphouse in Philly.

Photo of angrybabboon
3.96/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed 1/23/15

A: Deep, dark brown, with some clarity around the edges - pours with a small, light brown head, fades to a few wisps, leaves some nice streaks and splotches of lacing

S: Robust - very roasty with roasted chocolate malt, coffee beans - dark chocolate, baker's chocolate, and some semisweet chocolate - underneath the roasty, burnt aromas there is a nice undercurrent of lightly sweet malts, caramel, molasses, and toffee - some dark fruits as well

T: Could pass for a stout - very roasty, with some chocolate malt and roasted, lightly burnt coffee beans - dark chocolate, baker's chocolate, with hints of chocolate cake - toasted malts, caramelized malts, caramel, molasses, toffee, and some dark fruit sweetness - alcohol is not detectable

M: Nearly full body, medium, very smooth and almost creamy, nice carbonation

O: Homer be proud

This is a nice surprise. I accidentally aged this (like most of the Beer Camp beers, sorry), but I think this may have actually been an ideal mistake. The burnt and roasty flavors really meld with the caramelized sweetness. This is a solid sipper, and very good overall.

Photo of DrDemento456
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One of the many beer camps I picked up overpriced from Beermuda. Into a pint glass!

A - Very deep almost ruby black porter pitch you can't see though goodness with a 1/2 inch of head that sticks around for quite a bit! Great lacing!
S - MMM really smooth chocolate and roast qualities almost a cherry note I am getting with very little yeast dryness.
T - Surprising bit of earthy hops in this between some sweet cocoa nibs and roasts. Finish is mildly dry but covers the ABV nicely.
M - Medium bodied and slick beer with a high octane ABV.

Overall WELL WORTH the $3.50 I paid for this beer. I will try not to hold said price against the others but this one is worth picking up!

Photo of CHickman
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black color with a huge foamy 3 finger brown head that was full of very tiny bubbles and faded very slowly, leaving good foamy lacing, rings as it went down and a thick tan/brown layer on top.

Smells of toffee, roasted grains, metallic yeast or sheet metal, caramel, brown sugar, chocolate brownie batter sweetness, cocoa powder, hazelnut, charred wood, burnt coffee grinds and a hint of fruit like a citrus hop; there are plenty of smoky grains and ashy notes, but the chocolate malts are the star of the nose and smell really fine.

Tastes like it smells but it was a heavy mineral water essence throughout the whole flavor that mixes well with the toffee, caramel, roasted grains, cocoa powder, hazelnut, charred wood, burnt coffee grinds, dark chocolate, syrup, chocolate malts, brown sugar, a slight grapefruit sweetness and bitterness that could be from either hops or the roasted/burnt malts – either way it’s pretty complex and very tasty for a malt dominant, one-dimensional brew. It almost tastes and feels like a nitro milk stout that has a lot more charred and ash in the mix, along with chocolate syrup.

The mouthfeel is smooth with a light and almost watery body that leaves a semi-dry ashy coating across the tongue, followed by a slight bitterness and rich coffee and cocoa flavors. Some of the earthy notes resemble peat moss, and I wish there were hop presence, but this was a really good beer that went down very easy and hid the ABV perfectly. A real solid porter and another great collaboration, I recommend trying this if you can still find it.

Photo of BeerDawgs
4.09/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12oz bottle as part of the Beer Camp 2014 series.

L - Dark chocolate, rich and creamy. 1 finger of head and some lacing. Pretty darn good appearance

S - Sweet and malty, chocolate, toffee, and some floral hops

T - Chocolate! And lots of it! Toffee, dried fruit, and some boozy aftertaste.

F - Thick bodied and medium carbonation.

O - An excellent strong dark ale. Probably more an imperial porter than anything else. Well done!

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.24/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep, dark brown, opaque body with a quarter inch of beige head. Aromas of dark chocolate, espresso, roast, char. Big time chocolate character with a smoky finish. Definitely reminiscent of a Bell's Expedition. Some dark fruit character emerges as the beer is allowed to warm. For sure one of the best Beer Camp beers in the series.

Photo of Omnium
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Big creamy roasted delicious beer that's like an imperial milk porter.

Photo of Kraj30
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

love this one... still saved 1 of the 5 packs i got to let it age.

Photo of Jimmys
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

bottled back in May. one of a few stragglers I have from my case of Beer Camp brews.

A: pours a fairly dark brown with a dark coffee hued head.

S: dark caramel, heavy roast, and light coffee smell.

T: similar to the aroma, but a lot more sweetness. drinks like a fairly sweet and malty brew. dry chocolate flavor. the coffee aroma is dissipated for more roasted characteristics.

M: drinks fairly slick from the lower carb and roasty flavor.

D: overally, a good drinking malty, sweet ale. I am glad I hung onto this bottle for so long as this is the sipper for the colder months of right now versus the warm summer months when this variety pack came out.

Photo of KTCamm
3.94/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

10/27...BCAA 1/12...pours complete blackness, like paint with a light tan lid. Rich roasted coffee nose. Some sweetness. Hearty creamy rich chewy chocolate bar taste. Like a milk shake. Boozy. Supremely roasted.

Photo of jlindros
3.71/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

The last beer from my beer camp package, not my fav style by a long shot, so I figured this could let it settle a bit. Hopefully it's not too bad.

Pours a great looking dark mocha colored creamy thick 2 finger head that just rises to the top of the glass, fades quite slowly with nice lacing, pretty much pitch black beer.

Nose brings tons of chocolate, dark chocolate and cocoa, with a fluffy nougat center, a little biscuity cookie wafer as well, nice candy bar aroma, mild roasty note, with nice black malts. A little earthy spicy hop in the middle, as well as a little candy caramel syrup note.

Taste brings a lot more of the hops which I was hoping weren't as prevalent, earthy spicy hops with a chewy grassy touch, and some citrus orange peel, bring a ton of bitterness to mix with the creamy chocolate dark malts, a little roast and black malt, etc. Nice cocoa and dark chocolate with mild biscuity cookie wafer again, creamy choc and fluffy nougat candy bar notes, but the bitterness from the dark roasty malts adds to the hops and produces an untasty character, which is why I usually don't like this style. Finish is drier but still sticky sweet like, little creamy, some warming tingly booze kicks in, long lingering not so good bitterness and roasty black malts.

Mouth is med to fuller bod, nice creamy thickness and good carb, little tingly booze late.

Overall mixed, it has it good points, but again it's an American black ale so just doesn't blend well.

Photo of philbe311
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A thin densely packed dark khaki colored froth... Solid retention... The color is a slightly dull inky black that lets a slight bit of light leak in around the edges... A light bit of slightly sluggish carbonation can be seen when investigated up close... A good bit of lacing clings to the glass... The nose is dominated by sinfully sweet milk chocolate... Marshmallow... Sweet cream... Light gooey caramel notes... Very appealing... The roasted malt is dialed up on the palate... There is also the introduction of some faint coffee notes to compliment the sweetness alluded to by the aroma... On the fuller side of medium bodied... Thick and rich... Slightly chewy... Decadent... Light carbonation... Overall this is a very nice American Porter... Just shy of world class, but without doubt on the the Beer Camp Across America offerings...

Photo of Lard_City
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Brown sugar and molasses on the nose. Sweet, tangy and bitter. Doesn't rest on the tongue very long but a very decent beer.

Photo of RyanK252
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada pint glass

A: Pours deep dark brown with a frothy brown head.

S: Roasted malt, sweet caramel/toffee notes, a touch of coffee, and some dark fruit.

T: Roasted malt up front, coffee stands out with a little bittersweet chocolate. Also getting some earthiness, nice toffee, caramel, and molasses notes, a bit of dark fruit, with a touch of alcohol coming out on the finish as it warms.

M: Creamy, full body, moderate carbonation, with a nice warmth on the finish.

O: Excellent robust porter, full flavored and bodied.

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Maillard's Odyssey: Imperial Dark Ale (Beer Camp Across America) from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 1,354 ratings.