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Ode To A Russian Shipwright - Olvalde Farm and Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Ode To A Russian ShipwrightOde To A Russian Shipwright

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

107 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 107
Reviews: 43
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 15.1%
Wants: 17
Gots: 15 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Olvalde Farm and Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: jera1350 on 11-18-2011

Ode to a Russian Shipwright is my tribute to the brewing legacy of Peter the Great. I use rye and spruce, ingredients that were important to the Baltic region and sailors, to create a porter honoring the time and tastes of Peter. And true to legend, I've brewed it strong enough to survive a cold winter voyage (from the brewery to the house).
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Ratings: 107 | Reviews: 43 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MNMike
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of Jeffrey2310
3/5  rDev -21.9%

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3/5  rDev -21.9%

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2.75/5  rDev -28.4%

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3/5  rDev -21.9%

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3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

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3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

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3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of cassieblake
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of Oakenshield53
4/5  rDev +4.2%

My wife came home with this one, which was good luck, since the spruce tip component might have kept me away for a good while.

There's a lot going on here, man. My descriptive powers are well overmatched by the contents of this bottle, but in three words, it's really good.

In a few more words - the spruce component surprised me - not because I didn't know it was there, but because I liked it so much. This is a beer you have one pint of, and pay attention to.

But the odd thing was, I got what I'd call kind of an olive tapenade flavor from this. Maybe not a good phrase to use in conjunction with a beverage, but it works, and the flavor stayed with me through the rest of the bottle.

This showed up right around dinner time, so I had it with some good crusty bread and a sharp cheddar, and it was a righteous combo.

Photo of Asrugan
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

Photo of vette2006c5r
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ode to a stoplight pours a dark and deep brown color with a nice page lacing tan head. There is strong and complex aroma. Lots of booze figs spruce tips and a bit of smoke come through. The taste is much the same a nice meaty smoky flavor with a sweetness from the spruce tips. Good flavors and good feel. Overall its very complex lots of flavors but comes together nicely.

Photo of DaftPatrick
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of KFBR392
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Three fingers of creamy head with a medium brown, tan color form on the pour and settle in to about one finger while drinking. Above average active carbonation in the glass while drinking. The color on the pour was a dark brown color and sits black in the glass.

Smell: Lots of the spruce tips on the front which provide a refreshing pine and straw aroma. Grassy hop tones brighten up the medium bodied malt tones. The malt comes off with a breathable sweetness with some roasted accents. Not really what I expected but unique and enticing.

Taste: Spruce tips dominate the front of this brew with significant hop accents. Flavors of wintergreen, pine, prairie grass, lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange peel. Really complex and challenging to wrap the palate around. A grainy malt body warms up toward the back end of the beer with some strong spiced flavors. Cinnamon, coriander, and some vegetal flavors linger long into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied for a Stout/Porter. Carbonation has a light, soft feeling on the palate which makes for an incredibly drinkable brew.

Overall: Definitely not what I was expecting. The more traditional malt tones take a far backseat to the spruce and hops going on here. Drinking this fresh has got to be the way to go as I could see some of the unique tones significantly fainting after some time. Great stuff from a one man show.

Photo of einman
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of skynyrdbyrd
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

Photo of kojevergas
3.38/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

2012 vintage 1 pint 9.4 fl oz brown glass bottle with appealing Christmasy red/green colour label and a swingtop cap acquired at Four Firkins in Minnesota last year and served into an Odell stem-tulip/snifter glass in me friend's gaff in high altitude Fort Collins, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are fairly high. Reviewed as an imperial porter.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Yields a loud pop upon opening, followed by beer surging outwards. Luckily, I caught it with the glass.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a three finger wide head of khaki colour. Nice creaminess and thickness. Okay consistency. Retention is above average - about four minutes. Spotty inconsistent lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a very dark brown-black. Opaque. No floating yeast particles are visible.

Overall, it's looking pretty standard for an imperial porter. There's nothing unique or special about it, but there are no egregious flaws.

Sm: Plenty of spruce; that note hasn't faded with age. Also some pine (probably from the hops) and sap notes. Cream. Dark malts. Some rye.

It's got a unique aroma profile for an imperial porter. The spruce is a definite highlight. That said, it might be a bit medicinal. The flavour profile will tell.

A fairly pleasant aroma of mild to moderate strength. No yeast character, overt hop character, or alcohol is detectable.

T: Has a dark malt foundation with cream, spruce tones, and pine atop. Floral and piney hop character. Caramel. Herbal notes. Fairly simple for an imperial porter; there isn't a lot going on. But it's balanced enough, and enjoyable.

No yeast character or alcohol comes through. I do like it for what it is.

Average depth and duration of flavour. Below average intensity of flavour for the style. A cohesive build, but not a gestalt one.

Luckily, it's never medicinal, but it does feel a bit herbal.

Mf: Smooth, wet, thick, unrefreshing, and full-bodied. Okay presence on the palate, but it's certainly not ideal or custom-tailored specifically to the flavour profile. Not as soft as it should be. Good carbonation; bottle conditioning was
an excellent choice here.

Not oily, astringent, harsh, rough, gushed, hot, or boozy. Not crisp. Unrefreshing.

Dr: Downable stuff for what it is but not a great imperial porter by any means. I dig the spruce and I always applaud new takes on a style, but the execution here isn't all that impressive. I wouldn't get this again, but I'm glad I tried it. Props to Olvade for making it a swingtop; I always hate it when I'm stuck with a huge bottle of a real heavy beer and prefer smaller format bottles or swingtops. Hides its ABV well. I wouldn't recommend it to friends, but it's worth trying once. One of the better executions of spruce that I've had. The premise is better than the execution, though.


Photo of XmnwildX12
3/5  rDev -21.9%

Photo of EJJ1848
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

Photo of Shawner
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of MNPikey
2.25/5  rDev -41.4%

Photo of AnalogErik
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of dragomni
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of heytomcat
2.75/5  rDev -28.4%

Photo of MasterSki
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Two bottles sample side-by-side, one from the most recent release and one from late 2011. Served in small taster glasses. Thanks to Marie Curieosity for providing the recent vintage.

A - Big tan foam settles to a thick cap, thick collar, and plenty of splotchy lacing. Very dark brown body that's significantly lighter at the edges of the glass. The newer bottle has a bit more in the way of bubbles.

S - The spruce is massive in the new bottle, with tons of woodsy, earthy, forest floor and Christmas flavors to it. Meanwhile, the aged bottle has very little spruce character at all, with a hefty dose of caramel and chocolate malt sweetness and some fruity yeast to it. Surprised by the contrast here; either spruce falls off really fast or the initial batch had way less of it to begin with. The new bottle was interesting but polarizing, the older one rather generic.

T - The taste experience mirrors the aroma, with the new bottle being similarly heavy on spruce and earthy rye flavors while the 2011 bottle is shockingly sweet with only a low level of spruce. The new bottle also has a vaguely peppery farmhouse yeast quality; perhaps it was fermented hotter? Again, the newer bottle is a very unique experience, and I can imagine the flavor profile will be off-putting to a good chunk of drinkers. Alcohol is well-concealed, whatever it may be.

M - Medium body that seems a bit thin for an "Imperial" Porter. Zesty carbonation that seems to amplify the spice and herb flavors; the older bottle is more subdued here. No obvious alcohol.

D - A tale of two beers. I preferred the new bottle as it's a better representation of what the brewery intended. It was surprisingly drinkable for a spruce beer, and definitely a unique experience; the older bottle was more of a forgettable malty porter. I think the sweet spot lies somewhere in-between the two extremes though; perhaps in the 9-12 month range? Scores are mainly based on the newer bottle.

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Ode To A Russian Shipwright from Olvalde Farm and Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 107 ratings.