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Odell Extra Special Red Ale - Odell Brewing Company

Odell Extra Special Red AleOdell Extra Special Red Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

67 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 67
Reviews: 59
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10%

Brewed by:
Odell Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Beaver13 on 11-01-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 67 | Reviews: 59 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rusted tangerine with a smattering of brick red. The small head is equal parts pale orange and pale caramel in color. It looks good as it melts and is beginning to deposit a thick band of lace just above the nonic bulge.

The nose is balanced and smells pretty much how an Imperial red ale should smell. It's toasted and caramel malty, with a side order of citric hoppiness. Solid, if unspectacular.

Extra Special Red Ale tastes like it smells, and achieves roughly the same level of quality. Isn't it time that Imperial red ale was added as a style? I wouldn't want to see dozens of new styles, but this one begs to be included. Maybe then, AleSmith YuleSmith (Winter), Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale, and any number of others, would finally have a home.

The malt backbone is sturdy without being rock-ribbed. Again, the beer's biggest strength is its impeccable balance between sweet caramel malt and bitter orange-lemon-grapefruit hops. Assuming the alcohol is effectively buried, this stuff should be killer when ultra-fresh.

This is one instance where a bigger, more plush mouthfeel might not be an improvement. The beer isn't overly sweet and sticky, but has a lightly silky feel, complemented by a moderate alpha acid raspiness. Gulping is encouraged... which could quickly become dangerous given the ABV.

Extra Special Red Ale and Double Pilsner fall short of Imperial Stout when it comes to the three Single Batch Series beers. That said, all of them are deliciously drinkable and would be regular purchases if I was fortunate enough to have access. I'm a huge Odell fan.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2008 16:25:55 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3/5  rDev -25%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Beerandblues2: Poured a deep red/brown color ale with a quite large foamy head with adequate retention. Aroma of medium citrus hops with some weak caramel malt. Taste consists of semi-sweet caramel malt with some medium citrus and bitter hops. Body is about average with some medium carbonation and no sign of alcohol. Overall, I thought this was a light version of an American strong ale and definitely lacking on character to make it truly worthwhile.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2007 20:43:09 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of russpowell


4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 1 2007

Pours Coppery red with 1.5+ fingers of tan head into a thistle glass. Good lacing & above average head retention

S: Huge breadyness & pineyness

T: Caramel, loads of breadyness, oily hops & some booze warmth up front. Piney& grapefruitty hops and some boozey warmth as this warms. Finishes dry with grapefruit hops, caramel & more booze

MF: Chewy, a little oily & low but useful carbonation. Balances pretty good

Not bad, drinks a bit hot for the abv. Maybe a little aging is in order? Seemed to help a little last year

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2007 03:38:36 | More by russpowell
Photo of zeff80


3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an amber color with a tan, soapy, two-finger head. It left some nice sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled floral and citrusy. It also had a strong malty nose.

T - It tasted very malty, with some bittersweet hops adding a little kick. Also, a slight citrus taste.

M - It was sharp and crisp. A medium to heavy bodied beer.

D - This is a nice strong ale. It reminded me of a mild IPA. Also, the high ABV is understated.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2007 02:23:21 | More by zeff80
Photo of Gueuzedude


3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 Bottle Date, Sampled December 2006
Pours with a brilliantly clear, deep, dark ruby-red color. It is topped by a frothy, tan colored head that easily starts out at three-fingers thick when roused a bit. The aroma is quite sweet and fruity smelling; it is a mix of berry notes, raisins, caramel, a touch of toffee and something that reminds me of sticky brown sugar glazed pastries. There is also quite a bit of malt depth here; lots of complex dark malt notes that remind me of complex maillard browning aromatics. There is even something here that reminds me of tart plums or even something like tamarind. I get some rum like aromatics as well, or at least something almost like this. There are some notes here that I can't quite pinpoint and it makes me wonder what exactly was used in the recipe of this beer.

Fairly thick and meaty, though without being really sweet. Clearly there is lots of malt character here, again it is rich and chewy with lots of complex sugars present, but without being sticky or sweet. This tastes of caramelized raisins and figs, or perhaps those two fruits that have been glazed in a reduced brown sugar sauce. Hints of toffee mix with subtle molasses and round out the malt depth here. If this wasn't so thick and chewy, more toasted malt notes and biscuit flavors would be much more prominent; as it is though, they play a supporting role here.

This is one of those beers that is truly a meal. I can certainly envision a pyramid worker taking this as a liquid lunch, though the 8% alcohol might do him in. An interesting back story, but this really tastes like an English old ale or barley wine.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2006 23:06:21 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of jwc215


4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to russpowell for this!

Pours slightly hazed dark reddish amber with a foamy tan head. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is of citrus/pine with caramel/toffee backing.

The taste is of citrus/pine with a firm "red ale" malty (caramel/toffee) character. There's a slight peach-like fruitiness as it progresses. There is some mild alcohol in the flavor. Finishes bittersweet.

Medium-bodied and smooth.

A well done hoppy red. Very drinkable, especially for the alcohol presence.

Glad Russ sent me a few of this!

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2009 12:23:47 | More by jwc215
Photo of RblWthACoz


4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Odell is another good brewery I wish we could see in nyc. Thanks to russpowell for the west side love.

Pours a fairly darker, yet clear, ruby hue. Thick frothy creme head. Nose is that fruity/woody/hoppy thing you'd expect from a red ale. Flavor is a good mix of hops and malts with a firm leafy and woody fruits as well. Bitter sweet tones. The only flavor detractor I'd have to say is that it borders on getting almost hot. Feel is smooth on liquid and the typical carbonation. This is a good robust red ale. I'm sure this would be pretty nice on cask.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2008 07:06:04 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of Wasatch


4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to Bitterbill for this brew.

Pours a nice deep reddish color, nice carbonation, nice small creamy slightly tannish head, which leaves some nice sticky lacing. The nose is malty, very slight raspberry, some hops, and a good dose of caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, slight hoppyness, some fruit thing going on, and some caramel. This is a very nice tasting brew. Medium body. Very Drinkable, a unique brew to say the least, highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2008 03:43:11 | More by Wasatch
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


3.81/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a 6 pack of this during our ski trip to Pagosa Springs. Glad I did, one of the better "red" ales out there. Would seem like a better classification than strong ale.

Pours red, deep red, small 1/3" head on it, like a light tan color. Good retention, spotty, inconsistent lace down the pint glass.

Aroma was a hoppy first, Scottish malt thing second vibe.

Taste, mmm, this is what I'm talking about for red ales. Just hop the shit out of it, hides both the alcohol and the amber malts quite well. Mouthfeel just keeps rocking as it warms, you get used to the strength, of hops and alcohol.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2013 16:47:50 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to russpowell for the trade.

Poured into Sam Adams Sensory Glass.

Aggressive pour yeields 2 fingers of creamy beige head. Decent retention with a lot of splattered lace. Color is a ruby red/amber red. A red beer that is red... I like it.

Aroma: Very hoppy and sweet. A lot of citrus. Grapefruit and pineapple. Hops are earthy and floral. There is a sweet like bread, but I can't distinguish it. The beer smells a lot like a DIPA.

Taste: A lot of hops going on here. Citrus, pineapple, bready malts. There is something in the taste (very sweet) that I just can't figure out what it is.... unless it is caramel mixed with all the hops. A pretty solid big red, but very hoppy (as it is supposed to be).

Mouthfeel: Very bitter. Medium bodied. Medium carbonation. A very 'in your face' red ale. Leaves a very dry and hoppy aftertaste.

OVerall, I am having a tough time finishing this one. I just wasn't expecting so many hops. It is ok, but nothing I would want a lot of.
Edit: this beer drank a lot better once I got half ways through it and it warmed up a bit.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2009 22:28:07 | More by mothman
Photo of OWSLEY069


4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clean copper/ reddish color, with a tan head. Aromas of a huge grapefruity hop and small malt presence. In the taste, just like the smell, big grapefruity hops and a small malty balance. A nice bitter hoppy mouthfeel, with a dry sticky-sweet hop aftertaste. Big on hops, hides 8% quite well, a very nice red!

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2007 17:15:07 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of Bitterbill


3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle(room temp) a deep amber with a medium sized head of foam that quickly shrank to a fine broken layer with little lacing.

The smell is pretty fruity with notes of lemon citrus and there's some sweet caramel malt in the nose as well.

The taste is big sweet malt up front that is joined quickly by some nice citrus hop bitterness and...the flavour is suggesting to my palate...sour cherries, especially in the finish. No sign of the alcohol in the flavour and the warming really is kind of minimal. I like this Strong Ale.

Bottom line: This is another in their Single Batch Series and another solid brew, imho!

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2006 00:54:29 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of ArrogantB


3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thick ruby red color with a sticky white head framing the glass. Smells like grassy hops, tastes hoppy, good flavors in this one. My only complaint is the drinkability is low given the ABV and the thickness. Still, Odell does some interesting things with their seasonals and this is no exception.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2007 16:18:18 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of srandycarter


3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark amber, near white head that leaves to ring. Some trace lace.

S - Slightly bready and hoppy, with some wood tannin.

T - Sweet, malty, hops come up to the plate but don't quite deliver.

M - Not completely balance, not carbed enough for me.

D - Fun to try once.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2010 07:10:01 | More by srandycarter
Photo of emmasdad


4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I must start out by saying that I miss this one a lot. Pours a beautiful hazy red color, with a nice inch or so of light tan head. Huge hops on the nose, citrus, pine, grapefruit and lemon. On the palate, more of the fresh, delicious hoppiness, balanced beautifully with some good sweet malt, caramel, milk chocolate and in the background some drying alcohol. A wonderful beer that was sadly discontinued.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2010 02:08:33 | More by emmasdad
Photo of ClockworkOrange


3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. brown bottle into my nonic pint glass. Appears a deep amber/red color with about two fingers of dense, off-white head. The foam lingers for quite some time leaving some decent lacing on the glass as I make my way to the bottom. Smells very fruity and sweet with a good hit of floral hops. Taste is of sweet caramel malted grain, brown sugar, dark berries, and floral hops. Medium in both body and carbonation. You also have to seek out the alcohol because it is well hidden. Very nice example of the style. I'd love to get another bottle or two.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2007 16:21:18 | More by ClockworkOrange
Photo of rye726


3.7/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not sure i would call this a strong ale, definately closer to a red. The color is a dark amber with silky tan head. The nose is fairly light with mellow malts and subtle hops. Taste is more on teh malty side. Not much of a hop presence. Medium body drinks well.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2008 17:22:43 | More by rye726
Photo of Beaver13


3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours a dark ruby red with a frothy light tan head that diminishes to a film.

The aroma is fresh hops, slightly fruity, with a little nutty caramel and some tinges of DMS.

The flavor is sweet nutty caramel malts with a good sized bitter hop finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full and smooth.

Overall, a very fine beer. I'm surprised by the amount of hops in an Odell beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2006 06:17:14 | More by Beaver13
Photo of mentor


4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pouor a one finger tan head over a hazy ruby-orange liquid. Smells minty hops, limes, citrus, and piney.

Tastes fair malt sweet with strong hop flavor and minimal clean hop bitter. Hop flavor so strong its almost piercing. Citrus lime/piney creaminess that I like. Hops are quite strong and realy make this beer. Smooth mouthfeel, md body, and modest carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2008 19:44:03 | More by mentor
Photo of Rayek


4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Garnet hued amber with nice clarity and active carbonation from tiny bubbles. Tight cream head starts big and settles to a 1/4" pillow that sticks the whole way down the glass. Leaves a tremendous amount of lace. This is one good looking beer.

S: Slightly vinous, with hints of red grapes. Sweetness rules the day in the form of toffee. Pepper, citrus, a mild whiff of alcohol, plus a little oak round things out.

T: This a very balanced beer. Toffee and black grapes start things out, with the grapes giving the beer a wine-like quality. A mild oak flavor adds a woodsy presence. Bitterness comes on in the form of pepper and citrus. The alcohol is well masked aside from a slight warmth as the beer goes down. Finishes dry and woodsy with a mild lemon flavor.

M: Medium body is somewhat dry. Carbonation level is right on.

D: ESR is a supremely balanced beer that I thoroughly enjoyed. This beer went down really easy, given the high ABV. I'm really glad I picked up a full six-pack. Thank the Gods that this wasn't yet another American hop bomb. I've had a few too many of those recently.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2009 18:15:31 | More by Rayek
Photo of Monkeyknife


4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle a gorgeous, clear red-amber color with a light frothy off-white head.

Aroma of caramel, butterscotch and malts with some citrusy hops thrown in.

The taste is very similar to the aroma along with some palate-warming booziness mixed in. Some slight bitterness is found in the finish.

Medium mouthfeel, warming to the palate, and lightly carbonated.

I'm a sucker for anything from Odell, and this does not disappoint. A bit boozy but oh, so flavorable.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2008 23:28:46 | More by Monkeyknife
Photo of GilGarp


4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is certainly one of my favorite Odell offerings.

Pours from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass with an inch of head. It's truly red and an exceptional looking beer. Good clarity too. The head is gone soon after the first sip but the lacing is very good.

Aroma is very hoppy, fresh and piney.

Flavor is excellent as well. It's very well bittered but with plenty of malt to balance it out. Citrus notes in the flavor but not too sweet like some American strong ales can be. In fact, I would probably be more likely to classify this as a double IPA that just happens to be red.

Mouthfeel is good and although it's high in alcohol, it hides it well. Drinkability is only hindered by strong hop bitterness and ABV.

I have been looking forward to this one since it disappeared last winter and I'm happy to say it was worth the wait. True to it's name: Extra Special.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2008 01:23:37 | More by GilGarp
Photo of pmcadamis


4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I opened this as I was getting ready for bed, expecting to find a 4-5%ABV amber ale or lager... instead I'm pleased to discover that my nightcap is in fact a 8% strong ale. Well, I'm gonna sleep well tonight!

A - The label is exotic and Persian, and reminds me of a pack of those "fancy" Camel premium up-market smokes. The beer is a remarkable dirty-red-russet hue that at times appears purple or brown. It's slightly murky, and topped with a very thick and dense two finger chunk of tan cream. Solid sheets of lace slide into the brew and leave lots of sticky lace behind. This is a beautiful brew! Oh, did I mention that head retention is stellar?

S - Earthy "wet" notes, like a campsite (smoldering fire, soaking tents, wet firewood and kindling) after a summer shower. Brown leaf hops add to the woodsy aroma. I'm getting pictures of autumn walks in the woods, old log cabins, decomposing logs covered in wild fungi, and some really nice hops. There are also some caramelized sugar and maybe brown sugar notes there too. Outstanding. Could use a little more oomph though.

T - This is a perfectly balanced combination of malty molasses, brown sugar, and woody/nutty notes combined with the most glorious "brown autumn leaf" hop characteristics. Tangy hops, leafy notes, and a ton of really nice woody flavors make this a damn fine beer.

M - Creamy and rich, carbonation on this one is actually quite forceful, but that keeps it lively and out of the "syrupy" category of heavy hitting brews. The finish is hoppy, gritty, and dusty-dry... and that also really helps keep this from showing it's true girth. It's like a fat chick in a corset. The corset keeps everything in place, and has you admiring her figure, but you know that there is some nasty flab underneath. But you don't care because that corseted busty figure is really doing it for you at the moment.

D - Despite the high ABV and the heavy mouthfeel, I would gladly drink another if I had one left. The booze isn't really all that noticeable, and the super-bubbly carbonation and dry mouthfeel help keep this one from getting cloying or rich. Damn fine beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2009 06:04:48 | More by pmcadamis
Photo of Onenote81

North Carolina

3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Special thanks to breity for this extra beer in a recent trade.

First off, this is one cool looking bottle. I love the 3-D etching on the bottle side as well as the label. Well done.

This beer pours a deep ruby with brownish tints. Decent finger width white head on top. Retention lacks a bit, but still leaves some alright lacing globs. Smells of oranges, pineapple, bread, caramel, and alcohol.

First sip yields a weird metallic bite that is unpleasant. As I continue to drink though this gives way to the true flavors. Nice burnt caramel flavor, some cherry in there as well. Slight booziness to it, but it finishes nice and fruity. Hops are there alright. Not biting or harsh, but adding just enough bitterness to keep me sipping. I like this beer. Strong Ales are becoming more and more one of my favorite styles.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2009 18:18:26 | More by Onenote81
Photo of joe1510


3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle

This Extra Special Red is yet another brew sent to me from the man himself, BitterBill. Thanks Bill! I can smell pink grapefruit as I pour this one. Smells like a big hoppy red. The body would be crystal clear amber but I got a little careless and dumped some yeast in the glass. The tiny yeasties suspend throughout the body. A head of bone white grew to two fingers on an easy pour and settled to a thick cap after a few minutes. Some great looking sheet lacing gets left behind as the head settles and the ruby highlighted body grows.

The pink grapefruit doesn't quite jump out at me like it did when I was pouring and part of the reason is the big, balancing caramel malty backbone. The hopping brings as much orange as grapefruit. There's a slight toasted maltiness and a surprising and unique, although faint, gingerbread character. That little bit of spice in the back is very different. I like the smell of this brew but overall it's a little on the weak side.

Now on to the important part, the drinking. Caramel and toasty malt laid it down right off the bat. The grapefruit stands out nicely on the tongue and shows up mid-palate while the orange seems to fall to the back. The hoppiness lingers on this brew and every now and then I even seem to pick up a squeeze or two of lemon juice and even some pineapple here and there. This is a solidly hopped big red and I'm really digging the flavors.

The lively carbonation fits this beer nicely and makes it an easy drinker. The body is medium and a slight stickiness on the back of the tongue shows up as it sits in the glass. Bitterness flashes through quickly on the end.

This hoppy red is highly drinkable for the 8% abv. Zero alcohol is noticeable and the, somewhat, balanced body keep this glass tipped.

I'm a fan of big hoppy reds and I don't think there are enough of them out there at the moment. This is a quality brew just like the rest of the lineup from Odell's. Thanks for the treat Bill!

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2008 03:17:45 | More by joe1510
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Odell Extra Special Red Ale from Odell Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 67 ratings.