Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Odell Isolation Ale - Odell Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Odell Isolation AleOdell Isolation Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

238 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 238
Hads: 687
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 6.48%
Wants: 59
Gots: 87 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Odell Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-28-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Odell Isolation Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 238 | Hads: 687
Photo of Vancer
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear and clean, nice amber pour, weak head staying power, but it did lace nicely in my petunia glass.

A woody malt brew, capped with a decent stab of winter spices. Big crisp and dry hop finish I’m enjoying this brew, but with the plethora of winter warmers, I would look for others before this one. Still a solid performer. (329 characters)

Photo of whynot44
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice clear reddish copper color with a decent tan head that subsides to a skin but continues to leave some nice lace.

The aroma is biscuity, toasty malt with hints of spicy hops.

The flavor is toasted malts, some caramel, vanilla and raisins. The finish brings our some spicy hops, a bit of slightly burnt toast and hints of alcohol warmth.

Medium bodied, easy to drink could help get you in the mood for some outdoor activites in the fall or recover from shoveling snow later on. (494 characters)

Photo of syrupjoe
3.59/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into pint glass.

Pours a crystal clear light amber color with light caramel 1 finger head. No particulates.

Malty, bready, biscuity, slightly roasty nose with almost a cheesy aspect to it.

Very sweet, malty, slightly metallic, biscuity and slightly nutmeggy. Almost a hint of pumpkin in here too.

Moderate carbonation with a sweet and somewhat slick mouthfeel.

Overall a decent beer - nose really threw me off, kind of wondering if I had a bad bottle. Would drink again, but won't seek out. (507 characters)

Photo of morimech
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish amber color with one inch of head that had good retention before settling to a thin cap. A lot of spotty lacing is left on the glass. Smells slightly more fruity than what I was expecting. Distinct aroma of berries to go along with the caramel malt and subtle spice. Hops add a little citrus and pine as well. Flavor of caramel malt with a heavy element of corn husk. Tastes artifical and dirty. A little grassy and herbal from the hops. Not sure if spice is added to this beer but if it is it is very subtle. Not too sweet and bitterness is low. Medium body and nicely carbonated. A good winter warmer that the malt profile that just does not completely click with me. (677 characters)

Photo of champ103
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a slightly hazed reddish/amber color. A dense white head rises to over two finger. Rings of sticky lace are left behind.
S: One whiff is earthy, green tea like leafy hop aroma, the next caramel malt and biscuit. Variations of this fights for a slightly dominate presents. At times the malt come first, other the hops come out more dominate.
T: Toasted bready, and caramel malts, a bit sweet. Then that green leafy tea like hop character intermingles, and again both malt and hops fight to be more prominent than the other with alternating sips.
M/D: A medium body and moderate carbonation. Smooth and rounded. Easy to drink, the bottle is gone in no time and the six pack won't last long.

More along the lines of an Amber Ale, that just happens to be a winter seasonal. Which is exactly what the breweries intended to make, instead of an actual Winter Warmer (either something spiced, or more of an Old Ale). Anyway, just an enjoyable beer that does not try to be to much. Maybe not my favorite from the brewery, or the winter releases. I can still find room in my fridge for this however. (1,116 characters)

Photo of kels
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks so much to bamadog for the hookup on this one. Never had an Odell brew before.

Pours into my pint glass a nice ruddy, coppery brown. It is pretty much clear with only the lightest amount of carbonation bubbles running through the liquid. The initial 1/2 finger fizzy, white head fades out pretty much immediately to a hazy slick along the top of the liquid and a few white spots along the walls of the glass.

Moderate aroma rises out of this beer. Lightly sweet caramelly malts and a dry, crunchy graininess join a slight cinnamon presence. No particular hop smells come to mind.

Nice, deep toasty malts provide sweetness and heartiness in this beer and reminds me a little of good rye beers I've had. There's a slight slick of syrupyness in the mouthfeel, and there's a crisp green-apple and herbal hop presence in the aftertaste. A hint of cinnamon comes through what seems to be a strange metallic taste that I think could be the alcohol sneaking out from beneath other flavors. Overall feel is moderately carbonated, yet still a little on the thin side initially. Drinkability is good - pretty low overall ABV with some intricate and fun-to-figure-out flavors throughout. (1,188 characters)

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Consumed at Grumpy's in Roseville on Darkness Day Weekend.

Appearance -- Deep ruddy amber, almost purple with a slim beige head.

Smell -- Toasted malt, plum sweetness, brown sugar, some noticable spiciness. Not especially aromatic, but what is present is enjoyable.

Taste -- Spice cake, toasted malt, toffee, brown sugar, prune and raisin, and earthy hops throughout. Finish is spice cake and spicy hops.

Mouthfeel -- Medium to full in body with moderate creamy carbonation. Pretty satisfying.

Drinkability -- Pretty nice. Good malt profile and enough spicy malt to balance and keep things interesting. One could do worse than to be snowed in with a case of this. (668 characters)

Photo of BradLikesBrew
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle with bottle code "02 2008"

a: Orange/gold amber with white head and small patches of lacing.

s: Citrus hops and honey.

t: Honey, toffee, piney hops.

m: Average carbonation, medium body, smooth, clean finish.

d: Quite drinkable, a simple, enjoyable beer.
Maybe a bit underwelming.
This beer is priced above odell's everyday line and for the price, I would rather have a cutthroat porter or 90 shilling. (425 characters)

Photo of ghebel
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Copper, reddish color. Mildly turbid with an off white head.

S - Caramel malt is dominate. Citrusy hop aroma adds a nice surprise.

T - Sweet caramel with a hoppy bitterness as well. Warm sensation during swallow.

M - full and sweet.

D - Could not drink very many of these beers d/t the sweet, fullness and the obvious alcohol presence.

Overall - The hops save this beer. It is still not my favorite style, but this is better than many other winter seasonals I have tried. (481 characters)

Photo of zeff80
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a light burgandy color with a white, foamy, one-finger head. It left small traces of lace.

S - It smelled of malt and grassy hops.

T - It tasted bittersweet with a nice hoppy and malty quality.

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

D - A pretty good winter warmer. There are better, but this one will certainly do the trick. (355 characters)

Photo of ChrisA
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I really enjoy Odell's offerings. Unfortunately, I'm not a huge fan of this style. I remember last year trying Hibernation and Old Jubilation as my first Winter Warmers. Those were big beers and maybe I was expecting more here. I would say that this is a bit more drinkable than those others, but I'm not sure if that is the point of this usually higher ABV style. (364 characters)

Photo of LuckySevens82
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle courtesy of babydoc.
Pours a very nice, clear amber with a very nice head and decent lacing.
Smell is quite nice. Caramel, cinnamon, cloves?, fruity (strawberries, a little bit of orange maybe), definite hints of toasted malt as well.
Taste is very similar to the way it smells although the fruitiness seems to be overshadowed by intense cinnamon and spiciness of the beer. I was kind of hoping for a bit more emphasis on the fruit rather than the spice. But overall a pretty decent winter warmer. (514 characters)

Photo of ColoradoBobs
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 edition, claims to be 6.1% this year.

Not much to add to previous reviews except that this feels as malty as a Doppelbock. Good hop and malt balance, with the lots of malt sweetness kept under control by decent piney and bitter hopping.

Worth a try. (260 characters)

Photo of StJamesGate
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours bright clear chestnut with creamy off white head that disappears quick but trails. Nose is big toasty malts, and baked spiced orange Lots of oaty toast with some burnt sugar malts toffee and hint of apricot with branchy (English) and orange liqueur hops. Medium, chewy, a bit of oil.

English character turned up to American volumes. Toasted malt over hops, and spicy notes are quiet enough, so I'm not sure how this is a winter warmer instead of just a bitter with American hops.

Not up to Odell's usual impeccable standards. Drinkable, though. (553 characters)

Photo of drumrboy22
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass. Beer was a clear, light brown color, with a two-finger, thick, foamy head. Moderate carbonation and thick lacing around the glass.

Aroma was heavy caramel, malt, peanuts, biscuit and a touch of chocolate.

Taste was malt, caramel, nuts, light spices and hops. Good balance of spices.

Pretty drinkable, nice winter time brew. (382 characters)

Photo of jtfest
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an orange highlighted amber, somewhat cloudy, with a thin white head that leaves lots of lacing. Slightly alcoholic and fruity aroma (watermelon and peach), it has a light mouthfeel but a rather full flavor. I liked the taste -- somewhat peppery with a sweet aftertaste -- yet despite those flavors it was highly drinkable. Overall a nice brew, but I wasn't "wowed". (372 characters)

Photo of CaptCleveland
3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into sifter.

Amber colored elixir, white foam rim, modest amount of sticky lacing.

Huge malt aroma, some spice and caramel.

The malt and spice predominate. A bit of hop bitterness, but the malt lingers. Sweet.

Medium body, nicely carbonated.

Fair representation of a winter warmer, but nothing special. (326 characters)

Photo of pmcadamis
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - This one is a stunning shade of clear brilliant ruby like Dorothy's shoes. A one finger khaki head rises above the shimmering hues, and quickly fades to a collar, but leaves some spotty lace behind. A quick swirl brings back a full finger of creamy head.

S - Cherry hard candy, brown sugar, caramel, and Chic-O-Stix candy....remember those? Plump cherries are very prevalent, along with some gooey cherry and strawberry hard candies. Not a lot of "beer smells," but it's really nice nonetheless.

T - Earthy mud and 'shrooms with some underlying fruitiness. Jammy, gritty, lightly fruity, and buttery. I'm reminded of marmalade and toast. Its a little soapy and funky, but funky can be good!

M - Incredibly soft and supple. Velvety and creamy. Almost no carbonation here other than what creates the foamy full body in my mouth. The finish is neutral and earthy with a trace of muddy outdoorsy hops.

D - This is one odd brew. I'm not really sure what to think. I don't really think that I'd ever really buy a six-pack, but it's worth trying since it's so unique and earthy. I really don't like mineral flavors in my beer, and this has it in spades. (1,154 characters)

Photo of alleykatking
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours semi-hazy coppery color. One finger light tan head comes and goes quickly. Nice lacing all over the sides of the glass in a skirted fashion.

S- There is a caramel malt in there but it seems to be mixed in with a candy coated darker fruit mix. There is a light grain to this and I must say there is nothing that is overpowering in this beer...not bad at all.

T- This beer is sorta strange...I expected a little more bang out of it to be honest. The malt is the biggest catch with this. Nothing too big and over the top. I get a cinnamon flavor in the middle to ending of this beer. Faded hops in the back of this beer. Light alcohol presence along with a horehound like taste faint in the back of this.

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is lacking in this beer I think. Not a bad thing though. Sweet malts and light cinnamon is what is left on the palate and in the aftertaste. Felt sluggy in the mouth.

D- This was a nice winter warmer. These are not my favorite of styles but this one turned out to be very good. Glad I got to try this one out. (1,092 characters)

Photo of TXHops
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Reviewed in Jan-00

OG: 1.062, 15.21 P
FG: 1.017, 4.33 P
ABV: 6%, 4.66% ABW
Attenuation: 71.55%
Real Extract: 6.29
Calories/12 oz: 205.54
IBU's: 27

This Winter Ale (Strong Ale) is wonderfully smooth, fresh and well balanced. My sample's bottling date was 11/30/99, and I drank it on 1-24-00 (almost 2 months later), yet the flavor was fresher than some beers I've sampled at brewpubs with half the aging. Very impressive: sweet, malty, complex and perfectly balanced by a well-thought-out hopping rate, Isolation Ale is a very thoughtfully crafted microbrew.

Isolation Ale starts with an inviting amberish, peach tea-colored body and an off-white head with late-arriving circles of splotchy head. The aroma is fresh, sweet, and only slightly hoppy and the flavors follow suit. Malt is the feature here, and Odell does a commendable job of not overpowering the sweet, complex flavor of the grain with citric hoppiness. (Their restraint is unusual among brewers of non-spiced winter ales; much like the musician that understand that a band sometimes sounds its best when it’s silent....) The flavors vacillate between biscuity maltiness and faintly orange-like sweetness: reminiscent of orange jam, or citrus hard candy. Hops are there (27 IBU's worth), and do a difficult job of keeping the fairly sugary body (only 71.55% attenuated) from being cloying. Isolation Ale does finish with a very slight sour flavor, which is common among beers with residual sweetness and lower hopping rates. This phenomenon is similar to the sensation of drinking a sweet soft drink: a minute or two after you've swallowed, the sugar creates a faintly sour sensation in the back corners of your mouth. Don't worry, another sip will remedy that.

The body is smooth, if a bit sharp in its carbonation, and the finish is long, sweet and lingering. If only there were a touch more alcohol in this brew, I’d say it was very nearly a perfect Winter Ale. As it is, Isolation Ale is not very warming, and winds up somewhere between a Strong Ale and a standard American Amber Ale. If I were to really go out on a limb, I'd say that Isolation ale tastes a lot like a French Biere de Garde. (2,180 characters)

Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Nice wintery themed label on a brown pop-top 12oz

Appearance: Nice tawny burnt orange beer with steady carbonation and a thick ivory film with good retention.

Smell: Mild sweet candied aromas with a touch of smoke and caramel.

Taste: Rich, sweet toffee with touches of biscuit

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and smooth

Drinkability: Medium-high

Conclusion: This is a good, tasty, Scottish-style ale...there's nothing wrong with it, it just doesn't wow...not O'dell's best, but definitely worth a try. (515 characters)

Photo of lonestar4lunch
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bottle from last years batch poured into my Odell glass. The color is a deep reddish brown with minimal lacing that fades quickly. The nose is of biscuit malts, light caramel and maybe a hit of dark fruit. The taste is malts, sugars and some light hop bitterness at the end. There really isn't much hop to be found except right at the last breath the drink. The finish is a soft dryness and a touch of sweetness. There isn't any spice to be found which is nice for a change. A good, almost sessionable winter warmer for me. Odell is top 5 in my book for sure. (561 characters)

Photo of CJStout
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brown, attractive bottle (might collect for my homebrew).

Copper in color, very clear, light tan thin head leaving subtle lace.

Little nose, however malt is evident. Very slight aroma that is pleasant and familiar but I can't seem to identify it.

Moderately carbonated. Malty (biscuit?) beginning with a very notable bitter finish. Balanced. Tasty.

Overall, enjoyable beer. Not too heavy or strong in flavor or spice for a winter ale. Not a session beer, but multiple pints would be enjoyable ... would be a good friend in isolation ; ] (548 characters)

Photo of claybeer
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Odell Isolation Ale 2002-2003

When I first poured this 7yr. old beer it seemed almost leathery and dirty brown. As it settled in my pint glass it warmed up to a nice auburn color. The head retained the leathery color and was a good two fingers thick. The nose was sweet! Soft malt aromas with raisins and dates . The taste was right on target with the nose. It was sweet and fruity. The malts seem to have caramelized and left a sticky coat on my lips. On the finish I get a little bit of a metallic twang that I don't like. It is too sweet to drink very much at one time but to hold up for 7 years is impressive. (614 characters)

Photo of weizenbob
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle received in a trade with jmkratt. Thanks for tracking this down John; it seems oddly difficult to locate winter warmers by time January rolls around (now that all of the Spring seasonals are already coming out). Enjoy by date of 3/29/11. Poured into a goblet. The pour yields almost a finger tall head that quickly recedes. The brew is a dark hazy copper hue. There is no visible carbonation. Lacing is minimal.

This beer has a really unique aroma with hints of chocolate, caramel, marshmallow and toasted coconut. The malt appears to be roasted and has a subtle earthy character. A sweet lingering alcohol scent comes on somewhat strong in the back end. It's not incredibly aromatic, but it is very interesting.

The flavor also has some interesting things going on. Though the label tells me I'm drinking ale, I could swear this is a bock. It also seems a bit out of balance, but my tongue is having fun unlocking the puzzle. It's a little watery on the front end, with a good amount of sweetness that doesn't seem to be paired with any other flavor. Slowly, subtle earthy malts emerge and build to a sweet raisin-like note. The alcohol begins to rise up, not in a boozy way, but in a "there isn't anything else going on here to cover up the alcohol" kind of way. All 29 IBUs manifest in the finish with a surprisingly bitter hop kick.

In the mouth this is neither wowing me nor offending me; it's right in the middle of the road. The body is on the low end of medium. There is a mild prickly carbonation to tickle the tongue and agitate the flavors.

All of this adds up to a beer that is pretty drinkable as it is inoffensive to the palate. But all in all it's not that memorable. It drinks really well for 6.1% ABV but I don't think I would tip them back one after another if I had other options. Still, I'm thankful that I was able to try this and to have a winter warmer to enjoy during the actual winter months.


The Two Schlitz Scale™: (see my profile for an explanation)
I don't really give a Schlitz about Isolation Ale. It's not bad, but there is better to be had. (2,100 characters)

Odell Isolation Ale from Odell Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 238 ratings.