Trip In The Woods: Barrel-Aged Maillard's Odyssey
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Trip In The Woods:  Barrel-Aged Maillard's OdysseyTrip In The Woods:  Barrel-Aged Maillard's Odyssey
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American Strong Ale
4.13 | pDev: 7.02%
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Trip In The Woods:  Barrel-Aged Maillard's OdysseyTrip In The Woods:  Barrel-Aged Maillard's Odyssey
Reviews: 22 | Ratings: 84
Photo of Jeffo
3.15/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this one from rutger this past summer. Cheers, man!

From a corked and caged 750 into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours out clear black and yields a two finger, medium looking, creamy tan head with great retention. Head slowly fades to a good cap and coats the glass. A clear black body with a touch of carbonation evident. Touches of wisp remain until the end leaving some good lacing on the glass.

SMELL: Oak, vanilla, sweet cream, pure chocolate, butterscotch and toffee on the nose. Slightly roasted as well. Milder but nice.

TASTE: Bourbon, caramel, toffee notes and some vanilla up front. A little watery up front, unfortunately, but it's more forthcoming after the swallow. Vanilla cream, pure chocolate, oak, butterscotch, toffee and milk chocolate in the milder yet lingering finish.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. A little lighter or watery on the palate, creamy enough though, goes down smooth and finishes a bit sticky.

OVERALL: There's something a little watery about this one. There's not all that much going on up front, but it comes out more after the swallow and the nose is mild yet appealing. This one is alright but it definitely doesn't stand out in the competitive field of barrel aged imperial stouts. Thanks again, Rutger!

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Photo of draheim
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750mL (bottled 9/1/2015) into a tulip. Pours a rich chocolate brown w/ a thick sudsy mocha head, nice patchy lace.

Aroma is smoky, chocolatey, rich. Deep roasted sweet malt, maybe a hint of black licorice.

Taste hits me as more subtle than the aroma, which is actually welcome. Was expecting overpowering flavor but what we have here is nicely balanced dark rich malt, smoke, and oak. More chocolate. Velvety notes of vanilla. Great balance between bitter and sweet. Reminds me perhaps of Bourbon Barrel Abominable (Fremont) but it's been a while.

Mouthfeel is smooth and balanced, goes down easy.

Overall a very nice offering from Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of Zythophile
3.99/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle Date: within a year
Palate Contaminants: other beer

"It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none." Light brown fine head, too.

Smell is lightly charred barrel, floral, honey, and pungent molasses.

Taste is blanco tequila at first, then charred flavors join up. I know it says bourbon on the bottle, but I hardly get any of that. I can separate out a bit of dark rum. (It's like I'm building a Long Island iced tea.) There's no fruit, but toasted rye and some floral tastes are present. Maybe maple syrup, too.

The feel is a bit too thin and carbonated for the style, but that's not too much of a knock.

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Photo of zac16125
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750mL bottle into a snifter
2015, purchased from the Asheville-area brewery approx 9 months ago

A: Pour is opaque black, just under 1 fingers width of light mocha colored head, decent retention and leaves lots of lacing. 4.25

S: Aroma is lost of oak, lots of roasty, some char notes. Fair amount of bourbon notes from the barrel. Some semi-sweet cocoa and subtle leather/tobacco notes. 4.25

T: Roasty and very herbaceous. Raw oak, bitter black coffee, some booze. Subtle dark fruits as it warms. 3.75

M/D: Body is medium on the spectrum, which is too light for this beer, it feels thin. ABV is accentuated, and it seems boozier than the 9.3% thats listed on the label. Drinkability is pretty good. 3.5

O: A decent beer, but I have very high expectations from SN (as I love pretty much everything by them) so it left me a bit disappointed. Worth a try, but not something I would seek out. BA Narwhal is far superior to this offering and is much more readily available. 3.75

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Photo of snaotheus
3.92/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml corked/caged bottle served in a large snifter. 090115 6 09?? is printed on the shoulder of the bottle.

Pours black with a small light tan head and lots of very fine carbonation. Smell is yeast and bourbon, vanilla and alcohol.

Taste is chocolatey, smokey bourbon flavor, definitely some vanilla again. Nice beer.

Mouthfeel is medium, gritty. Very nice bourbon barrel beer.

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Photo of Mantooth
3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Damn nice beer but overall, sadly, a bit thin for my taste. Then again, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from a BA ale. That's not that descriptive. All in all - happy to of had it... and happy to have another bottle at home. Definitely check it out if you get a chance. Cheers!

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.27/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at The Pittsford Pub in Pittsford, NY.

This one pours a fairly dark black, with a big fluffy one inch head, and a good level of lacing.

Smells like roasted malt, oak, vanilla, leathery bourbon, and some nuttiness.

This is a nice little surprise. It's well balanced, and still retains strong elements of its base. It's got some nice roasty and leather/tobacco qualities, with a good amount of oak and vanilla and some earthy bourbon. It's clearly carefully crafted, and strikes a nice balance between sweet and dry flavors, with it slightly leaning more dry.

This is medium bodied, with a slightly creamy mouthfeel, and a normal level of carbonation for the style.

One of the better BA beers I've had from Sierra Nevada. Really enjoyable to drink.

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Photo of JdoubleA
3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This beer is just a tick or two away from being special. Wish the mouthfeel was fuller, or the discription better. As an "ale" it could be about anything... the other BA listing of this beer as a porter seems to fit though.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.29/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Type: 750-ml bottle (25.4 oz.)
Glass: AleSmith Barrel-Aged Reserve snifter glass
From: Costco in Mission Valley (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $14.99
Purchased: Feb. 25, 2016
Consumed: March 3, 2016
Misc.: Bottled in Sept. 2015; Cork and cage top; Reviewing as an American Strong Ale

To say I was excited about this one might have been the understatement of the….. time being. First of all, I had never heard of this beer (or the Trip in the Woods series). Second, I really dug the original Maillard’s Odyssey in the Beer Across America variety pack. Third, it’s Sierra Nevada, so it has to be good. Fourth, it’s a 750-ml bottle (25.4 oz.). And finally, it was purchased at Costco, so a good deal (still $14.99) was made.

Poured a black color with 2-to-3 fingers of fluffy, tan head. Good sporadic foamy lacing on the sides of the glass. Excellent retention. (Sight - 4.50)

Smelled woody oak, bourbon barrel, smooth toffee, buttery caramel, Nugget hops (probably the wood), milk chocolate, vanilla, honey, molasses and hints of licorice. Got much better as it went down, reminding me of a hoppy imperial stout. (Smell - 4.25)

Taste followed the nose. Got smooth bourbon to start, woody oak, caramel, toffee, honey, vanilla, molasses, faint wet tobacco, milk chocolate, boozy at times, chocolate syrup, maple walnut, toasted pecan, butterscotch and buttery malts. (Taste - 4.25)

Full body. Creamy-to-sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth, warming finish. (Feel - 4.50)

This was just tremendous. Kept reminding me of an Imperial Stout, but it’s an American Strong Ale. Really liked it. (Overall - 4.25)

4.29 | 95 | A

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Photo of Moose90
3.96/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served On-Tap

A — Pours a deep chocolaty brown hue into the glass, a heavy looking body of beer sports a thin, cappuccino like head of foam on top that leaves behind solid spots of lacing with each sip.

S — Smell is sweet, but not overpoweringly so, with notes of bakers chocolate, caramel, chocolate syrup, vanilla beans, light oak, chewy dark malts, almost burnt.

T — Chewy, sweet, robust, balanced. Notes of coffee, chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon, oak, Bourbon, a nice melange of flavors here without being overdone or overpowering, nice balance and restraint.

M — Full bodied, rich, smooth, lingering satisfying finish.

O — Very well done, unexpectedly awesome.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the Sierra Nevada Torpedo Room in Berkeley, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, burnt toast, caramel, toffee, vanilla, and slight bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa powder, earth, char, smoke, caramel, toffee, vanilla, and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with barrel aging that works quite well with the base beer.

Serving type: on tap.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.31/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, appearing nearly opaque black in the glass with a half finger khaki head with great retention and nice lacing. Aroma of bourbon, dark toasted malt, vanilla, caramel, mild dark stone fruit and chocolate, similar to a barrel aged stout. Flavor is dominated by bourbon barrel (bourbon, oak and vanilla), with dark stone fruit, dried dark fruit, mild dark toasted malt, molasses, licorice, finishing light with bourbon, oak and toffee with a mild hint of coffee bitterness and a touch of tartness. Medium bodied with good carbonation. An interesting barrel aged strong ale with character of a light stout, but also some hints of barleywine in the dark fruit elements. Lighter in body and mouth feel than some of the contemporary blended strong ales, but complex enough flavors to support the ABV. The bourbon is a bit more forward than in a stout or blended strong ale, but not overwhelming. I really liked the base beer from the beer camp and wish this had a little more of the interesting malt flavors of that excellent ale, but it is mild compared to the barrel component. That's a small quibble, because this is nicely malty and full flavored. Nicely done and unusual barreled ale. Glad I had a chance to try this.

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Photo of spark3148857
4.56/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pitch black with khaki ring on glass, aroma of bourbon, dark chocolate, espresso, roasted malt. Taste starts with bourbon, with dark chocolate covered espresso, deep roasted malt, lots of roast, vanilla, oak. Super creamy. Med high creamy mouthfeel. I wonderfully bourbony barrel aged dark ale.

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Photo of TrojanRB
4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a Simon Pearce tulip.

Inky, oily black, with a two finger khaki head that slowly settled.

Cocoa, oak, vanilla nose.

Whiskey appears on the first sip.

Velvety mouth field. Moderately carbonated, dry finish. Not heavy.

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Photo of KettleBellFreak
4.48/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

DARK BEER. Great lacing with a tight tan head with a red tint. Smell is faint and sweet, light and easy. Mouth feel is thin, but smooth and super drinkable. Taste has just the perfect hint of bourbon, but a light and grassy flavor with some malt and sweetness to round it out. Exceptional beer.

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Photo of mactrail
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

So black it does look like a Stout. Handsome pour in the tall Peroni Lager glass with the beige foam and lots of lacing. Rather hot and spicy in the mouth. Deep oaky aroma with just whiff of booze to start. As it warms the fumes of vanilla and stewing fruit come up.

This is quite malty but not syrupy. I'm happy to see the barrel treatment for a different sort of dark beer than the usual Imperial Stout. Sort of winey and darkly fruity. Dried peaches with figs, but just that modest sweetness. Quite delicious and shall we say-- sophisticated?

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.83/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Well first off this is far superior to the beer camp non barreled version, that was one of the worst in the 12 pack. This one smacks dark brown and red, thin head. Aroma was barrel, smoke, roast to a lesser degree.

Taste had the right mixture of smoke and sweet. Lots of molasses/syrup/caramel/toffee types of viscosity and mouthfeel. Malliard is that heat reaction right? Maybe that's why I get some dark sugars. Good stuff.

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Photo of stevoj
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle share from Jared. Everything in the description is true. Velvety smooth and slick body, with chocolate as a prominent feature. Dark brown, muddy, oily pour, minimal head and lacing. Barrel aging compliments all of the elements, aromas and flavors without overpowering or burn. Really nicely done.

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Photo of Tdizzle
4.14/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

L - Poured into a snifter, the beer appears deep brownish black with no traces of light getting through. An aggressive pour yields a light brown head of foam that quickly settles to a nice cap that remains for the duration of the beer. A few streaks of lacing hang around.

S - Strong notes of oak barrel and bourbon. Roasty char, over-ripe dark fruits, chocolate, and toast emerge after a good swirl. The 9.3% ABV is boozy on the nose, but that's partially due to the pronounced barrel quality.

T - The taste delivers the oaky bourbon character of the aroma, backed by a delicious backdrop of roasty, chocolaty, and malty sweetness. The flavors dissipate rather quickly, leaving a slightly dry finish and a mild woody note lingering on the palate.

F - The texture is thinner than I anticipated for a beer of this stature, and the carbonation is too aggressive.

O - A solid barrel-aged beer. Sierra Nevada's barrel-aged offerings all possess a wonderfully oak-forward quality. However, at $20+ per bottle, I would much prefer the far superior Barrel-Aged Narwhal or Barrel-Aged Bigfoot, but I'm glad I tried this.

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Photo of Zorro
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deeply brown colored ale that is nearly black in color. Medium sized brown colored head.

Smells of vanilla and caramel candy. Scents of smoke and molasses. Candied fruit scents, pineapple, prune, and fruit cake. Nutty scent mostly toasted pecan. Scents of Kahlua, and Mocha coffee. Strange scent I can only describe as chewing tobacco in whiskey. Complex scent to say the least.

Starts out tasting of whiskey and charcoal. Mildly sweet it tastes a bit like Sweetened Scotch Whiskey. Warming in the stomach. Taste of butterscotch. Taste of apple.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall a tasty ale.

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Photo of RyanK252
3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at BC's Pizza & Beer

A: Pours dark brown with a creamy mocha brown head that settles to a thin layer and leaves a little lacing.

S: Bourbon is definitely there, kinda spicy, cinnamon nutmeg like, dark sugar, molasses, toffee, earthy, and a bit herbal.

T: Nice bourbon presence, a little oak, roasty malt, espresso, dark chocolate, vanilla, toasted coconut, herbal maybe even slightly minty notes, dark sugar, molasses, toffee, and hints of butterscotch. Coffee lingers nicely on the finish.

M: A bit on the fuller side of medium body, moderate carbonation. Not quite as thick and rich as it could have been.

O: Don't get me wrong, this is a very nice beer, but I prefer the original version without the barrel treatment. Some cool stuff was definitely added, but I think the base beer was better on its own.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.96/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Riding high on the "Beer Camp Across America" series, Sierra Nevada revisits the Maillard's Odyssey, brewing it to imperial strength and using a small portion of smoked porter, then molasses and then bourbon barrel-aging to garner added complexity, strength and curiosity.

Tawny and russet brown, the dark redish brown ale carries a tightly knit but dainty swath of foam. Its rich and earthy aromas are laced with decadent molasses and toffee with underlying peat, campfire, bourbon and grape. But to taste, its all about the black-strap molasses, buckwheat honey and seared toffee sweetness.

And as the sweetness relaxes, the molasses turns caramelly with suggestions of chocolate, coffee, pecan, and toast. Firm in its body, the creamy textures billow with the earthen character of smoldering embers, grilled dates, figs and plum. Peppery in its lasting impressions, the bourbon releases its own vanilla, caramel and oaken charm with a hint of cherry and grape to close.

Full in body, the beer's strong creamy textures buffer against the alcoholic brunt of the booze, creating a soft but dense pillow of malt that outlasts all other flavors in finish and aftertaste. Somewhat chewy and sweet, the ale is bold in its imperial status but its depth of character is just shy of the classic ales of Scotland.

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Trip In The Woods: Barrel-Aged Maillard's Odyssey from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 84 ratings