Odell Extra Special Red Ale | Odell Brewing Company

very good
61 Reviews
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Odell Extra Special Red AleOdell Extra Special Red Ale

Brewed by:
Odell Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Beaver13 on 11-01-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 61 | Ratings: 71
Photo of GilGarp
4.35/5  rDev +9%
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.

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Photo of vurt
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic pint glass. Bottle date is 2007, but what the heck, let's see how this has held up.

The head is eggnog-colored and composed of very tiny bubbles. It does not last very long, but it slides up on the glass like heavy cream and leaves behind some lavish lacing which recedes back into the beer slowly. The body is a deep reddish orange with amber highlights. Great color.

Sweet battles hoppy, and there's no clear winner, though "sweet" throws the first punch. Caramel, toffee, fresh glazed donuts. Then a solid burst of piney hops with a citric finish like orange oil. Plenty of fruity aromas emerge- boysenberries, plums, a touch of pear, and a meaty, cantaloupe-like funk. A whiff of alcohol cuts through the mix. Age has given this beer a touch of oxidation, but it is neither predominant nor unpleasant.

This is an extremely sweet beer. It starts out with flavors of brown sugar, malt, and molasses. Underneath lies a citrus/bitter mixture like a good marmalade. (The whole effect is rather like liquid limpa bread.) More fruits come through in the middle: oranges again, plum, cherry, and honeydew melon. Herbal bitterness and a light licorice note creep in at the finish, along with a booziness like rum and vanilla extract.

Medium-bodied, silky textured, and a little sticky. The body is a bit lighter than I was expecting, actually, though the sweetness does a good job of coating the mouth. Carbonation is soft and provides an excellent, fine texture.

Here's where the beer takes a hit. It has an interesting aroma, some good flavors, and an appealing mouthfeel, but the sweetness is just too overwhelming. If it were drier, or spicier, or had a bit more earthy bitterness, it would be a much more drinkable beer. Maybe the hops do a better job of balancing this beer when it's fresh. I'd like to find out.

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Photo of Oxymoron
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Redheads have it all. Pours a mostly red color with a off amber hue. Great clarity overall with a soft white head with good retention but doesn't last through the tasting.

The nose is a nice blend between hops and malt. To start there is a sweetness with some nice toffee and toasted aromas. Some very feint stringency with a slight roasty note. The hops are mostly citrus with a more lemon zest smell. Very clean yeast wise but some noticeable esters and alcohol.

The taste is more pronounced than the nose indicated. The malt comes out more but still somewhat balanced. The sweetness is there with more prominent toffee and toasty flavors. There is some astringency but more of a slight coffee flavor. Some fusel alcohols but nothing over the top. The hops do have a more grassy, earthy flavor but some lemongrass like flavors come out. Mostly finishing hops, there isn't much on the bittering.

The body is in between moderate and full. Light carbonation but works and enhances the body. Some alcohol bite but nothing over the top. Overall a very good beer, but I would suggest to try it fresh as it doesn't stand up to aging well.

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4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Two fingers of light tan head that slowly fades leaving some webed lace as it fades. Body is a deep brownish red with ruby tones at the edges. Nose is big with woodsy hops and mineral based malts. With first sip I am suddenly shocked that I have never heard of this beer. Big bold hops that are rich and woodsy. Malt character is ther to nicely balance. As you continue to drink a thick slightly soured bitter feel comes about on the mouthfeel. At 8% alchol it is very well hidden. I would rank this one with Nugget Nectar and Big Hoppy Monster. Wonderfully drinkable.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.35/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a cloudy dark red color with a 1/4" thick head made up of small tan bubbles. The bubbles could be seen rising in the liquid, but they were doing so slowly, indicating that this is a pretty full bodied beer. Within a minute the head had faded into the beer to leave a small ring around the glass.

Aroma: My initial impression was of dry, almost chalky hops. Maybe this beer has some age on it. After this impression, I get some strong malt with a very toasty and fruity nose. The toastiness has some of the almost buttery British beer qualities, while still hinting of the melanoidins of Munich malt. As it warms up some the fruitiness comes out as a dark cherry and slight plum. There is some spiciness coming into the equation really quickly as the alcohol starts to volatize.

Taste: The thickness of the mouthfeel was the first thing I noticed as I practically had to pull the beer between my teeth. There is some malt to give you a sweet impression right as the hoppiness kicks in and makes the balance bitter all the way into the finish...and then some. There is a very evident alcoholic warming setting on the back of the throat that fights with the hops a bit for control...but loses.

Opinion: This is a decent beer, but not what one would expect from an Irish Red. It says on the bottle that this is a "hopped up" version of an Egyptian recipe. It is definitely "up". Alcohol and hops won't disappoint even the numbest of palates. It is an alright beer, but a bit too bold for my taste in a number of ways. I would drink it again because it sure isn't dull, but I wouldn't seek it out.

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Photo of objectivemonkey
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a solid dark red, good starter head and some lovely lacing. The aroma is pretty solid, heavily toasted malts, lots of citric hopping, not too complex but still quite good. The taste is similar, but has a stronger malt backbone, nice toasted malts and caramels, with a delicious citric hop in tones of orange, tangerine, and grapefruit. The mouth is solid, good carbonation, really its a pretty solid beer.

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Photo of donaldchapman
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - beautiful red-amber with great clarity, and a substantial head.

S - Citrus hops accompanied by toasty malt aromas.

T - malty sweetness of toffee, caramel, toast balanced by a citrus hop flavor.

M - Medium full bodied, with a good carbonation and some alcohol warmth.

This beer has prominent hops and malt that balance nicely with the alcohol in the beer. Very tasty brew

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Photo of jjayjaye
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks going out to grumpy for throwing this extra in as part of a great trade.

Pours a deep red hued amber color with a shallow foamy head that fades fairly quickly, leaving spotty patterns of Belgian lacing behind. The smell is rich caramel malt and a hint of hops. Adequately carbonated, the mouth feel is full bodied, creamy and smooth. Full flavored, the caramel malt taste is laced with a respectable measure of hops. Both of those wonderful aspects of the flavor linger significantly in the after taste. While the 8% ABV is integrated well, it's enjoyable in the mouth texture and provides warmth on the way down. A really good beverage, too bad they don't build more like this one!

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Photo of SpecialK088
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

A-very deep red color with a low head and goos lace throughout.
S-malty/hoppy with hints of alcohol and something sweet.
T-very smooth hops are not overpouring as the scent might lead you to belive, very good flavor for a red little malty and bitter.
M-good not overly carbonated and goes down nice and smooth.
D-im not a huge red guy but i get a 6 of this everytime i have the chance when it shows up again.

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Photo of naterock
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a delirium snifter
A: Cloudy red very appealing for a red
S: very hoppy smell, hints of alcohol
T: very distinctive Red, slightly more of a hop bitterness than a normal red. does well to hide the alcohol. very earthy flavor, but not dirty.
M: good carbonation helps with the hop bitterness
D: this is very enjoyable but due to an 8% ABV I would take it easy.

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Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

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Photo of mentor
4.02/5  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.

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Photo of TYE
4.41/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep reddish brown producing a wonderful creamy thick off white foam head that retains its form like few others I've seen, holding it's head at a thick covering all the way to the end with lots of smearing. Wow!
S - Sweet fruit scent of peaches and watermelon mixed is the overwhelming scent, almost smells like Sweet Tarts. A light layer of malt hides underneath. Maybe a little too sweet of aroma. Masks the others a bit, but overall very good.
T - Hoppy, sweet fruit, with maybe a hint of brown sugar or caramel? Great lasting flavor that lingers for just long enough, then fades clean to nothing, making you want to take another drink. Wow!
M - Medium carbonation, medium to full body, creamy, hoppy bite, sweet nip at tip of tongue and a little sour jabs on the sides. Finishes clean. Wow!
D - Very, very good beer! I'm not a huge fan of reds, although I like them, but this one is my favorite. Awesome balance of flavors and great mouthfeel. I wish the aroma wasn't so overwhelmed by the sweet fruit, otherwise it's fantastic!!

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Photo of SaltyLime
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - nice clear ruby red with a light tan head, not my favorite colors, but pretty to look at
Smell - citrus, piny, floral hops
Taste - I liked this one, it fit my palate like a comfortable pair of old shoes, nice balance of malts/hops
Mouthfeel - nice, just a little sticky reminded me of a barleywine
Drinkability - drinks easily for the 8.0 ABV, would like to try more of this brew

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Photo of Monkeyknife
4.15/5  rDev +4%
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.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Photo of schoolboy
4.73/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a funny brew. Some people didn't care for it, but I loved it and so did one other person in our group. We were in Vail and bought probably a dozen or more Colorado beers. In my opinion, this was by far the best.

Great balance of bitter, malty, aroma.

For a high gravity beer, it has outstanding drinkability.Unfortunately, we couldn't find any in Vail (we got it on the way up).

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Photo of homebrewhawk
2.76/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz brown bottle served in a shaker pint. Poured a hazy amber. Not sure if it was bottle conditioned, but there appeared to be a thin layer of yeast in the bottle. Fine bubble off white head, less than a finger. Some citrusy hops in the aroma and lots of malt and some fruitiness. Medium body with plenty of malt. Lots of hop bitterness.

This beer didn't do much for me. I had a hard time trying to place the flavor that I didn't like in this beer. It had a bit of a sour tang to the malt in the flavor and aroma. Bigger is not alway better. I've liked the other beers in their Single Batch series.

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Photo of zeff80
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev +0.3%
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!

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Photo of bort11
2.7/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams pint glass. Thin white head that drops quickly and leaves just a spotting of lace. Color is a clear copper red with active carbonation.
Smell is malty and sweet, with some red berry and fruit aspects, with a thin hops character background. Taste is is sweet, almost like a red Kool-Aid. Slight peppery spice notes with the hops.
Mouthfeel is sticky. I'm not overly impressed with tis one, which is too bad. I generally like Odell beers.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.17/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer was pretty unique, but I can't say I was tremendously impressed by it. It is supposed to be an ancient recipe plus hops, but I didn't find the bitterness they imparted to be particularly pleasant.

This beer pours a very bright red color...almost to the extent of "Big Red" cola, but still appears quite beer-y. Aroma is light and floral, and reminded me a great deal of champagne. Flavor was OK...I got some nice light hoppy as I first sipped on the front of my tongue, but I got a thick unpleasant malty-tasting bitterness on my tongue in the back of my mouth. Mouthfeel was unremarkable. This beer is pretty unique, but as a total package I wasn't super-impressed by it.

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Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a: pours a cloudy deep amber with white foam that stays with the beer as I drink. good lacing.

s: sweet malts and floral hop notes

t: strong hop flavor with caramel malt. good balance of sweet and bitter.

m: medium bodied, sticks to the tongue. good balance, lowish carbonation.

d: the flavor is great, but hop level and alcohol content do it in. I don't think I would want more than 2 in a sitting.

Overall: I really like this beer, hopefully it isn't a single batch as the label indicates. Excellent balance, good hop flavor.

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Photo of russpowell
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
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

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4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I just recently bought my second 6-pack of Extra Special Red, and thought I should review it since I think it is a fantastic brew!

The beer poured nicely into a pint glass, with about 1" head; left lace as I drank, and the foam never entirely disappeared. Loved that!

Excellent hops and malts combined; bitterness and sweetness all at once. I'm a fan of hoppy beers, but like the maltiness of this one, as well. Reminds me of Stone's Arrogant Bastard Ale!

This one is definitely a sipping beer, but it was easy to sip 3 beers in 3 hours! I'll go back to the liquor store for more...it's now one of my favorites.

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Odell Extra Special Red Ale from Odell Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 71 ratings.
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