Odell Isolation Ale | Odell Brewing Company

very good
262 Reviews
Odell Isolation AleOdell Isolation Ale

Brewed by:
Odell Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-28-2001

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 262 | Ratings: 777
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.45/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

not your traditional winter warmer per se, more of a prewinter drink. the lighter mouthfeel gives it more of an autumnal vibe, rather than a sit in your gut freezing night beverage. pours a maple syrup colored indian red, with a half inch head that hangs out the whole time. nose is balanced caramel malts and aromatic hops. smells english in that old and dusty kind of way. taste is balanced, with a heavy malt backbone. slightly dry. at 6.1% i would not choose it to get me through the dead of february, but its perfect for november!

 535 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.19/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

This beer poured out as a nice looking deep amber color with a foamed cream colored head on top. The lacing and retention are very good on this beer. The smell is malty, fairly sweet and warming. There is a subtle earthiness on the nose too. The taste of the beer is malty with a warming toasted caramel flavor with a very subtle spice note in the finish. The mouthfeel is smooth and very drinkable. Nice carbonation and body too. Overall it's a pretty solid brew but not as complex as I was hoping for.

 503 characters

Photo of biboergosum
4.04/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, from a grocery store in mid-town Denver during GABF 2013.

This beer pours a clear, medium bronzed amber hue, with two fingers of puffy, loosely foamy ecru head, which leaves some pleasant calcified layered lace around the glass as things slowly ebb away.

It smells of nutty, biscuity caramel malt, with just a subtle amount of roast, mild apple and darker fruit esters, brown sugar, ethereal seasonal spices - nutmeg and clove, mostly - leafy, earthy hops, and a touch of metallic warming alcohol. The taste is very much in line - more biscuity caramel malt, a slight toasted breadiness, wet ash, a browned drupe fruitiness, dark sugar, allspice, and decently peppy leafy, herbal hops.

The carbonation is quite low-fi, and generally keeps to itself, the body a sturdy medium weight, and rather smooth, with a shy touch of creaminess. It finishes a little on the sweet side, the bready caramel malt and sublimated fruity hoppiness holding off a minor boozy incursion.

A straight ahead enjoyable winter warmer - big, toasty, sweet, and just a little bit spicy and hoppy, with a gentle alcohol edge that would allow for a least a couple of these, after hiking through the snowbound woods, or an icy suburban street, whatever gets you to this.

 1,256 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 3/1/07

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a sudsy head that pancakes the liquid with lots of big bubbles; some lacing

Smell: Smells like the quintessential Winter Warmer; plenty of caramel malt, almost like a spice cake with hints of citrus also wafting through

Taste: Opens with a spice cake flavor that veers in an earthy hop direction by mid-palate (very English so far); there is also a mineral tone that adds to the Englishness; after the swallow, the malt and hop flavors balance nicely and provide a hint of a leathery tobacco finish; ultimately, the hoppy elements move in a more flavorful American direction

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Christmas in July; the aging on this bottle does it no harm

Thanks to Oxymoron (even though it took me a while to get around to it) and to googzoid10 and welosiped, so that I could taste a fresher, somewhat hoppier version

 924 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes, consumed Dec. 23rd. BBD: 04/04/09

Deep orange with compact yet lasting eggshell foam layering on the surface. Part of it's staying power was a result of the stiff texture of the foam. Reddish tinge, sticky sheets of lacing. Toasted malt aroma, very clean and dry. Toffee and bready malt flavors, complex taste like a blend of rye and pumpernickel. Dry bitterness, not a sweet one thankfully. Medium bodied, good level of carbonation. Overall a nice Winter Warmer with a savory feel, easily drinkable.

 520 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
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 mothman
3.31/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a finger of beige head. Fades to a ring. Color is a amber copper.

Aroma: Mainly all malts. Very English forward. Bready malts. Caramel. Some biscuit. A little toffee and some spice.

Taste: Much like the nose, except there is a little grassy hop profile. There is some orange peel mixed in with the sugar. Some molasses and brown sugar flavor. All the same malt flavors mixed in.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends a little roasty and dry.

Overall, a decent winter warmer. Nothing crazy spectacular, but I have gotten through a few of these this winter.

 613 characters

Photo of Kegatron
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear deep coppery amber, with a tight finger of smooth off-white head. Very rich retention (especially when swirled) which leaves back a strong looking smattering of creamy lace. The aroma is floral up front, with a tea-like herbal nature to it. Plenty of spice is also present, as is a buttery bread element that gives this an almost butterscotch vibe to the sweetness in the nose that is present.

Hops control the taste much more than I would have intiailly thought, with a earthy herbal citric character and some notes of pine and spice. A slick feeling backing of toasted grains adds some sweetness to the profile but the hops return in the finish with plenty of gritty earth and spicy dryness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied overall but this has a bit of thinness to it that seems to come from that hoppy, tea-like flavor in the profile. Very mellow and creamy in the mouth but that thin nature does detract a bit.

This was pretty good. Lots of festive feeling sweetness and spiciness, while the hop profile added some balance and slickness to the body, helping keep the drinkibility up for the most part. Plus there was just enough warmth to the body to help keep the chill off. This was my second Odell beer and I've still liking what they have to offer.

 1,308 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy orange-brown, tawny to be exact. The head is orangish ecru in color and creamily sturdy in constitution. All the hallmarks of a quality cap are present: staying power, fine pits on a rocky surface and sticky lace. I've seen better winter warmers, but not too damn many.

The aroma is heavy on carmel malt, easily twice as evident as citrusy-earthy hops. It's a very nice nose for the style, I'm enjoying it quite a bit. Even without the knowledge provided by the label, I'm easily able to tell that no spices were used in the brewing.

Isolation Ale is good stuff. I like spices in my winter warmers and Christmas ales--if they're done right--but this beer doesn't seem to need them. The flavor is a carbon copy of the nose and I'm glad of it. Sweet, candied caramel provides the bass notes (perfect for the style) and hops add balance, depth and complexity. I love the taste of brown sugar-crusted grapefruit, lemon and orange peel that is on display in this beer.

Come to think of it, Isolation Ale tastes like a mulled, cider-based winter punch. That Odell managed to get it to taste like the holidays without the addition of spices is pretty impressive. The finish retains a good deal of sweetness and remains balanced throughout the long, lingering decrescendo. The body is full without being heavy and the mouthfeel is as smooth as the winter nights are long.

According to the date on the label, this particular bottle is approaching its second birthday and is none the worse for wear. I wish that I had come across a sixer instead of a single because I'd love to have plenty of this beer on hand throughout the winter. Every so often a good old-fashioned Midwestern blizzard comes howling across the plains. What better time could there possibly be to sip and savor an Odell Isolation Ale? This is beautiful beer.

 1,837 characters

Photo of russpowell
4.34/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2006 vintage

Pours efferevescent copper/caramel with a 2.5 fingers offwhite head. Good lacing & head retention

S: Intense almost burnt caramel & malt & some alcohol

T: Smokey caramel & a little aclohol up front, then a hint of cherry& oak. Rich breadyness, vanilla & brown sugar follow as it warms. Finishes with dryness, a slight smokeyness & a praline sweetness

MF: sticky Rich body with excellent carbonation & balance

Drinks good, but 2 would be about my limit. Good winter warmer, would go good with ham or fruitcake

 537 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

God this beer as an extra in a trade, and I had to be honest that I had never heard of it. Still I was excited as it looked like a solid beer for sure. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 03/18/2009.

The pour was very nice, classic for the style really with a nice light caramel color, good clarity here with a light carbonation bubbling up throughout the glass. A nice light head of white coming up and over the top settled down nicely into a thin film that covered the top. The aroma was rich caramel malts and a nice light sweetness, almost a nuttiness to it. Rich flavor, clean, crisp, clean. Nice light roasted caramel flavor with a light hop bitterness and a really nice and rounded out flavor. Smooth, easy drinking and very rich this was a very nice beer to sit down with at dinner and something that I would have no issue with having again.

 881 characters

Photo of Slatetank
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Cloudy Dark amber w/ beige and tan 2 finger head
S - Slight woodiness, nutty malt aroma and minute hoppiness
T - Tinge of nutty amber malt, herbal bitterness and more toasted notes
M - full soft and adequete, moderated carbonation with average finish
D - a quaffable nutty and smooth winter ale

 302 characters

Photo of Jason
4.7/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 12 oz brown long neck bottle with a bottling date in the bottom left hand corner of the label. Label has a blurb about the beer and showing that this beer was brewed for the 2000-2001 season.

Appearance: Mild chill haze, slightly reddish hued amber. Pours to form a with a thick rocky head that takes forever to dissipate.

Smell: Hints of buttery diacetyl and earthy hops, cookie like malt aroma and suggestions of chocolate and toasted biscuits.

Taste: Medium body with a crisp and smooth mouth feel and an unobtrusive carbonation. Hop bitterness is clean and leaves a semi sharp bitterness all the way through the beer, an oily flavour hits middle to end. A sweet brew, lots of cake-like malt flavour with caramel and toasted grain flavours to boot. Great finish, some residual sweetness a mild herbal hop taste.

Notes: Well balanced and a more than decent “Winter Warmer” style brew, aiming more for a “I’ll have another one” winter seasonal brew rather than a monster of a beer that weighs you down after one. I’d happily drink this one all through a cold blustery night.

 1,137 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
2.71/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer is copper hued with a half inch of off white head. Teeming with effervescence. The aroma offers malt, grain, a hint of fruit, subtle sweetness and spice. Rather mild scent overall. The flavor is bready and sweet. Odd finish. A bit harsh and getting worse with every drink. Ut oh. Not really what comes to mind when I think of a winter warmer. Bland, unexciting, and forgetful. C'mon man.

 396 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear dark ruby with some head. Nose has syrup tones with heavy malt edges and a sweet edge. Flavor is robust. Hops present, but not powerfully there. Sweet edge is present and is slightly syrupy on the tongue after it dissipates. Feel is smooth with a touch of bubble. Extremely drinkable. An excellent winter warmer.

 326 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: a deep copper color, with slight haze, under a fine chunk of creamy foam that too-soon gives way and deteriorates.
Aroma: intriquing...mysterious...that only begins to describe the olfactory investigation, dominated neither by malt or hop, suggesting no particular flavor, vegetable before bequeathing fruit, rich and squalid, languorous while luxuriant, a copious compendium of complexity and contradiction.
Taste: bitterness up front, a swift hoppy cameo, then supported by hearty malt, brimming with sweet, yet dark fruit, with some touches of tartness conquering the palate at times, like a lemon to match the peach. A mad mix this is, really, a curious winter warmer that complies to no particular style, and conforms to no ale I've yet to sip. That, though, makes it hard to judge, for though I admire it very much, I never quite got chummy with it.
...no, wait, that's what I thought 15 minutes ago...now, I'm starting to come around...yeah, I could do with more of this! Not a lot more, but a bit, at least...and give thanks to vitriola for the sample!

 1,076 characters

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

Poured on-tap and served in a shaker pint, the beer is a crystal clear, amber-brown coloring, with a fluffy, off-white head. Nose of fig, date, sugar plum, molasses, and candied sugar, with subtle spice notes throughout. Flavors are roasted forward, with a blast of old-world fruit, roasted notes, and subtle nutmeg and cinnamon spice. Bold, full-bodied, with a spiced fig and date sweet blend to make the aftertaste. Smooth, spiced lingering finish. Really good beer.

 468 characters

Photo of Wasatch
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to Bitterbill for this brew.

Pours a nice slight hazy golden amber color, nice tiny fizzy off-white head, nice carbonation, not much sticky lacing to follow. The nose is malty, some nutmeg, spices, and caramel. The taste is malty, slight spice, nutmeg, and caramel. There is a nice bitterness to this brew. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a very tasty winter warmer, recommended. Thanks Bill, I've been wanting to try this one for quite awhile.

 461 characters

Photo of Mebuzzard
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good amber, dark burgundy pour. Slight, but thick head.
Aromas of raisin, biscuit, some ginger (?) and orange surround the nose.
A nice taste. Starts as sweeter malt amber lager, good alcohol to warm you up. The sweetness is cut short by the hops. The biscuit and raisin are replaced with lemon and spice. Not too much for a good, clean finish.

 349 characters

Photo of biegaman
3.87/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Isolation Ale is too pretty not to show off to friends. But if you don't want to share it would be wise to drink from the bottle; this brilliant tawny beer and its soft auburn highlights are so alluring that everyone will want to try it. Appropriate for a cold weather beer, this is topped with a fine dusting of white powder.

I'm all for holiday spices but, generally speaking, I prefer my Winter Warmers to let their malts and hops do the talking. This almost miniature barleywine aroma does just that; gooey caramel malt is coated in pine serum and earthy pungency. It's a bouquet that's mildly rich and subtly mysterious.

The flavour likewise has secrets to share. Tastes of toffee and biscuits pair with a cup of breakfast tea and a heaping tablespoon of honey; for all the delectably sweet notes on the palate there's that herbal, pine-comb and citrus bitterness that comes along to shut them out of the finish.

A complaint I have with brewers is that come winter they seemingly offer nothing but stouts and porters. Sure, I drink more of those in colder months but I don't want them exclusively. Something with this kind of toasty caramel malt, biscuity amaretto flavours and dank hoppiness is a great alternative.

Odell has had a steady, well-regarded reputation in the craft beer community for as long as they've existed. With recurring seasonals like Isolation Ale it's easy to understand why: good recipe, generous flavours, well-made. While a slightly light take on the style, it's definitely one to recommend.

 1,535 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best by Date February 12th, 2010; Sampled February 7th, 2010
An aggressive pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces almost four-fingers of lightly amber tinged, tan colored froth. The beer is a red-amber color that shows a lightly hazed, amber hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells of fruity hops and toasty grain up front. There is a touch of bergamont, some light pine notes, some sweet-tea like crystal malt, big biscuit like malt character and a somewhat subtle, but somehow also distinct note of ripe berries.

A fullish body sticks to the palate with a caramelized grain sweetness that lingers long into the finish. Crystal malt and hops mix to form a berry like fruitiness that is lightly accented by citrus. The finish sees a biscuit driven maltiness play a big role, but the sweetness still is noticeable too. This definitely has a rich maltiness to it, perhaps a bit too crystal malt focused, but it certainly works as a winter seasonal. This is still quite quaffable, though it is certainly rich enough to be a hearty beer to drink a couple pints of in front of the fire.

Not bad, actually even enjoyable, this fits as a winter beer that definitely taken inspiration from imported, hoppy, English Winter ales.

 1,229 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz picked up today at the COOP ... This is my 3rd or 4th of this one. I am pretty excited as it is not a traditional "winter warmer" at all.. instead a nice pale ale with a good nod toward England.

Great 2 finger off white head.... tons of lace and good retention.. clear orange amber..

Nose seems pretty mild... probably needs to really warm up.. toasted bread and lite caramel malt.. hops are there but light and seem to lean toward the earthy varieties..

Flavor mirrors the nose perfectly ... toasted malts ... bits of dry caramel .... and a lite estery fruitiness that plays great ... dry biscuity maltiness.. there seems to be some background citrus hoppiness that makes me think of lemon essence, but it is waaaay in the background.. very crisp and drinkable.

All 4's.

 782 characters

Photo of Karibourgeois
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Clear dark amber pour with an off-white one-finger head. Nice sweet malt aroma. Medium bodied. Taste has flavors of caramel malt, toffee, light spice and earthy hops, which add a really nice balancing bitterness.

 212 characters

Photo of Zorro
4.09/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled due to beerhandy and Blue Max BIF.

This beer is a slightly chill hazed copper colored ale with not too much head formation.

Smell is very spicy. Strong aroma of clove and cinnamon with vanilla and a trace of lemon. There is some cake scent in the malt of this but this is a beer very much dominated by spices.

Taste is sweet and a bit bitter at the beginning with the aftertaste of tobacco. Sharp hop component keeps the sweetness firmly in check here. There is a solid sourness to this that seems to come from some sort of citrus probably lemon. The aftertaste here quickly becomes woody. Spice doesn't show up in the taste nearly as strongly as the scent and this is mostly just a good ale. This is almost as if the beer was dry hopped with spices.

Mouthfeel is good.

Tasty and not an overly spiced and sweetened winter ale. This is a rather superior winter ale for those who prefer bitter and woody to sweet and spicy.

 944 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
3.86/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle(best by 04072007) a deep amber with a large head of foam that subsides slowly leaving a solid fine layer with plenty of lacing.

The smell is one the faint side but I note some sweet malt and some fruitiness.

The taste is quite malty. I can taste some sweet caramel and fresh baked bread up front with just a touch of lemon bitterness from the hops and an even smaller hint of spice in the finsh making for a dry aftertaste.

After a few more sips and as the ale gets closer to room temp, the spice does grow more prominent but it doesn't take over the flavour as I've noticed in other samples of the style. Good stuff!

Bottom line: This is an example of the style that may not be as complex as others but it's a darn good, smooth drinker that is worthy of your patronage. I recommend it.

 823 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Odell Isolation Ale from Odell Brewing Company
3.89 out of 5 based on 777 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.