25 February 2010

Patron saint of hopless cases

I had vague recollections of hearing good things about Odell's St Lupulin when I saw it for sale. It's a 6.5% ABV summer ale, with a name that promises big things in the hop department. I'm never sure with strong American beers whether that's going to be a good thing or a bad thing. There's only one way to find out.

The beers pours a rather sickly and pale cloudy yellow -- my camera is being very flattering to it over on the right there. The aroma is bubblegum and lemon washing-up liquid: equal parts alluring and repellant. A grey yeasty deposit stayed over in the bottom of the bottle.

The first thing that struck me on sipping was the body. Disappointingly thin for such a strong beer with no mouth-coating effect leaving little by way of residual flavours. The first notes are a sharp bitterness, with a dull tang on the end suggesting some mild oxidation not quite covered by the citric west-coast hops. The flavour rises to a sugary Juicy Fruit crescendo, then crashes out into wateriness in quite an unsatisfactory sort of way.

In fairness the bottle didn't last long -- I sunk the whole lot in just a few minutes without dwelling on it too much, and maybe that's how it's supposed to be treated. It's just very odd to find a beer that has both sweetness and bitterness in spades yet offers very little by way of balance.


  1. Could the problem here be that it's a summer ale and it's February? We've had bottles of this in England since before GBBF and a few people (including Zak and Thornbridge Kelly) have raved about how good it is. Could you just have an old bottle? I haven't had it myself.

  2. Hmmm... I did check the best-before date and there was nothing untoward. But it could just have been a wonky bottle. O the joy of bottle conditioning.

  3. Michael Elliott1:48 pm

    By coincidence, I had a bottle of this last night (my second, and with best-before date in October 2009). I loved it!

    (Having said that, I can't make any positive claims about my erudition; I may just be very easy to please.)

  4. ooooh - I loved it. It was sweet though, no mistake....