83 / 100
2011 vintage, brought back by BA @lacqueredmouse and shared.
Pours a pale golden colour, slight orange tinge. Lots of unfiltered haze. Head is off-white and nice, pillowy and dense but maybe too generous. Lace is pretty pleasant. Looks good.
Smell is very sour and funky. Big brett character giving blue cheese, vinegar and lemon zest. Great, though, with nutty notes as well - pine nuts, peanut and cashew just balancing the royal bejeesus out of what is already a divinely beautiful sour aroma. That's ridiculously enjoyable.
Taste has similar characters. The problem here is they're blended in a way that doesn't entirely work, rather than presented more side-by-side for a proper look-in. Lots of sweetness, with candied orange zest and touches of brett - lucerne and a hint of that sour bacteria flavour. Witbier sweetness, champagney finish, very pleasant touch of tartness. That sourness really could assert itself more, it's quite sweet and dry on the back. Clean, but it just makes me hanker for more sourness.
Full, fairly foamy, a bit dry. Pretty nice.
Yeah, I'm a fan of that. It drinks like a conventional beer, but there's a whole lot of weird idiosyncracies going on as well. Love it.
60 / 100
Tried this on-tap in 2010 and wasn't overly impressed. This time, I have a bottle which was brought back from the US to Australia. Let's see what I think this time around.
Pours a cloudy yellow-golden colour, light but bright, and holding nicely. Head is initially immense and frothy, but it subsides somewhat, leaving very solid and clumping, almost egg-white lacing around the outside of the glass. Looks really goodâthe sort of beer you see and say "I'll have what he's having".
Nose is round and smooth, with big Belgian notes, but perhaps not the funk or acidity I expected. Rather, it has stewed tomatoes, pepper and a little turned earth, but nothing more rustic and organic than that. Very pleasant, but not exactly what I was expecting.
Taste again misses a lot of the wild notes, but it has a pleasant Belgian roundness to it. Quite a thin body, with a slight crisp bitterness and a yeasty dry finish. It's pretty bland, to be honest. It doesn't have the depth of a true Belgian ale, but it doesn't have the crispness, complexity or refreshment of a good wild.
Sigh. It doesn't really know what it wants to be. It's not a good Belgian style ale, and it's not a good American Wild, it just sits in the void between the two. Again, I'm not particularly impressed. I expect more from Allagash, and from American Wilds in general.
Had on tap at Monk's Kettle San Francisco. Pours a clear light golden colour, with just a filmy head of white bubbling, that stays mostly around the edges. Looks relatively thin in the body, quite light all up.
Some funk on the nose, a little organic mulch character and a bit of barnyard. Certainly no vinous, oaky or acidic notes, however. Belgian characters of tinned baked beans are noticeable, adding some roundness. Not bad.
Funky on the palate too, again with a slight vegetal organic character. Thin and biscuity through the mid, with a slick and wet finish, that nonetheless still feels as though it's lacking a bit of body. Long afterpalate at least, but overall it doesn't feel particularly complex. It ends up simple but inoffensive.
Drinkable enough, and the alcohol content isn't present at all. Fine enough to drink, but I've had some much better wilds.
83 / 100
Pops the cork with a very impressive sound. Pours a beautiful cloudy golden yellow with a nice thick head of crunchy, crackling milk-coloured bubbles. Great lacing. Looks a top drop.
Lots of phenolic activity on the nose. Big oaky characters, citrus, resin, a bit of wine cork, unique but refined, fresh but aged. Lots of sharp fruit as well, maybe cherries or cranberries, in a lingering overtone. Very nice indeed.
Smooth sweet entry, with a blossoming robust oak character. Sweet, lightly citric notes on the mid palate before the long finish, dry and crisp, with a noticeable alcohol heat. Mouthfeel has a perfect sheen on it, and only at the end when the big alcohol presence is felt is there a tingling on the tongue. Yet in a way the prominent alcohol character numbs this away.
For me, this is such a classic American craft beer. A Belgian style tripel aged in bourbon casks. Where else in the world could such a beer be possible?
A big beer, very refined, but somewhat hard to approach as well. There are some really lovely characters to this. The huge ABV is daunting, and to be honest, isn't necessary. There's just a bit too much of it noticeable on the palate.
But this is a very nice beer nonetheless. Not something for every day, but something worth savouring on a rare occasion. Try it once now, and then maybe again in a year or so.
89 / 100
Pours with a massive, dense and solid white head. Snow white in fact. Nice cloudy yellow-brown appearance. Can't get much lacing, in fact it pretty much clears the glass. Good witbier appearance.
Exemplary witbier aroma. A lot of coriander and other spicy notes, tropical fruit esters as well. It's just spicy and fruity and pleasant, with lots of spice and fruit, plus fruity spice kind of characters. Damn fine. Spicy. Spicy and fruity.
Taste is also very nice. Spicy on the front palate moves along to a very sweet, fruity essence. But there's a lot of dry spice and rich, gloaming mouthfeel, very full and very delicious. This is an immaculate witbier, perfectly balanced with lovely complex flavours and as refreshing as you can get.
75 / 100
Pours a lightly cloudy orange amber colour, with a good frothy head of off-white bubbles. Little carbonation or lacing present. Looks pretty good.
Spicy citrus on the nose - rather reminiscent of Grand Marnier. There's a deep sweetness, like treacle or black caramel, but with light fruity characters over the top. Under this is a brandy/liqueur character which just deepens the aroma and adds an extra dimension. Nice.
Spicy on the palate too, hints of clove, pepper and allspice, but with an undeniable sweetness underlying it all. Finish is long and drawn out, with a lingering alcohol heat - it's a pleasant character, but means it takes some time to sip your way through it. Palate is quite dry by the end. Mouthfeel is slick and smooth. Just great.
Once again Allagash shows that they can knock swords with the Belgians, the fathers of these styles. This is a very tasty Belgian Strong, loaded with character, and an excellent approximation of the classic examples.
69 / 100
Dark, cloudy, opalescent brown with just highlights of dark orange around the sides. Small bubbles of carbonation feed a creamy head of beige crema. Excellent lacing.
Dark liquor type aromas on the nose; port, chocolate and rum. There's a nice dry, but sweet mocha character to it as well. It's really quite sweet, but it's a dark sweetness - verging towards bitter or toasted. Very nice.
Taste is also good, but a little thin. There's a very pleasant sweet character on the front palate that slides into a more bittersweet dark chocolate or burnt toffee flavour. But it's quite thin in the mouth, and I get a kind of empty feeling from the taste - like the full spectrum of the palate isn't filled in.
The bits that are there are nice, but it really feels like it's missing something - it really lacks depth in the palate.
That being said, it's very drinkable, especially for a 7% brew. Indeed, the thin palate probably improves its drinkability, because it doesn't feel like it's bloating you.
Overall, it's a decent brew. Very pleasant and easy to drink. But unlike their White, which very nearly puts the Belgian Witbiers to shame, this one is only an approximation of the Trappist brewers' art.
91 / 100
What a beautiful looking beer! Beautiful cloudy straw-yellow body, with a huge, firm, rocky head of white foam. Fine bubbles of carbonation. Pretty much a perfect-looking witbier. Just gorgeous.
Phenomenally fragrant beautiful nose, dominated by candied orange peel. Sweet hints of pepper, spice, fruit-cake and delicious, luscious Belgian yeast character. Wow, easily the equal of the best Belgian example I've had.
Delicious on the palate too. Nice spicy notes of clove, soaked candied fruits and a lingering dry-but-sweet candi sugar character. Delicious. Mouthfeel quite light and suitable.
This is a damn, damn fine witbier. Fragrant, sweet, juicy, delicious. What a fantastic brew. Without a doubt as good as the best Belgian wit, and probably better again. Top, top notch.
Thanks very much to my girlfriend for bringing this back from the US for me.