Tag Archives: Bottle

849 – 878 Various Allagash Beers

For 4+ weeks in April/May I drank all Allagash beer including many beers that were 3+ years old. Rather than writing a complete review of each I am just going to do a brief overview of each. If you have never been to the brewery Allagash has one of the best brewery tours out there and if you ever get the opportunity to attend one of their events go. Their bottle releases, annual Street Fair and other events are always a great time.

849. Allagash Astrid

Many of these bottles are brewery only releases and several are described simply as “ale aged in oak barrels”. This one is specific in the type of barrels saying “ale aged in Aquavit barrels”. Aquavit is a Scandanavian spirit that I have never tried so not sure what it adds to the flavor but I did enjoy Astrid. A bit of funk in the nose, along with some apricot, lemon and oak from the barrels. Interesting combination of fruit, barrel and funk but I enjoyed it.
Allagash Astrid
850. Allagash Avance

This was one of my favorites from the 30 days of Allagash. Avance is a barrel aged beer brewed with molasses and aged on strawberries. The combination of oak, bourbon, strawberries and just a bit of funk make this an exceptionally complex beer. Very light sour and little carbonation but it all works together for a very enjoyable beer.
Allagash Avance
851. Allagash Belfius

Belfius is a combination of Allagash’s Saison and coolship beers. I got some green apple and a bit of funk in the nose which follows through to the flavor. As it warmed the saison came through nicely. Enjoyable and more refreshing than some of the other beers in this list but overall just not quite as good as many as the others.
Allagash Belfius
852. Allagash Century Ale

Century Ale is one of the few 375s that made it out to distribution and can still be found in some bottle shops. This is a straight up brett saison that is dry hopped before being packaged. Very good mix of fruity hops and dry bready funk from the brett. For whatever reason I was not expecting much from this beer and really enjoyed it.
Allagash Century Ale
853. Allagash Coolship Cerise

The Coolship series includes a number of beers that are spontaneously fermented in Allagash’s coolship. Cerise is aged on Maine grown cherries which gives it a lot of funky sourness. Cherries really come through but not in a cough medicine sweet way. Truly exceptional beer here and glad that I have a few more bottles kicking around the cellar.
Allagash Coolship Cerise
854. Allagash Coolship Red

Similar to Coolship Cerise but this one is aged on raspberries. The raspberries come through strong in the aroma, color and flavor. This combines very well with just a hint of funk and earthy aroma/flavor. Carbonation was active helping to give the beer a nice tart finish. These Coolship beers are right up there with the best from Belgium.
Allagash Coolship Red
855. Allagash Curieux

Not sure how I made it through 850+ beers without reviewing Allagash Curieux as this is truly one of the best bourbon barrel aged beers being produced. So many breweries take their biggest, baddest stout, throw it in some bourbon barrels to add some bourbon and oak and think it is the best thing ever. Allagash instead took their Triple and aged it in Jim Beam barrels. What you get is a very complex beer with plenty of vanilla from the oak, fruity flavors from the yeast and a bit of booze from the combination of a high ABV triple and the additional of bourbon barrels. So much happening in this beer than anyone could find something to enjoy in it.
Allagash Curieux
856. Allagash Cuvee d’Industrial

A blend of barrels from Allagash resulted in Cuvee d’Industrial. Such an interesting mix of aroma and flavor here with some oak, earthy funk, green apple, lemon zest. Not quite as funky and sour as the Coolship beers but you can tell this is an Allagash beer with the bright and complex flavors.
Allagash Cuvee d'Industrial
857. Allagash Emotional Honey

This is the first beer  of the 30 days that I could describe as malty which is interesting since this started as a sour red ale and then was aged in mead barrels. You would think this would impart a super sweet character into the beer, instead it gives it a super dry finish. Not a lot of sour with this one just a well crafted enjoyable beer.
Allagash Emotional Honey
858. Allagash Evora

Evora is a brett beer aged on brandy barrels. Big Belgian yeast character with a fair amount of booze and barrel. Not as complex as many of the other beers from Allagash but still enjoyable. Overall a little more booze than I enjoy and I am guessing if you like brandy than you would probably enjoy this beer but overall I was a little disappointed.
Allagash Evora
859. Allagash Fluxus 2013

This one I did not give a rating as it probably should not have sat for nearly three years before being enjoyed. This was truly the only beer of the 30+ days that I did not enjoy and it was most likely a combination of it being a dark beer and the age which I am sure did not help this beer any.

Allagash Fluxus 2013
860. Allagash Ghoulschip

This was likely the oldest bottle that I opened as this was from the 2011 release of Ghouschip. Not sure if it was the age but there was virtually no pumpkin flavor left which is entirely OK with me. Certainly some funk and a little caramel sweetness. Lots of complexity in this beer even with 4.5 years of age on it. I have a couple bottles of the 2014 version and it will be interesting to see how these compare with the 2011 variety.
Allagash Ghoulschip
861. Allagash Golden Brett

This is a great introduction to brett beers for those that have not tried them before. The beer itself has a nice touch of fruit with some apricot, green apple and a bit of grape almost wine like flavor. Taste is crisp, lightly tart, refreshing and won’t make you pucker up too much. Super easy and clean finish, just a great beer overall and something that beer drinkers and non-beer drinkers could enjoy.
Allagash Golden Brett
862. Allagash Helena

I love this style of beer as Allagash calls Helena a Flemish Red and when this style is done well it is great. Fortunately Allagash does almost everything well and Helena does not disappoint. Big green apple tartness along with a bit of oak and a dry clean finish make this a great beer. Another beer that I have at least one more in the cellar and I am already looking forward to opening it.
Allagash Helena
863. Allagash House Beer (Haunted)

Allagash released a “haunted” version of their House Beer making it into a dark beer with an ABV of 6.66%. One of the many reasons I love Allagash is they don’t take things too seriously and are willing to do fun things like a “haunted” version of one of their beers. This was available in 4-packs at the brewery. Overall this is a nice beer but the coffee flavors were prevalent and I genuinely do not like coffee. Fun, easy drinking beer but not my style.
Allagash House Beer Haunted
864. Allagash Invisible Orange

The second beer of the 30+ days that I didn’t really enjoy and both were dark beers that included blood oranges. This one the description alone was enough to turn me off but I tried it and finished the 375 bottle. Belgian Style porter aged in French oak barrels using chocolate malts and blood orange pulp zest, who thought up of that combination. Maybe its your thing but it wasn’t mine.
Allagash Invisible Orange
865. Allagash Little Sal

Little Sal uses a pound of Maine blueberries per gallon of beer and was aged in red wine barrels. I love beer aged in wine barrels, much more so than bourbon or other spirit barrels and the addition of blueberries just put this one over the top. Only slightly tart with a bit of funk but overall the fruit, oak and wine character makes this beer a truly enjoyable experience.
Allagash Little Sals
866. Allagash Mattina Rossa

Another fruited beer from Allagash, this one with local raspberries. Aroma is big raspberries and funk. More tart than most of the others I have reviewed but in an enjoyable way. This one will make you pucker and your mouth water well after you have finished the last sip. Just a really great beer and one that I have enjoyed several times at beer fests and glad they finally released bottles to the public last year so I could enjoy at home.
Allagash Mattina Rossa
867. Allagash Merveilleux

Merveilleux is a blend of bourbon barrel and wine barrel aged beers that creates a very interesting and complex flavor profile. My initial thought was a straight up sour brown but as it warmed the complexity came out with some fig, cherry, oak, vanilla. Such an interesting beer with just enough of a bite to let you know its a sour beer but allows the subtle flavors of the barrels come through.
Allagash Merveiluex
868. Allagash Midnight Brett

Similar to some of the other beers already reviewed but with an added roasted chocolate, coffee flavor from the dark malts. Generally any beer that has coffee flavors will not score well with me since I do not enjoy coffee and this is no different. Starts off similar to most Allagash beers with a tart slightly funky flavor but the finish is all roasted malts with some coffee.
Allagash Midnight Brett
869. Allagash Nancy

This was probably my second favorite beer of the 30 days with the only thing holding it back was a lack of aroma. Appearance was great and the flavor started with some brett funk and plenty of cherry flavor. As it warmed the cherry became the dominant flavor but in a sour tart kind of way not jammy sweet. Just a super beer that I could enjoy over and over again.
Allagash Nancy
870. Allagash Neddles

Cool story behind Neddles as Allagash’s first employee Ned left Allagash to start New England Distilling just around the corner from Allagash. Allagash brewed a sour brown and aged it in rum barrels from New England Distilling and named it Neddles. The story alone adds to the character of this beer since Ned is a great guy doing great things but the beer also does not disappoint. Some dark fruit, a bit of funk and plenty of oak. Rum is muted but does work its way towards the front as the beer warms.
Allagash Neddles
871. Allagash Odyssey

Another dark beer aged in oak barrels however this one has lots of dates, raisin, molasses sweetness but none of the cocoa/coffee flavor that I generally dislike in my beer. It is a big beer at 10.4% ABV so there is a certain amount of booze but it is not off putting. Overall not my preferred style but the beer works and was enjoyable even with the high ABV.
Allagash Odyssey
872. Allagash Pick Your Own

My favorite beer of the 30+ days and likely my favorite Allagash beer. A sour red with raspberries, cherries and strawberries brought the best of everything to this beer. Very tart to the point of almost making your eyes water. Lots of berry flavor but not in a candy kind of way just a pleasant funky sour berry. Really enjoyable beer here.
Allagash Pick Your Own
873. Allagash Sixteen Counties

This is the original version of Sixteen Counties released in 4-packs of 12 ounce bottles. Allagash has since released a 750 ml cork and cage version which I believe is going to be a year round release for them. Sixteen Counties uses ingredients from all the counties in the State of Maine. This is a slightly hoppy Belgian pale ale with some nice spicy flavors from the Belgian yeast and a bit of grassy/earthy flavors from the hops. Such a crisp and clean beer.
Allagash Sixteen Counties
874. Allagash Tiarna

Another blend of two beers from Allagash. One is fermented with brett and the other with standard Belgian strains. Tiarna ends up being a slightly tart beer with a nice mix of bready malt and some lemon. Carbonation was heavy and very active but it didn’t take away from the beer. Enjoyable beer but not quite as good as many of the others.
Allagash Tiarna
875. Allagash Victor

I had high hopes for Victor and Victoria (see below), red grapes used in the brew process and fermented with wine yeast seemed like something I would enjoy. The beer poured a deep orange with solid white head. Aroma is full of spicy yeast. The only word that comes to mind to describe the taste is musty which is probably not the best term but all I can think of when drinking it. Overall a well crafted beer but it did not compare well with many of the other excellent beers in this list.
Allagash Victor
 876. Allagash Victoria

This beer is similar to Victor but uses Chardonnay grapes instead of red grapes. Again it seemed like a beer I would enjoy but the yeast was the dominant flavor with almost no funk or tartness. The 9% ABV is completly hidden both in the nose and the taste. Overall a nice beer that was slightly better than Victor but still not my thing.
Allagash Victoria
877. Allagash Vrienden

This is another really old bottle as the beer was brewed in 2010 and released in 2011. It was brewed at both Allagash’s facility in Portland and a different version was brewed at New Belgium Brewing of Colorado. Vrienden, the Allagash version, was brewed with dandelion greens and elderberries. Not a lot of carbonation left in this one which muted the aromas a bit. Taste had turned a bit acidic but still had a nice herbal and mildly funky berry finish. Very interesting beer that has held up surprisingly well over the 5 years since it was bottled.
Allagash Vrienden
878. Allagash Zohzo

Described as a hoppy blonde ale it is entirely different than most of the beers coming out of Allagash. Relatively simple especially when compared to the sour, barrel aged funk that many of the previous beers had but this one is very refreshing with a nice piney hop presence and simple malt backbone. Hoping this one comes around again as I enjoyed it.
Allagash Zohzo

Overall my 30 days of drinking nothing but Allagash beer was a fun way to dig through my cellar and enjoy some great beers that I had been hoarding for too long. I really shouldn’t need an excuse to drink lots of great beer from an exceptional brewery but I might have to do this with a few other breweries to get through my deep cellar.

 

 

 

 

 

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812. Dieu du Ciel! Moralite

Dieu Du Ciel La MoraliteI don’t drink a lot of beer from outside of the US but this summer someone from Quebec came down to Portland and brought a bunch of beer from Canada and Vermont with him. I traded some stuff from Maine for a few bottles and cans which included a couple bottles from Dieu de Ciel! This is their American style IPA which was brewed in collaboration with John Kimmich from The Alchemist Brewery in Vermont.

Moralite pours a hazy orange with a great white head that left a ton of lacing, great looking beer. Aroma is full of pine, citrus and tropical fruits, very nice. Taste continues with citrus, tropical, pine just what I like in my IPAs. My only complaint with this beer is the bottle was far too small.

Not sure if bottles of this make it to the US often but if you see it be sure to buy some.
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 6.5% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Dieu du Ciel!
Brewers Description: The concept of Morality may give rise to various interpretations and Quebec, it has a historical link with alcohol. Certainly, we use an immoral amount of hops from a mix of Simcoe, Citra and Centennial. This results in a dry finish, aromatic and slightly resinous evoking tropical fruits and revealing a sharp bitterness. Morality was born from a collaboration with John Kimmich The Alchemist Brewery Vermont. (Translated using Google Translate)

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783. Smuttynose Brewing Shebang

Smuttynose ShebangI had this beer on draft at Marche in Lewiston and enjoyed it. A few weeks later I found some bottles at Joka’s in Waterville so I decided to grab one to enjoy at home. The bottle was nearly three months old so it may have lost something in that time but I find the really big 10%+ DIPAs don’t lose as much as some of the smaller beers.

Great looking beer with a deep orange color and thick white head. The aroma when cold was very light with some fruity hop aroma but the alcohol really took over as it warmed. Taste has lots of pine and a bit of grapefruit followed by a big bitterness that lingers. The bitterness and the big alcohol flavor made me happy this was a small bottle.

Overall a good beer but they may have gone a little too big.
Pros: 

Cons: Too bitter and too much alcohol
Alcohol Content: 10.5% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Smuttynose Brewing
Brewers Description: Shebang (triple IPA, 10.5%) goes further than Big A; featuring a lupulin cornucopia! Bravo and Zeus were used in the boil additions, while dry hopping is a blend of Summit, Pacific Gem and Falconer’s Flight.  For perspective, Shebang uses about 6 pounds of hops per barrel, while Finestkind is brewed with just over 1 pound per barrel.

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776. Devils Backbone Brewing Company Eight Point IPA

Devils Backbone Eight Point IPASecond beer from Devils Backbone and this one is a classic American IPA. Nothing special here but it is a well balanced beer. Mixing floral, grassy hops with a malt sweetness and bit of a pepper spice.

Finish is bitter but not over done. Nice beer but there are 100’s others just like it. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 5.9% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): 60
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Devils Backbone Brewing
Brewers Description: This is the first batch of beer we brewed after the conception of Devils Backbone Brewing Company in 2008. Our brewmaster Jason Oliver was thinking about how to design the IPA when he heard a rustle near his fence line (just touching the woods) where he saw two young proud eight point bucks walking along it. He decided to name the beer after those young bucks as it seemed to fit the spirit of the beer,which is proud, brash, youthful, yet approachable.

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775. Devils Backbone Brewing Company Double Gooch

Devils Backbone Double GoochThis one is a collaboration between Devils Backbone Brewing and Fat Heads Brewery both of which are new to me. I think this beer suffered a bit from age as it was brewed in February and consumed in May so a little over three months.

Appearance is a crystal clear orange with a very thin white head that dissipated quickly. Aroma was muted piney dank hops and a bit of alcohol. Taste followed but there was also a fair amount of herbal, spicy and floral hops which took away from the dank, resiny hops. My favorite IPAs are citrus or tropical fruit followed by the dank, pine hops and then a distant third are the herbal, spicy, floral hops. I had high hopes for this one from the aroma but lost that in the taste.

This could be an entirely different beer fresh so this review may not be accurate if you can find a fresh batch give it a try as it is a solid beer. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 8.0% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): 80
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Devils Backbone Brewing
Brewers Description: Double Gooch Imperial International Pale Ale uses distinctive Southern Hemisphere hops from Australia and New Zealand alongside some bright and juicy US hops. Fat Heads Brewery brewed a Gooch Pale Ale using Southern Hemisphere hops this summer and we decided to brew a bigger danker version.

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765. Ballast Point Brewing Grapefruit Sculpin

Ballast Point Grapefruit SculpinSince reviewing and then re-reviewing the original Sculpin IPA I have been on the look out for the varieties. I picked this up in Vermont a week or two before it hit the shelves in Maine. I enjoyed fresh Sculpin and expected the grapefruit would add a lot more than it did.

Appearance is a nice pale orange with a solid white head that lingered and left plenty of lacing. Aroma has plenty of grapefruit (shocking I know) but also has a nice candylike sweetness. The grapefruit is dialed back a bit in the taste but still very prominent. This beer is still very well balanced and quite refreshing.

Need to find the Habanero Sculpin now to see how that compares.
Pros:
Grapefruit
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 7.0% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): 70
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Ballast Point
Brewers Description: Our Grapefruit Sculpin is the latest take on our signature IPA. Some may say there are few ways to improve Sculpin’s unique flavor, but the tart freshness of grapefruit perfectly complements our IPA’s citrusy hop character. Grapefruit’s a winter fruit, but this easy-drinking ale tastes like summer.

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764. Victory Brewing Helles Lager

Victory Helles LagerMy second free beer from Victory, not a new beer but a new name. Victory Helles Lager was previously Victory Lager or at least I think it is the same beer.  If I am wrong please correct me.

Nothing too crazy here but exactly what I expect from a Helles Lager. Pale yellow color with minimal aroma. Slightly sweet and a bit of grassy on both the aroma and taste. Finish is super clean and refreshing. This beer was gone in no time and something I would certainly drink again.

Nothing crazy but a Helles Lager isn’t supposed to be. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 4.8% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Victory Brewing
Brewers Description: There was a time when all beer tasted this good. Back when immigrant Brewmasters turned fresh malts and hops into liquid gold. Before big business lessened our precious beer with corn and rice. Having trained in Germany, we thirst for better beer. So, we brew better beer like this crisp, golden, helles-style lager. Brewed with patience from quality German malts and hops, it is a Victory for Your Taste!®

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762. Funky Buddha Brewing Floridian

Funky Buddha FloridianI can’t even remember how this beer ended up in my fridge, probably an extra in a trade but I was excited to try it as I enjoy the hefeweizen style. This style is great when the weather gets warm so I was hoping a brewery from Florida would make a good one.

Floridian pours a slightly hazy orange with almost no head that disappeared right away. Aroma is typical of the style; banana, clove and slightly sweet. Taste is wheat and clove. The beer seemed heavier than it needed to be which made it not as refreshing as I had hoped.

Completely average beer and many better options in the style.
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 5.2% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Funky Buddha
Brewers Description: Our unfiltered and refreshing German-style wheat beer is full on flavor yet light on the palate. Authentic hefeweizen yeast creates the compelling aromas of bananas, citrus, and cloves, while the all wheat and malt body perfectly captures the brilliance of a golden Florida sunset.

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761. Victory Brewing Anniversary 19 Session IPA

Victory Anniversary 19Victory contacted me a few months ago and asked if I would be willing to review some of their beers. I love DirtWolf and Hop Ranch and I also love free beer. A few weeks after being contacted a package arrived at my home with Anniversary 19 and their Helles Lager. I was surprised to see their 19th Anniversary beer was a session IPA. Seems most breweries offer up a big, barrel aged or other more special beer.

Session IPAs are not my favorite style. There are other styles of beer that work better for flavorful low ABV beer. This one pours a very pale yellow with a thin white head the disappears quickly leaving little to no lacing on the glass. Aroma was mild with some lemon but not much else. Taste is very light with some lemon zest and light floral hops. Finish is slightly bitter.

Overall this beer is refreshing and good for what it is but I wouldn’t make much of an effort to track it down. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 4.5% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Victory Brewing
Brewers Description: Welcome to our birthday bash! As our gift to you, we’ve brewed this crisp and easy drinking session IPA – full of hop flavor – for you to enjoy all night long. So put this beer to your lips and start shakin’ what your mama gave you – the party is just getting started.

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750. Stoneface Brewing Hopulization

Stoneface HopulizationThis is my third beer from Stoneface and I expected it to be better than it was. Their Red Rye still takes the top spot but I have heard good things about Mozaccalypse. Honestly not sure where this one went wrong as it is a solid beer. It may have been bad timing as I have been drinking a lot of Epiphany, Swish and Hill Farmstead beers lately and this one just doesn’t measure up.

Appearance is a very clear orange with a nice white head that left ample lacing on the glass. Aroma is nice with plenty of citrus and a nice amount of sweetness but falls short of those IPAs mentioned above. Taste follows with the same muted citrus and some pine, alcohol is well hidden making it a very easy beer to drink.

Overall this is a very good beer but if you are going to make a double IPA it better be great as there are so many choices out there.
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 8.9% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Stoneface Brewing
Brewers Description: Hopulization is an irresponsible experiment of hop utilization. This Double IPA is built with 2-row pale, white wheat, and crystal malts – and then dry-hopped twice, using Galaxy, Calypso, and a touch of Simcoe hops. Twice. We did it two times.

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