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Allagash Bourbon Black

July 9, 2012

There is nothing quite like an Allagash beer. This wonderful Belgian-style brewery out of Portland, Maine has consistently delighted me. They’re one of the better breweries along the east coast, and one of the better American breweries in general. I’ve always felt this is because they stick to their guns as a Belgian brewery rather than trying to emulate different types of brewing, whether it be German, English, or American. They focus and they do it well, and it continuously shows. That’s why I get excited when I do see those slight American hints start to pop up in their brewing though, because whether good or bad it shows a fun sense of innovation. Hence, why I immediately ordered their Bourbon Black the instant I saw it.

If you recall, the Allagash Black really is quite delicious and complex, and the Bourbon Black does not disappoint.

It pours a pitch black with a sort of toasted brown head that sits atop of it. It immediately hits you with a scent of sweet Belgian yeast and vanilla, implying an overlying sweetness in the brew that is not necessarily misleading. The beer has a nice medium body, not as thick as it’s non-barrel aged cousin, though it still retains an amazing silky texture.

The taste is not as complex as one might expect, instead being a more rounded combination. It hits you with tastes of roasted malt, Belgian yeast, light hints of vanilla and booze, much like the Black. However, it then comes at you with the tastes of barrels; more booze, oak, bourbon, and so on. Overall, the beer is good but it is not the “let’s break down the door and drink it,” good that the original Black is. In the end, it just seems to be lacking something that the original does have.

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