Allagash Bourbon Barrel Black - Allagash Brewing Company

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Allagash Bourbon Barrel Black
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BA SCORE
92
outstanding

432 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 432
Reviews: 87
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 9.66%
Wants: 66
Gots: 44 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Allagash Brewing Company visit their website
Maine, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: rye726 on 03-04-2009

Our Belgian Style Stout, Black, aged for one year in bourbon barrels. The toffee,chocolate and coconut nose is followed by a smooth bitter chocolate and bourbon flavor. The finish is dry, roasted and warming.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 432 | Reviews: 87
Reviews by KevT:
More User Reviews:
Photo of bishopdc0
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this at Novare Res paired with a local chocolate

The appearance is black with a beautiful tan head formed. The head stays and hangs on the glass.

The aroma is great, of course bourbon upfront, but the woody oaky aroma comes through with a smooth malt. The roasted and chocolate malts come through making all blend well.

The taste is very well blended allagash knows how to barrel age. The malty roast with wood, bourbon very well balanced. It is smooth on the tongue notes of vanilla and almost molasses. It finishes with a sweet and roasted finish with a easy carbonation.

I know I'm a beer guy as I am at a valentine choc tasting with my wife and her best friend discussing weddings and enjoying it. Oh yeah the pairing were with rares or limited beers

Photo of tigg924
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at the New World Tavern--Plymouth

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, dark brown in color, cloudy

Smell: bourbon and dark chocolate

Taste: chewy fine chocolate with slight nuttiness and light caramel--the bourbon and oak come through on the end.

Mouthfeel: medium-high carbonation, heavy body,sweet with an alcohol rush on the end

Overall: This and Odyssey are now my two favorite Allagash beers. I love this one because the bourbon adds to the beer and does not take over until the end. The base is chewy complex chocolate--almost like fine candy..Not overly sweet but fine candy. The bourbon at the end melts in my mouth. If I can find this again, I will get it in a heartbeat. Superior beer.

Photo of glid02
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Leon’s Full Service in Atlanta.

Pours black with a 1.5-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of dark malts with good amounts of vanilla and oak. Also present are mild amounts of roast and tobacco backed by milder amounts of banana aromas.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Smooth dark malts are joined quickly by hints of bananas and slight dark fruits. Joining in shortly thereafter are solid amounts of vanilla with light spicy bourbon in the background. Light tobacco comes into play near the end of the sip, fading out into a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It’s got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall I was impressed with this beer – the bourbon manages to integrate nicely with the existing flavor profile and doesn’t cross the threshold into overkill. Well worth a shot.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There's not much I really have to say about this beer that I haven't already conveyed in my review of the straightforward Allagash Black. It's clearly aged in Bourbon barrels (although since I had it on tap I wasn't aware of that until I tasted it). I'd remembered liking the Black because it wasn't overdone. It was soft, and supple, and relaxed, and to be honest, this is very much the same. The Bourbon is not overblown at all, and it simply adds some Bourbon flavor, a bit of wood, and a light note of vanilla. Does it help the already complex "Black"? Probably not. If anything, it may distract you from the subtle nuances that were already there. But it IS an interesting change. And to a certain extent, it becomes almost like another beer, rather than just a beer that's been "Bourbon barrel aged". I like them both equally, and I can't choose one over the other. That would simply depend on my mood. So, with that said, I'd say it's worth trying to be sure. Especially for those who enjoy Bourbon barrel aged beers. And on that note let me add one more thought: given that it's a Bourbon barrel beer, I still found it quite drinkable, which is not always the case. Nicely done with a restrained hand. Worth trying.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

8oz. pour into a Stang. Not sure why they chose to serve it this way. Reviewed from memory the same night.

Served with a 1 finger light mocha head with decent retention. Beer is opaque black but thin. Lacing is stringy with nice stick. Decent.

Nose is plum, prunes, and other fresh, dark fruit. Bourbon overtones with honey and molasses mixed in also. Some light chocolate as well. Sweet and fresh. Moderately aromatic. Nice.

Fresh dark fruit. Prunes, plum, grape, bourbon, molasses, and honey. Good fruit sweetness balanced by some chocolate notes. Booziness is apparent but not overpowering. Honey sweetness in the aftertaste. Real solid.

Miedium bodied with moderate carbonation. Perfect for the flavor. Smooth in the mouth with a slight alcohol kick going down. Clean finish with a slightly lingering aftertaste. Couldn't ask for more here.

Aging in bourbon barrels really adds a whole new dimension to this beer that puts it a decent cut above the original. Booziness is present but not overpowering... instead bringing out the robust dark fruit and chocolate flavors. Definitely worth a try.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.16/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Big off-white head. Thick collar. Wispy surface.

Smell - Whoa, funky. Oak. Funky yeastiness. Really oaky. Some bourbon and a strange red wine aroma. Roasty and a little grassy.

Taste - Very oaky. Very roasty. A bit of dark fruit. Kinda sweet. Bitter roasty finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy body. Medium carbonation.

Overall - The oak is funky and weird. My kneejerk reaction to the first sniff was that something was off, but it never panned out and it's just odd.

Photo of thagr81us
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big shoutout goes out to the individuals who supplied me with this one to share! Shared with caSSino and the crew at NoDa Brewing for a celebration of their grand opening! Served from growler into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured a dark ruby red brown with a half finger light tan head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, roasted malt, caramel, wood, sweet alcohol, and dark fruit. The flavor was of sweet malt, dark fruit, wood, subtle sweet alcohol, and caramel. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. I had this one awhile back while at Brewvival this year and I remembered it being pretty good, so I jumped on the opportunity to try it again. The growler version of this one had quite a nice nose and flavor profile going on in it. While being quite complex, everything was very nicely laid out as far as intensity so all of the components of the brew were detectable. A definite must try if you have the opportunity!

Photo of Jettanbass9
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Tria, 12 and Spruce.

A - A couple shades lighter than black, highlights of chestnut brown and dark mahogany. Tight knit head that could be mistaken for a nitro pour. The only reason this didn't get a 5, because the color misled me.

S - WOW! Toasted coconut, vanilla, light notes of bourbon, medium roasted coffee, again fresh coconut, resin, light notes of peppery phenols. Again, I feel like the roasted character could have been a bit more intense but nonetheless, it was present, incredible aroma.

T - Coconut, light notes of bourbon, resin, light and dark blended coffee, light peppery notes from either the alcohol or phenols. Sweetness that lingers but not cloying. Great balance, jam packed with flavor.

M - medium body, surprisingly. for a RIS this finishes fairly dry. light astringency but to be expected from the barrel aged process. great balance.

O - Highly recommended, such complexity. This has the complexity of any highly rated RIS that could be enjoyed next to a fire OR with those fantastic coconut notes, this would be excellent on a cool summer night. Allagash, it would be a favor to the beer community if you could bottle this up. Definitely on my must try again list.

Photo of dvmin98
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the Liberty in Charlotte, NC.

A: very dark; almost black in color

S: hint of bourbon. Not overpowering like Barrel-Aged Blockhead

T: nice bourbon flavor, but not overly 'alcoholic'

M: a bit of a bite in the front, but smooth in the back where that bourbon flavor hits you

O: nice blend of favors and aromas. Impressed

Photo of n2185
3.63/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours black with two fingers of dense, creamy, khaki-colored head that retains well and leaves good lacing.

S: Some candy sugar and Belgian yeasty notes up front followed by the barrel aromas--oak, vanilla, and bourbon.

T: Similar to the aroma with the candy sugar and yeast flavors peeking out from the heavy bourbon, oak, and vanilla shadow.

M: Medium-light body with medium carbonation, the beer's a bit thin without the crispness that usually accompanies the lighter bodies.

O: Overall, a pretty decent beer. The bourbon isn't extremely strong or sweet, but still manages to conceal most of the original flavors of the beer.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.09/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap @ The Reservoir

A - Black with a thin layer of dirty cream coloured head.

S - Oak, bourbon, chcolate, dark fruit.

T - Roast, chocolate, Belgian yeast, clove, spice. Oak and bourbon present but not dominant. Smooth and well integrated barrel and base beer flavours.

M - Medium body. Creamy. Dry. Light carbonation.

Photo of FeDUBBELFIST
3.99/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Draft pour into a 10 1/2 oz tulip, batch #1345, $7.50. The ABV is listed as 8.?. I'm guessing the barrel aging provides varying ABV results.

A: Pours with a light brown head, that is small to begin with and quickly vanishes without a trace. For only 8% ABV, the head could have lasted a little longer and some lacing would have been nice. This brew rolls clean off of the glass. The body is an opaque black but thin ruby edges are visible when held to light. I'm looking for something to justify a better appearance rating but there is really nothing exceptional regarding its look.

S: Bourbon dominates the nose but it isn't assaulting. Dark toasted malts plus grains of wheat and oats. Aroma subtleties include chocolate, spent coffee grounds and star anise.

T: Barrel aging is evident on the palate too, as this brew spent 10 months in bourbon barrels, but the subtlety is most impressive. The perfect amount of bourbon contribution for my taste.

M: The mouthfeel is my favorite aspect of this brew. The Black uses a Belgian yeast strain and is bottle fermented with great results. Light to medium body, leaning toward light. The texture is lush and buttery smooth when the effervescence subsides. Fine carbonation with small and productive bubbles, prickling the tongue all over. Semi warm on the exhale.

D: This is another high-quality brew from Allagash. Although I have to say I prefer the non barrel aged version of the Black. I had it on cask in the same sitting and it was much fruitier and had more nuance. Big plum and red grape, semi sweet. As subtle as the bourbon was in the -bbl aged, it hindered the complexity.

Photo of jsanford
3.55/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Brewvival 2011.

Pours a dark brown (surprising considering the name) with a creamy head. Good aromas of oak, chocolate malt, and Belgian yeast. Nice and roasty with good Belgian stout flavors, but not getting much Bourbon, which is a shame. Slightly creamy, with a medium body and crisp carbonation. Not bad, but where the heck is the Bourbon?

Photo of wedge
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

@ Milltown

Not really black, but rather a very dark mahogany hued body with a fat, tight head. The aroma is fairly mellow to start: light chocolate, coconut, and vanilla bean. Light on the roast and no real trace of yeast. Very smooth, well-integrated flavors like Belgian chocolate, tobacco, rich malt, and creamy vanilla. I don't go crazy for bourbon barrel aged beers in general, as frequently I find them to be over the top, eclipsing the base beer with straight whiskey booze. This was beautifully done, the bourbon being subtle and working with the dark maltiness of Black, making it superior to the original in my eyes. Medium bodied and silky smooth. Not hot or boozy at all. This was the final beer I had during a rather satisfying evening of special and/or draft-only Allagash brews, and this was the surprise winner for me. I look forward to finding it again...

Photo of mikesgroove
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

very happy to be able to try this one. one liter swingtop growler was enjoyed tremendously between me and my brother in law. served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 08/20/2010.

nice dark brown and bordering on black pour but some light and brownish colors could be seen peaking out through the sides. a nice head of tan, maybe two fingers high comes up and over the top, settling down with some nice lacing.

aroma is nice bourbon right up front. vanilla, hints of oak. a nice blend of cocoa and light roasted malts underneath really coming through nicely, bourbon is not too heavy, damn near perfect actually and this carries over very well into the flavor. smooth and rich flavor, a touch lighter on the feel then i would have hoped but still nice. huge notes of vanilla and bourbon just drip off the tongue an each sip becomes more and more involved. final sweet drops are as delicious as the first with smoooth oak and vanilla easily coming though long after i was done..

overall very, very happy with this one, would love to do it again any day.

Photo of jwchestnut
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A rather dark, dark brown - straight black coffee color. Gorgeous thick, foamy, khaki head that sticks around for awhile. The nose is subtle but dark chocolate, Belgian yeast, light bourbon and oak, some dark fruits and as it warms I am picking up on the coconut. The taste is wonderful - much lighter on the bourbon character than other BA'ed beer, which was great - not overdone, but added subtlety to an already favorite of mine - sweet dark malts, dark and milk chocolates and Belgian peppery and spicy yeast but with an added layer of bourbon, oak and burnt sugars. Really enjoyed this. I found the mouth-feel was a little richer and smoother than the light body of the regular Black. All in all really wonderful and thankful to have stumbled across this.

Photo of Absolut
4.56/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Take a great beer and add bourbon, vanilla, molasses. Outstanding.

Photo of metter98
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is near black (extremely dark amber) in color and poured with a thin beige head that slowly faded down and left a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate to strong aromas of bourbon stand out in the nose – these essentially mask out any other aromas.
T: Similar to the smell, flavors of bourbon really stand out in the taste, although these are rather well incorporated and not overpowering in any way.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a light to moderate amount of carbonation. A slight amount of warmth from the bourbon is noticeable in the finish.
O: The beer is relatively easy to drink considering its strength because the alcohol is well masked from the taste (except for that from the bourbon) and the beer isn’t that full bodied.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.46/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had over at Novare Res, says it was aged in Jim Beam barrels. On-tap, not the cask version they sometimes have.

Pours a very dark brown with a good sized tan head that fades at a really slow rate, some patchy lacing.

Smell has a huge bourbon aroma that overwhelms everything else, although there is some roasted malt in there too.

Taste is overly controlled by the bourbon and doesn't meld with the Allagash Black too well, it's like they just pours Jim Beam in there, the subtle complexities of the regular version is lost on this although vanilla makes decent appearance on the taste buds, maybe it just need some time to mellow outside of the barrels because it's also much hotter than it should be.

Bit disappointed, if I wanted to drink Jim Beam, I'd order that and just have the regular Allagash Black as a chaser.

Photo of oline73
3.53/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on-tap at Victoria Gastropub. Poured into a 5oz. tasting glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with light coming through the whole pour. There is a layer of tan head that disappears.

Smell: This has a very mild smell. Some bourbon and roast with some herb/spice notes from the Belgian yeast.

Taste: Bourbon and dark chocolate roast flavors. Quite smooth and no burn from the alcohol. I can taste the spice quality from the yeast. The finish is quite bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with hardly any carbonation. The finish is very dry.

Overall: This beer is quite different from anything I can remember trying. I thought it was a little too bitter given the other flavors, but definitely not a bad beer. Not sure if I want more or not.

Photo of weeare138
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Finally getting around to the Philly Beer Week notes...
On tap at Capone's...
Appears a dense black with a small tan head that slowly fades into a mild cap and collar. Spotty bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of light oak(becomes more evident as it warms), black grapes, roasty grain, and cocoa.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a cocoa, and vanilla flavor dominating the flavors with just a touch of steeped espresso beans.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, roasty during the finish, with a mild astringency found while sampling.
A rare treat that I was glad to enjoy in the company of Rob Tod from Allagash.

Photo of claspada
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap @ Sunset Bar & Grill in Boston, MA, sampled with hoppymcgee weekend of EBF.

Pours a near black, extremely dark brown in color and with a thin beige head that slowly faded down and left a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.

Aromas begin with a moderate amount of bourbon, dark caramel malts and light toasted bready malts. As it warms up you get more darker cocoa and darker fruitiness from the Belgian yeast. I expected this to be a little more complex, it was pleasant but nothing worldly.

The tastes begin with a dry chocolate, light bitter dark chocolate, minimal licorice and oaky Bourbon. Just the the nose the flavors open up more as it warms and you get more of a balanced sweeter dark fruitiness and dark caramel flavors. Flavors trump the nose for sure and are quite complex, yet restrained. Bourbon is present throughout but merely in the background to help balance the flavor profile.

The mouthfeel is super medium bodied which is crazy for such a big barrel aged beer. Medium carbonation to help balance out the barrel aged flavors as well. Not overly carbonated like many Belgian ales and not undercarbed like many BA stouts, right in the middle. Finish is dryish from the oak and roasted malts.

Overall this is a super beer. I usually do not care for Spirit Barrel Aged Belgian beers because the flavor profiles just dont meld well usually, but this is quite nice and I am quite glad I was able to sample this. Not too intense that it overpowered your tastebud like many BA stouts can do and the BA really helps to balance the Belgian yeasty flavors which are also sometimes too dominant. Just really nice overall; hope I can sample again in the future.

Photo of jpmclaug
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Growler poured into a snifter

Black body with a nice sized off white head.
The aroma is mostly smooth bourbon notes, sweet, vanilla, caramel, some dark malt. Not especially aromatic but a nice bourbony aroma.
Tastes similar to the aroma, nicely done barrel aging, picks up the characteristics of bourbon but isn't hot and doesn't give you any fusel alcohol notes. Some dark fruit like notes in the finish.
Mouthfeel is the only real negative to this one, medium bodied and a bit thinner than I'd like.

Overall a solid beer and it showcases barrel aged notes likely. I wish it was a bit thicker in the mouthfeel though and maybe some more background flavor to mingle with the barrel notes.

Photo of Casey10
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Lion's pride was pleasantly surprised but at the same time was not really blown away with this at all.

A dark beer that had minimal head served in a appropriate glassware and at room temperature.

That being said the beer was good, it definately had the flavors of the barrel with the burbon shining through although for me the brew felt somewhat thin and a little boozy.

I would have again and this was not bad again did not overwhelm or surprize me worth a try though !

Photo of Cadebro
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from tap into 4oz sample glass at 2011 Maine Brewers Festival.

A - Black with two fingers of malt-brown head.

S - Bourbon, chocolate and yeast.

T - A nice smooth bourbon flavor with a touch of chocolate, caught a little nuttiness as well.

M - Very smooth.

D - Some times barrel aging ruins a good beer. Allagash does this properly make a great beer that much better. If this were available outside of festivals and other events I would drink it all the time.

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Allagash Bourbon Barrel Black from Allagash Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 432 ratings.