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Allagash Bourbon Barrel Black - Allagash Brewing Company

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Allagash Bourbon Barrel Black
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380 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 380
Reviews: 84
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 9.9%
Wants: 50
Gots: 35 | FT: 3
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:
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 added by: rye726 on 03-04-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 380 | Reviews: 84 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

NeroFiddled, Feb 28, 2011
Photo of bishopdc0
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
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

bishopdc0, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of brentk56
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives with a charcoal color and a relatively small tan head that still leaves some lacing behind

Smell: Roasty chocolate elements with subtle bourbon undertones

Taste: Dark fruit and chocolate, up front, with subtle bourbon/vanilla elements developing by mid-palate; after the swallow, the flavors merge together nicely, along with a yeasty complexity from the Belgian yeast strain

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Leave it to the folks at Allagash to bourbon barrel age a Belgian stout and to do it with such a light hand as to complement rather than dominate the beer itself; a first class effort

brentk56, Feb 08, 2011
Photo of bonkers
4.53/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I had this on tap at the High street grill, poured into a small goblet. The pour is jet black, white one inch head, no lacing. The beer smells like bourbon soaked dates and plums. It has sweet bourbon notes, along with dark fruit, vanilla, and oak. It has a warming, lingering finish. The body is medium, light carbonation. Bourbon black is the most drinkable big beer I have ever had. I really enjoyed it, strongly recomended.

bonkers, Dec 01, 2010
Photo of strangefate
3.58/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Hulmeville Inn, 10/10. Poured into a goblet.

Pours a dark black-brown with a tan two-finger head and nice lacing.

I didn't get a lot from the scent - bourbon, dark fruits.

The taste is dark fruits up front, some roasted malt, oak, and a hint of vanilla. The bourbon is there too, but it doesn't ooze bourbon like I would want it to - it's very faint.

It has a light-medium body, less than the appearance would suggest with light-medium carbonation.

I was a little disappointed in this beer. It's good, but couldn't hold itself up on a day against other bourbon barrel-aged beers. The taste isn't as complex or as pronounced as I would like.

strangefate, Oct 18, 2010
Photo of BARFLYB
3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at hulmeville inn, in a pint glass.

A- black is black, a faint ring around the collar, no lace.

S- big blast of dark fruit with roasted iced coffee. Hints of chocolate, belgiany yeast, vanilla and a splash of bourbon, it aint that large.

T- vanilla cream up front followed by small roast plus chocolate, bourbon is quite muted. This reminds me of allagash black with a hint of bourbon wood, with small bourbon and wood but still quite a bit of vanilla coming through.

M- less than medium with light carb, just a bit of wood in the linger.

D- I liked it I don't love it, this did not spend much time in the barrel,old curieux barrels perhaps.

BARFLYB, Oct 11, 2010
Photo of oglmcdgl
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pint on tap at the hulmeville inn.

A- comes to me with a small cap of tan head that settle rather quickly leaving a few spots of lace and a thin ring. Super dark brown almost completely black in color. A nice brown glow at the edges.

S- dark roasted malts and blackberries, belgian yeast and wood. Lighter on the bourbon.

T- opens up with dark malts and a strong fruity belgian yeast character. Loads of oak and to a lesser extent the bourbon. Long roasty finish.

M- mediumish in body with a creeper carb that finishes quite lively and active.

D- this is allagash black in a barrel that's for sure. Not the best bsda I've ever had or bourbon aged beer for that matter. Its good and all just not a knock your sock s off kind of thing.

oglmcdgl, Oct 11, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours black, of course. A bit of of a tan head and some lacing. Nose brings roasted malt, wood, vanilla, some barrel characteristics, and hints of dark drugs. Taste adds in some molasses with all he flavors melding well. Feel is nice and slightly boozy. Drinks quite well; one of the better Allagash beers ai have had.

Thorpe429, Oct 07, 2010
Photo of mdfb79
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 08/21/10 notes. Had on tap at Monk's Cafe in Philly.

a - Pours a dark, dark brown color with light carbonation and very little white head.

s - Smells strongly of bourbon, as well as cocoa, oak, and hints of vanilla.

t - Tastes of bourbon, oak, chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and vanilla.

m - Medium body and light carbonation.

d - I thought this was a very enjoyable barrel aged beer. I liked it a little bit better than the normal Allagash black and thought there was a good level of bourbon in the nose and taste. Would try again.

mdfb79, Aug 24, 2010
Photo of yourefragile
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a goblet at Max's.

Color is dark cola brown, opaque and thick with a creamy light tan head that produces thick sheets of lacing. Aroma is mild in strength and dominated by bourbon, vanilla and oak. Very smooth and subtle, but a little boring. Flavor is bourbon forward without being overly boozy or sweet. Finish is slightly bitter and astringent, with a mild dark fruit flavor and oak sweetness. Body is thick and silky smooth with minimal carbonation. Overall this isn't bad but was disappointgly boring and the base beer is overwhelmed by the barrel aging. Yawn.

yourefragile, Aug 21, 2010
Photo of mikesgroove
4.43/5  rDev +7%
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.

mikesgroove, Aug 21, 2010
Photo of John_M
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Max's today.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and considerable lacing. The nose is attractive, showing coffee, chocolate and noticeable bourbon. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, though the chocolate and bourbon seem to dominate in this attractive beer. It's a bit thinner on the palate than I expected, but it has an impressive, long , drawn out finish. Drinkability is pretty good considering the abv., and the beer is not at all tiring or heavy on the palate.

Nothing mind blowing here, but this is a solid beer from Allagash, and will be especially attractive for those who enjoy a splash of bourbon in their beer.

John_M, Aug 15, 2010
Photo of TMoney2591
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter at ChurchKey.

Come for the Founders goodies, stay for the other goodies they've got assembled for your enjoyment. This one pours a very dark opaque black-brown topped by a half-finger (at best) of ecru macro-foam. The nose comprises bourbon, oak, dull chocolate, roasted malts, toffee, and a hint o' vanilla in there somewhere. The taste is very similar, with more chocolate and roasted malts and the inclusion of newcoming molasses. The body is a solid medium, with a slightly biting carbonation and a spitefully smooth feel. Overall, a very nice Belgian stout; doesn't overdo it with the bourbon barrel influences, and everything melds together very nicely.

TMoney2591, Aug 11, 2010
Photo of malloyca
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

For what it is, this was a very pleasant surprise and not gimmicky at all. Served in a snifter; black in appearance, with a thin white head. Strong aromas of bourbon, oak and vanilla go along with roasted malts. It tastes very much like it smells, with the high alcohol content and the bourbon barrel flavors combining to give the impression you are, in fact, drinking bourbon. But this is not a harsh drink, because there are also complementary malt flavors and a rich, smooth mouthfeel. This works well in small quantities, with dessert or as a digestif.

malloyca, Aug 09, 2010
Photo of Casey10
3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
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 !

Casey10, Jul 28, 2010
Photo of woosterbill
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Sunset Grill & Tap into a tasting flute.

A: Black body with a small brown head that settles into a ring fairly quickly and doesn't leave any lace. Ok, but far from spectacular.

S: Bourbon, bourbon, and more bourbon. Nothing but whiskey, oak, and vanilla. Enjoyable, but entirely one-dimensional. Still, what a dimension!

T: Not surprisingly, the flavor is again that of overwhelming bourbon. No traces of the original Belgian stout remain - the barrel has completely taken over. Good thing I like barrels.

M: Full bodied with abundant soft carbonation. Lovely.

D: Just a bit too boozy to be really drinkable. 5 ounces is enough.

Notes: Great tasting beverage, but not nearly as complex as regular Allagash Black. Barrel aging really robbed this beer of all its individuality, which is a bit of a pity.


woosterbill, Jul 26, 2010
Photo of ToasterChef
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Reviewed from my notes, served in a tulip glass at the Great Lost Bear. The beer is a black liquid with a tan foam head. I can see foam and small bubbles rising within the dark liquid. There is a great layer of foam coating left behind as I drink the beer. I can distinguish some sweet malts in the aroma. There isn't much bourbon character here, it is more of an oak aroma. The taste of the beer begins with a a little sweet caramel up front. I can also taste creamy chocolate. A roasted coffee bitterness comes through in the finish. There is a little bit of the bourbon, but not much. What is there is present throughout. Based on the casked version of Curieux I have had in previously, I expected a lot more bourbon flavor--I'm slightly disappointed the bourbon isn't stronger. It has a medium body and feels creamy. There is just the right amount of foamy carbonation. This beer feels like a great example of a stout and a great example of a casked beer. For a Bourbon barrel-aged big stout, this beer is remarkably drinkable. Each sip is satisfying, but leaves me excited to have another. The 7.5% ABV is completely masked. I could easily drink a number of glasses of this beer.

ToasterChef, Jul 06, 2010
Photo of BretSikkink
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On cask at the Great Lost Bear. According to their literature, this one was aged in bourbon barrels with vanilla beans. Served in a cold tulip glass with a half-finger dark brown bubbly head. This runs off quickly, but there is lacing all the way down.

Nose is lightly roasted, with hints of those vanilla beans and bourbon casks. Slightly soapy as well, lowering the score a half tick. The taste profile is great - the vanilla and bourbon mix seamlessly with the roasted malt. Some chocolate notes emanate from the roast, along with a hint of espresso. Plenty of boozy notes, along with a lighter tropical hint. The cask engine has left this one extremely smooth and creamy. Finish is so silky, and the booze barely registers in the taste. Outstanding beer.

BretSikkink, Jul 04, 2010
Photo of TommyW
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Black body with a thin tan head.

S- Roasted and burnt malts with a strong touch of bourbon.

T- Lots of roasted/burnt malt flavors mingling with some dark fruits. Bourbon notes come in the middle but transition to a very clean, vodka-like alcohol on the finish.

M- Medium body with a smooth feel.

D- A nice barrel aged beer; the finish was a little too hot I think, but aging this would be very interesting.

TommyW, Jul 03, 2010
Photo of SteelerChris
4.78/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I am sommelier and have worked with fine wines for 10 years. I never could quite appreciate beer until after I developed my palate with wine. From my wine knowledge came my love of craft beer and intelligence to recognize the flavor profiles that are omnipresent in beer, translating to bliss on my palate. This beer to me was like sipping a '65 Margaux, only cheaper and more fun to evaluate. The bottle/label itself screams drink me and when you start to pour it you are overwhelmed with a rich, bourbon-chocolate aroma. The aroma also included a sweet cream of coconut and butter. I poured mine into a lightly chilled snifter because I wanted to evaluate the beer at different temps, and as the beer warmed the better it got. The appearance is rich chocolate brown with a steady lacing and thick toffee head. The flavor is impressive, but a little hot at first. The vanilla tones really help balance the beer on the palate, while the roasted citrus, oak, chocolate, plum, and coffee complete the journey around the tongue. Very rich and creamy, almost enough so serve over ice cream. For being as dark as it is I was expecting more body but was incredibly satisfied with its medium body and velvety smoothness that lingered delightfully for a while. Very rounded, full, and balanced beer, truly remarkable. I decided to pair this beer with a dry-aged prime rib eye, which turned out to be the right choice as the rich fatty meat complimented the deep flavors of the beer and the aged authentic balsamic I used brought out the sweetness of the brew. I highly recommend this beer and am now spoiled by yet another fantastic Allagash creation.

SteelerChris, Jun 17, 2010
Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.45/5  rDev -16.7%
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.

deltatauhobbit, Jun 13, 2010
Photo of Brez07
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On cask at Novare, Bourbon Barrel aged with vanilla beans. 8oz pour into an Allagash 25cl glass

A: Dark with a quickly evaporating head. Spotted lacing is left all over the place

S: There are a ton of scents here. Sweet vanilla, toasted coconut, slight hint of caramel, cocoa nibs and of course some bourbon. About halfway through the glass I detect something very similar to those buttered popcorn jellybeans

T: Exactly like the nose, minus the popcorn. Just a lovely combination of vanilla, chocolate and a slight hint of bourbon

M: Super creamy and goes down smooth. Small amount of roasted flavor in the after taste

D: This is a phenomenal beer. I wanted another glass, but I had to get going. Dangerously drinkable at 9.3%. I hope to see this again sometime in the near future

Brez07, May 12, 2010
Photo of jlindros
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this on tap @ Stoutfest @ Armsby Abbey.

A: Pitch black with a light creamy head.

N: Some sweet malts, a little fruity, quite a bit of bourbon aroma. Little hop spiciness, biscuit malts, vanilla and oak.

T: Lots of fruit, like juicy almost berry fruit. Some wild brett like funk and dry yeast characteristics. Some sour fruit, malty biscuit and barnyard dry funk. It's very much like a dark saison, and despite being dry it still hides the booze pretty well. All that tags along a slight oaky vanilla taste, and a strong bourbon flavor. Not quite Bourbon County Stout, or even KBS, but has its own bourbon charm.

M: Semi thick, little syrupy, and little carbonation.

F: Long bitter finish, saison bite with dryness, and more lingering funk. A little boozy and more like a touch of bourbon on the finish. Malty flavors linger, pretty dry and spicy even.

Lots going on here. It has some nice flavors, but they don't seem to belong and don't contrast well. Its basically lots of great beers blended, not always the best thing. At EBF I blended PtY, Supplication, CBS, and a touch of Utopias, they're all really REALLY great beers on their own, but tasted bad together. Much like this one.

jlindros, Apr 19, 2010
4/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

FeDUBBELFIST, Apr 09, 2010
Photo of Jwale73
3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a .25cl Allagash tulip. Poured the color of cola with a mere swirl of foam comprising the head, and a tight band around the perimeter of the glass. Nose is very subdued; some brewer's licorice - nose seems closer to a baltic porter. Taste reveals a little bourbon, a hint of a medicinal quality and black licorice; there's also a slightly vinous quality (once again reminiscent of a baltic porter). Mouthfeel was light/medium with a fairly subdued background effervescence. Happy to try this, but I'm a bigger fan of the standard Black. Certainly worth a try if you have the opportunity, but not the best example of barrel-aging from this brewer.

Jwale73, Oct 20, 2009
Allagash Bourbon Barrel Black from Allagash Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 380 ratings.