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Allagash Bourbon Barrel Black - Allagash Brewing Company

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Allagash Bourbon Barrel Black
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389 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 389
Reviews: 84
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 9.9%
Wants: 51
Gots: 38 | 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: 389 | Reviews: 84 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Jesstyr
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this great beer on tap at Rustico in Arlington, VA. Was incredibly pumped to see it...

Served in a tall thin shapeless glass - not ideal for this brew - they must have run out of snifters. The glassware likely affected the head, but it was a good looking beer. Deep dark and black - just like Allagash Black, no real discernable differences in look when held side by side. Head is thin, and has a tan appearance. Nose is where the differences begin - definitive burnt bourbon nose, adds smokiness to the beer.

Taste is deep and stout-like, with a bit of alcohol burn unique to this version of the beer. Full-bodied and thick, just the way I like a beer, but again, not typical Belgian-style. Overall a great beer I'd drink any time.

Jesstyr, Jun 08, 2011
Photo of glid02
4.43/5  rDev +7%
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.

glid02, Jun 01, 2011
Photo of jpmclaug
4.15/5  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.

jpmclaug, May 29, 2011
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.

oline73, May 20, 2011
Photo of Satchboogie
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes
On tap at Armsby Abbey:

A: Pours a dark brown/black with brown around the edges. Not as dark as I was expecting. Maybe a half an inch of head that quickly disappeared and left just a ring of lacing.

S: Bourbon, but doesn't seem all that sweet and I'm not getting any vanilla. Honestly I don't pick up much else, maybe just a hint of chocolate.

T: As with the nose, it's mostly bourbon and unfortunately the chocolate just isn't coming through that strong. Alcohol is fairly well hidden, I don't really get that booze that generally follows bourbon. Almost seems too light of a flavor profile. The roasted malt base seems a little weak. It's there, but doesn't real cut through the bourbon, it's just a bit flat. There's just a hint of the belgian yeast with the smallest touch of dark fruits, maybe it's even a stretch saying it's there. It's not bad, there's some good flavors there, a touch of oak, but it doesn't really have much depth.

M: Surprisingly light and a high level of carbonation. Not untypical for the style, but being in a barrel for a year I expected it a little fuller and smoother.

O: Too much bourbon, not enough backbone or depth, mouthfeel doesn't live-up to a year in a barrel.

Satchboogie, May 01, 2011
Photo of n2185
3.6/5  rDev -13%
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.

n2185, Apr 01, 2011
Photo of Prime16
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours dark brown to black with a biscuit colored head that lingers.

S: Roasted malts, bourbon, chocolate.

T: Bourbon flavor with a boozy taste that is close to overwhelming the beer.

M: Full bodied with slight carbonation.

O: This is a great barrel aged beer if you like bourbon.... which I do.

Prime16, Mar 31, 2011
Photo of morebeergood
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap this past Saturday night at American Craft in Brookline. Served in a 10 oz goblet. Dark black color, as the name implies. Smallish head but some lacing. Smell just hits you with the bourbon - oh yeah, it's aged nicely. Taste was also spot on. Loved the balance between the nice roasted flavors of the stout and the sweet and tangy flavors from the bourbon. A perfect melding of the two flavors. Mouthfeel was very smooth but boozy at the same time. Alcohol was very noticeable. An awesome example of a barrel aged stout, but be warned: it's served in a small glass for a reason. This guy packs a punch.

morebeergood, Mar 20, 2011
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?

jsanford, Mar 15, 2011
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 22, 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
Allagash Bourbon Barrel Black from Allagash Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 389 ratings.