Allagash Curieux (Bourbon Barrel-Aged Tripel) | Allagash Brewing Company

3,746 Ratings
Allagash Curieux (Bourbon Barrel-Aged Tripel)Allagash Curieux (Bourbon Barrel-Aged Tripel)

Brewed by:
Allagash Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: Tripel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
First brewed back in 2004, Curieux was our first foray into barrel aging. To make Curieux, we take our Tripel and let it age in bourbon barrels for seven weeks. Once that time is up, we take the beer out of our cold cellars and blend it back with a portion of fresh Tripel. The resulting rich, golden ale features smooth notes of coconut, vanilla, and a hint of bourbon.

Added by Todd on 04-05-2004

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Ratings: 3,746 |  Reviews: 906
Photo of clvand0
4.34/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to sheepnutz for sharing this bottle. I've been looking forward to this one. Corked 25.4oz bottle. Pours an orange color with a small head that dies off quickly. The aroma has a lot going on with the vanilla, spices, yeast, oak, and orange. Very nice. The flavor was nice. Lots of spices and peppery notes from the Belgian yeast(s) and some vanilla and honey. The flavor was a bit hot, as the alcohol is a little too upfront. I think a year will do this one wonders.

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Photo of ADR
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Out of a bottle, Extreme Beer Fest, 2005...

Hazy apricot appearance, nice soft yellow head that laces very impressively. Tart almost lime aroma, very fresh in impression with hints of underlying sweetness. Medium mouthfeel, carbonation like a misty rain with fine-textured bubbles. The bourbon barrel aging seems to mellow the tart crispness of the style very nicely, a woody and smooth impression sets in. Slight spices at the close but not heavy in that context. Alcohol is well-hidden. Finishes with a light orangey uptake, reminding you of its Tripel heritage. I was pouring this beer at the fest and word-of-mouth and appreciation led to a huge run on it at both sessions of the EBF (it was gone after only two hours at both sessions). Nice beer in a style I tend to not appreciate as much.

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Photo of twelvsies
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been very impressed with Allagash lately. This was one of the few beers that I made a mental note of "must try this" at the Extreme Beer Fest in Boston this past weekend. Well, there were a lot of amazing beers there and I got sidetracked... so I picked up a bottle on the way back. Popped it open tonight and was very pleased. It's more straight forward than their original tripel, which was surprising. Pours a light gold color with a substantial head. Smells sweet and reminiscent of vanilla and that signature barrel-aged warming scent that seems to be in the spotlight right now. Taste is full of Belgian spices and sweet mature malts and herbal hop characters. Tints of banana and vanilla are very present as well. Never smelled/tasted banana in a beer before... Wowie. Super smooth aged texture. Overall, I can't tell if it's better than their original tripel. It's a totally different beast I'd say. Try it for yourself, it's worth it.

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Photo of Dantes
3.11/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Package: 750ml corked and caged bottle, labeled 9.5% ABV. Aged in Bourbon barrels and bottle-conditioned. Classic parchment-like buff label with what looks like hand-lettering and explaining special handling.

Cost: $9.99 at Ramsey Liquors

Presentation: tulip glass at ~55º

Appearance: Cloudy, pale yellow color with some burnished tints. Voluminously fluffy, dry, tight head that persisted through both servings. Numerous streams of extremely fine bubbles cut through the cloudy body. Light, insubstantial lacing. Very vigorous cork pop and gunsmoke, with a lot of lees at the bottom of the bottle.

Smell: Quite alcoholic, with strong bourbon vanilla notes. Faint hints of the citrus zest, banana, clove, and coriander that are so lovely in the “plain old” tripel reserve. Not very subtle in beating one about the olfactory bulbs with the bourbon.

Taste: Again, the bourbon permeates the first impressions. It’s hot on the palate, alcoholic, and overly vanilla-sweet. The orange zest and some banana come through, but the rest of the complex flavors I love in this beer are pretty much flattened. There’s some yeastiness and malt, but they are suffused in sweetness. Their tripel reserve (q.v.) is one of my favorite beers, but this just goes too far. Contrary to the regular tripel, this one seems to worsen as it warms, the bourbon becoming even more apparent.

Mouthfeel: Continues the Allagash tradition of bottle-conditioning super-smooth, creamy beers with fine carbonation and great mouthfeel. Without any crispness though, this verges on the syrupy.

Drinkability: Not very for me. I’ll stick with the superior standard offering (practically two for one). This is the second beer in a week (Edition 2004 being the other) that I found to be way too sweet for me.

Backwash: WHAT HAVE THEY DONE WITH MY BELOVED TRIPEL RESERVE! At least they had the good sense not to name this Heresy, which is what it is. I’ve been pretty disappointed with most of the bourbon-barrel aged beers I’ve had lately (e.g. Heresy). Frankly, tripel is one of the last styles I’d expect to show well after being aged in bourbon barrels. It’s a delicate (if high-ABV) beer with a balance of sweet and complex flavors. The bourbon simply overwhelms it. If Allagash wishes to experiment with different expressions, I think aging in port, sherry, or rum casks might work much better.

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Photo of SheepNutz
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle poured into a snifter. It pours a hazy yellow-orange color with two fingers of head that die down fairly quickly. Just a little bit of lacing left on the glass. The smell has a good oak scent, with lots of spices and a hint of citrus and alcohol. The taste is also spicy, with lots of pepper. Some lemon and a bunch of alcohol on the finish. The mouthfeel is nice and strong. The drinkability is just decent for a 9.5% beer due to the high dose of alcohol flavor on the finish. A nice barrel-aged beer.

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Photo of apintofknowledge
4.8/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow! I'd be tempted to give this one 5 across the board, though there's so many beers out there left for me to try that I need to allow some room in case something better comes along...

With that said, I shared this amazing bottle with a few friends last night. All agreed the aroma was just great... honey, vanilla, caramel... all very sweet smells. The taste... it's complex, but very enjoyable. Those initial sweet smells of honey, vanilla and caramel are the first noticable flavors, followed by the noticable but not overpowering influence of the Jim Beam that lingered through the finish. Some citrus came though as well, but more sweet juice orange than sour lemon. I think I can even taste the oak from the barrel in there.

Warm flavors abound, and while there's some spice, no strong bitterness comes through. Even the alcohol taste was quite mild compared with other tripels. All said, a very drinkable and enjoyable one-of-a-kind brew... surprisingly smooth to drink, but nothing simple about the taste. One of the few beers in this price range that is truly worth every penny and then some.

Be sure to read the Alstrom Brothers' article on this one to learn more...

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Photo of kmpitz2
3.82/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to SheepNutz for sharing this bottle with us. It poured a hazy oranged yellow color with a coat of head over top. The nose was really busy, with oak, alcohol, sweetness (honey, caramel, lots more as well) and citrusy lemon and orange tones. The flavor was a bit of a let down. The alcohole really kicked me in the face up-front. Some peppery and sweet notes followed, but the alcohol was way too big in the flavor for me to enjoy. The feel was moderate, slightly reamy and smooth. I think this beer needs to sit down for a while and mellow. The alcohol just really turned me off from it. It didn't really play well with the other flavors in there.

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Photo of Jason
4.49/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Mildy spritzy tiny bubbled head, dusty golden hue with some light haze.

The alcoholic aroma of the triple with wafts of bourbon wood (vanilla) and some mixed tropical fruit.

Very smooth with a mellow but stiff alcohol character, warming with undertones of vanilla and ripe fruit. The woody character melds well with the hop bitterness and spiciness of the alcohol with a drying bite.

Simply amazing. Amazing within the realm of barrel aged beer let alone doing it with a more delicate Belgian Style Trippel.

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Photo of maxpower
2.68/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Corked and caged 750 ml bottled October 2004, pours cloudy golden yellow with a nice lasting head of large bubbles, good lacing in my glass. Sweet fruity and bourbon aromas, smoky and woody flavors, the bourbon taste almost overwhelming at first but mellows throughout, medium bodied with a fairly smooth mouthfeel, not as carbonated as most tripels, finishes dry. At 13.99 a bottle no thank you.

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

Bottled September 2004, Sampled December 2004
Pours a hazy straw gold color, and is topped by a light cream colored head that is driven by an ample carbonation that dances up from the bottom of my Duvel glass. As I pour this notes of vanilla and bourbon waft to my nose. As I go in deeper I note that the oak/ vanilla notes are what dominate, but underneath I get notes of the Tripel that this beer once was. There are aromatic hints of lemon peel, herbs, and hay.

The taste is initially soft and creamy up front, but then moves to a spicy Tripel dominated mid section, which then moves to a hint of oak in the finish. The bourbon character is here, but it is not as strong as the nose suggests, and I consider this a good thing. In the flavor the bourbon barrel is more an accompaniment, than the only noticeable thing. This beer is pretty tasty, The notes of the Tripel are strongly here, but there is an undercurrent of bourbon, oak and vanilla. I will admit that I enjoy the regular Tripel a wee bit more than this concoction, though I am certainly enjoying this beer.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.41/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glowing golden tangerine with small particulates floating around the place. Aromas are of hot fuesel alcohol, sweet fruits (tangerines, apricots, peaches), sugar, bourbon, vanilla, oak, bready malts, and slightly herbal hops. Taste is tripel-like at first with the sweet fruits, sugar, alcohol, yeast, and medicinal hops hitting the front of the tongue. The middle, however, is oak-laden, sweet with vanilla, bourbony, and immaculate. The mouthfeel is creamy, fluffy, smooth, and never too heavy. The drinkability is very good as well, as this brew unfolds to reveal more layers of complexity as the drinking experience goes on. A definate winner from Allagash, that will definately balance more with age.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Chill haze honey amber golden hues with nonstop tiny champagne bubbles rising up like a fountain from the bottom of me Duvel tulip under a mountai of ever so slightly antique white gargantuan sticky head cap. Excellent head retention leaving solid “get out the paint brush cleaner ‘cos someone painted my glass” foamy lace. A few healthy swirls and an incredible ½ head cap appears at any time. This beer makes me feel like a magician.

Sweet aromatic woody bouquet. Takes a minute to think how it needs to be described. Scents of cheescake and suggestions of cognac. Scents are a delicacy alone. The most satisfying beer I have ever sampled on aroma alone. Superlative Crème brulet in a goblet which could not be improved. Tropical fruit.

First Swigs: Warm cognac meets vanilla tripel. The yeasty pronounced flavors are subdued. A smoothness unparalleled in comparrison to that of any other. Pecans and awl-kee-hawl esters. Notes of Maple syrup. Blended booze flavors reminiscent towards vanilla and almond extract come to mind.

Buttery smoothness like melty butter pecan ice cream. Somewhat hot and vodka like on the tongue with a mild unsettled burn.

Last Swigs: Crème brulet in a cup. Vanilla smooth. Curiosity killed the cat and the beer! Maybe some of a malty essence creeps out a la the oak barrel. My 2nd most expensive bottle, behind Sam Adams Chocolate. Needs to be at the recommended cellar (a.k.a. 55) temperature. ALLAGASH Curieux can do the 50/50 Duvel tulip pour. Beer dessert to mark a special occasion. A full 750 mL is a wee much for one soldier. Compared to my recent ALLAGASH Tripel review, the peppery yeastiness is subdued. If this improves with age, life is good. Hopefully, this is on its way to a 5/5/5/5/5 review in its future.

Beer is good. Happy KY oak barrel aged beering.

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.69/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy golden hue, superb rocky and foamy head. Top-notch apperance, 2 thumbs up on that. Very woody nose, not quite asinine, but there are many elements from the incredibly great base tripel that I can’t find here. Nice yeast presence, fairly warming, fluffy, but so very sweet. At first, the palate seems pretty smooth with that mild tartness, but it heats up through those lovely hayfield and straw flavors. The bourbon IS the dominant flavor and absolute focus here and it’s not in the same league than the tripel. It has qualities though! I was curious (got it?) to get into that smokiness. Hops presence is just perfectly understated too and the foamy medium mouthfeel fits well, never biting. Cheers Barry!

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Anam Cara.

Poured a bubbly golden-hued color with a crackly white head that dies away to a respectable level. Lacing on the glass is a nice sheeting action. Aromas are a bourbon-tinged tripel: spicy/peppery/yeasty. Flavor is a barrel-aged complexity of peppery-sweetness with some yeast twang. Hot finish with a lot of bourbon notes. Novel and well-done.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.85/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This special Allagash offering is dark, hazy orange in color with a smallish head.

Smell – The yeast backbone is substantial here and well complimented with some good, unsweetened orangish notes and a bit of pepper. The threat of alcohol looms large at the nose.

Taste – Yes, this is a big ABV Allagash. The first part of the taste is almost like a strong orange liqueur. The yeast eases up a bit but not much and the spices are a bit powdery.

Mouthfeel – This medium-bodied Tripel will dry your mouth with its powdery spices and sting your tongue with its high ABV.

Drinkability – If you like big, high-ABV Belgian yeast bombs (like I do) then this is for you.

Comments – I think this was one of the most frequently-ordered brews at the Anam Cara Belgian Beer Fest pre-party. It was quite the party favorite.

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Photo of marburg
4.04/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Exquisite, malty, lively, bourbon-flavored, oaky, complex tripel -- minus the tripel. An explanation:

The dirty blond beer and moderate head look nice enough. The lively carbonation? Check. Some phenolic hints in the aroma. Excellent! Not much left of the tripel after that. That's not necessarily a bad thing -- just somewhat unexpected. Bourbon, oak, dried terragon, hints of vanilla and orange. Quite an amazing nose, really. I'm especially sensative to whiskey-like flavors, and I get a big dose up front here. Malty but dry. Certainly some oak here, and leafy herb -- sage, perhaps? The sweet bourbon-like alcohol isn't overpowering, and this is actually quite a dry beer lacking in any real fruit characteristics -- citric, exotic, or otherwise.

A stunningly complex little brew worthy of note and more than worth trying for the sake of pondering it alone. But it's intense and not something I'd consider "drinkable."

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Photo of moulefrite
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dead ringer for a Belgian tripel. Electric gold in color with minimal head. However the lace is elegant and very pretty. Aromas are again very Belgian-earthy, funky, rustic and true to the style fruit driven. The oak is never overdone and shows nice integration. In the mouth the brew screams Belgian-who'd a thunk it. The flavor profile is complex with sweet fruity, nutty, oaky notes in fine balance. The oak lingers on the long finish. very well done, and a treat to taste.

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Photo of Billolick
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the BTAH in NYC, as part of the Very Special Cask night. Poured hazy, golden yellow, cloudy, with a minimal white tiny bubble head, leaving very light lacing. Bourbon and alcohol notes in the nose. Tart, fruity,yeasty,strong bourbon/whiskey notes in the not too distant background. It all adds up to a complex, interesting, tasty and strong brew. Not your typical tripel. Track some of this stuff down if you can.

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Photo of WesWes
4.54/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I sampled this at Belgium Comes to Cooperstown. It is a Belgian Strong Pale ale aged in Bourbon barrels; very nice.

The beer pours a pale gold color with a thin white lace head. The aroma is perfect. It boasts of pale malts, corriander, orange peels, and a strong bourbon odor. The taste is very good. It has a nice pale malt base, but the flavor is all bourbon. It feels like drinking a weak whiskey, but very flavorful. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium bodied brew with adequate carbonation. This is a fine brew for sure. I've never tasted anything like this. I don't know if this is going to be a regular offering, but I hope so.

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4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presented at the AOBF in Boston. I was definitely blessed at this beer fest.

Poured into the 4 oz. sampler cup a hazy golden yellow with no head to speak of. Not getting any lace from this one, but a thin syrup coats well enough.

I gave it a nice swirl and the nose jumped out of the glass. Mixed fruits soaked in bourbon. Slight vanilla aroma. A light alcohol smell is present, but it is overwhelmed by the fruits.

Wow... tart apple, grapes and orange zest meet a peppery bourbon finish that warms going down. Sweet and delicious.

Thicker mouthfeel than the Triple Reserve and IMHO much tastier.

Not gonna have a problem drinking a couple of these. Thanks to ABC for bringing such a prize.

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Photo of lenin
4.39/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Stemmed glass at the Blind Tiger's Allagash night 3/31/2004.

Appearance: A cloudy, murky yellow to orange with minimal head and rentention.

Smell: Vanilla? Coconut? Has minimal similarity to Allagash Tripel Reserve.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Even more dissimilar to Allagash Tripel Reserve. Smooth, soft, with dominant coconut flavor. Where did that come from? No alcohol to speak of, and at 9.5% it's a dangerous brew, drinkable all night. Background of vanilla but up front it's all coconut.

Notes: How could a random experiment succeed as much as this beer does? One of the best and most interesting beers I've had in a long time and one that I hope to god makes it to bottle, or at least to regular keggings. Awesome stuff.

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Allagash Curieux (Bourbon Barrel-Aged Tripel) from Allagash Brewing Company
4.21 out of 5 based on 3,746 ratings.
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