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

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Curieux (Bourbon Barrel-Aged Tripel)Curieux (Bourbon Barrel-Aged Tripel)
3,804 Ratings
Curieux (Bourbon Barrel-Aged Tripel)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: 3,804 |  Reviews: 912
Photo of MuddyFeet
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled: 10/04. Had this sitting in my beer closet since November and opened it up for my friend when he came over for dinner. The appearance is a finely carbonated Budweiser gold (not the best description, but that is what it made me think of). A very thin head formed in the glass. The bubbles rise very prettily from the stem of the glass. The nose reminds me of my father's bourbon with very strong honey tones. The flavor is very a sweet mead-like honey, hints of apples plus spice flavors and a subtley pleasureable bourbon finish on the tongue. The hops also help smooth out the finish. The mouthfeel is very heavy and just sticks to the tongue.The alcohol is definitely there, but nicely hidden and balanced behind all of the malts and hops. Very drinkable, I am definitely pick up another couple bottles of this and set aside for a special occasion.

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Photo of santoslhalper
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearence: Pours a nice light orange with a creamy white head.

Smell: The smell is a almost a peanut whisky smell mixed with odd fruits. Crazy!!

Taste and Mouthfeel: It's incredible what the Bourbon did to this beer. Thier Tripel is always wonderufl, but this is just out of control. It's incredibly smooth and balanced, but even more intense than usual. What a crazy beer. The mouthfeel is superbly creamy.

Drinkability and Overall: This is a crazy beer for sure. Allagash's beers are always good, but I'd have to say this is the most unique of their beers. It really has a flavor all to itself, and it's wonderful. If you find this, buy it.

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Photo of HoboAGoGo
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a beautiful orangish color, but the head dissipated a little too quickly. Smelled of sweet, and of bourbon. Tastes like a well-made tripel, nothing too out of the ordinary until you start to taste the bourbon that is most prevalent at the end. Let me take another sip. Sugars, bourbon, slight bitterness, pepper, candy. Expensive, so I doubt I'll ever try it again, kind of a shame I decided to drink it during a re-run of "The King of Queens."

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Photo of HappyHourHero
3.06/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Light fleshy fruit aroma up front quickly smothered by the bourbon alcohol (some coconut and rubbing alcohol). Airy, bright white head fades quickly to a thin film. Slightly hazy, golden straw colored beer with a few stray bubbles rising slowly to the surface. Tastes like a bourbon infused triple. Fleshy fruit and yeasty triple flavor goes toe-to-toe with the mild bourbon tones. Mouthfeel is creamy smooth. I thiink I'd rather spend my $15 on two bottles of the triple.

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Photo of Truh
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The strange, funky, and wild just kept coming with this one on 11/5/2004. 1 pt. 9.4 fl. oz. poured twice in a goblet.

Initial soft covering of carbonation, with some littering out into striated jettrails. Very understated nose of sifted stew, golden raisins, and a bit of ginger. Pale yellow hue with just a hint of haze, but on the whole fairly clear and opalescent. Some biting bourbon of flashing heat and woody oak up front, followed by a warming alcohol suppressant. Wonderful balance of all inputs, great fall/winter offering.

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Photo of poundboy
3.04/5  rDev -29%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This is a good, well crafted beer. I love Allagash's triple, but the oak aging just did not do it for me. I am not a big bourbon drinker and the flavors imparted from the aging in bourbon barrells made it hard for me to drink. I guess I have just gotten sick off of bourbon one too many times and the olfactory reminders of those occurances made this an unpleasant experience for me.

Appearance: Hazy gold with minimal head.

Smell: Vanilla and smoke. Like watered down Jim Beam. Some sweetness underneath, but I detected none of the various fruit flavors others have.

Taste: Dry, with some of the fruitiness and phenols coming through. This beer is somewhat interesting in that it manages to by both sweet and dry at the same time. However the aftertaste is exactly the same as I get from a shot of bourbon. I somewhat enjoy that when I'm drinking whiskey, I did not enjoy it at all in this beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, with some pleasant tingling, sour once swallowed.

Drinkablility: Had a bit of a hard time finishing the glass. Not the beer for me. But many others like it. It is a good beer, just not at all what I am into.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to brewguru for the bottle.
Pours a glowing light gold color with an enormously effervescent white head on the pour that fades into a snifter coating layer of puffy lace.
Aroma is loaded with medicinal alcohol notes, strong vanilla hits and some grain and pale malt. I swear I get some rum or curacao notes as well.
Flavor has some fruity sweetness, reminds me of sugar cookies with lots of vanilla tones. Just a hint of peat and a then a yeasty, cloved, spiced finish with a hint of white pepper. Very intriguing indeed. You can tell the Tripel is here but the vanilla flavors and peaty aroma cut off any of the citrus that the Tripel has to offer.
Mouthfeel is really tremendous and full of contradictory notes. Sweet yet semi-sour mash. Harsh vanilla notes coupled with a softness of citrus, grain and yeast.
Drinkability is really very good. Must admit when I first heard about this beer, I was highly skeptical. I'm a fool for doubting the genius of Mr. Tod. This beer is a true classic and a style buster. Only a mad brewing genius like him could marry barrel aging and a world-class triple to make such an intriguing and tasty treat.

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Photo of maddmatt48
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Allagash has a lot of good beers and this one fits near or maybe at the top. For an 11% alcohol beer it is easy to drink. It is some and really tasty like the grand cru, but you get a hint of burbon from the oak aged barrels. It is the smoothest 11% abv beer I have ever drank. It is a little price at $10-12 per bottle, but it is very good. I have only been in Maine for a couple of months, but Allagash has nothing but good brews.

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Photo of clvand0
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
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 -2.3%
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 -1.9%
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 -27.3%
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 -1.4%
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 +12.1%
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 -10.7%
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 +4.9%
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 -37.4%
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 -6.5%
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 +3%
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 +7.9%
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 -13.8%
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 -5.4%
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 -10%
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 -5.6%
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 +0.9%
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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Curieux (Bourbon Barrel-Aged Tripel) from Allagash Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.28 out of 5 with 3,804 ratings