Haunted House
Allagash Brewing Company

Haunted HouseHaunted House
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Belgian Dark Ale
Ranked #6
ABV:
6.66%
Score:
89
Ranked #7,164
Avg:
4.05 | pDev: 8.64%
Reviews:
15
Ratings:
85
From:
Allagash Brewing Company
 
Maine, United States
Avail:
Fall
Wants
  5
Gots
  9
SCORE
89
Very Good
Haunted HouseHaunted House
Notes: Formerly Allagash House Beer (Haunted)

Inspired by a love for Porters and our House beer, Sean, our plant engineer, came up with a recipe for Haunted House. Brewed with roasted barley and Black Prinz malts and hopped with Tettnang, Chinook, and Saaz, this beer has a rich chocolate brown color, a roasty, coffee aroma and flavor, and a nice astringent, mildly bitter finish. 6.66% ABV. Spooky!
Reviews: 15 | Ratings: 85
Reviews by fmccormi:
Photo of fmccormi
4.52/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Straight pour from a 12oz pry-off bottle to an oversized wineglass (Tired Hands stemware, to be precise). According to a packaging date printed in white at the right of the label, above the barcode and below the brewery info, this was bottled on September 21, 2016 at 8:14 PM, if I’m not mistaken (“09/21/16 20:14”). That would make this beer just under five weeks old at the time of consumption.

Appearance (4.0): Two fingers of soft, pillowy foam rise off of the pour, capping and ebony-colored body. The body is just thin enough to show dark, cola-brown highlights at the edges when held up to light, whereas the head is a beautiful dark tan color, like coffee ice cream or mocha cappuccino froth. The head dies down fairly slowly, and leaves lazy, sudsy legs here and there where the beer’s most recently been.

Smell (4.5): What a gorgeous mixture of coffee roast, lightly smoky, charred, and a teeny bit acrid, with dark stone fruit aromas of dates and prunes, macerated with raisins and coffee liqueur. Cold brew, Latin America-sourced coffee seems about right here. There’s a floral, grassy, and herbal aroma in there, too, giving the impression of Noble hops, but it oddly works. It really bridges the gap between the fruity/coffee side and the earthy, bitter aroma of raw cacao that hangs out underneath everything else. Mocha chip gelato, too—less sweet and creamy, more coffee and icy. I loooooooove this beer’s nose.

Taste (4.5): So, so smooth and creamy, while still being somehow light. What the nuts is going on here? The sweetness of the beer’s fruity esters (Hiya, Allagash house strain!) provide a rich but not-too-sweet body for the beer’s dark, roasty flavors to play out. Following the nose, raw cacao chocolate brings in a mixture of earthy, florally bitter, kind of dirty (like actual dirt), and somewhat roasty chocolate flavors; the light roast and slightly fruity flavors of cold brewed, Latin American coffee beans mixes well with that cacao, as well. The fruit involved is less rich or noticeable than in the nose, but its profile still resembles the array of dark, pitted fruits and raisins noted above. And finally, the hops do show their face, with bitter floral and grassy notes that very happily marry the coffee, cacao, and ester profiles previously mentioned.

Mouthfeel (5.0): Unreal how smooth and creamy this is, without being heavy. Allagash, once again, shows their unbelievable degree of technical brewing skill, allowing their house yeast to turn this beer into an incredibly tight ship of a drink. The body is smooth and very creamy, thanks more to the pillowy but never aggressive, finer-than-needle-point carbonation than to its weight or heft. It somehow borders on lighter than medium-weight, without being unsatisfying. Meanwhile, the acidity of the roasted malts, in concert with the soft, perfectly distributed carbonation, allows the beer to finish modestly dry. It’s like they’re pulling some sort of magic trick with this beer.

Overall (4.5): “Belgian stout” has always sounded like an unwelcome gimmick to me, and it still does—but to be fair, I don’t think Allagash would necessarily call this beer a stout. It’s a dark, tastefully roasty version of a dry, drinkable table beer (albeit amped up a bit in terms of ABV and somewhat lower attenuation, I’d guess), without sacrificing the Noble hop character of the original style. I say this because it’s not really that much like a stout in its malt character, but rather it’s more like a table beer. The genius of using the Belgian yeast’s ester production to form the rich, fruity, somewhat sweet latticework of flavor that the beer’s roasty and hoppy components drape themselves over is that it doesn’t require the use of really big, sweet, or creamy malt. That way, it drinks lighter and more smoothly, but without sacrificing the smoothness of rich, creamy malt—that part is taken care of by Allagash’s wonderful house strain. Frankly, I was extremely, and happily, surprised by this beer. Now I’m going to look forward to its release around this time every year!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERMILER12
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a dark brown/black color with 2 fingers of head that fades down to a thin cap

S: Roasted malt, some nuttiness, caramel, dark fruit, and some light dark chocolate. Some light bitterness in there as well. Finishes with lingering roast and nuttiness

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with the toasted malt and caramel and then picks up the dark fruit, nuttiness, and dark chocolate

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth

O: A very nice dark ale that is quite easy to drink. MF adds to the drinkability. Check it out

 535 characters

Photo of Massbmx
3.94/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of wroywel
3.99/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of ichorNet
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

FINALLY this is seeing some distribution outside of the Maine area! I've been wanting to try this beer for years, and I randomly found a four pack of it in a cooler at a liquor store I almost never go to earlier today. How fortuitous! Haunted House is apparently Allagash's version of a hoppy porter/black IPA but with the Belgian inflection they're known to bring to the table. It uses some more traditional "Belgian saison" type hops (Tettnang and Saaz) along with Chinook, which is known for its intense sprucey spice notes, so I'm really interested in what this actually is.

HH pours an extremely dark but not completely opaque deep brown color that definitely comes pretty dang close to being "black." At the very bottom of my glass, however, I can note the mahogany hue coming through just a slight bit. The head is a light khaki color with incredible retention and superior lace that utterly coats the glass in layers of dense foam. Great legs too. Allagash always has very good looking beers, and this is no exception whatsoever!

The nose here is definitely influenced by funkier Belgian styles and clearly uses their house yeast (the name of the beer itself is a take on the fact that they actually have a beer called House Beer, mind you), but there's a charred malt presence and some almost-smoky roastiness that combines well with seemingly earthy and herbal hops. I get a distinct "dark saison" character from this beer. I am someone (maybe one of the only people in the world) who mourns the death of the dark saison trend that was kinda happening like 5-7 years back, and so it's cool to see it revive a little bit with this. I had an Oxbow dark saison recently that was also quite good (and also from Maine!), so maybe there's a slight revivalist undercurrent happening.

On the tongue, this definitely drinks more like an earthy, rye-based porter, honestly. Nothing "black IPA" about it at all, and not really sure why they market it as a "hoppy black ale," but it's really robust and extremely drinkable. It's somewhat like their Black Belgian stout, but definitely a bit livelier, and I suppose it has a bit more hoppiness than that beer does, so... sure. Combination of herbal and woody hops melding with deep baker's cocoa, coffee grounds, and spice. Some Belgian yeastiness is present but honestly not as much as I expected. Full body with good carbonation that opens up toward the finish. This is a little bit underwhelming compared to my expectations, but I'm still glad I got a four pack. Good stuff. Allagash has been doing extremely good work lately.

 2,579 characters

Photo of smutty33
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Budlum
4.04/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of harsley
3.44/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of JakerLou
4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Jason
4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle, sample from the brewery.

Pretty damn dark, lovely tan lacing. Brown malt, chicory, herbal hop in the nose. Big smoothness, lots of crispness within a medium body. Roasty and toasty. Coffee, chicory, cocoa nibs, and dark bread fill out the malt character here. Subtle herbal hopping helps to balance and flavor. Bit of pucker from the roasted but not so bitter finish. Job well done here.

 407 characters

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter.
Dark black, minimal head, no lace.
Roasted malt aroma, some sweetness.
Dark coffee taste. A hint of sweet chocolate.
Dry mouthfeel.

 170 characters

Photo of Jsalz21
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Happyyb
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Bowdoinbeerboy
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a nice head, subsides reasonably quickly. Beer is very balck, totally opaque. The nose is very porter like, not too much coffee, just a nice malty, slightly chocolaty hint. Taste is very smooth, again, more porter than stout, not much burned flavor. Flavor is mostly a smoothly rounded mild coffee/chocolate combination without any harsh or astringent notes.

 373 characters

Photo of BeerForMuscle
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of mltobin
4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of clayrock81
3.77/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a black body with great head and lace ring down the glass. Aroma is mostly mild malts but nothing really stands out. A little rough, the malts are a bitter, roasted chocolate that gives off a minimal sweetness and that seems to overpower rest of beer and doesn't really match style.

 291 characters

Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.56/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown, almost black color with a large light tan fluffy head, fades at a slow rate and leaves a ton of lacing on the glass.

Smell is strong in roasted malt, almost approaching coffee-like bitterness to the nose without actual coffee being added, decent hop presence on the nose in the pine variety.

Taste is strong and bitter, honestly tastes stronger than the Devilish ABV would indicate, roasty toasty malt leads the charge with an almost burnt bitterness to it, the hops are not entirely lost either and add a different type of bittering, nice sticky mouthfeel with soft and smooth carbonation complementing.

Ended up being better than I anticipated since I'm kind of over the dark hoppy black ales but this one just clicked.

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Photo of Smakawhat
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a Spiegelau IPA glass. Bottled September 21st 2016.

Really gorgeous body color. A deep dark mahogany and sort of purple deep red body color that shines bright, like a very dark eggplant or plum. Creamy topped looking head, just under three fingers with good retention and island puck merringue. Sheets of lacing and crowned streams down the glass, with microfine slow motion carbonation from top to bottom. Calling it one amazing looking beer.

Dark roasted notes, and a bit of husky almost burnt grains. Thick cocoa and mild sensing hop angle, a bit of thickness and almost smokey wood and earth hop character.

A real wonderful creamy palate and flavor. Earthy and sweet roasted coffee in the mid palate. Hop oiled and earthy tones make a real play as well, with a nice lingering coating on the swallow. Earthy and herbal finish, mixing almost a black tea and char like aftertaste. Very silky as well. Cream and vanilla round out as well.

Real nice take on a hopped up dark brew.

 1,022 characters

Photo of wisrarebeer
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of Claude-Irishman
4.41/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Teku glass, resulting in a deep black opaque spooky brew. Long lasting mocha colored 3 finger head. Smell coffee,hops,mild vanilla some char. Taste is deceiving, this is not your standard Porter, Nice hops and mellow malty finish. Looks Spooky but actually tastes like a good hybrid of regular ale and porter.Feels creamy and smooth,not oily or viscous at all. FEELS like a German Pilsner.Nice fun beer. I like the fact they rounded out the the ABV to 6.66. This beer is delicious not a novelty beer.

 514 characters

Photo of liquorpig
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jaydoc
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ONUMello
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can poured into a plastic cup in a hotel room so take this with a grain of salt
A: Fairly dark brown, 1/2 finger head
S: Dark malts, spice/rye, hops, hints of coffee/yeast
T: Matches the nose. Malty first and foremost, then some hops/spice on the midpalate with a hint of coffee & everything at once on the finish
M: Medium-bodied, a bit spicy
O: Tasty just not quite coherent, tries to do a bit of everything without one aspect standing out

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Haunted House from Allagash Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 85 ratings