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Allagash Musette | Allagash Brewing Company

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Allagash MusetteAllagash Musette
189 Ratings
Allagash MusetteAllagash Musette

Brewed by:
Allagash Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our interpretation of a Belgian-inspired Scotch ale, Musette undergoes a caramelization process in the kettle, where the first runnings are condensed and caramelized, imparting a unique and subtle caramel character and amber color to the beer. Following fermentation, a portion of it is aged in oak bourbon barrels for three months. Musette features raisin and ripened banana aromas. Its taste is malty and caramel with a hint of roast, and its warm finish strikes a balance between dry and caramel characters with a hint of smoke.

Added by barleywinebrewer on 05-22-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 189 |  Reviews: 159
Photo of Sammy
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mahogoney brown with loyal significant white head. Masterful Scotch ale, with an impressive sourness not necessarily too much bourbon taste, and significant pleasant woodiness. Altogether mastery as they all work together for a successful replacement at dinner of a more expensive, wine. A good cross blend Scotch with Belgian yeast.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -25.6%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Wee-Heavy? Well, no, but a good beer anyway. The strong maltiness and peat, earthy, and nearly dirty flavors hinge on the aformentioned style, but the other contributing flavors sing a different story. The Belgian yeast strains and added Belgian sugars bring the beer into the Allagash world. Very spicy, malty, yeasty, tawny, earthy, nutty, and oaky evident right from the initial aromas. The flavors bring up all of these, but emphasize the malts, Belgian yeasts, tartness, and oak. All of which combine for a rich caramel, peach, nutty flavor that remains firm throughout. The body reaches medium viscousness, and holds firm from start to finish. This is a very nice beer. There is an off-keel bite and an unrefined maturity that keeps it from rating higher. This beer has some improving to experience that only time will deliver.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep copper color ale with a big foamy head with good retention and small lacing rings. Aroma of sweet malt with some notes of light oak. Taste is dominated by a big sweet malt base with some toffee notes. The bourbon and the alcohol were not discernable. I was expecting more peat malt and less sweetness but I enjoyed this one very much even thought it stray very much from the style guideline.

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Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, corked and caged. The cork released easily. Bottled August 2006. I had no idea what this beer was until just now, and I found the drawing on the label curious (or is that curioux?), but now I see it's a bag pipe. Great name. Great label. Great beer.

Poured into a wide goblet, it's a very hazy deep chestnut with a ruby cast. A short head of creamy ivory froth rests atop, slowly settling into a wide collar with islands, peninsulas, and a single isthmus of lace across the surface. Creamy walls of lace rise from the surface along the glass, and as you sip and disturb the beer, it's roused to form a solid, silky veil across the surface. Very fine bubbles rise from below, helping to maintain the creamy collar and whispy surface covering. Very nice appearance.

In the nose it's lightly smokey and oak-like... not just woody, but woody and oak-like. Maltiness lies still beneath, not in any hurry to truly reveal itself, and a bit of yeasty fruitiness (chalky tangerine) seems to be up to the same game.

The flavor initially offers a strong note of vanilla with the wood, but with subsequent sips that disappears into the lush, smokey and deeply caramelish - scorched sugar maltiness. Yeasty fruitiness does make an appearance, but it's still restrained. It displays apple, pear, apricot, subtle cherry, and some mild dark skinned fruits. Alcohol hits the palate midway with a splash of spiciness, and leads into dry and oaky finish. Even cedar-like? The combination of fruit and burnt sugar and wood is quite remarkable. It's rich and flavorful but far from overwhelming... more like 'refreshing'... and it's perfect for cold weather! It finishes dry with a wash of sm-oak-iness, and lays on the palate with a touch of smoked meat character.

A really nice, very interesting Scottish style Ale. Solidly flavored with lots of complexity. A beautiful sipper.

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Photo of nickfl
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - One finger of off white foam with a tinge of brown, settles quickly to a thick film. Extraordinary copper-red color with good clarity.

S - Malty, oaky aroma. Lots of caramel with notes of vanilla and coco.

T - Lots of woody oak flavor up front. Thin caramel flavor in the middle followed by some chocolate and coffee flavors. The finish is drawn out with lots of oak and some smoky tobacco flavors.

M - Smooth, slightly thick body with moderately high carbonation and alcoholic warmth in the finish.

D - Pretty drinkable for a strong, wood aged beer. The flavor of the base beer is a bit weak, but the oak character is quite nice; substantial, but not overwhelming. The finish is particularly complex.

 709 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.82/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a murky brown body with a dense, fizzy off-white head.

Smell: Sweetish, malty aroma of brown sugar, cookies, orange oil, banana, with a little mustiness to it and a dash of maple syrup.

Taste: Extremely complex, multi-faceted flavor here, with a plethora of subtle notes and hints at play - vanilla Tootsie Rolls, almonds, orange, dried cherries. Initially malty with a candy sweetness. A dusty quality, as well as a spice-laden finish steers the taste away from being cloying. No real hop presence to speak of. A small amount of alcohol shines through and provides a nice warming sensation.

Mouthfeel: Medium-body enhanced by a smooth, creamy palate and a lively carbonation.

Drinkability: A real marathon for the mouth and the wallet!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

May 2006 Bottling. Rustic orange with a subtle infusion of brick red. The towering, majestic, orange-ivory crown is the usual Belgian-like masterpiece from Allagash. It looks to be softly sticky, but isn't gracing the glass with very much lace. Although I like the appearance just fine, I expected something much darker and richer.

It looks like I'm going to have to forget about viewing Musette as a Scotch ale, despite the fact that the brewery calls it a 'Belgian-inspired Scotch ale'. Given the nose, I'd say it's more like a Scotch-inspired Belgian ale. In typical Allagash fashion, the yeast strain is a humdinger, providing a crazy amount of fruit and spice. Truthfully, it smells like a dubbel.

I think the other two Barrel-Aged Beers in this series (Curieux and Odyssey) are two of the finest creations that I've ever had the pleasure to drink. After the first several ounces, it looks like Musette isn't on the same astral plane. It's still good beer, it just isn't special. I'm hoping that with time and warming, it will impress me a little bit more.

I'm still reminded of a Belgian dubbel, or an especially light-bodied BSDA. I would have given this high-ABV ale much more malt. It's a little too airy-fairy when it needs to be down and dirty like the classic wee heavies. There's plenty of tangy fruit (on the order of fresh figs, golden raisins and snappy apples), along with a caramelized sugar and toffee vibe that is probably coming from the bourbon barrels.

Like the nose, the flavor profile is bursting with Belgian yeastiness. Ground clove, especially, is zinging this way and that in each and every mouthful. If there one thing these guys do right (and I believe they do almost everything right), it's to create the most Belgian-like beer outside of Belgium itself. Allow me to add 'and parts of France and Holland'.

For whatever reason (possibly the 10.0% ABV), I'm enjoying the lower half of the '750' more than the upper half. I still can't pull the trigger on the next highest flavor score because there simply isn't enough depth and complexity. The mouthfeel is light and well-carbonated. More malt would have given the beer some much needed viscosity and would have allowed the flavor to linger for an extra second or two.

Musette is French for bagpipes (depicted on the label). That's a great name for a Scotch ale, except that this beer doesn't have much in common with Bonny Scotland. It's a tribute to the remarkable skill of the brewers at Allagash that I feel this good about a beer that falls this short of perfection. They're the ones who set the bar so stratospherically high in the first place.

 2,649 characters

Photo of rab53
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Billolick
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Large Belgian bottle, caged and corked, "bottled August 2006" Pours cloudy, dull dark brown, typical tan head showing fine retention and leaving nice, fine and also blotchy lacing. Nose is musty,malty and sweet. Notes of more malt, light raisins and a hint of wood and rum. Fine, fine stuff, very smooht and enjoyable mouthfeel. Go get some! Thanks to my beer bud, Daver, for bringing this fine brew over..

 406 characters

Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.73/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a slightly clouded dark ruby. Flavor is amazingly smooth. Wood character comes through as does a good sweet tone. Who cares about specifics. I give it a 5 on flavor. Feel is perfect balance between liquid and carbonation. I cant believe I am having this on tap. So drinkable, I want to kill the keg. I can only imagine what this is like on bottle and plan on finding out at some point.

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Photo of jwc215
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml cork-caged bottle - Bottled in August, 2006 - poured into wide-mouth glass:

Pours hazy orangeish brown with a thin fizzy head that settles to a lasting patch.

The smell is of vanilla/oak, caramel, yeast, and earthy spiciness.

The taste is of sweet vanilla (hint of cinnamon?) with caramel maltiness. There's an earthy, spicy, yeasty dry balance. It has a warmth from the alcohol, which is present, but not too sharp.

It has a creamy, medium body.

The alcohol shows itself clearly, even after two years of aging, though it's not overwhelming. The wood dominance hangs on well into the aftertaste. Sips well enough for a sipper.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

09/09/07- Purchased at City Beer in San Francisco, CA.

Presentation- 750ml bottle, both caged and corked. 2007 release, while poured into my St. Bernardus chalice.

Appearance- Deep amber in color pour. 3/4 inch tight and lighty creamy head. Leaves nice lace tracks behind.

Smell- Notes of light caramel, oak barrell and mixed dark fruits. Really subdued though.

Taste- I'm not seeing Wee Heavy here at all. Not malty enough. There is a caramel malt base, but it doesn't scream out like it does in other heavy's. Muted dates, prunes and plums with a light sugary flavor. A bit of oak, but nothing too intense.

Mouthfeel- A bit over carbonated, mild hop-oak aftertaste.

Drinkability- Sadly another Allagash $$$ brew that doesn't cut it IMO. $17 for this? A decent run of the mill oaked beer, but the flavors really don't jump out at you. One more overpriced on to go...

 873 characters

Photo of Wasatch
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled: December 2006

Poured into a tulip a very nice deep reddish/amber color, very nice carbonation, awesome thick/creamy two finger off-white head, which left some very nice thick sticky lacing. The nose is malty, nice touch of yeast, some spices, slight figs, raisins, plums, nice oak presence, with some caramel tones. The taste is awesome, malty/yeast, dark fruits, nice touch of oak/caramel tones. Medium body. The alcohol is hidden very well with this brew. Very drinkable, this one is a joy to drink, thank you Allagash, highly recommended.

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of brandoman63
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of Derek
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage.

A: Copper-amber, light tan head, thin ring of retention, some lacing.

S: Woody, cider, bread, caramel, nut & scotch.

T: Quite woody and it works really well. Bready pale malt, nuts, light spicing, vanilla, modest bitterness, alcohol is subtle.

M: Moderate body is smooth; moderate carbonation (has cellared really well).

D: A great drinker, considering its weight.

 383 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy brown with little head. The smell is slightly sour and slightly sweet, and a bit yeasty. The taste has nicely balanced flavore of sweet malt and nicely subtle oak as well astypical Belgian yeast flavors of banana, spice, and coriander. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth with a bit of spritz. Nice, and a bit different for a wee heavy- more like a wee heavy and tripel hybrid.

 398 characters

Photo of clayrock81
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A copper, light brown color with a two-finger head in my glass that was tan-colored and stuck aroudn for a while due to good carbonation. I know there is some caramel or sweet malt in here because the last few ounces of pour where a syrupy discharge. Also picked up some dark fruits or something tart along with a little floral hops. My nose seems to be everywhere on this one. Medium-bodied and overall smooth, passes over the tongue and leaves a sweet and at the same time tart, almost sour fruit taste on the front. There is definitely some spices there as there is a peppery bite in the mouth and it has a dry, but not too dry or crisp, backbite. Still maintains a smoothness from the oak. This is a great beer that my pourous review doesn't really do justice. I just couldn't categorize the taste properly. Too bad it hurt my wallet a little.

 847 characters

Photo of Zorro
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled through the efforts of mikesgroove and Battlecruiser BIF.

Chill hazed amber colored ale with a slight yellowish orange tinge. Nice head with a tan to off-white color to it.

The smell is malty and complex with vanilla, smoke and oak aromas. One weird aroma here best I can identify it is banana and coconut. Not unlike the tropical fruit scent in many Quadruple style ales. There is also a faint Bourbon scent here.

The taste begins sweet and boozy with a strong Bourbon flavor it, mostly vanilla and a coconut rum taste. This is quite a tasty beer and it is has a great deal more flavor levels than your average beer of this style and frankly I like it.

The mouthfeel is thick.

Quite the drinkable beer one you get past the initial boozy flavor. Then again this isn't nearly as booze laced as your average RIS. Highly recommended and an especially good beer for Christmas time, this and spice cookies would make an excellent match.

 954 characters

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

Bottled May 2006, Sampled November 2006
Pours with a frothy, thick three finger thick, tan colored head. The beer shows a lightly hazy, ruby, amber color when held up to the light, otherwise it sits a slightly dull, burnt, concentrated amber color. As I pour this beer I get a nice, sweetish fruity note of plums. Yep, notes of plum and raisins play a forward role in this beer. Towards the end the oak starts to become noticeably; touches of vanillin, and buttery oak character. The oak actually seems to accentuate the alcohol aromatics here, it almost gives it a hot, even bourbon like edge. Malty, caramelized notes of rum, brown sugar and toasted bread crust. There is also a touch of something that makes the aroma smell a bit tart; it sort of reminds me of tamarind.

The taste has a touch of complex sweetness to it up front, that dies down a bit in the middle and then picks up again through to a long, caramelized finish. Definitely has a certain tartness to it; it seems to remind me of plums and perhaps a touch of apples. For an oak aged beer, the wood is fairly subtle. Don't get me wrong, it is definitely noticeable, but it is not so in your face that it is the first thing I notice. The oak first becomes noticeable towards the finish, with notes of vanilla, a touch of astringent oak, and perhaps a hint of buttery oak. This beer has a nice fullness to it, it is not heavy, though it does manage to coat the palate for quite some time after the beer has left. Once again the wood seems to accentuate some hot alcohol notes, but it is even more subtle in the taste than it is in the aroma. The notes makes me think of spicy notes of pepper.

This is a nice beer to contemplate over an evening. Perhaps the best thing about this beer is that the oak is fairly subtle, so often the wood is overdone in the wood aged beers. In this one it plays a supporting role & it just works. As the beer warms and my palate gets used to it, it loses the sweetness that was initially here. It becomes actually a bit meatier, more chewy and more savory even. Perhaps not mind blowingly good, but this is certainly quite tasty and I am enjoying this quite nicely right now.

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Allagash Musette from Allagash Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 189 ratings
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