Allagash Musette | Allagash Brewing Company

very good
189 Ratings
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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.

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Ratings: 189 |  Reviews: 159
Photo of FightingEntropy
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On Allagash's web, it says this is a Belgian inspired version of a Scotch Ale since it is often brewed there. The beer has a thick off white head that lingers and never really settles away, even pouring the second half of the bottle the high carbonation builds a strong, lasting head. Not much nose--had to swirl it to get some vanilla and light spice over a sweet malt. The taste is Belgian in character, oily and yeasty, but with a solid malty base underneath and oak with a bit of charcoal. The 10% alcohol warms nicely and evaporates up through the nose. Drink the beer at 55 like the bottle says because the balance is better; lower temp made the alcohol dominate over the other lighter flavor. A bit light for a mouthfeel and overall the beer lacks depth and character, though it was still a very fine night of tasting.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Almost an amber corn color with a few sporadic bubbles working their way to the surface. Head is a good inch tall consisting of medium sized sandy colored bubbles.

S: Boysenberry, allspice and coins with a woody touch.

T: Begins with blue, black and raspberries around the front of the tongue. Some buttery aspects come next with hints of peach, caramel and kiwi. From there a very minor peat flavors come forth with a surprising amount of bitterness accompanying it. Some butterscotch, candy apple and more red berries are some of the last flavors. Finishes really oakey…but it creeps up on you. A lot of woodiness with a fair amount of vanilla as it warms.

M: Full and syrupy. Good carbonation with just a pinch of sting.

D: Didn’t think anything much of this beer until it really warmed up. The flavors melded well after a while.

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Photo of weeare138
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's...
Appears a semi-transparent dark amber with a small white head that slowly dissipates into a floating head of off white cream. Scattered chunks of lacing are scattered around the glass.
Smell is of toffee, caramel, brown sugar, light oak, mild citrus, and vanilla.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with light fruit bursting through, along with brown sugar, mild coffee notes, very slight flavors of rum soaked raisins. This is complex with light cocoa found in the background.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, sweet up front, slight oak tannins clinging with a sugary finish.

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Photo of sabrills70
3.62/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml coked and caged brown bottle with a bottle date of August 2006. pours a slightly hazy medium amber with a 2 finger head, decent longevity and decent lace. Deep rich malt aromas but with a fair amount of fruityness mixed in - mainlt tart apples and cherrries. Upon tasting is a big rich malt mixed with some fruityness. Alcohol has a definate presence. Hop bitterness shows up in the aftertaste - although it is faint. This one is still a bit young and harsh. I think it will be amazing in another year or so. I will have to look for another bottle.

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Photo of akorsak
3.76/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A snifter glass served at Capone's.

A: The ale is a dark garnet red color mixed with brown haziness. The head is not very well defined in the snifter and quickly recedes to a small white band.

S: The ale, even as it warms, gives off nothing that suggests a wee heavy. The aroma is a buttery softness complimented by a yeasty funkiness. No hint of smokiness like a wee heavy should have.

T: What the ale lacks in terms of smoke, it makes up for in depth. There are raisiny thick flavors, spicy sweetness and a bourbon aftertaste, all in the first sip when the ale is still cold. As it warms, the yeast imparts a Belgian finish on the ale that gives it a unique sweetness that a wee heavy could never sustain. The ale is approachable but lacks some of the instant gratification of, say, a Curieux.

M: The mouthfeel offers a lot throughout the glass except for a wee heavy element. I liked it but wanted more peaty density.

D: A good sippin' beer, this ale improves as it warms.

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Photo of TexIndy
3.94/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml corked and caged bottle with a date of August 2006. The color was a nice amber. Bottle calls for a slow pour so I started with that and ended up about medium. Even with the increase in pour there was almost no head at all. Several other reviews talked about a 3 finger head so something wrong here. The smell was oaky and sweet with raisin and fruit. The taste was pretty good but a tad too sweet from the alcohol sugars. It's 10% ABV and you can just start to taste the alcohol so pretty well balanced there. Mouthfeel was good with medium carb feel. Overall, it was a pretty good beer but not something that I see having a regular basis. Maybe ever couple years to see how my tastes evolve. I can easily drink the whole thing and like it but just not my style. (4, RB, T, O)

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Photo of BlindPig
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- About a 2" tan head on a cloudy amber and brown body.
S- A light blend of dark fruits, oak, yeast, sugars, big earthy tones, sweet caramel, and some earthy hops.
T- A very balance blend of earthy hops that leave a big bitterness on front of tongue, light dark fruits, some kind of earthy dark sweet caramel malt, some big wood and vanilla, and light tingle of alcohol that leaves a big warming in the back of throat. It has a nice different taste to it and I think a lot of that comes from what kind of wood they used. It really lends some kind of earthy and rich feel to it. I think it is a blend of a Belgian strong dark ale with a wee heavy.
M- Medium to full body with low to medium carbonation.
D- I think this is really good. I don't think it is to true to the style but I can see why this one would be the scotch ale from a Belgian beer brewing company. Allagash have yet to let me and they didn't stop at this one.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
3.48/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 ml. bottle marked as having been bottled in 12/06. Leaves a foamy two finger head that has excellent retention, and leaves very good lacing. Body is a hazy light garnet. Looks like a Belgian dark ale, not a wee heavy.

Smell - horse blanket, sour apples, apricots, plums, and a hint of cloves. This smells like a Belgian dark ale, not a wee heavy.

Taste - same as the smell, and yes, it tastes like a Belgian dark ale, not a wee heavy. There is also a hint of oak and vanilla in the middle. The abv is mostly well hidden, but shows up more on the finish, and contributes a spicy and medicinal taste.

Mouthfeel - thin bodied, and very, very fizzy.

Drinkability - this is good ale, but not great. High abv limits sessionability. This also seems to more of a Belgian strong dark ale, or a Dubbel, but certainly not a wee heavy.

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Photo of Torchiest
3.55/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750mL bottle poured into a belgian goblet.

Poured a nice moderate brown, with a decent head that receded to a thin beige layer after a minute or so.

Solid belgian ale aroma. Sweetness and fruitiness noticeable immediately, with a subtle spiciness that took longer to be detectable. Very on target for the style.

Round woodiness, I think, would be how I describe my initial impression. I've only had one other oak-aged beer, and it was an imperial stout. Such a hugely different style makes the oak characteristics stand out quite clearly. Dark fruit and the usual belgian flavors are there, with a very sweet leading edge, but the oak aging has a profound effect on things. It seems to wrap everything in a cloak of blunted creaminess. It's very difficult to describe.

Good body, not overwhelming, good carbonation, finishes relatively cleanly.

I'm not sure if I can call this extremely drinkable. I'm drinking it pretty quickly, but that's mainly because I'm trying to figure it out. Curiousity and confusion drive my consumption more than anything else right now. Pretty good as a change of pace, but I'm in no hurry to find it again. I like plenty of other belgian style ales better.

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3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours to 3 fingers of light tan head that has decent staying power. Very deep brown is exemplatory of a scocth style. Nose is a extremely invigorating spicey eye opener. Very fruity hints enter play also. Sweet malt is the first thing you notice on the tongue after enitial sip. Smooth spicey zap on the taste buds is accompinied by mineral notes, and hints of vanilla. Alchol is noticeable but not harsh. I really think this beer would have been better after a year or so in the cellar. Mouthfeel is realatively thick. Easy to enjoy.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled May 2006

A - Pours a clear ruby/mahogany with a thin tan head and spotty lacing.

S - Dark cherries, raisins, spicy Belgian yeast, hints of vanilla, oak and prunes, sweet Belgian candy sugar.

T - Dark fruits, raisins and prunes, spicy pepper, sweet sugar. There is a slight hotness from the alcohol that mixed with vanilla and oak reminds me of a bourbon aftertaste that lingers in the mouth.

M - Medium bodied and slightly bubbly on the tongue with a dry spicy finish.

D - Although I don't think this is close to a scotch ale (maybe a Dubbel or Belgian Strong) it is a very tasty beer.

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Photo of neonbrown82
3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another good beer from Allagash. I'm not quite sure if it is $16 good, but damn tasty. Pours to a dark amber color, almost brown. A nice tall off-white head with a decent retention. Hardly any lacing, however. Good carbonation rising up from the D etching in my Duvel tulip.

The smell is the weakest link. A bit of a soft soap aroma and some copper. At the same time it smells beautifully crisp and dry, almost like a brett beer. A hint of brown sugar, candi sugar and dark caramel malts. Some english noble hops as well. If it weren't for the soapy and coppery aromas, it would actually smell quite phenomenal.

The taste is better. The soap and copper flavors are more subdued and thus outshined by the malts and hops. A light banana ester as well as a hint of clove and some saddle sweat funk. Very crisp and dry, but the caramelized malt flavors are still a standout. Dark candi sugar in the finish with a hint of lingering hops. A bit of a smoked barrel char flavor with a feint hint of vanilla in the finish as well, rounding everything out.

The body is fairly light for such a strong beer. The alcohol is very well hidden as well. Very crisp and carbonated, and on the dry side as well. Fairly good drinkability, but not when you take the price tag into consideration. Worth a try, in any case.

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Photo of mcallister
2.53/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Nothing really makes this beer stand out looks wise. A melted caramel brownish color with a small white head that does carry good retention. Not much imagination otherwise.

Sweet black cherry, with a toffeed malt hint and hints of oak. Sweet fig, raisin, brown sugar, and berries also come forth as this beer mingles in the glass awhile. A tad of alcohol also is present. The problem is that all of the aromas are very subdued.

Hmmm. Well I'm thoroughly dissapointed in this beer. I've been sitting on this for awhile now looking forward too the day of it's demise. Not sure if it's a bad bottle or just old but not at all what I expected. Lacking any complexity and not nearly the amount of oak to integrate I was imagining. Well live and die by the bottle:).

Again lots of dried berries, hints of toffee, milk chocolate, cherry, and a lackluster attempt at oak aging. An obvious belgian yeast was used in this and I think Allagash may have been better off using a traditional yeast with this one.

Thin and watery.

As for drinkability; considering it's price I will never try this beer again. Now I have all of these other Allagash "big beers" in my cellar that I've been looking forward too. Hopefully the others will turn out better.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

$24 bottle of beer.... but hey, I'm always willing to spend good money on a beer named for the genteel French bagpipes. Maybe a hurdy-gurdy beer could be next? The picture looks like a woodcut from Praetorius's Syntagma musicum, with a fontanelle covering a lower key; it's mouthblown rather than most later musettes which were usually bellow-powered.

Pours out a hazy bright ruby color with a smallish head. Aroma is truly oaky, far woodier than any other wood-aged beer I've had. There's a fruity underlying malt as well, but the wood dominates the nose. The wood is, thankfully, less dominant in the flavor. It's still there, but there's a strong sweet malt and a wonderful dark-fruit yeast character that one finds in the best of Belgian-style beers. Hops are restrained but the character is never cloying. Alcohol character blends with a last hint of wood at the finish.

A complex and interesting beer! And a nice concept too. For some nice mid-18th century musette music, seek out Michel Courette or Joseph Bodin de Boismortier!

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Photo of Phatz
4.55/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at Tria in Philadelphia PA.

Allagash continues to impress me. Another great beer from a brewery that has yet to disappoint.

Appearance: Serve an attractive dark red burgundy color with an ivory head and ring after ring of decorative impressive lacing lining the walls of the glass.

Smell: Sweet caramel syrup, malt, sugars, oak, smoky, vanilla and more caramel malt, load the nose with a rich aroma.

Taste & Mouthfeel: This is a beautifully balanced, well blended sweet beer with barley, maple, caramel malt, oak flavors. Barrel oak vanilla notes bittersweet chocolate, grape and some spices are wrapped in a super silky smooth body; and a light warming dryness on the cheeks. Brilliant!

Drinkability: I love this sweet easy beer. It is big and built for sipping but I could sip it all day. =)

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big 750 ml, caged & corked; a classy label with a small illustration of a set of bagpipes (a cryptic hint to the scotch ale/wee heavy style...). Bottled in May 2006, enjoyed in February 2007. Poured to two Chimay goblets.

A: Murky golden-brown, deep & rich. Crowned with a eggshell-colored creamy head 1/2 to 1 finger, depending on the vigor of the pour. Head dwindles to gauzy film and eventually a pencil-thin ring. Carbonation visible only when the glass is held before strong light.

S: Fairly light brown-sugary smell, with spices (anise for one) and wisps of oak and vanilla.

T: Sugars, malts, yeast with a wonderful spiciness. A complex interplay of flavors develop in the mouth - anise and rum, brown sugar and oak. Peppery dry finish, rounded of with just enough herbal hops. Outstanding balance.

M: Outstanding mouthfeel - a litany of flavors and textures roil around constantly. At times warm and tingly, at times carbonated and spicy, at times creamy smooth, almost velvety. Body is medium-to-full. 10% alcohol and oak aging are hardly apparent.

D: A very well crafted ale, one I really was sorry to have to finish. Split this bottle with my wife over take-out BBQ (smoked beef brisket & pulled pork) - an excellent complement to the meal with enough left over to enjoy for some time after. A joy to drink and a strong recommendation.

Price is lofty (I've seen it sold for $15/bottle) - that's perhaps the only deterent to keep from enjoying this regularly.

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Photo of GeoffFromSJ
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on-tap at Tria in Philadelphia.

Beautiful ruby color, at least it looked ruby in the low light. Not too much in the taste at first. The aftertaste had bourbon notes it picked up from barrell aging.

10% alcohol? You've got to be kidding. Wouldn't have guessed except I was already told by the menu.

So a nice easy drinking beer. Good for sipping. If you like bourbon, this will go nicely. I think this may go nice with a blue-veined cheese.

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Photo of dnichols
4.54/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled August 2006, this 750ml, corked and caged Scottish ale pours a dense foggy orangey and copper hue with slight off-white head. It has a sweet smell with the gentle aroma of caramel apples tempered with a hint of oak smoke and roasted nuts. It provides a smooth, creamy texture that rolls across the tongue and lingers with a pleasant aftertaste. The rich caramel and roasted nut flavor remains firm to the end. It is an exceedingly drinkable brew that delights the senses.

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Photo of cbl2
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1/15/2007 $20.00 750 mL 10.00% Bottled August 2006; 419 cases bottled.


Pours a ruddy brown with nice orange highlights adorned by half an inch of tight white foam that is slow to settle.


A redolant mix of alcohol mixed with smoky peat tinged with a touch of wood.


Excellent smooth mouthfeel that is slightly chewy. Oak and peat really shine through in the flavor department along with slight cherry notes. This is a nice brew, and very drinkable. I was fortunate enough to snag a bottle of this at Firewaters at the Tropicana in Atlantic City. A little pricey, but with the limited quantities it was worth getting my hands on.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
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 ChainGangGuy
3.82/5  rDev -5%
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 BEERchitect
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
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 Umbra
3.94/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in a red wine glass at Max's.
Red-hued copper with a tan head. Light retention and nice lacing. Apples, malt and some vanilla on the nose.
Comes off sweet and fruity, but is saved by it's very light mouthfeel. It doesn't appear anywhere near cloying. Wood and alcohol on the finish.
overall: Seemed to have less body and interestingness on tap than in the bottle. However, it was much more drinkable in the long run.

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

Appearance: Pours a pretty cloudy burnt caramel color with a small, but lasting head of off white bubbles that is only about 1/8" thick. There is no real lacing left on the glass, but the head sticks around for quite some time anyway.

Aroma: Initially in the aroma, I get a lot of fruit like red apples in particular. There is also a bunch of other fruit like pears. The malt is pretty big in this beer, but the fruit dominate the aroma. I can only pick up a bit of sweetness from the malt along with a hint of dark caramel.

Taste: The flavor is really clean and not as dominated by fruit as I expected from the aroma. It has a fruity balance, but it comes across as a light fruit and some sweet caramel to go along with it. This beer tastes a bit like a candy apple. There is a bit of spice here that I would suspect is from the alcohol, but there is very minimal warming on the back of the throat after drinking. It hides the 10%ABV well with the complexity of the flavor. The finish is rather dry and doesn't let on to the amount of caramel and malt flavors that are in here. You can tell that the beer dried out quite a bit during aging.

Opinion: I think that this is a really good beer. It is a bit overpriced IMO at over $16 a bottle. The Curieux was a little more worth it, but this beer is still excellent. I would certainly drink this beer again, but would just as certainly hesitate at the price. If this stuff was closer to $8, I would probably drink it pretty regularly. This is just a treat to have.

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Photo of goochpunch
3.62/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled in August '06

Pours out the color of dates with an off-white frothed milk head that maintains well throughout the glass. Smell is extremely faint for me, but I pick up some toasted malts, caramel, and some Belgian yeast character. Flavor is of roasty malts, fruity esters, spicy phenols, and bittering hops in the finish. Where is the wood in this. Ends rather dry. Mouthfeel is smooth, but is seriously lacking in body. Kind of washes off the palate easily. A good drinker, overall. Reminds me of a toastier/roastier dubbel.

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Allagash Musette from Allagash Brewing Company
4.02 out of 5 based on 189 ratings.
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