Allagash 11th Anniversary Ale | Allagash Brewing Company

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Allagash 11th Anniversary AleAllagash 11th Anniversary Ale

Brewed by:
Allagash Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
To acknowledge this year's anniversary, our 11th, Allagash's brewers decided to use a champagne yeast for both the primary and secondary fermentations. This beer was brewed with both Cascade and Northern Brewer hops and copious amounts of Belgian Aromatic Malt to achieve its vibrant garnet color and unique, malty palate. At a hefty 9% ABV, the alcohol in this brew is balanced by a light sweetness, a full-bodied mouth feel and a gentle, lingering hop character.

Added by geexploitation on 08-05-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 90 | Ratings: 105
Photo of battlekow
2.98/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I certainly am unsure of the baseline to which I should compare Allagash's 11th Anniversary Ale, but I do feel strongly that it's a rather dull beer no matter what style. The champagne yeast makes itself obvious, and I tend to agree with AKSmokedPorter's assertion that it's a "a spritzy dubbel" rather than a biere de champagne (though I've never had one of those, so what do I know?); however, now that I think about it, I'd say it's more spritzy than dubbel. Moldy bread and slight fruitiness comprise the main flavors. There's an unpleasant metallic finish to go along with the slight hoppiness (or is that the champagne again?) and lingering notes of honey. My boat remains aground, dreaming from the hill.

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Photo of Lnedrive14
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Like the previous reviewer, i too love allagash. they continually make great brews in great styles and from time to time push the envelope (try the INTERLUDE!!!!). This, however, was not my favorite.

Pours a chestnut brown with a huge pearl head. Quickly dissipating head, that was fluffy (not that Duvel thickness). Lots of caramel sweetness, fresh cherries and apples, maybe even some banana. Some weird stuff in there that i can't really put my fingers on - cloves perhaps? asparagus? black truffle oil? i have no freaking clue. very complicated brew - i respect it, it just didn't work for me. Medium bodied. Drinkability suffers.

I really think this could have been great, it just was missing something. that aside, i still love allagash and support their creativeness.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm biased; I love Allagash. The 11th Anniversary is a wonderful beer. It was a hazy brown color with a medium head and some great lacing. Aroma was dark fruit and bread. Complex taste: sweet, fruity, malty, hoppy. As it warmed up, the fruit flavor predominated. Nicely carbonated, though not as much as I expected. A great beer.

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Photo of nlmartin
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is Biere de Champagne? WTF this is Belgian Strong Ale. The beer was served in a wide mouthed wine goblet. This beer was purchased at Jungle Jims for $12.99

Appearance: The beer pours a pleasing chestnut brown coloration. The head was a tan off biege coloration one finger thick. The lacing was nearing on pancake thickness.

Smell: This beer smells like a melange' of strawberry, bubblegum, candied apples and caramel sweetness. This is in addition too a funky earthy floral combo.

Taste: The beer has a funky yeasty apple malty peppery clove flavor. The beer is complicated to say the least.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer is medium bodied and big time carbonated beer. The beer was a very nicely executed beer. I enjoyed the beer from start to finish.

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Photo of phisig137
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle pours a deep blood red, mahogany color, with a creamy one finger head. Good retention slowly falls to leave behind nice lacing one the glass.

The aroma here is slightly sweet, spicy, and vinous. Bready, and smells like a belgian double/triple hybrid. fresh bread, dark fruit, malt, caramel, spicy yeast, and vanilla. Wonderfully complex nose lead to a similar taste. Dry and sweet at the same time, spicy up front and fruity on the finish. Hops are present in the middle and on the finish, while malt peaks through all the way through. Alcohol warms from the first sip to the last.Very complex and enjoyable, this gets considerably beeter as it warms up from cellar temp. At room temp this is incredible. Mouthfeel is creamy and full. Drinkability is decent.

I feel that this is not NEARLY carbonated enough to be a Biere de Champagne, but the flavor and price are right on. I'd like to rate this higher, but I feel that as good as it is, it has even more potential. If it were more heavily carbonated, this could be incredible. But despite this, the beer is fantastic, as are most of the pricier Allagash offerings.

BTW... I don't think this is bottled by method champenoise, as the Allagash website claims... Doesn't that process require disengorgment, and not just bottle conditioning? Perhaps someone can let me know for sure.

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Photo of Dewey0603
4.26/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a deep clear ruby red with a giant tan foamy head. A very impressive looking brew. The smell is moderately pungent with yeast, banana,clove,and alittle alcohol. The taste is bizarre mixture of creamy sweet malt and a crisp highly carbonate alcohol aftertaste. Other flavors include vanilla, candy sugar, dark fruit,and pepper. The m/f is light and very well balanced. This is an incredible beer. Great job Allagash.

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Photo of Foxman
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours a hazy and very carbonated coppery brown. Two fingers of beige head deconstruct slowly to frothy tufts. Curlicues of lacing calligraph the inside of the glass.

The aroma brings a tangy, yeasty malty sweetness, fruity with cherry and green apple, and smoothed with a light caramel and vanilla duo. A touch of clove and muted floral esters just manage to minimize a tendon of alcohol.

Upon tasting, there eases in a sedate malt sweetness, gently earthy and tart, with darker cherry and plum, and accompanied by buttery toffee. Granny Smith apple crisps its way toward a clove spice note. Another flash of cherry sweetness punctuates a sheet of airy alcohol, and then a mildly sour doughiness leads into a crisp, dry lingering bitterness. It's wonderfully rich and complex, and damned good.

Medium bodied, the grain sweetness is buoyed by the carbonation, and it coats along with a definitive bitterness.

I could wax rhapsodic over this for some time, but this time shorter seems better. It's complex, blended, and artful, and though the ABV is a world-class warmer, it drinks like a sweet dream. If every anniversary beer was this good, the world would be a much happier place.

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Photo of akorsak
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a C&C 750 mL bottle served in a Chimay goblet. The ale is cool.

A: The ale is a deep burgundy red color with orange hints. There is a small head that does not offer a great deal of retention.

S: The ale has a malty aroma that is grainy and almost reminiscent of a barleywine. Another reviewer mentioned Brett, and while I don't get a big whiff, something there conjures up thoughts of wild yeasts.

T: The ale has a spritzy flavor that conjures up a malty quad, not a biere de champagne. The malts are clean and strong, dominating the taste buds. There are notes of licorice and biscuit in that malt. I also get some cherry (like Three Philosophers) and sugars.

M: The mouthfeel is lively and active, but I don't see the carbonation and airiness of a BdC.

D: The 9.2% is tough, but the overall drinkability is good.

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Photo of EPICAC
3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was purchased at Downtown Wine & Spirits a few weeks ago. I let this warm to around 45º F and served it in one of my Ommegang chalices, however it approached room temperature as I finished it.

Appearance: Pours a lightly hazy ruby-brown with a creamy, beige, one inch head, that fades to a persistent patchy film leaving thick lace on the glass.

Smell: The aroma is predominantly sweet and malty. There are notes of candi sugar, dark fruit, yeast, and alcoholic spice. There's a light hop aroma that reminds me of Brettanomyces, but as far as I know this beer hasn't had any contact with Brett.

Taste: Malty, with candi sugar, dark fruit and a nice tartness. The finish is peppery, alcoholic spice and a Brett-like hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, moderate-carbonation, with a lightly dry finish.

Drinkability: The alcohol and spiciness of this beer is a little high.

Overall: A good Belgian Strong Dark Ale (I don't know why the style is wrong). I liked the Brett-like characteristics, even if these were illusory.

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Photo of cbl2
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

8/30/2006 $12.99 750 mL 9.20% No best by date.


Cork explodes from the bottle with a resounding POP! Yielding a dark, clear brown that is suffused with ruby red light, and topped by a quarter inch of offwhite head that is moderately carbonated.


Tart and acidic with notes of fresh, ripe cherries and a touch of barnyard funk.


Carbonation is high, as the style tends to (I'm basing this judgement on my sampling of DeuS), with a vibrant fresh fruit (cherry) flavor that is coupled with a Saison-like earthiness. Acidity is rather high throughout, with the high alcohol becoming apparent by midsip. Finish is long and dry with some bitter hop quality. Good, but expensive at $12.99/bottle (though cheaper than DeuS).


As this warms to room temperature it more and more takes on characteristics of a Dubbel, and at some point, even resembles Quelque Chose by Unibroue.

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Photo of kmo1030
4.07/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

orangey brown with a thick tan head that dissipates to thinner, but more resilient head.
spicy sweet aroma, with a good portion of clearly defined sweet basil. other than that there is booze, candy, caramel, hints of wood, and light fruity floral aromas: pineapple, apple, mostly. some yeast. there is also a little bit of a tart funky aroma in there too
the taste is more fruity and boozy than the aroma lets on, but not argressively so. there is more of a vinous sort of apple in there, but also a good dose of malty caramel. it might be a little wine-like if it weren't for an almost barleywine type character in the malts. some candy sugar is clearly in there too. some honey and darker fruits as it warms.
the body is a little thin with moderate carbonation.
decent drinkability. it is a little more mutted than expected, but it's a nice beer. not sure if the style fits though.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Rich deep amber with a robust tan head
S - Mild caramel malt, spicy Belgian yeast character
T - Caramel malt, belgian candi sugars, spicy belgian yeast and a ripe fruit flavor at the edges.
M - medium bodied. Nice carbonation, a welcome warming as I finished the bottle. Very tasty.
D - very nice drink

11 years!! Great stuff yet again from Allagash.

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Photo of bwyker
4.36/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a chestnut brown, with hints of orange. Last year’s anniversary ale exploded in foam from the bottle. – lost a little more to foam than I cared for With champagne yeast used in the primary and secondary fermentation, I expected the cork to shoot out of this one, with even more loss to foam. Surprisingly, the head was very tame and diminished quickly. In smell and taste I felt it reminded me of the Corsendonk Xmas. Dark fruit with a pepper spice undertone. Mouthfeel is overall smooth, with a little caramel stickyness. Lots of carbonation. Moderately drinkable. The 9% alcohol isn’t totally noticeable, but I paced myself with this one. The timing of the release seems perfect – a good transition from summer pales to autumn ambers.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the chalice deep amber with a brownish tan head which rose tall and moussy and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was earthy with a woodsy Belgian yeast character and a light phenolic spice. Behind the earthy character was a mild bit of citrus and a moderate caramel malt presence.

The flavor was malty with a deep caramel malt character and a strong maltiness. The flavor was strong with caramel and a bit of chocolate and contained citrus in the mix. The earthiness from the aroma was present, but without the woodsy character. Some dark fruits emerged as the beer warmed, raisins and prunes. Those fruits were coupled with a nice spice that contained some pepper, coriander and maybe even some cinnamon.

The finish was dry with lasting impressions of caramel and chocolate with dark fruits long into the aftertaste. The body was almost medium full and the carbonation was much lighter than expected, but still moderate. Who the heck entered this as a Bière de Champagne / Bière Brut? This is a Belgian Strong Dark.

750 ml bottle.

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Photo of geexploitation
4.46/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Allagash 11th Anniversary Ale pours a cloudy dark cider color, with a fluffy head, nearly perfectly white, that fades to a light dusting, with lacing stuck to the glass. Aroma is rather faint, with some candi sugar hinting at sweetness to come, along with a sharp yeasty note that reminds me (appropriately enough) of champagne.

On the palate, there's an initial blast of chocolate orange sweetness (mixed in, strangely but pleasingly, with a green apple note). It's nectary in character -- not a thick and viscous sweetness but rather like a delicately made simple syrup. The bready character then created by the malt and yeast yields to a marmalade-like phase that flashes into acidic dryness magnified by a tight hoppiness. Thick, juicy carbonation amps up the thickness apparent in the mouthfeel. Puzzlingly, the finish is not totally dry; the nectary sweetness comes back at the very end.

This is actually a hard beer to pin down; it's deceptively simple, but gives an impression of depth nonetheless. That tight, high-note champagne characteristic is never far from the surface, but the fruitiness of a champagne is dialed back to something more solid and malty in this beer. A very interesting experiment and a very enjoyable beer.

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Allagash 11th Anniversary Ale from Allagash Brewing Company
3.97 out of 5 based on 105 ratings.
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