Allagash Black | Allagash Brewing Company

722 Reviews
Allagash BlackAllagash Black

Brewed by:
Allagash Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Allagash Black is a Belgian style stout brewed with 2 Row barley, torrified wheat, oats, both roasted and chocolate malt and a generous portion of dark caramelized candi sugar. The silky mouth feel is a great balance to the roasted character, coffee and dark chocolate notes expressed throughout this beer.

Added by Bassetdawg on 12-14-2007

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Reviews: 722 | Ratings: 2,639
Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at Ashley's. Satisfying, its black yes with off-white head and its very lacey. A roasted stout aroma, medium mouthfeel. Coffee and roast, nutty, caramel, some candi. Aggressive carbonation. a good balance overall, and so good drinkability.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: 2.5 finger off white head on a slightly hazy black/dark brown body.

S: fruity belgian yeast actually comes through on this one which is stronger once the head fades. Coffee and roasted malts as well.

T: blunted tropical fruit and belgian yeast up front fading to chocolate, espresso and roasted malts.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: very well made, fairly complex. The belgian yeast meshes well and better than I expected with the usual harsher notes of a mildly coffee heavy stout.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ransackingpete for sharing this one!

Batch # 34.

Pours an almost opaque murky dark brown with a 1 inch puffy khaki head that settles to a thin cap. Small dots of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark malt and Belgian yeast. Taste is of dark roasted malt, burnt coffee beans, and slight yeast flavors. This beer has a higher level of carbonation with a nice crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good Belgian style take on a stout.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.37/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3

This beer poured out just like it's name, Black. The head was fluffy and tan in color. The lacing that was left behind was light and a bit scattered. The smell of the beer was roasted and had some Belgian Yeast peaking through. The taste had a light burnt flavor with a slight sweetness in there too. The other flavors of some soft Belgian Yeast and a little spice come in after the metallic flavor fades by mid glass. The mouthfeel was pretty creamy and smooth. Overall I feel the nose and feel of the beer are it's best attributes. I tried letting the beer warm up so some of the off flavors i was getting would hopefully subside but they didn't and I ended up pouring the last 1/3 down the drain. Just wasn't a big fan of this one.

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Photo of metter98
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark brown in color (near black) and poured with a finger high tan head that quickly died down yet left wispy patterns of bubbles on the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of dark fruits in the nose along with notes of candi sugar and hints of coffee and roasted malts.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell, except that the finish has flavors of bittersweet chocolate.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is relatively easy to drink because the alcohol is well hidden. The taste is very balanced and the flavors intensify as the beer warms up.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

As the combination of Belgian beers and stout-like roast are gaining momentum in America's artisan brewing world, the question has to be asked- how much complexity can a beer have on display before the beer becomes muddled and complicated?

The dark concoction flows into the snifter and unleashes an expanding tan head that consists of loosely-knit froath that had great retention and lace.

Aromas of nuttiness, Coffee roasty, heavy toast all combine with a smoky, tart, toasty belgian character. The peppery spice and fruity esters compliment the harsh bitterness of roast and hops with more challenge than softness. A powdery, cocoa flavor followed a sharp berry-like astringency makes for the delivery of complexity and reservation.

Although arguments can be made for all of these varying flavors having too much contrast and confilict. The texture is lighter on the toung that expected, because of high carbonation levels and high attenuation rates. The beer finishes ashy, smoky and astringent and with a roasted grain bitterness that thankfully closes the beer with little after taste or texture.

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Photo of brentk56
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a pretty darn dark brown color with a tan head that pancakes down rather quickly for a Belgian style but leaves a bunch of dots of lacing

Smell: Roasty and rather peaty, with hints of charcoal, chicory, black currants and milk chocolate

Taste: Starts out with milk Stout flavors of chocolate, lactose and a developing anise and charcoal character; by mid-palate, the flavor profile adds caramel and peat to the mix; after the swallow, the yeasty phenols build as does a smokey character with coffee undertones; the finish is surprisingly dry for a stout which starts out somewhat sweet

Mouthfeel: Medium body, almost creamy, with effervescent carbonation

Drinkability: Extremely interesting, with characteristics from a number of styles; highly recommended and enjoyable

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Photo of kojevergas
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on draught into a goblet in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a 2.5 finger head of slight tan colour, wonderful cream, great thickness, and excellent retention. Colour is a solid black.

Sm: Chocolate, toffee, caramel, and cream. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Chocolate, light coffee, light caramel, toffee, and light cream - but not as much as I'd like. Nicely complex, well built, and balanced.

Mf: Just coarse enough, and nicely wet. Pretty complementary of the flavours of the body.

Dr: Very drinkable, and of good quality, but at a high price in California. I'd have it again.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.63/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear black color ale with a large off-white foamy head with great retention and good lacing. Aroma of light roasted malt with some medium sweet malt notes. Taste is also dominated by some light chocolate roasted malt notes with a nice Belgian-style malt backbone. Average body with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Not bad but I was expecting more complexity and maybe more chocolate, vanilla or maybe some ester. A bit like the Troubadour Obscura but with a heftier price tag.

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Photo of zeff80
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a one-finger, cream colored head of bubbly foam. It left sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled very roasty with some coffee-like notes. There were some mild dried fruit notes.

T - It tasted of figs and dried plums with a strong coffee flavor. There were chocolate and toffee flavors, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry clean finish.

O - This is a very tasty Belgian Stout. Allagash always does really good beers.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a near black with a nice, off-white to tan head that leaves behind a pretty good amount of lacing. Aroma is nice and strong, bringing forth some Belgian yeast esters along with some roast, dark fruits, bitter chocolate, and a whiff of espresso. Taste is similar but not quite as complex, with many of the roast aspects taking over the more delicate flavors. Mouthfeel is nice and full enough for the flavors. Very nice beer on cask; I'd love to encounter more Belgian-style brews in this manner.

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Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 3/15/2013. Pours nearly pitch black color with a 2 finger fairly dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of dark chocolate, roasted malt, cocoa, pear, apple, raisin, clove, pepper, toast, floral, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt and fruity/spicy yeast notes; with good strength. Taste of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, pear, apple, clove, pepper, raisin, toast, light char, herbal, floral, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, pear, apple, clove, pepper, raisin, toast, light char, herbal, floral, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of roasted malt and fruity/spicy yeast flavors; with a nice malt/spiciness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a crisp, moderately prickly, and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice Belgian stout style. All around nice balance and complexity of roasted malt and fruity/spicy yeast flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of nickfl
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - One and a half fingers of light brown head on an opaque black body. The head settles quickly and leaves little lace.

S - Smoky coffee aromas with a hint of chocolate. Some nutty caramel and sweet brown sugar as well.

T - Lots of chocolate and coffee up front. The mocha character is partially replaced in the middle by caramel and brown sugar with some fruity belgian yeast notes. The finish darkens with more coffee notes and moderate european hop flavor balanced by moderate malt bitterness. Lingering flavors of tobacco and smoke.

M - Medium-thick body, moderately high carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - A nice belgian stout, leaning more towards stout and less towards belgian, which is probably a good mix. The malt character is dark and complex while the yeast lends a mild fruity character that lifts the whole experience in a way that compliments the stout character without becoming cloying. One of those beers that is more than the sum of its parts.

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Photo of oberon
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap Friday at night at Tyler's Taproom in Carrboro.Poured into a small goblet a deep but not entirely opaque black, a bit of ruby did show thru with a thinner light mocha colored head.Aromas were not as bold as expected,I picked up some roasted malt and brown sugar,the chocolate was very faint.Flavors were great with some good complexity,starting out with some brown sugar and bitter chocolate melding into a roasted and smoky finish,I really liked the smoke element it went well with the light sweetness of the beer.To me very stout-like on the palate,a very nice brew.

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Photo of jlindros
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Tim for bringing this down and sharing it with the Central NE BA Meetup.

A: Creamy 1 finger head fades semi quickly, over a pitch black color.

N: Great nose, nice roasty earthy bitterness from the charred malts, with more roasted malt, chocolate malt, chewy dark malts with a little creamy porter aromas, little coffee, fluffy, slight nougat and very hint of marshmellow, little hops, earthy chewy and spicy hops with a hint of grassy hops.

T: Fluffy, earthy roast, with lots of dark chewy roasty malts, chocolate malt, roasted barley, minerality and bitterness from the charred malts, but still smooth and creamy with a little chocolate milk and oatmeal almost, some bitter spicy earthy hops too. Also slight hints of nougat again.

M: Semi thick, a little heavier but smooth and creamy, with lower but decent carbonation.

F: Semi bitter, lingering earthy roasted malts and some bitterness. Chewy malts with lingering chocolate roast and milk, fluffy nougat still there, with a little roasted barley lingering. A touch of sticky sweetness, but a light dryness.

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Photo of chinchill
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Clear black with a touch of brown at the edges. Small tan head reduces fast to a partial coat, but there's enough carbonation to produce some lacing.

A fruity, yeasty aroma that's more like a hefeweizen than expected. Flavor is a cross between a Belgian PA and a wheat beer. It has a relatively high hop/malt ratio for style. Spicy from both the yeast and more subtle hops.

M: medium body; somewhat lively carbonation.

O: an interesting and well balanced ale.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was pleasantly surprised by this beer. I didn't know what it was when I ordered it, but upon tasting it I found it to be Belgian-style stout or porter.

It was black in the glass beneath a full head of dark tan froth that took some time to subside. The aroma was soft, and expressed a bit of candy, some delicate dark fruit, soft chocolate, and just a hint of roastiness.

The flavor followed suit with the addition of some sweet clove and a gently toasty, caramelish-dark chocolate maltiness. It's a very smooth, velvety beer, and that may be cutting down on my perception of the roastiness. It seems more chocolatey than roasty, but there is a bit there. It's not rich, aggressive, or acidic in anyway. I think it tastes like the smell of diner coffee, if that's possible. A soft, underlying bitterness balances it, and the whole of it seems to simply fade away in the finish.

Quite enjoyable! I found it almost relaxing as it was rich and supple, and I enjoyed it at a much slower rate than I would have most other beers. Very nicely done, and at a good price.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 12/28/08 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a decent off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark fruit, dark chocolate, Belgian yeast and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty but not overly sweet with flavors of dark fruit, chocolate and Belgian yeast. There's a mild but complimentary hops presence that brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, not usually the type of beer that I go for, but this is a good one to drink for a long time if you're in the mood for a very dark Belgian beer.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled November 2011

A: Pours an opaque but clear extremely dark brown in color (almost black) with some light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation and some reddish brown highlights. The beer has a two finger tall dense foamy light tan head that slowly reduces to a thick layer covering the entire surface of the beer with a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of dark fruits (plum) with some candi sugar sweetness and moderate notes of roasted malts and roasted coffee. Extremely light notes of piney hops.

T: Moderate flavors of roasted malts and freshly roasted coffee along with some lighter notes of dark fruit (plum). There are some notes of candi sugar along with some light to moderate amounts of bittersweet chocolate. Very light notes of piney hops. Light amounts of lingering bitterness in the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: Easy to drink and very enjoyable - there are really nice smells and taste with well hidden alcohol. The beer has a smooth mouthfeel and is definitely one I would like to get again and again. Overall this is a well balanced beer where the complexity increases as the beer warms.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First had: on tap at Teresa's, Wayne, PA

Poured into a signature stem glass, Allagash Black was, well, black more or less, with a generous cap of tan head. Listed as a "Belgian stout" I didn't completely know what to expect, but the "Belgian dark ale" label makes a little more sense after drinking it. Aroma was rich with dark malts, leather and charcoal, with touches of fruit in the background. The taste was similar, and quite complex, with nearly 100% dark maltiness up front, giving way to the leather and charcoal sensed in the aroma, hints of peat and of Belgian yeast, cocoa, and dark fruits coming through near the end. Very interesting. Heavier-medium mouthfeel, rich, and drinkable enough to make me desire another glass right after the first.

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Photo of mactrail
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Really rich and hoppy dark ale. Great roasted flavors with very aromatic hops. Chocolate and warm flavors, hot with alcohol. Sharp and slightly acidic, but so full of mellow malt it's well balanced. Aftertaste is slightly bitter, but with more of the dark, deep, and spicy flavors.

This is really a great example of a Belgian-inspired beer that doesn't go overboard on the yeasty and bacterial dosage. Complexity merges with drinkability.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a black body with an immense, frothy beige head.

Smell: Aroma saturated with the scent of Belgian yeast and roastiness and containing notes of mentholyptus, burnt wood, cocoa powder, and the juice of one lemon.

Taste: Bittersweet chocolate, dark caramel, and a dash of cola start things off with a restrained, rather brief sweetness. A pop of lemony acidity. Tastes of coffee, half a Halls Menthol cough drop, and a few chunks of smokey fire-charred wood follow. Medium bitterness. Plenty of yeast. Very dry finish leaves you with a lingering roasty, bitter herb aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Moderate carbonation. Slight creaminess to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A decent Belgian-minded stout from the folks at Allagash, though I didn't care for that herbal, mentholyptus-esque taste and aroma I kept running into even if it cured me off my nagging cough.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black isn't black and isn't opaque. It's really, really, really, really, really, really dark walnut brown. I can understand why the brewery didn't call it that, since there's only so much room on the label. The golden beige cap is almost up to Belgian ale standards. It has a wonderful texture and is sticky enough to leave attractive sheets of lace.

How do Belgian stouts and BSDAs differ. Allagash calls this offering a 'Belgian Style Stout'. According to the nose, there's too much roasted maltiness for it to be a BSDA. In addition, there isn't much dark fruitiness and there's almost no Belgian yeasty spiciness. In the end, the nose isn't assertive enough to earn the next highest score.

Even though they're somewhat different, Black is much better than the Northeast's other Belgian style stout, Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence. This beer is on the subtle side as well, but at least it has some malty guts and has a decent amount of flavor depth. In essence, it tastes like a BSDA that uses more roasted malt than is typical for the style.

Black coffee dominates. Additional flavors include dark chocolate, darkest caramel, ground clove and maybe even a dash of anise seed. The beer is perfectly attenutated. In other words, it has an ideal combination of sweetness (early) and drying bitterness (late).

The Allagash website informs the interested beer drinker that Black is refermented in the bottle using the methode champenoise. That certainly sounds impressive, but I wish it resulted in a mouthfeel that could stand toe-to-toe with some of Belgium's finest. It's smooth, supple, softly carbonated and enjoyable. It isn't outstanding, though.

Allagash isn't as consistently excellent as they need to be for inclusion in the firmament of great American craft breweries. They're capable of brewing some of the best Belgian style ales in America. And they're also capable of brewing beer that is merely good. It's hard to complain too loudly about Black, but Russian River and The Lost Abbey are beginning to leave these guys in their dust. That said, I'm still a huge fan.

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Photo of russpowell
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Pours pitch black with 2+ fingers of caramel colored head. Great head retention & lacing

S: Faint figgyness, a bit of earthy funk, not a much though. Raisins & cherry once warm

T: Chocolate, dark fruit, & molasses up front. Jammy apricot as this warms, plus baker's choclate & a touch of raisin & roasty notes. Finishes roasty with figgy & cherry notes, plus a touch of molasses

MF: Medium bodied, lively carbonation,

Drinks very easy, a great take on the style & one I'd buy again

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.86/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Barleys last night. It had been a good long while since I had this one and decided to take a flyer on it again. Served in a pint glass, this one was consumed on 04/17/2010.

The pour was dark, nearly totally black with a nice two fingers of chocolate colored foam on the top of the glass. Settling down nearly perfectly with sticky lace that thoroughly coated the inside of the glass. Aroma is roasted malts. Charcoal and hints of spice coming through now as well. Touches of rye and a hint of a light peppery touch on the nose. Warming and very smooth flavor. Roasted malts, cocoa, hints of peppery rye and a nice touch of caramel round it out nicely. A little light and a touch overcarbonated made it feel slightly lighter then I would have liked, but I think it still kind of worked and I was able to pull enough out of the profile to keep it intresting.

Overall pretty good. It worked but needed to be a little fuller and well rounded to really make an impression.

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Allagash Black from Allagash Brewing Company
4.01 out of 5 based on 2,639 ratings.
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