Allagash Black | Allagash Brewing Company

718 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: 718 | Ratings: 2,618
Photo of shivtim
3.46/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Part of my continuing love affair with Allagash. Gotta love 'em for making a Belgian Brew called "Black." Great minimalist bottle too. As for the actual product, it's not my favorite from them, but it's still pretty good.
Poured into a goblet. Looks like black cola with a small tan head and brown edges. Nose is malts, slightly metallic, some Euro hops in there too. Mild. taste is gently toasted malts, some farmy/barny flavors, and oil. Mouthfeel is tangy and full. Somewhat drinkable, but better for sharing.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.46/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours not quite black but damn close. Light does manages to illuminate some of the beer's body. Head is a thick, tan clump. It laces well.

S-semi-subdued. Was expecting more strength here. Definitely has a Belgian Stout aroma. You get your chocolate and your coffee but there is a noticeable Belgian yeast addition.

T-Chocolate and coffee but there is also a black licorice/anise aspect to the flavor. Also a bit charred. Definitely getting a bit of metal unfortunately.

M-Not as full as it looks. Medium-to-full but not fully full if that makes any sense. Softer carbonation. Booze masked well.

O/D-Tough to really get a grasp on this one. Had its highs and lows. This one really isn't cut out for me.

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Photo of Doogermeister
3.46/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is typical for a stout, black. The head is very tall and light, similar to other Belgian style beers.

Smell is very light. Nothing much to speak of. Has a light general Belgian style beer smell to it. It does not distinguish the fact that it is a stout.

The taste is a very smooth, light Belgian style stout flavor. Not major notes to speak of except for a light hint of dark chocolate bitterness. The ale says coffee-chocolate but the coffee is nowhere to be found in my opinion. Compared to a coffee stout, this has none of that.

Mouthfeel is very thin for a stout, has small bubbles reminiscent of the bubbles from the red chimay. Smooth drinking, with a mouthfeel that isn't too thick to enjoy more than one.

Overall this beer is pretty decent, but I have a hard time finding anything about this beer that I would dub as special. It's surprisingly light for a stout which makes it easier to drink than most American stouts but comes up short in the flavor category. Overall a great beer for those looking to make a stout a session beer.

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Photo of SteveTheDog
3.47/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

This beer poured very smoothly into a snifter with a soul blacker than curious George is curious. The snifter definitely accentuated the smells and it was a divine aroma of dark chocolate coffee and maybe BlackBerries. I was just slightly less whelmed by the taste which had more of ground-up cigarettes to it. I was underwhelmed by the finish which was a little rough. Overall this was an okay beer I can't say that I'm going to go out and get another one especially considering the price.

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Photo of tone77
3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of some chocolate, a bit of yeast and fruits. Taste is kind of mild, roasted malts, a hint of chocolate, a very mild bitterness. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer, but didn't meet my expectations.

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

750ml bottle into a Chimay chalice, split over dinner.

I've only had a few Belgian-style stouts before, and this one certainly lives up to its purported style. Ratings take style & personal preference (against the traditional style) into consideration.

Black pour, decent head and lace. Aroma mostly just holds Belgian yeast with some chocolate malts hiding underneath. Mild dark fruit character lurks in the shadows as well.

Bold yeast character grabs you by the pearls right off the bar. Dark fruits and roasted malts add complexity, but this is unmistakeably Belgian. Very active body helps the liquid dissolve into fizz when swirled in my mouth. Distinctly Belgian, yes, but I like my stouts creamy and viscous with mild carbonation.

I love stouts, particularly of the imperial variety, and this just doesn't rub me the right way. My beer roots are strongly Belgian, and I suspect I'd have LOVED this brew about 3 years ago. But nowadays, this isn't for me at all. Allagash nailed the style here; it just isn't for me.

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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 dino213aa
3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Although this is self described as a "belgian style stout" I will agree with BA that it resembles a strong dark ale. This is especially true in terms of appearance and mouthfeel.

A: True to its name, this brew is opaque bordering on black. Minimal head which quickly dissipates. Practically no lacing as poured into an Ommegang Abbey chalice.

S: Burnt with some spice and solvent notes.

T&M: Definite coffee and chocolate flavors. My wife commented that this brew seems incredibly sweet.. which I would say is how it finishes. Also somewhere between the taste and aroma there is a faint papery note. Sort of a corrugated paper but very faint and could just be this bottle.

D: Overall the drinkability of this brew is mediocre. I'm not a big fan of any brew with an identity crisis. Not my favorite as a stout and not my favorite as a strong dark ale. Not bad, but I doubt I'll buy it again.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a pretty, pitch-black color with an eighth of a finger of white head that quickly dissolved into a thin halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Roasted malt and freshly baked dark bread. Some notes of dark molasses and coffee.

Taste: Malty up front, followed by some smoky, roasted malt and/or coffee. There are some subtle notes of dark chocolate as the beer warms up, as well as some caramel-like sweetness. The beer finishes with some subtle hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Slightly chewy, with hardly any carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 7.5%, there is just a touch of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a very tasty stout. Not world class or excellent, but a very solid, very tasty stout. Definitely worth getting.

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Photo of Mistofminn
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this bottle in a trade with Rrheisler. Thanks Ryan!

Pours a dark, but translucent, brown color. It's definitely dark, but not anywhere near what a "stout" should be. Very nice creamy light tan head to go along with it, with excellent retention. Also leaves very nice lacing. For a Belgian Style "Stout" I just wish it was more opaque.

The nose is distinctly Belgian. Yeast and dark dried fruits are the focal point, but there is a nice light toasted malt character in the background. Smells like someone dumped a Trois Pistoles into a Cadillac Mountain Stout (don't ask why I chose those two as examples).

Taste is very similar to the nose, with the dark dried fruits and spices being the key, but there is a chocolatey, bitter coffee bean, toasted malt character that comes in right at the end and leaves a nice bitter aftertaste. It's good, but I'm just not feeling it.

Mouthfeel, at first, is way too overcarbonated. I served this right at cellar temperature, so no need to let it warm up, just needed a little bit to calm down the carbonation. After the carbonation reaches an appropriate level, it gets really smooth and creamy, very easy drinking.

Overall, not a bad beer. This is my first foray into Allagash, and I wasn't expecting much. Of all the Allagash brews I have in the cellar (various trades, but mostly from Ryan!) I figured this one would benefit the least from aging, so I thought I would give it a shot and wasn't expecting anything too great. Nevertheless I was impressed. It doesn't really pull off the "Stout" as much as I would have liked, but it's still a good Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

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Photo of DrewOSU
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2008 bottle, shared by beachbum1975, thanks man

A: Huge pop on the cork. Thought it was going to hit the ceiling. Pours dark brown to black with a ½ inch, thick, frothy head.

S: Licorice, light cocoa and a small amount of coffee and roasted malts. Belgium sugars in the background.

M/T: A heavier light to light medium body. I get a lot more roasted malts on the pallet then on the nose. I get roasted malts, followed by a slightly hot alcohol base. Again finishes with a rich roasted malt and cocoa flavor. Aftertaste is a little thick. With the slightly hot alcohol base, tongue feels dry and chocolaty. It backs up after half a glass, but nothing obnoxious.

D: Aftertaste is big with this one. Not a bad beer, rich at times, but doesn't fill you up. A nice alternative to an American Stout.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared with courtisy of McWhirk. Thanks pal. Pours black with a rocky light tan head that has lost of big bubbles. Settles down pretty quick to sticky lace. Lots of sticky lacing.

Roasty fruity aroma to this. Dark fruits like figs and dates come through. More fruit than anything to this, but a roasty profile is noticable. Dry dark fruity flavor. It has a really malty profile and dry flavor. I'd say it has a lot of grape flavor to it.

Feels alright; kind of dry to finish, coarse carbonation with a medium body. Not my favorite of the style. I guess I'd just rather have a Belgian.

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Photo of MarkFy
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a deep brown color.

S: Roasty with bits of cocoa and floral, bitter coffee beans.

T: Flavor is roasted, bittersweet caramel malts, coffee and cocoa with light, red berry flavors.

M: Full bodied and naturally carbonated

D: Nice to try, but would likelt not seek out again.

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Photo of schlimenhaumer
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a Delirium tulip at low altitude.

A: Pitch black with a big off-white head that leaves some spotty lacing.

S: Significant alcohol smell for 7.5% ABV. Roasty malts, dark chocolate, and a significant amount of yeast at play here.

T: Roasty malts up front mingle with chocolate notes, followed by the kind of complex yeast flavors you would expect from a BSDA. The finish is much more boozy than I would have liked. I think it's very appropriate to think of this one as a "Belgian Stout."

M: Medium- to full-bodied with tingling carbonation and a dry finish.

D: Although it's an interesting idea to combine a stout and a BSDA in one beer, I find that the mouthfeel doesn't complement the flavors very well. It also tastes much more boozy than it should at 7.5%.

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Photo of matty
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown colored beer with a slowly fading creamy head.Aroma is malty.Taste is malts with hints of chocolate and coffee.Overall drinkable and smooth with a hint of warmth on the back end.This is something I would recommend especially in the winter months.I'm sure I will buy this again somewhere down the line.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours black with ruby highlights and a thin tan bubbly head.

S - Earthy with chocolate, a hint of coffe and a some lactose.

T - Bitter chocolate and roasted malts with an earthy lactic taste.

M - Medium body with prickly carbonation.

D - the lactic aroma/flavor fades as it warms but this one just doesn't blend together the best.

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Photo of Blakaeris
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours completely opaque black. Not a hint of light shines through. Tan head is huge and frothy, and looks very crisp next to the inky black body.

Aroma is very bitter with plenty of roasted coffee and dark chocolate. Smokey and yeasty with an herbal quality.

Taste is bitter burnt dark grain, very smokey. A hint of dark fruit sweetness surfaces for just a moment before being eclipsed by the dry coffee and cocoa flavors. Finish is tart and dry with lingering yeasty spices and herbal hop.

Mouthfeel is medium to light bodied. I would enjoy a little more viscosity.

Overall a decent offering. I drank this one at room temperature, but there was something off in the conflicting flavors. Perhaps too much of an herbal character.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.54/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Batch 7. Room-temperature bomber into a glass.

A: Pours a dark, um, brown in the glass with some light penetration indicating it's not opaque. Oh well. The head is pretty fizzy, with two fingers of creamy beige bubbles generated at first, before receding into a half-finger cap on top of the brew. Some streaks of lacing as I drink.

S: Roasted malt, some dark fruit and spice. But really, it's not a very strong nose. I find myself struggling to pick out anything.

T: Flavor-wise, this is a large improvement. Roasted malt up front, coffee, and chocolate. The beer progresses into its "Belgian-style" half in the mid-taste, offering up dark fruits (plums, raisins) as well as pepper. The finish is toasted marshmallow and grain, with a smoky bent. I also get yeast in the aftertaste.

M: Medium-bodied, creamy mouthfeel.

D: I think I paid $10 for this, which isn't offensive. But the beer is kind of mediocre. I could go either way on having it again.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.55/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Received this way back in February of '08 from DIM... Wow!! Dan.. sorry I took so long to get to this... I've had it a time or two with some Boise peeps.. but I'm glad I finally pulled it out of the basement.

Sharing with Brenda.. mine is poured into the trusty Delirium goblet... 3 finger lite tan head.. the brew is very deep walnut with only bands of ruby showing when I hold it to a light... no real lacing.

A bit lite in the nose.. I was expecting more dark fruits and esters and of course a bit of malt.. instead, there is a bunch of dark roasted malts... mild malty sweetness and only slight esters that are reaching for raisins but fall short.

Some traditional yeasty phenols help rescue this brew somewhat.. mild clove that quickly gives way to cold brewed coffee (and that is actually lite too).. all of the flavors are pretty mild.. It seems like a "BSDA light" with some char thrown in to push into a different realm... It sorta works, but overall, I want more aroma and flavor... the body also seems a tad out of whack.. medium, but the carbonation is medium/high and doesn't work well and leaves it a bit harsh.

As it warms, some chocolate arises and it sorta helps resemble more of a stout.. but it just seems like a mash-up of 2 styles that crashed into each other... it has good bones, but needs to really be dialed down a bit.


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Photo of BarrelO
3.55/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at The Big Hunt. Served in an Allagash chalice.

A: Pours black. Head is rather anemic by both stout and BSDA standards.

S: Dominated by spicy Belgian yeast with the faintest hint of roasted malts.

T: Cloying sugary and spicy. Finishes with roasted bitterness.

M: Silky smooth with plenty of carbonation.

D: Eh. Not really feeling it. I felt like this attempt at a Belgian-style stout ended up not really incorporating the best elements of each. It might be better out of the bottle, but I'm not looking to drop the $12 or so to find out.

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Photo of alpineclimber
3.55/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch #29, cracked and poured into my chalice. A huge frothy head sits on a dark brown brew that lets a tiny amount of light through.

Smells like sweet candi sugar, milk chocolate, vanilla and oak.

Taste is fairly sweet, the Belgian candi sugar really comes through in the taste. Chocolate, espresso, vanilla and a roastiness from the dark malts come through in the taste. The alcohol is fairly well hidden. Mouthfeel is really good.

This beer is a little sweet for me, tastes under attenuated. Not bad overall, just be sure you are wanting to drink something on the sweeter side.

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.55/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Allagash Black, sampled on three different occasions, with composite notes from all three. The first set was written on a napkin, and the beer enjoyed on tap at Summits Wayside Tavern, Snellville, GA. The second was from a sample, enjoyed at the World Beer Festival in Durham, NC. The third and final was at Capital Ale House, Innsbrook location, Richmond, VA. Yep.

Appearance: A solid, black-bodied beer, with a relatively fast-fading tan head that leaves a solid sheen of lace, a little thin collar, and a few glittery sheets and streaks here and there. Retention leaves a bit to be desired, and that and the lacing is pretty much all you can review as far as appearance goes in a beer this dark, no?

Aroma: Banana dominates, though smoke, very heavily toasted malts, char, and a few bready notes that give a faint air of banana bread provide the balance. All in all its a little faint, and a little too heavily roasted, but that's ok.

Taste: Char is strong here, and it almost lends that bourbon barrel note, though it's obviously a result of all the woody earthiness. Plenty of cocoa and a dash of coffee lends a mocha-like edge with a few lactic notes. Relatively dry, on the whole. A few faint spices.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, relatively crisp and dry, with mild and even effervescence. This beer's best aspect.

Drinkability: Not my cup of tea, really. Hell Hath No Fury was better than this. This one's just a little too heavily roasted, a little too dry. It's worth at least one try, though I can't say I see myself going back to this one.

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Photo of albern
3.56/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

This is another interesting variety from Allagash coming in their 750ML bottles. This beer pours a very blackish color with a nice tan head that certainly retains. The beer doesn't lace particularly well. The appearance is quite good, but the smell diminishes the experience to a degree. You will definitely encounter earthy tones, coffee aromas, burnt or roasted grains, perhaps a bit of chocolate, and then something else not so pleasant. At first I thought it was like a stale soy sauce smell, but other reviewers call it a lactic aroma. I'll go along with that. It's not pleasant. The one characteristic of this beer is its incredible silky smoothness on the tongue. This is like drinking milk chocolate in terms of mouthfeel. The taste is quite tart and sharp in the finish. The mouthfeel is delightful and the mid sections give you that roasted maltiness that is pleasing, but then you come up against too strong an astringency that is off putting. The alcohol is warming and about right, but this beer just comes off as too sharp for the style. The beer is moderately carbonated, medium bodied, and just wonderful on the tongue. It's too bad that the flavor and aroma could not follow suit with the creamy consistency.

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Photo of maximum12
3.56/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Funny thing happens after multiple beer 'trips' & 170 plus trades/BIFs: for the first time, I have no earthly idea how this beer ended up in my cellar. It may have been part of the self-sent box from Seattle eighteen months ago...but who knows? Early onset memory loss, setting in. Batch #4 bomber set to split with my tired, nervous wife. Considering the current reviews are batch #25, my guess is this is going on two years in my basement.

Pours like a cloudy night in the BWCA, white above, black below. Smell is understated, mellow roasted malts, mildest tang of sour, bare Belgian yeasties.

Allagash Black is a seriously chilled out beer; unsure if it's the age or its innate nature, but this is laid back & relaxed. Mild roasts come through clean, black grapes give up a vineyard characteristic, low-rolling sweetness holds it together & finishes it up with a White-smooth lick of cocoa. Just the barest tang of dog iron mars the taste.

Good beer with higher marks for being easy to sip & velvety than anything else. Solid Belgian stout in a distinctly Allagash style.

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Photo of PangaeaBeerFood
3.56/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I had this beer at a Cask Ale festival in NYC about a year ago and remember being VERY impressed with it, so when it popped up on the shelf at a local Whole Foods I grabbed a bottle (which says Batch #10 on the side). Pulled the cork to a nice "pop" which unleashed misty vapors from the neck of the bottle.

The pour released a ton of carbonation with a huge tan head. First thing I noticed about this beer was that, despite the name, it was not black. It was more of a brownish color, with some amber highlights around the edges. I know I'm being nit-picky, but that kind of irks me. Why call it Allagash Black when it...isn' Oh well. Onward.

The smell reminds me of a dark roasted coffee with a splash of Anisette. The roast hits you up front and fades into alcohol with a subtle anise flavor way in the background. Little to no Beglian character.

The taste is definately closer to a Russian Imperial Stout than a Belgian Dark, but with less weight and potency than a typical RIS. Lots of roasted character and some subtle dark fruit flavors up front. As the liquid settled on the palate, a bitter astringency starts to cut through the mix, which I'm assuming is from a healthy dose of roasted barley. This astringency is pleasant, but does linger a bit longer than I care for. The alcohol is surprisingly present, considering it is only 7.5%.

Mouthfeel is actually a touch light for a Stout (and a Belgian Strong, for that matter), but the texture is very rich and silky, which is nice.

Drinkability suffers a bit from the presence of the alcohol and the lingering of the roasted astringency.

Overally, a solid beer, but not nearly as good as what I was served on cask. Maybe the cask version was barrel aged? I don't remember, but the cask version, to my memory, was definately thicker and smoother. I think the biggest issue with this beer is in the marketing. The bottle uses the word black, though it isn't black, uses the word Belgian, though there aren't many Belgian characteristics, and uses Stout, though it isn't quite a Dry Stout or an Imperial. It sets up certain expectations that aren't quite met. I think had I been served this beer without the promises of the package, I'd enjoy it a LOT more.

On a side note, a bit of this beer spilled on my shirt and stained almost instantly. It'll probably come out in the wash but looks really gross for the time being. Careful sipping.

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Allagash Black from Allagash Brewing Company
4.01 out of 5 based on 2,618 ratings.
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