Allagash Bourbon Barrel Black | Allagash Brewing Company

84 Reviews
no score
Send samples

Brewed by:
Allagash Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our Belgian Style Stout, Black, aged for one year in bourbon barrels. The toffee,chocolate and coconut nose is followed by a smooth bitter chocolate and bourbon flavor. The finish is dry, roasted and warming.

Added by rye726 on 03-04-2009

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 84 | Ratings: 441
Photo of n2185
3.63/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours black with two fingers of dense, creamy, khaki-colored head that retains well and leaves good lacing.

S: Some candy sugar and Belgian yeasty notes up front followed by the barrel aromas--oak, vanilla, and bourbon.

T: Similar to the aroma with the candy sugar and yeast flavors peeking out from the heavy bourbon, oak, and vanilla shadow.

M: Medium-light body with medium carbonation, the beer's a bit thin without the crispness that usually accompanies the lighter bodies.

O: Overall, a pretty decent beer. The bourbon isn't extremely strong or sweet, but still manages to conceal most of the original flavors of the beer.

 635 characters

Photo of Prime16
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours dark brown to black with a biscuit colored head that lingers.

S: Roasted malts, bourbon, chocolate.

T: Bourbon flavor with a boozy taste that is close to overwhelming the beer.

M: Full bodied with slight carbonation.

O: This is a great barrel aged beer if you like bourbon.... which I do.

 301 characters

Photo of morebeergood
4.09/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap this past Saturday night at American Craft in Brookline. Served in a 10 oz goblet. Dark black color, as the name implies. Smallish head but some lacing. Smell just hits you with the bourbon - oh yeah, it's aged nicely. Taste was also spot on. Loved the balance between the nice roasted flavors of the stout and the sweet and tangy flavors from the bourbon. A perfect melding of the two flavors. Mouthfeel was very smooth but boozy at the same time. Alcohol was very noticeable. An awesome example of a barrel aged stout, but be warned: it's served in a small glass for a reason. This guy packs a punch.

 609 characters

Photo of jsanford
3.55/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Brewvival 2011.

Pours a dark brown (surprising considering the name) with a creamy head. Good aromas of oak, chocolate malt, and Belgian yeast. Nice and roasty with good Belgian stout flavors, but not getting much Bourbon, which is a shame. Slightly creamy, with a medium body and crisp carbonation. Not bad, but where the heck is the Bourbon?

 354 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There's not much I really have to say about this beer that I haven't already conveyed in my review of the straightforward Allagash Black. It's clearly aged in Bourbon barrels (although since I had it on tap I wasn't aware of that until I tasted it). I'd remembered liking the Black because it wasn't overdone. It was soft, and supple, and relaxed, and to be honest, this is very much the same. The Bourbon is not overblown at all, and it simply adds some Bourbon flavor, a bit of wood, and a light note of vanilla. Does it help the already complex "Black"? Probably not. If anything, it may distract you from the subtle nuances that were already there. But it IS an interesting change. And to a certain extent, it becomes almost like another beer, rather than just a beer that's been "Bourbon barrel aged". I like them both equally, and I can't choose one over the other. That would simply depend on my mood. So, with that said, I'd say it's worth trying to be sure. Especially for those who enjoy Bourbon barrel aged beers. And on that note let me add one more thought: given that it's a Bourbon barrel beer, I still found it quite drinkable, which is not always the case. Nicely done with a restrained hand. Worth trying.

 1,223 characters

Photo of bishopdc0
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this at Novare Res paired with a local chocolate

The appearance is black with a beautiful tan head formed. The head stays and hangs on the glass.

The aroma is great, of course bourbon upfront, but the woody oaky aroma comes through with a smooth malt. The roasted and chocolate malts come through making all blend well.

The taste is very well blended allagash knows how to barrel age. The malty roast with wood, bourbon very well balanced. It is smooth on the tongue notes of vanilla and almost molasses. It finishes with a sweet and roasted finish with a easy carbonation.

I know I'm a beer guy as I am at a valentine choc tasting with my wife and her best friend discussing weddings and enjoying it. Oh yeah the pairing were with rares or limited beers

 763 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives with a charcoal color and a relatively small tan head that still leaves some lacing behind

Smell: Roasty chocolate elements with subtle bourbon undertones

Taste: Dark fruit and chocolate, up front, with subtle bourbon/vanilla elements developing by mid-palate; after the swallow, the flavors merge together nicely, along with a yeasty complexity from the Belgian yeast strain

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Leave it to the folks at Allagash to bourbon barrel age a Belgian stout and to do it with such a light hand as to complement rather than dominate the beer itself; a first class effort

 648 characters

Photo of bonkers
4.52/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I had this on tap at the High street grill, poured into a small goblet. The pour is jet black, white one inch head, no lacing. The beer smells like bourbon soaked dates and plums. It has sweet bourbon notes, along with dark fruit, vanilla, and oak. It has a warming, lingering finish. The body is medium, light carbonation. Bourbon black is the most drinkable big beer I have ever had. I really enjoyed it, strongly recomended.

 427 characters

Photo of strangefate
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Hulmeville Inn, 10/10. Poured into a goblet.

Pours a dark black-brown with a tan two-finger head and nice lacing.

I didn't get a lot from the scent - bourbon, dark fruits.

The taste is dark fruits up front, some roasted malt, oak, and a hint of vanilla. The bourbon is there too, but it doesn't ooze bourbon like I would want it to - it's very faint.

It has a light-medium body, less than the appearance would suggest with light-medium carbonation.

I was a little disappointed in this beer. It's good, but couldn't hold itself up on a day against other bourbon barrel-aged beers. The taste isn't as complex or as pronounced as I would like.

 659 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at hulmeville inn, in a pint glass.

A- black is black, a faint ring around the collar, no lace.

S- big blast of dark fruit with roasted iced coffee. Hints of chocolate, belgiany yeast, vanilla and a splash of bourbon, it aint that large.

T- vanilla cream up front followed by small roast plus chocolate, bourbon is quite muted. This reminds me of allagash black with a hint of bourbon wood, with small bourbon and wood but still quite a bit of vanilla coming through.

M- less than medium with light carb, just a bit of wood in the linger.

D- I liked it I don't love it, this did not spend much time in the barrel,old curieux barrels perhaps.

 653 characters

Photo of oglmcdgl
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pint on tap at the hulmeville inn.

A- comes to me with a small cap of tan head that settle rather quickly leaving a few spots of lace and a thin ring. Super dark brown almost completely black in color. A nice brown glow at the edges.

S- dark roasted malts and blackberries, belgian yeast and wood. Lighter on the bourbon.

T- opens up with dark malts and a strong fruity belgian yeast character. Loads of oak and to a lesser extent the bourbon. Long roasty finish.

M- mediumish in body with a creeper carb that finishes quite lively and active.

D- this is allagash black in a barrel that's for sure. Not the best bsda I've ever had or bourbon aged beer for that matter. Its good and all just not a knock your sock s off kind of thing.

 745 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours black, of course. A bit of of a tan head and some lacing. Nose brings roasted malt, wood, vanilla, some barrel characteristics, and hints of dark drugs. Taste adds in some molasses with all he flavors melding well. Feel is nice and slightly boozy. Drinks quite well; one of the better Allagash beers ai have had.

 340 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 08/21/10 notes. Had on tap at Monk's Cafe in Philly.

a - Pours a dark, dark brown color with light carbonation and very little white head.

s - Smells strongly of bourbon, as well as cocoa, oak, and hints of vanilla.

t - Tastes of bourbon, oak, chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and vanilla.

m - Medium body and light carbonation.

d - I thought this was a very enjoyable barrel aged beer. I liked it a little bit better than the normal Allagash black and thought there was a good level of bourbon in the nose and taste. Would try again.

 545 characters

Photo of yourefragile
3.51/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a goblet at Max's.

Color is dark cola brown, opaque and thick with a creamy light tan head that produces thick sheets of lacing. Aroma is mild in strength and dominated by bourbon, vanilla and oak. Very smooth and subtle, but a little boring. Flavor is bourbon forward without being overly boozy or sweet. Finish is slightly bitter and astringent, with a mild dark fruit flavor and oak sweetness. Body is thick and silky smooth with minimal carbonation. Overall this isn't bad but was disappointgly boring and the base beer is overwhelmed by the barrel aging. Yawn.

 576 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

very happy to be able to try this one. one liter swingtop growler was enjoyed tremendously between me and my brother in law. served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 08/20/2010.

nice dark brown and bordering on black pour but some light and brownish colors could be seen peaking out through the sides. a nice head of tan, maybe two fingers high comes up and over the top, settling down with some nice lacing.

aroma is nice bourbon right up front. vanilla, hints of oak. a nice blend of cocoa and light roasted malts underneath really coming through nicely, bourbon is not too heavy, damn near perfect actually and this carries over very well into the flavor. smooth and rich flavor, a touch lighter on the feel then i would have hoped but still nice. huge notes of vanilla and bourbon just drip off the tongue an each sip becomes more and more involved. final sweet drops are as delicious as the first with smoooth oak and vanilla easily coming though long after i was done..

overall very, very happy with this one, would love to do it again any day.

 1,082 characters

Photo of John_M
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Max's today.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and considerable lacing. The nose is attractive, showing coffee, chocolate and noticeable bourbon. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, though the chocolate and bourbon seem to dominate in this attractive beer. It's a bit thinner on the palate than I expected, but it has an impressive, long , drawn out finish. Drinkability is pretty good considering the abv., and the beer is not at all tiring or heavy on the palate.

Nothing mind blowing here, but this is a solid beer from Allagash, and will be especially attractive for those who enjoy a splash of bourbon in their beer.

 682 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter at ChurchKey.

Come for the Founders goodies, stay for the other goodies they've got assembled for your enjoyment. This one pours a very dark opaque black-brown topped by a half-finger (at best) of ecru macro-foam. The nose comprises bourbon, oak, dull chocolate, roasted malts, toffee, and a hint o' vanilla in there somewhere. The taste is very similar, with more chocolate and roasted malts and the inclusion of newcoming molasses. The body is a solid medium, with a slightly biting carbonation and a spitefully smooth feel. Overall, a very nice Belgian stout; doesn't overdo it with the bourbon barrel influences, and everything melds together very nicely.

 680 characters

Photo of malloyca
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

For what it is, this was a very pleasant surprise and not gimmicky at all. Served in a snifter; black in appearance, with a thin white head. Strong aromas of bourbon, oak and vanilla go along with roasted malts. It tastes very much like it smells, with the high alcohol content and the bourbon barrel flavors combining to give the impression you are, in fact, drinking bourbon. But this is not a harsh drink, because there are also complementary malt flavors and a rich, smooth mouthfeel. This works well in small quantities, with dessert or as a digestif.

 556 characters

Photo of Casey10
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Lion's pride was pleasantly surprised but at the same time was not really blown away with this at all.

A dark beer that had minimal head served in a appropriate glassware and at room temperature.

That being said the beer was good, it definately had the flavors of the barrel with the burbon shining through although for me the brew felt somewhat thin and a little boozy.

I would have again and this was not bad again did not overwhelm or surprize me worth a try though !

 495 characters

Photo of woosterbill
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Sunset Grill & Tap into a tasting flute.

A: Black body with a small brown head that settles into a ring fairly quickly and doesn't leave any lace. Ok, but far from spectacular.

S: Bourbon, bourbon, and more bourbon. Nothing but whiskey, oak, and vanilla. Enjoyable, but entirely one-dimensional. Still, what a dimension!

T: Not surprisingly, the flavor is again that of overwhelming bourbon. No traces of the original Belgian stout remain - the barrel has completely taken over. Good thing I like barrels.

M: Full bodied with abundant soft carbonation. Lovely.

D: Just a bit too boozy to be really drinkable. 5 ounces is enough.

Notes: Great tasting beverage, but not nearly as complex as regular Allagash Black. Barrel aging really robbed this beer of all its individuality, which is a bit of a pity.


 826 characters

Photo of ToasterChef
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Reviewed from my notes, served in a tulip glass at the Great Lost Bear. The beer is a black liquid with a tan foam head. I can see foam and small bubbles rising within the dark liquid. There is a great layer of foam coating left behind as I drink the beer. I can distinguish some sweet malts in the aroma. There isn't much bourbon character here, it is more of an oak aroma. The taste of the beer begins with a a little sweet caramel up front. I can also taste creamy chocolate. A roasted coffee bitterness comes through in the finish. There is a little bit of the bourbon, but not much. What is there is present throughout. Based on the casked version of Curieux I have had in previously, I expected a lot more bourbon flavor--I'm slightly disappointed the bourbon isn't stronger. It has a medium body and feels creamy. There is just the right amount of foamy carbonation. This beer feels like a great example of a stout and a great example of a casked beer. For a Bourbon barrel-aged big stout, this beer is remarkably drinkable. Each sip is satisfying, but leaves me excited to have another. The 7.5% ABV is completely masked. I could easily drink a number of glasses of this beer.

 1,184 characters

Photo of BretSikkink
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On cask at the Great Lost Bear. According to their literature, this one was aged in bourbon barrels with vanilla beans. Served in a cold tulip glass with a half-finger dark brown bubbly head. This runs off quickly, but there is lacing all the way down.

Nose is lightly roasted, with hints of those vanilla beans and bourbon casks. Slightly soapy as well, lowering the score a half tick. The taste profile is great - the vanilla and bourbon mix seamlessly with the roasted malt. Some chocolate notes emanate from the roast, along with a hint of espresso. Plenty of boozy notes, along with a lighter tropical hint. The cask engine has left this one extremely smooth and creamy. Finish is so silky, and the booze barely registers in the taste. Outstanding beer.

 760 characters

Photo of TommyW
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Black body with a thin tan head.

S- Roasted and burnt malts with a strong touch of bourbon.

T- Lots of roasted/burnt malt flavors mingling with some dark fruits. Bourbon notes come in the middle but transition to a very clean, vodka-like alcohol on the finish.

M- Medium body with a smooth feel.

D- A nice barrel aged beer; the finish was a little too hot I think, but aging this would be very interesting.

 413 characters

Photo of SteelerChris
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I am sommelier and have worked with fine wines for 10 years. I never could quite appreciate beer until after I developed my palate with wine. From my wine knowledge came my love of craft beer and intelligence to recognize the flavor profiles that are omnipresent in beer, translating to bliss on my palate. This beer to me was like sipping a '65 Margaux, only cheaper and more fun to evaluate. The bottle/label itself screams drink me and when you start to pour it you are overwhelmed with a rich, bourbon-chocolate aroma. The aroma also included a sweet cream of coconut and butter. I poured mine into a lightly chilled snifter because I wanted to evaluate the beer at different temps, and as the beer warmed the better it got. The appearance is rich chocolate brown with a steady lacing and thick toffee head. The flavor is impressive, but a little hot at first. The vanilla tones really help balance the beer on the palate, while the roasted citrus, oak, chocolate, plum, and coffee complete the journey around the tongue. Very rich and creamy, almost enough so serve over ice cream. For being as dark as it is I was expecting more body but was incredibly satisfied with its medium body and velvety smoothness that lingered delightfully for a while. Very rounded, full, and balanced beer, truly remarkable. I decided to pair this beer with a dry-aged prime rib eye, which turned out to be the right choice as the rich fatty meat complimented the deep flavors of the beer and the aged authentic balsamic I used brought out the sweetness of the brew. I highly recommend this beer and am now spoiled by yet another fantastic Allagash creation.

 1,643 characters

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.46/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had over at Novare Res, says it was aged in Jim Beam barrels. On-tap, not the cask version they sometimes have.

Pours a very dark brown with a good sized tan head that fades at a really slow rate, some patchy lacing.

Smell has a huge bourbon aroma that overwhelms everything else, although there is some roasted malt in there too.

Taste is overly controlled by the bourbon and doesn't meld with the Allagash Black too well, it's like they just pours Jim Beam in there, the subtle complexities of the regular version is lost on this although vanilla makes decent appearance on the taste buds, maybe it just need some time to mellow outside of the barrels because it's also much hotter than it should be.

Bit disappointed, if I wanted to drink Jim Beam, I'd order that and just have the regular Allagash Black as a chaser.

 824 characters

Allagash Bourbon Barrel Black from Allagash Brewing Company
4.09 out of 5 based on 441 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.