Gargamel Ale
Allagash Brewing Company

Gargamel AleGargamel Ale
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Wild Ale
4.3 | pDev: 11.16%
Allagash Brewing Company
Maine, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Gargamel AleGargamel Ale
Notes: Our brewers used a blend of American 2-row barley Malt, Raw and Malted wheat and selected caramel malt to brew this beer. After primary fermentation the beer was inoculated with our house Brettanomyces aged in French Oak wine barrels with a generous amount of local raspberries for over 18 months. Gargamel's aroma is full of un-ripened raspberry, vanilla and citrus notes. This medium bodied beer has hints of biscuit and graham cracker with a clean, fruity and refreshingly tart finish.
Reviews: 65 | Ratings: 94 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of AMCimpi
AMCimpi from New York

4.44/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Brown with some carbonation in the beer, but no head on top.
S: Prunes, dates, figs, raisins, and the slightest raspberries. Wood and the Allagash yeast smell.
T: Just like the nose without the raspberries, they are no longer in the taste at all.
F: A nice medium mouthfeel.
O: This is a serious tick for the huge Allagash nerd that I am. Probably a shell of it's former self, but what a delight. Very port wine-like. Unreal that my buddy and I were still pulling raspberry in the nose. Seriously amazing drinking experience for sure.

Dec 01, 2016
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh from Maryland

4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not my favorite of the group but still good. Served side by side with the rest of them. Beer is darkish with a lazy head, low retention, no lacing.

Aroma is oaky, mildly fruity, tart.

Beer is a little "old" tasting, fruit is mostly gone but there is some residual tartness / seed flavors, the funk is decent but not too forward, an interesting beer for sure but I think it is past its prime.

Dec 05, 2012
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared by Thorpe429 alongside several other Allagash sour/wild ales. Thank you very much, Mike!

The beer is dark copper with a thin head. The aroma is complex and quite alluring. Dark fruits, toffee, oak, yeast. The taste brings raisins, prunes, toffee, oak, yeast. Nice tartness in the finish. Everything comes together well. A truly delicious beer. Light to medium in body with moderately low carbonation. This is certainly one of the best wild ales from Allagash.

Nov 15, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429 from Illinois

4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in an Allagash cervoise.

Pours an orange-copper color with a nice, two-finger white head with really nice retention and some spotty lacing on the way down. There's a thin collar throughout.

The nose carries a nice bit of buttery oak with some vanilla in there as well. Behind that comes a bit of caramel and raspberry, plus a good dosage of earth. Smooth oak really dominates, and then is followed up with some nice funk and earthiness. Vanilla is fairly-prominent. The fruit is in the background at this point.

The flavor is incredibly smooth as well. Again, there's a really fantastic oak presence with light toffee and caramel. Light acidity comes through on the background along with some raspberry must and a nice earthiness. Vanilla in the background.

Very smooth and creamy, which heads to the feel. Medium body with moderate carbonation. Light sherry-like oxidation comes through toward the finish. Faint acidity through the finish. The feel might be the best part of what is really an all-around fantastic beer, and is one of the best American Wilds that I've had to date.

Apr 03, 2012
Photo of BearsOnAcid
BearsOnAcid from Washington

3.58/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not much head; dirty copper hue. Not the prettiest girl.

Berry tea, funk, lemon in the nose. Caramel/malt.

Vinious flavor. Dirty funk. Light berry taste. Nutty, graham cracker is found, oaky and tannic finish. This actually reminds of really old Fantomes I've had. Ones that you get pumped for and find they are really over the hill and the malt has become oxidized and one dimensional.

Mar 02, 2012
Photo of hippityhops85
hippityhops85 from Pennsylvania

4.77/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 375ml bottle into a Russian River '-Tion' glass. Pours a murky orange/brown with little to no head. Oil-slick bubbles present on the meniscus.

Nose has a really delicate sour cherry aroma, some pronounced "funk", oak really nice but really subtle for what I was expecting.

The taste is amazing. This must be hitting it's prime right now. Really delicate sour cherry flavors mingle with the funkiness and a velvety-smooth lactic acid note really cleans it all up. Really subtle I didn't expect this at all. Wow wow wow.

The mouth feel is excellent for the style. Good carbonation but not aggressive by any means.

I'd kill for another bottle of this. It's almost quaff-able. ABV is not present even for the beer being 9.2% abv.

An outstanding accomplishment by Rob Todd and the rest at Allagash.

Jan 15, 2012
Photo of Jason
Jason from Massachusetts

4.67/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml green corked and caged bottle, no freshness date but it is not needed. Nice pop of the cork.

LOOK: Stunningly clear amber as my decanting profession is up to 513 (grand master). Thin lacing but more than I expected.

SMELL: Tartness, strawberries, taffy, chalk, rhubarb jam, musty, dried grass, faint bubble gum

TASTE: Tart, dry, crisp, cellar, goaty, funk, grassy, yeast, medicinal, herbal, mineral, sour berries, mint, alcohol, broth, spice

Complexities reach heights rarely seen, epic proportions of flavors unfold with each sip taken. Perhaps this bottle is about to reach its prime and that timeline could be pretty board though I am glad i popped this one open now. Only a handful of brewers really have a handle or should I say they know how to tame the beast ... Allagash is one of those breweries.

Dec 16, 2011
Photo of mlazzaro
mlazzaro from Massachusetts

4.29/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375ml corked and wired bottle. Pours a rusty rose color with white head. Really clear, and well carbonated. CO2 really pushes out the aromatics. Smells very nice. Sour brett. character, but distinctly citrus fruit in aroma. I'm noticing some oak as well. Initial flavors of raspberries, really dark in flavor. Unique caramel malt character in the middle of the sip. Followed by pleasant satisfying sourness. Notible earthiness to the flavor as well. Not a scorching Ph.- really approachable sour beer I would say. I was really surprised to read 9.2% on the bottle, not what I would have guessed, quite smooth and balanced. Glad to have tried it.

Aug 27, 2011
Photo of brokensail
brokensail from California

3.85/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared (but not brewed) by Jeff. Thanks again!

A: The beer pours amber in color with a short lived, small, off-white head.

S: Upfront I get a strange smell of maple syrup, perhaps it's just the vanilla and oak? After that it's tart fruits, though I wouldn't have guessed raspberries. Mild strawberry and lemon aromas with some grassy funk.

T: The flavor is nicely sour with hints of vinegar, but primarily lactic acidity. Tart berries, grass, lemon zest, and oak. There's a mild earthiness to the beer along with some green apple skins.

M: Medium in body with a lively carbonation.

O: Overall a good but not great beer. It was pleasantly tart, and there were some nice flavors to it, but nothing that really grabbed my attention.

Apr 27, 2011
Photo of brentk56
brentk56 from North Carolina

4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber with a slightly reddish tinge; the modest cap leaves quite a sheet of lacing behind

Smell: Raspberry and caramel tones provide the base, with tart lime and oak elements wafting through

Taste: Sweet stone fruit, up front, with the raspberries and caramel adding some depth that builds, along with the growing limey tartness, by mid-palate; after the swallow, the oak and lactic sour flavors blend to dominate the finish, though the sweet fruit from the front end persists underneath; it also tastes as though there are some apple spice cake flavors adding another layer of complexity

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with gentle carbonation
that contrasts with the puckering tartness

Overall: This is a really fine sour that I am glad I had the chance to try

Mar 18, 2011
Photo of grub
grub from Canada (ON)

4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

lantern corps beer summit 2010 - day 2, oct 9/2010. Maltzilla contributed this one. thanks diego!

375ml corked and caged bottle.

pours lightly hazy orangey brown. a small white head forms, dropping fast and leaving spotty lace.

aroma is great. malt and cider vinegar. lemon. whole wheat bread and cracker. vanilla. horse blanket and leather. hint of dark fruit. bit of alcohol.

taste is great. much like the aroma but with more earthy character and leather. bit of tobacco. low bitterness level.

mouthfeel is good. just over medium body with a dry finish. medium carbonation level.

drinkability is good. good balance. restrained sourness. less depth than some, but good.

Feb 04, 2011
Photo of nickd717
nickd717 from California

3.85/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A forgotten review from awhile back...

500ml bottle thanks to pantanap on RB. Whoa! Cork would have killed Nanoslug if the cage hadn't stopped it. Damn, that was a close call.

Pours a brilliant reddish-amber color with a small off-white head leaving nice foam on top.

Nice aroma, fairly woody and leathery, with raspberry. A little buttery.

The flavor has raspberry, caramel, oak, butter, and a slight herbal note. Tasty but not as amazing as the hype would suggest.

Smooth on the mouthfeel with medium body and soft carbonation. Average acidity.

A pretty good American wild ale, but not that amazing.

Jan 21, 2011
Photo of corby112
corby112 from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark ruby red color wth golden amber/orange hues when held to a light source and a two finger frothy off-white head that slowly fades into a lasting ring. Sporadic spiots of lacing left behind.

Slightly tart, vinous aroma with hints of earthy bretty funk and sweet dark fruit notes. Although this an American wild ale it has some similarities in aroma to a Belgie with some band aid barnyard funk. Earthy oak notes with hints of vanilla that accompany the grape, dark cherry, raising and fig notes. The nose of this beer is incredibly complex! Slight diaceytl butter notes.

Tart, puckering medium body that has a great balance of sour and sweet flavor. Thar tartness isn't overwhelming or acidic however and there is a good bit of dryness from the earthy oak notes. The barrel aging also gives off a very faint vanilla flavor as well as hints of dark fruit, especially dark cherry, grape, raisin, date and fig. The ABV is well masked but the harsh oak flavor and strange combination of flavors hurts the drinkability a bit. It kind of reminds me of a more tart, overly oaky Flanders red. Pretty good but probably not worth the ransom you have to five up for it.

Dec 25, 2010
Photo of mothman
mothman from Minnesota

4.12/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part 1 of 3 for the Allaweslsh tasting. Thanks to kbutler1 for sharing this one.

Gargamel into snifter.

Pours a light layer of white head. Color is hazed caramel hued amber.

Aroma: Sour cherries right up front. This one is mouth-puckering. It has oak and vanilla as well. Light vinegar and sour notes with a touch of funk. The cherries are sweet, but tart. I like it a lot.

Taste: Sweet, but tart cherries. Not as sour as the nose. Has more vinegar flavors here. The flavor seems to be a bit muted. Fairly oaky with some vanilla and spice. Kind of wine like. It finishes with a light medicinal flavor.

Mouthfeel: Tart, sour, smooth, and fairly clean. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends a bit dry, but fairly clean.

Overall, it was a pretty decent sour, but the taste was a bit muted compared to the nose which was great. The taste was still pretty good. A nice sour that I was glad to finally try. Thanks Kevin!

Dec 03, 2010
Photo of kbutler1
kbutler1 from Minnesota

4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Bottled opened up with a good pop. Poured into a tulip glass a slightly hazed reddish brown color with a slight collared head. Carbonation starts off strong with bubbles on the glass but this only lasts shortly as it dies off. The brett is fairly present in the nose giving a floral aroma. Other notes include cherry (which I figure are actually the raspberry) and vanilla. Minimal oak notes. The taste is a lot stronger profile than I thought it would be. Starts off with a sweet/ tart fruit flavor that then turns to a brett floral flavor with a good amount of vanilla undertones. Lots of wine notes as well very similiar to chardonnay. The raspberry flavor is semi-lost in everything else. As this beer warms, the alcohol becomes a lot more prevalent.

Nov 27, 2010
Photo of glid02
glid02 from Georgia

4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Grant - thanks!

Pours a hazy dark amber color with a half-finger white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of tart berries and currants with good amounts of funk. Also present are hints of oak that serve to smooth out the aroma and very faint hints of light citrus.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Medium malt flavors kick things off and are overtaken almost immediately by moderately tart berry flavors. The tartness subsides a bit shortly thereafter with the addition of funk and slight amounts of oak. The berry and funk flavors carry through to a crisp ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinakbility is also good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall the flavor profile in this beer was relatively tame for the style but it was nicely nuanced. After tasting all three my order, from least to most favorite, is Vagabond, Gargamel, and VF, however all of them are certainly worth a shot if you have the opportunity.

Nov 09, 2010
Photo of gford217
gford217 from Georgia

4.17/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle from a great trader. Tasted alongside Vagabond and Victor Francenstein.

This one pours very similar to the Vagabond with a tea-like murky amber and very little head with no lacing to speak of.

The aroma is a mix of slightly tart raspberries, oak, sweet dark fruits and citrus. It's got hints of the Brett funk but they're subtle and the sugary sweetness of the fruits and the dry oak are the more dominant aromas.

The taste is more tart than the aroma and definitely more sour than the Vagaond. Tart fruits up front with raspberries evident as well as lemon zest. Sugary malts linger in the background with the oak and brett taking over in the finish. A little funky and acidic but not overly so.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation and dry and vinous.

This is a similar beer to Vagabond to me but probably a notch better as the tartness of the raspberries and funk from the brett are more evident.

Nov 06, 2010
Photo of mrandypandy
mrandypandy from Georgia

4.67/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

375ml bottle thanks to an outstanding BA. Split amongst a few of us at our Epic Allagash Tasting.

A- Pours a murky brown with reddish hues and tones. Small fluffy white head leaves decent lacing.
S- Out of the park. Notes of must, hay and barnyard funk balanced with fresh ripe raspberries. Some oak/vanilla from the barrels too.
T- There's a LOT going on here. Raspberries, light sour/tartness, oak. There's almost a caramel/toffee type sweetness in the finish.
M- Medium body, sour/tart, a touch of dryness.
D- A good balance in this beer. Not too dry, not too sour, not too fruit forward.

Overall - Hype and rarity aside, Gargamel is a great beer. I'm a sucker for raspberry done right, and this was in my wheelhouse. My "best in show" for our Epic Allagash Tasting, hands down.

Aug 29, 2010
Photo of pmlondrigan
pmlondrigan from New York

4.52/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My last bottle of 4, shared with my buddy on my last day of work before starting a new career. Poured into 2 snifters. Great red leather color with a white head, tight carbonation and a rediculous amount of lacing left on the glass. The smell is intense, raspberries, leather, tobacco, oak, tannins, nice big malty body and the distinct aroma or presence of special b malt. My friend said the beer tasted the way it looked. I tend to agree, really fruity with many tobacco and leather type notes. Earthy malty body and sour. But the sour wasn't geuze like it was more earthy sourness if that makes sense. Great dry quality imparted by the barrel aging. Gargamel also had a tannic quality, maybe from the raspberries? This beer feels big in your mouth with perfect bottle conditioning. I'm sad the beer is gone, but happy to have shared it with such a good friend.

Aug 02, 2010
Photo of beachbum1975
beachbum1975 from Ohio

4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared this one with the guys...

Too bad pwoods had to work tonight - his loss...

Aggressive pop on the 375ml bottle.

Pours a clear, brownish red with a little white head that doesn't last long.

Very complex flavor profile. Raspberry, citurs, oak and lots of sour. Very enjoyable.

High carbonation on the mouthfeel. Glad I finally had the opportunity to try this after sitting in my cellar nearly 2 years...

Jun 26, 2010
Photo of PittBeerGirl
PittBeerGirl from Ohio

4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Kevin for sharing this!

A- Body is a minimally translucent dirty golden hue with a dynamic cloudiness. Pours with a one finger foamy white head that eventually fades to 1/2 finger. Plenty of lacing is left down the glass.

S- Nose is soft and balanced. Notes of oak, vanilla, a slight tartness, a hint of vinegar, and some lemon.

T-Taste is very gueze-like. Soft oak, vanilla, vinegar, and a light tartness. The finish is slightly more tart than the initial flavor with lemon and acidic sourness coming through a bit more. Finish is dry and slightly salty.

M-Medium to high tingly carbonation. Body is medium weight, smooth, and dry.

D- This is a very good sour. Its not as complex as the vagabond and is pretty typical for a gueze. ABV is very well hidden here as well. Great overall.

Jun 21, 2010
Photo of Ineedabeerhere
Ineedabeerhere from Massachusetts

3.71/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many thanks to carl for the trade. Opened this last week with a couple friends, from notes.

Pours a copperish color with some white foam- never a huge head formation, but surprisingly sturdy for the duration. A bit of lace.

Wow, lots of wood in the aroma. Tons of vanilla-oakiness. Bit of booze coming through, and oh yeah, there is some fruitiness. Raspberry I suppose. A twinge of bright, citrusy acidity and some dirtish funk but not really expressive. This is more woody than anything else.

The taste has more of a fruit punch, but its somewhat dirty/muted- not especially vibrant or 'bright'. Touch of tartness in the finish, though never really attacking the palate. Some pie crust-like maltiness. Woody here as well complemented by the cherry/raspberry fruit flavor. A touch of alcohol in the finish as well.

Overall, not what I expected- would've liked some more bursting fruit flavor with a sharper acidity. Allagash's two 375mL wild ale offerings thus far both seem to have this distinct woodsiness to them. It's interesting- and I look forward to trying their future releases.

Jun 17, 2010
Photo of cpetrone84
cpetrone84 from Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Kevin for sharing this one at this installment of our quite frequent tasting.

A-pours a hazy caramel color with a tight off white head.

S-the oak and vanilla come through right up front. a touch of wild yeast and balsamic, notes of lemon with a touch of cherry.

T-slightly tart lemon up front, notes of earthy grain. the oak is strong in the middle, a touch of vanilla. a light balsamic vinegar comes in towards the back fading into a sweet, slightly tart cherry with a good amount of sourness and acidity.

M-relatively smooth with a touch of graininess on the palate. good medium to full body with a nice crisp finish and good amount of carbonation.

D-this is a very nice sour. a good amount of acidity and tartness to it, with a nice balance of sweetness. the oak aging was done very well and the french oak barrels have a real presence.

May 31, 2010
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34 from Illinois

3.82/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I drank this from a 375ml bottle into my Orval bottle.

The beer pours an un-noticeable light clear brown with not head or lacing.

The aroma is on the lighter side, the front is mostly sour notes, some light horse blanket. The back side doesn't have a ton going on a little raspberries a tiny bit of oak.

The taste is very light in taste and feel. It starts off lightly sour then finishes with a ton of oak and alcohol, its a very creamy stick feel.

Overall, ok nothing special for a wild, a lot better than Vagabond.

Apr 18, 2010
Photo of AgentZero
AgentZero from Illinois

4.04/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Opaque rusty red color with very little visible head. Sides of the glass stayed clean throughout the drink.

S - Much deeper fruit smell than I was expecting from a sour. Slightly tart, I get some sort of fruit, but not sure that it's raspberries.

T - More tart than I was expecting. Woody qualities, the oak comes through nicely. Deep, but not pungent fruit, somewhat apple juice almost.

M - Feels like it was watered down, although you don't really get that in the taste. Could use some more carbonation to get it that effervesent quality. Juice like.

D - Actually gets easier to drink as you go and becomes must more enjoyable.

D -

Apr 18, 2010
Gargamel Ale from Allagash Brewing Company
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 94 ratings