Gargamel Ale
Allagash Brewing Company

Gargamel AleGargamel Ale
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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
Reviews by t0rin0:
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t0rin0 from California

4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

Aug 18, 2012
More User Reviews:
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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
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largadeer from California

2.96/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Got this one from spacecoyote. Thanks!

Hazy amber body with a white cap that recedes almost immediately. The nose is surprisingly muted; it's mostly butter and oak up front. Some vigorous swirling brings out more fruit and vanilla. The raspberry aroma isn't nearly as bold as I was expecting, but it comes through nicely on the palate. Fruit, mild red wine vinegar, green apples and woody tannins make for a pleasant mid-palate, but the finish is marred by huge amounts of diacetyl. The slick, buttery mouthfeel is at odds with the champagne-like carbonation. Decent beer, but the mouthfeel really brings it down.

Aug 27, 2009
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DIM from Pennsylvania

4.97/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sharing this with my father as I type. We would both like to thank joepais for the chance to try this gem.

a: This is a crystal clear, light coppery color. It pours with a fizzy white head that fades quickly. We see lots of bubbles racing to the tops of our glasses though.

s: My dad says this is pleasantly tart, not sour. He adds that this reminds him of being in a field of ripening fruit. I certainly agree. The word prickly comes to mind as I smell this. I get more green apple than raspberries, which surprised me a bit. I also got bright, fresh, earthy grains. Perfect overall.

t: Tart as hell, but not at all overwhelming. Green apples, lemon rind, and a little raspberry all come to mind. This isn't musty as some sours can be. This is fresh tasting and prickly on the tongue. Beautiful! Dad says this a great beer for people who don't like beer. We both absolutely loved this!

m: Prickly, peppery carbonation and a long, lingering tart bite that dad just loved. He said it was like fine champagne. No evidence of 9.2% here anywhere.

d: Just an awesome beer. Thanks again Joe I was glad to be able to share with my dad.

Dec 15, 2009
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aerozeppl from New York

4.92/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Fairly dark amber color with minimal white head. Does't sound that exiting but this beer was really nice looking.

S: Funky. Lacto with a ton of sour. Peaches and apples. Overripe fruit more as it warmed up. The fruit is really strong and works well with all the bug smells.

T: Apple juice for adults. Amazing. Perfect amount of tartness. One of my favorite beers ever.

M: Very nice and crisp. The carbonation is just about perfect.

D: Excellent. A world class beer. I had this at EBF and I though it was the best beer there and that is saying something. To be able to sit down and enjoy a bottle with friends was a treat. Worth all the hype and then some.

May 10, 2009
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mikesgroove from South Carolina

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

Big, big thanks for getting me this bottle. This was a biggie on my wants list for sure so I was thrilled to death when it came rolling my way. Served at cellar temp and poured into a snifter, this one was enjoyed on 06/04/2009.
The ruby red highlights on the pour were very nice. Rich looking, mostly opaque with a deep, rich looking head on top that reached a height of damn near two inches before reluctantly falling back down to earth. This thing was a monster looking good beer. Rich aromas of raspberries and light grape notes, even some light fig touches are layered on top of a nice tart, sour funk. Really complex. As I take the first sip it just gets better for me. Rich, sour notes, like a wonderful brown ale that was infused with just the right amount of sour notes and a light sweetness, and tartness from the raspberries, simply sublime. Light body with great carbonation it was smooth as silk going down and each sip literally got better then the one before. As solid as could be with no hint of the 9% it held underneath and a fully wonderful, sour, dry finish.
Overall this was excellent. More rich and earthy tasting then I thought it would be, but definitely in a class of its own. This was a wonderful cross between a fruit and sour, very well done, and glad I could try it.

Jun 05, 2009
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drseamus from New York

4.89/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Copper body with a thin white ring of head.

S: Nice and tart up front. Really a perfect aroma. Great lacto, peaches, apples, and again, great tartness.

T: Perfectly tart. Perfect balance between light fruitiness and sour tartness. Great bite on the tongue and glands. Finishes with a perfect dry tartness. It feels like someone full on kicked me in the neck glands.

M: Nice and light but thicker throughout the tart.

D: Fuck yeah.

May 09, 2009
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HopHead84 from California

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

Bottle 1:
Thanks to Overlord for cracking this at his private drinking club. Poured into my Deschutes tulip, the beer is bloodshot amber with a small off white head.

The aroma is a burst of fresh, sugary raspberries. There isn't much funk or sourness, but there is some tart character that transcends the raspberry sweetness. Let me clarify, the sweetness emitted by the raspberries is of the utmost authenticity. It never smells of artificial purée. Other aromas are of oak, vanilla, and a hint of citrus. No alcohol is noticeable in the aroma.

The flavor is of tart and sugary raspberries. It's sweet and has some sour character, which I didn't notice in the nose, as well as tartness. The flavor accurately captures the essence of ripe raspberries, never tasting syrupy or fake. Tannins impart bitterness in the sweet raspberry finish. The alcohol is masterfully hidden for 9%.

The beer has great carbonation, which seems to enhance its flavor.

Gargamel is the best raspberry fruit beer I've had to date, unless I'm forgetting some other fantastic raspberry fruit beer, which I don't think is the case. It's undoubtedly the best beer from Allagash. I wish this were in a larger bottle. This isn't a very funky or sour American Wild Ale, so don't be disappointed when your palate isn't pulverized by funk. This is a quality fruit beer with wildish tendencies.

Bottle 2:
The nose is still great, but there was definitely some Diacetyl in the finish that lingered for a while. -1 Taste and -.5 Drinkability.

Jun 03, 2009
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MasterSki from Canada (ON)

4.6/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The Struise farm was about the last place I expected to drink a Gargamel, but there I was with Philippe drinking one of these on the patio. Served in a goblet.

A - One finger of dirty white foam, with tons of sticky lace, a hazy red-brown body and lots of bubbles racing to the top of the glass. Good looking stuff!

S - Tons of funk, horse-blanket, sour raspberries, graham crackery malt, a touch of buttery Chardonnay oak. Even though some would consider buttery to be an "off" flavor it worked very well within the collection of aromas. Very potent nose.

T - The onset is funky and slightly sour, with the sweeter raspberry elements and graham cracker malt coming out mid-plate, but then it finishes very tart. This is a very well-balanced taste, without aggressiveness in any of the tart, sour, funky, or sweet domains. Everything just kinds of coexists peacefully.

M - Medium body, very smooth, mild carbonation, dry finish. Just what I like from this style.

D - There is no way this is 9.2%. The carbonation, finish, and taste all make it highly addictive - I kept reaching for my glass, and wish I'd had the whole bottle to myself. I was very sad to see it go, and am even sadder this was a one-off. Looking forward to the next Allagash limited release.

Jul 16, 2009
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DefenCorps from Oregon

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

A generous person would take a bottle to a tasting. An extremely generous person would take two. A crazy person would take two, and bring food. Thank you, Tracy

Clear reddish brown with an off white head with excellent retention and lace. On the nose, this is a riot of raspberries, beautifully expressed with some some oak and vinous character. Mildly tannic too. On the palate, this medium bodied beer opens with raspberries, with sweetness and fruity tartness. Not really funky by any stretch of the imagination, but it doesn't need to be. Oak appears on the finish with some tannic character and a fruity tartness. The alcohol isn't noticeable, and this beer is incredibly drinkable.

Easily the best Allagash beer I've had.

Jun 24, 2009
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jophish17 from Georgia

4/5  rDev -7%

Dec 11, 2011
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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
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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
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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
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rudylaw from Illinois

3.8/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This bottle given to me as a wedding gift by the most generous of BAs this June. Thanks a million, Jack!

Pours very hazy beer with a rosy hue. A fizzy head that all but disappears immediately.

A very funky and tart smell. I'm getting berries, apple with the slightest hint of vanilla.

Whew is this tart! Puckering and acidic. Getting mostly apple up front while it finishes very dry. There are raspberry and cherry notes here as well. A champagne like mouthfeel with plenty of fizz.

An amazing opportunity to try one of craft beer's most desirable offerings! Unfortunately, it falls short of the hype for me. Still, this has been a humbling experience that I'll never forget.

Nov 02, 2009
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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
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Overlord from California

4.69/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks for the generosity of a kind trader.

I dislike giving reviews that appear to buy into hype. One of my greatest pleasures is when a beer doesn't live up to its reputation, and I get to slam it in a review. Sadly, this beer does, indeed, deliver on the intertron hullaballoo.

Pours an orange-ish amber with ruby highlights. Maybe a half inch of off-white foam head that quickly dies down to a steady bubbling crust. Quite an attractive beer.

Aroma is magnificent. It seems like they pitched entire raspberry bushes into the brew, including earth, berries, and wood. There is some oak, some vanilla, and a prominent raspberry/sour apple presence. Bit of acidic lemon in the aroma, not much funk ... maybe a smidgen. A smidgen, but no more.

Taste is also epic. Big time raspberry flavor. But, it's not a syrupy sweet extract at all, it's the entire fruit, both sour/tart along with the bursting berry sweetness. The oak and vanilla blend incredibly well. Absolutely excellent fruit component. There's an unripe apple/pear overtone, along with the familiar acid/lemon twang of a good sour. Again, not much funk, but the beer doesn't need it. Interesting leather/tannic bittering aftertaste to it. Just absolutely resplendent with authentic flavor.

The mouthfeel was lively and WELL CARBONATED, something more breweries need to remember. Almost an effervescent champagne quality.


**just a bit of history on the beer: scattered around interwebs are snippets of info indicating that this beer is a happy mistake. A former employee used the wrong malt base, and after a bunch of experimenting Gargamel was the result.

Jun 03, 2009
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chinabeergeek from Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

the fruit of our labor: a drive up to portland on the day of release, may 7, 2009. tasted about one week later.

paper-wrapped 330ml green bottle, corked and caged, with description card handed out along with purchase. poured into small tulip, and shared with my brother.

coppery amber. gemstone clear on first pours. later pours have yeast haze. 1-finger off-white head recedes to wisps and ring. great webby curtain of lace.

aroma: cider and cider vinegar, vinous with oak notes. hint of tart cherries, only vaguely raspberry. faint footy funk and farm/barn character.

taste: more cider vinegar, with a tad more cider and fruitiness than the aroma led me to anticipate. still crisp and tart though, leading into wine and oak note. very mild barn funk in the finish, with touch of hay and dry grass. all this is just a slight bit watery though, and the malt isn't as pronounced (or grahame-crackery?) as the card description...

feel: crisp acidity and moderate but tingly carbonation upfront, then smoothes out, with flashes of acidic and astringent character, before smoothing out yet again. body is light to medium overall, only just bordering on watery or thin.

eh, i guess hype really does move things along... anyway, this is nice, but i never got the kick of raspberries others are describing. i also found it lighter or less robust in aroma/flavor, plus thinner in feel, but that's again perhaps due to the inflated expectations.

my brother and i had a couple bottles between us, so the remaining two that we haven't traded will await cellaring results. will update with future tastings.

Jul 12, 2009
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fiver29 from Ohio

2.82/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bottle shared by Miketd. Thanks!! Pours dark amber color with white head. Aroma was pretty nice. Tart apple, lemon, with some woody oak. Medium mouthfeel with some carbonation. Not over the top. Flavor consisted of tart lemon upfront, moving into wood and oak flavors, then finishing with buttered popcorn. I kept looking in the glass for the buttered flavored popcorn jelly beans! I just couldn't find them. Oh well. Such a disappointment not to find the jelly bean flavored buttered popcorn in my glass. I could have justified the hype if they were there. No jellybeans = NOT WORTH THE HYPE. This was good. Not great.

Jun 07, 2009
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joepais from Maine

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

I lucked into getting to try a few half full large Allagash Chalice's of this wonderful elixir. One even poured by Rob Tod and shared with a few other brewers who came to the release once the initial crowd thinned out. The glass had this awesome reddish brownish body brew covered with a short lasting head

The aroma was a wonderful Fresh raspberries and Brett inspired goodness. The Oak ageing came into play as she warmed. It is hard to believe that this brew was a mistake.

The flavors from the sourness and the funk, mixed well with the fresh raspberries. It is an incredibly well balanced sour and quite enjoyable. I saw a couple come in to the brewery not even knowing about the release. try it and really enjoy the brew, that just proved to me how well balanced the flavors are. It was crisp and light in your mouth adding another positive factor to the experience.

The three glasses I had went down with out a problem, grant it was spread out for a few hours. To me the drinkability for this sour is off the charts

I will say, yes I am from Maine and I am glad to see some attention being given this American Wild Ale from the west coat. So in that way I suppose I am biased, but give it a try and see if you agree

May 17, 2009
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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
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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
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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
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deltatauhobbit from Maine

4.92/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My first wild ale and certainly a great one to start out with.

Pours an orange-reddish color with a sizable head and tons of sticky lacing along the glass.

Smell has a light funkiness and a strong fruity aroma, raspberries of course, slight tartness which I'm sure will come through in the taste.

Taste has a good sour/tartness, but it's not so overly sour that it makes your entire mouth pucker too much, assertive carbonation, the fruitiness really comes through but not in a sweet cloying manner. I can make out a slight alcohol presence in the aftertaste but it certainly doesn't distract.

A first of its kind to be made in Maine (as far as I'm aware of) and I certainly hope Allagash continues to make more of its kind (with other brewers to follow suit).

May 11, 2009
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evantwomey from North Carolina

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

Thanks to my parents for standing in the rain to get a few bottles of this at the brewery.

Pours a brownish red, darker than I was expecting. Solid layer of foam with good retention. Aroma is kind of like red wine mixed with champagne, with lots of oak and raw raspberries. If I had to guess the color of the raspberries when they were picked, I would say green, just starting to turn to pink, rather than fully ripe. Very different from a framboise lambic. Taste is much less tart than I was expecting, but I'm not knocking it for that. The berry flavor really blends in, and I'm not sure I could identify them if I didn't know they were used in this beer. Again, very reminiscent of champagne. Very dry. Mouthfeel is prickly, but a little creamy too. I'm not detecting any diacetyl like some other reviews have mentioned. Drinkability is extremely high - I cannot believe this is over 9% abv.

A very good beer and worth the hype. I consider myself fortunate to have tried this.

Aug 04, 2009
Gargamel Ale from Allagash Brewing Company
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 94 ratings