Vagabond Ale
Allagash Brewing Company

Vagabond AleVagabond Ale
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American Wild Ale
4.16 | pDev: 11.3%
Allagash Brewing Company
Maine, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Vagabond AleVagabond Ale
Notes: With only 500 bottles made, this beer is from one of the only barrels to move with us into our new brewery three years ago. Aged four years in American oak barrels, it boasts a complex aroma of maple syrup and port, with background notes of marzipan, plum and dill. Flavors of tart, unripened plum and caramel give way to a warming, toasted almond finish.
Reviews: 70 | Ratings: 101 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of dc55110
4.06/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours an uneventful burnt mahogany. A slight effervescence reveals minimal carbonation. A still bright cherry nose, with hits of wood. The taste is tart, but not overly acidic. Overall not an amazing beer, but a great aged example of a fairly early foray into the American Wild Ale style.

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dc55110 from Minnesota, Mar 09, 2015
Photo of emerge077
4.06/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to Joe for sharing this one!

Paper wrapped with a simple card illustrating a hobo's bindle sack. Cork popped with little fanfare, and the beer poured placidly into a small stemmed tulip glass. It appeared nearly still with a sanguine copper color a few trace bubbles around the edges.

Aroma of wet wood, dark cherry skins, port, musty, light oxidation.

Tastes rich and lightly tart with dark cherry skin flavors coming to the forefront. Fairly substantial feel despite the very low carb level. Caramel and prunes in the periphery. Overall it's unique, though the long aging period makes me more curious what it was like in the early stages.

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emerge077 from Illinois, Mar 09, 2014
Photo of cosmicevan
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes taken from 9/29 from the craziest bottle share that i have ever been a part of. Thanks so much to the NYC and Hoboken crew for letting me participate in this incredible day of drinking long time wants and insanity.

Thanks kindly to Mark for sharing.

a - maroon brown, very thin head if at all
s - brown sugar and oak
t - taste is nice. nutmeg. soft chocolate notes.
m - smooth, easy drinker.
o - overall, really nice. very enjoyable.

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cosmicevan from New York, Dec 06, 2012
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

The beer appears a dark, reddish copper hue with a small, fletting head. The aroma brings maple syrup, booze, overly ripe dark fruits, caramel. The flavor follows suit. Complex and tasty. Notes of earth and nuts. Not especially tart or sour. Medium to full bodied with fairly low carbonation. Overall, I enjoyed this and am thankful to have tried it.

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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia, Nov 16, 2012
Photo of womencantsail
3.16/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours amber in color with a short lived off-white head. Smells just terribly buttery. Lots of diacetyl overall. Butterscotch and maple syrup are also present, maybe some over-ripe fruits. A bit of spicy oak and a light herbal note. The flavor is really no different from the aroma. A bit more oak and herbal character, however. But still a lot of butter, butterscotch, caramel, and maple syrup. Just really odd. Not a fan.

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womencantsail from California, Jul 16, 2012
Photo of rvdoorn
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: the beer pours a nice brown-red color with a small head
Smell: Maple syrup, caramel, dark fruits, vinegar, tart sour cherries and oak.
Taste: Plum, spicy, caramel, malts, almond, sour and tart.
Mouthfeel: Soft and smooth
Overall: A nice mixture of a Faro and a Vlaams oud bruin.

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rvdoorn from Netherlands, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of AgentZero
3.37/5  rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to lurchingbeast for sharing this longtime want of mine.

A - Not the best looking sour. A dark amber/almost brown colored beer with a moderate off-white head that left very little in the way of stick on the sides.

S - Smells of oak, some sweetness, maple, earth tones. Not really sour or particularly funky, which was kind of disappointing.

T - Slightly more tart than the nose suggests. A lot of earth as well as some maple sugar sweetness that kind of obliterates any of the tartness there might have been. Some earth tones. Just kind of sweet and boring, not a great taste.

M - Medium bodied, softer carbonation, nice dry finish.

O - For something I'd heard a lot abut, this beer was somewhat disappointing. Not that it was bad, per se, just not really that great. Wouldn't care if I never had this one again.

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AgentZero from Illinois, Oct 21, 2011
Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass from a nice 375ml bottle.

A - Pours a hazy slightly murky mahogany color with some slight copper and amber colors. There is almost no head on this beer. A bit of a swirl conjures up a thin mat of beer.

S - Aroma is delicious. Strong oaky and woody notes. There is some slight boozy sweetness and some slight red wine notes in the nose. There is definitely some nice tart notes in there some apples and slight white wine. The nose is quite complex with some slight caramel notes as well.

T & M - Flavors are all over the place. Very complex brew. There is caramel sweetness, there is some nice red wine notes. There is some nice tartness that is complimented well with some residual sweetness. Some slight date notes as well as some slight bourbon notes. The woody notes are a bit more prevalent. There is some oak and very nice funky woody notes. Some slight vanilla and a bit of spice as well. Great mouthfeel that is light for such a complex beer and carbonation is on the lower end but not too low.

O - Really good sour ale. It is not too intense but all the flavors are lively and well crafted. Good brew.

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JoEBoBpr from Missouri, Jul 18, 2011
Photo of brentk56
4.71/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a tawny color with a very modest head that quickly becomes a film; very little lacing

Smell: A cornucopia of aromatice elements, ranging from undertones of caramel, maple syrup and port to the more subtle elements of oak, vanilla, strawberries and tart apples

Taste: A real dichotomy of flavors, ranging from the sweet ones on the opening (caramel, maple syrup and port) to tart ones that arrive shortly thereafter (tart apple, unripe strawberry and balsamic vinegar; by mid-palate, swallow, the vanilla, oak and chocolate elements add complexity; after the swallow, the tart elements take it up a notch, with the sweeter ones lingering underneath into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with low carbonation

Overall: I love the contrasting elements of this beer, finding much more complexity here than in many others that are more straightforward sours

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brentk56 from North Carolina, Jun 01, 2011
Photo of Verecund
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to beerness for sharing this. This is another one I never expected to have. Opened on May 10, 2011.

Darker than I expected, Vagabond pours a red-hued muddy sienna. A small tanned white head leaves as quickly as it came.

Sweet and sour cherry and port notes, strawberry vinegar, and a little bit of an herb note. (I settled on caraway in my notes.) Decently sour on the nose, with lots of dark fruit and berry as well.

Some berry vinegar, though this isn't altogether sour; caramel/toffee sweetness, light oak, and a good bit of cherry peeking through. Not what I expected, though I do prefer this to many similar wild ales.

Medium-low carbonation, Vagabond is a almost heavy and sticky on the tongue. It doesn't dance. Still, for the ABV, this went down easily, and each sip brought something new to the table. A bit odd as an American wild, I'd prefer a little more sourness.

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Photo of rye726
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Really happy with the chance to try this. Their standard sours are pretty good. So I have always wanted to try something from this series. Had this at a tasting with many other fantastic bottles, and this was easily one of my favorite beers of the night.

Pours a dark, woody brown with a silky tan head. Nose has lots of sweet fruits, port, sherry, oak, maple, bourbon, oak, vanilla, coconut, candy malts and sour funky yeast. Taste is a very nice blend of sweet and sour flavors that are well balanced by the barrels. Lacks teh vast complexity found in the nose. Full yet crisp body. Dry, acidic finish.

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rye726 from Colorado, Mar 02, 2011
Photo of woosterbill
4.46/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle into a Weyerbacher tulip. Huge thanks to Jason for sharing this rare gem.

A: Dark, muddy amber. Thin tan head. Pretty gross in my glass, but I got some of the dregs; other tasters' samples looked significantly better. I'll average things out to average.

S: Sour candy apple. Caramel, vanilla, and straight lactic tartness. Crazy and awesome.

T: Sourness up front, backed up by sweet, buttery richness. Tart caramel apple, sweet butterscotch, and a dry finish. Weird and great.

M: Eminently smooth body, low carbonation.

D: Intense acidity, huge sweetness, and yet I crave more and more. I can't believe it's 10%.

Notes: This was a fantastic beer, and extremely distinctive. I didn't know what to expect going in (other than it being a sour, of course), and it was a shock to see how evenly the emphasis was divided between fruity sourness and sweet maltiness. The brief descriptor can't be anything other than a candied apple, and yet that doesn't begin to do this beer justice. Great stuff.


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woosterbill from Kentucky, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of grub
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

375ml corked and caged bottle.

pours crystal clear deep orange. a small white head forms, dropping fast and leaving a few spots of lace.

aroma is great. bourbon and vanilla. cherry and dark chocolate. biscuit and whole wheat bread. light alcohol.

taste is good. bourbon and vanilla again. cherry and dark chocolate. hint of sourness, more like brett-y mouthfeel than flavour. biscuit and whole wheat bread. a bit boozy. light acidity. comes across more as a barleywine or wee heavy than a sour.

mouthfeel is great. medium body with a dry finish. definitely has that brett-like mouthfeel. medium carbonation level.

drinkability is good. great balance. not reall sour, more like a barleywine or wee heavy with added brett. neat though. hint of booze.

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grub from Ontario (Canada), Feb 04, 2011
Photo of treyrab
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I realized I have not reviewed this fine beer that was offered so generously by Dan (NittanyBeerFan), so I figured what better beer to review to make me a Zealot of Deer. Brought out by Dan for our first main tasting, and this one was very looked forward to. The story behind this beer is rather cool too. This was the only beer that Allagash traveled with to its new location. Kept it in the barrels and all as they moved. Barrel Aged almost four years if I recall correctly. Reviewed from detailed notes.

A: Vagabond pours a deep mahogany red almost similar to a Rosso e Marrone. Pretty clear from being still so long in the cellar, with some yeast floaties, and a thin, spritzy light khaki head that quickly goes to a still, flat look.

S: A huge whiff of cherry vinegar smacks my olfactory gland. Smells sour, with tons of sour cherry, balsamic vinegar, lemon rinds, dry oak, and some more dark fruits (dates perhaps). Very nice scent. Not much alcohol at all surprisingly for the high ABV.

T: The taste is equally as nice as the scent. Again, the tart sour/black cherries coats the tongue with a puckering punch, followed by balsamic/red wine vinegar, lemon peel, and dry oak. The beer is very dry, which I like in sours. At the finish, and as the beer warms, a touch of alcohol shines through, but as a compliment.

Overall, this was solid. A very fine sour by Allagash and one I hope to try again. I suspect this will age gracefully.

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treyrab from California, Jan 06, 2011
Photo of JAXSON
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 rate.

Bottle, corks open with a nice big pop. Pours a clear deep reddish with brown edges and a pretty beige head with lots of tiny bubbles. A beauty! Nose is of English tea cake, pistachios, vanilla, some sweet cherries. Very unique and expressive. Really lively in the mouth, flavor is highlighted by a fizzy sour cherry fading into more pistachios and cake. Quite sour actually, with a little bit of that "wet sock" brett element sometimes found in wild Allagash beers. Sour cherries dominate the flavor a bit, I actually wanted more of that sweet cake thing. Very good and a bit surprising.

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JAXSON from Pennsylvania, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of Damian
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Drank from a 12.7 oz/375ml caged and corked bottle purchased at the Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, ME
Acquired at the Vagabond release
Served in a tulip

Nice faux hand-scripted label. Classy and very austere. A foamy, one-finger cap of khaki colored froth topped the translucent, copper-mahogany liquid. The head faded to a lasting ring. Small droplets of lacing trickled along the glass.

The nose was rich, smooth and complex. Sweet vanilla notes dominated. Some caramel too. Woody and oaky. Brown sugar, raspberries, raisins and plums came through as well. Slightly tart and acidic. A touch funky.

The flavor profile was a bit flat. Strong metallic notes were instantly detectible. I anticipated them to dissipate as the beer opened up, yet this was not the case. Caramel malts appeared up front. Fruity in the center. Raspberries and dark, dried fruits were apparent. This beer shared many characteristics of a port wine. The finish was moderately tart. Subtle, balsamic vinegar notes were noticeable. Oaky and dry with some resonating brett funkiness.

The mouthfeel was fuller bodied for the style. Rich, smooth and rather creamy with a fine, supple effervescence.

Had I not known that Vagabond is 10% ABV, I would have guessed it to be half its strength. Dangerously quaffable.

I definitely enjoyed this beer but I am not sure it was worth the two-hour drive and the day off from work required to procure it.

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Damian from Massachusetts, Dec 04, 2010
Photo of mothman
3.59/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Part 2 of 3 for the Allawelsh tasting.

Poured into snifter. Pours ½ finger of beige head. Color is a mahogany hued caramel brown.

Aroma: Notes of plums, cherries, caramel and oak. I get a big port flavor and some wine like characteristics. It is fairly malty. It is a bit sour.

Taste: Cherries, plums, caramel, nuts, toffee, wine flavors, port, and oak all showing. It has a slight sour flavor with some vinegar notes, but in general, this one is not too sour or funky.

Mouthfeel: A bit sour, fizzy, and almost warming. Medium bodied with a bit higher amount of carbonation. Ends dry, but relatively clean.

Overall, this is quite the odd beer. It has some nice flavors, but it is simply just odd. I guess I really didn't know what to expect with this one. For how high the abv is, it is somewhat drinkable. I just expected more sourness to it.

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mothman from Minnesota, Dec 03, 2010
Photo of kbutler1
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Courtesy of Mothman. Poured into a CCB snifter a fairly dark hazed deep mahagony rust color with a very thin collared head. The aroma isn't that strong with only subtle notes of dark fruit, oak, and caramel. Light mouthfeel with good carbonation. Sweet dark fruit start with a very wine like grape flavor. Slightly sour with a more malty flavor than sour. Lingering flavor of purple grapes and port wine. Overall, this is a decent beer but nothing to me that is very mind blowing. The flavors are nice and well blended but I think additional sourness wold have balanced out the sweetness a little better, that being said though, I wouldn't turn this beer down at all if offered again. The wine characteristics really dominate the aftertaste.

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kbutler1 from Minnesota, Nov 27, 2010
Photo of drabmuh
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer is dark and has nearly no head. Its hazy, the smallish head forms a halo of tiny off white to light brown bubbles that leaves a little lacing on the glass.

Aroma is tart with a malty sweetness up front, not very lactic in the nose, almost acetic and citric.

Beer is sweet and malty that gives way to a light midpalate body and a tart / citric finish. Minimal acetic brightness and the forward is not creamy as I was expecting. Almost a chocolate like sweetness up front with some bitterness in the back. Interesting. Easy drinking and a clean finish.

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drabmuh from Maryland, Nov 16, 2010
Photo of glid02
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Joe - thanks!

Pours a murky amber-brown color with a half-finger light tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells interesting. Indistinct medium malt aromas mingle with deep port aromas, similar to booze-soaked tart black cherries with a hint of chocolate. Also present are mild amounts of maple and very slight amounts of funk.

Tastes good, though not as complex as the aroma. Moderately dry caramel malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by very mildly tart medium fruit flavors. Midway through the sip the port flavors take over, overrunning the light tart flavors. Near the end of the sip the flavor profile sweetens a bit with hints of maple and brown sugar before fading out into a slightly muddled ending.

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

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

Overall I thought this was the weakest of the three (currently available) limited releases, and others agreed. It was interesting to be sure but the flavors didn't seem to meld together very well. Worth a shot but not worth trading a kingdom.

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glid02 from Georgia, Nov 09, 2010
Photo of jlindros
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark maple brown color with a light head that fades semi quickly.

Nose of light tart fruits light malts and brown sugar and maple syrup. A bit of oak and vanilla.

Taste light tart darker fruit, little sweet malts, touch of syrupy flavor with more maple and brown sugar and light bready malts. Some light oak and vanilla too. A bit of a bready malts and touch of dry musty taste. Sticky finish lingering tart fruit.

Sticky mouth with med to lighter body and decent carbonation.

Drinkability is OK, lots of tart fruit and a bit of sticky mouth, touch of flemmy feel, bit of booze, and dry bready finish.

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jlindros from Massachusetts, Nov 07, 2010
Photo of kingcrowing
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

375ml corked & caged bottle at NotF poured into a sampling glass. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a dark hazy brown with a small light brown head that fades fast. Nose is sweet and malty with a lightly tart bite.

Taste is funky and tart with a lightly sweet bite that's really crisp and nice. Mourhfeel is light an smooth that's very nice. The finish is tart and crisp, overall very good.

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Photo of gford217
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Joe for sharing this one, tasted alongside Gargamel and Victor Francenstein.

Pours with very little carbonation and settles in as a murky orange brown...looks like tea actually.

Aroma is interesting and unexpected with the sweetness of the maple syrup dominating with dark fruits and sugar. There is a definite oak character with some spiciness, while the tartness is very, very subtle. It smells almost like a port.

The taste starts with some sweet, but overripe dark fruits, with a little more tartness than the aroma but still not much. The sweet sugary backbone and sweet port flavors are dominant until the finish where the oak starts to show.

The mouthfeel is boozy and a little dry, but, again, really feels like a tawny port on the palate. Carbonation is low.

This is an interesting sour though nothing like I was expecting. Less like a sour and more like an after dinner wine.

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gford217 from Georgia, Nov 06, 2010
Photo of nickd717
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Official tick #2300 (although my BA review count is less than half of that at the present moment) - let's do this! André (Bardwashrind on BA) was nice enough to open this 375ml bottle when I was in Denver for GABF, so big thanks to him for hooking up this milestone tick. At #2300, many beer ticking journalists can't help but draw comparisons to Michael Jordan, the best basketball player of all time, who wore #23. Do I have what it takes to become the Michael Jordan of beer ticking? Probably not, but I can probably at least be the Michael Jackson of ticking. CHEE-HEE!

This tick - I mean beer - pours into the tulip glass a hazy reddish-brown color. A well-formed whitish head sits on top.

Tart funky oaky and nutty aroma. The -bal aging asserts itself, along with caramel and some vinous and acetic notes. Slightly buttery, but otherwise nice.

The flavor has a caramel and nutty malt base, as well as red wine, vinegar, and red wine vinegar. Rather oaky and funky...and oh, I almost forgot: buttered chives. You've heard it before for this beer I'm sure. It's undeniable, and I just can't get past it.

Pretty solid mouthfeel for the style. Slight acidity on the mouthfeel with average carbonation and medium body. Slightly tannic.

This is a pretty good wild ale. Is it a great one? Not even close. Above average but not worth the hype in my opinion. But oh man that rarity tastes so good sometimes!

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nickd717 from California, Oct 15, 2010
Photo of xpimptastikx
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this some time back in a trade and decided to open it since everyone else it at GABF....

A - pours a dark ruby red, burgundy, with a single finger of puffy off white head which recedes to thin sheet with webs left when swirled.

S - oak, malt, vinegar, vanilla, and some dark fruit. slightly reminiscent of a Rodenbach grand cru, but not quite as malty.

T - Malty and spiced similar to a BSDA, oak still present with dark fuites (plums and raisins).

M/D - good carbonation as always from Allagash, not overly acetic or citric so it goes down easy without destroying the palate. It reminds me of a mix of Cuvee de Tomme and Rodenbach Grand Cru.

Another great wild ale from Allagash. Not exceedingly sour, but enough to keep me very interested in another sip.

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Vagabond Ale from Allagash Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 101 ratings