Vagabond Ale | Allagash Brewing Company

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Vagabond AleVagabond Ale
102 Ratings
Vagabond AleVagabond Ale

Brewed by:
Allagash Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by mikey711 on 10-19-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 102 |  Reviews: 70
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5/5  rDev +20.5%

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5/5  rDev +20.5%

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5/5  rDev +20.5%

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5/5  rDev +20.5%

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5/5  rDev +20.5%

Photo of daryk77
5/5  rDev +20.5%

Photo of gregc
4.97/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle. Thanks to Jagger for this one.

Pours a deep aurburn color with a small fizzy looking white head.
The aroma of the beer is amazing. Port wine, sweet plums, cabernet grapes, oak and a touch of maple syrup sweetness. This is the most vinous smelling beer i have ever had. In my opinion this blurs the line between a beer and a wine.
The taste is outstanding...sweet plums, toasted nuts, graham cracker and port wine. The finish is very nutty. This is complex beyond belief. May be one the best beers I have ever had. I am blown away by the depth of flavors here....amazing...
I am very surprised at the mellow sourness of this beer. It was a lot less then i expected, almost non existant. A small amount of funk is evident, but very slight sourness. The carbonation and mouthfeel is supurb. The beer is very smooth and drinkable.
My second bottle will get some age on it before it is opened, it will be nice to see if this develops anymore.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.92/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After having Gargamel I was really looking forward to this beers relase.

A: Poured a murky brown color with just a touch of red. Much darker than most other wild ales out there except for Brabant. Little bit of head that had just a touch of brown in it.

S: The smell is nothing short of awesome. TONS of oak. Every kind of dark fruit you can think of mixed but never becomming abrassive. Dates, raisins, plums. With that there is a little bit of funk to it as well. Some maple syrup. Just a really weird but great nose.

T: Again lots of barrel. Little bit of funk. Just like nothing else I have ever had. Just amazing depth of flavor. You get all the dark fruit etc like you would from a Belgian dark. Then you get a little bit of funk. All backed by a massive oak flavor. Epic.

M: Very soft mouthfeel. Low carbonation but very smooth.

D: No hint of the ABV at all. Just an amazing beer. I don't know how this will age but I wouldn't. It is so smooth to begin with it might just become bland. Amazing beer.

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Photo of TheKingsOfHop
4.87/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12.7oz bottle poured into Allagash tulip shaped glasses:
First ones to review the bottled version of this beer, very exciting. Well here it goes...

A: As this highly anticipated brew plummeted into our glasses, the frothy vanilla head billowed leaving a fingers width of foam. The body is a brown mahogany, with an amber red glow, reminiscent of a deep dark maple syrup. The head slowly dissipated leaving a white lace edge bubbling slightly.

S: Starts with a rich bourbon aroma that brings out a presence of alcohol that is not off putting but welcoming. Gradually turning into bananas foster, a decadent dessert. Then drizzling the senses with maple syrup and a slight hint of molasses, vanilla and a finishing touch of hazelnut.

T: As the journey of Vagabond continues, the front of the palate is hit with a sweet sappy nectar. Followed by a refreshing crisp pear. At its climax, your mouth puckers and jaw clenches due to the intensity of the crab apple like flavor. Your mouth salivates asking for more, simultaneously leaving your palate dry like a port wine. Concluding with a nutty, smooth after taste.

M: Medium-bodied with a steady flow of carbonation. Giving you a tingly sensation and the warming comfort of alcohol.

D: This brew is equally refreshing and complex as it is desirable among advocates. The only thing preventing us from opening another bottle is its rarity. Hats off to Allagash Brewing Co.

The Kings of Hop

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Photo of mikey711
4.77/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow I can't believe I get to add Vagabond to the BeerAdvocate community. First, lots of thanks to the good people of Allagash for handling what could have been a difficult situation. Also, Thanks to the Lion's Pride for the after party, which I unforunately had to leave much earlier than I would have liked.

A: It was murky brown, looking almost like muddy water. The head was very minimal but left pretty rings of snow white lace. Carbonation can be seen rushing up from the bottom of the glass.

S: It hits first with an initial funky and bretty aroma followed by some earth wood notes. As it warms sweet maple syrup becomes more prominent as do a bit of grapes. Plenty of fruitiness that is both tart, sweet and dry.

T: Tart plums and berries are the initial flavor before a wave of sweet maple syrup, caramel and wood and maybe even a hint of licorice finish it off. Very complex and extremely balance between sweet and sour.

M: Slightly butter in it's full bodied flavor. It has a tinge of acidity, but very little vinous quality. A slight dry finish with a bit of detectable alcohol can be felt as well.

D: This is definitely one of the most enjoyable sours that I have ever had. The complexity and changing flavors with the added warms showcase all of the time and effort that went into this beer. Great beer all around

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.77/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A bright aggressive pop of the cork has me excited to try this brew. Thin layer of foam forms then fades to a small ring of foam around the edges. Basically can't get any head to form atop the deep amber beer with excellent clarity. Held to the light there is some deep copper/orange tones. No lacing to speak of.

Aroma is tart with some maple, nuts, some oak as well.

Well, my first thought after several sips is.... This is, by far, the nuttiest beer I've ever tasted. (not crazy, of nuts) Initial tartness gives way to some great oak notes. A touch of maple, but more molasses next. Then the beer enters this awesome toasted pecan phase. This nutty tones are just fantastic. There is a dark baked hard crust bread flavor in the finish as well.

Mouth feel is bright, body is medium light. The carbonation is just a tingle on the end of your tongue. Just enough to brighten the initial tartness.

As I enter the phase of enjoying sour beers, I am so happy to have the opportunity to enjoy this beer. Drinkability is off the charts. The only let down is that this is a one time beer. If they could do it again.. They should.

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Photo of rye726
4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
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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Photo of brentk56
4.71/5  rDev +13.5%
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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Photo of rrheisler
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split a couple of bottles with umfskibum and our respective significant others.

Poured into tulip glasses, immediately upon opening we get a strong scent of plum, pear, and grape. Almost like opening a champagne. A deep, maple syrup colored liquid comes out the bottle, with about a quarter-inch of head.

The smell, as it warmed slightly, started to take on some characteristics of bourbon and maple syrup. Decadent.

Tasting was a journey. It starts very puckering, with that sour flavor as well as a champagne quality. However, as it warms, the subtle characters come out to play. Each sip hit the palate slightly differently, getting some smoke, vanilla, syrup, dill, plum, and alcohol, each to varying degrees on every sip. Crazy.

Mouthfeel was dry, well-carbonated. Really forced you to slow down, sip, and enjoy the brew.

The only thing keeping it from a 5.0 drinkability? The fact that it's so darn rare. In all, an exquisite beer.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to maltzilla for sending this my way!

A- Pours with a 1/2 finger foamy white head which eventually fades to a thick collar and leaves little to no lacing behind in the glass. Body is a dirty bronze hue that is slightly translucent with a dynamic cloudiness.

S- The overall impression of the nose is mild, soft, and balanced. Vinegar, slight tartness, vinous grape, and pear come through.

T- Flavor is very balanced and mildly sour. This is a really complex brew and with every sip I am picking up something new. Grape, light spiciness, light vinegar, yeasty background, raisin, cinnamon, apple, pear, soaked oak, . Overall impression is delicate, sweet, sour, and slightly oaky- a mild alcohol heat comes through for the finish.

M- Carbonation is soft. Body is medium weight and exceptionally smooth and yeasty.

D- I had no idea while drinking this that it was 10%! This is an awesome brew-its delicate and very complex overall. Probably the best I have had from Allagash (that isnt a collaboration) so far. I love it!

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Photo of kingcrowing
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
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 cpetrone84
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Sarah for sharing this at our basically weekly tasting.

A-pours a cloudy, grainy copper color, rusty brown. a tight light tan head on the side.

S-oaky vanilla up front, wild yeast, grapes, balsamic, notes of tart cherries behind.

T-the taste has the wild yeast up front with notes of oaky wood underneath. a touch of earthy grain, very light balsamic notes, tart cherries and grapes in the back.

M-grainy on the palate, soft with a medium body. good carbonation with a crisp finish but not biting.

D-this is a well balanced sour with nice subtle flavors blending together very well this is a top notch sour.

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Photo of beachbum1975
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared with Henkenberns, netwonty and DrewOSU tonight. Again, sorry Mr. Woods, I hope you had a good time at work tonight.

Pours a gorgeous, reddish brown with a nice, creamy white head.

The smell is quite different from Gargamel (obviously). Sweet caramel, toasted pecan, almond and other very unique smells.

My vocabulary is extremely limited at this time. Toasted pecans, caramel, very complex malts, wow.

This was newtonty's favorite beer of the night.

This beer was fantastic. Almost like KRE. Wow...

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Samichlaus for trekking up to Portland, Maine for the release to pick this up for our trade! I brought this one out of the cellar for our epic tasting, beer number 16 overall, number 7 on day 2.

The cork nearly popped right out of my hand as I twisted it to open, but despite the heavy pressure in the bottle, there was not even an inkling to gush. Not too much head in the pour either, and the body of the ruby brown liquid is clear. Appearance is almost like that of an oud bruin.

A lot of acetic aromas in the nose. Dark cocoa powder and raspberry tartness highlight a big sour funkiness. They are supported by brown sugar sweetness and some cherry notes as well. On the palate, the acidic sourness and sour cherries come through again. The four years spent in barrels contribute a strong oakiness. Peach esters come through in the middle and give way to a pronounced woody earthiness that blows me away. The earthiness stays with me after the finish, too. This beer is extremely well-balanced.

Incredibly smooth, the acetic aroma doesn't make it into the flavor profile. The balance and earthiness couple nicely with the fruity esters and sourness to make this one a highlight of the day for me.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
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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Photo of rhinos00
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge props to Seth for hooking me up with this very special beer. Poured from a 375 mL bottle into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a hazy, brown with a maroon tint to its complexion. Produced two fingers width of cream colored head. Dissipated to a frothy ring throughout consumption.

S- Maple is very evident in the produced a nice, sweet base. Also picking up some nuttiness and a bit of cabernet. Great mix, just wish it was a little more potent to push it to another level.

T- Right off the bat picking up some deep layers of maple and nuttiness...a genius combination. Shortly after a grape, vinous character takes over giving the beer a semi-tart finish along with the acidity of a fine port. Also picking up a bit of graham cracker as well. Interesting mix of ingredients for sure, but worked rather well.

M- Very solid for a wild ale. Light to medium bodied. Plenty of carbonation.

D- Pretty high. Cannot believe this beer is 10% abv. The flavors disguise it very well and make it easy to drink.

Overall, this was way better than Gargamel. Not even close. One thing to remember is that you have to come into this beer with an open mind. It's not going to be super sour like the Cantillons, but it's more like a tamed down version of Consecration that has maple and nuts thrown into it. Just enough tartness to pass as a wild ale. Pretty impressive considering this is a sour at 10%.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap over at Lion's Pride, ordered a couple samples after picking up bottles at the brewery.

Pours rusty looking, like unfiltered apple cider (which I like, mmmm), not much head and no lacing to speak of.

Smell isn't as strong as Gargamel's was (nor as good), definitely picking up the barrel aging since there is quite an aroma of wood with a slight tartness.

Taste is similar to the nose except stronger, the wood really takes ahold of it but isn't quite like other barrel aged beers where the bourbon or brandy is in charge, instead it's the wooden characteristics themselves, this melds with the mild tart/sourness to make a good complex taste, but those looking for something really sour will be looking in the wrong place with Vagabond.

Just might need to go back tomorrow to get another sample or two (if it's still around). Can't wait to see what Allagash puts out next.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to bmanning for opening this up at a recent tasting.

A: Pours a dark reddish copper with some nice carbonation throughout.

S: Lots of oak and sweetness coming from dark fruit and hints of maple syrup. A little bit of funk in there as well. Very unique.

T: Quite similar to the nose with just a lot going on. Not completely blended together in the flavor department, but there were so many little things about it that I enjoyed. The dark fruits, oak, and funk were a great combination.

M: Pretty smooth with fairly low carbonation and a light-to-medium mouthfeel.

D: Definitely would not have guessed that this one was 10%. Very drinkable with some nice flavor characteristics.

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Photo of blisscent
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of ElGallo
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to chowdahead for sharing a bottle.

I was hoping to age this one for a while, but I'm only human and curiosity got the best of me.

Not too much head on the pour and little lacing. Appearance is like that of a typical oud bruin. Nose and taste are very Cantillon-esque though the 10% ABV is not, but this beer is designed for sipping.

The cherry tartness was balanced by subtle oaky, musty flavors. I won't go into all the beautiful nuances of this beer, but from a big picture perspective, this tasted like a perfect blend of a lambic and an oud bruin - loved it.

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Vagabond Ale from Allagash Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 102 ratings