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Allagash Vagabond Ale | Allagash Brewing Company

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Allagash Vagabond AleAllagash Vagabond Ale
102 Ratings
Allagash Vagabond AleAllagash Vagabond 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
Photo of jophish17
2.5/5  rDev -39.8%

Photo of kscaldef
2.5/5  rDev -39.8%

Photo of nathanjohnson
3/5  rDev -27.7%

Photo of womencantsail
3.16/5  rDev -23.9%
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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Photo of t0rin0
3.25/5  rDev -21.7%

Photo of AgentZero
3.37/5  rDev -18.8%
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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Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of Arbitrator
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

375mL bottle. Generously shared by ipa247 at his recent sour tasting. Thanks, Jeff.

A: Pours a brilliant, clear maroon/amber body with a finger of off-white head. It retains moderately well, collapsing into a respectable collar and displaying some effervescence up the glass. Not much in the way of lacing.

S: Nuts, solvent, wood, spirit (cognac?), fruity somehow (eventually identified as buttery chardonnay by largadeer -- I got as far as "grapes").

T: Nutty and a little bit of barrel up front. It's more tart than genuinely sour. I'm tempted to say cherries. Either way, it nicely complements the white wine and cognac qualities that come through. It has a spicy, warm finish with some musty wood. No funk or vinegar here. Seems more like a tart strong ale than a sour wild ale. Miscategorization?

M: It's fairly mellow, and is not too hot, but warm.

D: It's pretty drinkable, though nothing I'd get up in arms over. I wouldn't turn it down but I certainly wouldn't seek it out.

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Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of jrallen34
3.56/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I drank this from a 375 ml bottle into my rochefort chalice.

This ale is a very dark amber, a little lighter in the light. It is brown with highlights of red, reminding me of tea. There is little carbonation as the head is about half a finger but fades way too quickly. There is little lacing.

The aroma is strong with sourness coming from tobacco, leather and oak. There is oddly no tartness from fruit detectable.

The taste is very similar to the aroma with a strong oak taste followed by a sour finish. The after taste sour lasts several seconds.

the beer is good but its not something you could or would drink a lot of. I'm a big wild fan and find them drinkable but this is on the very far end of drinkability.

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Photo of mothman
3.59/5  rDev -13.5%
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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Photo of nickd717
3.65/5  rDev -12%
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!

 1,410 characters

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 11/7/2009. Bottle. Pours a clear dark brown with just a ring of white head. Aroma of oak, sour fruit, booze, vanilla, toffee. Flavor is tart on initial sip, with maple syrup, roasted malt, gingerbread, vanilla, and booze in the finish. A little on the boozy side but it was enjoyable.

 296 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of jsilva
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled March 2010
A soft pour produces a fat, one-finger thick, amber tinged, tan colored head. The beer is a dark, concentrated red color that shows a clear, rich ruby hue when held up to the light. Quite fruity smelling with raspberry seed notes, bright berry aromas, some light tartness, quite a bit of tannic, spicy oak. The more I inspect this the more the oak becomes apparent and the fruit falls to the background; almost smells like a freshly cut oak plank at times. The fruit aromatics come out if I take a break from the nose; this really is quite fruity with a spicy, fleshy raspberry, perhaps a touch of dark plum notes and some complimentary clove aromatics and brown sugar notes.

Quite tart tasting based on the light spiciness that was in the aroma. This has quite a bit of body to it, and it seems to have a lactic slickness to it that washes the beer off the palate; there is also a tannic texture to this. Oak flavors are perhaps the most dominant (at least after the initial hit of lactic sourness), with ample peppery, oak-derived spiciness, a freshly cut wood-plank flavor, some very soft butterscotch, and maybe just a hint of vanillin. The fruit flavors are much more subdued compared to the aroma; but still notes of rich plum, seedy raspberries and some soft berry notes are noticeable under the oak. A rich, caramelized, perhaps even maple like note mixes with oxidized, dry sherry notes and perhaps some hints of port sans sweetness.

This is just a bit too over-oaked; it gets in the way of the other flavors and can seem a bit heavy-handed at times; having said that, if you don't mind oak flavors, this is actually a pretty tasty brew.

 1,668 characters

Photo of Verecund
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
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 craytonic
3.87/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle consumed 6/27/2010

Appearance: Near still pour, although if I listen I can hear tiny pindrops of carbonation. Dark ruby red, nearly opaque.

Smell: Raspberry aromas, along with plums, prunes, light tartness, funk, and oak.

Taste: Not overly sour or tart, the raspberries dominate, followed by plums and fruit. Also some funk and oak in the backseat, along with a hint of port. A bit similar to consecration; I enjoyed the oak element here (but I like oak in anything but chardonnay). Oak also seems to be of good quality, not cheap staves.

Mouthfeel: Lack of carbonation places a big ding here, I do like a flat beer but this isn't one of them.

 655 characters

Photo of JAXSON
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
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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Photo of gford217
3.92/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

 905 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.97/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7oz bottle, corked and caged, wrapped in paper with a gold colored seal. The cork popped out with a loud report but thank God no gushing.

The beer is dark reddish copper color, clear, with initially a few fingers of off-white foam that quickly changes to no head. The aroma is a little similar to Consecration, dark fruits (mostly plums) and hints of earthy funk.

This tastes somewhat sour, but more tart and flavorful than acidic. Lingering after-taste not unlike a fruity red wine. Less carbonation than expected based on the cork pop, but it fits the flavors well.

This is closer to the taste of wine than most other beers I'd tried. Definitely recommended, but not something to pay too much for.

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.97/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375 mL bottle, courtesy of someone's name who's lose to the ages - many thanks to him! Split at the C'ville Throwdown #3, poured in to a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a largely transparent but surprisingly dark - that is, caramel copper amber - body, inviting but not exactly radiant. The initial fuzz that appeared atop this one - about a quarter-finger tall - fades quickly to a thin swirl on the surface and a fairly thin collar. Extreme agitation leaves a few glittery, runny blobs of lace on the sides of the glass that last for less than twenty seconds before dripping back down the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Very sweet and fruity, but also very herbal. Lemon and other sour notes mingle with peppery, dill, and cardamom notes to hint at lemon baum and sassafras, but there are also a lot of darker malt notes - toffee, caramel - and a few lighter flourishes, vanilla mostly, courtesy of the American oak. At points its almost like teriyaki, sweet and slightly spicy and fairly herbal with a hint of acidity. Mild funk and an unfortunate amount of alcohol brings - that suggests a rail-level rum and diet coke at some level - it down to a 4.0, but it's not an unpleasant smelling brew.

Taste: Well that's interesting. More funk than acidity, at least relative to my expectations based upon the nose, but the main aspect of this one that stands out to me are the herbal notes. It's anise-like at some points, particularly in the finish, but with tons of dill and slight thyme, though those two notes do work well with the lemon acidity note. The dark base malts lend toffee, definite brown sugar and maple syrup, specifically, though there's also a fair amount of barrel notes, slight vanilla and coconut. A remarkably odd assortment of flavors, and one that I'm more entertained by by virtue of the task involved with teasing them apart than by the way in which they work together.

Mouthfeel: A thicker beer, but reasonably well-attenuated, with no sugary notes or cloying attributes. Slight amounts of carbonation in an otherwise very slightly carbonated brew make for a nice though not outstanding mouth.

Drinkability: Perhaps a little hyped, and this makes me want to seek out that Gargamel less. I wasn't terribly impressed by this one, though I do respect it for what it is - an early attempt at a wild ale by a prominent east coast brewery that hasn't really tried this before, and for that I do appreciate it. It's mostly the odd combination of flavors and aromas, so maybe it was partially expectations that threw me off a little. Also, the 10% abv has to bring this one down a little - I would hope (or need, perhaps) for something a lot crisper, lighter, more cleansing than this for a 10% brew. Regardless, this one would be worth seeking out if you could get it for less than what I'm sure someone would charge you to trade/buy this one now. If you can find it on the cheap, though, go for it.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

 749 characters

Photo of jh1982
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared by ipa247. Thanks, Jeff!

Vagabond is a clear chestnut brown in the glass, beautifully colored but virtually headless. The aroma is musty, fruity, a bit buttery, like a rich California chardonnay. There's a touch of solvent beneath the surface, and a sweet vinous aroma that reminds me of cognac. On the palate it's nutty and warming, cognac coming to mind again along with dark fruits, white wine and malt vinegar. The finish is dry, woody, very tannic, and the mouthfeel a bit slick. This isn't sour per se; more tart, musty and oaky. An interesting and drinkable beer, clearly a big step up from Gargamel, but nothing outstanding.

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