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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 acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of t0rin0
3.25/5  rDev -21.7%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of emerge077
4.06/5  rDev -2.2%
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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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 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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Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -3.6%

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 jlindros
4.15/5  rDev 0%
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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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 ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

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 Huhzubendah
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

 447 characters

Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of imperialking
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of MasterSki
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to d0b for sharing a bottle of this with me on New Beer Sunday. I also had a 3oz pour at Night of the Funk, but wanted a second crack at this brew before I posted my thoughts. Served in a Hopleaf tulip glass.

A - A finger of quick-dissolving light tan foam that leaves a slight haze and thick collar. Visible carbonation at the edges of the glass in an otherwise murky dark red-brown body. Lots of suspended sediment. I think Dave's pour looked a bit better (more clarity and glow).

S - This is not what I was expecting when I read about this brew. Very sweet, with a good amount of funk that tapers off a bit as the brew warms up. Lots of maple and nuttiness, with some light earthy tones and a bit of vinous character as well. There's a slight hint of booze when it warms up, but I'd never guess 10%. Very complex and works quite well.

T - Starts with a slight touch of pucker and tartness, then quickly moves back towards the maple sweetness, hazelnut, and a bit of oakiness. The finish is very barrel heavy and also contains a fair amount of butteriness - more cashew butter than microwave popcorn, but still a little off-putting for me. I think I'm personally very sensitive to this type of flavor, so one's mileage may vary. It's not bad, and the booze is well hidden, but it's not really what I want from a wild ale - not enough sour or tart elements to interest me.

M - Feel is terrific - nice dry tannic finish, no alcohol heat, low soft carbonation, medium viscosity. Might even surpass Gargamel in this regard.

D - I could drink a 375ml no problem thanks to the well-hidden booze, but I wouldn't go out of my way to trade for this one. It's good, but don't believe all the hype.

 1,705 characters

Photo of Gonzoillini
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of drabmuh
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

 557 characters

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 HopHead84
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to a generous trader for the bottle. Consumed on a nice day in Carlsbad on 11/03/2009 and poured into a snifter.

The beer appears brownish burgundy with a small wispy off white head, decent retention, and scattered lacing.

The nose is tart unripe plum and berry-like with strong nutty notes. It's very, very oaky. I guess 4 years in American oak will do that. Notes of maple syrup and subtle brown sugar are evident. After reading the beer's description, I suppose I can pinpoint the dill that is mentioned. I don't think I would have otherwise, as it's subtle and I've never associated beer with dill. Other aromas are of dark unripe berries and low lactic notes. Great and complex aroma.

The taste is moderately acidic and tart unripe plums. The flavor is nutty throughout with a dominant yet pleasant oak character. The oak has contributed a moderate tannic quality, and maple provides a low sugary quality. There's a distinct earthiness to the beer, and the finish is toasted pecans with unripe plums and a low moderate lactic sourness. Alcohol is strong in the finish when the beer warms. The beer possesses an unexpected combination of interesting flavors that combine to be pretty enjoyable. The beer is medium bodied with a nice medium level of carbonation.

This is an interesting beer with a great aroma. I can't say I've ever before tried anything like it. Recommended.

 1,390 characters

Photo of corby112
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark mahogany/coppery chestnut brown color with a one finger pinkish off white head that slowly fades into a lasting ring. Minimal spots of lacing.

Slightly oaky butterny aroma with some roasted nut character. Surprising amount of malt alongside some faint dark fruit notes.

Very buttery, slick medium body that is prett tart and puckering without being acidic. The sourness is balanced out by the buttery notes and nutty character. This tastes a lot like a buttery white wine which is surprising given the style and appearance. Long dry finish.

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Photo of kscaldef
2.5/5  rDev -39.8%

Photo of DefenCorps
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dan shared this rare beer this past weekend. Thanks a bunch, man!

Mildly hazy amber with a thin off-white head with great retention and some lace. Solid. The nose is great. Surprisingly acetic for an Allagash beer, there's also a mellow oaky vanilla, brown sugar, and cherries. Alcohol is noticeable, as is a little chocolate. The nose is beautifully integrated. The funk character is low, and the blend of vanilla and brown sugar brings to mind a pleasant caramel. This makes me think of a Bon Chien, but only less wild.

The palate opens moderately sour with a blend of juicy over-ripe lemons and vinegar with a great vanilla and brown sugar. Oak is prominent, noticeable in the finish with a mellow tannin character balanced bu a delicate sweetness. Moderately fruity, I get some berries and stone fruit, Earthy on the finish, this is smooth and quite excellent. Medium-light in body with a moderate carbonation, this beer was a pleasure to consume.

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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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