Allagash Vrienden | Allagash Brewing Company

very good
68 Reviews
Allagash VriendenAllagash Vrienden

Brewed by:
Allagash Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Vrienden is a collaboration with New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, CO and was brewed in July of 2010. Brewmaster Peter Bouckart worked with us to come up with a recipe to be brewed both at their facility and at ours, with subtle differences in each. Both beers used the same base recipe. The Vrienden- Fort Collins version was brewed with belgian endive and hibiscus flower. The Vrienden- Portland version was brewed with dandelion greens and elderberries. Peter then came to Allagash to assist with the brew itself and, a few weeks later, Jason and Rob went there to help with their brew. The beers were fermented using a blend of New Belgium's Lactobacillus strain and the Allagash Brettanomyces strain.

The resulting beer is mildly tart, fruity and slightly hoppy.

Added by Thorpe429 on 03-15-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 68 | Ratings: 146
Photo of ToasterChef
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This bottle has been in my cellar since the day it was released at the Allagash Brewery. I'm serving it in an Allagash flute at a chilly temperature.

The beer has a very light copper color; it's nearly tan. There is a great number of tiny bubbles rising within the beer. A rather large white foam head rests on top. It has settled some—leaving behind a few rings of foamy lace—but it still over a finger in thickness.

Vrienden has a grassy farmhouse funk aroma. I believe some of the grassiness comes from the hops, but I imagine that at least a portion is from the dandelion greens added to the brew. The funkiness is mild, but prevalent enough to let you know that you are in for a beer that lives on the wild side.

This beer comes across as very tart. Lots of grass and floral flavors are tasted first. Powdered sugar sweetness comes in next, but it is quickly overshadowed but the tart flavors. The tartness has a slight citrus quality to it (like a lemon), but there isn't any of the grapefruit flavors you find in some hoppy beers. It provides a welcome fruitiness to the beer without making it taste like a fruit beer.

This beer has a fuller body and plenty of carbonation—the bottle opened with a resounding POP. A touch of stickiness is left on the lips; the coating left within my mouth is also sticky. It is a thin coat and is holds onto some of the tart flavors. Some puckering is felt by the beer; but as a drink more of it, the physical reaction grows less strong with each sip.

This is another impressive wild ale from Allagash. I'm a little sad that I only have one bottle of this left, but I bet there are still a few kegs of Vrienden sitting in the brewery. I would certainly order a glass if I saw it offered.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap for Allagash night at Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Pours a murky honey brown with a tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of sour/tart fruits, herbs, and some slight floral aromas. Taste is very much the same with a very nice tart finish. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good and tasty wild ale and I like this Allagash version much better than the New Belgium one.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

31. Cosmicevan with damico (vrienden – tick it together) – looks exactly like vlad which damico was holding at the time.

D: Amber dark orange
C: Murky…
D: Murky, but not too murky (4 solid).
C: Bubbly but no head, swirling brings it alive…
D: Not to lacy at all
C: But covers the surface? No?
D: Yeah, covers the surface
C: Fruity, almost sour…but like a tinge of sweet tart…but sweet citric, maybe?
D: Yeah, but not bitter…not bitter, like very soft notes of the sweet fruit, very soft notes and not too funky either. (4, yeah it’s good)
C: Again, much like the nose leads you to believe…
D: I’m getting mellon on the nose now.
C: Yeah, after taking a sip mellon is definitely there and much like the nose it tastes like the nose, subtle sweet tart, but like fruity citric mellony.
D: That’s exactly what I’m getting, subtle sweet tart, not overbearing at all and then the citric mellon, which isn’t bitter, it doesn’t (inaudible noises)…at all.
C: I think I’m getting work emails now? (laughs) Sorry…
D: That’s perfect!
C: Mouth…like a good bittery…
D: Lighter
C: Medium bodied.
D: Medium bodied and easy to take down.
C: Take another sip…
D: Thank you very much
C: Mouth, I might even want to say 4.5 cause it’s that smooth…
D: It’s that close because I could drink it probably like a huge glass…
C&D: All night all day long
C: Overall, even though I feel like I have a 4.5 on flavor I would say 4.5 overall…
D: Can we give the mouthfeel the full monty of 5 out of 5?
C: I’m in…5 out of 5 on mouthfeel. I’m going to transcribe this word for word (laughs)
D: So flavor out of 10, I’m thinking 8 to 9
C: Which is a solid 4.5 or 5.
C: Overall an easy 4.5
D: 18ish
C: I’m not a ratebeer guy
D: I know you are a BA.
C: 18ish on RB, I would give it a solid 4.5, possibly even a 5 overall. I mean this is a…
D: Overall give it the top? It is ridiculously good.
C: This is a trade-worthy beer.
D: I can’t believe how smooth it is. Especially the body and the bite is not there at all. There is no…
C: Ok, well we are at 2 and a half minutes now so we are gonna cut it, (laughs) but you get the idea. Read the transcription, grades to follow…cheers!

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Photo of woosterbill
4.37/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Prime 16 into a Gulden Draak tulip.

A: Hazy, warm orange-brown body with a finger of fine, creamy tan foam. Ok retention and some attractive lace. Nice-looking beer.

S: Sour, floral, and fruity, with a mixture of lactic and acetic acidity nicely offset by apple, lemon, grapefruit, and grassy notes. I can’t pick out dandelion specifically, but there’s a solidly aromatic floral presence on top of the primary sourness. I’d like a bit more aggression and crispness from the acidity, but this is excellent.

T: Follows the nose, with a deliriously complex array of sour, fruity, and floral flavors all dancing across my tongue. Lactic and fruity at first, with some white wine vinegar and dry floral flavors following it up. Sticky, pear-heavy finish. A bit of alcohol creeps in, but nothing beyond what I’d expect for a 9.3% beer. Very, very tasty.

M: Svelte, mouth-filling medium body with moderate, lively carbonation. Substantial and enjoyable.

O: This was yet another great sour from Allagash, although it suffers from the same slight lacto-heavy dullness that has kept Interlude from fully blowing me away lately. All the flavors work well together, and the complexity is truly impressive, but at heart there’s just a heaviness that keeps the tartness from taking flight like tartness can (and does in the best of sours – viz. Cantillon). Given that this is included in the Prime 16 happy hour, I’ll definitely be having another, minor quibbles aside. Well done, Allagash.


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Photo of WanderingFool
4.32/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vrienden pours a hazy straw yellow with a small white head on top. The foam dissolves quickly leaving only a few spots of lace on the glass.

The aroma is funky with tart aromas of grapes and hay.

Each sip of this light bodied beer is dry and watery with an effervescent fizz. Easy drinking. The flavor is tart with fruity notes of apples, grapes and strawberries. In the middle some funky barnyard hay appears. It finishes grassy with lingering tart flavors.

This is a sipping beer that has a good balance of sweet and sour. It's very tasting with interesting characteristics.

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Photo of jlindros
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tap at Armsby Abbey, also a bottle thanks to thirdeye11.

Big frothy 1 finger head with sticky lacing all around, over a hazy ruby reddish golden orange color.

Nose brings funk, some wild Brett funk with light horse hair and earthy funk, some light tart lacto like funk as well, very light sour fruit, light bready malts.

Taste brings tart fruit to start, light sour lacto, some earthy wild Brett dunno, light barnyard, light bready malts, some darker reddish earthy malts as well, semi sweet, fruit include sour grapes, light apricot, funk isn't too crazy as it seems cut with fruit juice as well. Finish dries a bit but could use more, light sticky flemmy tart fruit and wild funk.

Mouth is med bodied decent carb.

Overall a great funky wild, great Brett nose, tart fruits, juicy, the finish could have been a bit drier but I very that will come with bottle aging.

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Photo of jlenik
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

a: hazy, translucent, and golden. some head, disappeared quickly and loudly.

s: tropical fruits are present, bright spice notes as well.

t: I'm getting a decent amount of sweetness out of this one and I'm assuming it's from the elderberries. bitterness is not pronounced but it is definitely present. tart but not overly sour.

m: the finish can become dry and as I drink it I can taste some alcohol lingering but I don't mind.

o: a very enjoyable wild ale from Allagash. wish this was in a larger format.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.24/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap at The Hulmeville Inn, poured into a big ass goblet.

Vrienden came to me looking bright golden orange and some tangerine shades thrown in as well. A bit cloudy but not dirty. Just some loose bubbles floating on top. While not pretty, it's not dead looking.

Smell is quite pungent and on the wild side. The lacto basically pours out with a nice brett backing. Floral is quite the word and with some warming, dandelions and whatever they used bites. Not quite Cuvee De Flures(SH) flower ridden, but a nice bouquet. Fruity with slight citrus, maybe some mango.

Taste kinda falls off for me. The flower is the main taste for me and dominates the beer. Some sharp brett/lacto action, than a long flower/floral taste, going into a fruity finish. Orange, pineapple slices. the yeast comes out more and more and kinda gets in the way as well, im not a huge fan of alot of allagash strains.

Feel is nice and alive, while not looking great on appearance, the feel is a wave of lacto sour opening and although all the other flavor does not jive with me, they do not go down so bad. Im not gagging on it is what im saying.

Overall, A nice 'sour' from Allagash And New Belgium. Would like to see what this does in a bottle but I don't think I'll get a shot at that. Easy enough to drink, if this was at 5%, I would be all over it.

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Photo of MufflnMan
4.23/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at The Thirsty Monk. Nice light brown color with a large foamy head. Lots of flowery and herbal notes in the nose promising some noticeable hops which I'm usually not a fan of but was very well balanced in this brew. 9.3% was also unnoticeable as this was very easy to drink. Slightly sour, a nice summer thirst quencher.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Brick Store Pub for their 15th anniversary week. A delicious beer, wonderful that I got a chance to try some. Pours a dark orange with excellent clarity and some very nice lacing. Smells nicely sour without being overly acetic. Nice background notes of stone fruit. Fairly zingy and delicious flavors of bright citrus and apricot, with the faintest metallic twang. Dry and nicely sour. Not as complex as some, but very balanced and tasty.

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Photo of rtepiak
4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

a sour that is suprisingly meaty... In the finish though. Prefect for mineral strong meats. Pour is amber orange with a small head. Standard brett nose... With a undertone of strawberry. Palate is first and foremost... Sour... A given but it comes in with a interesting pork fat salty finish. Perfect for oysters, pickled hints in smoked pork... Kalbasa, fatty with horseradish. Spanish chorizo.

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Photo of bishopdc0
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the GLB served in a tulip

The color of the beer is orange amber it was presented with a slight head but seemed to be a bad pour.

The nose is fruit. Citrus mixed with cherry and a tart ending. It is slight earthy end

The taste is a fruity iambic, cherry with a slight carbonation to start the elderberries come in and make a slight earthy taste on the sides of the tongue. Its tart reminds you of that different strains are used giving a little more complex finish then I'm used to in iambics.

The mouth is the only area you can tell it is 9% numbs and makes up for the lack of carbonation.

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Photo of armock
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Hiphop1 for sending me this bottle in the 666 BIF.

A - Poured a hazy copper color with no real head to it

S - Has a very tart nose with citrus and floral scents to it

T - Like the nose the tartness smacks you in the mouth then the citrus comes out in the finish

M - This beer has a medium body with high carbonation to it

O - I'm really enjoying this one there's not going to be any issues with finishing this bottle myself other than the heartburn later this beer has a good tart taste that's very easy to drink the alcohol isn't noticeable either so if you like sours this is a beer to hunt down

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Photo of Nesued
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Obtained from the fine folks at Green's on Piney Grove Road. Great staff, great keg offerings!

Appearance - A ruddy hazy amber color. Slight head formed upon the initial pour, resolving to nothing. Perhaps a slight carbonation, but nothing really to write home about.

Smell - An inviting floral nose greets you when you begin the process of taking this beer in. Light and airy. Some faint malts and a sweetness as well. Fruity and citrus notes play along. The brett "funky" qualities join the fun as well.

Taste - The tartness of this offering opens your experience followed with some fruity/cherry components. I've never had elderberries so I can only assume what I am tasting is the contribution of the aforementioned berry. The sourness leads you to a crisp dry finish. Very refreshing and thirst quenching.

Mouthfeel - When you hold onto it for a bit, you do get a bit of a medium mouthfeel. The linger is nice as well with the positioning of sweet and sour continuing to hold your tongue.

Overall - A great offering. Well executed and well presented. If only it could be part of my usual rotation. Kudos.

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Photo of glid02
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Leon’s Full Service in Atlanta.

Pours a hazy light copper color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of light malts with moderate amounts of funk. Also present are slight amounts of floral hops, light herbs, and citrus rind.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though more robust. Light malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by light citrus rind flavors. Midway through the sip a surprisingly robust hit of funk comes into play before being tempered by earthy hops. The hops fade out into a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It’s got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I had no problems finishing my glass and could easily have a few more.

Overall I enjoyed this version better than NB’s as the flavors were cleaner and more robust. Worth a shot.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.09/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had over at the Pride.

Pours a hazy golden red color, not much in the way of head or lacing.

Smell has a rather unique aroma, no doubt from the use of dandelions and elderberries, has a floral scent that seems earthy at times and musty at times with a touch of fruit.

Taste is low on the sour scale, it is present but it doesn't kick you upside the head or anything, definitely a bit of that brett funk though coupled with a flowery earthiness, light grapefruit type presence, finishes dry, the alcohol is very well hidden and I wouldn't believe it to be over 4% let alone 9%.

Probably my least favorite limited release from Allagash so far (haven't tried Avance yet though), but their previous acts are tough to follow and this still ends up being very well crafted brew. I can see this being a nice summer sipper like a Berliner Weisse, shame we won't see more of it ever again.

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Photo of CuttDeez
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at rustico!

A - A hazy light copper red colored body. A head slightly off white creamy head that poured to two fingers. The head dies but leaves a ton of lace.

S - Citrus, earthen, and floral hops that mix well with some carmalized malts and the funk is ever-present throughout.

T & M & D - Just like the nose in my opinion, but with good acidity and bitterness. All the hops (earthen, sweet, crisp) meld together with complexity. The sour funk is great and the slight pepper cleans the palate. The mouth is medium bodied and and the carbination helped the beer finish nice and smooth.

O - A great offering from Allagash and a great wild in general. Glad I tried this on tap because it was worth it. Try this one if you get the chance.


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Photo of Brez07
4.07/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had two 10oz pours last night at Great Lost Bear. Served in a tulip glass

A:  Hazy peach/rose color.  No head or lacing. An agressive swirl garners a quickly dissapearing pinkish head

S:  Light yeast and floral notes. Reminds we of either pink lemonade or grapefruit juice. Maybe both, with a touch of funk

T: Minimal sour/tartness.  Grapefruit, strawberry, lemon essence.  Some yeast, floral and earthy flavors.  End of glass has more of a berry flavor

M:  Light to medium.  Carbonation seems appropriate for the style.  Dry, tart fruit finish

D: This is a slightly sour/tart grapefruit beer that changes over time.  Tasty, easy drinking. Can't believe this is over 9%.  Odd but enjoyable. Probably won't get high reviews though because it's not a crazy, destroy your palate in one sip sour

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Photo of thepeter
4.07/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fluffy and pretty nice head clinging to the glass. Light in color, Aroma of lemon zest, floural, earth and funk. Tastes similar very light and not too strongly flavored. An easy sour beer that has toned down elements of funk and osur, without much if any barnyard. Very soft and light on the palate. Overall a very nice beer that I am glad to have tried, alcohol was very well hidden and I liked how easy it was to drink and enjoy.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375ml bottle into Portsmouth snifter. A huge thank you to SneezyAchew for hooking it up (and for the glass)!

A: Pours a lightly hazy glowing golden amber with a fluffy light tan head that faded into a thick film leaving a great network of thin lacing down the glass.
S: Light notes of lemon, peaches, brett, and a bit of dry hay and earthy saison-esque notes.
T: Follows the nose but I also get notes of tart berries (elderberries?), green apples, oak, and floral notes. The finish is lightly bitter and tart, and the aftertaste is dry and has a tartness akin to fruit skins. There is a good fruity sweetness to the brew throughout.
M: Dry mouthfeel, medium body, and normal soft carbonation.
O: Really solid beer that isn’t too mouth-puckering. Very refreshing actually, with a good fruity, bretty, floral flavor. Thanks again Michael!

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Photo of benclimbs
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

L - pours Nice for a sour what it should look like golden with a slight head

Smell is really good a fantastic mix of yeasty esters and fruit character, a hint of spices in there too oaken just a hair, not overwhelming

Taste is solid, not amazing but very good and quite balanced as sours go I can't say I care for the mineral driven finish
But the fruit character and dry aged complexity come through

Overall a very nice and balanced wild ale

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Photo of Casey10
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a tough one to rate went to Allgash on the day of the release. Tried it today and here is my review.

From the bottle this nice carbination my overall impression is that it is good nothing mind blowing however very nice dry finish reminds me somewhat of a RR temptation in that it has that sort of texture and look about. I would say it is a step or two below that.

This is still a really nice beer if you are a fan of wild ales well worth seeking out and worth trying.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light copper ale with a thin white head. There is a huge amount of haze, especially once the bottom sediment is poured off. I noticed something very interesting with this beer's head, several small, foam-producing doughnuts.

Ethanol and cardboard with a little bit of carbon earthiness. This beer smells utterly funkified and wild. Definitely a beer to be served warm.

Sour and cultured. The alcohol melding with the beer's natural zest is super refreshing. The traditional, yet somehow now exotic spices are a very interesting addition to this beverage. However, the sourness is up front and forward.

Sour and biting with stinging ethanol. Very bubbly and refreshing beverage that burns and leaves a herbal/funky aftertaste. The thick sediment doesn't lend much to the beer's body, which remains fairly light. When the beer warms there is a strong, mouth-watering acidity. This is an exciting beverage indeed!

For the price/quantity, this beer is fairly expensive. I like their creativity and collaboration in making this beer because both Allagash and New Belgium are completely capable breweries. I liked how the beer can be consumed at room temp and only get more complex and sour!

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.02/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Brez07 for sending this to me in a LIF. Review from notes.

A: Pours light pink in color with a small white head on top. Quick dissipation with no lacing.

S: Light tartness, almost has a candy sweetness to the aroma. There is some grassy and a a flower like quality that I can only assume is the dandelions. Light funk.

T: Not as sour/tart as most wilds, but that doesn't bother me at all. Nice fruit flavors with some lemon/citrus, elderberries, and some other fruits.

M: Light to medium bodied with a nice level of carbonation. As mentioned, not mouth puckering sour/tart, but I thought the level of sour was nice.

O: Extremely easy drinking, especially for 9%. Was surprised it was so high actually after drinking it. Not my favorite AWA, but well put together. Something I would love to get some more of and drink again.

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Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml brown bottle, no freshness date needed as this one will probably be good to drink for a while.

LOOK: Bright orange hue, pasty lacing ... looks inviting.

SMELL: Grassy, vegtal, tart, marmalade, musty cellar, herbal, woody, mint, esters, lemon zest

TASTE: Smooth, dry, tart, lemon pith, vegtal, medicinal, dried grass, chalky yeast, musty, funk, faint barn yard, sweet onion, sour berries, dry finish

Really out there, smacks the palate with tartness. If not for the dry character it would not be so drinkable. A sipper still, glad I did not subject myself to getting this in growler form as that was not the brewers intent. I'm thinking this one will start to peak in about a year but I'm satisfied with opening it now.

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Allagash Vrienden from Allagash Brewing Company
3.96 out of 5 based on 146 ratings.
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