Vrienden | Allagash Brewing Company

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146 Ratings

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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 146 |  Reviews: 68
Photo of wisrarebeer
2.56/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: amber brown color, clear with good carbonation and light creamy head
S: nose is mild and sweeter, nothing unusual
T: very disappointing, cloying, malt with some hop balance but really no noticeable bret nor lacto
M: sweet, no noticeable funk
O: sweet, bland, no funk, reminded me a bit of a Belgian white

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Photo of AgentZero
3.18/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

A - Copper red beer with a white head that dissipated to a partial ring and left some sparse splotches on the side.

S - Sweet fruit that is lightly reminicent or raspberries, assuming this is the elderberry aroma. Somewhat tart with an outdoorsy smell from the dandilion greens. Smells good, but sweet.

T - Very sweet and syrup sugary. The tartness from the nose is lost. Finish is dandilion greens down the back of the throat. Really not a huge fan of this, it is candy sweet with nothing to balance it out. Alcohol is very well hidden though.

M - Not enough carbonation gives this one a mouthfeel that is once again, too syrupy. It is light bodied so the lack of carb just makes it seem flat.

O - Don't like this, too sweet, too flat, too boring. At 9% can be a killer though, ABV is undetectable.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
3.18/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - It pours a hazy light amber hue and is capped with a slight film of small off-white bubbles.

S - The nose is pretty much evocative of sweatsocks, Limburger cheese and wet Golden Retriever. I was hoping to get some of the deliciously strange herbal-green notes of elderberry, but none are here. This is more like the sweatiest Saison in history than it is like a Wild.

T - The flavor is a marked improvement upon the elements of the nose, offering earthy-musty lemon notes atop some toasty grain. I still don't pick out elderberries in the brew.

M - Nice soft carbonation and silky medium-light body.

O - Light years better than the horrendous Lips of Faith version, not stellar, however.

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Photo of BearsOnAcid
3.36/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Light copper pour; off white fluffy head with sticky lacing

Slight mettalic and vegetal nose. Saison esters, lemony. A little dirty.

Light berry and saison flavor. Light tartness and lemony. A little bit of a leafy broccoli flavor probably from the dandelion greens. This was much better than the New Belgium version. Decent but not great.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.39/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 32oz. growler filled 4/16/11 at Decicco's in Ardsley, NY, into LA stemware.

A: Standard pour yields a .5 finger coarse white head with poor retention. Beer is a semi-clear flourescent orange-peach. Lacing is stringy and spotty and sticks close to the top of the brew. Nice legs though. Great color too.

S: Nose is aromatic and sweet. Orange and other citrus peel, coriander, unidentified spices. Also a bit of peach and pineapple tartness. Slightly powdery with a touch of cane sugar. Very appetizing though mostly lacking in funk save for a bit of tickling Brett presence in the background.

T: Opens light citrus, coriander, other spices, and wild flowers. Feels like I'm chewing on grass mixed with lemon and orange tartness. Tropical pineapple in the middle with a powdery cane sugar end. Finish is more floral sweetness and dry. Aftertaste is a variety of sweet spices. More of a Saison than a wild ale. There's no funk and no tartness though plenty of complexity.

M: Light bodied with moderate carbonation. Mellow and slightly watery in the mouth and goes down smooth. Finish is clean and dry with a powdery, floral aftertaste that lingers. Could use some more bubbles and dryness for its style.

O: Overall I'm a bit dissapointed by this brew. However, that being said, its pretty much in line with all of Allagash's other limited sour offerings. Flavor is mellow and beer is more floral and wild than funky and sour. Worth trying if you get a chance just to experience something different within the style. However, being that the Allagash offering is very limited, probably not worth the effort.

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Photo of DearthVader
3.49/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to jpmclaug for this growler.

Poured to my Allagash goblet (naturally)

Pours a very pretty glowing blood orange with a thick, creamy pure white head that seems to last forever. The legs left behind on this one are extremely detailed and the best I've seen for the style.

Smell is somewhat weak with sight apricot and a bit of funk on the nose.

Taste is somewhat muffled as well. Belgian yeasts with earthy tones. This are backed by some unripe apricot, and green apple skin.

Mouthfeel is fairly light which makes this very drinkable.

Overall it was slightly above par for me. It was definitely better than the New Belgium version, but still nothing to write home about. Not much tartness to this one even though it's considered a "sour".

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Photo of mrbojangles31
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of funkyaudio
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of Chico1985
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Dirty Truth.

Pours a light red with some orange highlights, off-white head retains for a while as a cap eventually becoming a ring, not much lace left.

Smell/taste - Pretty much just tart elderberries, raspberries, strawberries, red berries in general. Definitely oak and and a bit of brett but not much of a funk profile. Not so much sour rather than just a little tart.

The fruit flavors are nice but it was a little one-note for me, not much funk or character to make this memorable.

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Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of ObeMaltKinobee
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of pmlondrigan
3.52/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Oh Allagash....Not much goin on in the appearance of this beer. Orange-ish hugh, and a quickly fading head (though perhaps this is a result of a pour growler fill), no lacing on my glass but some spots on my fiances glass. Pretty aroma, faintly funky, light brett C aroma, flowery and fresh cut grass.
Complex flavors begins more like a saison, with earthy grassy tones and brett-y funk. Soft mid-palate. There is a clear presence of tart drying elderberries. Pretty dry beer here.
Overall this beer clearly falls into the funky and complex realm of American Wild Ales. A nice effort that could have used more time to develop, just not funky enough and clearly not sour.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ

A: The beer pours a slightly hazed golden orange color with a thin white head.

S: Not the most assertive nose. Fairly floral with a touch of banana, too. A very light tartness to it, maybe a light pear sourness. Some apple skins and a light malt note to it, maybe a bit of oak.

T: Fairly sweet for a sour beer. Lots if pear and apple, a bit of banana, as well. Light bread flavor with some oak and a touch of lemon and lemon zest. Some other citrus notes, too.

M: Medium bodied with a low to medium carbonation.

O: This was a bit better than the New Belgium version, but it still didn't do much for me.

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Photo of Soonami
3.56/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had during Philly Beer Week at Local 44, served in a 12 oz tulip.

Golden with a slight apricot blush, topped with a fine thinly knit head yielding good lacing

A little phenolic in the nose with some musty funy and a little bit of grape.

A little bit sour with lots of grape flavor with a dry bretty finish

Smooth MF with delicate carbonation that made this feel a little thin

A good beer that was interesting.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.57/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served from tap into a sampler tumbler. Poured a hazy red-orange with a minimal white head. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, sour, tart, and fruit. The flavor was of sweet malt, sour, tart, fruit, and very slight funk. It had a light feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. The mouthfeel on this one was a little too thin for my liking on this style. It had a pretty good aroma going on, but the flavor seemed a little muted. No sign of alcohol anywhere... Definitely worth trying if you get the opportunity.

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Photo of jsanford
3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Distillery in Savannah, GA as part of their Allagash Night.

A - Poured a hazy orange with a thin white head that settled down to a thin haze.
S - Slightly subdued aromas of lemon juice, apple cider, grapes, and "funk" with a moderate earthy finish.
T - Pretty similar to the nose, flavors of lemon juice, cider, flowers, and earthy funk. Not as floral as I'd expected, nor as sour, but still nicely drinkable.
M - Slick, with a medium body and moderately crisp carbonation.
O - A very nice Wild, and a great counterpoint to the New Belgium version. Would have loved to actually tried these side-by-side, but oh well.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.61/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Map Room. Served in a tulip glass.

A - Arrived with two fingers of white foam that slowly settled to a solid cap, leaving splotchy lace. Hazed brownish-red body.

S - Slight lactic sourness, some herbs and spices. Grassy, with some vaguely tea-like notes to it as well.

T - Again, light lactic sourness, and herbal bitterness (I'm guessing from the dandelion greens). Bready malt character, with some peppery Belgian yeast. Alcohol is well-hidden. I didn't get elderberries at all, and the brett only seems to add a vaguely musty, earthy note.

M - Smooth texture, medium body, medium carbonation. Fairly clean finish, which was mildly surprising.

D - I liked this better than the New Belgium version, but this may be my least favorite of the Allagash small batch releases. It took me a fair bit of time to work through my glass, although to be fair it was pretty late in the evening.

Edit: Cracked a bottle 01-05-2011. A lot of the herbal flavors has mellowed out, lactic presence has increased, and the brett has imparted some nice citrus and tropical notes. Probably more of a ~4 beer these days.

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Photo of Mike
3.65/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of mikey711
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Slightly hazy golden red with about a quarter inch of white head and a nice amount of lace

S: Herbal and floral notes followed by a bit of tart fruitiness. Some brett character as well

T: The floral aspect from the dandelions is much more upfront and the elderberry and tartness comes through in the finish more with a bit of a tannic quality. some peppery notes and a bit of a brett as well to provide a bit of a lemon quality

M: Abv is well hidden and the finish is pretty smooth and clean

O: a solid offering but there wasnt anything that truly wowed me about it. i would be curious to see if this would develop further but a nice sour none the less

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Photo of Rifugium
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at the Pour House, Westmont, NJ

Poured orange-brown with very little head; some carbonation visible. Floral aroma with some citrus notes. Taste was surprisingly sour up front, but not overbearing. Grassiness mixed with citrus followed leaving a nice crispness in the mouth. Light-medium body, and fairly drinkable. I probably wouldn't have more than a glass at any given sitting, but I would definitely not mind having that one glass if it was available.

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Photo of imbibehour
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass at Pizza Paradiso.

A real nice orange/brown cloudy body, giving to hints of brown caramel color. Head is an off foamy white that looks great.

Bouquet is a hop floral sensation and salt. Hint of sour cherry baked brown bread, and some yeast sensations.

Sour saison like quality upon tasting, some tartness, but an interesting nice carbonation and bitter orange juice finish. It does feel a little, how could I say, one dimensional though?

Overall I was hoping I could say more about this but I just can't I don't feel much off of this. It's alright but I am not gravitated toward it.

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Photo of corby112
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

375ml shared by foretfu at a recent tasting. Thanks again man! Sampled next to the New Belgium Lips of Faith version.

Pours a hazy dark golden orange color that is opaque with tangerine hues and a half finger white head that quickly settles into a lasting ring.  Spotty lasting.

EArthy, slightly funky aroma that is very floral aroma with of bready yeast and citrus fruit notes, especially tangerine and orange peel.

Tart puckering mouthfeel with earthy funk and dry Brett efervescence.  Slight creamy presence with citrus fruit.  Floral not hoppy with sweeter fruit and a  dry finish with lingering sourness.   The better of the two versions.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of HaveUSeenMyCellar
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

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Vrienden from Allagash Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.06 out of 5 with 146 ratings