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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 68 | Ratings: 146
Photo of wisrarebeer
2.56/5  rDev -35.4%
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 rudzud
3.96/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the Armsby Abbey.

A - Poured into an Allagash tulip a clear dark golden copper hue with a nice creamy one finger dense head that left sticky lacing down the glass.

S - Aromas of light barrel and vinegar. That's kinda it.

T - Taste brings out nice barrel, good vinegar and light vanilla. Tart fruit skins, lightly sweet and floral.

M - Mouthfeel is super good for a higher ABV, incredibly drinkable and lightly carbonated.

O - Overall this was a tasty brew from Allagash super sessionable. The nose is a bit lacking but other that that this is a nice offering.

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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 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 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 BearsOnAcid
3.36/5  rDev -15.2%
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 Tucquan
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2011-12-03 in Paoli, PA at TJ's (from tasting notes)

A - Mostly-clear amber with no head.

S - Candied orange, tea leaves and mint. Smells very nice.

T - Lots of wild yeast, funk, elderberry citrus, leafy, straw, dry.

M - Medium body and carbonation. Mildly syrupy.

O - Nice but there are other sours I like a lot more.

Notes: Made with dandelion leaves and elderberries.

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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 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 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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Photo of MacQ32
3.92/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured aggressively, super clear copper decent half finger of off white head, dissipates pretty quickly, little to no lacing. Looks like a light 9.3%

S - Smells kind of bready and sweet with caramel up front, not at all what I was expecting. Tart fruity/funkiness and acidity come into play. Brett, apricot and lemon.

T - Some mild fruity tartness, caramel and slight hint of earthy hops as it sits on my pallet. Once swallowed the tart fruity qualities and Brett take over. Little dry at the finish, really digging the aftertaste

M - Pretty light bodied, kind of lacking in carbonation but fits the body appropriately.

O - Drinkable & refreshing wild ale. Alcohol undetectable, pretty tasty for sure, a nice tolerable amount of funk (not a huge wild ale guy). If I was going to drink a funk brew I'd definitely come back to this.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.79/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap poured into a wine glass.

Pours a clear orange red color with a small white head along with some thin lacing. Nose is fairly tame and mellow, wish I could say more.

Taste is very well balanced. Not too sour but it is tart and fruity. With rich carbonation and a crisp finish that's got an odd vegital flavor.

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Photo of DearthVader
3.49/5  rDev -11.9%
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 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 womencantsail
3.53/5  rDev -10.9%
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 -10.1%
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 nickd717
3.82/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Gourmet Haus Staudt, surprisingly. I thought this beer was pretty rare.

Hazy golden in color with a small white head.

Mildly tart Belgian aroma, somewhat acetic, with stone fruits, floral notes, and brett.

Bretty and somewhat tart flavor with Belgian yeast, light fruits, lemon/citrus, flowers, and mild funk.

Medium body with average carbonation.

A solid beer - is this supposed to be sour? Either way I like it.

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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 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 tigg924
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Rose Alley, New Bedford

Appearance: low carbonation, minimal head, reddish brown in color, clear

Smell: sour cherries and funck

Taste: sour mix—the first sip is rather puckering, cherries, berries, and oak all combine in here.

Mouthfeel: sour and puckering with some bitterness to the end. low carbonation, light body

Overall: A sipper in every sense of the word. My first sip was about as sour as I have had in a beer—certainly the most sour beer from the States I have had. Glad I got to try this as the flavors no meld well for me. Worth a try if you like sour beers. However, this is most likely a one and done for me.

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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 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 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 jsanford
3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
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 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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Allagash Vrienden from Allagash Brewing Company
3.96 out of 5 based on 146 ratings.
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