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 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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Photo of Reagan1984
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

icked this up the day of the release in Maine.

A light bright amber color with a thin wispy head that quixkly fades to a thing ring of foam around the edge of the glass. A touch of sudsy lace clings

Aroma is very herbal and fresh. Smells like you are in a garden. While I would say there is some fruit/berry aroma, I couldn't pick the smell of Elderberries out of a line-up if my life depending on it.

Herbal, grassy, the slightest tart finish. Some light fruit just below the surface. Perhaps a bit of that Sweettart flavor. Getting some oak in the finish. If you hold it in your mouth some menthol comes out. Pretty complex, I like it.

Fizzy effervesent carbonation. Pretty delicate mouth feel. Light and refreshing.

I actually like this quite a bit. Tendermorsel commented that the bottle version was even better than the draft. I have to agree.

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Photo of corby112
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
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 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 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 mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

big thanks for the nice growler of this one, great to be able to try this one!

. A light pink in color with a huge head of white that came up over the top to a height of around an inch before dropping back down to earth with little in the way of lacing. Aroma was wonderful though. Nice touches of raspberries, hints of light cherry and a touch of sour apples as well. Really quite nice, and very light and refreshing. Smooth and light flavor here as well. Not especially sour, but people need to realize a wild ale does not need to be sour. Anyway. Cherries and Raspberries dominate here, light touches of grape skin, apples and a smooth, and light sugary note to it as well.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazed orange amber color, cap of off-white head, minimal retention and lacing. Scent is quite fruity - strawberry and blueberry (no idea what an elderberry smells like) with moderate musty wood and funk. Taste follows scent, musty wood, berries, lightly tart with some candied sugar sweetness. Medum bodied, quite hefty, no lingering notes. An average wild ale that could have benefitied from some more tartness to stand up to its relatively hefty body.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.57/5  rDev -9.8%
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 illidurit
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at burger. in Santa Cruz. Pours a hazy tangerine flesh color with a sticky light-tan head that leaves fine Belgian lacing. Served a bit too cold and so the aroma is somewhat subdued. Upon a bit of warming the nose gets some almost tripel-like qualities, with apple flesh and mild phenolics. I have no idea what elderberries smell or taste like but I have to assume some of the fruity sweetness is the result of it. Flavor is part tripel and part wild saison. Tart but not even close to sour. Plenty of hay, apple and pear, with a dry phenolic finish. Not very much berry on the palate, maybe just a hint of it midpalate. Tiny bit of vegetal influence from the dandelion, with a slight astringency. Underneath it all is a basic pale malt note. Not really what you'd expect from a 'wild ale' but this is a good beer.

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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 metter98
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy amber/orange in color. It poured with a thin white head that died down and left some lacing on the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are moderate aromas of elderberries and sourness in the nose.
T: The overall taste has a light to moderate amount of sourness along with some notes of elderberry flavors. The taste improves and becomes more complex as the beer warms up.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate with a light to moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is easy to drink compared to others in the style because the sour flavors are only light to moderately strong and do not overpower the taste.

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