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:
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Ratings: 146 |  Reviews: 68
Photo of Gfunk720
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to DeCicco's for a growler. This one is definitely best at closer to room temperature, at fridge temp it really tasted bland.

A- A nice clean amber color, with a very light white head. Little bubbles cling to the side of the glass.

S- Funky grass and flowers. I get some vinegar notes and wine, with a touch of berrys.

T- This is a very interesting beer. Very smooth at first, and transitioning to a sweet malty flavor with a touch of vinegar. The lacto and dandelions are evident in the aftertaste. Nothing too sour or funky, but tasty.

M- Good for the style, and I would never guess in a million years that it was 9.3%. It has a nice complex flavor, and good aftertaste. Carbonation is pretty on point.

O- Not your typical wild ale, but tasty none the less. I really recommend drinking it at close to room temperature as possible, as cold it was just really one dimensional. Overall, not bad.


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Photo of Billolick
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the Great Lost bear in maine a week or two ago and now a growler pour from DeCiccio's in Ardsley, NY.

Pours hazed/clouded auburn amber, minor medium tan head, quick to depart, leaves just a faint film, thin collar and no lace. On the low side of the carbonation scale.

Nose faintly of sweet and ripe tropical fruits, not much else.

On the tongue is where the interest rises, tart, fruity, herbal, moderatly sour. More ripe fruits, cherry for sure coming through as well as plums. Super dry finish, with more tart and sour goodness. Complex, interesting and flavorful offering. Glad I had the chance to give this one a couple of tries.

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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 BARFLYB
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
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 woosterbill
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
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 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 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 andrewinski1
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an Allagash chalice. Nice sparkling golden color with a slightly orange hue. This yields a giant head that fizzes and leaves a good 1/8th inch layer on top of the body. There is a bit of sticky lacing.

The aroma has a lot of the distinct brett smell typical of most Allagash wilds. There is a bit of a lemon aroma with mild candy sweetness.

The taste starts out with a nice dose of spicy belgian yeast followed by a mellow orange candy sweetness. The finish is mildly tart with a good dose of grapefruit rind flavor.

The mouthfeel is solid and a little prickly. The body is light to medium.

I really like this one. The adjuncts don't stand out a lot, but perhaps they add the subtle flavors that make this one unique. These Allagash wilds have been pretty tasty thus far.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this into my Allagash chalice. This one pours a hazy straw color with a thin white head. This settles down to a thin layer of white foam with sticky lace.

This one smells nice and tart. A bit of vinnegar and acidic lemon. A bit of granny smith apple sweetness. This one is a pretty sweet. I'd say it has a sweet cherry on the pallet with a bit of a tart finish. Slightly funky.

The feel on this is good. The body is light and the carbonation is prett good. Overall a pretty good wild ale. Full of good sweet and sour funk.

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Photo of bishopdc0
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
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 Casey10
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
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 MufflnMan
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
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 jlindros
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
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 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 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 deltatauhobbit
4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
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 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 PDXHops
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler poured into a Duvel tulip. Hazy honeyish amber with a steady stream of bubbles feeding the frothy foam on top. Retention is OK, lacing a touch better.

I wouldn't say I could specifically identify elderberry, but the nose is full of tart fruitiness, not quite sour but getting close. Modestly funky.

Oddly enough, it smells more sour than it tastes. The berry presence leans more toward the sweet than the tart, enhanced by some honeyish malt. I'm not a huge fan of brett, but I think it works better in a beer with some sweetness like this than with a massively sour one. Prickly and peppery feel with vigorous carbonation and a lingering tart berry finish with a lightly funky aftertaste. Alcohol is incredibly well-hidden.

Overall impression: I strongly prefer wild ales without brett, but I'd say this is my favorite one that includes it. A couple of glasses went down easy on their own, and a third was a nice match for some Port Salut cheese.

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Photo of Brez07
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
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 John_M
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's tonight. I assume we'll start seeing more reviews of this, as it's all over town (Baltimore) right now.

The beer pours an ice tea amber color with pretty good head retention and lacing. The nose is pretty sour and funky in this one, and I'm not picking up a whole lot of the elderberry in it. However, there is something of an underlying sweet berry aroma that helps to balance the sour funk a bit (thankfully). The flavor profile generally replicates the nose, though I get a lot more of a flowery, elderberry and juniper berry flavor. Also, while the sour funk is definitely there, there's enough sweetness to counter it, aiding this beer's drinkability. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a sweet and sour, fairly long finish. Drinkability is pretty good, and frankly I was a bit shocked to see the 9.3% abv. I would have guess 6% or 7% at the most.

Nice beer. It won't supplant interlude any time soon on my list of Allagash favorites, but it's still pretty tasty.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From Allagash's e-mail: "A collaboration brew with New Belgium Brewing. Brewed with dandelions and elderberries. Fermented with Allagash Brettanomyces and New Belgium's Lactobacillus. Tart, fruity, earthy. 1500 bottles for sale at the brewery only, proceeds to benefit friends of Casco Bay (.org). Limit two (2) bottles per person. $10.00 per bottle."

On tap at the Day Session of Extreme Beer Fest 2011. At least I believe it was on tap based on what I saw, i.e. a lack of bottles. It also looks like quite a few people had Vagabond on tap.

Pour yielded a light copper to amber colored brew with a nice off-white head settling atop it after a good swirl or two. The nose was a bit of a hodge podge at this point. There was definitely a bit of acid plus a nice fruitiness and a bit of Brett funk and earthiness. The elderberries are pretty interesting and I like what they did.

The taste really brought things together a lot better. The combination of the elderberries with the funky Brett was nice, and the light acid provided a nice complement. Taste is slightly tannic, though not at all in a bad way. Feel had good carbonation for the accompanying brew with a really nice funkiness that went well with the flavors from the fruit. Good dry finish.

Overall, this was quite interesting. Not necessarily my favorite wild from Allagash, but it was certainly intriguing enough to get me to hit their table up a few times. Looking forward to hopefully getting to taste how this develops in the future.

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