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 smakawhat
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
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 -6.6%
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 +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 MasterSki
3.61/5  rDev -8.8%
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 -2.8%
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 +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 John_M
4/5  rDev +1%
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 -0.8%
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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Allagash Vrienden from Allagash Brewing Company
3.96 out of 5 based on 146 ratings.
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