Coolship Balaton | Allagash Brewing Company

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Coolship BalatonCoolship Balaton
Coolship BalatonCoolship Balaton

Brewed by:
Allagash Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: Belgian Fruit Lambic

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Coolship Balaton was made by aging our spontaneous beer with Maine grown Balaton cherries. This was our first attempt at making our Cerise. Ultimately, we decided to do a cherry blend for that beer, so it is likely that we will not make Coolship Balaton again.

User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 64
Photo of rodbeermunch
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to james to cracking this one open, always nice to have his reach up into that part of the country. Dazzling pink hue 1/3" lighter pink head. Balaton cherries might be my favorite, them and that schaerbeeksee ones seem to always kick ass. This one pops in the nose and there is a nice virgin oak presence to it as well.

The cherry popped. Allagash does well with oak, some of their more familiar beers I haven't been impressed with but everything coolship and cherry has been good. Very tart, pie juicy. The sourness was probably a 6 on the 10pt scale, but the cherry was probably a 9. Nice clean ability of the beer, doesn't get all horse blankety on you.

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Photo of rab53
2.99/5  rDev -29%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Probably held onto this one too long. Loud pop of the cork, but head is fleeting. Still appearing deep orange, almost pinkish. Smells like someone who hasn't bathed in a few days. Tart and dry with trace cherry flavor. Nearly flat on the tongue.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%

Bottled October 2010, been in my personal cellar since

Pours a cloudy orange red color, no head and appears to have very little carbonation at all, no lacing on the glass.

Smell has a nice smell of tart cherries even after all this time, very mild vinegar scent on the nose.

Taste is on the milder side of sours without a very strong acidic/vinegar kick which is nice, the cherries have a large role and add a nice fruity tartness without being sweet, a bit of a musty presence and a mild oak barrel aspect that doesn't overwhelming, carbonation is low but more than present once it hits the mouth.

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

Served in an Allagash coolship tumbler. Nose is bright cherries and some mild earth. Cherry isn’t overpowering, but is quite nice. Moderately sour and fairly dry. Was glad to get this one alongside the rest of the Coolship Series. It was especially interesting to get the two cherry beers side by side.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served along side the rest of them. This is one of the good ones although the blended red was better overall.

Beer is pink with a white head, low retention, low lacing, moderate carbonation.

Aroma is sweet, tart, oak, cherries, wood, sharp acids.

Beer is bright and fruity on the palate with a moderately tart finish, relatively dry. I'd have this again but I did like the red more than this.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared by Thorpe429 alongside several other Allagash sour/wild ales. Thank you very much, Mike!

The beer is pinkish in color with a small and fleeting white head. The nose carries cherries, wild yeast, oak. Light lactic and acetic presence. Oak and cherries all the way. Light in body and quite drinkable. Refreshing. Belgium still reigns supreme when it comes to fruit lambics, but I did enjoy this beer. A solid effort from Allagash.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle from 2010.

Pours hazy ruby with a pinkish hue and a thin head of white. A tight ring of bubbles around a placid surface with zero lacing for the duration.

Vinegar-drizzled cherries, wet hay, and a trace of barnyard droppings lead off the nose. Cut grass and a spicy undertone follow through.

Light bodied with a crisp, sharpish mouthfeel.

A light to medium amount of cherries start the palate with cider vinegar and tannic oak and fruit skins following through. On the sour side of tart with a bright acid base and certainly short of jowel-watering or throat burning.

Finishes with light cherries and quenching, drying acid.

Like the Cerise, the base beer is great. A nice balance of acidity, lacto, and funk. The cherries however are very subdued for the style, although slightly more pronounced than the Cerise.

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

Pours a pinkish color with an off-white head. Strong cherry aroma with a nice fruitiness overall. There’s a bit of berry to it and a mild spice/cinnamon quality to it. A hint of funk, mostly grass. A bit of oak in there as well. The flavor has a pleasant fruitiness and nice cherry qualities. The same mild spice notes which add a good complexity to the beer. Just a touch of water, but good otherwise. Some oak, grass, and lemon peel, too.

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Photo of axeman9182
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375 mL bottle, thanks to OsNJCB for the hookup. It was allowed to warm a bit before being poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

Allagash's Coolship Balaton pours a bright cherry red, with just a little bit of clarity to it. The beer lightens plenty around the edges of the glass, and is capped by a frothy finger or two of rose tinted foam. Head retention is brief, and lacing isn't really left behind at all. The nose displays some complex brett-based aromatics. Wet hay and earthy and musty notes all intermingle to form the majority of the aroma. A bit of acidity rounds out the picture. The flavor profile, while not as nuanced in terms of funk, still comes together beautifully. The barnyard aspect of the nose disappears here, and the brett flavors that lead off are much more earthy and musty, fading into a little bit of oak. This serves as a transition into a tart, almost vinous taste, which lingers only for a second. The finish is where the cherries finally come into play, closing out the beer nicely. A little more pop to the cherry notes would have garnered the beer a perfect score for taste. The mouthfeel is almost spot-on perfect for the style, with a nice dried out body and a fairly active carbonation. If I was nitpicking, I could say the body could stand to be even a bit lighter yet, but it's a close thing. I've been fortunate enough to get to sample most, if not all of the Coolship expressions from Allagash at various BA festivals and other special events, and my impression that Balaton was one of the best of the bunch is certainly reinforced here. A tremendous wild ale.

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Photo of mothman
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby red color. White head.

Aroma: A lot of cherries and funk. Very sour. Wet horseblanket. Acidity. Oaky. Tart jolly rancher flavors.

Taste: Sour jolly rancher fruit flavors. Tart cherry and pie crust. Very tart and acidic. Oaky. Some spices.

Mouthfeel: Tart and clean. Light bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends clean.

Overall, really easy drink. Solid kriek. Really enjoyable. Kind of reminds me of a LP Kriek. Top notch American wild ale.

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Photo of corby112
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to sideshowe for generously sharing this rare treat.

Pours a pinkish ruby/grapefruit color with a fluffy one finger pink head that quickly settles into a lasting ring. Spotty lacing left behind.

Earthy, funky aroma with lactic funk and a strong horsey/ barnyard character.  Prominent oak and dark fruit notes in the nose.   Lots of cherry, even the skin and pit.  Smells like a traditional lambic.

Medium bodied with a subtle puckering, tart mouthfeel.  Kind of tame with lactic funk and lots of earthy oak, barnyard funk and sweet fruit.  Some grapefruit with lots of sweet cherry which compliments the lactic funk and earthy oak.  Lingering acetic vinegar flavor in the finish. Really well balanced but not very intense. Sourness tapers off mid palate but resurfaces in the finish.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.94/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Greg (Reagan1984), who generously furnished me with a complete set of Coolship beers to share with the Chicago rejects. Served in a Cantillon tulip.

A - Quick-dissolving white foam settles to absolutely nothing. Lightly hazed dark pink body.

S - Intense sweet cherry aroma, with a hefty dose of sugary graham cracker pie crust, and light lemon acidity. Much more potent than the Cerise, although still a bit lacking compared to the 3F Schaerbeekse we opened next to it.

T - The taste reveals more wild character, with moderate lactic sourness, tart cherries, dry oak, and a slightly medicinal finish. Not nearly as sweet as the aroma, but still fairly potent and intense in flavor.

M - Medium body, with lower carbonation, a super dry texture, and light residual stickiness. No alcohol presence like in the Cerise.

D - A significant improvement over its Allagash counterpart, but still a ways away from its Belgian brethren. An enjoyable American made cherry sour that I'd gladly drink again if I could track it down.

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Photo of largadeer
4.41/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2 of 5 coolship beers shared by dsgolovin. Thanks, David.

Hazy, watery pink with a thin, rapidly vanishing head. Depth of color isn't great compared to real fruit lambic.

Smells really nice, very fruit dominant, tart and sweet, with vanilla and almond beneath the cherries. There's a faint plastic note that seems characteristic of the coolships.

The palate isn't quite as good as the nose, probably more of a 4.25, but it's good enough that I'm inclined to round up. The juicy and tart cherry character is dominant, largely sour with a touch of sweetness. Vanilla and almond provide a nice layer of flavor beneath the fruit. The mouthfeel is better than Coolship Red or Cerise - it feels less watery.

Impressive stuff, one of the best American takes on a kriek I've tried.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.85/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks, Alex. Part 2 of our Coolship tasting.

A - Pours a light pinkish/reddish color, white head, thin collar.

S - Cherries, sour/tart, light barnyard funk, some plastic notes in there too. It's good, but the plastic notes are a little off-putting for me.

T - Balaton cherries, sour fruit, barnyard funk, light musk. The finish is sour cherries and fruity. Not quite as fruity as say Cantillon Kriek (or LP Kriek or Schaerbeekse Kriek), but not bad. Just not blowing me away at this point.

M - Light, soft carbonation, dry finish.

O - While it was better then the Cerise, it still didn't do much for me. We were drinking Cantillon Kriek and 3F Schaerbeekse Kriek along side this, and there was no comparison. Good, not great.

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice. The color is blood orange. There is a white head that doesn't stick around long.

The aroma is is full of sweet cherry fruit. I also get a hint of cinnamon.

The taste emphasizes the fruit a lot, the yeast and bacteria influence is mellowed, with just a soft tartness in the finish.

The body is light, with a nice sharp carbonation.

This is really nicely balanced for a wild fruit beer. It's one of the better sours to emphasize the sweet fruit without being cloying.

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Photo of Bendurgin
4.39/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my coolship tumbler. This one pours a pinkish red with a quickly vanishing pink head.

The aroma is simply fresh tart cherries with notes of oak and vanilla. Nice and tart with a little bit of a sweet edge. A little bit of a musty funky flavor with a tart cherry flavor and a woody finish.

The body is light with soft carbonation. A little bit of a lingering oak finish. Overall this one is great; although it's generally expected from an Allagash sour (I realize this makes me seem like a homer).

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Photo of BearsOnAcid
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Light reddish color; dissipating head

This shit smells like fresh cantillon kriek. Spicy/cinnamon/vanilla cherries and dirty funk. Very fragrant.

Big cherry cinnamon flavor combo off the bat. Bitter funky bite. Clean finish. This is like a less sour version of cantillon kriek but more of a spiciness to it. Impressive fruited sour.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thank you a million to Gary for sending these our way...shared with Mike and Scott side-by-side with Red and Cerise.

a - looks just as red as the coolship red but the balaton has a more defined head.

s - cherries. fresh cherry juice.

t - fresh cherry with some sour funk.

m - good carbonation and a bit drying.

o - a very close second to the coolship red. i found this one growing on me the more i drank it and of the three, this is the one i would want another of to hang is really a wonderful beer.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #57 (October 2011):

Most approachable of all the current coolship offerings. There’s a lot of balance here. Very drinkable. The balaton cherries really stand out. Two-plus years of maturing with four-plus months on the local balaton cherries, this one has hit its mark already. Perhaps age can bring it closer to perfection, but right now, it’s damn tasty.

LOOK: Deep rose

SMELL: Medicinal, musty, sweet dark cherry, spice

TASTE: Mildly tart, cherry juice, oaky, dry, green apple, lemon pith, chalky, musty

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Photo of MBACoach
4.14/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Coolship Balaton bottled Oct 2010

A: Almost equivalent to a darker blush wine. Initially poured 1/2 the bottle into the glass and the liquid was crystal clear. Upon pouring the second half out, mostly cloudy. Champagne like streams of carbonation float from the bottom of the glass. A thin head appeared as it was being poured into a Corsendonk glass, then faded as quick as it came.

S: Typical funk of a wild ale. A bit more than the average on this nose. Barnyard-Horse aroma with very faint sweet fruit in the background.

T: Very nice sour flavors and very dry with a faint lingering flavor of cherry

M: A dull champagne-like carbonation, medium to light on the palate

O: Excellent job by Allagash. This one aged nicely in the bottle and was a treat to sip.

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Photo of beerbiatchMD
3.86/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

375 mL bottle into a Grand Bordeaux wine glass: bottled Oct 2010.

A: light reddish pink, like grapefruit, in color. Minimal white head, no lacing. Very unique and I like the look of this beer.

S: very different. Certainly a wild ale. Initially I get some fresh funk consistent with a sour ale, and the it immediately goes to this odd chlorinated smell (honestly, like a swimming pool). Not necessarily bad though. There is some fruit aroma as well, I suspect from the cherries.

T: definitely get sour cherry/sour apple on the palate as well as some funky fresh aroma/taste that is present amongst most wild ales. A good taste but not great or earth shattering.

M: not anything that special, minimal carbonation and not crisp or smooth feeling really. Is more like a juice in terms of mouth feel. No alcohol on the palate at all.

O: This is a very interesting beer and I'm extremely glad to have tried it. I commend Allagash sincerely for pushing this ancient way of brewing with their Coolship releases. However, I'm not totally stoked on this particular beer in terms of it's aroma and taste. I have a few in my cellar: one I will share with my Night Float team next month and the others I will probably trade. A good and interesting beer, nonetheless, and I recommend it.

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Photo of Brez07
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing from notes. 375ml bottle split between two Allagash glasses. Bottled October 2010

A:  Pours a ruby red grapefruit colored. Initially translucent but becomes cloudy with dregs.  Small amount of head goes quickly

S:  The nose draws you in with cherry pie mix. A very sharp aroma at first.  Pie crust and barnyard accompany this. Some oak notes as well

T: As the nose would indicate, full of cherry flavor.  Just the right amount of tartness. Again the oak plays a pivital secondary role, providing a nice base

M:  Medium bodied.  Seemingly perfect carbonation for the style.  Slightly dry finish

D:  Fantastic.  Cherry is used great here and the oak aging was done masterfully.  I definfitely prefer this over Cerise

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Photo of bishopdc0
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Shared a bottle that my wife picked up. She was to eager to wait so naturally I caved as well.

The beer pops with a red tipped cork. Lots of "mist" come out of the top. My bottle must have been a little to cold as it soon erupted out the top. My tasting came quicker then I expected. As the beer subsided I poured into my wife's and my glass.

The beer is opaque, red almost like a red grapefruit. A wispy head forms and dissipates in true fashion.

The aroma is well sour, cherries in the back with a big very natural earthiness. this aroma is complex, more complex then most sours I've come into contact with.

The taste ,well to be honest at first I wasn't impressed. After a minute it hit me, cherries a woody, not barrel but like a fresh tree. The flavor in the end is pleasant and lingers but on the tip of the tongue. the sour taste comes in after the carbonation subsides. Very nice.

I enjoy sours and this was certainly not a letdown. My wife put it best. This is a fun beer I love drinking it, its easy and flavorful, but alas this is not Red.

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Coolship Balaton from Allagash Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.21 out of 5 with 64 ratings