Coolship Balaton
Allagash Brewing Company

Coolship BalatonCoolship Balaton
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Lambic - Fruit
Ranked #49
Ranked #3,254
4.23 | pDev: 8.51%
Allagash Brewing Company
Maine, United States
Coolship BalatonCoolship Balaton
Notes: 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.
Reviews: 29 | Ratings: 80 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Cashbail
Cashbail from New Hampshire

4.95/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled January 3, 2019.

Pours a bright cherry red. Almost the exact color of a cherry Tootsie Pop. Fizzy pink head while pouring but then dissipating to nothing.

Strong cherry pie filling nose with some funky follow up. Cherries are my favorite fruit and it is difficult to find anything cherry that doesn’t taste like cough syrup.

The cherry flavor from this is incredible. Bright and fresh with a hint of lemon and the ever present Allagash barnyard funk.

Maybe my favorite Allagash Coolship so far.

Apr 03, 2021
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Sheppard from Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby or garnet hue, the white head quickly dissipates. Musty basement and sour cherries line the nose. It's quite sour in the lemon juice, citric acid kind of way up front that gives way to grounding cherries notes that bring balance and peace of mind to this spontaneously fermented beer. There's some earthiness in this as well. The acidity is somewhat restrained too.

I generally find that Allagash's coolship program tends to err a little too cheesy parmesan in an unpleasant way (I really need to update my Resurgam review), but the fruit treatment grounds what I expect normally in these beers in a positive way. What should we be comparing "American lambic" to? Should it be other fruited sours? Other fruited Amlam? To the king - fruited lambic.

This is listed as fruited lambic and I think it falls short of the goat kriek for me - Drie Fonteinen. But it's pretty damn good.

Feb 14, 2021
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Roy_Hobbs from Connecticut

4.44/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 1/3/19. Pours a very attractive, fairly translucent medium red. Fizzy head that quickly dissipates leaving behind no lacing (nor was any expected). Smell is fantastic, with more than just hints of the cherries and tartness that I expect I'm about to experience. Taste is lightly tart and funky with the cherry showing up even more in the aftertaste than the initial taste. Low to medium carbonation, which seems about right. Overall, if you are a fan of spontaneously fermented beers, you could do much worse than this one. I'm really enjoying it.

Apr 23, 2020
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snaotheus from Washington

3.9/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served in a weird little glass at my air B&B. Dated 3 Jan 2019.

Pours a pinkish red with no head and not a lot of carbonation. Smell is nice, tart cherry.

Taste is more cherry and a little off sour flavor. Not sure how to describe it. It's not bad, but it's a little odd.

Mouthfeel is light and dry. Overall, it's pretty good.

Aug 28, 2019
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cbutova from Massachusetts

4.31/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

01/03/2019 bottle.

A- Pours with a wonderful ruby red body that is mostly clear to the Allagash signature goblet. The cleaner glasses have a foamy one finger head that dies down to a tiny ring fairly fast. Spotty lacing, seems like the fruit may have cut into this head a lot in this case.

S- Balaton cherries. Literally tart cherries absolutely dominate the aroma with a ton of great earthy pit character, fresh cherry juice and bitter skin aromas. Cherries dominate a bit too much as the Coolship bugs are definitely overshadowed here. Hints of wine and lactic acid.

T- The cherries are still again the driving force of the beer and the Balaton character is just magnificently strong and flavorful in this beer. It is a bit of a shame because Coolship Resurgam is a truly complex, sour brew and the cherries here are just so dominant. Juicy, slightly sweet and tart cherries, tons of awesome flesh flavors, a bit of bitter skin and pit and then the funky bacteria and yeast do their best to shine in the backdrop. Balaton bomb. Medium level of sourness and hints of vinous oak tannins and grapes.

MF- Light-medium bodied with a foamy and silky texture. Moderately high level of carbonation and a sour, bitter pit feeling lingers in the finish.

Balaton Bruiser Brigade. The cherries dominate your tastebuds, nose and pretty much the rest of the base beer beyond some funk, sourness and vinous notes. Hard to complain about an amazing fruit flavor like this but some more balance would go a long way.

Aug 15, 2019
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.51/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a mostly clear light reddish color, with a small head, and not much lacing.

This smells like cherry skin and cherry pit, red wine, lemon rind, and a deep prickly funk.

This is really excellent stuff. The cherry is slightly sweet but mostly pure and funky spicy cherry, with funky overripe lemon, walnut, oak, wine, and must.

This is light bodied, clean, and crisp on the end.

This was excellent, and basically on par with Coolship Red.

Aug 11, 2019
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

Mar 11, 2018
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rab53 from Washington

2.99/5  rDev -29.3%
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.

Jun 09, 2015
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deltatauhobbit from Maine

4.1/5  rDev -3.1%

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.

Aug 15, 2014
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Thorpe429 from Illinois

4/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

Dec 16, 2012
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drabmuh from Maryland

4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Dec 05, 2012
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

Nov 15, 2012
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brewandbbq from New Hampshire

4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

Oct 04, 2012
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brokensail from California

4/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

Jul 16, 2012
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axeman9182 from New Jersey

4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Jun 17, 2012
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mothman from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

May 04, 2012
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corby112 from Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

May 03, 2012
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MasterSki from Canada (ON)

3.94/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

Apr 06, 2012
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largadeer from California

4.41/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Apr 06, 2012
Photo of Sean9689
Sean9689 from Illinois

3.85/5  rDev -9%
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.

Mar 27, 2012
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andrewinski1 from New Hampshire

3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Mar 26, 2012
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Bendurgin from Maine

4.39/5  rDev +3.8%
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).

Mar 08, 2012
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BearsOnAcid from Washington

4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

Mar 02, 2012
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cosmicevan from New York

4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Feb 11, 2012
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BeerAdvocate from Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
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

Feb 10, 2012
Coolship Balaton from Allagash Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 80 ratings