Allagash James Bean | Allagash Brewing Company

63 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Allagash James BeanAllagash James Bean

Brewed by:
Allagash Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.40%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
James Bean is a bourbon barrel aged, Belgian-style strong ale that is infused with cold press coffee, post fermentation. Coffee, vanilla and bourbon dominate the aroma. Flavors of caramel, coffee, bourbon, and oak present themselves throughout this full-bodied beer. The coffee used in James Bean is Speckled Ax, roasted right here in Maine. The beans used are Ethiopia Amaro Gayo and are known for their lush blackberry and blueberry fruit flavors.

Grains: Allagash 2-Row Malted Barley Blend
Hops: Tettnang and Hallertau
Spices/Other: White Cane Sugar, Cold-Brewed Coffee
Yeast: House
Original Gravity: 1.074, 18 degrees Plato

Added by jlindros on 07-09-2012

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 63 | Ratings: 511
Photo of stortore
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into tulip snifter. Bottled 5/29/16, had 11/5/16.

Pours a golden/apricot, mostly clear, with a one inch head and a good amount of foamy lacing. The smell is Belgian yeast, coffee, slight funk/straw, a little black pepper in the head. Not very aromatic, at least not as you would expect. The taste also leads with the yeast and coffee, then bourbon- stronger as it warms, light oak, a little vanilla. Smooth, creamy, a good, medium body, well carbonated.

Liked this, good flavor, iffy aroma. Well balanced. But it seemed like this could be better than it is. By a lot. High price point for what you get. Not a repeat purchase.

 651 characters

Photo of ArkyVaughan
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pour at the Modern Times Carnival of Caffeination. I love Allagash, but this one just didn't do it for me. Coffee just didn't seem to pair all that well with the base beer. As usual, well-executed, just not my favorite flavor profile.

 234 characters

Photo of BlackBeerPirate
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Taste: smooth, big barley malt, coffee, woody, rich notes. Boozy bourbon, coffee bean nose. Honey/Amber color, semi clear, with a refine head of delicate lattice of lace. Medium/Full body. Alcohol sneaks up on you.

 215 characters

Photo of kevanb
4.06/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, 2016 batch, poured into an Allagash Cervoise. Enjoyed on 12.7.16, reviewed from Tasting Journal.

The beer pours a golden amber color, lightly hazy and cloudy with lots of activity in the glass and a foamy white head, about two fingers tall with good retention and plenty of soapy lace. The aroma is quite interesting, light coffee, tons of belgian yeast, light stone fruits, faint bourbon character, strong french oak presence with light toffee and pale cereal grains. The flavors are very fun, very strong coffee, much bigger presence than the nose previewed, vanilla shines nicely, white chocolate, bittersweet with bourbon and toffee being expressed very well, very rich and decadent, stone fruits, yeast, funk, spice and cereal grains support the adjuncts and the BSPA/Tripel base beer is quite rewarding. The mouthfeel is good, medium body that is very lively and active, coats well with plenty of carbonation and a mildly dry finish, smooth and warm from the alcohol.

Verdict: A really nice barrel aged belgian beer from Allagash. I wasn't expecting the coffee to work so well here but boy does it. Nice coffee roast, vanilla bean, chocolate and bourbon with the added complexity of the base beer makes for a great dessert or sipping beer.

 1,262 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours out with a clear amber color; the head is impressive and it leaves behind some wisps of lace

Smell: Smells of graham cracker, caramel and coffee, with hints of Bourbon, vanilla and toasted coconut; even more coffee, as the beer warms

Taste: Graham cracker and caramel, up front, with coffee tones building; Bourbon tones, vanilla and toasted coconut, after the swallow, but it is the coffee that takes over and drives through the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall: Really enjoy the coffee impact here and the creativity of using it with a BSPA

 604 characters

Photo of MacMalt
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on draught in a pub. 12 oz. pour into Chimay goblet. In my opinion, it was served at too cold a temperature. It poured a coppery-orange color with a thin, milk-white head and lacing that dissipated quickly. The smell was rather subdued but featured bourbon, coffee, vanilla, oak, and Belgian spices. The taste was similar to the nose: there was a pronounced flavor of bourbon with coffee and vanilla notes, some clove, oak, and a slightly hoppy finish. This ale is quite heavily carbonated and you can feel its 10.4% ABV. Overall, I was intrigued by the idea of a BA Belgian Strong Pale Ale but I felt that all of the tastes were subdued, which was disappointing. I think part of the problem was that it was served too cold. A more moderate temperature might enhance both the smell and the taste.

 813 characters

Photo of jopezu
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a bright, hazy orangey copper with a big fluffy head that poofs. nose; cold-brewed coffee, ethanol, & very faint oak. taste; again, big overtones of coffee upfront. belgian yeast, moderate ethanol, clove-like spice, & light grassy hops. aftertaste is very light bourbony oak, & ethanol fuel. medium carbonation & mouthfeel. overall a bit boozy/hot. the coffee starts nicely, but eventually everything feels really simple and subdued by the alcohol; it then works well as neither a coffee nor a belgian ale. i would like to try this one with some age on it - it very much needs mellowing.

 601 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.24/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured on tap and served in a snifter, the beer is a bright, orange-gold coloring with a fluffy, white head. Aromas of berries, all spice, clove, nutmeg, banana, and a bready backbone. Flavors are solid and standard Belgian, with heavy bready and banana notes providing a solid backbone, supporting berry esters, a bevvy of spices, and roasted coffee at the end of the palate, with a bitter and roasted linger. Light, smooth body, with a fruitcake aftertaste. Smooth, light finish. Solid beer. Dynamic and damn tasty.

 517 characters

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy golden amber color, it is very hazy so don't expect much clarity, very little head and no lacing on the glass.

Smell is an odd mix of sweet malt and a light coffee aroma, touches of wood hit the nose as well to add some complexity to the otherwise odd mixture of aromas.

Taste is similar to the aroma with the coffee and pale malt mixture, because it's a fairly light beer the coffee aspect just seems out of place (as opposed to it's natural presence in a porter or stout), I'm just not feeling that combination, the barrel aging is also quite strong since neither of the main aspects are durable enough to keep things balanced, strong carbonation keeps the mouthfeel light but there's a lack of dryness in the finish that would be welcoming.

This is such a weird beer, being a Belgian pale with such strong barrel aging compared to the flavors with a forced coffee presence that is either too weak to blend in or not strong enough to be the focal point.

 971 characters

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into an Allagash chalice.

A: Golden-Amber color with great clarity. Fine-bubbled white head settles after a time. Wispy lacing.

S: Malts bring light toast, pie crust and sugary graham cracker. Coffee is lightly roasty and nutty with a unique blackberry aroma. The barrel adds soft traces of bourbon and nuances of oaky vanillins, caramel chews, and toasted coconut, and even some chocolate. Surprisingly restrained, but in a good way. It's perfectly balanced and all the subtleties are able to pull through.

T: Graham cracker/pie crust malt base is the backbone, though the coffee drives most of the experience. The coffee addition is nutty, lightly roasty and smokey, but overwhelmingly berry-like. Very discreet tanginess. Spocy hop bitterness drops in middle to back, but stays out of the direct spotlight. Barrel plays a supporting role, displaying subtle bourbon, barrel toast, oaky vanillins, and a faint hint of toasty coconut. These flavors build only slightly and trail into the finish.

M: Medium bodied. Round and chewy. Carbonation tingles on the tongue and makes things airy in feel and provides lift.

O: The coffee beans used here are very unique, and the Belgian strong pale ale on which it rests is a rather unconventional choice of host as well. It's a far cry from the brash imperial stouts we usually see getting the coffee and bourbon barrel treatment. That said, it all works very well. Don't sleep on this as a dessert pairing either. I once attended an Allagash beer dinner where this was served alongside blueberry cobbler, and it remains one of the more memorable pairings I've experienced to date.

 1,648 characters

Photo of avalon07
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a gold-orange color and a cloudy texture. There was an inch of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Not a whole lot of lacing, though.

S: A nice aroma of coffee, fruit, yeast, and some spices.

T: Tasted of a bit of spicy Belgian yeast, vanilla, cloves, a good amount of the advertised coffee, some light fruit (apples), citrus (orange), a hint of oak, caramel, and honey. This is an uneven flavor, with a lot of coffee in the front, but a thin finish. Not quite as complex as it aspires to be, but a solid flavor.

F: A good shot of carbonation with a dry finish. Light-bodied.

O: Definitely one of the more uneven beers I've had from Allagash. Certainly not terrible, and an interesting idea for a tripel, but it's uneven in spots.

 778 characters

Photo of Severymusic
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750 dated 5/19/16, picked up around 1/18/17, drank about a week later.

L: looks like beer. My beer fridge is on the same plywood platform as the washer and dryer In the basement. As a result there were a few yeast floaters from all the vibrations. This is my fault and definitely not par for the course. Sat in the fridge and warmed to room temp for about an hour.

S: coffee, bready yeasts, good amount of clove and spice. Occasionally oak as well (though I'm not sure I'm good at identifying oak in taste or smell). Bourbon is there but not over the top.

T: more coffee, a little spice and vanilla. I don't know of other reviews influenced my perception of this but occasionally I would get some citrus notes and one or two apple/fruit notes. No bitterness to speak of. Again, I can tell the bourbon is there but it's not the main focus.

F: light side of medium bodied, good amount of carbonation.

O: not a super complex BBA stout that blows your nips off but still a damn good beer.

Sidenote - Speckled Ax is the same coffee roaster that Banded Horn uses in Jolly Woodsman if you're familiar with that brewery.

 1,119 characters

Photo of BergBeer
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look: Hazy orange gold with a medium white head.

Nose: Bready, vanilla, bourbon, sweet malt, toffee, oak, with a very mild coffee.

Taste: Big vanilla, warm bourbon, Bready malt, light Belgian yeast, notes of baking spices, sweet muffin, and the coffee creeps up to come to dominate the finish. Like bourbon soaked muffin and a coffee!

Feel: Sticky and sweet. Medium bodied drinks velvety with a light booze warmth on the throat. Very drinkable for ABV.

Overall: One tasty brew. All of the flavors form a cohesive tasty beer that is a pleasure to drink. A great dessert beer after a great meal. Allagash really knows their flavors and how to build flavors. Nothing here is superfluous or gimmicky. It's all about adding complimentary flavor. Top notch

 758 characters

Photo of OrangeMen
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2016 vintage
~ 3 months from bottling date

Appearance- Pours a deep golden color, transparent and glistens in glass. Finger thick, white colored head, creamy and thick. Some spotty head lacing on glass, small amount of alcohol legs.

Aroma- Coffee beans, earthy and spicy, mild roasty coffee quality. Vanilla and strong oaky spice, caramel, nuttiness. Fruity esters, ripe stone fruits.

Taste- Malty, honey sweetness. Coffee beans, very fruity and sweet earthy coffee. Dry oak, spice, nuttiness, lingering sweetness of vanilla and caramel. Fruity yeast, grassy and earthy.

Feel- Full bodied, sticky and sweet, thick with a good amount of creaminess. Moderate carbonation.

Overall- Coffee is really unique, tons of fruitiness and earthy green qualites. Malt sweetness combined with vanilla, caramel, and oak really add a rich, dessert like quality. There is also a good amount of yeast qualities coming through on the finish, which adds a great amount of depth and complexity.

 979 characters

Photo of brureview
4.34/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured a cider like copper- yellow color in a Stone Snifter with a 1 F head.

Right from the start- strong coffee aroma- not burnt, roasted, or espresso. The fruit and berry come out from this Ethiopian coffee. There is also an oak presence.

Light malty MF, light carbonation.

Taste is exquisite. The coffee aroma follows to the taste. The berry is even more prominent in the taste, especially as the beer warms up. The coffee taste is not over-roasted. The Ethiopian berry comes out. This is in women in most coffee beers.

Overall, a wonderful well-balanced, not overdone coffee ale. Often, coffee aroma and taste are overdone and over roasted. Not in this beer which brings out the berry quality of the Ethiopian coffee.

Overall, excellent beer which I greatly enjoyed

A snifter is a good glass for this beer.

 820 characters

Photo of ChipChaight
4.24/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

32oz growler from Beershop NYC on the UWS
Clear amber with minimal white head, smells like fresh coffee grounds, booze, and oak, taste is sweet milky coffee with warming booze, finishes with a dry coffee bean bitterness, feel is full and finishes dry. A sweet coffee warmer of a beer.

 284 characters

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.94/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle. Pricey. Poured golden and deep in it's goldenness. Almost like honey. I will say that I was very nervous about this. I usually don't love Trippels nor am I a huge fan of light colored coffee beers. Why the hell did I buy this? Yet, this was pretty good! I was surprised how well the Trippel elements worked with the coffee. There was a load of coffee, too. Also plenty of bourbon. Those two aromas and flavors are almost a perfect matrimony. I liked this more than I was expecting to but the price tag will not have me going back.

 538 characters

Photo of Mantooth
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Interesting idea. I've had a few coffee IPAs really recently that are definitely love em or hate ems - but at least I could tell they were IPAs - with coffee. No way could I guess this beer is a Tripel. It's just boozy coffee. Not a horrible beer but I feel the praise here is unwarranted. Your mileage may differ. Cheers!

 322 characters

Photo of dsa7783
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at Cloverleaf Tavern. Count on Allagash to give you something different. This beer hardly disappoints. An interesting rendition of a unique style. A triple brewed with coffee beans. I was pleasantly surprised.

 216 characters

Photo of Claude-Irishman
4.75/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Very good. Actually delicious. Sort of expensive. I prefer this to KBS. I realize they are completely different styles. The coffee is prevalent . As well as vanilla, Oak, sort of Banana taste. Excellent.

 204 characters

Photo of AlpacaAlpaca
3.81/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pretty interesting, but its elements didn't hang together well. The base beer didn't meld with the coffee which didn't really lend itself to the barrel under these circumstances. Surprisingly drinkable, even refreshing, but it didn't deliver on its description.

 261 characters

Photo of BEERMILER12
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

"Coffee Curieux" has finally made its way into bottles. Hooray!

A: Pours a dark golden orange color with 2 fingers of head that fades down to a nice frothy head that leaves some streaky lacing

S: Coffee and Belgian yeast up front, with notes of fruity esters and some alcohol. Definitely a good mix of the two aspects

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with the Belgian yeast and coffee. Leans a bit more on the fruity esters here than in the nose. Coffee still holds its own. Some spice from both the yeast and alcohol pop up shortly after. Clove and light banana blend nicely with the coffee. The bourbon plays off of the coffee quite well, as does the oak which softens the feel a bit. Vanilla comes along with the banana and clove notes. Finishes with lingering coffee and a light bourbon undertone

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smoothed out quite a bit by the barrels

O: A very unique beer that does surprisingly well for all of the could-be clashing flavor profiles going on with the base, barrel, and coffee. This version (coffee, specifically) definitely mellows Curieux to a much smoother and easier drinking beer while keeping the kick at full throttle. Definitely still a sipper. Well worth trying, despite the price tag

 1,247 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.63/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Picked u a 750ml brown glass bottle @ Beercraft in Northern California (Rohnert Park, I think?). Branded white hood-and-gold-wire cage over a cork. Classy white label. Bottled on 05/19/16. 11129.

10.40% ABV. "Bourbon barrel aged Belgian-style golden ale." Brewed with Speckled Ax wood roasted coffee.

Reviewed live. Served cold into a highball and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. I'm really looking forward to this since I adore a lot of Allagash's brews.

After the cork pop, no liquid surges out - this seems well-carbonated.


 552 characters

Photo of tkdchampxi
4.76/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is not really a tripel. Missing all of the banana and clove that I use to define the style. More Belgian strong pale or a light Belgian IPA with coffee flavors.

Very nice beer though. Lots of great coffee flavors coming through over a lighter base. If this were a coffee IPA, it would be my favorite

 307 characters

Photo of mikeg67
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery. Pours orange with fluffy white head and nice lacing. Aroma is of bourbon, vanilla and coffee. Body is full and slightly crisp. Alcohol, caramel malt, bourbon, vanilla and coffee fill the mouth. Finish is long and peppery. Very nice brew.

 263 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Allagash James Bean from Allagash Brewing Company
4.07 out of 5 based on 511 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.