James Bean | Allagash Brewing Company

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James BeanJames Bean
572 Ratings
James BeanJames 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 572 |  Reviews: 79
Photo of George2744
4.39/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Greywulfken
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One day after having Swiftwater's Kaffe Cafe Koffie tripel, a coffee-infused Belgian-style tripel...

Medium-dark gold body just shy of clear, few fingers of ivory head trailed lace down the glass... Represents the bourbon barrel aging and coffee infusion right off the bat, with coffee, whiskey, and wood notes on the nose and palate... Softer fruit impressions are of murky orchard and stone fruits, pale, fleshy, and sweet, with some brighter points of berry... Sinews of vanilla wind through as do the coffee flavors - reminded me a bit of Dannon coffee yogurt's flavor, aided by the smooth feel... Medium weight, low bitterness, moderate sweetness, moderate carbonation... Uses "Speckled Ax" coffee, featuring Ethiopia Amaro Gayo beans...

Similar to the coffee tripel yesterday, but with the bourbon adding that bourbon barrel element to the mix - can't say it necessarily made this a better beer than Swiftwater's non-BBA tripel (with a lower 7.9% abv), but it was certainly equally enjoyable... As with the Swiftwater, if you like pale ales with coffee, and here, bourbon barrel aging, its sure to be something you'll really dig...

 1,139 characters

Photo of ajm5108
4.29/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Interesting beer - obviously there is a big coffee element but so used to getting that in a stout it was refreshing to have those flavors here in a golden style / quasi tripel - lots of vanilla, burnt toffee, treacle, warm nut, cold pressed coffee. Decadent but delicious

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Photo of Velivolus
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of markjknowles
4.54/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 bottle poured into my "good for just about everything" Garre glass. Thin white head of foam rests on top of an amber haze. Not quite opaque. I pored this cold from the fridge and needed to let it warm a bit. Cold, everything well balanced but muted. When it warmed, that balance stayed but all the flavors really amplified. Coffee and bourbon and Belgian yeast blonde ale popped the ale dominated, beautifully accented by the coffee and bourbon. Honestly, this is a brewery in masterful control of both the ingredients and the process. I way West in the opposite Portland hoping more Allagash comes my way.

 610 characters

Photo of Howlader
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of wshinevar
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of bshu
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Dewsby
3.73/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L) Pours a lovely dark amber with a creamy white head.

S) Smell is very boozy and grainy. The maltiness is lovely, and there is a lot of vanilla, but be ready for the intense booziness and farmhouse nature on the nose.

T) The flavor profile is similar. Definitely more bourbon than coffee. The cold press is much more evident on the end, where the pleasant roastiness mingles with the hoppiness at play.

F) This brew has a lovely creamy mouthfeel with a medium carbonation. Works very well with the flavors at play.

O) A good brew for the overlap in coffee, farmhouse, and barrel-aged lovers. Definitely not going to impress everyone, but a very solid (and boozy) bourbon barrel ale.

 687 characters

Photo of NickThePyro
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of BigAggie89
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Clear gold color. Good head and lacing. A little alcohol warming but not much and well balanced with malt. Medium mouthfeel. Pretty good beer.

146 characters

Photo of SomethingClever
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle corked and caged poured into an IPA glass

a: Big white fluffy head creamy looking settles slowly. Body is crystal clear light amber burnished gold in color.

S: Lots of roasted coffee underlying currents of banana clove honey.

T: Almost no coffee in the flavor, Light bits of banana and clove the flavors are really dialed back.

M: Nice lively carbonation, Medium feel.

O: This beer was jae dropping on tap, the coffee popped and the beer melded together perfectly. In bottles it's just ok, no cofffee in the flavor And it's just ok otherwise.

 560 characters

Photo of BabaBeer
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Skillet
4.26/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Kevinpitts
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of LeRose
4.16/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark gold, big bubbles in a thin head of white. Smells like excellent cold brewed coffee, a little caramel or toffee, a little woody and a little bourbon with vanilla. Very faintly floral.

The taste follows along nicely...no surprises here, ABV well disguised. The difference from Curieux is that the bourbon is in the backseat here and contributes without dominating. Nice level of vanilla sweet to mellow the coffee just a bit. Underneath it all is a little fruity apple and a sweet breadiness.

Surprisingly light and very (dangerously) drinkable. It feels overall lighter than the parent Curieux. This is another keeper from Allagash..

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Photo of SBlobaum
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Jps715
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Corson
4.41/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of festizio
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Lelampp
3.93/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of lochef81
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ManapuaMan
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Surprisingly light on the palate, crisp and clean. ABV nowhere to be found on this beauty. It drinks like a single-digit-ABV cold brew coffee pale ale.

Tan/gold pour with a sparkling effervescence. Lively body with a moderate head.

Aroma is cold brew coffee, pale malts, light toffee, faint esters and a hint of wood. Coffee, flowers and trees.

Taste is cold brew, muted floral hops, faint oak, caramel. Bourbon doesn't come to the fore in aroma or taste but the sweeter elements of the barrel - vanilla, toffee, caramel - are there in broad strokes.

Surprisingly easy drinking and refreshing. Figured this might've been best served as a nighttime warmer but I could see it hitting the spot on a warm evening. That ABV, though - it's a big one.

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Photo of wmartin
3.59/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Noticed that it was a somewhat clear liquid by holding the bottle up against light. This surprised me as it is supposedly a coffee beer, which I expect to be dark. Did they put the wrong beer in the bottle? No, but this is a BA ale with a little coffee added to add some flavor. The color, as has been noted, as a dirty orange color, which makes some sense as an ale with a little coffee added. Still, surprised by the light color, considering this was also barrel-aged. However, the taste was good, if not profound. Clearly an ale with Belgian yeast flavor. Nice flavors from the barrel aging, and a nice coffee overtone to the whole thing. Very enjoyable. Would have again if I happened upon it, but won't seek it out.

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James Bean from Allagash Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.11 out of 5 with 572 ratings