This is an excellent beer that I have had before, but have never officially rated. My father picked this one up for me yesterday, and I feel it would make a good entry for Brewmeister Monday. This is a luxury beer, since it goes for around $10.00 per beautiful 750 ml bottle. Allagash is a great brewery, and one of the few breweries I trust when drinking lighter beers, though I don’t recommend drinking light beer, ever. Here’s the stats.
Opacity: 4.3. Mmmm, nothing is quite so regular a predictor of beer quality than its opacity. This brew looks de-lish, with only faint light showing through. All my beers are drank from a completely clear glass, so as not to appear darker by the presence of some sort of label casting a shadow in the brew.
Color: Very dark brown. When held up to the light only the faintest dark brown hue is revealed. No reds whatsoever.
Head: 4.2. The head of this stout is much lighter than would be expected from such a dark beer. No ephemeral head syndrome (EHS) with this beer. The bubbles making up the head are small to medium, which usually indicates that a beer will have EHS. Smaller head bubbles tend to be correlated with head staying power. This beer is an exception–head remains present for a good duration after pouring.
Aroma: 4.3. While claiming to have hints of chocolate, coffee, and malt on the website description, I was unable to detect chocolate. Only essence of coffee and strong malt graced my nostrils. I did not have to strain to smell the beer; it is a quite aromatic beer.
Flavor: 4.3. This most immediate flavor of this beer is coffee, which is impressive, since coffee seems to rarely make it past the olfactory stage and remain present on the taste buds. The chocolate, which seemed to be absent in the aroma (it could be masked by the coffee) is surely present in the flavor. Chocolate stouts are among my favorite, and this beer does not fail to impress. A truly complex flavor, yet each flavor is distinct and do not seem to mix. Rather, the taste is a progression from coffee to chocolate, with a malty aftertaste. Very pleasant.
Mouthfeel: 4.4. Nearly perfectly carbonated. Low carbonation is generally good in darker beers, and this beer is only lightly carbonated. This light carbonation leads to a silky smooth mouthfeel. You do not get the sensation that bubbles are forming all over your tongue, which is common in most lighter and more carbonated beers.
Finish: 4.3. There is a very malty finish. A good finish is a strong telling of a decent stout. Some stouts have a bitter aftertaste which can sometimes linger. A truly good stout either limits the duration of the aftertaste, or maintains a lingering pleasant malt flavor which can invade your nose as it tapers off. I like the latter the most. This beer is a good example of a lingering aroma/flavor with a nice taper. Only slight bitterness is present after a few seconds, but it is negligible.
Overall: 4.3. A truly good beer. Not my all-time favorite, but very pleasant indeed. It combines many of the aspects of a great stout, but could improve on the head, mouthfeel, and finish. Though it received good marks in each of those categories, keep in mind that no mark was over 90%. I find it very difficult to rate beers in the 90% or A range, mainly because I am using my truly favorite stouts as a yardstick when rating other stouts. I hope to one day dethrone my current all-time favorite brew, Steelhead Extra Stout from the Mad River Brewing Company. I don’t think it very likely in the foreseeable future.
Pick up some Allagash black belgian style stout, it’s well worth the price for this complex and sensually entertaining beer.