Sunday, March 24, 2013

Allagash Black

3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (834) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 24, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a chalice. There was no discernible freshness date.

Appearance: Dark brown/black opaque body. Forms a small, eggshell, soapy head which mostly dissipates and leaves little lacing on the glass.

Smell: Classic stout aroma plus a classic Belgian yeast aroma. Strange but interesting.

Taste: I should disclaim this review by mentioning that I have had this beer before on tap and it was pretty amazing. I’d never seen it in bottles until recently, so I grabbed one when I had the chance. I have to say I’m pretty disappointed by the difference between the tap and bottle versions. Even though it’s been a while between decantation, the memory of that beer being amazing stayed fresh. Allagash Black in the bottle isn’t so much a good or bad beer as it is weird. The authentic Belgian yeast strain really makes itself known, but so does the classic strong stout base and the two conflict.

The palate begins rather mild with a general stout flavor. Light chocolate and coffee notes are noticeable, though they amplify greatly at the apex. There’s a strong dry bitterness of burnt coffee, dark chocolate and Belgian yeast spiciness. As it finishes the Belgian yeast becomes much more prominent, imparting slight banana and potpourri flavors, but there’s still noticeable chocolate and coffee as well. When all these notes collide they create for a strange, almost fish-like taste, leaving an aftertaste of coffee. Though at no point is this palate repulsive, it’s just an eyebrow-raiser.

Drinkability: Belgian beers are known for being zesty and effervescent, and while that’s true of Allagash Black, it’s still a remarkably drinker-friendly palate. A mouthfeel that’s on the thinner side with no alcohol presence at all. The aftertaste is slightly dry and bitter, but is akin to coffee so it’s easily tolerable. The 7.5% ABV seems right on point, if not a tad high, but I doubt many drinkers will find it challenging to drink in large quantities. 
Grade: 6/10