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.