Sunday, June 1, 2014

Allagash Curieux

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1104) - Albany, New York, USA - JUN 1, 2014
I split a 750ml bottle with a friend. We each poured it into tulip glasses. It was bottled on 1/24/14 (thanks to Renee for the bottle!).

Appearance: Glowing orange hue. Mostly cloudy with some visible carbonation. Pours to a large, beige, foamy head which retains and laces fairly well.

Smell: Strong bourbon and alcohol/phenolic character. Definite Belgian yeast esters as well.

Taste: I’m a big fan of Belgian-style Tripels, though I’ve never had one that was aged in bourbon barrels as is the case of Allagash Curieux. Barrel-aging can be a wonderful addition to a strong stout or barleywine, though I’m not sure it’s ideal for a Tripel. There’s a constant back-and-forth between the base brew and the bourbon character from the Jim Beam barrels. An interesting contrast between banana, clove and raw malt against an astringent, earthy character of wood and vanilla. There’s distinct crushed black pepper in the palate here, too. A consistent presence of dry, tingly spiciness. The alcohol also comprises a major flavor component which has a slightly buttery taste with strong heat and dryness on the finish. I’d probably prefer the regular Allagash Tripel to this, though Curieux is certainly interesting to say the least.

Drinkability: It probably goes without saying that a big 11% ABV Belgian-style Tripel aged in bourbon barrels is going to be a full-bodied brew in every way possible. There’s plenty of effervescence initially, though it does calm down to a soft mouthfeel with a creamy texture. It’s difficult to drink Allagash Curieux in more than a sip at a time, though a beer like this is best enjoyed via a slow, savory delivery anyway. 
Grade: 7/10

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