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
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