March 30, 2014

Allagash Curieux, TiarnA and Midnight Brett

Allagash Curieux - Ale aged in oak bourbon barrels (2013)
Brewed and Bottled by Allagash Brewing Co., in Portland, Maine. USA.
Year Round Brew.
25.4 fl. oz. / $16.99 USD (w/ Free Company Glass) / 11% ABV

About: "Allagash Curieux was our first foray into barrel aging. Curieux is made by aging our Tripel Ale in Jim Beam bourbon barrels for eight weeks in our cold cellars. The aged beer is then blended back with a portion of fresh Tripel. The resulting beer is soft with coconut and vanilla notes, with hints of bourbon."

Thoughts: Cork popped out like Nothin'! My second Allagash brew. I once had a 12 oz bottle of their Black. Looking at this bottle I wonder what kind of Ale this is. Is it one of their other ales that they've barrel aged? It doesn't really say on the label. It doesn't say much of anything on the label other than when, how many and how heavy.

One thing I didn't expect at all was for this beer to pour a really cloudy lime green yellow. Hold on, let me hit the lights. Curieux poured a really hazy soft yellow color with shades of orange and apricot. Carbonation is rampant and there's a huge marshmallow fluff head because of it.

The scent is really light. Especially for an 11% beer. I'm getting very soft notes of dried banana chips. Belgian yeast, vanilla and oak. It smells very crisp. It's not all too deep in character, but it smells good.

Taste is mild orange peel, citrus, yeast, soft pepper, rain, margarita salt and angel tears. Don't got much experience with Belgian Tripels, but this tastes great to me. Very peppery in the finish and those pepper flakes bounce around and pop. It's smooth and pleasurable. It's just not all that interesting. It's got a lot of thing I like such as peppery tones and spice though. It's a bit hazy feeling, but really soothing overall.

Allagash TiarnA - ale aged in oak barels (2013)
Limited Edition Brew.
12.7 fl. oz. / 14.99 USD / 7.1% ABV

About: "Tiarna is a blend of two beers, one aged in oak and fermented with 100% brettanomyces and the other fermented in stainless with a blend of two Belgian yeast strains. Both beers were brewed with a combination of 2 row and wheat malt in addition to specialty grains. It was hopped with Hallertau, Styrian Goldings and Cascade hops. The finished beer is dark golden in color with citrus, pineapple and bread in the aroma. The flavor of this tart beer has notes of grapefruit, lemon, and bread crust, and a long, dry finish."

Thoughts: Popped the cork like a willing cherry and a little smoke came pouring out. Sniffed it of course. Smells a little sour, a little fruity. Started the pour and it all came out bubbles. Stopped. It's lighter than I expected, but then again, I know nothing at all about this beer as I write these words. The whipped topping head on this thing just keeps... fucking... growing! Contents under pressure is right. The carbonation on this thing is off the fucking charts. It's like the Stuff from that old horror movie, the uh... Stuff.

TiarnA poured a very light cloudy yellow with so much carbonation that the head grew and ended up expanding out of the top of the glass and nearly fell down. It was so Stay-Puffed however that it just swayed in the wind of my table fan. Crazy shit. There must be a thousand million bubbles rising up in this beer.

Smelling it both at the head and the bottle and really the head isn't holding much of the scent back. It's bright, vibrant, fruity, and wild. This beer smells sour as fuck, dude. It took about five minutes for the head to die down near something acceptable to drink. Oh, and I poured it soft. So soft.

First gulp and it sure is wild. A little smokey, but not how you'd expect smokey to seem. It's more like stale cigarette smoke. Not terribly unpleasant though, so don't get me wrong. It's sour and pleasing to the tongue. It tastes good. It's not all that sour, which is a bit too bad... but it's got a flavorful and fun profile. The oak barrel aging is very light here. It's woody or woodsy or whatever you call it, but there's not much flavor of whatever barrel it was that's imparted in it. I don't know what these barrels were used to age, but if anything it's some sort of wine.

It's soft, fizzy, a little earthy, slightly tart, a little sweet, very low bitterness, and is overall enjoyable. Mouthfeel is a light to medium with a lot of carbonation. This tastes really good, but I wonder what justifies the price. How it was made most likely.

Allagash Midnight Brett Ale (2013)
Limited Edition Brew.
12.7 fl. oz. / 13.39 USD / 7.3% ABV

About: "Midnight Brett is chocolate brown in color, brewed with 2-Row, Midnight wheat, raw wheat and rye malt. It was hopped with a blend of Perle, Glacier and Simcoe hops. The beer was fermented with our house strain of Brettanomyces in stainless tanks. The finished beer has the aroma and flavor of fresh berries, sour cherries and a slight roasted character. The finish is pleasantly tart and fruity making this beer very drinkable."

Thoughts: I was down at the old watering hole when I saw an Allagash truck leaving the liquor store. I was headed in that direction anyhow, but consider me intrigued so I browsed the isle only to find a single bottle of this that wasn't there before. Strange that there would only be one, but I immediately grabbed it despite it being a bit expensive (but then again aren't all Allagash products?) and here we go. Oh cool, I just looked at the side of the label and this was bottled on my birthday. Nice.

Unlocked the cage and slid out the cork smooth and easy with a loud pop and a ton of smoke emerging. Midnight Brett poured somewhat true to its name with a solid dense raspberry brown, but a near black nonetheless. The frosty beige head was thick and lasted forever.

This smells pretty sour. I'm sure in for a treat aren't I? The malt profiles are bouncing all over the place. It's a funky one that's for sure, with that grimy raw wheat and rye battling it out on a pummeled floor of pale. Swirling the glass I get a hint of underlying sweetness, one of cherries, plums and figs... but once it settles that sour house yeast floods the nose. There are other odd notes in there, like cocoa, damp driftwood, and booze.

First sip and well, that's not all that sour at all. Everything was rather calm in fact. It tastes like berries, the middle is a very gentle haze with a hint of tartness, and it all rides out with a roasted nutty like quality. The wild yeast is the main flavor aside from the soft sweetness, and it hangs around long after the swallow. Nothing harsh about this one though. This is some really tame stuff. Tasty, and a little funky, but really really tame.

Mouthfeel is pretty standard for an ale, if a little light. It's clean and leaves a smooth texture in the mouth. This one is OK, but nothing great. I guess if you're into subtleties and all that you might like it a little more than I do, but I would have preferred it to be more up front and powerful.

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