Beer: Allagash Black
Brewery: Allagash Brewing Company
Style: Belgian-style Stout
Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pint glass
Primary Consumer: Ally
Consumption Companion: a friend who wishes to go simply by the moniker Mr. X
Sight: Just a bit deeper than a glass of root beer…not wholly opaque…really, just not as black as one would expect the Allagash Black to be. Lots of soda-y carbonation bubbles, and a thick, creamy, mocha head that recedes pretty quickly. (As Mr. X remarked, it’s a show-er, not a grow-er.)
Scent: Malts and molasses, with hints of chocolate and vanilla. It also strangely reminded me more of what a lager would smell like. (More strangely, Mr. X remarked that it smells “like a brick street.” I have no idea what that means.)
Flavor: In general, like bad espresso or strong coffee + seltzer. Notes of mild bitter baking chocolate at first, with a general bitter endnote. Reminiscent of cream soda, minus the pleasant creaminess.
Feel: Medium-to-high carbonation. On the thin side, with a crisp, dry finish.
Upon drinking this Allagash offering, both Mr. X and I questioned, what’s so Belgian about the Allagash Black Belgian-Style Stout? Yes, it’s brewed using dark caramelized candi sugar (candi sugar being a staple of Belgian beers), but the flavor reminded me of some of the lower quality Porters sampled back in January–the key defining feature being the flavor of seltzer. This soda-y carbonation overpowers any real enjoyment of the beer’s flavors; and unfortunately, as it rested, the only real flavor that came through was the bitterness.
Allagash does suggest that the beer reaches its ideal form after one year, but unfortunately, we couldn’t wait that long, and our lack of patience was clearly not rewarded.
Concluding remarks: Disappointing. I swear I’m not a racist…but I’ll stick with the Allagash White.