A stout as smooth as silk
A Review of Allagash Black by Allagash Brewing Co.
Posted on 7/8/2011 by Brew's Your Daddy
There comes a time in every beer lovers life when your concept of a certain style must be completely torn to pieces and rebuilt because a certain beer crosses your path. We all have grown to understand certain ''rules'' when it comes to feel, and smell, and taste pertaining to specific styles. Without fail, most all stouts are aggressive and bold. It's just how things are in the stout world these days. Big, huge, dominating flavors are expected, and more often than not, delivered. But occasionally, you come across one that can be the exact opposite as far as characteristics go, but just as enjoyable, if not more so. A fine example of this ''rule bending'' is the Allagash Black.

This beer is billed as a Belgian style stout, so right off one should understand that this isn't your normal run of the mill stout. When you pour it, you immediately notice that it has a very thin appearance. It still has an almost black coloration that you expect in a stout, but there's no thickness to it at all. Against the light, the edges take on a deep, ruby red hue that is very attractive to the eye. There is little to no head, even on an aggressive pour. Everything about the aromas in this beer screams, or better yet, whispers ''delicate''. There are very distinct, but faint, waves of chocolate, burnt sugars, and coffee. These are all very typical for any stout, but once you get past them you can find even deeper layers of dark fruits, and even pick out the sweetness of the Belgian yeast that was used.

If you weren't already a bit confused by the aromas, the first taste will definitely make sure you are. Though the coffee and chocolate flavors are there, the first taste that you actually pick up on is the dark fruit. It can most closely be associated with plums or figs. It doesn't so much give way to the coffee and chocolate flavors, as much as it slowly blends into them. This is most likely due to the yeast that was used, and its sweet attributes. The chocolate flavor tends to take over in the middle, and step aside on the back end to lightly roasted coffee with just a faint bitter bite. Then at the very end, you are again brought back to an overall sweetness of the yeast that leaves you with a very pleasant aftertaste of all the initial flavors. Chocolate, fruit, and coffee. All at the same time, but all separate. See? I told you that you would be confused. Trust me though. It's a good thing.

The mouthfeel is just as the appearance. It's very light and thin, and surprisingly smooth. Not at all what we have been taught to expect in a stout. There is very little carbonation, and it finishes with only a mildly sticky feel that is somewhat dry at the same time. The alcohol is completely hidden in this one, so I would highly suggest that you take your time here. This beer is highly drinkable, and it could easily become dangerous. Don't say you haven't been warned.

I really feel as though this is a great offering from Allagash. It's an amazingly enjoyable brew. Due to it's lack of weight and aggression, I would easily recommend it to all levels of beer drinkers. It gives the novices a chance to step away from the normal stouts and see what a different interpretation on them can be, without completely wrecking their understanding of the style. And the experts can really have a blast with this one as well. It's a great study in balance, layering, and interpretation, while at the same time being a very easy drinker for the more advanced palate. Take my word for it and grab a couple of bottles of Black if you see them. Trust me, this one is now a no brainer. Buy. Drink. Repeat. Over. And over. You're welcome.

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Allagash Black by Allagash Brewing Co.
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