Brew Review: Allagash Curieux
From Allagash: “In October of 2004, we released the first beer in our series of Barrel Aged beers, Allagash Curieux. To make the Curieux (French for “curious”), we age our Tripel Ale in Jim Beam barrels for 8 weeks in our cellar. During the aging process in bourbon barrels, the beer is totally transformed, and many new flavors and aromas develop. Most notably, the beer picks up soft coconut and vanilla characteristics…and also a hint of bourbon flavor!”
The Curieux pours with a light amber hue with brilliant clarity crowned by a healthy white frothy head with decent retention. Head subsides leaving a very nice rich ring of lacing behind with excellent retention. Body remains a light amber with almost no activity. A secondary pour reveals a hazy body from the sediment remaining in the bottle.
The aroma immediately gives a swift hit of doughy lemony yeast that caught our attention. Beyond the dough, a light woody oak aroma started to take over. Following that, the alcohol quickly became dominant creating a slight burn to the nose. The aroma was inviting, but not over-powering.
The initial taste has a mellow sweetness that resonates with subtle vanilla. The alcohol presence of a tripel has been stripped away by the barrel-aging, leaving a very smooth finish in its place. There is a slight bit of bitterness at the end, almost sour.
The Curieux drinks very smoothly leaving an oily film on our mouths. It was so smooth and well-balanced. We knew that there was alcohol (from the bourbon-barrel presence), but it was well masked with the malt-rich body. After it settled, a drying but sticky wood-like presence was left on our tongues.
Overall, this was a very delicious beer. The bourbon presence is noticeable but not overwhelming. The smoothness and drinkability makes this beer very scary – because it will sneak up on you. If you are expecting a fruity, banana-esque Belgian triple, then you might be sad, but take a moment and appreciate the smooth, sweet Curieux.