A few quick thoughts on the Allagash Curieux Bourbon barrel-age tripel.
Allagash was found in 1995 by Rob Tod in Portland, Maine with the goal of producing traditional, Belgian-style ales. One of the earmarks of the brewery is their commitment to sustainability which includes decking out the brewery with solar panels, sourcing their materials locally and fanatical reusing of waste materials. In 2015, Allagash touted that they were able to divert 99.75% of their waste away from the landfill.
In 2004, the Curieux was the brewery’s first foray into barrel-aging brews (a phenomena that has now entered the wine industry). The beer spends seven weeks aging in Jim Beam bourbon barrels before being blended with some fresh, unaged Tripel before bottling.
Shy nose. Little straw but not very malt-driven with no overt Bourbon notes. There is slight citrus, but it is hard to pull out.
The lightness carries through to the palate and while there are some vanilla and spice with a little cereal malt, overall this taste far more like a lager than a tripel. It has some sweetness but it reasonably balanced.
I was very surprised at how light it is for something with 11% ABV–much less something that is barrel aged. Coupled with the shy and faint aromatics, it’s not a beer that beckons my heart like other Belgian tripels such as Tripel Karmeliet, Westmalle or even Chimay Cinq Cents.
If I was at a bar that had it on draft, I would get a glass. I can see its light, lager-like character working well with certain pub fare. But at around $20-23 for a 750 ml, it’s not a beer I’d feel compelled to buy.