Jul 24, 2012

Allagash Old HLT

This is the second of two bottles that my in-laws brought back as a birthday gift to me from their recent trip to Maine. The first bottle I opened up was the collaborative Prince Tuesday, a hoppy Belgian IPA. This second beer however is something much different.

Old HLT (Hot Liquor Tank) is a wild ale that’s been aged for two years in a decommissioned steel hot liquor tank along with an undisclosed amount of cherries. That’s a good long while for a beer to absorb all it can from the fruit. I believe the beer was only brewed once — mine had a November 2011 bottling date on it.

The end result of those two years is a beer that has a well rounded sour tartness and an earthy cherry character. It’s not fruit-juicy like some recent beers of a similar style that I’ve had over the past several months. It’s got a great fruit profile without that overly cloying sweetness.


OLD HLT pours with no head and is a brilliant reddish orange in color.


Just as you might expect, it’s got plenty of cherries in the nose, but also has a solid helping of sour tartness and a light funk.


This brew smells much more tart than it actually is. Of, it certainly packs a decent bit of tartness, but it’s not as sharp or tongue grabbing as some sours I’ve had. There’s a nice level of funk to go along with a very natural and earthy cherry character. The alcohol (8% ABV) is well masked and never really does more than leave a lingering warmth in the chest. Old HTL has a fairly active carbonation and a medium body.


I really liked this beer. It’s probably in the top five as far as American crafted wild ales is concerned. Excellent balance of funk, tartness and the cherries. It’s a deceptively drinkable beer despite it’s sour character. My only question for this bere is in regard to the bullet holes on the label. There’s got to be a story there.


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