Nov 4, 2016

Allagash James Bean

I’ve had many different coffee-infused beers over the years — from your the expected and typical porters and stouts all the way to hoppy IPAs. James Bean, from Allagash Brewing, however, is the first I’ve had that uses a Belgian-style strong golden ale as its base for an addition of coffee. But wait, the brewery was content with adding cold press coffee (post fermentation). The company decided to age said beer for an undisclosed length of time in retired bourbon barrels.

The result is a beer that brings a unique array of flavors to the experience and, despite 10.4% ABV, is incredibly drinkable. Belgian yeast leads the way for smooth coffee and soft bourbon as the beer washes over the tongue. Caramel, grain and a hint of vanilla join in as a light sweetness is tempered by a gentle hop tingle before everything fades seamlessly to a chest-warming and long-lasting finish.

James Bean is a unique brew with an exciting array of flavors that worked surprisingly well together and also presented themselves in a dangerously drinkable package. This is a big beer, there’s no doubt about it, but its lightly viscous mouthfeel and easy character make for a beer that you don’t want to put down.