I’ve learned through experience to buy any new Allagash beers, sight unseen. The company has just been on a such a solid run of releasing extraordinary beers that I don’t need to do any research before I plan on picking up a bottle or two. Émile, their latest barrel-aged wild ale, is a prime example of why I’m not hesitant to purchase any of their products.
This 7.2% ABV brew is crafted with a malt bill that includes local (to the brewery) oats and wheat. It’s then hopped with Northern Brewer hops before heading into a foudre (that formally held French apertif Pineau des Charentes) with Pediococcus and Lactobacillus. The result is a beer that packs plenty of sour tartness, vinous notes, figs, soft roast, old wood and smooth funkiness. All of that comes together evenly in the light bodied and crisp Émile.
Having never had the previous red wine that the foudre housed, I can’t really say how it influenced the wild ale the brewery released. I can, however, say that Émile is an outstanding beer and continues Allagash’s run of world class products. It also reassures me going forward that I can still purchase any of their products without hesitation.
Émile pours a rusty brown in color with decent clarify. A dense cap fo beige foam falls smoothly to a thing ring and light surface cover.