Allagash Coolship Red (Allagash Brewing Company)

Style: American Maine Framboise

5.7% ABV

A is spontaneous beer aged with raspberries

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Brewer’s Note: “In the summer of 2008, we decided to build a coolship at our brewery. A coolship is a large shallow pan used to cool wort overnight using outside air temperature. During the cooling process, naturally occurring yeast from the air inoculates the wort. In the morning, the cooled wort is transferred into barrels where the fermentation process begins. The beer is then aged for an undetermined amount of time, until we deem it “ready”./ We started selling these beers from our retail store, here at the brewery, in 2011. These beers are being released gradually, in very small amounts, unannounced. Our hope is that this will give a wider variety of our visitors the opportunity to try them.”

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The beer’s label is supremely simplistic and beautiful.  I love the texture of the paper they used, and I love the “typewriter-like” font that they used for everything.  The slightly off-center lettering and large amount of empty space make this bottle further pleasing to the eyes.  This label is definitely worthy of your shelf or for labeling, its only flaw is that it is a smaller bottle, so the ugly text on the side of the bottle does show a little bit and cause some slight clutter on the sides.

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The beer pours a pale pink color and is full of fizzy bubbles that form a light head of soda-like large bubbles that fizzle away quickly.  It looks very carbonated with tons of little soda bubbles that slowly fade away.  The beer sits in the glass somewhere between deep pink and ruby red with a hazy body that is a bit dark and impenetrable to the eye.  As it settles, the beer starts to look a lot like ruby red grapefruit juice.  On the nose, the beer smells of deep funk and cherry fruit leather with a touch of fresh raspberry and fruit-rollup.  The funk is the most prevalent of the smells.  On the tongue, the beer tastes of fresh and funky acidity that leads into a sour pucker with a touch of fruity sweetness and an oddly strong lingering bitterness that mixes in with the acidity.  The flavor begins as tart puckering fruit that sits between raspberry and cherry flavors and then moves quickly into a deep and grassy funk with touches of bitter grass.  The finish returns to a lovely, syrupy raspberry flavor and a touch of bitter tannin from the raspberry skins.  The aftertaste is of bitter grass and with faints hints of raspberry fruit.  In the mouth the beer feels fiercely prickly with carbonation and a medium and slightly slick body.  Overall, I’m not quite sure what I think of this.  The grassy bitterness is a little off-putting, and not quite what I’m looking for in a framboise, but then again, this is a Maine version of a farmboise and it has some signature American bitterness.  Personally I want the raspberry flavor a little more forward on the tongue, but as is in this beer it is light and nuanced.  The funk is great in the beer, and the grassy bitters are actually interesting, they’re just not what I normally look for in the style.  This is a good beer, but is not my favorite, my girlfriend liked in more than I did, though, so perhaps you will too.

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3.91/5

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