Having truly enjoyed the Hugh Malone and several other special Allagash beers, I was delighted to see this one show up. I didn’t know a darn thing about it when I bought it, just that I usually like what Allagash puts out so I’m always willing to try. Doing my homework before pouring, I found a description of the beer on Allagash’s site.
“Allagash Confluence Ale is created with a mixed fermentation; utilizing our house primary Belgian style yeast in combination with our proprietary Brettanomyces strain. The two yeast strains work in tandem creating a marriage between spice and fruit flavors that ultimately leave a lingering silky mouth feel.
Confluence is brewed with a blend of both imported pilsner and domestic pale malts as well as a portion of caramel malt, resulting in a complex malty profile. Tettnang and East Kent Golding hops are added in the brew process to balance the intricate malty profile while adding a sweet and spicy citrus aroma.
After fermentation, Confluence undergoes a lengthy aging process in stainless steel tanks to enhance the flavors. Prior to bottling, it is dry hopped with a Glacier hops, providing a pleasant balance of aromas. Confluence is then bottle conditioned and aged in our cellar prior to release.”
To summarize: Two types of yeast mixed and brewed together, three different malts, aged, then dry hopped and bottle conditioned and aged again. Wooh, that’s a long journey for a beer.
I poured it out and the head was very fluffy and springy, and I spilled a little because I wasn’t expecting it. I probably should have read the “pour slowly” note on the Allagash bottle, but hey, it’s all an adventure, right?
It smells very yeasty, and by yeasty I mean that it has a slight bready sourness to the smell – like a sourdough starter. I can’t describe it much beyond that. The color is a cloudy yellow, a sign probably from the bottle conditioning. I didn’t find a lot of sediment, though, but the cloudiness is enough.
The taste is sour, but in a positive way. It has a fruitiness to it, but is mostly tart and slightly bitter. It has a bit of an apple taste, a little funk and mustiness. This isn’t one that everyone will like, but I do think that its a treat. The taste grows on you as you drink it, also, and for anyone who likes sour Belgians it is a nice tart taste similar to a saison. Get it while it lasts, it might not be around much longer.