Spencer Trappist Ale – Spencer Brewery (Spencer, MA, USA)

Spencer Trappist Ale – Spencer Brewery., 6.5% ABV, 11.2 fl.oz., (Spencer, Massachusetts, USA)


on the back label:

“Inspired by traditional refectory ales brewed by monks for the monks’ table, Spencer is a full-bodied, golden-hued Trappist ale with fruity accents, a dry finish and light hop bitterness.

St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts, is home to a community of Trappist monks and the first American Trappist brewery. Following the Benedictine tradition of ora et labora (prayer and work), the monks pursue a simple life of contemplative prayer, manual labor and hospitality. The brewery helps support the monks and their charitable outreach.”

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  • Style: Belgian Ale
  • Taste: Balanced honey-chamomile light brown sugar barley malt dry subtle bitter
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $6.30 CAD (after 15% off) – 11.2 fl. oz., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: good quality, but not worth the CAD price tag

Visual: WARNING, GUSHER! Pours dirty orange brown with large suspended sediment, a small head with a fine 1mm layer of micro retention, clusters of active streams.

Nose: apricot-persimmon, honey-chamomile barley malts – interesting. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp, tingly- small fizzy

Mid-palate: hints of apricot, honey-chamomile, (lvl-4-sweetness), light brown sugar barley malt

Finish: dry barley malt exhale, a tad thin, hints of woodiness, subtle bitterness

Summary: Decent all around quality of entry, taste and smoothness. I enjoyed the balanced sweetness and crisp mouthfeel. It’s also nice that it finishes dry and clean, unlike a typical Belgian which might get too heavy. The length I find somewhat short however.

La Trappe Quadrupel – Brouwerij de Koningshoeven (Netherlands)

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La Trappe Quadrupel – Brouwerij de Koningshoeven, 10% ABV, 750ml, (Netherlands)

  • Style: Quadruple
  • Taste: Sweet brown sugar cake brandy boozy malt alcoholic
  • Where I got it : 16th Street Liquor Store (W.Van)
  • How much: $10 (after 10% off) – 750ml, September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Reinforced twisty top, synthetic cork, hefty bottle. Pours light blood red with a small dissipating head, ringed retention, suspended large sediment, slow and fast steady streams.

Nose: carrot cake, caramelized brown sugar, sweet dark malts. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: thick-full, incoming dark fruity christmas cake

Mid-palate: (lvl-8)-sweetness, sour-alcohol hit, fizzy-bubbly, (MAIN) carrot cake, brandy, caramelized brown sugar malts

Finish: cola, alcoholic, mild alcoholic heat, sweet brandy finish.

Summary: Lots of caramelized sugar, brown cake flavour mixed with a pretty stealth alcohlic hit.

Trappistes Rochefort (Belgium)

Trappistes Rochefort, (Rochefort, Belgium)

My favourite: Trappistes Rochefort 8 (Green) – “most balanced”

1) 6 (Red), 7.5% ABV – 33cl

  • Style: Belgian Strong Ale
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: Cola/fizziness -> sweet malts/yeast/cereal -> thinnish light bitter malt finish.
  • Where I got it: W.16th
  • How much: $4.50 (after 10%), April 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: unlikely
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours opaque light cola brown, massive creamy/foamy head, good retention, lots of active streams. Malts and cereal on the nose, reminiscent of Westvleteran 8. Drinks with that same initial cola like Westv but less intense, more fizzy/less creamy, sweet malts, yeasty, finishing 3/10-malty bitter and on the thin side. Medium complexity, medium depth, good carry, good transitions, good drinkability. Overall, solid.

2) 8 (Green), 9.2% ABV – 33cl

  • Style: Belgian Strong Ale
  • My Rating: B+
  • Taste Profile: Sweet creamy malts -> cola/cocoa/sarsaparilla -> long malt med-bitter finish.
  • Where I got it: W.16th
  • How much: $6 (after 10%), April 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: 50/50
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy amaretto brown with a large lasting creamy/foamy head, sticky lacing and a plethora of active streams. Malts and light cola on the nose. A burst of 8/10-sweetness up front, creamy, tastes of cocoa, cola, malts, and slight sarsaparilla. Better carry and longer length than the 6. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good carry, good transitions, great drinkability.

3) 10 (Blue), 11.3% ABV – 33cl

  • Style: Belgian Strong Ale
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: Heavy malty sweetness -> molasses/soy sauce/sarsaparilla/coffee -> malty bitter finish.
  • Where I got it: W.16th
  • How much: $7 (after 10%), April 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: nah
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours opaque dark Dr.Pepper Brown with a noticeably smaller head, light ringed retention and just a few slow streams. Thick heavy malts on the nose with some molasses. Drinks with a heavy maltiness with 8/10-sweetness up front-creamish mouthfeel, tastes of molasses, light roast coffee, soy sauce, alcohol detection, sarsaparilla, cocoa, finishing light tingly/fizzy with a med-deep malty medium bitter smooth finish. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good transitions, excellent carry, good drinkability. Substantially heavier/alcohol-forward than the 6 and 8, but just a smooth.

Maredsous Bruin & Tripel (Belgium)

Maredsous (Belgium)

1) Brune / Bruin , 8% ABV – 330ml

on the back label:

“A brown or brune ale brewed under the supervision of the monastic community of Maredsous. Top fermented beer, brewed according to Benedictine tradition. Refermented in the bottle;, and conditioned for two months. Maredsous Brown should ideally be served at a temperature of 6-10 C.”

  • Style: Abbey Dubbel
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: Sweet malted caramel -> licorice/raisin/root beer -> tangy/sour finish
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $3.50, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours dark ruby with fine micro carbonation and decent head, nice lacing, and CO2 holds throughout the session. Sweet medium malts on the nose. A burst of 8/10-level sweetness up front, tastes of roasted malts, caramel, raisin, hints of licorice, and semi-dry root beer,tangy/sour finish. Med-high complexity, good mouthfeel with the CO2 balanced, med-high depth. Slightly watery mouthfeel.

2) Triple / Tripel , 10% ABV – 330ml

on the back label:

“High fermentation abbey beer, brewed in accordance with the Benedictine tradition of the community of Maredsous Abbey. The beer is refermented in the bottle during the two-month ageing [sic] period. Maredsous Triple should ideally be served at a temperature of 6-10C.”

  • Style: Abbey Tripel
  • My Rating: B-
  • Taste Profile: Aggressive alcohol -> super sweet pomegranate/tamarind/tangy orange -> off-dry woody finish
  • Where I got it: St. John’s Liquor Store, P.Moody
  • How much: ~$5, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours amber gold, beautiful and bountiful CO2 (champagne-like streams), ultra foamy head, foamy lacing. Nothing much on the nose. First sip the palate is hit with a torrent of aggressive alcohol, dissipating into very sweet (9/10) mix of pomegranate, tamarind, sour bitter orange, ending in a partially dry woody finish. Medium complexity, high depth, good transitions, great carry, okay drinkability. The alcohol is somewhat overpowering.

Westmalle Trappist (Malle, Belgium)

Westmalle Trappist (Malle, Belgium)

1) Dubbel, 7% ABV – 33cl

from ratebeer.com:

“A reddish brown trappist ale, malty and fruit, featuring a 3 week secondary fermentation.”

  • Style: Abbey Dubbel
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: sweet malts -> caramel/prune/plum/hops -> alcohol/bitter finish
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek
  • How much: Gift pack w/ glass, ~$20, Feb, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy root beer brown with a nice foamy head and lees, lots of slow-moving CO2 streams. Sweet malts on the nose. Drinks with sweet (7/10) malts up front, half creamy half fizzy mouthfeel, caramel, hoppy background, dark plum/pruny fruit, finishes with light bitter with very detectable alcohol. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good transitions, good carry, good drinkability. Solid overall.

2) Tripel, 9.5% ABV – 33cl

from ratebeer.com:

“A strong, dry and spicy trappist ale. The product of a secondary fermentation lasting 5 weeks.”

  • Style: Abbey Tripel
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: Sweet fizziness -> chamomile/orange/coriander -> bitter hoppy finish
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek
  • How much: Gift pack w/ glass, ~$20, Feb, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy orange with a small foamy head, lots of fast and slow-moving CO2 streams. Honeyed chamomile on the nose. Alcoholic fizzy sweetness up front (7/10), notes of orange, coriander, malts, chamomile, light sourness, and bitter hops at the finish. Medium-high complexity, med-high depth, good transitions, good carry, good drinkability. This one has an edge in complexity than the dubbel but is more taxing on the palate.

La Trappe Tripel Trappist Ale – Brouwerij de koningshoeven, 8% ABV, (Netherlands)

On the side label

“Discover this speciality of “La Trappe Ale”, with its pleasant fullbodied taste. Taste the Silence.”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I like it: sweet caramel and full-bodied
  • Where I got it: St. Johns Liquor
  • How much: $10 for a 750ml, Oct/2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes: pours light copper brown, smallish thick head, tons and tons of CO2 streams, sticky lacing. A bit of malt on the nose. 8/10 quite sweet caramel malts up front, 7/10 bitter mids, fruity fig element, lingering bitter malted finish. Halfway through the bottle, the sweetness level becomes too aggressive and somewhat unenjoyable. Medium complexity, medium-high depth, long length, great carry, minor sweetness imbalance, soft tingly carbonation. The flavour of the alcohol is quite apparent in the mids and distracts from the smoothness of the experience.