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Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Dark Horse Sapient Trip AleDark Horse Sapient Trip Ale

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730 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 730
Reviews: 325
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 13.7%
Wants: 18
Gots: 45 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Tripel |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: putnam on 04-20-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 730 | Reviews: 325 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of silentjay
3.55/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a murky brown orange with little head and lacing.

aroma is very strong in clove and peppery spice with some fruits, banana obviously, and maybe some plum peach and other stone fruits. basically what I would expect from triple, just really dominant in the cloves.

taste follows with clove upfront. banana is definitely there as well. a bit of bready malt adds to the yeast. very little detectable hops.

mouthfeel is light-medium with a lot of prickly carbonation and some tickles from the spice.

a bit too much clove, not enough fruit, not enough complexity, but overall not a bad beer by any means.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.92/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden/orange color, not much head or lacing along the glass, some sediment that floats around.

Smell is a lovely mix of clove and banana, the banana is actually quite fragrant.

Taste isn't as nice as the aroma but still fairly solid, the banana aspect isn't as apparent and the clove is a bit too strong, other spices are a bit lacking, good carbonation makes it easy to drink though and the strength is only evident after its had sufficient time to warm up.

So far, everything I've had by Dark Horse has been great or fairly good (this falling into the latter group). Better tripels out there but not always available in a 12oz portion as this is.

Photo of tigg924
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, cloudy, orange/brown in color

Smell: apples and Belgian spices

Taste: apples, pears, Belgian spices like coriander and clove, some alcohol

Mouthfeel: medium/light bodied, medium carbonation, semi-sweet

Drinkability: A slightly above average tripel. The spicing is good and hits the mark. However, nothing really jumped out to me about this one.

Photo of herman77
3.7/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Brilliant deep burnt orange with a tiny bit of white head that dies off instantly. Very cloudy with a few big pieces of yeast sediment. No lacing. I would give this a higher score if it wasn't for the lack of head and lacing, the color is awesome.

S: Fresh pear, cloves, yeast and bananas.

T: Mainly cloves and pears with some hop bitterness that is almost a little sour near the end. Slight alcohol taste is also present.

M/D: Medium carbonation. Lots of fine carbonation makes for a slicker mouthfeel. Drinkability is okay, I would get sick of this after 2 or so.

Photo of suretolose
3.91/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

If this beer had a little more head it would look like my perfect beer. The head is very thin and does not last long at all. It is a hazy amber color that never clears with a few particles floating in it. (My pour, i am sure)

Smells of fruit and spice. The taste is of apple and spice clove. Very good.

Photo of alleykatking
4.04/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle. Review from notes.

A- Pours a semi-hazy orange amber color. One finger mocha head that dies really quick. No real lacing on the sides of the glass. Overall a lightly above average appearance.

S- I pick up a lot of banana and clove in this beer. Yeasty and some dark fruits. This really does smell like a tripel and I think it works out real well. Nice save from the appearance.

T- This is a sweet banana and clove upfront on this beer. Some light caramel malt undertones in this bring forth a light spice in the middle to end. The yeast comes through throughout the entire beer.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good with the style. Yeasty flavors left on the palate with some light darker fruits left in the aftertaste. Drys out the tongue with the alcohol with every sip...not bad.

D- I always look for this beer when it comes into season. Nice springtime beer. Could and have drank a sixer of this.

Photo of trentley87
3.79/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a cloudy golden-to-reddish amber into my new Sam Adam's glass. Disappointing head retention.

S: Definite hard cider smells, alcohol, apples, pears, and a little hops.

T: This is my first experience with the style, and if this is at all representative, I am coming back for a lot more. There is some alcohol up front, which I don't mind at all, followed by rich, sweet cider and citrus flavors. A little wheat and hops in the background.

M: A little watery for my taste but the carbonation balance is about perfect.

D: Not up on my list as a session beer due to the 8.5% abv but very enjoyable...will come back for this one later in the summer.

Photo of kegger22
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale was a cloudy amber color with a half inch, beige head that had little retention.

The aroma was ripe pears.

The taste was once again sweet, ripe pears but had some hoppy bitterness to the after taste.

The mouth feel was medium bodied with ample carbonation.

Drinkability was good, I'd have another. Not La Fin du Monde, but a very respectable tripel.

Photo of colefsuwr
2.6/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Without a doubt this is the most clove I have ever tasted in a beer. The smell was great for the style but upon tasting I was overwhelmed and squinted from the cloves. I love most beers that come from dark horse but this is not on my wish list. i should give it another try but i don't know if i can.

Photo of beerad666
3.18/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

It poured out a cloudy golden red color with no head. The aroma is boozy, sweet and somewhat tart. It has a little bit of an apple cider coming out but the alcohol kicks whatever else might be there away. I might of had this bottle for a year so I believe it has some age on it which is what I might be picking up. At first sip the alcohol burn punches you right in the face. After the alcohol burn I get the malt and spiciness.

It's easy to drink once you get past the alcohol, but I think I really needed to have it fresh.

Photo of zeff80
4.19/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a somewhat cloudy, golden/orange color with a one-finger, khaki-colored head of bubbly foam.

S - It smelled of clove, banana, yeast and sweet fruits. Really great aroma that smells like a true Belgian tripel.

T - It tasted of spicy yeast and clove. It had a caramel malt backbone with a sweet fruitiness.

M - It was crisp and sharp with a fizzy bite. A medium-bodied ale with a dry finish.

D - This is a pretty good Tripel from an American brewery. It tastes like an authentic Belgian ale.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.35/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Quite the murky trip ale with a deep bronze/golden body and a bright white head, pretty clouded. Lacing is fine and even carbonation was effervescent and smooth versus most of the recent Dark Horse brews I've had with supper fizzy carbonation. Blasts of sugar and booze, tropical fruit including mango and pineapple. For sure there's a bit of nutty yeast like notes and mild spices. Flavor brings out more tropical fruit content with excellent spicing balance, a bit of alcohol in the finish enough to make it a rough experience slightly fusel. The yeast dough/nut combo is almost like one of those Italian nougat desserts. Not much in the way of an evident hop profile here. Mouthfeel is medium bodied slightly cloying with residual sugars this one has a ton of malt in it, carbonation is better than most of their other offerings still not world class but acceptable. Drinkability is solid an Americanized version of the style one of the better ones in that regards but compared to a Belgian tripel it's hard to compare the two.

Photo of BARFLYB
3.28/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a big wine glass, another one down in the dark horse portfolio.

Bright gold with tangerine edges, sapient has a nice glow to it shining. Some burnt orange spots in the middle with a quarter inch loose cap that faded leaving minimal lace. Let's face it not everything can have the look of a De Dolle head.

Smells kind of leftfield at least for me. Up front is a big yeastiness which is ok, but where is the fruit array to mark a Belgian attempt? I get a bit of old apple's but mostly besides the yeast I get alot of hay. Kind of reminds me of a saison in ways.

Taste includes a bready yeast up front with some apples and slight pear with some alcohol heat to go with it. With some burps all I can sense is alcohol, it's not the end of the world though. Im getting hay and barnyard taste which is new for me with this style, im used to alot of fruit essence. A little bit of corn and some small malt sweet caramel again very slight. I think this needs a new yeast strain.

Sapient needs a bigger body for sure, this came off like a saison in the summer. I would venture to say a slightly below medium body with a small amount of carb. There is some fizzing on the tounge but is washed away midway leaving a slightly dry and light aftertaste. There's nothing extremely wrong with trip ale, it just needs to bulk up.

Not sure if a whole lot of love went into this triple. A bigger body and more fruit would have been nice. In the mean time i'll go to my staple of mad bitch and be content. If DH would have named this a saison than I would have been satisfied. A OK attempt that perhaps will be tweaked in the future.

Photo of webmanspidey
3.06/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a chalice. A cloudy golden color (possibly unfiltered?) and well carbonated. The overwhelming smell I detect is canned fruit (either peaches or general fruit cocktail), very sweet and syrupy. The taste is actually much more sour, best described as yeasty lemon juice. There's not much of the spiciness found in many tripels. Alcohol is hidden fairly well, but the taste just isn't that pleasant.

Photo of Bitterbill
3.33/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of TATTORSO. Thanks Jeff!

It pours a cloudy orange with close to 1 finger's worth of foam that starts shrinking quickly. Some decent lacing ensues.

It smells of candy sugar, light pepper, some fruitiness, and some alcohol.

The taste is very much on the sweet side by way of candy sugar(?), with good notes of fruit that add more sweet and a touch of tart, some peppery notes that intensify as the session goes on, and plenty of alcohol...it drinks the full 8.5% and possibly more. Lots of warming.

It has a lightish body with medium light carbonation.

Drinkability? The booze and the mouthfeel are factors here that slow down the session more than should be but seeing that's it's like 12F outside, the significant warming is actually welcomed. A prety good example of the style, overall.

Photo of jera1350
3.47/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Burnt orange color with lots of suspended bits. Just some traces of foam even after a semi-aggressive pour. Leaves some lacing on the glass.

Very yeasty, some bread dough and apricot as well.

Some noticeable booziness with belgian yeast. Some lighter tangy fruit. Apricot and golden raisin. Lacks in any complexity. Moderate flavors for the style with some harsh alcohol standing out.

Feel is lighter than medium bodied. Lacking in the bigger bodied creaminess that I love in this style.

An okay tripel. I would avoid this one next time. I'll stick to the true belgians as the ones I've had have been outstanding.

Photo of fropones
3.55/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice apple cider-ish orange color with minimal white head. Smell is of sugar and alcohol phenols. Some cloves. Taste is fruity, with nice alcoholic notes to it. Apples and spiced rum. Creamy and very effervescent. A somewhat dry finish. Drinkability is fine for that abv, but I probably won't be having it again.

Photo of pwoods
2.88/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz. brown bottle poured into a flute. Notes.

A: Pours a blushing orange with little chunkies even from a careful pour. very short head with little retention and lacing.

S: Very sweet with plenty of fruitiness. Sweet malts.

T/M: Big fruity sweetness. A bit of bitterness but nothing too huge. Malts add more sweetness and becomes just too much. Thick syrupy mouthfeel with low carbonation.

D: Not the best Belgian but not terrible for an American attempt at the style. Not Dark Horse's best brew by a long shot.

Photo of biegaman
3.28/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

If only its head were doubled in size this could likely pass as a spitting image of the world's best tripels. It shares the same deep-set hue, this one a clementine orange colour, as well as a muted clarity and dashing refulgence. That head - or more precisely, the lack there of - is a problem. You can't pass for a world-class tripel without the stereotypical creamy, long-lasting mountain of head and sticky spiderweb lacing.

Likewise, the aroma, with a few minor adjustments, could possibly be put in the same category as the best Belgian examples. But as it stands now it should not be placed anywhere near them. For one, the alcohol is much too aggressive and coats the bouquet in an ethanol-heavy, chemical-like solvent. Its nuances, although rich in clove and vanilla, lack the floral, fruity and perfumed aura that is characteristic of top-rated tripels.

The taste offers about as much selection as the salad bar at Pizza Hut. Normally, a tripel offers an endless array of spices (pepper, clove), a bottomless platter of fruits (pear, apple) and a sweet, sugar-coated maltiness to tie the two together. This, however, has few of those features and the ones it does are indisputably watered down. The flavour is light, if at all much existent, and leaves plenty to be desired.

And flavour is badly needed for a beer with this level of unchecked strength. Although its phenols lay relatively dormant, the alcohol adds a considerably spicy flare to the beer. In fact, I'm starting to feel capable of breathing out fire like a dragon. More malt is perilously needed if this is to have any chance of masking its strength or drinking with any level of gastronomic gratification or truly be considered palatable.

Dark Horse makes some really good beers... and some not so really good. Sapient Trip Ale is about as bastardized a version of the style as its spelling of it would let on. In all fairness, however, it might have earned (and may deserve) higher scores than the ones posted above if it weren't for the fact that the best examples of this style also just so happen to be some of the best examples of beer, period.

Photo of jrallen34
2.97/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I drank this from the bottle into a chalice.

It pours medium cloudy straw with light head, little retention or lacing.

The aroma is hops and flowers, nothing specila or unique. Just like the tatse, nothing special.
Some ok hops and flowers, nothing that you would go out and look for.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.47/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip. No date or info on the bottle.

Thanks to Sweemzander for the trade!

A - A vigorous pour released a, for the style, small creal head of about 1.5 fingers. Dense and creamy in texture it lowered slowly and left tiny bits of lacing on the glass. The color was a hazed-over golden amber. A bit dark for a triple methinks.

S - Earthy clay, yeast, and a delicate but hearty spice nose rises up with wheat and pale malts in the background. The aroma is there but a bit low for a triple although it very well could be the age.

T - Despite no nose of alcohol the first thing evident to me is a warm nail-polish solventy alcohol flavor. No burn, just a bit off-putting. Surrounding that is a lemony citrus and spice with a mild clay touch. The yeast is also fairly prominent in the flavor as well. The alcohol seems to dominate everything a bit too much.

M - Smooth and warming as well as spicy on the tongue and warm in the tummy. It has a well level of carbonation that has just the right spritz to it.

D - This triple has come work to do to fix itself a bit but it's close. It also could be a bit old too. The alcohol really hinders it in the drinkability category do to it's high level. It's too off-putting because it dominates everything else. Not a bad beer though.

Photo of becktone
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes 5-27-09

Eye: This one pours a cloudy tannish gold in color. Head could use just a small amount of work, but this will suffice. Color of the head is slightly off white and it holds its retention well. It sits at about 3/4 of a finger and is smooth and creamy in texture. All in all this beer looks pretty good.

Nose: Nice spicy aroma right up front on this one. Nice belgian yeast tones as well...clove and banana too. Strong malt backbone with sweet tones support and give depth to this beer. General fruitiness also adds dimension.

Tongue: Sweet malt comes through and is supported by some alcohol and the spiciness as well. In the finish there is a drier grainier flavor, oats perhaps-real cereal like, reminds me of cheerios. Overall this is right on for the style. A very nice beer altogether, one that I'd not hesitate to pick up again. There's a fruity character in here that makes me want to say limes, an overall citrus charcter thats not from hops. Reminds me of kaffir lime. Clove and banana notes make it through in taste too.

Feel and Drinkability: This is one that is easy enough to drink and one that I rather enjoy. Feel is medium-light bodied and works well for what this beer is. Finish is semi-dry and there's a bit of alcohol warmth there. This is one that I'll not hesitate to buy again, however, I'll be going after more tripels before I come back to this one. This is a very good beer, but I'll want to try more before coming back to this one. A solid offering.

Photo of birchstick
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - faint orangish/yellow with a .5 finger head

S - smells how a triple should - very sweet, spicy, and fruity

T - taste as the nose suggests...a lot of pear and sweet fruits. Not as much spice and not as sweet as I thought it would be. Pretty good triple.

M - full and smooth...great mouthfeel.

D - pretty good triple, I was very impressed. I really like Dark Horse's stouts, but this is a totally different style. I wasn't expecting something like this from Dark Horse. Well done.

Photo of KarlHungus
3.02/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This beer pours an light amber-orange color. The head is half an inch in height, and recedes quickly into almost no lacing. The aroma is orange and lemon zest, and floral funk. It is a nice aroma, but could be a little more forward. The taste is like the aroma, but less prominent. The mouthfeel is medium bodied which I consider way too light for a tripel. Carbonation is also to low for the style. Overall, this tripel leave almost everything to be desired. I can't see myself drinking this again.

Photo of adamette
3.33/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

My favorite style from a well respected micro brewery? Count me in! Poured from a 12 oz. bottle that I bought as part of a six pack from Reider's in Painesville, Ohio a week ago for about $9.99 into my gold rimmed Gulden Draak tulip glass. No indication of "best by" date on label.

A Nice opaque orange yellow body under a one inch creamy white head that dissipated within a minute and a half down to a single layer of creamy bubbles on the top. Appropriate to the style. There are also some visible sediment floating about but the sediment is very small indeed. 4.5

S Malt sweetness, little bit of burn of alcohol, some yeast or grain smells too. 4.0

T Sweet malt, some yeast and not well hidden burn of alcohol that remained on my lips after sipping from the tulip glass. Tripel is my favorite style and the one that I have tasted and rated the most (more than 30 of them) so I feel qualified to report that this Tripel falls short of its peers in that the sweetness does not adequately eclipse the alcohol burn. Also there is a bit of a woodsy taste that I did not find pleasing. My rating will not be THAT low since this is my favorite style but I have to admit that I am disappointed given Dark Horse's reputation. 3.0

M Really nice smoothness, maybe the smoothest tripel in memory. This is a big beer with sweet malt, some alcohol that is not really well hidden frankly. I am not sure that a tripel is supposed to be this smooth but I like it anyway. 4.0

D Well this big beer with a sting of alcohol and lack of sweetness is not particularly drinkable. I finished my tulip without too much trouble but this is a one and done for the strong majority of people I would think. 2.5

Notes: I am disappointed due to the potential that this beer had. I will take Merry Monks from Weyerbacher any day over this tripel.

Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 730 ratings.