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Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

715 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 715
Reviews: 321
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 13.97%
Wants: 16
Gots: 40 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: putnam on 04-20-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 715 | Reviews: 321 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jera1350
3.45/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

jera1350, Nov 10, 2009
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.

fropones, Nov 05, 2009
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.

pwoods, Oct 29, 2009
Photo of biegaman
3.25/5  rDev -11%
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.

biegaman, Oct 27, 2009
Photo of jrallen34
2.98/5  rDev -18.4%
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.

jrallen34, Oct 26, 2009
Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.45/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

BeerFMAndy, Oct 24, 2009
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.

becktone, Oct 18, 2009
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.

birchstick, Oct 17, 2009
Photo of KarlHungus
3/5  rDev -17.8%
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.

KarlHungus, Oct 12, 2009
Photo of adamette
3.28/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

adamette, Oct 04, 2009
Photo of littlekidlover
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was happy to see Sapient back on the shelves for the season, it was my introduction to Dark Horse last year. The color is an odd cloudy orange with a white bubbly head that does not retain for to long. The smell is a little boozy with banana bread, raisin, and spice. The flavor is similar with an accent on the spice and a backing of almost bitter alcohol. I could only take a couple of these in a row. I would guess the alcohol with mellow with time. My memory of this beer from last year is a little better than this experience. I will have to lay one down for a little while and see how it is around Christmas.

littlekidlover, Sep 29, 2009
Photo of JohnQVegas
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into chalice. Big thanks to Jeff (mnjeff) for the very nice extra!

Pours murky dark orangey-copper, with a thin, 1/8" fluffy white head that settles into a thin white cap.

Nose carries notes of cloves, apricot, and a big, tangy yeast note.

Taste is tangy up front, a bit dry - tingly. Lots of clove and apricot, with a dryness from the use of candy sugar, I think. But again, the yeast take over this one, with lots and lots of tangy yeast present, spicy esters, etc. Bit of spicy hops but not much. Finish is lightly bitter, which is the only hint you get of the hops.

Mouthfeel is prickly, very tingly, effervescent, tiny bubbled carbonation over a full body that's a bit syrupy.

Drinkability is respectable. More balanced than some of it's genre, and adequately tasty. Alcohol is present without ever becoming so prominent that you really start dwelling on it.

JohnQVegas, Sep 22, 2009
Photo of OttoPeeWee
3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a solid beer. I would rate it just below La Fin du Monde, but you get two more beers for the same price. Bonus! It's a bit thicker and less refine that the Fin du Monde, but still tasty, sweet, and carmelized sugar tasting.

It pretty much tastes like it smells and if you enjoy tripels then this one is a good bargan if you can get it for about $10 bones per six pack.

OttoPeeWee, Sep 19, 2009
Photo of meatyard
3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It's a hazy, golden orange with a 1-finger, white head that leaves spotty lacing.
Smells a bit of lemon zest, cloves, slight hint of banana and yeastiness.
The taste is all of the smell plus sweetness and malt. The cloves lingers in the throat after the swallow.
Mouthfeel is medium towards light and mildly carbonated.
Drinkability is pretty good. Sometimes, I like the spicy character in tripels, sometimes not so much which this is one of those times but that's just personal since this beer fits the style reasonably well.

meatyard, Sep 18, 2009
Photo of Ryan011235
3.38/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter on 9/5/09

A - Very cloudy orange with pale gold highlights. Looks dirty with yeast sediment on the bottom. Ephemeral head with nothing but a patch of bubbles remaining. Streaking & clear lines, but hardly any proper lace.

S - Primarily banana. Notes of other light fruits - pears & grapes. Sweet & sugary nose. At times it seems almost like soap or solvent.

T - Bananas are prominent but taste weird. Fruits come across as over-ripe & too processed. Cloyingly sweet - a tad too much for my liking. Some toasty characteristics, but largely indistinguishable malt.

M - Moderately heavy body. Lacking in carbonation, in my opinion; it seems flat. Slick on the tongue with some numbing due to alcohol. Has a strange medicinal feel about it.

D - I'm iffy on this beer. It's not terribly bad, per se but on the whole it comes off as too murky. It it approachable, just do so with caution.

Ryan011235, Sep 09, 2009
Photo of yourefragile
3.3/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle

Hazy, amber gold with a medium size bubbly white head that recedes to a thin film and streaks of wet lacing. Not sure what's going on with the aroma from this bottle, fairly pungent and sour, strong dark fruitiness, mild alcohol burn, not very pleasant all together. Medium creamy body with sharp carbonation and a mild alcohol finish, though the mouthfeel is much softer and less crisp than I would expect for this style. Flavor is of malt and candy sugar, fruity but again some lingering sourness. I'll have to review this beer again when I get another bottle since this doesn't seem to match other reviews well, but nothing seems obviously "wrong".

yourefragile, Sep 01, 2009
Photo of morimech
3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky golden color with a lot of particulate matter involved. The head was small and faded almost immediatly. Just a little spotty lacing is left on the glass. The aroma consists of a lot of spice, malt, and brown sugar. Smells more like a Quad. Some alcohol is also detected. Starts of with a sweet taste but it is fleeting. The spice and malt takeover and dominate the flavor. A little warmth is sensed in the finish. This Tripel is missing the vinous and fruit qualities I love in them. Medium body and nice carbonation goes well with the flavors. Not that good of a Tripel but it is a nice Belgian type beer.

morimech, Aug 31, 2009
Photo of alcstradamus
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Murky golden/brown color with about a finger of quickly receding head. Smell is strong spices, caramel, clove, and super sweet dark fruit. Taste is upfront malt overload before the subtle spices kick in to wash it down. No sting or harshness from the spices which I often find to be the case, but there is a bit of an odd lingering cinnamon/nutmeg on the back of the throat. This is very easy drinking, not bigger than medium bodied but there is a slight sense of creaminess. Overall this is a very solid beer that I probably wouldn't buy again simply because it is not a preferred style, but I definitely would recommend it to others.

alcstradamus, Aug 11, 2009
Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another Dark Horse drinkable treat, this one at Ashley's on-tap. Hazy light golden with Caesar head. Decent yeast aroma. Above average mouthfeel, good fresh yeastiness, and it is fruity,bannana and apricot, with some bitter hop in the finish. A sipper.

Sammy, Aug 09, 2009
Photo of cvaypai
4.43/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle to goblet.

Appearance - Golden yellow orange with suspended yeast. Opaque but hard to see through at points. Poured with a half finger of head that stays.

Smell - This ale smells great. Really fruity aroma, with apples, cherries and other dry fruits. Also can smell some of those belgian esters and other bready qualities.

Taste - Very sweet, can taste the candy sugar up front, but very enjoyable. Wheat, bread and other fruits can be tasted, I really like this. Lots of cherry, yum. No detection of alcohol.

Mouthfeel - Great mouthfeel, not too carbonated, not too bitter, just right for the style.

Drinkability - I could drink this baby all night, hides the alochol so well. Very good, not too heavy.

Very good offering from Dark Horse, I will pick this up again.

cvaypai, Aug 08, 2009
Photo of movingtrain
3.15/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle poured into an Ommegang glass.

Pours an amber-brass color with little to no head...some carbonation in the body, but not much. There are a lot of floaties here...I'm assuming they bottle ferment this? Maybe?

Smells like a Tripel...sweet candy sugar, caramel, toffee, some citrus notes, watermelon. Some bready notes, too...

The flavor is light, crisp, and fairly refreshing. I can feel the alcohol burn going down, but there isn't much alcohol in the mouth. The candy sugar notes are the most prominent, some light hoppage underneath...as it warms up, it's beginning to taste a bit more like cider than anything else. It's a little funky.

As far as the mouthfeel goes, it's pretty hollow in the middle. What I mean is, at first it is potent, with strong sugar and malt notes coming through. On the back of the throat, the alcohol burn helps carry those flavors down, but there is something missing in the middle that keeps those two elements lingering and making me want to drink more.

Overall, not a bad attempt. It's a good beer, kind of a homebrew tinge to it...but over all decent. I'd like to try this one at the bar.

movingtrain, Jul 28, 2009
Photo of gatornation
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a hazy straw color with a 1 " head that leaves a nice fresh ring til the end..the smell is good lots of fruits in this one.. bananas apples pears melons..spices like coriander cumin pepper and cinnamon..the taste is the same as b4 mentioned smell with some sweet malts and belgium yeast tastes that nicely balance the fruit and spice..this is a very good tripel that is well balanced with nothing dominating the palete just a pleasure to drink...i like this one and several other dark horse offerings ..a top notch brewery from michigan..recommended

gatornation, Jul 04, 2009
Photo of neenerzig
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle poured into my goblet. This beer pours a hazy orange/amber color. Not much head here, maybe 1/2 inch when first poured, settling to a nice thick ring lining the inside of the glass shortly thereafter. The white head is littered with bits of brown and gray yeast chunks as well as chunks of yeast settled at the bottom. They are impossible to miss. never seen a beer with as much yeast in it or with yeast that looked quite like this. Decent lace. There are also lots of little bubbles rapidly rising to the surface. Nice fruity aroma with a bit of funk as well, before giving way to some spice. Flavor wise it has moderately sweet Belgian sugar candy malty sweetness, before giving was to fruits such as banana and apple and also a bit of plum. next comes the spices and the taste is rounded out with a slight touch of bitterness. Good balance of flavors. Has a crisp, smooth, and frothy, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Not too bad here at all. Easy to drink in a good way and I would drink this again, but this beer seems to be missing something.


neenerzig, Jun 29, 2009
Photo of BEERchitect
3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The standard offerings of Dark Horse has shown to be, let's call it inconsistent. The hit home runs with some beers and digress with others and it seems to have no bearing on the style of beer or complexity of ingredients nor processes. Though their tripel is a little short of authentic, it does more than the cleaner and more simplistic Belgian-style ales that most American brewers conjure.

The creamy and heavily embedded carbonation of their Sapient Trip Ale does little to showcase the highly effervescent look of Chimay Cinq Cents or Tripel Karmeliet, but does show a firm cap of foam that soon recedes to a thin sheet across the glass. Shy with retention and lace, the beer's strong amber hue does little to immulate great tipels of Belgium.

Aromas sing a different story as the nose registers a strong pilsner malt aroma along with bready sweetness, dry fruit, and peppery spice. When reaching for true Belgian character- now we're talkin'!

The early palate garners the taste of rich breads and bread crust along with a soft, dry, underlying sweetness of confectioner's sugar and pepper. Dry fruit qualities of apples, pears, peach, apricot, and mango all attribute to the estery mix but without any of their extra-sweet properties. Instead, the strong spicy balance from fresh cracked peppercorn, cumin, fennel, coriander, and dried orange peel contrast the sweetness of malt and fruitiness of yeast extremely well. A firm yet understated hop presence delivers a mild stemmy bitterness that hinges on sassafras.

But to the mouth feel, the beer's carbonation creates a full and creamy impression and not the airy and effervescent dryness that I so appreciate in those classy Belgian brewed versions. The creamy richness happily falls apart and allows the dry fruit, dry spice, and alcohol to steal the show heading into finish. This is where the dryness of the beer is accentuated by alcohol warmth to provide a mostly dry finish with a linger of fruit and spice.

The beer does a lot to immulate what's going on in traditional Belgian tripel ales, but the lack of hop flavor and the richer textures to start are just a few reminders that this is in fact a Belgian-inspired American tripel ale.

BEERchitect, Jun 24, 2009
Photo of sweemzander
4.05/5  rDev +11%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a Duvel glass. No bottled date present. *Dark Horse needs bottled dates! None of them have it!* So this could be aged for all I know considering where I bought it!

(A)- A cloudy orange amber. No head ever formed, just some white bubbles. Some minimal lacing here at there if at all.

(S)- Really closed. Clay, banannas, and a caramel/honey aspect, but I struggled to find them. Really light.

(T)- Really fruity. Bananna, lemon, orange, and melon. Good yeast component. Slightly tangy/bitter kick in the middle. Even has a malty feel on the finish. Great balance.

(M)- Really thick stuff. Its smooth where it should be. Plenty of carbonation; thick & fluffy texture. The abv is hidden very well

(D)- This is a great representation of the triple style. Its got all the right flavors in the right places. But its still a triple, and thus is indeed a sipper, but a good summer sipper at that. The smell department was very disappointing though.

sweemzander, Jun 15, 2009
Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 715 ratings.