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Spencer Trappist Ale - Spencer Brewery

Spencer Trappist AleSpencer Trappist Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

278 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 278
Reviews: 59
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.29%

Brewed by:
Spencer Brewery visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
America's first Trappist beer.

Our recipe was inspired by the traditional refectory ales known as patersbier ("fathers' beer" in Flemish). These sessionable beers are brewed by the monks for their dinner table and are typically only available at the monastery. Spencer is a full-bodied, golden-hued ale with fruity accents, a dry finish and light hop bitterness. The beer is unfiltered and unpasteurized, preserving live yeast that naturally carbonates the beer in the bottle and keg, and contributes to the beer flavor and aroma.

(Beer added by: Todd on 12-27-2013)
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Ratings: 278 | Reviews: 59 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of gueuzedreg


4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Being that this is belgian pale...

A- Dark golden honey, translucent. Thin lacing with good legs

S- Nice floral dark fruit smell, nice soft malt backbone.

T- Follows the nose with a great dark fruit taste with this belgian pale. I think this is well done.

M- A little harsh with the carb, but not too bad.

O- A well done belgian style pale IMO.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2014 23:40:46 | More by gueuzedreg
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

11.2oz. bottle served in a tulip. Pours a translucent burnt orange with a rocky, four finger, bright white head with the consistency of frothy dish soap. Fluffy spots of lacing are revealed as the brew recedes. Nose is bright an light with a kiss of clove, banana esters and a light malt profile. Taste consistent with nose; however, the flavors come off a bit dull and subdued. Finish is a bit grainy and I get a hint of wet cardboard. Mouthfeel is light in body with a lively, bright carbonation that leaves a residual prickly across the roof of the mouth. Overall, a decent golden, but definitely does not warrant the price point for what it is.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2014 23:47:59 | More by Jwale73
Photo of papat444

Quebec (Canada)

3.69/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to F2brewers for this one.

Pours a nice hazy orange-gold body, white foam that has some legs but the retention is average, especially when compared to others of the style. Candi spice in the flavor but minimal, very fruit forward with tangerines being prominent. Airy feel with some banana notes in the aroma. Quite good but doesn't quite reach to Chimay or Rochefort IMO.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2014 11:19:56 | More by papat444
Photo of jneiswender


4.78/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured out of a 12 ounce bottle into a chalice served cool

The beer has a very nice cloudy gold body with a very very nice thick head

The yeast smell in the front is absolutely intoxicating seemingly very Chimay-like

Strong clove and spice front some malt in the middle with some medicinal flavors at the end

Light and very very very carbonated

I very much enjoyed this beer I will have it again and it reminds me of what a fresh Trappist ale in Belgium must taste like

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2014 01:16:58 | More by jneiswender
Photo of donkeyrunner


4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thank you Duffextracold

Cloudy marigold color. Lichen-like pocked retention hangs around for a few innings of Dodgers vs. Padres.

Smells right is my first thought. Must aplenty. Sharp sawdust spice. Sweet golden ripe golden pear malt. Mustard seed?

Tastes right too. I know that trappist is a list of requirements not a mark of quality but one comes to associate one with the other. And this trappist can hang. Misc golden fruits - apricot, golden raisin, golden bear. Golden Grahams but not really. Supadry.

Why is it that a monastery can just up and pop out a trappist beer and hit the nail on the head while many other fine brewpubs have been serving up meh trappist style beers for years?

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2014 00:47:58 | More by donkeyrunner
Photo of oonthego


4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Beautiful cloudy amber and caramel color with a 1/2 inch white head that dissipated quickly.

S: Smells of citrus but unable to point out exactly.

T: Citrus and mild spices.

M: Very slightly carbonated. The best drink was the final. Left me wanting more.

O: I made the mistake of sharing this between two glasses. Approximately 8-9 oz. in the first glass and the remainder in a second glass. The pours between the two were drastically different. The first glass was not cloudy in appearance and the second was translucent. The taste and smell were completely different between the two. After I combined the glasses, I was presented with a great beer. I think the goods settled to the bottom.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2014 05:34:17 | More by oonthego
Photo of dad113056


4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a lightly foggy golden hue. Superb yeasty nose.
Nice white, off white, head with a little lacing.
Great carbonation with banana and citrus notes that come through.
Not very malty defiantly finishes dry .
No doubt a very well thought out beer, well done!!!
I will be buying this often and can't wait to try their other offerings in approx. 5 years

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2014 19:15:37 | More by dad113056
Photo of Boto


4.19/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

11.2 oz bottle: This one pours a cloudy golden color. There was a bit of a frothy white head on it that leaves some lacing. The nose is good. Yeasty, spicy, peppery, faint wheat. Maybe faint citrus and banana. The taste is very good. Spicy, coriander, yeast, banana, wheat, slightly dry, faint bitterness. A lot going on here. This is really a good beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2014 21:17:28 | More by Boto
Photo of jhawth


3.94/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured from beautiful 11.2oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. Pours a foggy golden light orange, with a sudsy two-finger head.

Aroma: Big Belgian-style spicy yeasty notes, lots of banana as well (almost smells like a hefeweizen), some floral notes, sweet malt breadiness.

Taste: Light malty sweetness blends into yeasty spiciness, which then yields to a relatively dry bready quality. Very nice.

Mouthfeel: Light in body, lots of carbonation. Overcarbonated for my tastes, unfortunate for an otherwise excellent beer.

Overall: A very nice Belgian-style pale. While it may not hold up to the best of the old-world examples, I must admit I enjoyed the novelty of drinking the first ever American trappist ale, and it's certainly not a bad beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2014 23:38:13 | More by jhawth
Photo of veryseldon


4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is my first Trappist Ale, and I have to say I will definitely be trying more. I first heard about this beer from a friend, so on a recent trip to Massachussetts I picked up a four pack from a store and tried it. I did not have the preferred glass, so I poured it into a pint glass which was, of course, a little big. The smell was pleasant but not perfect with a quite malty aroma, but what really hit me was how smooth yet robust the mouth feel was. It was a real pleasure to taste, and I found myself lingering on each sip before swallowing, trying to catch all the flavors, as there were quite a few I hadn't tasted in a beer before. Something in it reminded me of the peaty flavors of an Islay Scotch. In any case, a quite enjoyable beer, even for someone like me who's generally leans more towards the more hoppy varieties.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2014 04:03:04 | More by veryseldon
Photo of johnnnniee

New Hampshire

3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle shared tonight by Joel, thanks for the opportunity!
Fairly clear light golden color with a decent off white head. Aromas of yeast, bread, lightly sweet sugar, clove and pepper with hint of light fruit. The flavor follows the aroma, lightly sweet fruit and honey like malty sweetness offset with some spice and pepper. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet light syrupy mouthfeel. I liked this beer, I'm glad I got to try it. The price point is horrible, I would never buy this for myself, I'm someone else shared with me.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2014 03:54:40 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Lunch. New Trappist beer - how exciting.

The beer is golden orange and mildly hazy with a quarter inch of off white head. The aroma offers Belgian style yeast, clove, fruity tones, bread. Nice tasting beer. Medium bodied. A tad sweet with light spice undertones. Some similarities to a witbier in that regard. I rather enjoyed this one and hope to revisit at some point.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2014 07:11:24 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of blue_virginia_brews


4.49/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours an Amber color with a thick head, nearly overflows the glass on a gentle pour. Head recedes with foamy lacing. smells greasy, sweet banana. tastes sweet, lots of slife, nutmeg stands out. really carbonated on the pour, but carbonation dies quickly.

Really enjoyable

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2014 05:00:04 | More by blue_virginia_brews
Photo of Alieniloquium


3.48/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Hazy pale orange. Nice white head. Medium collar.

Smell - Very yeasty. Phenolic. Belgian sweetness. Herbal.

Taste - Very phenolic. Herbal hops. Doughy malt flavor. Bitter in the back.

Mouthfeel - Overcarbonated. Yeasty. Bitter.

Overall - Well made, but nothing special.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2014 00:33:10 | More by Alieniloquium
Photo of cbutova


4.04/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- Poured to a goblet from the 11.2oz bottle with a fairly hazy, deep golden body. Foamy head forms on the beer between one and two fingers high. Retention is pretty good and a nice cloud coats most of the beer after the head falls. Spotty lacing with some significant patches.

S- Spicy Trappist yeast makes up most of the aroma in this brew. Banana, raisin, coriander, bread and apple come to mind. Light esters and citrus zest.

T- Yeast once again directs the show, as it does in many Trappist ales. Spicy coriander, white pepper, banana, apple, esters, slight phenolics and bread come to mind. Hints of pale cracked grains, vanilla, orange rind, light grassy spicy hops and candi sugar.

MF- Light and overall dry body with a silky, crisp and foamy texture. Carbonation at a high end level. Finishes with some spicy bitterness.

Had heard differing opinions about this one but I find it to be a pleasant experience overall. The yeast is quite flavorful but not overpowering and brings a great array of flavors.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2014 03:43:07 | More by cbutova
Photo of imscotty


4.21/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Paid $17/ 4-pack

A -- Poured with a big fluffy cream colored head that lasted some time. The beer is a cloudy butterscotch color, Some lacing, attractive.

S -- A pleasant spicy yeasty aroma. Detect citrus, vanilla, and earthy belgian yeasty smells. Very nice.

T -- The yeasty, spicy flavor is pronounced. The flavors I taste are citrus, coriander, pepper. Has a light sweet malty, hoppy finish. The flavors here are not in your face, they are subtle, balanced and beautifully intwined.

M -- Not too heavy or light, mouthfeel is perfect for the style. Beer is well carbonated, dry finish. Malt and hop flavors linger a bit longer in the finish after the beer warms up.

O -- This is not a beer that is going to floor you with over the top flavor. My hats off to the monks for creating exactly what they set out to create, an excellent refectory table beer (patersbier). I think they have hit it spot on.

I do need to address the question of value. I agree, there are other belgians of this style available that are almost as good at a better price. For now I am happy to support the monastery and occasionally enjoy this first class beer. I do hope to see a price reduction in the future, I think they will need a more realistic price point to sustain their customer base once the initial excitement is over. I wish them well.

My understanding is that the monastery has agreed to brew only this particular beer for 5 years before they branch out. I am marking my calendar because I truly look forward to the day when I can taste a dubbel, tripel or quad from Spencer Brewery.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2014 21:18:45 | More by imscotty
Photo of WTKeene


4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from an undated bottle (but this was the first release) into a snifter.

Appearance: Lightly hazy and a dark amber orange, with a white head that piles up in creamy hills around the edge of the glass, which leaves beautiful thick lacing. This is really gorgeous.

Smell: Loads of Belgian yeast and candy sugar, but also spicy in a way that evokes a hint of cinnamon and vanilla. Fruity esters are present as well. Top notch as far as the Belgian pale smell goes.

Taste: Typical belgian pale flavor. Sweet, sugary, with lots of banana yeast and coriander. Lightly vinous, and a little watery, but it tastes very good. Some fruitiness that barely reminds me of raspberries and cream comes through as well. Perhaps a hint of earthiness at the end.

Mouthfeel: Dry, high carbonation. On the thinner side, and doesn't linger on the palate for long.

Overall: The monks at Spencer know what they're doing! This is a solid first offering from their brewery, and I look forward to trying more down the road!

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2014 03:31:06 | More by WTKeene
Photo of Chaney

District of Columbia

4.16/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A friend of mine just outright gave me this one out of the blue.

Currently #4 in the Trappist Ale category here on BA.

A: Poured out a very cloudy, orange color, with a slight mildly off-white ring left around the top.

S: Belgian yeast strain, banana-esque in nature, and ultra fresh filtered water.

T: Lots of flavor, but pillowy enough to be dangerous. Smart move keeping the mouthfeel one the moderate - light side on this one. Sure, the Belgian quality was there, but it didn't overpower. More on that in the Mouthfeel section.

M: Spritzy and bubbly, like a nice champagne or Allagash brew. Clean, no booze detected, and with just the right amount of sweetness.

O: Thanks for the honor, Dave. Fantastic Belgian PA!

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2014 00:24:47 | More by Chaney
Photo of ricchezza


3.66/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Yeast dominates the flavor and aroma on this beer: pear, honey, clove, banana, and cider. Sweet tasting. The mouthfeel is slick up front and dry on the finish.
It is a pretty good beer overall. It is worth trying, but this beer comes with a fairly high price point which hinders my desire to buy more. In the bang-for-your-buck department a similar beer can be purchased for less money.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2014 16:00:19 | More by ricchezza
Photo of Admiraldinty


4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I had a relatively difficult time acquiring this beer. My local package store attempted to get some cases of this only to find out that the distributor was sold out. Plus, at $18.99/4 pack, I was hesitant.

Pours a hazy honey tone with a lacy, half-inch head.

Smell is sweet and yeasty, a little spicy.

Taste is of banana, pepper, cloves and nutmeg. Very pleasant mouth feel.

I really enjoyed this, but I hope the price comes down so that I might enjoy it more often. Still, I'm always happy to help out the Trappists.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2014 00:22:06 | More by Admiraldinty
Photo of Rumpole


4.61/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I live a short distance down Route 31 from the Abbey in glamorous Spencer, and am a little embarrassed to have come so late to the party and am even more embarrassed to find 161 reviews of this brew here already. In my defense, I had some slight difficulty getting hold of it, as it sold out rather quickly here, and at $18 for a four-pack, it was well outside the current normal Rumpole budget for beer.

The price and the odd decision to use the European 11.2 oz size rather than the even 12 oz used in the New World (outside of Labatt's bizarre insistence on its very own 11.5) pretty much sums up the negatives.

Long ago I was a beer snob. Some time since I gave up such pretensions and am now admittedly far more familiar with significantly cheaper fare than this, so I cannot claim to add an experienced palate to the discussion. I will say this: don't rush to judgment on this one because you risk the mistake of thinking they went too slow-pitch to start.

The color is a cloudy honey amber, and the foam is a white dome a solid inch think or more, likely because of Rumpole's habitually clumsy pouring technique, the result of years of adjunct taste-offs. It is pleasantly fizzy, apparently more so than is the norm for the type going by past reviews, but it did not occur to me to be a detraction in any way at the time of tasting.

With scent and taste the best thing is to leave you on your own. It is not weak nor is it strong. It is not light but it is not boozy and the 6.5% slides in without a ruffle of a feather. You'll likely find some of the things mentioned here, such as banana, coriander, clove, nutmeg and so forth. But you'll also find things not mentioned here that are just your own. And you'll find different things from sip to sip. This beer is not a bludgeon, like so many at this price level; and if you don't pay some mind, you might mistake it as too easy going for the expense paid. But given time and proper contemplation, if you'll forgive that choice of word, you'll be rewarded with a multitude of subtler pleasures. A brew that grows on you when approached with kindness.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2014 17:00:42 | More by Rumpole
Photo of smcolw


3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Three-finger, snow white head. Settles in a dome and then in lumps. Surprisingly, nearly no lace. Straw to gold color with a faint chill haze.

Sour, pale malt aroma. Strong Belgian yeast smell.

An interesting blend of pale malt, strong Belgian yeast and coriander. Classic Trappist flavors but this one is quite thin with an overly elevated carbonation level, almost like champagne. The finish is sour, yeasty remnant which dissipates quickly.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2014 01:29:41 | More by smcolw
Photo of kevinkr


4.61/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I joined beeradvocate specifically so that I could leave a review of this ale. Bought a 4 pack on Friday evening. Will buy again soon. I had pretty much given up beer, but this is extremely agreeable tasting and leaves me wanting more and not feeling bloated. I appreciate the conscientious way that the monastery makes this ale.

Served in a chilled glass mug at approximately 38 - 40 degrees

About an inch of head when poured.

Cloudy amber in color, nice frothy head. Very nice mouthfeel, natural carbonation is just right.

Hints of nutmeg and banana.. Fruity. Mildly bitter.

Nice fruity finish, some hint of nutmeg lingering?

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2014 00:23:48 | More by kevinkr
Photo of JMScowcroft


4.83/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Spencer Brewery - Spencer Trappist Ale, poured into a Craftgeer snifter.

Look - Pours a hazy straw orange with a good sized foamy head with a fizzy unerlay, retains a slight amount. Good lacing. Very good looking brew.

Smell - Deep Belgian candy, sour yeast, banana, apple, caramel, spices, melon. Incredibly complex and balanced Belgian pale.

Taste - Sour, tart, and fruity with spice and zest. Complexity of a tripel but subdued to a more casual cousin.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with heavy carbonation. Bubbly and dry. So clean and crisp as all hell. Zero booziness. Could drink this for a considerably amount of time.

Overall - Fantastic, just fantastic. This is a highly underrated gem that even Allagash would be proud of.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2014 21:40:06 | More by JMScowcroft
Photo of Bottleinfrontofme


3.76/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Snagged the last 4 pack at my local brew shop. I was anxious to imbibe as this brewery has been written about locally for quite some time.

A: Beautiful color; very fine champagne carbonation. Pour carefully. Fantastic head. You could shave with it.

T: More subtle bananas, got the cloves, citrus tones and very slight sour yeast flavors. Clean, lively, spicy and an expected freshness, well behaved. There are slight earthy, pepper tones on the finish, could not put my finger on it. Not the best finish. Something just seemed a little off... not a big deal...

M: Wonderful fine effervescent, very smooth. Clean, medium body. Your mouth will thank you.

O: A fine example of the simple yet complex Belgian. Really pricy...$$$ What impressed me the most is this is their first release. Nice job!

This experience has left me to contemplate leaving all my worldly possessions behind and join the monks in Spencer... Do you get free ale for living the simple life?

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2014 00:50:20 | More by Bottleinfrontofme
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Spencer Trappist Ale from Spencer Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 278 ratings.