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Spencer Trappist Ale - Spencer Brewery

Not Rated.
Spencer Trappist AleSpencer Trappist Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

158 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 158
Hads: 920
Avg: 4
pDev: 26%
Wants: 113
Gots: 257 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
Spencer Brewery visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Todd on 12-27-2013

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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 158 | Hads: 920
Photo of barnzy78
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

11.2oz bottle
A - highly carbonated opaque amber body with a very creamy off-white head that holds great retention
S - bready spicy yeast, fruity esters, biscuity malt
T - biscuit malt; bread, spice, & fruity esters from the yeast; faint orange zest
M - extremely effervescent making it feel like a very full body, finishes spicy, zesty, and dry
O - pretty good! I wasn't sure what to expect with all the hype surrounding the release of this beer. Will I buy it again? I might buy it again and have a couple Belgians on hand for comparison.

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 330 mL bottle into a chalice. No bottling or freshness date to be found. Wonderful presentation and labeling. Well done.

Smells nice! Spicy/zesty yeast with some baked bread and clove, as well as a grassland/herbal hop note. Inviting aroma.

The flavor is yeast focused, with nice accents of malt and hops. In a blind tasting I would have called this a farmhouse/saison, but as a Belgian Pale it works wonderfully. That is the thing with Belgian styles, they can be interpreted in so many ways. The yeast is spicy but not overly phenolic, with elements of cracked coriander seed, distant clove, fresh cut weeds, and a bright "almost" citrus note. Well done so far. Hops make a showing, but less so than I would expect from other reviews. The malt is crackery and light, with light bread crust.

Conclusion: This is a well done beer. Perhaps quality control has been shaky as the whole project gets going, and that would account for the low ratings (especially from the Bros). Whatever the reason, the bottle I have sampled is delicious, and I am proud to call it the first Trappist beer from the U.S.

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Photo of hopsputin
4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

a: a hazy burnt amber color, with some darker orange color towards the center of the glass. 1.5 finger slightly off-white head

s: bubblegum, clove, some spicy Belgian yeast, a bit of wheat, overly ripe banana, sweet caramel malt, and just a hint of alcohol to cut the sweetness. this is going to sound a little weird, but it smells similar to a dunkel

t: follows the nose pretty well. pear and ripe banana up front. sweet caramel, and freshly baked crackers follow. behind that is some of that spicy yeast, clove, coriander, and a hint of effervescent wheat. theres a very small honey-like sweetness towards the end as well

m: medium mouthfeel with high carbonation. the high carbonation works well with this

o: its a bit sweeter and fruitier than some other Belgian Pale Ales. mouthfeel and carbonation are spot on. honestly, its a tasty beer. flavors are well-harmonized, and is easy to drink. its just a little off on the BPA flavor profile i'm used to (although i know the style encompasses quite a bit)

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Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Spencer community is top-notch so it is unsurprising that this product is also par for the course there. Champagne-like carbonation with exceptional retention and lacing. Banana, bready, so much like Karmeliet that I'll label it as Karmeliet-Lite. Well done!

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Photo of emerge077
3.49/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft served in a branded goblet.
Light color, somewhat hazy, thin cap of foam on top. Some sudsy lace around the edges, decent retention.

Aroma was sweet and yeasty, kind of average, nothing especially unique but within the style.
Taste was overly sweet with little bitterness to balance, bland malt and overripe fruit. Light to medium bodied with fine carbonation. Nothing complex or nuanced about this unfortunately.

Wasn't real keen on this one, and I love BPA's.

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L - Bronze with no clarity. Unfiltered. 1 finger of head

S - Sweet belgian candy and yeast. Bananas

T - Perfect balance of belgian candy sugar and yeast. Not too sweet. Just perfect. Lots of fruit and well balanced with a hop blend.

F - Well carbonated

O - An awesome Abbey ale. And it's American? Huh. Definitely done right!

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Photo of BigRedDog
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance is a golden orange in the middle, blooming out into lighter shades of straw when light hits it. Nice fluffy, chalky, white head.

Smell has the typical yeast esters. A white pepper spice and some notes of lemongrass.

Flavor has a nice yeast spice. Slight sweet notes play on the tongue. Lighter stone fruit flavors linger in the background.

Mouthfeel is rich and slightly creamy.

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Photo of baconfromwalmart
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: Thick, fluffy head thinned to substantial lacing as the beer was consumed. Cloudy golden brown with yeast floaters
S: Earthy and sweet
T: Nice, mellow but definitely not boring. Awesome balance of malty citrus goodness
F: Carbonation up front but finishes smooth
O: Really good, I will definitely be having this again!

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Photo of Bugs318
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

cloudy copper, fizzy white head, no retention. Nose wafts sweat and some fermenting pear, with hints of light floral hops and mild spicy phenols. Taste is similar if a bit one dimensional and a bit boozier than it has a right to be. Sharp carbonation and a fine creamy, medium body.

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Photo of bishopdc0
3.66/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served at Novare Res in a Spencer tulip. Golden orange with a thick head. The head resolves to a wispy sticky lace. The nose is soft, spice banana all the typical Belgian trapping styles. This beer is softer than most trapping of the style, I would imagine this is due to draft vs bottle though a ltitle under carbonated. Very nice flavor flavor easily passes as a trappist, which it is but due to its American Heritage it might be critcized. Slick mouth, wheat almost chewy. Definitely malt sweet with yeast being the heavy lifter. Nice

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Photo of drtth
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours out into a Duvel glass a lightly hazed golden orange color with 2 1/2" fluffy off white head that begins to recede visibly but slowly down to about an nice layer of foam, leaving a circle and some legs and patches of lacing. Sipping creates a sheet of foam that slides back down the glass leaving more scattered patches of foam.

The aromas contain classic Belgian Pale Ale components with yeast, some orchard fruit and hints of grain.

The flavors are much as expected from the nose (and the style) with the yeast character right up front, some fruity notes, a bit of spice and a hint of bitterness in the back of the palate. There is, however, in the flavor profile something that doesn't seem quite right to me but I can't quite identify what it is.

The mouth feel is medium bodied and crisp with active carbonation. The finish is a bit on the longer side as the complex interplay of flavors gradually fades away into a light dryness that invites another sip.

Overall, this seems a well brewed Belgian style Pale Ale and almost lives up to the expectation set by being a Trappist beer. While its not the best of the batch it is certainly worth having another when in the mood for this style of beer. Also I suspect that as the beer gets tweeked over time there will be some subtle improvements in the flavor profile.

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Photo of JackRWatkins
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ml in a st. bernardus chalice

A: rich thick hazy amber/orange, weak head that dissipates quickly
S: semi sweet, and a little pepper in the nose, almost in a tomato ketchup sort of way (odd I know) very subtle sweet caramel notes, tiny bit of brine (almost in a soy sauce sense) in the nose as well (smells just barely salty)
the smell ultimately reminds me of chef boyardee spaghetti and salt, it gets more unpleasantly manifest as the beer sits and mellows
T: sharp with the carbonation but not offputtingly so, subtle caramel notes again, subtle hop bitterness that evolves at the end of the take and manifests then, obviously yeast but balanced with the malt so well that neither is manifestly pronounced, some lemon notes at the front, almost so much so at the front that if you are trying to dig deep you will miss it at first, you will begin to feel the malt in your breath a little more as the beer sits out though not so much in a pronounced taste (I suppose a biscuity character could be argued but only in the sense that the malts are clean and very much not in the foreground here) there's also a tartness that comes in as the beer mellow which pronounces the malt a tad further
M: nondescript, a little sharp as previously stated
O: this is a decent beer but honestly I'm left trying to figure out how to adequately discuss it, it is not incredible, but in a sense is hard to taste, I'm not sure what I had and I think that I will have to have it again a few more times to be able to definitively comment, if there is any criticism that is easy to levy it is that everything here is far too subtle and nuanced, and all in equal measure, it's too balanced and no one flavor stands out enough to peak positive interest, only curiosity

ps. carbonation is a little harsh, getting the sense that it's impeding my ability to perceive the different flavors here. I love trappist beer and would but this again but let's be honest if it werent a new american trappist beer no one would bother talking about it. that said as someone noted a good first attempt and rome was indeed not built in a day so I am beaming with pride that this american beer even exists, st. joseph's abbey please keep at it

glassware is of the utmost importance on this one
pick a glass with a very narrow opening, im using a snifter this time around, it is way better

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Photo of Dikfour
3.15/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Look Cloudy tannish orange. Tanned white head dissipates as quickly as it was poured.

Smell: Clove on top of Belgian yeast. Slight peppery baking spice.

Taste: Exactly as it smells. Baking spice is a bit more pronounced.

Feel: Kind of a boozy tingly feeling on the gums. Its fun. Starts out pretty creamy but seems to lose some body as you chew it. Medium Dry finish.

Overall: Pretty alright. Got this because I was super excited for America's first Trappist offering. Will probably revisit this from time to time but it certainly isn't anything particularly special.

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Photo of StevenMilligan
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I should preface by saying that I am no fan of belgian/yeasty beers.

L: Murky orange hue. With noticeably sediment. One off-putting dreg measured about a half an inch. I wasn't manly enough to slurp that down. Big head upon pouring, but it fades to nothing.

S: Yeast! Clove, banana, slight pepper notes.

T: Like above. Too yeasty for my taste, but I can appreciate it for being a quality unfiltered brew. I enjoy the dry finish.

F: Low carbonation, as expected. Nice creamy Mouthfeel though.

O: Wouldn't drink again but I can appreciate it for what it is: An American Trappist. The first they claim? Very easy drinking.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A Bright ruby almost golden tinged Belgian ale with a large white head that laces the glass well. Just a chill haze without sediment and rather fresh looking.

Belgian highly phenolic aroma with Belgian candi sugar, hops, special trappist Belgian ale yeast, and trace elements of other mild funk. Slight cotton candy and spice, lending the notes of wheat malt and coriander, possibly white or black pepper.

The body is full flavored with slight citrus character, Belgian funk, earthy bitterness, and even to tart finish, nothing cloying or sickly sweet about this one. There is a fair malt sweetness, and this beer can stand up to any Belgian made in the states to trappist standards I suppose. Light fruity accents, distinct pepper, dry candy sugar. Paired side by side, this came out lighter, but hops came out distinctly more American and less pungently noble in this finely crafted brew to Belgian Pale style at 6.5%. Drinkable and engaging,

Advertised as fruity and dry, it delivers on the promise in the mouthfeel. Dry and crisp, not too full, so perfectly full bodied and drinkable brew. Plenty of liveliness and crispness.

Overall, a really nice take on the style, and one that should cellar like a beast. This was fairly fresh and well stored and I enjoyed the hop flavor, much more pine and citrus than, say, Orval, but still a mild but complimentary bitterness. Enjoyable with the Belgian yeast character. It hit me in the right way.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #90 (July 2014):

Dry, Yeast, Bubblegum, Crackers

An American Trappist beer that is Belgian inspired, we had hoped for something that would separate this beer from their brothers overseas. The ale has all the attributes of a Belgian Pale Ale though nothing really pops out to wow our palates. You’ll want to get this beer if you feel and need to support the Abbey though in the realm of Belgian beer this lands around the middle of the pack.

STYLE: Belgian Pale Ale | ABV: 6.5% | AVAILABILITY: Year-round

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Photo of TH28
3.81/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle. No code date. Appearance: Clear golden with a moderate white foam cap that dissipates fairly quickly. Aroma: Moderately intense Belgian yeast with fruity esters of apple and pear, slight banana. Clove phenols provide a bit of spice. Taste: Sweet maltiness with strong banana and pear esters, giving way to a sharper than expected bitterness. Almost leans heavier toward bitterness than malt, which is different than other Trappist ales. Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, with a moderate carbonation. Finish: Finishes dry with a lingering bitterness. Hint of pear ester is there, but faint. Overall: Interesting in that this beer has the normal Belgian yeast esters and phenols, but is noticeably more bitter than other Trappist beers and Belgian ales. Might have slightly less body and carbonation than its counterparts.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.19/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle with cork and cage. Served chilled into a goblet.

Spencer Trappist Ale is a light Amber color with good clarity. It has thin white head that settles fairly quickly to a skim layer.

Aroma is defined by the yeast character which certainly seems to have Belgian origins. Mild grassy and fruity notes come through from the hops.

Flavor has great balance and depth. Starts slightly sweet and tart with the pale malts. Leads into a more bitter, grassy, hoppy middle. Finishes crisp and dry with the alcohol and carbonation.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and highly carbonated.

Overall a very good Trappist ale and I look forward to other offerings from Spencer.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.96/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky dark honey orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of grain, white grape juice, grape jelly, and spice aromas. Taste is much the same with grain, grape jelly, white grape juice, earth, and spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is a worthy American addition to the Trappist line-up.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

330ml bottle - $4.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a clouded, orange-gold body with a meagerly-sized, whitish head.

Smell: A bit sweetish, a bit spicy, with touches of clove buds and sugar-dosed orchard fruit juices, also some banana and a background hint of chewing gum.

Taste: Wheat malt, mainly, with a doughy quality to it, but also a little hint of fine-quality saltine. Moderate powdered sugar sweetness. Chiclets and 'nanas, as with the nose, as well as the phenolic spiciness along with some apple and pear. Subtly bitter. Fruity, gently spicy and heavily carbonated through the gassy, drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Well-carbonated with a sprightly quality about it.

Overall: It's good.

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Photo of dd43
4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This was a really tasty beer. I got a smattering of "Christmas" spices in the flavor. Things like clove and nutmeg. The mouthfeel was nice and crisp, the spice qualities actually made it feel even more effervescent than it was. Pleasantly sweet, had the candied sugar note normally attributed to tripels. Lovely in the glass, two finger head and an attractively hazy amber in color. This is on the expensive side at the package store but if you hit up a bar that had it on tap, do not hesitate to try if you are in any way into Belgian yeast forward beers.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL into a Belgian tulip.

A- Tons of frothy pale white head. Lace is sticky and sheet-like. Amber-colored liquid and cloudiness. Some floaters present. 4

S- Tons of banana aroma and something a tad smoky. Wheat-heavy. Sweet malt and breadiness. Sweet floral quality too. 4

T- Clove is heavy. Banana, wheat and granola. Sweet and floral. 4

M- Floral, slightly sweet, and a considerable bitterness. 4

It's a nice beer, if not necessarily showing any remarkable qualities. I enjoyed it though.

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Photo of WestvleterenVIII
4.62/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was quite surprised at how much this reminds me of a Belgian Ale. It was not as heavy and filling but full of fruity flavors and plenty of spices. A very good beer but quite pricey.

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Photo of sokol_1993
3.71/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look: Yellowish. lively with head, but head retention is not that good.
Taste: some orange peel taste, sweetness of the yeast common for a Belgian pale ale.
However, really pale at the end, after you keep the beer out for a bit it get stale, and the taste is not what it used to be in the beginning. This should be improved, as the Belgian trappist taste better when they get warmer.

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Photo of jmasher85
3.96/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not the best of the Trappist beers I've had, and probably not worth the premium price that I paid ($20 a 4-pack), but these guys do make a tasty brew all the same.

Pours a medium-blonde, mostly clear but with large chunks of sediment at the bottom. Decent amount of head on top, and large, aggressive bubbles give this beer a classic American feel to it. But that nose is something else altogether. Peaches and nectarines, a bit of banana, some hoppy citrus and spices that may be cardamom or coriander, subtle cloves, and something else very fragrant in the yeast that I can't put a finger on, but it's quite nice.

The taste is much the same with less fruit and a bit more hops. Slight honey and citrus flavor. Drier in the finish than other Trappists to be sure, but this is American, not Belgian, so I wouldn't really expect that "meal in a bottle" experience.

I'm not sure where some reviewers get off calling 6.5% alcohol a session ale, but it does make an easy, smooth drink when served cold, and I'd happily reach for a second, so long as I'm not paying $5 a bottle.

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Spencer Trappist Ale from Spencer Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 158 ratings.