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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 crag
3.86/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice colour - smell needs a little more authenticity low to non existent head with light lacing. Taste is mild but very enticing. Feel needs more body (malt) but this is a session ale.

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Photo of beergoot
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is an initial impression as the 12 oz bottle spewed about 3/5 of its contents on the counter, floor, and sink on opening (and it was chilled prior to opening).

Mildly hazy, golden orange body; thin, foamy white head. Fruity aroma; apricot. and oranges. Bready, yeasty, fruity flavors. Medium-heavy body; acidic and mildly bitter; coarse carbonation; mostly dry finish.

I'll have to review this one again once I get another bottle. What little I was able to pour into the glass has some rather intriguing qualities, especially with the yeast and fruit-like flavor qualities.

Late note: 7-715 - attempted to try another bottle, but this one gushed more than the reviewed bottle. Opened it and it virtually all spewed out - nothing salvageable.

I still stand by my initial review and ratings, but if I had to give a rating for "Presentation", this would get a "1" for over-carbonation issues.

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Photo of justinp444
4.58/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip this beer has a bright hazy golden orange hue with a puffy 3 inch head. Smell of apricot with orange citrus and a bit of malt. Taste of apricot, yeast, a tiny malt presence on the back end, bit of orange citrus, very sweet and fruity. A very complex and crisply drinkable beer with a light to moderate mouth feel.

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Photo of josanguapo
4.61/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From zythoz.com. although recent to the market, this usa trappist monks have rounded it. Perfectly balanced beer. Its a pity the hard it is to get it here in Spain. Consumed while playing kings bounty dark side

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Photo of justintcoons
3.79/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

11.2 oz bottle poured into a stemmed tulip.

hazy, cloudy gold with 3 fingers of fluffy white head. Lively carbonation with plenty of yeast dancing around.

Apricot, pear, bread, Pils malt, and pale candy sugar. Hints of potpourri, white pepper, and lemongrass.

Apricot, pear, and pale candy sugar. Pilsner malt and light bready backbone. Spicy yeast character with notes of white pepper, coriander, potpourri, and clove. Hints of earthy hops, dried hay, and lemongrass.

Light bodied, off-dry, crisp, airy, and heavily carbonated.

Pretty complex for your basic Belgian Pale Ale. The spicy yeast is reminiscent of Westmalle Tripel. I'd like to see a few more styles from St. Joseph's Abbey.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.06/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

really really stoked this is finally a reality in colorado. how cool to have an american trappist operation, and their story is really neat as well, big fan of the project in general, long before i tasted the beer. the beer itself is presented really well too, love the glassware and the packaging, even the price point is awesome for what it is. it has a lot of haze to it, thick looking for a pale beer, honey colored and heady as any of the belgian trappist beers as far as i am concerned, looks great, and authentic. maybe a little less delicate than some of its peers, but thats the american way right? the nose is sweet like a tripel, and the yeast is really cool belgian for sure, but tamer on the fruited elements, more of a wine thing without the acidity. i get some apricot in the taste, maybe dried apricot, and some wheat malt thats fresh and like, not threshed out or something, like more of the plant, organic and richer, more textured, its cool. the yeast flavors the beer the most though for sure. carbonation is awesome, but i am afraid there is a lot more sweetness happening in it than i care for, i could never drink more than three or four glasses of this before it became unbearable. i wish they fermented it out another percent or so, then this would be so so so good. it feels a little thick too, and with the sugar its a lot, but the carbonation is correctly effervescent, and the flavors all marry up well. i hope they do some other varietals, but this is a way cool introduction to the market, really stoked to have them here!

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Photo of azorie
3.89/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had on tap. Need to try the bottle. hop forward, cloudy orange beer. well do a better review after I find some more. Nice rich mouthfeel. Orange and malty taste on tap...etc etc

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

Joepeter is the one responsible for this; thanks! Spencer Trappist Ale is a dry, light, and complex beer which takes a little bit of sipping to appreciate. My first few sips left me scratching my head, but then I started to pull off some notes.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Glass consuming light beige head, four inches strong even with a gentle 45 degree pour into a chalice shows large, soapy pockets along the vessel walls. Stubborn retention, sloppy sporadic lace lashes on the way down. Dirty rustic orange coloring, strong carbonation presence, fine misty rise while a second pour unleased large bran flakes of yeasty matter obstructing clarity with a strong nature. Spongy head texture.

S: Aroma of fresh banana bread, followed by a light musky citrus. Lightly toasted caramel sweetness, toasted cereal grains underneath.

T: Flavor of fresh banana bread, candy sugar, and toasted caramel sweetness. Spices of orange peel, ginger with a dry herbal hop flower warming. Fruitiness of canteloupe, and wet pear are highlighted with hints of fruity citrus-apple leave on the finish.

M: Creamy mouthful, softly carbonated, smooth feel.

O: Overall smooth flavor and transition, fruity, very easy drinkability with a finely soft, eloquent belgian yeastiness. Easy A beer, does the trappist name proud stateside. 4 pack worthy.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.16/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle into a teku.

Apperance: Pours a somewhat murky amber color. The head is huge at three fingers high, with an off-white shade. Well, the out-of-control head is a good sign, that's for sure. It's also very fluffy, with average duration. Inconsistent splotches of lacing stick to the glass. (3.75)

Smell: Another good sign: the apple and pear notes typical of the style are nuanced within the bready nature of this beer's aroma. However, it lacks the razor-sharp balance of the Belgians: the yeasty notes have a tendency to overpower everything. I also get some candied sugar, but again, the big breadiness runs roughshod over it. (3.25)

Taste: Powerful bread notes initially wash over the palate, before a gentle flavor of sour apple appears. I also get some caramel flavors on the back end, and maybe even some banana. The flavors are decent and nicely balanced, but it's really let down by the mouthfeel (more on that later...) (3.25)

Mouthfeel: This just isn't clean or crisp enough. At first, it seems dry-finishing, but the aftertaste is heavy and sweet - and that's a no-no for the style. The effervescent carbonation is there, the mouth-filling density is there, but it still lingers on the palate too strongly. Put simply, it just isn't as effortless as it should be. (2.5)

Overall: The verdict for America's first trappist brewery is...disappointing. It's fine enough (the flavors are there), it just lacks the razor-sharp crispness I expect from a great patersbier. Still, this could be great with a few tweaks. I just know this brewery can get it right in the near future. (3)

3.16/5: Don't worry St. Joseph's Abbey, Rome wasn't built in a day

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Photo of breakingbland
3.39/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle. The aroma was sour -- but not a good sour. The taste followed but was not quite as objectionable as the aroma. There was some funk. Not a very complex flavor profile. The body was thin and was perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this beer.

I'm mystified by the high rating for this beer compared to my experience. I'll look for it again as perhaps I got a bad bottle.

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Photo of Mikus
3.79/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

American Trappist... all-right, I'll bite. Poured a clear, golden amber into my tulip. 2 fingers of fluffy white head and great carbonation. Spicy, Belgian yeast notes on the aromas, with some nice dark fruit and even citrus notes shining through. Classic flavors of a Belgian pale from my admittedly limited experiences. Reminded me a bit of GI Sofie. The nice citrus notes and peppery bite on the finish had me anxiously taking the next sip. Nice clean finish with some of the lingering yeast notes fading away. A nice buy. US monks, supporting charity, delicious= multi-level winner.

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz.

Pours a hazy honey golden, thick white suds for a head dissipate to a white film and retain there pretty much permanently.

Smells of sour apple, coriander, orange blossom honey, and grassy malts.

Tastes of honey and grassy malts with some citrus, coriander, banana, and white grape elements.

Medium to full body with lightly tingly carbonation.

Very nice ale, great flavor and aroma. The Trappist label brings with it an expectation of quality. While I'm not sure I would ever choose this beer over any of the other Trappists I've had up to this point, I can say that I think it earns its place next to them and does the label justice. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of JVStabile64
4.73/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I was pleasantly surprised to find this (11.2 ounce singles) at a local shop.
Poured into a 16-ounce red wine glass.

A: Deep, gold straw-yellow color. Short but active head, with a permanent film left behind on the surface. Lacing is irregular and streaky.

S: Strong, sweet, overripe banana; plum; very appealing hints of spice (cinnamon, nutmeg...clove?). Barely tart, but earthy, not citrusy.
Fairly typical Belgian Ale-type esters, but quite pronounced. Very, very nice.

T: Profoundly malty, sweet, chewy. French-Toast-like feel, overall.
Flavors of banana, prune, raisin; hints of spice warm things up. As it warms, more hot/peppery flavors seem to linger.

M: Crisp, aggressive carbonation. Refreshing, but satisfying. Slick, dry finish.

O: I really, really like this stuff. Spencer Brewery's distribution area has been growing, and I'm glad I could sample their goods.
I look forward to cellaring a few bottles...this stuff ought to age well.

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

A new arrival in Florida. I'm excited to try the first American Trappist ale.

A beautiful amber with a bit of sediment from the bottle.

Classic Belgian aroma of spices like clove, pepper and coriander.

Like the aroma, the flavor mixes notes of pepper and coriander with earthy and malty bits. Complex, but not extreme. Though at 6.5 percent alcohol I don't agree with Spencer that it's a session brew.

Refreshing body thanks to a high carbonation level. Bubbles are a-poppin'.

A very fine beer. At more than $5 a bottle, this is a beer for a special occasion.

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

L- golden musky hew, two cm head that thins out yet remains somewhat
S- banana and clove
T- the flavors of banana and clove hit the tongue and then quickly dissipate into a bland bitterness. This bitterness is somewhat balanced by the fruitiness. There is a subtle hint of tangy raspberry in the finish which I love
M- light/medium bodied, typical of the type

O- So, this is an American trappist ale. It doesn't quite match up to its Belgian brethren, but it is nonetheless a great beer. Very drinkable. The bitterness seems a bit out of place at first, but I adjusted to it by the time I reached the bottom of the goblet It is actually pretty refreshing.

Notes: I like what this beer is trying to do. Perhaps the monks at Spencer could produce one or two more offerings. I imagine that these guys are quite capable of hitting the bulls eye. Perhaps they should try a dubbel, or quad.... or (since this is an American monastery... the first Trappist IPA!!!)

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Photo of wattoclone
3.18/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Unfiltered with a cloudy golden amber appearance. The aroma is beer with some flowery hops. Taste is disappointing for a Belgian Trappist Ale. If this was an American Pale Ale expectations would be lower, but every other Trappist ale has been perfectly balanced with no bitterness on the finish. Considering it is a American brewed beer, the hoppiness and higher ABV is not surprising. As a final insult, the bottle was only 11.2 ounces and cost $6. This is acceptable for an imported beer, but give me a break, it is brewed in Massachusetts, why not 12 ounces?

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle purchased at AJ's Beer Warehouse in Henrietta, NY.

This one pours really difficult, with a huge, voluminous 4-5 finger head that lasts a long time. There's a good amount of lacing, too.

This smells quite yeasty, some peach and banana, and some perfumey sort of aromas.

This is a pretty standard, run-of-the-mill Belgian golden ale. I guess the fact it's a US Trappist ale is pretty cool, but this beer has been done many times. It's quite clovey and yeasty, some banana, with peach/apricot flavors, and some soapy perfume like flavors too. There is basically no hop flavor at all.

This has a very creamy and fluffy mouthfeel, and a higher level of carbonation.

Not bad, but doesn't do a whole lot to stand out, really.

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Photo of metter98
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy and very dark golden yellow in color, having a high amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down but consistently left a short head covering the surface.
S: Moderate to strong aromas of yeast are present in the nose along with associated notes of banana.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste is very yeasty and has underlying flavors of bananas and spices.
M: It feels just about medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is an interesting Belgian Pale Ale in the the yeast profile is very reminiscent of that what you would would expect from a hefeweizen with the banana-like aromas and flavors.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of jkermitj
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It is easy to focus a little too much on Belgiums and grow tired of the yeast. At least that's what I have done, unfortunately. This beer may pave my way back in. Different and very good.

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

This patersbier exceeded my expectations. For a relatively light style, it packs some fruity, yeasty goodness with a nice bit of clove. A little pricey at 20/4pk, but it's worth picking up.

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Photo of farrago
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decent initial head, very loose and wispy, settles down to a loosely arrayed islands of bubbles, tannish hue with an orange tint, for lacing you get minimal splotches with not too much stick. Very cloudy, bottle stood up for days and carefully poured still yields a great deal of particulate in the liquid, warm red glow at the core but mostly a bright orange, color of pink grapefruit pulp, nothing remarkable about the visible carbonation. The nose offers biscuit crumbs, pepper, meadow grasses and earth, clove spice, the orange to lemon citrus pierces the nostrils well and allows for more flow in the attenuated apricot, apple fruit, definitely more lingering banana notes. Full-bodied, in large part due to the fluffy expansion coming from the carbonation. Lees, whipped cream, clove and caraway seed, dried honey, less peppery here. The citrus is indistinct in terms of flavors but a large presence nonetheless. Overall, the profile is too dry for you to get a lot of banana or bubblegum but they are there. Apricot, pear, green melon fruit of moderate ambition. The finish is tactful even as that active carbonation extends the mouth feel. Pleasant to sip.

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

Pours slightly cloudy light amber with a generous off white head. It smells the part - a bit of yeast and malt in the nose. I found it enticing and enjoyable.

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Photo of SawDog505
3.03/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not my style. Pours a light orange with a fluffy off white that leaves behind some lace and lots of sediment.
Smell clove, banana, lemon, and some breadyness.

Taste follows the nose, clove and banana, and a little spicy ness.

Body is light, more carbonation than I prefer, a little dry, and easy drinking.

Overall this probably good for its style, but not really my thing.

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Photo of nmann08
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle, pours a hazy golden orange color with a big full fizzy off white head. Very active carbonation, lots of bubbles and some sediment in the glass.

The smell is floral, yeast, faint fruit, a little biscuit.

The flavor is light fruity notes, yeast, biscuit, american citrus hops and belgian hop content, leaving a light bitterness. The mouthfeel is a little light, crisp, and active carbonation going down.

Overall, this is pretty tasty. Would love to drink regularly.

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