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Spencer Trappist Ale - Spencer Brewery

Not Rated.
Spencer Trappist AleSpencer Trappist Ale

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149 Reviews

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Reviews: 149
Hads: 895
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 4.21%
Wants: 110
Gots: 254 | FT: 12
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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Reviews: 149 | Hads: 895
Photo of mikelavigne19
4.46/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer. Fits the style perfectly and is an excellent example of what a Trappist Ale should be.

The appearance of this beer is bright, golden with a white fluffy, styrofoam-y, tightly laced head that dissolves rather quickly while sitting in the glass undisturbed. Slight haze as with most Belgian Pale Ales.

Aromas of cloves, bananas, apricots, apple peels and the stereotypical belgian yeast comes through. I detect no strong characters of hops, as the other smells seem to overwhelm however few hops were used. Excellent, inviting smell, that beckons the drinker to consume thoughtfully.

Upfront, my initial taste is a yeasty-breadlike quality. This is quickly washed over by flavors of phenols represented by bananas, cloves and fruity yeasty apple esters. The balance of this beer is supreme. It is sweet; malty, dry finish. Fruity; apples, apricots.
The malty and fruity flavors are paired nicely with the hop schedule of this beer. The brewing process leaves the palate ready for another sip, bite of food, or a minute of reflection. Great tasting beer, not too complex, but retains layers of flavor that can be analyzed on many levels.

After smelling and tasting, this beer is left to be "felt." The mouthfeel of this particular Trappist Ale is, for lack of a better term, fun. Small champagne-like effervescence, crisp and light the way it should be. The carbonation and weight of the beer itself lends itself to enhancing this beers character. Had this been heavier, more/less carbonated, this beer would be much different. Light, crisp, tiny-bubbled dry finish.

I would and I will have this beer again. I enjoyed it very much and I like that it has a profile that can be paired with food, or just enjoyed by itself. This is a great Trappist Ale and anyone who wants to venture from say, pilsner's or IPA's and into the world of true yeast character would definitely enjoy trying this beer. (1,921 characters)

Photo of jbredbeard
4.41/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spicy banana aroma follows into the front with a short lived bitterness at the end. Pretty good, but I was expecting something special and this one just didn't quite deliver. (174 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy medium golden yellow in color with moderate amounts of fine active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and some faint amber + apricot highlights. The beer has a three finger tall dense foamy beige head that reduces to a large two finger tall cap in the center of the glass surrounded by a very thick film covering the remainder of the surface of the beer. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of spicy Belgian yeast with a moderate amount of sweetness. There are moderate aromas of fruitiness (apple + pear), banana phenols, and some clove.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of pale and bready malts with a light to moderate amount of candi sugar and light fruit (apple + pear) sweetness. That is followed by moderate flavors of banana phenols and some hints of clove. Light to moderate flavors of spicy Belgian yeast is also present in the finish. Hints of grassy hops which imparts a touch of bitterness to the finish which does not linger for long.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Smooth with a hint of dryness in the finish.

O: Been waiting for a couple of years to get the chance to try this one... A very nice example of a Belgian Pale Ale and pretty cool that it coming from an American monastery. Enjoyable flavor that is pretty easy to drink with a well hidden alcohol. (1,403 characters)

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

Glowing orange color with a lovely large white head that fades rather quickly too a 1/4" foam top. Aroma is soapy flowers, banana, coriander, lemon candy in the background... All the elements nicely working together. Taste is sweet, peppery spice, floral, zesty, bready grains, slightly tart, and creamy and fluffy in texture. Good stuff. I'm excited about the first US Trappist brewery! (387 characters)

Photo of marrisotter
3.64/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 1 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My neighbor and I shared this on Christmas eve after hearing such rave reviews and the unique story.

L: well, this was a huge dissapointment. Its not cheap beer, and its only served in 11.2 ounce bottles. The bottles were stored properly, chilled properly, and opened carefully and EVERY one of the four pack was a gusher bomb, easily losing over 1/4 of the bottle down the sink (well the dog licked up the first one off the floor). Not a great start.

S: since trhere was so much beer everywhere, I actually must admit the smell was dead nuts on for the style, and I was anxious to try it

T: clove. Perfect belgian yeast notes. Well brewed and esters and sweetness were paired nicely. Hazy blond color.

F: IMHO it was a tad thin. Some back sweetness would have really helped this beer shine

Overall, if the CO2 kept more beer in my belly and less beer everywhere else, this posting might have come out differently.

Perhaps the bottle was out of code.

Neat story. Worth the try. Def not a road soda... (1,016 characters)

Photo of beerfishkitedog
2.46/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Pours a nice golden orange. Drinking from a tulip glass at home, from a store-purchased bottle that is months old. Straight from the refrigerator to the glass. Some sediment is apparent. Banana and clove aromas accented by a slightly yeasty and floral bouquet. Malty flavors with essences of cloves and banana. Highly carbonated. Light mouth-feel, slightly bitter. Fairly high alcohol but not boozy in taste. Clean and refreshing taste. Does not linger on the palate. I know it represents a classic Trappist style but I'm not a fan. Too bad because the monastery is close to me and the release was a big deal around here. (635 characters)

Photo of wedge
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Hazy golden orange hued body beneath a towering head of airy eggshell froth. Bright aromas of Belgian yeast, doughiness, and subtle pale malts. Dried banana, flowers, nuts, cracked pepper, earthy husk, and clove. Flavor is equally delicate with fruity, spicy yeast, lemon, toast, earthy grass, and moderate phenolics. Very fluffy in the mouth and pleasantly dry. A nice, spicy, easy-drinking Belgian Ale. (409 characters)

Photo of Maxbier
4/5  rDev -1%

Hazy dark golden pour with big off white head. Yeasty, orange, funk aroma. Citrus strong slightly dank. Some spicy notes, earthy hop flavors. Great, authentic tasting. (167 characters)

Photo of MDDMD
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%

Nice golden color with a nice white head. Aroma and taste had nice belgian yeast character with orange, banana, little clove, little candy sugar and a slight funk. Easy drinking and enjoyable, but the price makes a little tough to make this much of a regular. (259 characters)

Photo of DMXLOX22
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Excited I was able to get a single of this brew donated from a friend who has a relative who is a monk at the monastery. I've been dying to have a Trappist ale in a while. Let's see how this measures up

Appearance: pours a straw-yellow, golden but has a nice orange, Amber-like hue in the middle. Leaves behind an impressive frothy, white head about 3 inches high that takes several minutes to dissipate even slightly. Inviting indeed.

Smell: instant aromas are sent out of Belgian yeast along with a somewhat hint of caramelized malts. Somewhat touch of banana possibly and maybe cloves. Malts and the Belgian yeast make an impressive combo.

Taste: first sips and what is revealed is quite good. Belgian malts, traditional Belgian yeast. Banana favors and slight cloves add to the flavor. Sweet and a bit sour at the same time makes this a well-tolerable brew. A little caramelized, but at the same time only bready. Towards the end, orange zest and some grassy malts come into play, again making this quite a complex brew in all the right ways.

Mouthfeel: crisp and very smooth. Medium body and medium carbonation. Finishes somewhat sweet and somewhat dry at the same time. Delicious.

Overall: getting this brew by pure luck was nothing but joy for me. Cracking it open was the first step to a great brew. This is a traditional Trappist ale to the fullest. Delicious, complex, and full flavored. Everything I've pretty much wanted In a Belgian ale. Like a mix of wild yeast and traditional. I would totally try again (I received two bottles) and would totally recommend to a friend (if I'm willing to share). Cheers! (1,623 characters)

Photo of Zach136
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Medium clarity orange, two finger head and excellent lacing.

Aroma: Medium + intensity orange peel and peppery yeast aroma, with bready malt character.

Flavor: Same yeast character I got on the nose, but slightly less intense. A touch of grassy hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Well carbonated, light bodied and refreshing.

Overall: I'm a fan of this beer, can scratch the belgian itch without copious amounts of refined sugar or adjuncts. (451 characters)

Photo of Pgermain12
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Lucky to have grown up next to the St Joseph Abbey as a kid. Started off eating the Jelly and now I bring home as many as these as I can when I visit central Mass. It is a very nice beer with a lil bit of smokey love on the back end. (233 characters)

Photo of Bouleboubier
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

(AD 105F13 - poured into a Chouffe tulip)

L: sunset orange liquid with a mild haze... open, webby sponge of off-white foam - sizzles a bit like it has wild elements... bottle-conditioned (so they're doing it right), though the only indication on the bottle of this is a small icon of a bottle standing upright as their 'suggested storage'

S: familiar, unmistakable Belgian abbey ale aromas... yeasty dough, fresh-baked muffin, baked banana and/or pear, faint clove, maybe a nip of melon... whiff of old, unfinished wooden pew... fine potency

T: a bit more flavor than anticipated... straight-shooting textbook abbey ale... bit of that pencil eraser and bubblegum thing in the finish... lightly-toasted animal cracker and yeasty spice in the aftertaste

F: notable sharpness on the tip of the tongue, and on the other tastebuds in the front half of the palate... sharp attack, light to light-medium bodied, and dry, but with a subtle grainy-slick residual back-flow... very well carbonated, watch out! - plenty brap!

O: I would drink this as fresh as you can find it... it's pretty easy to tell that this is one of those bottle-conditioned beers that dries out too much, losing sweet balance... nice to see an American monastery venture into brewing, however, this beer doesn't stand out much (maybe if they used De Dolle's yeast :)...)... make a darker beer, then get back to me (1,382 characters)

Photo of Botulizard
4.71/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Beer #200. Poured into a snifter/goblet type glass.

A: Apricot colored with a large, off-white head and a large amount of lacing. Small amount of white sediment floating around, with more collected at the bottom of the glass.

S: Sweet and fruity. Peach, apricot, and slight banana notes. Very pleasant and typical of the style.

T: Very much like the smell. Candy sweet and a bit fruity. Slightly bitter on the finish and aftertaste.

M: Light and refreshing, not too heavy on the carbonation. A bit sticky on the sweetness, but not too much.

O: A very good example of the style. This beer would not be out of place among its native Belgian counterparts. Here's hoping that the brothers at Saint Joseph's have started a strong Trappist brewing tradition here in the USA. (773 characters)

Photo of gr0g
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Golden amber hue, hazy with a little sediment. Very nice head formation and retention, lacing the glass nicely. Yeasty phenols hit the nose first followed by fruit notes. Golden raisins and dates are evident, as is a bit of ripe banana.

Flavor profile is dry, mildly bitter, malty but subdued. The flavor components are well balanced. Relatively speaking, the malt body makes this taste more like a Biere de Garde than a Saison. Despite mentions of American hops such as Willamette and Nugget being employed, the hop character is subdued, contributing only a balancing bitterness. Mouthfeel is very pleasant; well-carbonated but not at all harsh.

This is a very solid, if unspectacular brew. The price will undoubtedly lead to hesitation (paid $18 for a 4-pack in NJ), but if it helps the Brothers succeed and expand their lineup, then it's worth it. (852 characters)

Photo of PVMT
4.31/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clean, super-fruity, a little funky and brimming with that delicious Belgian yeast. Nose is typical Belgian, but the taste is more expressive (and really carbonated). Reminiscent flavors of Orval, only better. (209 characters)

Photo of KornWallace
4.21/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Date: 11/11/14
Location: Union Plaza Liquors
Draught/Bottle: 11.2 oz Brown Bottle
Glassware: Snifter

Appearance: Orange to Golden in color. Only lightening slightly towards its edges. Unfiltered and I do see some yeast in the bottle but none poured in my glass. It's not difficult to see through the haze though. Big pillowy carbonation head that pours at more then two fingers tall and stays. Fantastic head, any sort of jostling of the glass seems to replenish it.
Aroma: "Oh Wow!" Is my first thought. Big fruity flavors strike me from the yeast. Smells of banana, cherry, clove maybe a hint of clementine. A pretty nice sweetness as well, not quite candi sugar but something close. Bready and sweet malts worm there way in the background.
Taste:The fruit aromas become more zest like in flavor. More bitter and stronger. The sugar sweetness really balances out the fruit and along with the biscuity/bready malts make up the second phase of the beers tasting. The finish moves back to the orange again and some big yeasty flavors.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied comprised of many esters and phenols dancing on the tongue thanks to the medium high to high amount if carbonation.

Notes: Be careful when pouring the beer the carbonation is very aggressive in its initial foaming. I'm really grateful for the opportunity to try this beer. The monks did a very good job and it's great to see America's first Trappist brewery has the ability to succeed and thrive. (1,462 characters)

Photo of deg
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

The beer foamed when I opened the bottle. I had quite a mess. I poured the remaining beer into a chalice. I like the amber color. I like the smell, some bready notes, some spice, and some citrus. The taste is good too. Spice, orange citrus, bread. The beer is easy drinking, there's no cloying flavors and it is a bit dry. I'd rate the beer higher, but I was unimpressed with the beer foaming all over my counter when I opened the bottle. (446 characters)

Photo of timontheroad
4.31/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Golden yellow, nice two finger frothy head, very nice lacing and retention. Aroma was top-notch, with cloves, banana, bready yeast and some wonderful Belgian funk. The flavor was outstanding, with some cloves, a bit of citrus taste and those wonderful yeasty notes. Mouthfeel was medium bodied, somewhat dry, nice carbonation. Overall, the monks at Spencer Abbey's prayers were answered- and likewise mine! To be able to brew one of only a handful of Trappist brews on the planet is quite an accomplishment! (507 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
3.4/5  rDev -15.8%

Pours a one finger cream head that fades very slowly leaving traces of lace. Hazy pale amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Belgian yeast nose and flavor is yeast, cloves and bready. $2.99 for a 12oz bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma. (257 characters)

Photo of NinjaJesus
4.75/5  rDev +17.6%

Fantastic! What a great beer. Expensive but well worth it. With a light wheat-y base and notes of darker fruit in the background, this beer is awesome. I would highly recommend it and as a citizen of Massachusetts I am so proud this comes from my state. Hunt this down and try it, outstanding. (293 characters)

Photo of mikeg67
4/5  rDev -1%

11.2 oz bottle. Pours hazy-orange with long lasting, foamy, white head and nice lacing. Aroma is of funky yeast, pale malt, and ripe fruit. Body is full and crisp. Funky, spicy yeast, bready malt, floral hops and ripe fruit fill the mouth. Finish is long, semidry and spicy. Very nice brew, more hoppy than other Trappists IMO. (333 characters)

Photo of MWilcox20
4/5  rDev -1%

I don't know too much about Belgian Pales but this is definitely one of the better ones Ive had. Has a ton of that spiciness you'd expect and Is very fizzy and dry. Taste a little orange and banana and some other fruit notes. Very enjoyable and very glad that America now has a Trappist offering! (296 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On-tap 8/14/2014 at Doherty’s Ale House in Warwick, RI, served in a tapered pint glass.

A: The beer is a light golden brown color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains strong Belgian yeast, caramelized malts along with touches of spices, bananas and other fruits.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, bananas, apples and spices. Then some breadiness comes in from flavors of Belgian yeast and a hearty malt character. The hops presence is mild but creates a very good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet then somehow transitions into a nice mild tartness.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

O: Tasty and very complex, goes down quite easily, not too filling, decent kick, very good representation of style, this is a very solid and flavorful beer to drink for a long time. (932 characters)

Photo of Flounder57
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a goblet at the Union Brewhouse in Weymouth.

Appearance: A one finger billowy head was poured that slowly reduced to a thin layer. It is a slightly hazy pale yellow with some vision of bubbles coming up through the glass. Nice lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Spice, vanilla, clove, loaf of bread, and banana.

Taste: A nice blend of above mentioned flavors with some slight bitterness in the rear.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, very enjoyable, a little dry, some bitterness, medium bodied, and low carbonation.

Overall: Very enjoyable brew. Will be looking forward to more of these in the future. (624 characters)

Spencer Trappist Ale from Spencer Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 149 ratings.