Spencer Trappist Ale - Spencer Brewery

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Spencer Trappist AleSpencer Trappist Ale

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851 Ratings
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Ratings: 851
Reviews: 166
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 105
Gots: 236 | FT: 13
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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Ratings: 851 | Reviews: 166
Photo of kaiyote
4.59/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a goblet. Was a little concerned when opening the bottle produced a mild gusher, but less than 1/8 of the bottle escaped in total. I just hope the rest of the pack doesn't follow suit.

Look: Pours a beautiful hazy orange, can barely see the shadow of my hand through it. Started off with a thick, 2 finger head that has slow died back to a nice capping of foam.
Smell: Dead on for a Trappist Ale. Bananas and pepper both easily detectable.
Taste: Dead in line with the smell. Yeasty, bananas and pepper. A hint of hoppy bitterness in the aftertaste. Infinitely drinkable.
Feel: Nice carbonation, not too heavy.
Overall: Was a serious effort to get a hold of this gem where I live, but man am I glad I went to the effort (and expense). Easily one of my top 3 Trappist ales.

Photo of mactrail
3.96/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Massive foam but not a spew. Attractive amber brew with a fine-grained head. Delightful creamy mouthfeel, which somehow seems appropriate for a Belgian-style brew.

Warm and malty. This has a friendlier kind of yeasty flavor than the usual austere or overly sweet Saisons. Not any hop flavor to speak of. I'd call it more of a Belgian Single than a pale ale. But it's very much a Belgian creation and well worth a try.

From the 11.2 oz bottle purchased at Coit Liquors in San Francisco. Massive little bottles that ought to be refilled.

Photo of KVNBGRY
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Solid as hell. It's infinity drinkable.

Photo of waddellc2
3/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

not digging this one, good attempt

Photo of Justin8mypants
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Amazing. Just as good as any other Belgian I have had. Really a tremendous beer.

Photo of micropale
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Looks amazing. Smells fruity. Tastes wonderful. Feels good. Overall authentic tasting Trappist ale.

Photo of smakawhat
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

Off white and soapy head, with little retention, slightly tan perhaps that falls to a real bubbled collar. Slightly hazy with a golden orange amber appearance with an excellent amount of middle carbonation. Not bad, slightly lifeless looking a bit but otherwise ok.

Aroma is interesting. Slightly fruity nose but with a muted caramel and honey sense and almost pepper sweetness. Some mild florailty rounds out with an almost very airy toffee and a little bit of peanut butter as well. Quite nice and unique.

Real interesting palate. Lots of controlled but very bubbly carbonation. Much of that comes in the mid palate with lots of dry wine like flavors. Finishes with a big crispness and hints of honey and brown bread. Slight hints of fruit towards tropical just a bit, with a sweet mimosa like finish, hinting with pineapple, melon and just a bit of orange.

A real interesting Belgian pale ale here, really lively too on palate feel. Not mind blowing but certainly delicious and worthy for another go!

Photo of NateF90
4.14/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle foamed vigorously when uncapped although rapidly subsided when poured into a Hill Farmstead wine glass. Two finger head resolved itself within one minute to a splotchy film. Appetizing rich-amber color and haze look great on the table and in the hand. Nose is predominantly hay and pepper, not in a bad way. Taste is correct for the style, with just a whisper of funk on the finish. Excellent balance. Feels a bit light, almost weightless on the tongue, again not a bad thing. Overall, a downright excellent beer regardless of its provenance. Thoroughly enjoyed on this and past occasions. I'd love to try it on tap sometime.

Photo of djbrown13
3/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Disappointing. Weak for a trappist.

Photo of AgentMunky
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 33cL bottle into a Koningshoven chalice.

A: Hazy-dark honey-gold with flecks of yeast and an obnoxiously large head.

S: Loads of yeast, even from far off. Albeit kind of skunky. Up close it's almost a nice tripel; from far off it's whiffs of super-heineken.

T: Oh! Yum! It's very bready, with some fantastic yeast strain providing the bulk of the flavour. But that's not a complaint. I wonder if they borrowed this from Westmalle. It's crisp, biscuity, ever-so-lightly spicy, wonderfully deep, floral, fruity, and utterly enchanting. I'm damned impressed.

M: Smooth, crisp, and delicious.

O: I was simultaneously skeptical and excited about this beer. Even though I was ready to be bitterly harsh -- the skunk-esque nose didn't help -- I can't be. It's good. Damned good. Highly recommended, and I will be drinking again.

Photo of mikelavigne19
4.46/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

Photo of jbredbeard
4.41/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

Photo of simoen
2.12/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

not my kind of thee
the same rare taste like zundert trappist ale

Photo of dbrauneis
4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

Photo of ShanePB
3.12/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Not necessarily my style. Seems well made and put together though.

Photo of tastybeer
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
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!

Photo of marrisotter
3.64/5  rDev -9.7%
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...

Photo of beerfishkitedog
2.46/5  rDev -39%
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.

Photo of smaddock
3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On the front of the palate it is very sweet but the aftertaste has a bit too much yeast.

Photo of wedge
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Photo of Maxbier
4/5  rDev -0.7%

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.

Photo of MDDMD
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%

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.

Photo of DMXLOX22
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

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!

Photo of Zach136
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Photo of Pgermain12
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

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.

Spencer Trappist Ale from Spencer Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 851 ratings.