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St. Vrain Tripel - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
St. Vrain TripelSt. Vrain Tripel

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

227 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 227
Reviews: 94
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 12.8%
Wants: 3
Gots: 16 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Tripel |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: cbl2 on 10-15-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 227 | Reviews: 94 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A way too sweet Belgian, thanks Jon for bringing. Sweetish smell, tons of malts. Triple gone too sweet. Sweet tupello honey, abve average mouthfeel. Not very complex. A little too sweet for palate and drinkbility.There is a drop of hops there, its Styrian Golding, but you need to get past this mounatin of cloying sweetness.

Sammy, Aug 09, 2008
Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

djrn2, Jul 12, 2013
Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev +6.7%

zestar, Jul 29, 2014
Photo of Thorpe429
2.98/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes. On tap at the brewery in August 2009.

Pours a very hazy golden color with a slight white head and lacing, though nowhere where this should be at with the style. The nose is a bit spicy with some light fruit and alcohol. There's a bit of fruit in the taste as well as yeast and spice, but a bit plain. Quite a bit boozy in the feel. Drinks alright, but I prefer their hoppy stuff.

Thorpe429, Nov 14, 2010
Photo of Texasfan549
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%

Texasfan549, Aug 30, 2013
Photo of kjkinsey
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

kjkinsey, Jul 31, 2013
Photo of BEERchitect
3.49/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

To commemorate the early trade route along the Rocky Mountain waterways, Left Hand chooses a charming and sweetish Belgian-style Tripel that hides its strength deceptively well.

With a creamy pour, the ale settles into a hazy gold hue. Strong carbonation fuels a creamy white head to sit atop the beer's body. Solid lace and retention sing the praises of its Belgian roots, but I expected more of a champagne-type exuberance and rocky foam stance that's, instead, simple mild in character.

Sweet bready malts provide a scent of crackers and honey before floral hops and fruit esters give impressions of honeysuckle, lemon, apple and banana. A balance of citrus and clove give a soft peppery character to round out the beer's aroma.

To taste, its the honey and dough flavors that greet the early palate while the fruit and spice interplay carries the balance throughout the taste. Expecting more of a wine-like acidity and rustic Belgian earthiness, this more timid example prefers a simplified palate instead of the more complex tones of those from Belgium. Finishing malty-dry and with a linger of banana and clove, I begin to taste a lot of German Hefeweizen influence in this glass.

Medium bodied, the carbonation keeps the beer creamy and feeling a bit fuller than the expressive Trappist versions. Its effervescent tone slowly fades as the full taste of residual sweetness lingers delightfully on the tongue. The beer closes warm and lightly spicy but nowhere near the alcohol level mentioned.

As the last few sips are taken, it's clear that this Tripel shares the same fate as many Belgian-inspired, American-attempted example of the style. It lacks the depth and complexity, or the champagne carbonation and the dryness of authentic Belgian versions. It's kind of a Tripel on training wheels.

BEERchitect, Jul 13, 2013
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.38/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Resplendent clover honey with sprinklings of yeast falling slowly in a downward direction and fine bubbles racing rapidly in an upward direction. I keep hoping that some American brewer will figure out how to create a Belgian-style head on their Belgian-style beer. This one comes closer than most. The cap is rich ivory in color and has a surface that looks like torn French bread. Unfortunately, some of that initial magic is lost on subsequent pours.

The nose pretty much nails the style. There's an abundant amount of pear nectar and spicy clove, neither one overpowering the other. Another great feature is that alcohol is virtually absent; quite a feat for such a high-ABV beer. My hopes are rising by the minute.

One of my first thoughts is that Left Hand has done a more than credible job with St. Vrain Tripel. Outside of the mighty Allagash (who I'd put in the same category with Belgium's best), there aren't a lot of outstanding tripels floating around out there in the U.S. of A. I'm not ready to bestow greatness on this one, but at least it tastes authentic.

A prodigious amount of pale malt and a hefty amount of candi sugar give the beer the rock solid backbone that is essential whenever a tripel is being constructed. Given the delicious sun-ripened fruitiness (golden apples, buttery pears, ripe bananas... bubble gum) and the warm spiciness of ground clove, I have to believe the brewery got ahold of a true Belgian yeast strain. I'm not a brewer, but I'm guessing that it's next to impossible to brew a good tripel without kick-ass yeast.

As in the nose, alcohol is superbly masked. So much so that I'm gulping faster than I should be if I intend to make any sense from here on out. The mouthfeel probably won't remind anyone of Tripel Karmeliet, but it's plenty good in its own right. A healthy number of bubbles work behind the scenes (thank goodness) to lighten what might have been an overly sticky beer.

I'm impressed and am becoming more impressed as the ounces pass. I have no idea if Left Hand plans to release any of the 'Big Mo' beers again, but I vote for Smoke Jumper Smoked Imperial Porter and St. Vrain Tripel to be regular releases. Seasonal releases at the very least. Nice job guys. Keep 'em coming.

BuckeyeNation, Aug 01, 2007
Photo of ygtbsm94
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%

ygtbsm94, Jul 20, 2014
Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

jaydoc, Dec 14, 2013
Photo of kylehay2004
3.75/5  rDev 0%

kylehay2004, Aug 17, 2013
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours out a hazy, straw-hued body with a thinnish, white head. Very thin streaks of lacing on the way down.

Smell: Sweetish, pilsner malt-laden nose with plenty of fruity notes to be had and as well as a flash of alcohol and crisp graininess.

Taste: Pale and pilsener malts with a fair amount of candy-like, honeyish sweetness and a faint background graininess. Enter in a rich, full mix of fruit flavors: peaches, apples, pears, and, upon warming, a touch of tart lemon. Spicy, lightly earthy hop character with a mild bitterness. Slight yeastiness. Traces of warming peppery alcohol throughout. Semi-dry, warming finish with a lingering taste of spiced apple juice.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: A fine, fairly enjoyable tripel and a nice beer overall. While I would say there are better tripels to be had, I will also say this one is still worth taking a look at.

ChainGangGuy, Aug 08, 2009
Photo of zeff80
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a slightly hazy, golden-yellow color with a one finger, white head of foam. It left some sticky trails of lace.

S - It smelled spicy and yeasty with a good grain aroma.

T - Nice grain flavor with sweet caramel. It had a good spicy flavor with some clove.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a warm alcohol presence.

D - This is a pretty tasty tripel. Another solid brew from Left Hand.

zeff80, Oct 19, 2010
Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Left Hand's St. Vrain Tripel pours a clear, golden-brass colored body beneath a short but creamy head of bright white foam. The retention is very good, bolstered by steadily teeming bubbles from beneath, and the lacing is quite nice with mostly solid walls of creamy white lace.

In the nose it's malty with a fruity side that gathers together soft summer berries and freshly sliced apples (hmmm,... La Chouffe yeast?). There's a light maltiness to it, and it's softly sweet with a mild edge of fruit and vanilla.

In the mouth it's lightly tingly and then moderately creamy-smooth with a medium body and gently effervescent carbonation.

The flavor expresses delicate fruit upfront, surrounded by soft malt with a vanilla-cream side. As it warms the malt becomes more prominent, but some spicy alcohol also steps in. It doesn't linger, but it immediately scrubs away the malty/fruity sweetness into a dry and (alcohol) spicy finish. Suddenly refreshed, the palate is again ready for another sip!

Overall, it's very nice, refreshing, and, to at least some extent interesting. But it lacks depth of flavor and complexity in comparison with the best from Belgium and America. Certainly worthy of trying, and very enjoyable, but not stunning.

NeroFiddled, Jan 03, 2007
Photo of nickfl
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with one finger of white foam on top of a clear, golden body. The head settles rapidly and leaves little lace.

S - A light aroma a bready malt with some spicy yeast notes of anise, clove, and pepper. Light fruit in the background, pineapple and vanilla.

T - Lightly sweet, biscuit like malt up front with a light note of yeasty pepper. More yeast character comes out in the middle with pineapple, pear, and peach notes. The doughy malt dominates the finish with light bitterness and more of the peach yeast character. Lingering notes of malt and anise.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - This beer has a nice aroma, but it doesn't follow through in the flavor. There is a nice combination of fruit and spice in the nose, but it becomes more one dimensional in the mouth. The beer is lacking seriously in carbonation for the style and finishes a bit sweet which may indicate incomplete bottle conditioning; this bottle was in the store for at least two weeks before I bought it and these is a healthy layer of sediment on the bottom so I doubt it is going to get any more carbonated than it is now. This lack of carbonation, combined with a weak hop bitterness and nearly non-existent hop flavor, leave the beer feeling flabby and dull on the palate when compared to better executed examples of the style. It is really a shame considering how nice it smells, but these relatively minor flaws make this beer much less enjoyable than it could have been.

nickfl, Sep 07, 2010
Photo of Jason
3.75/5  rDev 0%

Jason, Nov 26, 2013
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.11/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Cloudy golden body with a full upright white head leaving fine speckled lacing behind. Aroma is honey biscuit malts with a barrage of earthiness, delicate floral, and spice notes....it's amazing it literally makes women want to stop shaving their armpits. A hippie pleasure in glass form excellent beer if you ask anybody especially women. Flavor consists of bready yeast and abundant spice notes excellent across multiple sources, filled with spicy honey rich biscuit malts sweeter than most but again it's great tasting. Mouthfeel is medium to light bodied higher carbonation with flowing sweet barley that raises the brows without difficulty. Overall it's a beer many will enjoy but few find as pleasure full as this beer is. God bless St. Vrain and her story behind her sainthood.

WVbeergeek, Jul 31, 2013
Photo of russpowell
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up in Joplin in early spring, 2009 batch (Capped bomber)

Pours an effervescent & chill-hazed honey color with a finger of pearl white head. Stays hazy, above average head retention & good lacing

S: Mown grass & faint green apple

T: Golden delicious apples, grassyness, lemons & juicyfruit up front. More of the same as this warms, with some booze lurking in the background, along with some grapefruit, but a bit too much juicyfruit for me, plus a bit of tartness & peach. Finishes semi-dry & sweet, with bits of lemon, banana, candi sugar, pink grapefruit, peach, & tartness

MF: Medium bodied, moderate carbonation, a bit of irritating chalkiness too

Drinks alright, but not a shining example of the style IMO. At least the ABV is well hidden, this just lacks depth & complexity

russpowell, Aug 21, 2009
Photo of mactrail
3.86/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear rich yellow color in the Kasteel chalice. Nicely carbonated with a pure white head and lots of zing in the mouth, but not much lacing in the glass. Fragrant nose of apples and pears. Some cider notes in the flavor as well. This is quite a tart Tripel, with less sugar and mellowness than you often find in this style.

There seems to be a touch of hops though the bitterness at the finish is more yeasty. This doesn't start out very sweet, and it heads toward the dry side as you sip. The Belgian character is restrained, though there is just a whiff of the barnyard to add a little complexity. Light bodied but powerful.

A zingy and very sippable Tripel. It makes me think of a dry Sherry. From the 22 oz bottle bought at Bottleworks in Seattle.

mactrail, Jan 15, 2014
Photo of WesWes
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a hazy pale gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a nice pale malt scent along with a light earthy yeast aroma. It appears light and hides the alcohol well. The taste is decent also. It has a dry, earthy pale malt and Belgian yeast taste. It goes down easy and finishes a bit warm with some residual malt sweetness. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking beer. It's not the best tripel on the market, but it's well done and deserving of a try.

WesWes, Nov 28, 2007
Photo of MarkyMOD
4/5  rDev +6.7%

MarkyMOD, Aug 04, 2013
Photo of jwc215
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 bottle-conditioned - 750 ml cage-corked bottle:

Pours golden with a white head that flattens to a thin, lasting cover. Some lacing sticks to glass.

The smell is of orange/lemon peel with herbal notes and some graininess.

The taste is of grainy malt with herbal, somewhat medicinal notes. Orange peel lends a fruitiness. Candy sugar and alcohol impart a sweetness that is balanced by the herbal notes from a gentle touch of hops (Styrian Golding). Drying, peppery alcohol is in the finish.

The feel is light-to-medium bodied, with some effervescent carbonation, especially in the first half.

Something about it made the first half better than the second. I do recommend gentle decanting to leave brewer's yeast in the bottle.

A nice interpretation of the style, with quite a bit of complexity to it.

jwc215, Feb 19, 2008
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.38/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Draft Sample @ 1702, Tucson AZ; August 2009
This beer arrives from the tap with a n apparent brisk carbonation yet no head to speak of. The beer is a light gold color and is stunningly brilliantly clear; the lack of carbonation and the color make it look like cider. The beer somehow smells dry with some light fruitiness up front, an earthy / spicy note (coriander'ish) and some dry pear aromas. AS it warms up some tart green apple notes, a touch of pickled ginger, ample clove notes and estery higher alcohols become more noticeable.

The beer tastes sweeter than the aroma suggested, though it is certainly not overly sweet; the sweetness is certainly accentuated by notes of higher alcohols and a clove like spiciness in the finish. There is lots of earthy spiciness to this brew that makes me think it was fermented with a Chimay derived strain of yeast; this always reminds me of dirty coriander and not in a good way. The beer is actually quite dry (the sweetness is more of an accent of the esters than of actual malt sweetness, but there are still some apparent fruit notes to this beer; lightly tart, floral pear notes and some green apple towards the finish are noticeable. A light, but prickly carbonation accentuates the spicy notes found in this beer; peppery notes mix with the phenolics and the turpene like notes really linger on the tongue, even numbing it a bit. Maybe a hint of orange zest becomes noticeable as this beer warms up. This has very little malt character to it, even for a Tripel; it is so clean it almost seems more like a Duvel inspired beer (though the dirty Chimay yeast makes this a definite deviation). This is light bodied and highly quaffable, which I do usually prefer in my Belgian inspired beers.

This beer is not bad, but it is fairly forgettable.

Gueuzedude, Sep 03, 2009
Photo of kojevergas
3.23/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with colorful vibrant label art and branded white/red pry-off pressure cap acquired at me local HEB Grocery and served into an Avery stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average given the brewery, whose milk stout I quite enjoy. 2013 Vintage. Best by: 05/20/16. 9.3% ABV according to my bottle/ "Enjoy at 45-50 degrees F in a goblet." , Reviewed as a tripel because it clearly identifies as such.

Served cold - straight from me fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as I pour.

Pours a half finger wide head of white colour. Decent thickness. Subpar creaminess. Head retention is poor - about 40 seconds, unless you count the floater ring, which lingers maybe a minute longer. No lacing forms naturally, but I can get some to stick to the sides of the glass by tilting it.

Body colour is a transparent translucent yellow of high vibrance. No yeast particles are visible. It's lighter in colour than most beers I've seen in the style, and may be one of the lightest tripels I've ever seen.

Overall, there are no egregious flaws. It's not unique or special. I'm looking forward to trying it.

Sm: Hmm - surprisingly appealing, actually. Soft (maybe clove) honey, Belgian pale malts, clean barley, straw, herbal notes I can't quite place (actual herbs, not hop-derived herb notes) - maybe something in the mint family?, floral hops, clove, pear fruit, nectar, assorted vague orchard fruits, and cidery character. Plenty of sweetness here. Some spice.

No yeast character or alcohol is detectable. I'm surprised; even ~8% ABV (American-brewed) tripels often seem boozy.

Some might criticize it for seeming too cidery - or at least too redolent of apple juice - but I find it appealing, if nontraditional. A pleasant aroma of average strength for the style.

T/Mf: Orchard fruit: luscious orchard green and yellow apples along with accompanying cidery notes and esters. Hints of peach and pear. The body is refreshingly light and crisp on the palate, with clean smacky Belgian pale malts joining with spritzy crystal malts and sweet clove honey for an interesting mix. Has a kiss of white pepper as well as some clove, but I have trouble identifying the other spices here. Honeysuckle. Hints of lemon. Clean barley. A bit more acidic than I expected, but the effect is nice. As it warms, more of the clean high attenuation yeast begins to come through, evoking some banana but little else; I'm not convinced the yeast used was Belgian (or tripel, for that matter). Digging a bit deeper, I begin to trick myself I'm picking up some white grape grapeskin. Plenty of golden malts. It's certainly on the sweeter side; there's no real hop bitterness at all, and what modest hop character there is here is almost entirely floral, with some complementary fruity hops as well.

It has a warmth which is hardly noticeable, and which I'd call pleasant. I don't find any of the mint which I picked up in the aroma, and I think that's a good thing. There are no off-flavours.

In fairness, it's one of the more complex American brewed tripels I can remember having in quite some time. The dryness and refined crispness of a more intricate tripel is missing here, but the smooth wet mouthfeel here is just fine. It does dry towards the climax in a more traditional manner, which really helps the texture. It's highly carbonated; bottle conditioning would really help this. I like the cidery crispness even if it isn't quite up to par for a tripel.

The beer could use more subtlety. It's nicely balanced for how much is happening, but the best tripels definitely have a better balance. It's very cohesive, but not gestalt. An interesting build for a tripel which flirts with cider, Belgian pale ale, and even hefeweizen profiles.

Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour. Traditional Belgian & Trappist offerings certainly have more depth, but this is pretty decent for an American tripel.

Good presence on the palate for what it is. Nice body. Kind of refreshing. Texture suits the flavour profile nicely, but is by no means custom-tailored to the taste.

Not oily, creamy, astringent, harsh, boozy, gushed, or rough. Unrefreshing.

Dr: Quite drinkable for the high ABV, which is pretty decently hidden. It's not a world class tripel by any means, but it's pretty nice stuff for an American-brewed offering. I wouldn't get it again, but my meagre expectations were exceeded. I'll have to give Left Hand a bit more attention going forward. Maybe they aren't a one-trick pony. I wouldn't recommend it to friends explicitly, but as I'm from Colorado I'd probably tell local friends it's one of the better tripels in the state.

C+

kojevergas, Nov 13, 2013
Photo of Gavage
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: fairly clear yellowish orange in color sporting a spotty surface foam, even with a vigorous pour.

Smell: yeast, candy sweetness, and hints of pepper.

Taste: yeast is quite noticeable here. Pears, green grapes, hints of tart citrus, sweet sugar, mild bitterness, pepper, and touch of alcohol make up an average tatsting belgian styled tripel. Very dry overall. The flavor components just aren't tied together here.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp and dry at the start, smoooth and dry at the finish. Aftertaste is long on the candy sweetness and yeast tones.

Drinkability: so-so beer and a bit of a disappointment. You can pass on this one and not miss anything.

Gavage, Jan 30, 2007
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St. Vrain Tripel from Left Hand Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 227 ratings.