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St. Vrain Tripel - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
St. Vrain TripelSt. Vrain Tripel

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very good

226 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 226
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: 226 | Reviews: 94 | Display Reviews Only:
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 NCBeernut
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Hazy golden color with chunks of yeast that eventually settle to the bottom of my tulip glass. Spicy and a bit fruity yeastiness and candied sugars work well together and just about completely cover the alcohol. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Very drinkable for 9%.

NCBeernut, Dec 07, 2007
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 briman
2.5/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Served from bottle into standard pint glass.

Pours a light-to-medium golden amber color. Crystal clear. Over a two inch fluffy white head, exellent retention, settling into decent lacing.

Aroma is sweet, some fruits, bready, and definately a candy like character, though, I can't decide if it's cotton candy or more like a really sweet toffee. Some vanilla in there as well.

With all the aromas, I was expecting something different. All I get is a soured fruit dominance, flowing all the way through to a almost sour & puckering bitter aftertaste. That couples with an obvious alcohol contribution.

Medium body, high carbonation...fizzy going in the glass. Tough to get a feel for the balance, and even harder to separate out the flavors. What I get in the aroma is nothing like what I get in the taste. Honestly, this one just doesn't work for me...the flavor and alcohol just don't mesh well in what I consider and enjoyable way. It's disagreeable enough that I can't even appreciate it for it's complexity. Not Lefthand's best effort.

briman, Nov 16, 2007
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 StargherKing
3.13/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

After reading the reviews on this one I wasn't sure, but I REALLY wanted that bottle, so I went ahead and gave it a shot. Pours a very hazy gold (almost orange) with large flakes of yeast floating throughout. A friend trying it with me actually described it as looking like "Cinnamon Toast Beer". That being said, it IS a belgian tripel, so I wasn't too surprised. There was a little fluffy head, not too much, that settled down and stuck around in a thin disc throughout. The smell was sweet, maybe just a little hint of a sour aroma, with pear and grape, some apple, and a bit of spice (just a bit). The taste followed very closely, with pear and apple coming through, a bit more of a sour note, and an almost cloying sweetness, with the spice kicking in at the end. Honestly after reading the reviews I wasn't expecting it to be nearly as rich as it was. Mouthfeel was good, crisp and smooth at the same time, not thin but not oily at all. Drinkability was pretty low for me. Between the richness and high ABV I was barely able to finish my glass. Luckily, my fiance seemed to enjoy it quite a bit. I wouldn't recommend against this one, but for me I think I'll stick with DT and Fin until I find something else.

StargherKing, Jul 27, 2007
Photo of ArrogantB
3.03/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at FR, clear golden color that could be mistaken for a Budweiser, the head was sparse and white. The smell was a very light spiciness. The taste was bland at first and then a little alcohol and some spice. This was the blandest Belgian beer I have ever had. This one was a letdown but I was glad I had it on tap instead of forking over the 11$ for a 750ml.

ArrogantB, Jul 23, 2007
Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a hazy, light gold with a small white cap that slowly fades out. Streaky lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of pear, peach, pineapple, light melon, dough, and orange.
Taste is of the tropical mix mentioned in the aromas with a touch of vanilla and spice coming through with the yeast to make for some interesting flavors.
Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied, sweet up front, yeasty with tropical flavors and pear hanging on to the semi-dry finish.

weeare138, Jul 19, 2007
Photo of bort11
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to TexIndy for this one.

22 oz bomber poured into a goblet. Nice active white head that leaves an attractive lace on the glass. Clear golden yellow color with active carbonation streamers.
Smell is sweet with pear and lemon fruit notes. Taste follows smell very well.
Mouthfeel is light and effervescent. Very smooth and refreshing.
I'm a little buzzed in reviewing this. I would like to come back and do a more detailed review.

bort11, Apr 29, 2007
Photo of cabsandking
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an attractive golden, a hair shy of crystal clarity, and a white champagne head that reduces far too quickly. Good fruity aroma of pear, lemon, apple, and other notes of rock candy and alcohol esters. The taste is pretty typical of a tripel with a yeasty sourness, apple and lemon pucker, and towards the end some hops and spice complexities. Sugar sweetness is not overpowering and with a relatively low alcohol burn allows it to be very drinkable. Dry and bitter towards the end. Full body, slick mouthfeel, and high carbonation that’s on the low end for a tripel. An delicious spiciness lingers into the finish with some leftover fruity pucker.

cabsandking, Apr 26, 2007
Photo of chadspivey
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a light golden yellow with a one finger white head. Leaves a really nice lacing. 4.5

S: Belgian and pale. crisp. Hints of Citrus fruits. 4

T: floral hops. Belgian yeast. 4.5

M: Not bad. Crisp for a belgian. 4

D: VERY drinkable for 9 percent. This is a dangerous beer. 4.5

A very drinkable and smooth 9% tripel.... worth it to try a couple times, but very overpriced.

chadspivey, Apr 11, 2007
Photo of beertastegood
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy yellow-gold, with a fluffy two-finger head. Moderate retention (might be my chalice) with slight lacing.

Aroma: Spicy up front, with a cotton-candy sweetness and a soft pear-like fruitiness as well. Hints of vanilla. Slight lemon-like citrus aroma, floral hops. Ethanol is present - almost, but not quite hot.

Taste: Flowery hops followed by a strong peppery kick, a yeast-derived tang, a soft almost grainy malt sweetness, and a warming alcohol flavor. Fades into a spicy finish with the emphasis on the yeast notes, and a slight grassy hop flavor at the end.

Mouthfeel: medium-full body with a slickness from the alcohol, medium carbonation (could be higher, but still OK). Finishes dry yet with the alcohol slick on the tongue.

Drinkability: Pretty good - I don't throw back high-gravity Belgians, but as they go this is a good beer to slake your thirst with.

Overall: Solid, above-average Belgian tripel. It is not quite as deep or complex as some of the "authentic" Belgian tripels, but all the correct characteristics are there - for an American-brewed Belgian, this is a damn good beer.

beertastegood, Apr 05, 2007
Photo of ppoitras
4.38/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle purchased at Julio's, Westboro, MA. Corked and caged.

Poured in a heavy glass chalice, formed a 3/4" white head over the clear dark golden brew. Head holds on valiantly, with moderate delicate white lacing. Aroma is sweet pale malts with spicy yeast character. Taste follows along, being remarkably evenly balanced between the sweet and the spicy, offsetting each other nicely. Close shows glints of those flavors, as well as light warmth and a glimpse of alcohol. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both excellent as well. Worth your time and money.

ppoitras, Apr 01, 2007
Photo of jordanmills
4.13/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 into a large snifter. Comes out golden and opaque, thick with yeast even after letting it settle, not much carbonation or foam. It smells sweet and yeasty, almost like fresh bread. It tastes sweet with a little bit of spice and a lot of malt. Like a tripel should, imagine that. Feels fairly light on the tongue, but has a lasting smooth finish. It's a great beer, but I'd go for variety.

jordanmills, Mar 12, 2007
Photo of Braudog
4.5/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Happy St Valentines Day to me as I celebrate with this 750ml bottle of St Vrain, for which I heaped out $16. After de-corking the nice painted bottle, I poured a textbook Tripel. Golden orange with a medium activity level, the tiny carbonation rising to an ever present if thin foam topping. I can get a whiff of the aroma from 2 feet away as I type ... yeasty and bready. As I sip it here at my desk, I revel in the nice honey-nectar sweetness that’s countered with just a hint of dry finish. This hits the spot tonight. (#2702, 2/14/2007)

Braudog, Feb 14, 2007
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
Photo of cheers2beers
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: From a 750ml bottle this beer poured a very murky apple juice shade with a bright white head that stacked up roughly about two fingers high. Many columns of bead can be found within my glass floating vigorously to the top.

Smell: The aromas are filled with lots of aromatic fruits and a fresh baked bread. Lemons play a great role in the aroma as well. This beer produces a typical Belgian yeasty aroma that I tend to find in Tripels and Quads.

Taste: A sweetness at first, from the nonagressive fruits and a slight alcohol sting settles you in for a delightfull bready middle and finish. The alcohol almost seems masked but then again you know it is there. This brew in my opinion is quite quaffable.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with high amounts of carbonation. Smooth bubblely feel throughout. Leaves a small film on the back of the tongue, not a bad thing perhaps something to say " forget me not".

Drinkability: I think in my opinion it is a little too sweet to be hardcore quaffable, but I could put down a few of them. what do you think? Go get one to try i'm sure you will like it.


cheers2beers, Jan 22, 2007
Photo of TexIndy
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Chimay snifter. The front label (painted) had a cool design and the back label (also painted) had a story on who St. Vrain was and what went into the beer. Label also noted that was 2006 Bottle Conditioned. The color was a light golden/brass. The head was a foamy 1/4 inch that turned into a consistent thin top that remained throughout and was feed by a constant stream of bubbles from the bottom. The aroma was nice and malty with a spicy sweetness in there as well. It's listed at 9% ABV but it does not taste alcoholish unlike some Tripels that I've had recently - pretty well balanced. The taste is very good but not overpoweringly awesome like Allagash which is still my favorite and top rated Tripel. With that said, this is still top 3 for Tripels. As it warms the flavors develop even more and go nicely with the warming from the alcohol. Good creamy, bubbly mouthfeel as well. Highly recommend especially if you like the style. Another excellent offering from a great brewery. Will cellar a couple and try again as they age. (4.5, RR, T, Y)

TexIndy, Jan 20, 2007
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 benito
3/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Leadville Liquors has been dutifully stocking this on the top shelf for the last few months. I promised myself that I wouldn't break down and buy it (at $10.99), but that I'd wait to make a trip to Longmont to try it at the brewery. But, time and a need for a good beer pairing undid my will power.

A: Cloudy and champagne-like. It looks like a wit.

S: Lots of bubblegum and candy sugar. Not much else to speak of.

T: Very sweet upfront with the drying finish that I'd expect. The flavors are straightforward--again, candy sugar into light pepper--and somewhat pedestrian.

M and D: Medium-bodied with no sign of the ABV poking through. It's quenching and easy to drink.

Overall, this is a passable, though unexceptional and very straightforward interpretation of a trippel. I wouldn't object to having this again, but I would never buy it--especially at the exorbitant price Left Hand is charging. There is at least one exceptional tripel (New Belgium's) that I can get more of for less money all over Colorado. Try it, if someone else is buying it. Otherwise, take a pass.

Like the Twin Sisters DIPA, this is an underwhelming beer to market as part of the "Big Mo" series. Hopefully the smoked porter will be better.

benito, Dec 25, 2006
Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a pretty clear orangish golden with a traditional persistent white head that keep pouring from the center of the glass. The head is still persistent and leaves some heavy lace on the glass after drinking and swirling. This is a very good looking Tripel.

Aroma: I initially got a dry biscuity aroma that was quickly overtaken by a lemon aroma. The aroma is really clean and true to style. It has a noticeable citrus presence along with a subtle spicy note. I don't get any warming in the nose.

Taste: The flavor is pretty good, but a bit disappointing to me after the aroma. It comes across as a bit watery and doesn't have the light mouthfeel that you usually get with this style. There is a subtle warming that comes in late in the finish, and sticks around with you for a while. I can say that the water is clean and doesn't weight you down as is really easy to do for this style. The flip side of this is that it comes across the palate as a bit watery. I do get a bit of sweetness that gives me a subtle syrupy feeling on the back of the throat and it gives me a bit of a lingering impression of a light caramel to hang out with the heat from the alcohol.

Opinion: I really think that this is probably the best offering from Left Hand yet. I really enjoy their Imperial Stout as well as others. The nose of this beer is spot on in that it gives you the anticipation of a refreshing but aggressive Tripel, but the mouthfeel detracts from this beer for me as much as anything. It has a good flavor, and retains its head very well, so maybe I am just out of calibration since I haven't reviewed a beer in a few weeks. I would certainly recommend this beer, and I would try it again. I would say that Allagash is still the best Tripel made in the US, but this one is certainly top notch.

SkeeterHawk, Dec 23, 2006
Photo of cbl2
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/17/2006 $12.99 750 mL 9.00% 2006 Bottle Conditioned.


Pours a hazy peach/brown with a thin film of white wisp on top.


Hints of sweet pineapple, black pepper and just a touch of alcohol.


Fresh tropical fruit with Belgian candied sugar sweetness apparent, as well as the spicyness of black pepper. A hint of hot alcohol in the finish.

A very nice representation of the style. Part of Left Hand's "Big Mo' Beers" series, named after the St. Vrain River, located to the west of their brewery.

cbl2, Dec 17, 2006
Photo of scruffwhor
2.85/5  rDev -24%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours a more clear than hazey or cloudy, muted sunshine. Not a lot of bubbles or head for a tripel. A little lacing slinks off the glass slowly. The light aroma of honey and fruits and very subtle. Had to strain to get any definite aromas. The taste was also on the bland side, but did have some more of that standard tripel tastes that I enjoy. Light sugary fruit, hints of honey and some watery caramel. With the lack of carbonation, the palate lacked that pop I expect from a tripel.

scruffwhor, Dec 01, 2006
Photo of allengarvin
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First of all, Left Hand needs to do something about their corking crowns. They're twisted very tight and are made of poor-quality metal. Mine broke off after 3 twists. I looked around for 15 minutes for a pair of pliers, before I gave up and went down to my car to get one from the tool box.

After that, poured into a chalice glass, this is a hazy yellow color with a somewhat limpid head. Aroma is quite fruity, a touch citrusy. A lot of yeast character at first taste, a clovy, medicinal phenolic flavor with a fruity, apple-skin flavor. Somewhat tart, with moderately high bitterness and a dry, peppery finish. Plenty of carbonation expand the mouthfeel despite the lightness of the body.

This beer doesn't do much for me, though tripels are one of my favorite styles. The flavors don't balance well. It's a bit too phenolic.

allengarvin, Nov 28, 2006
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the chalice lightly hazy pale golden straw with a frothy white head which rose tall and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was fruity with a strong banana when first poured and as the head grew. After the initial flashoff the aroma became lightly fruity with a moderate spice presence of pepper. A sweetness was noticeable in the aroma through the moussy head, but not a strong presence.

The flavor was lightly sweet at first on the palate with a moderate level of fruit character and a similar level of spice. The spice was pepper and a bit of light clove. The flavor also contained a light citrusy fruit and some subdued banana esters.

The finish was dry with a light lasting pepper and fruit into the aftertaste and fading into the final incantation of the finish. The body was medium with a fairly high level of carbonation and an extremely creamy mouthfeel. No appreciable presence of alcohol was notable except for a bit in the warming after consumption. A very fruity tripel.

750 ml corked and bailed bottle.

GCBrewingCo, Nov 25, 2006
St. Vrain Tripel from Left Hand Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 226 ratings.