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Devil's Backbone - Real Ale Brewing Company

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Devil's Backbone
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BA SCORE
87
very good

655 Ratings
THE BROS
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 655
Reviews: 156
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 13.51%
Wants: 30
Gots: 199 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Real Ale Brewing Company visit their website
Texas, United States

Style | ABV
Tripel |  8.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Pegasus on 05-18-2005

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (43) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 655 | Reviews: 156
Photo of jtaylord
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is one mighty fine tripel.

Photo of Caj1
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I like the Real Ale brewery from the tiny town of Blanco, Texas. They are obviously dedicated to their craft and get some pretty decent results. Devil's Backbone is a good introduction to the style; it manages to be unique enough to get your attention, but not so out in left field that it's offputting. It's definitely ale and seems like it's for real.

Appearance is a nice, mellow pale golden color. Murky since it's unfiltered, but seems to have fairly good carbonation. Good 2 finger head that doesn't stick around extremely long. Has moderate lacing. Reminds me of a hefeweizen or witbier.

Smell is fruity with a good split of hop floral notes and esters like banana and nice resinous wood.

Taste is first a good wallop of spice and herbal notes like pepper and cloves and an undertone of citrusy hops. Mixed with light alcohol astringency and it makes a solid bite. Then the fruity flavors come through with another bite of spice, followed by sweetness and malty grain.

Mouthfeel is warm and a little sticky, but also very smooth and crisp.

I am not a huge fan of these sweet, malty beers because of their tendency to be a little cloying and this is no exception. However, this beer manages to strike a nice balance of fruit, spice and a touch of bitterness while still being refreshing and warming. Nice job overall. Just be careful of the buzz afterward.

Photo of PfBeerMan
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice trip please but a bit of a bitter bight, still very enjoyable.

Photo of DoctorZombies
3.12/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Murky apricot color, bright white foam and lots of carbonation. Spicy nose. Very clovey with a spicy middle; there is a malt foundation, but the clove is cloying. Medium lite mouthfeel. Just ok.

Photo of jera1350
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Spice, bubblegum and fruit with a solid bitterness at the end. Nice lacing from the golden body with a floral aroma and dry feel. Well done tripel.

Photo of Kennymack
5/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This has to be my favorite beer ever. It starts out tart and finishes creamy smooth. The coriander flavor comes through nicely. This is a perfect all year drink.

Photo of CameronBlack
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice tasting creamy Belgian wheat beer. Although on the negative side, not an appetizing smell.

Photo of Link2anthony
2/5  rDev -48.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This just straight up reminds me Budweiser with a heavier kick smh not a preferred choice

Photo of angelmonster
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy orange color, head is 1/4 inch and white.Tiny bubbles rushed upwards for quite some time.

Smell is of coriander seed, clove, hay, Belgian yeast and allspice. Smell of alcohol is light and hops aren't present.

Taste is big on Belgian/German yeast strains. Getting lots of clover, banana/witch hazel esters. Sweet honey and orange mix with clove and some licorice. Alcohol sticks to the finish, a bit abrasive for 8%.

Mouthfeel is light and highly carbonated. Head dissipated quickly offering not much texture.Beer ends dry and astringent.

Overall it was a good Texas attempt at a classic Belgian style. Very rough around the edges though, wouldn't buy again when you can get Delirium or Triple Karmelit.

Photo of Leaps4e
4.24/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Such a great tasting beer! On tap it's close to heaven

Photo of E-McFarden
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Disappearing head and minimal lace, light gold in color. Sweet dried fruit aroma. Sweet raisin and orange undertones. Good brew

Photo of Chuck6860
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Very nice beer. Not for the weak of heart

Photo of mdphill
2.25/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Disappointed by this one. Big fan of this brewery.

Photo of boodz85
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Probably the best Texas beer I have ever tried! Very good taste given the high ABV

Photo of BIA_BrewMasta
4.86/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Very good drinkability for the ABV. My favorite real ale beer thus far

Photo of ed_loves_ipa
3.12/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Great buzz, soft hop profile, more like an ale, but too pungent and sweet. Not my cup of tea. I'm more of a bitter IPA, RIPS fan. Took about 3 to 4 bottles to get used to it. No great, but not horrible. Eh....

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle received as an extra in a recent trade.

Pours a golden, hazy, opaque orange, with a creamy looking 2 inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells quite estery, sugary, and a bit boozy, with some pear, citrus, and banana.

I don't usually love tripels, but this one's honestly pretty good. There's some candy sugar, Belgian yeast esters, creamy banana, citrus, apple, pear, and sweet grain. I don't really pick up any hop flavors, as some of the reviewers mentioned.

This has a pretty creamy mouthfeel for a tripel, full bodied and rich, with a moderate level of carbonation.

This is one of the better tripels that I've had.

Photo of BirFan
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Nice combination of fruit and alcohol, with a decidedly sweet finish. It's definitely a Tripel, though not as rich and full as some of my other favorites, especially among the Belgians. Good enough, however, that I buy it when I can, and look forward to it year round. Great color and taste, but not quite as much head as I might like. Love to drink it on tap sometime: only had it from the bottle so far.

Photo of shwami
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Flowery nose; oily mouthfeel...definitely tastes like a tripel...alcohol fairly prominent...non-existent head, which was disappointing, although maybe it was a bit too chilled. Pretty good tripel from one of the best brewers in South Texas.

Photo of IrishMocha
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Nice triple fermented beer. Flavorful to the nose and nice crisp taste.

Photo of jcance
4.75/5  rDev +23.4%

Generally I tend to prefer a strong, hoppy IPA, but this has been one of my favorit beers since I discovered it a year or so ago at the grocery store. Most often when I drink beer I am looking for a thick, strong, and bitter hops taste. I prefer my beers be skunky rather than tasteless. This beer however is the primary exception. While it is mild on hops and goes down light, it will inebriate the bejesus out of you and tastes like nothing else I've had thus far in my quests.

When I first tried this brew, I had not been avidly sampling different varieties of beer for very long. I found it to be easy to drink, wildly stong, and almost nondescript in flavor. However, my tastes have certainly changed a significant amount since I first tried this, and my decision to make an account on this website was actually inspired by the profound flavor I noticed upon trying this for the first time in a few months.

This beer has a really sophisticated flavor. It is mildly bitter with a moderate-low amount of carbonation. The really intriguing aspects of the flavor, though, lie mainly in aftertaste. The only way I can describe the taste is as "smoky." But not "cigarette smoky," more like, "this beer spent some time over an open mesquite fire smoky." I truly doubt that that is part of the brewing process but it's the only way I can describe it. This beer goes down very smooth, has a full, rich, almost chocolatey smoked flavor that, for me, provides a nice and drastically different break from the IPA flavors I'm most used to. I have not tried all of Real Ale's brews - the only ones I am familiar with are this, Fireman's Four, and Fireman's Four Squared - but I assume they are all of quality. This, however, I believe is a really special drink. Fireman's Four and Squared are mild, yet strong enough and rich in flavor. But I have really never tasted anything like Devil's Backbone.

In short, this beer is exactly what you would expect from a beer made in Texas named "Devil's Backbone". In a friend's words, "it's gotta be fucked up if it's got a name like Devil's Backbone."

These words are true; this beer has a high ass ABV, with deceptively smooth flavor that can lead to severe drunkenness (comparable ABV beers such as Dogfish Head 90 Minute or New Belgium Rampant tend to remind me exactly how potent they are with their flavor intensity and thickness, while this brew goes down easy like a light beer but hits just as hard), and unique, smoky, crisp overtones that have serious nostalgic value for a guy who was raised in and has lived in Texas his whole life. Sipping this I am reminded of outdoor fire pits and the sensation of warmth in the winter. I seriously recommend this beer for anyone who has the opportunity to try it. It might be a little more expensive than some of the other Real Ale brews or a larger pack of lower quality beer, but trust me, it's worth it. If I could get paid to tattoo this beer's label across my back I would. Enjoyd

Photo of FLima
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Hazy golden color with a thin head with short retention.
Aroma of white grapes, candi sugar, sweet peaches and pineapples, and banana.
Flavor of white grapes, pears, candi sugar, pineapples, herbal hops, banana, cloves, green apples, mild white pepper, Belgian yeast and coriander. Dry aftertaste with a mild acidity and bitterness.
Medium body with tripel effervescent carbonation. Alcohol of 8.1% is superbly well hidden.
Very decent tripel and faithful to style. It is quite fruity, balancing to the tropical side.
Ap.3 Ar.4 Sab.3,75 Sens.3,75 Cj.3,75

Photo of AtrumAnimus
4.75/5  rDev +23.4%

This one pours a very nice light golden color with minimum cloudiness. There is a nice thick long lived head that settles very slowly and leaves good lacing that eventually retreats down the sides of the glass as well.

The nose is aromatic, bready and sweet with notes of nutmeg, coriander and alcohol.

The flavor is a nice spicy tripel with alcohol and bread notes to match the nose along with some citrus, pepper, vanilla and a tinge of hops.

Overall this is an excellent example of the style with a nice Texas tinge. I highly recommend it.

Photo of mblk6062
4.54/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a staple in my beer fridge. I am lucky to live in Dripping Springs, Texas which is only a few miles from the brewery, located in Blanco. Real Ale makes fantastic brews (Fireman's 4 is another staple), and even though they are a very high quality house, we can get alot of their great stuff in just about any convenience store/gas station in the Hill Country. As a huge aficianado of Belgian Ales (especially Trippels - best in the world, IMHO), I had tried many so called craft "Belgian Trippels" before with usually great disappointment, but I was blown away by this one when Real Ale introduced it in 2010 - they got it right, and they have kept on doing that!

Photo of ElegantRose
3.35/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

With the apparent color of this beer like that of liquid apricots made effervescent alcohol, and the bubbles resembling what one might find in a cider, and they would be quite right in their assumption that this is an interesting take on a Belgian Tripel.

As alluded to previously, the bubbles are sparse, and the head non-existent after less than one minute. The mouthfeel, while originally temptingly Belgian, now (after five minutes) has become far more thin. I like a robust mouthfeel, and while the flavors are there (delicious coriander and orange), there is no lasting aftertaste, though I will state that there is a whisper of elegance that carries the beer through.

A bit of background: this beer has been aged approx. 7 months. There is a listed warning to drink by 3/29/14. It is currently July 2014. Usually there is not a 'sell-by' date on beer, and one can usually age Belgian beer many years if desired. Therefore, not a true Belgian beer, but an attempt on the style.

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Devil's Backbone from Real Ale Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 655 ratings.