Devil's Backbone - Real Ale Brewing Company

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Devil's Backbone
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very good

672 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 672
Reviews: 161
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.54%
Wants: 33
Gots: 215 | 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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 672 | Reviews: 161
Reviews by LifeByTheDrop:
More User Reviews:
Photo of OKbrew89
3.45/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Hazy golden color with one finger head that leaves decent lacing. Certainly smells like a tripel with the candied citrus, yeast, and coriander. Taste was yeast and spice with floral hops on the end. The sweetness was subtle and slightly overpowered by the spices. Medium carbonation and medium body with a little kick of alcohol in the aftertaste.
I'd call it a good starter tripel. It didn't have the sweetness and kick I expected.

Photo of E-McFarden
4.07/5  rDev +6%
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 BirFan
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

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 -5.7%
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 ed_loves_ipa
3.12/5  rDev -18.8%
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 FLima
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
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 Reagan1984
2.18/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Had this while traveling in Texas. Was excited to try a local tripel to see how they interpreted this style. I was a bit disappointed.

Interesting that it was served in a pint glass, but I can't blame the beer or brewer for that. Thin finger of foamy head that faded quickly. Slightly hazy golden/straw in color. Not much lacing to speak of.

Aroma was sweet and of banana & yeast.

Flavor was definitely too sweet. This was more like a cross between Hefe and Tripel leaning much more towards a Hefe. The banana, clove & yeast notes were different than most triples. The hop bitterness was too low and again did not fit the style. Not quite cloying sweet, but just wrong here.

Not really crisp with a bitter finish and the mouth feel had me focus on the sweetness.

Flat out didn't enjoy this.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a clear medium yellow color with a white head, which quickly disappears. The aroma is very fruity with lemons, oranges, pears and mangoes with alcohol, coriander and candi-sugar. The flavor is lemon, peach, oranges and pears with yeast, candi-sugar and spices. The spices are pepper and coriander. Medium mouthfeel and a medium carbonation.

Photo of whoneeds8
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Westmalle Chalice hazy Golden Yellow with a thin white head, decent lacing. The scent isn't too strong, but the belgian yeast is very noticable. The taste has the rather smooth Saaz hop bitterness and that candy sugar mixed in with that strong belgian yeast giving a citrus flavor. The mouthfeel is highly carbonated and leaves a sting to your cheeks. Might be something that could mellow out with age.

Photo of daveytheformer
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

from notes

Thanks to exiled for this extra.

Pours a pretty clear golden color that's just slightly hazy. Thin white head that leaves a small amount of lacing.

Smells like spices and a little funk. Really has a strong oatmeal aroma. Strange but very compelling.

Tastes are lots of clove, candied sugar, bubblegum, bananas, and a very nice crisp, clean malt flavor. Pretty good.

Mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation.

Overall is a god beer. I really liked this.

Photo of glid02
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased from Central Market in San Antonio, TX.

Pours a clear yellow-orange color with a one-finger white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of light malts with a lot of residual sugar sweetness. Also present are good amounts of pears with lighter amounts of apricots. Very, very light spiciness is also noticeable as the beer warms.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet malt flavors that are bordering on syrupy kick things off. Joining in shortly are good amounts of booze-soaked pear flavors with hints of lighter tropical fruits. The ending is on the sweet side.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall I thought this was a nice tripel but would have liked more complexity. Still, it's worth a shot.

Photo of LXIXME
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A clear golden colored beer beneath a small white head.

Cloves, sour grains, citrus, light spices and probably some other things coming through in a well balanced complex aroma.

Citrus and cloves seems to outweigh light hops, and light grains taste. Kind of different and also kind of good, although I don't know if I could drink a bunch of these, probably get tired of the clove to spice taste pretty quick.

A light dry aftertaste with some lingering spices attached.

This medium bodied beer seems to be a downplayed fall/winter
spiced seasonal and having said that I think I like this better.

Photo of lnashsig
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

#BOTG 72. This is a local brew that I shamefully haven't ever tried before. Thanks to my boy Brandon for sharing this with me. Poured from bottle into DFH snifter. fluffy, white head doesn't recede much, and billowing amounts of carbonation flow off the bottom of this crystal clear burnt orange colored beer after I get it in the glass. Really nice looking. Smell- honey, burnt caramel, candied sugar, spices on the end. Nice. Taste- hmm. I got a mouth full of spices- maybe nutmeg, cinnamon in there. Some sweetness behind it, but what I didn't get that I was really expecting was that honey/burnt caramel flavor that I got on the aroma. This actually has a fair amount of bitterness on it, and doesn't have that big backbone that you would expect to get from a tripel. Regardless, this is a solid brew, one that I would have again. One of the great things about the #rootrootdrink challenge is being forced to try new beers, and this is a nice outcome- finding a local beer that you've passed over before that is really pretty good.

Photo of BeardedRiker
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I haven't bought Real Ale's beers enough so when I saw this new limited release tripel I had to get it. It's rare for American breweries to make Belgian ales and it's even rarer for Texas breweries to. And for $9.99 for a six pack (of a tripel) it made my purchase that much easier.

Poured into my goblet, Devil's Backbone is a clear golden-amber with a significant amount of bubbles constantly floating to the top. The head forms a relatively thin, one finger, frothy white head. The head recedes quickly but leaves a lot of lacing on top and on the side of my glass. She looks beautiful.

I haven't had a tripel in a long time but this smells like a more hefeweizen-like tripel than what I remember from other tripels I've had before. Anyway, I pick up citrus right away, lemon. Like a hefeweizen, banana and cloves make an entrance as well. There's some malty sweetness in there too. Subtle pepperiness. Just a bit boozy.

I'm liking these flavors a lot. Yeasty, wheaty and sweet malts mixed with a dry, peppery-hoppy finish. Nothing really sticks out here but I think it's all balanced pretty well. Overall it is sweet, like a banana and pear sweetness. The 9% ABV is not

I'm getting a medium body but this is pretty drinkable. Despite the hefeweizen characteristics (maybe I should stop comparing it to that) it has a syrupy feel to it.

Well, I think anyone who drinks this can tell it's not brewed in Belgium, however, that's not a knock. It's not exactly like I remember other tripels but this is still a good beer. And I appreciate its 9% ABV without it really being prominent. For a hot Texas summer, this is a good pick for a more complex yet drinkable beer with a little more booze than normal. Like I said, at $9.99 for a six pack of a good tripel, I don't see how anyone wouldn't recommend this.

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on-tap during the recent craft brewers conference in Austin at a party thrown by the guys from Real Ale. Nice guys, but they didn't tell me how strong this was!

It was a hazy orange-copper beneath a full head of off-white froth. The head held well, and it left beautiful creamy walls of lace in its wake. The nose was honeyish and spicy with a bit of alcohol and some phenols that left it perfumey. The mouthfeel was bristling with tiny-bubbled effervescence, and it was medium in body. The flavor followed the lead of the aroma, but added in an orange/citrus side that was unexpeceted. The rye was clear, and it's peppery edge cut through nicely. The bitterness was moderate, as it should have been, with the spiciness of the rye and alcohol keeping it dry. It finished honeyish and dry, with lingering notes of black pepper and phenolics. It's a sipper for sure, and a pint of it during a party was not the way to really enjoy this beer. I'd much rather have had it in a quiet setting as a sipping beer. Still, I enjoyed it nonetheless, but I went back for a pale ale instead. Interesting and enjoyable.

Photo of KTCamm
3.52/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a fluted beer glass.

Pours an orange/yellow blend, with fast acting white foam. Fruity nose, and the candi sugar is in there too. Fruit flavored flavor, light sugary middle, mild hop bite. Medium complexity. Good cafrbonation in the mouthfeel. Little bit of peppery hop at the end.

Good flavor, nice blend.

Photo of Ek0nomik
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Poured In: Snifter
Attained through a trade (Thanks Neil!)

Appearance: The pour was a wheat, amber and chrome yellow color with not even a thin layer of head forming on top. After taking a sip I can tell it's a hoppier tripel, so the combination of the higher ABV and hops is likely the culprit of the low head. The beer is just slightly effervescent, with very little lace on the side of the glass.

Smell: The nose has the nice spicy and phenol aroma. Notes of pepper, clove, coriander and a little bit of honey.

Taste: The yeast provide a very nice clove, pepper and coriander flavor that rests on top of pale malt. The hops provide more flavor than I was expecting, but it's a nice addition. I would say that the bitterness could be brought down a bit.

Mouthfeel: Wonderful. Medium bodied, carbonation was perfect right after cracking it open.

Drinkability: I already can only handle one or two tripels in an evening, and this is no exception. The strong yeast powered flavors destroy the palate, but it's worth it.

I think if this bottle came from Belgium it'd have higher reviews. This was a very well put together beer by Real Ale.

Photo of IrishMocha
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

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

Photo of LacquerHead
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a hazy deep straw color with a tint of orange. A nice bubbly foamy head that clung to the sides of the glass and stuck around till the end.

The aroma was a mellow flowery hops.

For me the hops came upfront and lingered in the aftertaste. There was a light sweet maltiness to it that kept the hops from becoming too dominating. Very subtle floral spices. I didn't really taste the alcohol but could detect it as I breathed out through my nose.

This beer made me want to take my time, kick back, and enjoy it. It had a good drinkability, too bad I only had one though - I sure as hell wanted a second.

Conclusion, I liked this one and would defiantly have it again. So far this has been my favorite from Real Ale and I would choose this one over New Belgium Trippel w/Coriander. I thought this was a pretty good American take on a Belgian Tripel. There's still room for improvement, but this would be a great introductory beer to someone interested in exploring Belgian style ales.

Photo of emerge077
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Chris for this one!
Bottle dated "best by 12.14.12".

Hazy glowing saturated orange, thin cap of creamy finely-textured foam. A thin ring around the edge, otherwise not much retention. Ever present rising trails of carbonation.

Pepper, dried apricot, phenolic Belgian yeast.

Smooth and creamy, somewhat bitter and peppery. Lingering dry aftertaste. Vague fruitiness thats hard to pin down, though orange and apricot come to mind. PLenty yeasty and phenolic in the taste, following the aroma. Seems pretty solid, a textbook tripel.

Photo of Caj1
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
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 n2185
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a clear golden yellow with two fingers of white head that fades into a thin cap with good lacing.

S: Belgian spices witb lots of sweet candy sugar, bubblegum, and bananas. Yeasty aromas on the finish.

T: similar to the aroma, spices, bubblegum, and candy sugar dominate with a slightly bitter and yeasty finish.

M: medium body with lowish carbonation, this beer is a bit sticky and under-attenuated for my tastes.

O: a decent tripel overall. A bit heavy and not as balanced as I'd like, but still enjoyable.

Photo of boodz85
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
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 fourstringer
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into an old-fashioned glass with a moderate hand. Label states: Best if consumed by 04.08.14.

A: Cloudy, golden yellow with a suggestion of head that immediately fizzles away to nothing. Zero retention. No lacing. Assumes the appearance of unfiltered apple juice.

S: Sweet with slight Belgian yeast. Rather fruity with notes of banana, apple, lemon, tropical varieties. Coriander. Reminds me of Hoegaarden. Smells good, I'd say.

T: Minimally sweet with a rather yeasty start. A harsh, dominating bitterness quickly arises and persists throughout. There are hints of spice and some tropical fruit/apple flavors that increase as it warms. Moderate alcohol presence for 8% ABV. Fairly dry finish.

M: Low-moderate carbonation with a paradoxical prickliness on the tongue. Moderate body. Coats well, but there is definitely something lacking...

O: Not terribly impressive. Maybe I have a bad bottle on my hands? I'd like to think so. I get some tripel-type flavors, but the bitterness really usurps the whole experience. Frankly, I'm surprised by some of the scores on this one...

Photo of BeanBone
3.57/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A hazy, golden-orange body capped by a finger of fluffy off-white head leaves good lacing.

Aroma: A mix of golden fruit, juicy citrus, cloves, bready yeast, pale malt, and a hint of alcohol. Easily identifiable as a Tripel.

Flavor: The flavor profile is almost the same as the aroma, though the spice character becomes more peppery and there's an addition of moderately bitter herbal hops. The alcohol is masked nicely. No single element dominates, but the profile seems a little muddled. Leafy hops and bicuity malt in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with sharp carbonation and a drying finish.

Drinkability: Drinks much faster than the moderately-high alcohol content would suggest.

Verdict: Devil's Backbone is a solid American Tripel, but fails to really grab me. It's just a little too muddled and leafy for my tastes.

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Devil's Backbone from Real Ale Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 672 ratings.