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Devil's Backbone - Real Ale Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Devil's BackboneDevil's Backbone

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

157 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 157
Hads: 705
Avg: 3.8
pDev: 28.95%
Wants: 38
Gots: 250 | 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 (46) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 157 | Hads: 705
Photo of DJDGB
4.66/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Warning this beer will kick your ass. The percentage may not be too high but the mix of flavor and aroma definitely had an effect overall. I had 4 of these on tap and had to stop myself because it was so good. Kind of pricey in downtown Dallas Pubs but worth it. Overall this is a solid beverage and it will get you were you want to go if the floor is were you are headed.

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Photo of UniversalIPA_69
4.21/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finishing a six pack nearly kicked my ass honestly. But pretty good cold, loses its tolerance towards that flavor when getting warm but enjoyable in the end.

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Photo of puck1225
4.21/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This has to be one of the best beer values out there: a high quality tripel for less than $10 for asixpack of 12 oz bottles! Poured from a bottle into a snifter. Golden yellow color with a nice head and good lacing. Excellent floral sweet smell and taste. Sweet taste with warm spices. A very nice beer!

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Photo of maedhros09
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look: hazy amber gold with some lacing, sediment at the bottom
Smell: sweet floral and fruity aromas associated with belgian yeast
Taste: Following the aromas, sweet and fruity with a very slight herbal hop note in the finish.
Feel: Medium to full bodied, a thickened and effervescent mouthfeel

Overall: An enjoyable "everyday" tripel, not hugely complex but nice to sip on.

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Photo of ritwingr
4.09/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice tripel. Pours a pretty opaque straw color. Very modest and thin head that dissipates almost immediately.

I'm not one of these people who can smell candied yams, figs and carnation petals. Thus one does have a nice unique smell that I can only describe as like holiday spices. Very pleasant....and the taste follows precisely. Not much alcohol kick for >8%. I'll definitely have it again. Reasonable price a bonus. Got a six pack for $8.99. Tough to beat!

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Photo of SneerBob
4.44/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

As a Belgian goes it's the best. I am almost positive it's been crowned America's best Belgian a few times.

I almost always go for either IPA or stout but if this is an option it always makes its way onto my tab.

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Photo of DanielCrow
3.62/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. Hazy golden orange with a finger of dense head. Moderate lacing. Smells great. I'm not exactly an expert but it smells slightly fruity. Taste is good. I'm comparing it to Slaapmutske triple nightcap here, by saying it's very similar with just a bit more bite and bitterness. The mouth feel is good if not a little sticky and finishing slightly dry.
Overall I'd say for $7.80 for a sixer, it's an economic tripel that gives a lot for its price.

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Photo of L0ne
3.69/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From backlog. 12oz bottle, January 2015.

Pours a hazy yellow/orange with a small white head. Passable attempt at a Belgian tripel by a small(ish) Texas brewery. Banana/fruity esters, spices(maybe clove?), some booziness, herbal hops. Liked it ok, but probably wouldn't seek it out. Glad I just got a single instead of a sixer.

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Photo of Myotus
3.86/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle (best by date 15Dec15) into a snifter.
LOOK: Pours with a line of white foam that just sits there. Gold in color with an extreme amount of cloudiness. No rising bubbles can be seen. Lacing is subtle and thin.
SMELL: A bunch of mild aromas: candied sugar, bananas, cloves, pears, and white grapes. Subtle aromas of spicy hops with hints of pale malts and earthy yeast can also be detected.
TASTE: Intial taste is composed of strong clove flavors that mix with mild banana flavors. Mild pear, white grape, and candied sugar flavors enter next along with subtle pale malt flavors. Finally, a hint of earthy yeast finishes off this brew as all previous flavors persist. Whatever hop flavors that were smelled cannot be tasted.
FEEL: Medium-bodied and highly carbonated (makes me wonder why there weren't any bubbles). Goes down smooth, regardless of the carbonation amounts. Finishes with the most subtle of drynesses.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.54/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Becher glass. Best before 28 December 2015.
Clear gold. No head.
Apples and alcohol. Real sweet. Uh oh.
Hmmm. It's okay! Lots of booziness, but not cloyingly sweet. Some Belgian spice, some apple-y sweetness. Hint of clove.
Not a lot to talk about here.
I enjoyed it, but I probably wouldn't have another.

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Photo of Slamms
3.61/5  rDev -5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Legitimately a tripel; Not a waste of money. Not sure much more I can say than that. Best attribute is aroma, which immediately smells like a legitimate tripel in the bottle. Taste is spicy; fruity notes later. Big let down is lack of head. Someone below said medium carbonation, and another said heavy. Definitely light carbonation in my case. Expiration date 11/15, so 5 months short of that, fwiw. Tasted fresh, so not getting the small carbonation. Better experience straight out of the bottle. Not bad. Edit Actually the head is OK once it warms up. I think I prefer this over Golden Monkey, if that says anything. Comparable to GM as a passable American attempt at a Tripel.
Edit: I was out of my mind to say this was better than Golden Monkey. GM is much better. But this beer is still basically OK, I guess.

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Photo of OKbrew89
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

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Photo of Caj1
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

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Photo of DoctorZombies
3.12/5  rDev -17.9%
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.

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Photo of Kennymack
5/5  rDev +31.6%
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.

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Photo of angelmonster
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of ed_loves_ipa
3.12/5  rDev -17.9%
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....

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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Photo of BirFan
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

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.

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Photo of shwami
3.62/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

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Photo of jcance
4.75/5  rDev +25%

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

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Photo of FLima
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
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

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Photo of AtrumAnimus
4.75/5  rDev +25%

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.

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Photo of mblk6062
4.54/5  rDev +19.5%
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!

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Photo of ElegantRose
3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
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
85 out of 100 based on 157 ratings.