Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 157 | Hads: 705
Photo of jokelahoma
3.39/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter at home.

Pours a bright, clear orange-yellow. Hardly any head, and what there was tended to be soda-like, with loose bubbles that almost immediately disappeared.

Odd aroma. Wet straw, and a fuel-like smell that I can't quite place. Something like watermelon as well. It ends up with a sourdough bread crust smell. Kind of a mishmash. Not bad, just rather hard to pin down.

Flavor is decent up front. Good Belgian abbey character, albeit a bit thin. Hints of banana, tangerine, and perhaps even grape skins. Then an odd thing happens... it simply disappears. Gone, like there's no flavor, as though you just took a sip of water. Finally the taste of the beer reappears, but toward the back of my throat, more an alcohol burn than a real taste, to be honest. I've had beers where the sip faded quickly, but I can't say as I've ever had one just up and disappear the second I swallowed the brew. I had to throw back several sips in rapid succession to see if I imagined it, but no, it's really so dry that it's just up and gone the very second you swallow. It's not astringent or mouth puckering, not that kind of dry. The beer just vanishes. It's a decent if rather mild rendition of a tripel to that point, but the disappearing act is kind of disconcerting.

Mouthfeel is extraordinarily light. You don't want much more than this in a tripel, but a little more would have been beneficial, and no doubt could have played a part in getting the flavor to hang around for a bit.

This had potential. Even with the wild, all over the place aroma, it still could have locked in to be a good brew. The flavor starts that way, than... poof. Gone. It's just too watery in both mouthfeel and especially the end of the drink to rate it too highly. Close, but no cigar. Or beer, for that matter.

 1,809 characters

Photo of a0lbudman
3.81/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-hazy light gold with a small white head that did leave a light lace
S-lemon and banana with some spice aroma to it and with some honey in the background
T-yeast and malt with banana and some spice, hop bitterness with some alcohol warming but not much
M-light body and creamy with high carbonation
O-was a solid beer. Enjoyed it.

 331 characters

Photo of ranger7
3.84/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a laser-etched Samuel Adams glass.
Review from notes: January 11th, 2014. "Drink by 5/20/2014"

A: Golden with bright white head. Crystal clear.

S: Honey, sweet.

T: Slight hop bite up front, nice and smooth and sweet in the back.

M: Thin, very little carbonation. It works.

O: Pretty good Tripel example, maybe a bit too hoppy.

 359 characters

Photo of Hoptometrist
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap into a shaker glass.

A- Poured a light golden color with frothy white head that left some chunky lace.

S- Very fragrant floral, lemon, and citrus notes in the aroma. Not bad, but unexpected for the style.

T- Sweet Belgian candy sugar, bubblegum, clove, honey sweetness, some vanilla and caramel notes. Quite a bit of alcohol in the taste too.

M- A little sticky, full bodied, big alcohol warming, and slight alcohol burn.

O- A pretty nice American take on a tripel that had a lot of character, but the booze came through pretty prominently even for the style.

 578 characters

Photo of brurevu
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I always love a good Belgian Tripel and this is a great Texas example of the style. It is a light golden color that deceptively hides its high alcohol content, but while the color is light, there is nothing light about the taste. It has all the signature Belgian yeast notes with some spicing and a slight hop to help balance out the flavors. It has a robust mouthfeel with a smooth balanced finish. This is a solid Tripel.

 423 characters

Photo of fourstringer
3.13/5  rDev -17.6%
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...

 1,111 characters

Photo of buschbeer
3.82/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 FLUID OZ. bottle
Served in a snifter

A - It pours a hazy, golden amber color. It is topped with two inches of white head.

S - I could smell banana as I poured it. Upon further investigation, I thought it smelled like banana cream with some spices.

T - It has a mild banana taste at first. Belgian spices come through at the finish and tend to become the dominant flavor as it warms.

M - Moderate, smooth with low carbonation for the style.

O - While it is a timid tripel, I found it enjoyable. The banana and Belgian yeast spiciness were complimentary and refreshing.

 578 characters

Photo of CMUbrew
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: A few shades above straw yellow when held up to the light. Hazy with plenty of yeast particles (probably should have decanted a little better). Not a whole lot of head to speak of.

S: Fruity yeast, apple, pear, hay. Smells like it be fairly sweet.

T: Yeast, grassy and slightly earthy hops, and honeycrisp apple. Sweet overall.

M: Carbonation may be a bit low, making it feel a little too big-bodied.

O: A really good, drinkable Belgian style beer.

 457 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.56/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Clearly identifies as a tripel on the label, so I'm reviewing as such. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with fun label art and a branded silver pry-off pressure cap acquired as part of a mixed six-pack at Whole Foods HQ here in Austin and served into an Independence Brewing pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I've yet to be impressed by the brewery, but this seems to be one of their less mainstream offerings so I'm optimistic.

Brewed with Czech Saaz hops, candi sugar, and Belgian yeast. Best before: 01/26/14.

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 one finger wide head of grey-white colour. Somewhat thin. Not much creaminess or frothiness. No real lacing as the head recedes. Head retention is above average - about 3 minutes.

Body colour is a clear yellow-copper of average vibrance. Good clarity. Translucent. No yeast particles are visible.

Sm: Honey, nectary hop character, Belgian pale malts, Belgian candi sugar, grains & cereals, floral hop character, crystal malts, Saaz, banana fruit esters, and an apple cider touch. The herbal Saaz bitterness clashes with the malty sweetness. I'm not getting much in terms of yeast. There does seem to be an alcohol presence here, albeit a slight one. Not a great aroma for a tripel, but I'm optimistic. An inoffensive aroma of average to mild strength.

T: Malty sweetness in the first act and beginning of the first half; it clashes with the herbal Saaz and crystal malts in the late second half. Bursts of banana fruit esters up front alongside some clove. Candi sugar throughout doesn't fully conceal the hop bitterness - which shouldn't even be present to begin with; this is definitely overhopped. I do get some spiciness from the yeast; it's very cleanly fermented, and the yeast is probably the best aspect of the beer. Pilsner malts and a good deal of Belgian pale/blonde malts fill out the body. Honey. I do find some alcohol presence, unfortunately. A bit cidery, with touches of pear and apple.

Overall, the build is mediocre for a tripel, and the balance is problematic. Not gestalt. Qutie boring for a tripel. A bit bland as well. Depth of flavour is rather shallow for the style. Average flavour duration and intensity.

There are no off-flavours, unless you count the presence of alcohol - which isn't egregious.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Unrefreshing. Lacks a full firm body. Too thick at some points and too thin at others. Weak, with "empty" points throughout the flavour profile. Overcarbonated. Inappropriate for the style. It doesn't suit the flavour profile all that well. Subpar execution.

Dr: Real Ale disappoints again, this time with a tripel. I wouldn't buy it again, and Real Ale's other beers are racing to the bottom of my "to-try" list. I definitely wouldn't want another one, and it's not the most drinkable beer either, what with its obvious alcohol presence. If you want a good tripel, look elsewhere. This one doesn't deliver.

Low C-

 3,168 characters

Photo of jmbranum
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bought at Central Market in Fort Worth, Texas but enjoyed back home in Oklahoma.

I have long loved beers from Real Ale Brewing Co. so I was excited to try this one.

Pours an attractive clear gold with a one inch white head.

Aroma is very alcoholic. I can smell a bit of malt, some hops and then some interesting gasoline-like notes.

Complex flavor. Lots of hops to balance the sweet maltyness. Not crisp and dry as some of the style, but also some interesting hefeweizen-ish clove and bananas. Maybe a bit of pineapples.

Rich and full mouthfeel.

Overall, this beer is interesting. Maybe a little bit too interesting. It is very balanced but also has lots of domineering notes... the hops, the sweet malt, the herbs and definitely the alcohol. Unlike many tripels this beer doesn't hide those notes at all.

That said, what I like about this beer is the price. High ABV for the same price as the other offerings of Real Ale. It definitely is a good nightcap kind of beer.

 976 characters

Photo of Premo88
3.59/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into tulip
(drank it on 4/3/13; best if consumed by 8/10/13)

L: pale yellow-orange, slightly opaque with pure white head about 1-inch thick with big bubbles on top; the head is different with the soapy-like bubbles; decent lacing off the head .

S: bananas, sweet/sour wine, sour grapes, fruity sweetness

T: sour/sweet wine-like taste, bananas ... very hefeweizen-like in a way, but the ABV kicks in on the finish and you can taste some of that alcohol; very balanced over all of its different taste notes

F: solid but not as much carbonation as most Belgians

O: great change-of-pace brew with all of the major key notes of a tripel. wine-drinkers would love this brew.

 694 characters

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.66/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Tripel wise I don't think it was real outstanding in appearance, hazy tan with a 1 finger head that quickly settled to a white sheen, but the lacing was pretty good.

Taste and aroma had plenty of tripel qualities, Belgian yeast, cloves, banana, spices. A slight crispness enhances the flavors, it's a bit more drinkable than a typical tripel. Alcohol is only noticeable on the way down as it warms slightly. Body is medium to working on being full, carbonation is fairly low for a tripel, but by no means is it flat.

It's tasty. I don't personally think it's RABC's best, but then they have made quite a few beers that I really enjoy, so it's a bit hard to choose. OK it's still a tie between four squared and altbier, if you force me to tell. But the Devil's backbone is pretty good too.

 791 characters

Photo of jngrizzaffi
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy golden color with a thin carbonated head. Head retention and lacing are minimal. Belgian yeast aroma with slight stale aroma. Taste of malty Belgian yeast, slight coriander and tropical fruit. There is a little spiciness at the end. Medium bodied with moderate to high carbonation. Good taste, but the aroma isn't very appealing.

 350 characters

Photo of BSDA
4.06/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Being a huge fan of Belgian Ales, from this golden style to a deep, dark divinity like Chimay Grande Reserve, this one is right up my alley. The hoppy bitterness in the aftertaste is not strong like an IPA, somwhere around 35 IBUs? Poured from a bottle into a 16oz, short bell-shaped glass with handle. Color is a beautiful goldenrod, and smell is fruity, like subdued bananas and sweet malts. Feeling on the tongue and palate is thicker than wheat beer, but nowhere near amber or dark Belgian ale. Head dissipates very quickly in such a wide-mouth glass, and barely lasts 3min in a thin, fluted glass. No matter, because if you like a little bitter with your golden cream, then this is a beer for your roster. I give it a 4/5 because it lacks a little in complexity, though there are spices noted throughout the tasting experience. I will definitely buy again, as it delivers a simple Tripel experience without the Belgian Tripel price. A very Americanized version of a classic, this one is good for advocates to become acquainted with the heavier Belgian styles. Excellent for a sweet tooth, and quite refreshing!

 1,115 characters

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Real Ale Devil’s Backbone ale has a very thin, fizzy, off-white head, a hazy, brilliant, golden-orange appearance, some streaming bubbles, little floating brown particles, a descending gray-brown cloud, and decent lacing film left behind. The aroma is of sweet hard candy, grain husk, sweet corn, and yeast zest. Flavor is of peppery, yeasty, sweet, sugary malt, candy, grits, and a mellow hop bitterness to close out the sip. Mouthfeel is rather watery, and Devil’s Backbone finishes semi-dry, crisp, not alcohilic, and decently drinkable.


 550 characters

Photo of ajisai
4.19/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Where/When: Austin, TX May 12th with best before date of October 22.

Serving: Bottle.

Scent: Really reminds me of Live Oak Hefeweizen. Sugary... Sort of banana-ish. A tad nutty.

Taste: The flavors are very light--the carbonation is constantly fighting with them. I feel a bit of vanilla and banana. Aftertaste is almost the same as initial taste; doesn't really change from sip to gulp. Lemon, banana, and vanilla is what I'd say overall.

Overall: Very nice drink. It's almost *too* deceiving because three of these will get me woozy. I would never think that this was 8% from how smooth it goes down. One of the more tasty beers from Real Ale.

 650 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.29/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to Grendle for this one.

Quite the tang on this one. Somehow it works well enough, but it's not really bringing balance or a level of complexity that keeps it interesting. I think I can sum if up by saying that it's pretty one dimensional. And frankly, this is what Belgian styles of yesteryear tasted like when coming out of the U.S.

 342 characters

Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.61/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Drank 4 months before it's best by date.

Poured slowly down the middle of a chalice reveals a finger of white head that eventually falls apart to almost nothing and a clear golden colored body.

Smells of sweet bubblegum, apple cider, floral, with some spice.

Follows the nose with sweetness, apple fruitiness, spice, bready, and a touch bitter.

I drank this fairly warm and picked up slight alcohol vapors and flavor which provided a nice warming sensation. Could use a bit more carbonation. Pretty nice tripel overall.

 524 characters

Photo of visualweasel
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A cloudy golden yellow with a weak white head, leaving behind minimal lacing. Had to agitate the pour to get a nice collar, which then dissipated rapidly.

S: Fairly typical Belgian tripel aromas: bubblegum, candy sugar, bananas. Quite nice.

T: Follows the nose, with the bubblegum prevailing (in a good way). Very nice indeed for the style, especially from a Texas brewer.

M: Medium-bodied with weak carbonation. Would have liked to see a bit more, but not at all bad.

O: A very nice example of the style. I thoroughly enjoyed this and found it a notch or two better than the Dick's Belgian Tripel (Centralia, WA) which I also had the same night.

 653 characters

Photo of n2185
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

 520 characters

Photo of shortedaman
4.88/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I prefer this beer from the bottle. I have had 50+ of these. The key to this one is freshness. I too have grown a fondness for real ale brewing. Since im in houston i get it pretty fresh.

I love this beer. I love the alcohol content, i love how its super easy to drink, i love the taste. Its fruity and fairly thick, medium carbonation, nice belgian yeast flavor.

drinking this one from the bottle seems to add to the style. Pouring it into a tulip is all well and good, however theres just something special about drinking straight from the bottle. It tones down the fruitiness and alcohol taste. This beer needs to be reviewed by the bros for sure.

 654 characters

Photo of KTCamm
3.52/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

 343 characters

Photo of Labeorphile
3.61/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay chalice. Extremely clear for a Triple, showing it is filtered and not refermented in the bottle. Almost no head, and what there is quickly disappears.

Pineapple citrus in the nose, maybe some coriander, hints of banana. The taste has the flavor of a Triple, but one that isn't quite right. Tastes like an "Americanized Triple", which I guess is what it is. Overly clean, like they got the flavors right but not the character. Like someone singing Karaoke of your favorite song.

Not bad, especially if you aren't familiar with the true Belgians.

 581 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Golden and sudsy in the glass. A very attractive beer. Pleasantly carbonated and on the creamy side. A very nice nose of yeast and overripe pineapple.

The Belgian flavors are nicely integrated. This is both mellow and malty, and sharp and spicy. The yeasty flavors dry out toward the finish, though the bitterness is not as strong as many others brewed with Belgian yeast. A touch of green apple skins. On the whole it makes for a very drinkable beer. It could use just a little more edge, either with tart or bitter flavors.

Thoroughly pleasant brew that may not be a world class Tripel, but it does credit to the style. From the 12 oz bottle bought at Pinkie's in San Angelo, Texas.

 686 characters

Photo of pgfault
4.04/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving: draught into a standard pint.

Pours a cloudy straw color with about 1cm head, which dissipated about half way thru.

Scent is pretty strong Belgian yeast. More than expected for this Texas brew.

Taste is just what you smell, along with banana. Scent seems to go away near the end of the beer.

Overall a very drinkable a pleasant beer, albeit deceivingly high in ABV. Grab one on tap if you can.

 406 characters

Devil's Backbone from Real Ale Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 157 ratings.