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Devil's Backbone - Real Ale Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Devil's Backbone
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very good

484 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 484
Reviews: 133
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 13.51%
Wants: 16
Gots: 70 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Pegasus on 05-18-2005)
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Ratings: 484 | Reviews: 133 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of daveytheformer


3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2011 22:03:27 | More by daveytheformer
Photo of CuriousMonk


3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass. Pours a clear gold with a white head that lasts throughout the beer and laces nicely. Aroma has a strong sweet fruit and floral note with some candied sugar and sweet grains. Flavor is a bit more mellow with a semi sweet grain start that becomes sweeter with candied sugar and light fruits. Drinks lightly which is nice and refreshing. Medium bodied mouthability.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2011 19:46:32 | More by CuriousMonk
Photo of raffy313


3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. (Best by date: 11.05.11)

Devil's Backbone pours a clear golden/light amber color, with a half fingers worth of white head that dissipates rather quickly to nothing. Very little to no lacing.

Some sweet fruits, almost candy-like aromas are the initial smells. Getting somewhat earthy yeast tones, and abit of light floral hops. A slight spiciness(cloves) round out the aromas. This has a very nice, not overly pungent nose.

Flavors follow the nose well. An almost perfect malty sweetness. The belgian yeast balances the flavors nicely. Alcohol flavors are abit more present in the taste but also nicely masked/balanced by the sugary candy flavors.

Medium to heavy body, with slightly lower than average carbonation that doesn't necessarily take away from the overall feel. Smoth, very drinkable, but don't be fooled... the alcohol is there. Bitter, slightly dry finish.

Overall, although not the be-all, end-all of tripels(obviously there are better out there), still a very solid interpretation that I would highly recommend, and definately pick up again. Very impressed with the complexities of this Real Ale offering.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2011 02:39:25 | More by raffy313
Photo of BeardedRiker


3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2011 02:26:24 | More by BeardedRiker
Photo of AlexFields


3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Exiled for sending this one as an extra.

Pours golden yellow with a fairly thin head.

Smells of banana, spice, yeast.

Spicy pepper flavor is dominant, then fades into yeast and some bananas. The longer the beer sits the more banana and sugar there is in the flavor and the less pepper, but initially the pepper is too much and a little bitter.

Very nice mouthfeel, very smooth and creamy but also lots of carbonation.

Just a slight change in the flavor profile and this beer would be a lot better.


Serving type: bottle

07-11-2011 13:48:05 | More by AlexFields
Photo of mjurney


3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pale golden-amber color, cloudy. Tons of fine bubbles. Fairly creamy head. Lacing looks very nice on the glass.

Lots of cloves. Bananas. Sweet bready malts. A little alcohol.

Sweet bready malts up front along with spicy yeast at the end. Fruity and spicy yeast character, bananas and cloves, a little peppery. Malt is nice, rich, bready, slight doughy. There some touch of citrus or maybe a pineapple like in the mid-palate. Creamy Mouthfeel, yet is fairly refreshing.

Spicy finish. Crisp. A little dry yeasty aftertaste.

It’s pretty good for a Tripel.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2011 06:44:17 | More by mjurney
Photo of JayAre46


3.35/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

on tap review from notes, pours a hazy yellow. very frothy, great lacing down the glass. little chill haze but it happens.

A - yeasty, bubble gum, peppery spice, banana great aroma on this one.things are starting off better than expected.

T - again the belgian yeast, clove spice, strong banana, bubble gum is bit strong for what should be, or it needs more of the peppered spices to calm it down, hops are actually present but very light.

M - great mouthfeel, medium to full, moderately carbonated. flows over the palate coating all that in comes in contacts with, best part of the beer IMO.

D - decent brew and good representation, the bar for me is set at la fin du monde and i don't care if it is canadian i think of it whenever someone says "Tripel" and thats what it will consciously or sub-consciously be compared to...the hops and the spices try to balance things out but the bubblegum is a bit strong. the bmc'ers at the bar were really digging this one. just sayin. drink it

EDIT: this beer is not good, it actually sucks sorry if i sent someone an extra of this, my mind was clouded. 9/21/11

Serving type: on-tap

07-02-2011 03:47:08 | More by JayAre46
Photo of DavoleBomb


4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

3.0 A: Lightly hazed dark yellow/light orange color. Just a half finger of frothy white head that fell quickly and left no lacing.

4.0 S: Lots of clove in this! Some peppery spiciness as well. Light, nonspecific fruitiness. Moderate neutral malty sweetness and just a touch of booze.

4.0 T: Surprisingly clean. Again lots of clove with pepper not far behind. Light fruitiness again with a perfect malty sweetness. Not too complex, but very nice nonetheless. Booze is at a minimum.

4.0 M: Lighter medium body. Good spritzy carbonation. Super smooth.

4.5 D: I liked this a lot because it's the first tripel I've had in a while that is this clean. Love the spiciness as well.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2011 23:41:36 | More by DavoleBomb
Photo of JMad


4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I drank this bottle from a tulip glass...

It pours a hazy golden yellow with a soapy white head that left just a little lacing. The smell consists of lemon, wheat and candisugar with a hint of black pepper. The taste is mostly sour lemon and wheat there is some candy flavor, spicy hops and it's slightly tart and alcoholic. This beer is smooth as silk with a medium body, perfect carbonation and a dry finish. I'm not a fan of tripels but this is my favorite one so far.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2011 01:59:02 | More by JMad
Photo of Abarhan


3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Golden in appearance nice light head that settle in 5min.

Smell- light fruity in smell, slight alcohol smell.

Taste- A nice start and unexpected finish for a Tripel. Slightly strong but with good flavor. A nice treat for a Texas brewery.

Mouthfeel- Full body, drinks easy. Nice summer brew.

Overall- Very nice strong beer from Real Ale. A must for summer in Texas. If drinking the 6er solo do it at home, it sneaks up on you.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2011 21:37:26 | More by Abarhan
Photo of OakedCanuck


4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into pint glass.

A - Pours a nice clear yellow with egg white head. No lacing.

S - Spices (nutmeg, cloves) and a nice biting yeast smell. Distinct bananas mixed in with some orange zest and lemon.

T - I am liking this one. LOTS of banana, cloves and yeast. Quite funky and it goes well with the fruits (same as above).

M - Smooth, medium, slightly tacky

O - A very easy to drink tripel. The ABV is not noticeable at all and the strong flavour profile makes this one a pleasure. Highly recommended, one of my favourite seasonals from Real Ale.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2011 16:05:30 | More by OakedCanuck
Photo of hwhead3


4.97/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Spotted bottles at HEB, Burleson, TX. Poured into tulip.

A: Excellent golden; didn't produce much head.
S: Wonderful fragrant tripel spice.
T: Spicy, fruity, full -- not boozy.
M: Slightly heavy, not quite syrupy.

Love it. Neck and neck with LFDM. Big ups to Blanco!

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2011 16:08:35 | More by hwhead3
Photo of tjkinate


3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was hoping for a little more.

A: Mostly clear, deep golden color accompanied by a two finger head that dissipates quickly.

S: Prominently sweet, with floral undertones.

T: Pleasant sweet start, unfortunately followed by a bitter aftertaste that keeps me from wanting more.

M: Surprisingly nicely carbonated

O: Not on the same level as Allagash's Tripel, but a good beer none the less and at a fraction of the price!

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2011 22:13:09 | More by tjkinate
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a nice light golden amber with a small head of white on top. A decent amount of side glass lace and a touch of carbonation floating up toward the top.

The smell was a nice smattering of earthy fields of yeast and a touch of light floral hops. Nice cereal grains in the back as well. The flavor was decent, a little soft for a triple though. A ton of hops for the style with a light earthy feel to it. The overall feel of it was nice thlugh with more then adequate carbonation and a tight little profile. For 9% it was extremely drinkable and really the alcohol was completly undetectable.

Overall it was not bad, alothough I have had much better.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2011 01:18:42 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of tronester


3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A clear golden in appearance with a creamy white head. Smells strongly of ethyl alcohol and a hint of banana. Taste is initially candy sweetness, followed by a spicy yeast character, then a neutral bitterness and a bit of grainy wheat. Alcohol is detectable. Mouthfeel is full, smooth carbonation. Overall a good tripel, tho a bit boozy for my tastes.

Serving type: on-tap

06-08-2011 18:41:36 | More by tronester
Photo of SWMeyer4141


3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance-Cloudy golden yellow with a 1 finger off white head. Reduces into a nice film on top with some little bubbles and average lacing.

Smell-Cloves and Spice. Some sweet fruits and light malts. Alcohol is detectable.

Taste-Sweet malts upfront followed by a spicy fruity finish with some light bitterness. Alcohol tells you its there, but very smooth and balanced.

Mouthfeel-More body then most Tripels. Creamy, Smooth and refreshing. Moderate carbonation.

Overall-Great beer. Theres not many tripels that I buy on a regular basis but this one would be if it wasn't a seasonal brew. Real Ale continues to put out some very nice limited beers, too bad there rotation beers suck.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2011 18:15:37 | More by SWMeyer4141
Photo of depechemode1983


4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip. The beer is dark gold in color with a white two finger head. There isn't much head retention but there is some lacing. There is lot of Belgium yeast in the nose along with a trade mark Belgium spiciness. There is also plenty of candy sugar and malts along with some very present alcohol. Taste is pretty mild considering the aromatics. There are mild malts and grains up front along with floral hops. Through the middle to the finish you get Belgium sugar, spices, and bready yeast. The alcohol is still present although more toned down. The mouth feel is excellent. It's smooth, easy, and the carbonation seems to be just right. Overall this is a very well crafted American version of the Tripel style. I always look forward to this release.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2011 01:56:42 | More by depechemode1983
Photo of dnarx


4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a nice deep yellow with a two finger head that left beautiful lacing down the side as it subsided.

S: mmmm...belgian yeast, esters, malt, and booze.

T: the yeast character was very apparent in the flavor of the beer, but this is too be expected. Also had a light pear, sweetness, and a bit of booze.

M: medium on body with a good carbonation

D: very drinkable despite a bit of booziness.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2011 02:04:19 | More by dnarx
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a fairly hazy honey color with a fluffy head that drizzles lace down the side of the tulip

Smell: Light fruit (pear and banana) drizzled with honey, candi sugar and grassy character

Taste: Pean and banana fruit, up front, with a candi sugar sweetness that is joined by grassy hops by mid-palate; after the swallow, the peppery hop element grows to dominate the flavor profile, though the sweeter elements linger underneath; the fusel alcohol adds a bit of a harsh character to the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderately high carbonation; warmth in the gullet from the alcohol

Drinkability: While not in the top echelon of the style, this is a surprisingly good example of a tripel brewed by a non-Belgian specialist craft brewery

Thanks, FreeVerse, for the opportunity

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2011 01:41:36 | More by brentk56
Photo of Gobzilla


4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

good lookin out for this bottle bobbizzle

A: poured a hazy golden yellow in color with pale pineapple yellow highlights and had a very thin head leaving very little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: there was lots of bubblgumy belgian yeast notes upfront on the nose with spice, sweetness from the malts, mild pear esters, and booze notes.

T: the bubble gum yeasty character was more prominent on the palate with apple, pear, various grain, accents but had lots of sweet maltiness and a touch of booze.

M: the brew was medium on body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, malty, yeasty, slight fruity, spice, and creamy finish.

D: it was drinking average cause the booze was definitely there on the taste but was a solid tripel IMO.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2011 02:12:21 | More by Gobzilla
Photo of suspect

New York

3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for the share DonD!

Poured from a bottle into a shaped pint glass. Best by date was September 17, 2010.

A: Cloudy golden appearance with very little head even after an aggressive finish to the pour...slight lacing.

S: Smelled like a tiny bit like a weak La Fin du Monde, similar malty smell, just not nearly as strong.

T: Malty, more like a traditional Tripel than I was anticipating. Taste was good, not great

M: Initially, the carbonation hit me more than anything but once it sat in the glass for a few minutes and the carbonation calmed down, it became very creamy. Interesting mouthfeel overall.

D: I liked this beer and I would enjoy working through a six-pack but in the world of tripels, this probably fits somewhere in the second tier.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2011 02:25:33 | More by suspect
Photo of SkeeterHawk


3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: There was a very small off-gas when popping the cap, which was surprising...but the beer is very cold. After a relatively aggressive pour the head was pretty small (~1/4"), but some pretty nice vortex action started and there were numerous bubbles rising to maintain the head at about 1/16" all the way across the top of the beer. There is already some lacing on the glass as the head recedes. After drinking, there are some heavy sheets of lace left on the glass.

Aroma: My initial impression of the aroma put me off a bit. It doesn't have the fresh malt/wheat/hops/alcohol pizazz that I expect from a tripel. It is actually quite earthy with some almost dry-woody notes...though I don't get the supporting vanilla or the like to back it up. As the beer warms up some, it seems like it is taking on more of the aroma of a Tripel, but their choice of hops was quite unorthodox so that it is coming across really different.

Taste: The flavor is a little closer to style than I picked up in the aroma. It is quite heavy for a tripel, and even though the carbonation is visibly high in the beer, it is still coming across the palate a bit syrupy for my taste. Overall the balance of hop bitterness is pretty nice and to style. There is enough hops to balance, but the sweetness rules in the end...along with the alcohol. There are a good bit of phenolics to this beer, and they are becoming more apparent as the beer warms. I am getting bubble-gum in particular.

Opinion: I was really anxious to like this beer, but I can't say that I do with regards to style. As with so many other American breweries that try to make Tripels, I have to try to convince myself that they are Quadrupels instead so I can let my brain get over the style-guidelines and rate the beer on how it tastes. As a Tripel, this beer leaves a whole lot to be desired from the hops to the attenuation, but as a open-ended Quad, the beer is pretty decent. I wouldn't mind drinking this beer again, but I am not going to have a problem deciding between the St. Bernardus Tripel or this one...I will just drink this one because it is a decent high-gravity beer by one of Texas's bigger Micros.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2011 12:22:26 | More by SkeeterHawk
Photo of MasterSki


3.1/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to AgentZero for the share. This was best before July 8th, 2010. Served in a Surly tulip.

A - Pours with a half-finger of foam that settles to a thin ring, leaving a few clusters of bubbles on top and some decent lace. The body is a hazed peach flesh color with some obvious suspended sediment.

S - The first whiff gave me a light acetone note that was vaguely reminiscent of guava - not sure if these are some odd spicy esters or prelude to infection. However, as it warms there is more stone fruit and candi sugar sweetness.

T - Taste is yeasty, with some honey and stone fruits to sweeten things up. Perhaps there's a bit of pear in there as well. Not bad, but not great - thankfully the weird acetone note is gone and the alcohol is well-hidden.

M - Some gritty and slightly harsh carbonation. The body is a grainy, medium-full, with a sticky finish.

D - It took me much longer to work through my 6oz than it did for Mike - I think I ended up pouring out a bit. I wouldn't bother with this one again.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2010 15:53:57 | More by MasterSki
Photo of AgentZero


3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - A yellowish golden color with not a ton of head on it. Not much lace either, there wasn't really a whole lot going on with this beer, pretty average, as my scoring would indicate.

S - Lots of fruit, bananas mostly, a healthy dose of belgian yeast was there as well. Little bit of phenol and something that is just slightly off, not quite skunked, off.

T - This is a solidy average tripel. Bready, lost of sugar and sweetness bordering on artificial. Yeast makes sure you know this is a belgian style beer, although it kind of beats you over the head. Fruity, mostly banana like on the nose.

M - Lighter side of medium, carbonation was a little lacking but it was an older beer so I just ignored that.

D - Average drinkability and average beer for the style. Interesting name and location, but just good for a one time drink.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2010 01:56:31 | More by AgentZero
Photo of Ek0nomik


4/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2010 02:17:24 | More by Ek0nomik
Devil's Backbone from Real Ale Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 484 ratings.