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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

148 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 148
Hads: 685
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.01%
Wants: 34
Gots: 225 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 148 | Hads: 685
Photo of homebrew311
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received from mhenson42 in a trade- thanks!

The appearance is clear gold with white head. Head disappears quickly and leaves minimal lacing. The nose is full of ripe banana and mild waves of clove. There is also a bit of honey and lemon present. The taste is sweet up front with grape, banana and lemon. Spicy cloves balance out the sweetness nicely. The body is some what big and the carbonation is low. Overall, this is a great American tripel with lots of delicate banana flavor. (483 characters)

Photo of obrike
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a sixer at Round Rock Specs for 8 bucks and change.

Poured a fairly dull light yellow into my Sam Adams pint glass. A decent head that faded quikly, leaving traces of lace. Not bad, but certainly not striking.

Dug the smell. The typical yeast/banana ester scent for the style. Very fresh...a bit spicey. Nice.

Taste followed. Good. Getting the phenolic, bubblegum, banana combo you expect...and a heavy dose of sweetness. Not much bitterness in this one as the fruit (pear, apple) mixed well with the sugary malt.

Very nice job on a Tripel from a good Texas brewery. (578 characters)

Photo of elNopalero
4.57/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Something about this latest batch of the Devil’s Backbone that I just found absolutely fantastic.

This pours a clear straw yellow in the glass. It has a light floral, almost pollen-like delicate aroma to it. Smells great!

Tastes light and delicate, with a lot of nuanced estery flavor I pictured lavender fields with a touch of honey at the end. Delicious. (361 characters)

Photo of DCon
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received a 12 FLUID OZ. (355 ML) bottle of this from cfh64. Poured from the White Labeled bottle w/ a Devil & his tail leading up to making a "Left Winding Road" Sign & "Limited Edition, Seasonal Release" into my 16oz iTap Passport Pint Glass. Has BEST IF CONSUMED BY THIS DATE, 11.17.11 on the back. Not worried about this...

Aroma- A very complexed aroma is present! Strong clove-like phenols, citrus, and a nice banana character are all hanging out. Hops are around as well.

Appearance- Pours a 1 finger head that dies quicker than it should. Has a deep golden colored body, almost orange with semi-hazing. Leaves thick rings of lace afterwards.

Flavor- The initial taste brings on a nice amount of spice and fruit. After this, malt and a peppery flavor brings it strong. Medium hops are present at the finish and has a perfect amount of bitterness to add to this well balanced Tripel.

Mouthfeel- Medium+ Bodied, High Carbonation, Effervescent, and a light amount of creaminess. Spice and orange finishes off on the palate.

Overall Impression- For my 1st brew from Real Ale, I may need to go back to TX to live again and see what other brews they offer from all their breweries! This Tripel was great and very complexed! I would definitely recommend this to anyone wanting a great example of this style or would like to have a fully complexed beer with tons of malt, sweetness, and spice. (1,400 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
3.46/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle sent to me by somebody here but I forgot your name, thanks man. Light golden yellow color with a couple wisps of bubbles atop, looks good. Smells bready and estery, a little banana. The taste is good but subtle, some sweetness, some yeast and esters, very little alcohol in the taste. Overall this was pretty decent and I don't usually like American tripels. (370 characters)

Photo of bmwats
3.89/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, into a snifter.

A: Deep, golden hue. Slight bubbly head, which quickly dissapears leaving nothing behind. No lacing to speak of.

S: Some syrupy sweet grain components with a heavy nose of orange peel and a little licorice. A little woody.

T: Italian bread, with a little hop, some honey and orange citrus.

M: Decently heavy alcohol profile, but also decently light. A bittersweet pungency sticks to the palette and lingers throughout.

D: Good sipping brew, but does not put up a lot of resistance either.

Atmosphere is good. Deep golden appearance, but not much head or lacing to speak of. Nose, however, is a good combination of grains and citrus. Flavor is hoppy, grainy, with sweet and fruit tones. Overall, this is a good quaff. (766 characters)

Photo of chocosushi
3.99/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

4oz->Port Glass
"Serve Cold/Drink Now"
Best by 11/17/11
A ~ Beautiful Golden color with perfect carbonation & a perfect
ring throughout. Tiny bubbles are what I love to see in a Tripel.

S ~ Very phenolic! Crushed clove, Cardamom, with a touch of fennel. Underripe banana & plantain notes with touches of red apple & pepper. There is a very dusty tincture note lingering that sets things off a little strange. Other than that, great nose.
After warming things even out a bit.

T ~ Banana & Apple following through with an undercurrent of Peppery hops. Various herbs (including sage). Pomander & Caramelized sugar mid-palette. Malt is lending notes of crusty baguette & corn-bread. Hint of nutmeg.

M ~ Mouthfeel is very dry & crisp without negating the esters prevalent. ABV is undetectable. Wonderful balance.

D ~ Great American Tripel in 6-pack format? More breweries need to be doing this. Dangerously easy to drink. Would love to have one at the peak of freshness to taste a greater hop profile. Big ups to Brad for this want! (1,035 characters)

Photo of Pegasus
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Massive, dense white head atop a hazy dark golden body. Scattered patches of lace adorn the glass walls. The head retention is excellent.

Aroma: Rich clove notes dominate the aroma. Tropical fruits are present as well as notes of rustic bread.

Taste: Opens with mildly sweet malt notes, bitter orange, and pepper. As the taste progresses, there is a wave of sweet alcohol. An understated note of cloves is present as well. Spicy alcohol notes are present throughout. Finishes with a wave of mild, earthy bitterness.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, and very pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: A solid example of a classic style, well done.

Presentation: Packaged in a twelve-ounce brown glass long-neck bottle with a pop-off crown, served in a standard Pilsener glass. (774 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
3.4/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The beer pours a cloudy, pale golden color with a very small white head.

S: Starts off somewhat sweet and malty, but quickly shifts into a more cidery aroma. Somewhat dry with a bit of apple and pear, maybe just a very subtle banana. There is a touch of yeast and a mild spice character.

T: Sweet and somewhat boozy. Apples, pears, and light notes of banana along with a touch of lemon zest. Somewhat bitter for a Belgian beer. Not much going on, actually.

M: Medium bodied with low to medium carbonation.

O: Could have used a lot more carbonation and significantly more flavor. (585 characters)

Photo of donteatpoop
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Firstly, big thanks to my man icepigs for this Texas brew.

Secondly. My God.

Poured a hazy pail orange/yellow color with a thin white head; slightly foggy but transparent enough to see through it.

Even before the pour though, I was salivating from the smell of it. The yeast gives a light fresh-banana odor. It is sweet with aromatic floral hops, the combination of scents makes this a beatiful blend. I almost want to snort it.

After tasting it, I am glad I didn't snort it. Not only might I have drowned but I wouldn't have been able to taste the complexities of the beer. This 8.1% alcohol content has covered its tracks nicely. I knew it was a tripel so I figured it would have a high alcohol percent but after sipping it I had to verify the number. You don't really get the alcohol burn until half way through the beer, and even then it is not unpleasant.

I really wish this beer was available where I live. Devil's Backbone is a full bodied beer. Honestly, this is one of the best examples of the style I've ever tasted.

The bottle claims this as a seasonal, the back of the bottle says "Keep Cold" and "Drink Soon" at the bottom. Thought that was funny. (1,168 characters)

Photo of MarkIntihar
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into my Bell's snifter. Big thanks to Mike for this one!

A - Pours yellow Orange with half a fingers worth of white head. Very nice retention with some lacing around the glass.

S - Banana and bubble gum. Maybe a slight hint of honey, but wow, SUPER banana!

T - Follows nearly perfectly from the nose, with perhaps a touch more honey to smooth it out. Hides the 8% very well, with almost no alcohol coming through in the taste.

M - Very smooth, carbonated perfectly. No burn whatsoever.

O - Very impressed. One of the best pure tripels I've had. (572 characters)

Photo of maximum12
3.52/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to jtrockchalk for this extra in a long-gone trade, as I continue to work through the red-headed stepchildren forgotten in the nether regions of my fridge. Bottle has a best-by date of 9-17-10. Hmmm.

Pours a light golden, sunshiney, halo of a beer with revving carbonation. Magnifyingly clear, I can see my ham-fingers on the other side of the glass. Smell is lovely, a horn full of light fruitiness, apple, honey. If this is past its prime, I'd like to have had it two years ago.

Devil's Backbone has aged just fine: this the nicest beer I've had from Real Ale to date. Same fruity bouquet as in the smell greets the palate with more apple, honeysuckle, pear, a light spice kick in the back. There is an earthiness to it that ticks this down a notch, a mustiness that I don't dig & detracts from the overall airiness of this tripel. Appropriately light for a tripel, but the tilled dirt brings drinkability downwards, too.

Pretty good beer. Without that earth-tinge, this would be a very good tripel, but that muddiness really does the taste no favors. (1,066 characters)

Photo of Treebs
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this as an extra in a trade, Thanks Brad! Man I've written that a lot in my reviews, stand up BA right there.

A: Pours a deep golden straw, very hazy, with a one finger fluffy white that subsides into nice white ring.

S: The funkiest of yeast is prominent in the bad boy. Slight fruity esters with a bubblegum back. Some orange spice and some apples with a slight banana.

T: Same funky yeast with a some actual spice in there, I like it. There is a fruity tartness that peaks its head through, and it slowly subsides into mild sweetness. The finish is a temperate bitterness which really brings it home.

M: Medium bodied with a mile carbonation. Slightly coating on the palate with a nice sugar sweetness.

O: I loved this beer. It was very balanced and there was just enough funk and tartness in the taste to keep my interested and coming back for more. I recommend. (875 characters)

Photo of bayougutter
4.24/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip, yellow-gold color. Almost clear but a little haze. Small head that quickly left the scene leaving a little ring around the glass. Not a lot of lacing

Smell really well with a lot of spiciness, banana, cloves, belgium yeast. Robust aroma.

Taste is belgium yeast and bananas through out and the spices coming more at the end. A little candied sugar in the mix as well. The different taste melded together nicely.

Mouthfeel right on for a Belgium tripel

Overall I really enjoyed this one with the aroma and tastes just so harmonisously balanced. As a side note I bought a sixer in Houston at Spec's for 8.50. Above average Trippel and worthy of a visit. (675 characters)

Photo of daveytheformer
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
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. (469 characters)

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
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. (404 characters)

Photo of raffy313
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
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. (1,163 characters)

Photo of BeardedRiker
3.88/5  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. (1,812 characters)

Photo of AlexFields
3.13/5  rDev -18.3%
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.

6.2/10 (520 characters)

Photo of mjurney
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
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. (601 characters)

Photo of JayAre46
3.36/5  rDev -12.3%
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 (1,107 characters)

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.04/5  rDev +5.5%
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. (700 characters)

Photo of JMad
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
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. (472 characters)

Photo of Abarhan
3.83/5  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. (443 characters)

Photo of OakedCanuck
4/5  rDev +4.4%
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. (568 characters)

Devil's Backbone from Real Ale Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 148 ratings.